Using the Group Environment feature in BlackBoard Learn as a Collaborative Portolio for Development of Workforce Soft Skills and Scientific Literacy
Abstract: After an initial offering of Biology 1310 core life and physical science course offered online as the first Natural Science course to move to the online environment, the course outcomes and student deliverables grew as the functionality of the Learning Management System (LMS) evolved. Along with a growing understanding of how the LMS could be used to bolster and support learner engagement and success, the LMS encouraged course instructors in technical expertise supportive of deeper content learning and success navigation in the completion of course core requirements for more students. This paper describes the evolution of the course since inception onto the virtual learning environment and refinements that address the issue of a core scientific literacy along with addressing two audiences of learners, one more mature and one very novice. BlackBoard Learn groups provides a mechanism to bring teamwork into the forefront and benefit all learners in such a manner as to prepare learners for what the workforce is demanding, teamwork, collaborative production toward specific outcomes. BlackBoard Learn (BBL) analytics offers ways to understand the impact and effectiveness of use of groups intentionally integrated into the BBL course as smaller learning environments.