Universiteit Leiden

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New digital learning environment Brightspace is live

Leiden University has officially switched over to digital learning environment Brightspace. Blackboard has therefore been replaced after 20 years. Leiden University College (LUC) will start teaching via Brightspace on Monday 24 August 2020, the other faculties and LUMC will start on 31 August 2020.

Robert van 't Sant is project leader for the implementation of Brightspace. The implementation of Brightspace was preceded by two years of preparations. In collaboration with the Faculty Implementation Teams, a pilot was carried out during the past academic year in which 500 lecturers and some 6,000 students have already worked together in Brightspace. Nevertheless, this launch is only the beginning. In the future, Brightspace will offer good integration opportunities with Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. In due time, this will make online collaboration between lecturer and student even easier. 

Advantages

The new learning environment will take some getting used to and it may take some time to get to know the system. Van 't Sant: 'As a result, the advantages for instructors may not yet be fully visible. But in the course of the year, lecturers will notice the benefits. Brightspace is linked to uSis. Compared to Blackboard, the administration system has a more prominent role in Brightspace. That link with uSis, was one of our main focus points project wise,' says Van 't Sant. The fact that uSis now functions as a source for the courses and enrolments will save lecturers and LMS coordinators work and time. And for students, this link has the biggest advantage: they no longer have to register in two places.

Fine-tuning

The entire pilot period last year focused on fine-tuning the wishes and requirements of users on the one hand and connecting them to the existing and new necessary software on the other hand. In addition to uSis, other tools such as Turnitin, FeedbackFruits and Pitch2peer are also linked to Brightspace.

Supporting faculties

In the coming weeks, the central Brightspace project team will focus on supporting the faculties at the start of their education. Our support team is set up to answer questions and provide support where necessary. In the meantime, we will continue to transfer courses from Blackboard to Brightspace for the remainder of the academic year'.

Faculty Implementation Teams

Lecturers and students can also contact their Faculty Implementation Teams if they have any questions. Van 't Sant: 'After twenty years of Blackboard, a new era of digital collaboration between lecturer and student will start in Brightspace. Laughingly, he adds: 'The future is here! 

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