Last year I was asked to run a project to introduce blackboard community sites to all 130 undergraduate courses. It was difficult but I was supported by a great team. Myself and Jack Butterworth from IT services are talking about it at the European blackboard conference this year.
Here is an overview
In 2012 all 133 LJMU undergraduate courses recruiting that year were provided with a programme level community site in Blackboard (the institutions virtual learning environment). Each site was populated with all students currently registered on that programme, and all new students who have been accepted ha the opportunity of being added 4 weeks prior to their start date. The sites were pre-populated with relevant information for these students, and all programme leaders were contacted and asked to add to this content, and generally make the sites their own.
For more information on the how this process was managed visit the project site here. http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/Academic_Enhancement/Academic_Enhancement_Docs/programme_sites.pdf
The aims of this project were to:
Provide a programme level space to support cross cohort communication and content access.
Allow early access for new students to pertinent information and university systems
Spread good practice in the use of programme level community sites (an increasing number of programmes were using them)
Automate the process of adding students to these sites
Review of the process
The project involved consultation with many different departments within the University as well and staff and the Student Union. The project plan was agreed at the senior level and a minimum specification of content defined. Exemplar sites were created and used to demonstrate the idea to as many programme leaders as possible. The creation and population of the sites with students and were automated. During the process a number of programme leaders wished for similar programmes to be merged into a single site, to enable a more efficient use of the sites.