Getting Started with eBridge for Staff

Welcome

Welcome to the University of Hull. If you are new to Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) and, in particular, eBridge, this document is to help you get started.

Introduction

The University of Hull adopted the Sakai VLE - an open source system created by a community of developers - in 2008. As an open source system Sakai is available for institutions to download, free of charge, to store on their servers and rebrand - in our case we rebranded the VLE as eBridge. Additionally, any developments made for eBridge by developers at this University can feed those developments back into the Sakai community for other institutions to use and vice versa. The University will upgrade the VLE inline with any major upgrade issued by the Sakai community.

Whether you are new to using a VLE or have a little experience, this document is designed to help you get started with eBridge. This is not a 'how to' document but an explanation of the types of activities and the tools and their benefits to help you engage with your students in a VLE. An example of some of the activities we will be covering is communication, diary keeping and resources.

eBridge is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which means students can access resources anytime from anywhere in the world - all they need is internet access and a PC, laptop or mobile device. As eBridge is integrated with other University systems such as the Academic Information System (AIS) all modules and programmes of study have a site created and are populated with students automatically.

Getting started with eBridge

Whilst eBridge can support your teaching in a number of ways, the purpose of this document is to give you an overview of the 10 default tools and how they can be used in sites. All of these tools are available in all eBridge sites - the only exception is the My Home where some will be available. The first three of these tools, listed below are the very least you need to get going with your eBridge site. However, you will find that the other default tools are also useful for communicating with your students, engaging with your students and engaging with each other.

Site Home - this is usually the point of entry into your eBridge site. You may want to use the worksite information to give an overview of your module, let students know how the site is structured, where they can find material and add images - it's up to you.

Resources - this is where you store all your material. A well structured Resources folder will make it easier for your students to find the right material as and when they need it.

Site Info - this tool provides information about your site and which will allow you to control some aspects of your site such as adding participants, creating groups and publishing your site.

Announcements - keep your students up to date with Announcements - cancelled tutorials, change of venue etc - not only does this appear on the Announcements of the module site but also on the students own Home site and you can even choose to send them an email notification of the announcement.

Calendar - keep your students up-to-date with lecture times and venues, or other events taking place by using the Calendar. Any entry in the Calendar in a module site also has the added bonus of appearing in the students My Home Calendar.

Messages - send messages to students via the Messages tool - not only can you send a copy to their email address but a copy is also placed in your Sent Folder in eBridge and the students also receive the message in their Received Folder.

Forums - your students can engage interactively by discussing topics and giving you an opportunity to gauge whether they understand what they are being taught.

Pathway - provides an organised and more visual way for presenting resources. The Pathway allows the site participants to navigate through the Pathway in a manner as dictated by the instructor.

All sites have a Help button on the left hand side and, whichever tool you are working at the time, you can get help for that particular tool by clicking the icon in the top right of the tool pane.