Background 

A significant number of courses each year has been using third-party discussion boards, other than the Blackboard Discussion board to utilise the more advanced features offered in these tools, such as anonymous posting; LaTex formatting; ability to insert code snippets and managing duplicate questions.  Initial consultations with the users have indicated a need for a centrally supported tool that would allow the provision of training and support by the eLearning team.   

How was this project initiated? 

The Digital Learning Sub-committee (DLSC) requested a project to conduct an environment scan of advanced discussion board alternatives and to prepare a business case on the benefits or otherwise of providing UQ’s teaching community and students with a centrally supported advanced discussion board alternative to the ‘entry level’ Blackboard discussion board, where it is required.

What is happening? 

UQ will be piloting Ed Discussion for 6 months, available to all courses in Semester 2, 2021 (from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021). Ed Discussion is an online threaded discussion and Q&A platform that offers a wide variety of advanced features and intuitive user interface that enables rich collaboration and engagement between instructors and students by allowing the creation of complex questions and complex answers.

Many of the advanced features are unavailable in the standard Blackboard Discussion Board, which included advanced moderation capability e.g topic categorisation, post endorsement; image annotation and anonymous posting that can be useful for teaching courses in any discipline, and LaTex scientific formatting, and runnable code snipets which are especially helpful for teaching courses with STEM focus.

This pilot will help determine and confirm the need for a central enhanced discussion board and to enable the eLearning team to continue with gathering requirements that would help inform UQ’s acquisition plan for inclusion of the capability in UQs virtual learning environment.    

How can you get involved and help? 

If you are interested in piloting the Ed Discussion tool, please contact projects@elearning.uq.edu.au to find out more. We recommend that you come back to this page periodically to get the latest update on this project. 

 

How is the project being communicated?

  • Articles regarding this project will feature regularly in the Teaching and eLearning News newsletter:
  • June 2021: Update on Discussion board investigations – various DLSC
  • 27 May 2021: Presentation at the eLearning Operational Forum (eLOF)  
  • 24 May 2021: Project page created to inform stakeholders
  • Feb 2021: Enhanced Discussion Board Investigation report

 

What is the timeline? 

  • Feb to April 2021: Initial requirement gatherings from stakeholders to understand users’ current needs 
  • May 2021: Price negotiation with vendors   
  • June 2021: Present business case to Project Advisory Board to pilot enhanced discussion board
  • July to Oct 2021: Conduct requirement gatherings and prepare evaluation report
  • Nov 2021 to Dec 2021: Prepare a business case and recommendation for Digital Learning Capability program 
  • Dec 2021: Conduct a full procurement process if approved