On 1st September we went live with a new look for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), by applying the new BCU theme, developed by Birmingham City University. The new theme is making the VLE more user friendly, easier to navigate and more responsive on devices such as tablets and mobile phones. The video below gives an overview of the changes students can expect:
Key benefits include:
- Users can get to their courses by clicking on links to their enrolled courses on the front page, or from the My courses dropdown menu.
- A ‘cleaner’ but more visually appealing interfact (less text and more images).
- We can associate an image with a course, allowing for personalisation.
- Within a course there is a dropdown menu This course, with links to People (participants), Grades, and the various resources and activities on the course. Students will therefore no longer need to use the Navigation block or Administration block to access their courses or grades.
- Dropdown menu of Events will show upcoming deadlines (for online assessment etc.) and other events.
- Positioning of blocks on the right-hand side rather than on both sides gives more prominence to course content.
- The Search courses field appears on every page on the top right, making it easy to find other courses or support sites.
So far, feedback from both staff and students has been positive and we hope the changes will enhance the user experience for all of our VLE users.
In terms of managing the BCU theme, we have found it easy to customise – we have just changed the logo and the colours to match colours used in our branding. We had to ask our hosting providers, ULCC, to change the icon that appeared in the tabs of browsers and to do some work on how hyperlinks appeared. A few other initial niggles have been removed by moving to the most recent version of the BCU plugin.