We ran a couple of sessions towards the end of June on some of the learning technologies available here at York and how our team can work with academic departments to assist with the use of technology for things such as assessment and feedback, delivering course content through the VLE and via Lecture Capture, running ‘live’ online sessions with tools such as Blackboard Collaborate and supporting staff development for those who want to try new things and experiment with technology. For those who missed the sessions, or for those who want to re-cap what we covered, we have made a copy of the slides available as a YouTube video (also embedded below) and wanted to write up what was covered in the session.
The main driver behind running these sessions was to link our work to some of the aims outlined in the Learning and Teaching strategy and provide more of a ‘high-level’ overview of the ways in which technology can be embedded into learning and teaching and how our team can support staff in the upcoming academic year. An extract from the video below explicitly states that the new ‘York Pedagogy’ will be embedded into the design of student work, the design of summative assessment and also the way that contact and relationships with staff are organised and developed. Our team will be able to work alongside academic departments to help achieve their aims in relation to the York Pedagogy. Our team’s own vision statement states that we want to facilitate ‘ownership’ by staff when it comes to using technology and not impose mandatory standards or policies. We believe that offering support and encouragement in terms of staff development is the best way to achieve this.
The Learning and Teaching strategy, which is currently under consultation, also refers to student expectations in relation to staff’s use of technology as part of their course and how the university is committed to using technology fully and appropriately in student work, teaching and assessment and feedback. The university is also committed to investing in physical and virtual environments for learning and teaching and providing access to a wide variety of online resources, as well as support for using these resources. For those who did attend the sessions, we hope you found it useful, and for those who didn’t attend we hope that this blog post and the accompanying video are able to give you a clearer idea of how the E-Learning Development Team can support you in the next academic year.
Technologies covered in the session
Replay Lecture Capture and Personal Capture
We’ve now got 42 licensed rooms for timetabled lecture capture sessions across campus, which were allocated to meet demand for timetabled requests. A room list will be circulated over the summer to departments so you are aware of the rooms that have lecture capture capability.
With Personal Capture – we now have an institutional license so all staff can request one from us. Personal capture is perfect for recording at your desk or for more ad-hoc capturing in teaching rooms if you only want to record a specific part of a lecture or seminar. The learning benefits of personal capture include things such as being able to create targeted resources in a visual way, for example for follow up resources to questions asked in a lecture, worked problems or pre-recorded mini lectures for flipped learning. We’ve got plenty of guidance resources available on our website and if you’re interested in getting a license for personal capture please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve just renewed our licence for Blackboard Collaborate for another year. For those who have not come across Collaborate before, it is an online seminar tool made by the same software vendor as our VLE and it has more functionality than things like Google Hangouts and Skype – such as the opportunity to run shared presentations where participants can annotate on the screen or creating breakout rooms for group discussion and activities. It’s a perfect way to offer synchronous activity for distance learning students or students who are on placement and do not come onto campus as regularly. It’s also possible to set up guest access so that no University login credentials are required, which would be a great option for external speakers or online research seminars with people from other institutions without needing to organise temporary IT accounts for those outside of the university.
Sessions in Blackboard Collaborate are known as ‘rooms’ and can also be set up for students on their own. This could help to facilitate group work, for example, without the need for a member of staff to be there all the time. Students can have moderator privileges in these rooms and would be able to organise their own sessions within the group whenever they wanted. There is also a great mobile app for Blackboard Collaborate on both android and iOS.
Blackboard Mobile Learn
We’ve had a licence for Blackboard Mobile Learn for a couple of years, but feedback from the IT Services survey from October 2014 showed that many people in the university were unaware of the app. We ran a promotional campaign in March 2015 and did see an increase in usage. It is available on iOS and Android and is great for accessing course materials and for receiving announcement notifications directly to your device, and there is also functionality for posting to blogs and discussion boards. To download the app, search for Blackboard Mobile Learn in your app store and select University of York as your school – don’t select York University because that’s in Canada and will charge you for using the app. We have a licence for all of our staff and students so it is completely free.
Next year there’ll be ongoing developments of e-assignment workflows and we are seeing increased uptake of using online submission for both formative and summative work and we have also supported departments with rolling out anonymous assignment submission on a large scale. We’re also able to support use of non-anonymous assignment submissions where marking can take place within the VLE itself or work can be downloaded to mark offline. We can advise on the end to end workflows for academic staff and administrative staff and have documentation available in the Essential Workflows section of our website.
We have been working with the Department of Education here at York to run controlled examinations for summative assessment using VLE Exam. This process involves using the test features in an isolated version of the VLE, with many of the questions set up with automated marking to reduce the turnaround time with marking and feedback. If you’re interested in finding out more and think that VLE exam would be suitable for your department, please get in touch.
York TEL Handbook
We are currently working on the York Technology Enhanced Learning Handbook, or TEL Handbook, which is going to be based in our WordPress site and will be for all staff wanting to develop their practice in terms of embedding more technology into their teaching and learning. The Handbook will cover everything from structuring VLE sites in an effective and accessible way through to creating resources and facilitating online activities. We’ll be finishing development of the handbook over the summer and it will be available before the start of the next academic year.
What can we offer?
In 2015/16 we can offer one-to-one consultations or consultations with your department and we will also be devising an online seminar programme for staff development for 2015-16. We already have a number of online resources available such as Getting Started with the VLE, which would be ideal for those who are new to teaching at York or new to using the VLE. We also have a number of case studies that can provide inspiration for using technology in teaching and we’ll also have the Technology Enhanced Learning Handbook that will be of interest to those who are wanting to develop their practice.
We can also provide extensive guidance on end-to-end workflows for assessments, for both academic and administrative staff, and we can work with your department to advise you on the best options for you and your students.
Visit our Professional Development Opportunities page to find out about upcoming events and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com if you have any questions or want to book in some time with us.