York e-learning newsletter – April 2015

In this edition:

  • Get paid to consult with Blackboard – Usability campus visit, 8th and 9th April
  • Lecture Capture Workshop – 12th May
  • VLE Summer upgrade
  • Staff Development – CMALT, Peer Observation, Forum Workshop
  • Conferences
  • Web conferencing and Screencasting – software recommendations
  • Training

Blackboard usability / accessibility campus visit – 8th-9th April

Andy Jacobson – Blackboard’s accessibility and usability expert, will be visiting us on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th April. Andy would like to meet with teaching staff and run detailed interviews with colleagues to understand how staff use the software and get an appreciation of the key bug bears and issues that need to be addressed with the user interface.

Andy is willing to pay staff for their time for what would be a focused, in-depth interview.

If you are interested in getting involved or know of a colleague who might be interested, please contact Richard Walker (richard.walker@york.ac.uk). This is a great opportunity to shape Blackboard’s thinking on improvements to the user interface and overall user experience.

Lecture Capture: Discussing Learning and Teaching Impact at York – 12th May

Lecture Capture - Replay Service

Whether you’ve been using lecture capture for a while, or are completely new to it and would like to find out more, we’d love to see you at our Lecture Capture discussion on 12th May. The workshop will explore:

  • How lecture capture is used to support student learning
  • Constraints and reasons against the use of lecture capture
  • Opportunities for teaching practice

We especially encourage those who are willing to share their experiences of using Replay, and those who have questions about the role of lecture capture to ensure that there is a lively debate. Register your interest online or contact us (at vle-support@york.ac.uk) if you have any questions. Further details about this event can be found in the workshop blog post.

Summer Upgrade of Yorkshare

We are now in advance planning for the summer upgrade of the VLE and will be testing the new release as soon as it becomes available later this month. This release is largely a consolidation of the work Blackboard has been doing to upgrade the core technology of the Learn product and will bring stability and reliability improvements. There will be a small set of minor feature improvements with no new major features or functionality planned for this release.

Please note that we are planning to carry out the upgrade over a two-day period, Tuesday 14th July and Wednesday 15th July inclusive, during which time the VLE will be unavailable to all users. If you are aware of any teaching and learning activities running during this period please contact the E-Learning Development Team and we will endeavour to find a solution for you.

Staff Development


At the end of March we successfully established a CMALT peer-writing group, who have begun working towards becoming Certified Members of the Association of Learning Technology. The group of eight is made up of members of the E-Learning Development Team, Learning Technologists and VLE Coordinators from departments and academics. The group will work from now until September to develop and review portfolios of their practice using learning technologies to support learning, teaching and assessment activities. (CMALT is now mapped to the UK Professional Standards Framework, and evidence from a CMALT portfolio can be applied to specific UKPSF standards / levels.) However, looking beyond the accreditation process, the group will also serve as a forum for the sharing of good practice, bringing together staff from across the university to share their experiences.

If you would like to join the group or find out more about CMALT, please contact the ELDT at: vle-support@york.ac.uk

Distance Learning Peer Observation

Earlier this month, we also successfully launched our fourth iteration of the peer observation programme for distance learning tutors and programme managers. Our participants this year are also joined by seven members of staff from the University of Waikato in New Zealand. More information about this year’s scheme can be found in our blog post about the peer observation scheme.

Learning and Teaching Forum Workshop

Technology in practice: Impact of online assessment submission on Learning and Teaching

Simon Davis from the E-Learning Development Team is running a workshop focusing on online assessment submission on Wednesday 24th June. The session aims to explore some of the obstacles faced by using online submission and ‘marking on screen’ as well as highlighting good-practice techniques and considering the impact on the quality of feedback provided and student learning. For more information and to sign up to this session, visit the Workshops page on the Learning and Teaching webpages or email learning-and-teaching-forum@york.ac.uk.


Members of the ELDT are attending the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference in Liverpool between the 15th-17th April. We’ll be blogging about our experiences after the conference and you can follow along with the tweets from conference attendees by following the hashtag #BbTLC15.

Screencasting – software recommendations

If you’re interested in experimenting with screencasting for creating materials for your teaching, we’ve put together a comparison of three different types of software you can use and highlighted the benefits and limitations. Visit our website to find out more and decide which software will work best for you:



We offer one-to-one and group consultations on a wide range of Technology Enhanced Learning issues, such as:

  • Getting the most from lecture capture and personal capture;
  • Use of Google apps to support student led collaboration;
  • Online marking and feedback;
  • Blended learning module design.

Please get in touch with us at vle-support@york.ac.uk to discuss your requirements.

We also schedule training sessions every term, which can be booked via the Training link on our website.

Self-paced Yorkshare (VLE) Getting Started Tutorial

Icon showing footprints (to indicate self-paced).

You can self-enrol on a tutorial VLE site that you can work through (or use as a reference source) for your basic VLE site development and maintenance needs. The Tutorial covers the same basic content that our Face-To-Face Getting Started workshop includes using, for the most part, short narrated walk-through videos (hosted on YouTube) contextualised into a logical tutorial framework that you can follow at your own pace. To self-enrol on this VLE site first log-in to the VLE and then hit the following link: Self-paced Yorkshare (VLE) Getting Started Tutorial (click the ‘+Enrol’ button at the bottom of the left menu).

All the videos from the Getting Started VLE site are also publicly available and can be accessed via our website: Getting Started with Yorkshare – New Online Support Resources.

Feedback on our website

We’d love to hear what you think about our newly re-vamped website. Access our feedback form to pass on your comments.

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