Current Projects

Colleagues sitting at a round table discussing a project

The Digital Learning Team leads on a number of institution-wide and more focused projects. This includes evaluating new tools that enhance the learning and teaching experience of our students, developing open online courses that provide international audiences with a taster of the teaching excellence on offer at Sheffield, and producing the University's annual Technology Enhanced Learning Festival. 

For further details on any of the projects, or to propose a new project, please contact: digital.learning@sheffield.ac.uk.


Blackboard Ally

Ally is a unique tool that supports an inclusive learning environment at the University. Ally is embedded in Blackboard (MOLE) helping staff to better understand accessibility, and enabling students to access their learning content in a way that works best for them. 

Following an extensive evaluation with both staff and students, Ally went live on all Blackboard courses on 16 September 2019. The project team are currently developing networks, communications, training and guidance to support its adoption across the institution. 

Project team: Farzana Latif, Tom Foster, Pete Mella, Rob Spark and Chris Black

Blackboard Ultra Courses

Blackboard's Ultra Course View offers a simpler and more modern course experience for staff and students using the VLE. This includes more intuitive design, fluid interactions, simplified workflows, responsive design and improved navigation. 

Moving to the Ultra experience for Blackboard Learn in summer 2019 has made it possible to test out the Ultra Course View, and Ultra courses are currently being piloted on a small number of programmes in the Management School during the 2019-20 Autumn semester. 

Project team: Simon Warwick (The Management School), Farzana Latif, Danny Monaghan, Thomas Jolley, Ian Mumby and Chris Black

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence (open online course)

Domestic violence is a global health issue that can take many forms and affect anyone. Health and social care professionals play an important role in recognising and helping victims of violent and abusive relationships.

This open online course for the FutureLearn platform addresses the role of gender in domestic violence and how to recognise the various forms of violence and abuse. Learners will reflect on the impact of domestic violence, better understand their responsibilities as health and social care workers, and will gain confidence to help support victims and survivors.

Project team: Dr Parveen Ali and Jesrine Clarke-Darrington (The School of Nursing and Midwifery), Laura Giles, Dave Holloway, Rob Spark and Chris Black

Defining freedom of the press for the 21st century (open online course)

This course explores what it means to be an ethical journalist in the 21st century. The course is being developed in order to disseminate the outcomes of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project involving five departments across three Universities: the University of Sheffield, the University of Leeds, and Durham University.

Project team: Dr John Steel and Dr Charlotte Elliott-Harvey (Department of Journalism Studies), Laura Giles

Makerspaces for Learning (open online course)

The fourth industrial revolution (or industry 4.0) will fundamentally change the way we live and work together. But how can we prepare our children for a future that is yet to be defined? Makerspaces are physical locations that provide hands-on opportunities for students to design, experiment, build and invent. These spaces can help children and young people develop the types of creative skills that will be vital for future employment and learning.

This course will explore the value of Makerspaces for learning and discover how these spaces have been set up in early years settings, schools, libraries, museums and community spaces. We hope the course will inspire learners to visit a Makerspace in their area, or even better, set up a Makerspace of their own.

Project team: Professor Jackie Marsh and Dr Alison Buxton (The School of Education), Laura Giles

Updating Guidance Project

The Digital Learning Team supports the use of a range of digital tools that enhance the learning and teaching of our students with technology. This includes Blackboard (MOLE), Turnitin, PebblePad, Kaltura, Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Ally. 

The team's Digital Learning Advisers are currently reviewing and updating the guidance for all the core institutional tools, to ensure staff and students have access to everything they need to know to make the most of them.  

Project team: Graham McElearney, Laura Giles, Tom Foster, Thomas Jolley and Pete Mella