Berenice Nyland is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. She is a supervisor of HDR candidates, an active researcher and lectures into the early childhood programs.

Do you use Blackboard?

Yes I do. I use Blackboard for any course I teach, and I will put some type of material up every week. Some are linear, some are blended courses, and some are fully online. So yes, I use Blackboard extensively.

Do you use any other alternative online tools?

I would use Youtube, but not sure if you consider it outside of Blackboard. I do use my own recording devices. One is a flipshare and I use video recordings from it onto Blackboard. I use an audio recorder and put up lectures  as an mp3. I record a PowerPoint, record on the device, tape it and place it into the computer and put it into Blackboard. I record it in the office, at home, where ever I don’t get interrupted.

I have used Adobe Presenter 9, its great in that the audio and the slide go together, and you can go into individual slides and you can edit the sounds and edit the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ in each individual slide. It’s very easy to use.  I have had trouble getting it installed onto my work computer. I am going to try Echo360 and see how that functions, so I may switch to that tool which may take the place of Adobe Presenter.

Obstacles and barriers?

I find that I can’t do a lot of things that I want to do. I wanted to use a DVD from China and put it into Blackboard but it wouldn’t function properly in Blackboard for some reason. I was disappointed that it wouldn’t work. It was movie length though, not a 3 minute Youtube video.

Enablers?

When it (technology) works it’s wonderful. I use GradeCentre and that works fine. As soon as somebody shows you something it’s easier to use, but it isn’t intuitive if you try to find your way. Just somebody showing me a little bit makes a huge difference.  As soon as someone shows you something it helps. Blackboard is not intuitive, so someone actually showing you what to do makes a huge difference.

I use Skype, which works really well, between Bundoora and the city it works great with staff. We were all on a Skype call and we’re all in Blackboard at the same time. There is a bit of synergy with Skype that works well.

Do the other tools enhance student learning?

Yes. We are constantly looking for ways to make the online content more innovative. We’re using technology and wanting the students to use it as well. I do avoid social networks, as some students don’t like being on social networks, they want to be in a ‘system’ such at Blackboard that the university provides.

I have a Facebook page, but do not use it personally, or with the students. There was a problem last semester as students were using Facebook from another course and providing inaccurate information to each other when all the accurate and up to date information is available in Blackboard. I do keep up with what is occurring in Facebook when it’s industry related, however that is all.  My Facebook page is not for students but it is for my teaching. I will share something with students if I see it is of relevance. There is a lot of official government education resource material that comes through Facebook accounts.

Interviewed by Erika Beljaars-Harris

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