Students access online learning materials and interact in collaborative spaces in Blackboard virtual classrooms for each subject course at the Academy. Education Queensland has developed a site called ‘The Learning Place’ through which students login to Blackboard, which is the Learning Management System used in Education Queensland schools. (http://education.qld.gov.au/learningplace/
See a study written by Jennie Jahnke, Dean of eLearning of our students use of Blackboard Discussion Forums to enhance learning.
After login (http://elearn.eq.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp) students will see a list of all the subject courses they are enrolled in, including QACI Central for House, CAS, Virtual Library and Extended Essay links. The login is a special Learning Place login and password which is generated for students after they enrol at the Academy. Students who previously attended an Education Queensland school will be able to use the same username and password they have always used to login to the Learning Place.
eLearning Staff coordinate the registering of students in Academy courses, password management and course design. Students are able to contact the ICT Help Desk to discuss issues with access or enrolment in virtual classrooms. In 2010 we have a new process of registering all students in all courses. This enables efficient access when subjects are changed and gives students an insight into activities and learning occurring across the curriculum. It is possible to ‘turn off’ courses in which students are not enrolled to minimise the size of the course list using tools in the Blackboard entry page.
Figure 1. An example of entry page after login to Blackboard
Each virtual classroom is set up in the same way with links to ‘Course Details’, ‘Learning Resources’, ‘Assessment’ and collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs and discussion forums. Students may be asked to submit assignments or class work via the digital dropbox in the virtual classroom. There is a range of technology tutorials accessible via Atomic Learning under the tutorials tab for both Mac and PC.
It is vital that students check their Blackboard courses daily for announcements and updates. They can do this at the Academy and at home as the Learning Place is a website with 24/7 access.