York E-Learning Newsletter – December 2015

In this edition:

  • VLE Downtime – Tuesday 8 December
  • IT Systems at risk – Friday 18 December
  • Lunchtime Webinar: Flipped Classroom Technical – Friday 11 December
  • Event suggestions wanted!
  • ALT Online Winter Conference – 9 & 10 December
  • New guide – Marking procedural work in the VLE
  • ELDT availability over the Christmas period
  • York Technology-Enhanced Learning Handbook
  • Getting Started YouTube Help Videos

VLE Downtime – Tuesday 8 December

The VLE will be unavailable between 07:00 and 10:30 on Tuesday the 8th of December whilst IT services perform essential maintenance on a number of the databases which support the VLE and the VLE database itself.

Please be aware that this is planned system downtime and the VLE will be unavailable to all users for the time specified. If you have submissions or activities planned for the morning of the 8th please consider rescheduling.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. This maintenance work is essential and it is crucial that it is completed before the busy assessment submission period in early January. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

IT Systems at risk – Friday 18 December

On Friday 18 December IT Services are carrying out a significant business continuity exercise, at the request of auditors and the University. The power to one of the University main data centres will be turned off to replicate a real disaster scenario where the power supply is interrupted (this could happen, for example, in the event of a power outage affecting campus, or if a cable is damaged by contractors).

The purpose is to test the actual resilience and failover of our IT Infrastructure, and to give IT Services staff an opportunity to react and perform in a realistic exercise. It will also highlight any weak areas and identify whether additional infrastructure would improve our preparedness for a similar real event.

During the exercise, which is expected to last all day, all IT systems, including the VLE and connected systems such as Replay and EARL, should be considered ‘At Risk’.

IT Services have been in touch with senior staff in departments, and selected a date which is outside term-time in order to minimise impact on teaching and learning. However, if you do have any concerns or queries about this, please contact IT Services to discuss this (email itsupport@york.ac.uk). More information can also be found on the IT Services website.

If you do have any VLE activities scheduled for the day of the 18th please consider rescheduling, if you require access to resources contained within the VLE please consider downloading them prior to the 18th.

Lunchtime Webinar: Flipped Classroom Technical – Friday 11 December

Following on from last month’s webinar which explored learning design aspects of the flipped classroom model, this month we introduce the technical side of how to create online lectures.

The webinar will take place on Friday 11 December from 12:30-1:30pm and will be held online using Blackboard Collaborate software, which can be used on a PC, Mac or mobile device. Find out more and sign up via the link below.

Event suggestions wanted!

Are you experimenting with a new tool or approach as part of your teaching that you would like to share with others? Or have you heard about a particular tool or way of using technology in teaching that you would like to learn more about? We welcome suggestions for future lunchtime webinars and Show & Tell events. Let us know via our event suggestion form.

We’ll be back with more lunchtime webinars in the Spring Term, which will be advertised on the Development Opportunities page on our website.

ALT Online Winter Conference – 9 & 10 December

The E-Learning Development Team have been selected to present at the Association for Learning Technology’s Winter Conference, which is held wholly online on both the 9 & 10 December. Matt Cornock and Rosie Hare will be hosting a webinar to showcase the York TEL Handbook and go over the rationale for its development.

It’s free to register for the conference and the sessions will be hosted by ALT on Blackboard Collaborate. Our webinar is from 1:00-1:30pm on Wednesday 9 December and there are a wide range of other sessions taking place over the two days that may be of interest to York staff. We are particularly interested in some of the Tweetchats, including the one on ‘Practical tips to engage academics and students with learning technologies’ at 2:30pm on Thursday 10th and also the ‘12 Apps of Christmas’ webinar at 10:30am on Thursday 10th.

For more information and to register, visit the ALT Winter Conference website.

New Guide – Marking procedural work in the VLE

More departments are now using the VLE’s ‘inline grading’ tool, within the Grade Centre, to annotate student work and release feedback to students without needing to leave the VLE interface. This approach is particularly effective for formative work that does not have to be submitted anonymously and can significantly reduce the turnaround time between submission and releasing feedback. We’ve put together some guidance on marking using the Grade Centre interface that can be shared in your department to help those using this method for marking procedural work. Click the link below to access the guide.

ELDT availability over the Christmas period

The E-Learning Development Team will be out of the office after Thursday 24th December until Monday 4th January 2016, in line with the University’s planned closure period between Christmas and the New Year. Any emails sent to vle-support@york.ac.uk during the closure period will be answered within 3 working days of our return on the 4th January 2016.

Any emergencies, such as unexpected downtime, will be communicated via our Twitter feed at @UoY_Yorkshare.

York Technology-Enhanced Learning Handbook

The York Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) Handbook is now available online. The Handbook is aimed at both new staff and experienced practitioners, with emphasis on student engagement and student work that underpins the York Pedagogy. The Handbook includes:

  • Recommended approaches to using Yorkshare.
  • A baseline model for structuring Yorkshare module sites.
  • Advice on digital resource creation, including accessibility considerations.
  • Designing and facilitating online learning activities.
  • Digital assessment and forms of feedback.
  • Evaluation of learning and teaching using technology.

You can access the Handbook at: https://elearningyork.wordpress.com

The York TEL Handbook is aiming to be a resource that will support the whole learning and teaching community at York. As such, we welcome feedback on the Handbook, in particular where we can provide further advice, and comments showing the impact it has made on your practice. Provide feedback and suggestions here: http://bit.ly/ytelhb-feedback

Getting Started YouTube Help Videos

For those who are new to using the VLE or would like a refresher on some of the tools and functionality, our Getting Started YouTube playlist for staff contains useful narrated videos covering everything from logging in and navigating around a VLE module to more advanced functionality such as embedding YouTube videos. Our Online Support Resources blog post below also contains links to interactive Prezi presentations, which contextualise the help videos in a visual representation of VLE modules.

As always, we welcome any feedback and suggestions on how we can support e-learning and use of the VLE and other technologies within your departments. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at vle-support@york.ac.uk.

We’d like to take this time to wish everybody at York a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Restful New Year. See you next term!


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