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SMS services from Blackboard SMS, Blackboard and Retention Lee Griffiths, Sharon Youngson, Mo Djebber School of Computing, Science and Engineering University of Salford Mike James Learning Technologies Centre University of Salford 3T Productions Ltd, UK. Simon Whittle School of Computing, Science and Engineering University of Salford Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 1 SMS services from Blackboard Contents of this workshop Presentation of background to our BlackboardSMS project (LG) What we have achieved (LG) Technically (MD)
Logistically (LG) Interactive demonstration (LG/MD) Two user trials (LG/SY) Conclusions (LG) Open discussion Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 2 SMS services from Blackboard Introduction and Background 1 On going project which started from a pilot study (Griffiths, Hmer 2004) to prove the technology of sending text messages to large cohorts. Investigations found that students regularly read email but they read their text messages more often
thought the idea of text messages from the university was a good idea, but not sure of uses Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar Lectures cancelled!! 3 SMS services from Blackboard Introduction and Background 2 Dissemination of the initial study attracted attention from the institutions Learning Technology Centre (LTC). We teamed up and devised a plan to: (1) determine, through requirements analysis, the functionality required from such a system across all disciplines and support services; (2) develop and integrate a technological solution for delivering the requirements established in (1) via the university's chosen VLE (Blackboard); (3) monitor, by field trial, the effectiveness of an SMS service against traditional forms of communication via the VLE and to elicit opinions
from student and staff users; Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 4 SMS services from Blackboard Project team The project team has comprised three full time research students. Technical and project support from LTC and ISD Managerial support from the LTC. Academic support for the research students from their supervisory school. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 5 SMS services from Blackboard What we have achieved: technically / logistically We have created a building block (Blackboard terminology) which adds SMS sending functionality
to our Blackboard installation. The building block uses information about registered users (e.g. students) to send messages to them. We have developed a management system within Blackboard which provides an accounting interface to allow message credit to be given to certain Blackboard users . Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 6 SMS services from Blackboard The Technology Source: Blackboard Developer Guide Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 7 SMS services
fromBlackboard Blackboard User Backboard Interface Access User Session Authentication & Authorisation (creates user session) SMS Building Block Access Filters Java Servlet SMS Controller Java Server Pages SMS View Blackboard API .Jar library Java Beans
Blackboard Tag Libs + Other Tag Libs SMS Model Helper Java Classes BB Database Oracle Config File web.xml Custom SMS database SMS Gateway Java Derby DB Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar Http Communication 8 SMS services from Blackboard Management of BBSMS txt credit balance BBSMS
Balance (implied) Customer account SMS Balance End-User SMS Balance BBSMS Admin Department Gatekeeper Basic User (e.g. LTC Staff) e.g. School Finance
Officer e.g. Lecturer Access/control of balance Balance transfer Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 9 SMS services from Blackboard User Types and Roles 1. Administrator: (BBSMS-Admin) Allocated by LTC (Learning Technologies Centre). Responsible for adding accounts, assigning managers, and buying credits from SMS gateway company and transferring credits to accounts. E.g. LTC Staff Member. 2. Account Manager: (BBSMS-Gatekeeper)
Allocated by the Admin, responsible for adding users within their department, and allocating text credits to them. E.g. Finance Officer, Budget Holder. 3. Basic User: (BBSMS-BU) Allocated by the account manager, has access to a number of credits allocated by the account manager. E.g. A lecturer. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 10 SMS services from Blackboard Users and Balances School 1 6000 BBSMS Balance 10000 Text Bal: 1000
Lecturer 1 School 2 4000 Text Bal: 2500 Lecturer 2 BBSMS Admin School 2 Finance Officer (e.g. LTC Staff) Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar Text Bal: 500 Lecturer 3 11
SMS services from Blackboard Interactive demonstration Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 12 SMS services from Blackboard Interactive demonstration: editing your mobile phone details Login to the PC using your temporary ISD user account details Change your mobile details: 1. Open an Internet browser (e.g. IE) and navigate to http://puck.salford.ac.uk 2. Log-in to Blackboard with the username and password we have given you. 3. In the tools box click on the Personal Information link, then click Edit Personal Information, Scroll down to the Mobile Phone field and enter your mobile phone number. Finally click submit. 4. Once you finished you can remove your mobile number by following the same procedure.
Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 13 SMS services from Blackboard 1, 2. http://puck.salford.ac.uk Login here with the studentx account details Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 14 SMS services from Blackboard 3. Click on the Personal Information Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 15 SMS services from Blackboard 3. Click on Edit Personal Information
Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 16 SMS services from Blackboard 3. Scroll down and add your mobile phone number then submit Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 17 SMS services from Blackboard Make sure your mobile is switched on Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 18 SMS services from Blackboard Sending you a message to demonstrate Sending a message as a
tutor. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 19 SMS services from Blackboard Field trials of BBSMS Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 20 SMS services from Blackboard Two Field trials : 1 Two trials have been carried out with the BBSMS system, mainly to offer support and reminders.
One trial in the School of Nursing was to get the administrative staff to send SMS alerts to the March 06 cohort of Nursing students. M06.KF Just a reminder about Hep B injections next week. Appts already distributed by Occ Hlth M06.KF Back in Uni next week - don't forget clinical skills workshops TT on Blackboard - sessions start at 10:00 prompt in correct uniform. Kathryn Foden Most recipients (>90%) reported (via a follow-up questionnaire) that they had received the messages Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 21 SMS services from Blackboard Mostly positive, but some negative comments
Carry on sending text messages with reminders please I haven't received any messages. Only ever received a message about clinical skills If I received the messages it would be helpful. Maybe collect student numbers again!
Text a few days before hand and be able to reply to clarify Messages could be more group specific possibly with actual dates More regular reminders about events around the university and support services etc More text messages, they are useful in reminding me as the programme is busy Would use to receive text messages for reminders for Hep b's etc To receive a text message would be useful I only received the first two Hep B reminder texts - nothing else I thought the service was really good and seemed to work well I found this service to be helpful and easy to use More frequent reminders Continue to send text messages! Please send the messages on both email and mobile Send messages more regular and include dates + times. I dont no how to give you a new number. They were good but didn't receive all of the texts Explain keywords so we can reply. Didn't receive all messages The reason I didn't receive any of these texts is because I have changed my number. All emails to be sent via SMS including ISD reminders when library books are due Make it more regular and date it i.e. Hep B next Tues 17th Provide more SMS reminders i.e. you remind us about 2nd Hep B but not the 3rd Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar
22 SMS services from Blackboard Two Field trials : 2 A survey was completed by a large number of 1st year students within the faculty of Science, Engineering and Environment. Most students are happy to be contacted in this way. All students surveyed currently use SMS, most on a regular basis. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 23 SMS services from Blackboard Methods of Contact In terms of retention, weak or absent students are contacted by the school and this now includes SMS txt
Phone call Email Letter SMS Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 24 SMS services from Blackboard Responses to contact for attendance Most students happy to have been contacted. Quick contact with the students is important when problems are apparent The types of message sent are likely to be based upon those seen within previous works:
Reminders (assessments, lectures) Emergencies (rooms change, illness, exam times) Enrolment information / Support (for new students) Micro learning activities (quizzes, multiple choice, links to other resources) Two way dialog: Assessment feedback keeping in touch with students, social interaction Hi, welcome back. following up attendance perhaps Anonymously ? staff to student and student to staff accessibility (e.g. students who do not have email access off campus) Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 25 SMS services from Blackboard
Conclusions There seems to be a fairly consistent set of uses emerging amongst researchers although the set may expand. You need staff support students clearly see the benefits. it will be normal for students but quite alien to staff. Running costs are high (3p message is cheap) but the right technological solution could lower the cost. This is a stop gap technological solution as Wifi and always on mobile email access will take over.
However the underlying pedagogic (and practical) uses should become common practice. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar Wheres that Text Send button 26 SMS services from Blackboard Questions and open discussion Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 27
SMS services from Blackboard Other work - to name a few: Harley (2004) Create a dialog with students, especially new students years Try to encourage face to face and personal communications. Not just random texts but practical reminders, micro learning and niceties Staff perception / culture shock need to get into the gift-giving culture Stone (2004) Students less impressed by technology of VLE, want time sensitive information Reminders, assessment, times, locations changes
Griffiths, Hmer (2004) Students keen to be involved (opt in) and recognised usefulness of real time messages Experimental confirmed the effectiveness of timely information Not keen to pay for a service Expensive service to use. Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 28 SMS services from Blackboard References [Griffiths & Hmer, 2004] Griffiths, L. & Hmer, A., 2004. U R L8 4 ur exam :) [online]. Available at: Accessed [25/07/2005] [Harley, 2005] Harley, D., 2005. Integrating Mobile Communications Into the Workings of a University to Aid Student Retention [online]. Available at:
Accessed [05/07/2005]. [Stone, 2004] Stone A., 2004. Mobile Scaffolding: An Experiment in Using SMS Text Messaging to Support First Year University Students. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT04) 0-7695-2181-9/04. [Traxler & Riordan, 2003] Traxler, J. & Riordan, B. 2003. Evaluating the Effectivness of Retention Strategies using SMS, WAP and WWW Student Support [online]. Available at: Accessed [14/07/2005] Lee Griffiths, Mike James, Sharon Youngson, Mohamed Djebbar 29 SMS services from Blackboard Username: Username:
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