The University of Sydney provides a range of enterprise eLearning services to teaching staff.
These services provide tools that can be broadly categorized into four areas: learning materials and objects, communication, assessment and collaboration.
No single eLearning service adequately offers all of the functionality required by these four categories, so a range of services are provided that are integrated to provide as close as possible a seamless learning experience for the student.
Unit of study websites hosted on the learning management system, Blackboard, are used as the gateway to all other eLearning services. The link between the LMS and other eLearning services is either hard (via a software integration with single sign on) or soft (where a link is provided and the student may have to log in again). As the technology develops the integration of systems is moved from soft to hard to improve the student experience by making the integration more seamless.
See Standards for Virtual Learning Space for more information.
|Learning Management Services (Blackboard)||The learning management system (LMS) hosts the unit of study websites and provides communication, collaboration and assessment tools. eCommunities are also available via the LMS; these are virtual sites that can be used to host non-unit of study communities that may require a space for communication, collaboration or content storage.|
|Lecture Capture Services (Echo360)||The lecture capture system integrates with the LMS so that links to recorded lectures are available to students within their unit of study website.|
|Text Matching Services (Turnitin)||This tool integrates directly with Blackboard and is an alternative to the Blackboard assignment tool. Turnitin can be used to detect matching text in an assignment or can be used to grade assignments online without the need to download the assignment.|
|Mobile Services (Sydney University Mobile)||Sydney University Mobile is the University's mobile portal for maps, news etc. and has a hard link to Blackboard Learn Mobile which is the mobile app for accessing the LMS on a variety of mobile devices.|
|My Uni Portal||Portal to the LMS, student email, SITS and other student services.|
|ePortfolio Services (Pebblepad)||This service allows staff and students a space to store digital examples of learning achievements. This space is available throughout the individual's time at the university. Pebblepad is integrated with the LMS via a single sign-on link.|
|Web Conferencing Services
||This service will allow staff and students the ability to communicate and collaborate. The service will be integrated with the LMS so that staff can set up and manage their virtual conference rooms from within their unit of study website.|
|Web Streaming Services||This service, under review, will allow teaching staff to upload video content for streaming. The service will be integrated into the LMS allowing the placement of links to streaming content anywhere within their unit of study websites. The service will also allow students to submit multimedia assignments.|
|Blackboard CourseSites||Blackboard CourseSites is an external service provided by Blackboard that allows outreach programs to be hosted on a server external to the University. This allows for large-scale programs or programs with participants who are not University of Sydney students. This service negates the need for participants to have a UniKey.|
|External platforms||These are resources that can be integrated into the LMS that allow staff and students to access an external system without needing to log into that system. The external platforms must be reviewed individually to assess their suitability for use taking into account reliability, sustainability, security and privacy issues.|
As new technologies emerge these are evaluated to assess if they should replace current technologies or if there is sufficient demand whether these should be added to the collection of eLearning services.