York E-Learning Newsletter – May 2016

In this edition:

  • Meeting with Blackboard staff – Tues 3 May
  • VLE Upgrade – 12-13 July
  • Technology Enhanced Learning Survey 2015/16
  • ELDT Lunchtime webinars
    • Turnitin: the basics (for staff) – Thurs 5 May, 12.30-1.30pm
    • Peer assessment with Yorkshare – Weds 1 June, 12.30-1.30pm
  • Show and Tell: in-class polling with ResponseWare – Thurs 19 May, 12.00pm
  • E-Learning Team response to the 2015 IT Survey
  • York TEL Handbook Twitter campaign
  • Getting Started YouTube Help Videos

Meeting with Blackboard staff – Tues 3 May

We have arranged an open meeting for staff with a team from Blackboard  – our VLE vendor – which will take place from 3pm – 4.30pm on Tuesday 3rd May.

We welcome all staff to join the meeting. This is a great chance to raise specific issues that you might have with the VLE software and hear directly from members of Blackboard’s development team. If you would like to attend the meeting, please contact the ELDT to reserve a place: vle-support@york.ac.uk.

VLE Upgrade – 12-13 July

This year the VLE Summer upgrade will take place over two days starting on Tuesday the 12th of July and completing on Wednesday the 13th of July. The VLE will be completely unavailable on those dates. Please could you share those dates with colleagues within your department, so that they are aware of the downtime.

We will be upgrading to the latest 2015 Q4 release of Blackboard Learn which includes many improvements and fixes. During this time the VLE will be unavailable to all users and we will post upgrade updates on our twitter feed.

Some new features will be introduced, as well as some changes to existing functionality, as a result of the upgrade. Some of the new features and enhancements included in this release are:

  • Windows 10 Edge browser compatibility
  • Discussion boards thread-to-thread navigation
  • HTML5 support for Audio and Video
  • Notification performance improvements
  • Improvements to accessibility for Assessments, Discussion Boards and the Content Editor

There are also many bug fixes and stability improvements which will improve the experience of all users for the next academic year.

We are aware that there may be some teaching programmes which will be affected by the downtime and we apologise for any inconvenience this causes. As always, we will strive to minimise any downtime. Course leaders are invited to contact us if they anticipate any major problems with the downtime and wish to discuss contingency (work-around) measures with us.

If you have any questions please contact us at: vle-support@york.ac.uk

Technology Enhanced Learning Survey 2015/16

We have launched a short survey for students on their use of centrally-supported technology for learning and teaching activities. It will be available until the end of week 5 and is accessible via the following link: http://bit.ly/tel-survey-2015-16

The survey is also linked from a banner on the home page of the VLE, once you are logged in.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could promote the survey to students. It should not take more than 10 minutes to complete.

In particular we are interested in hearing about students’ experiences in using the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Yorkshare and the Replay lecture recording service to support their learning. The aggregate results from this survey will help the University to plan for the development of these learning platforms and will inform the way that departments use them to support learning and teaching activities.

ELDT Lunchtime webinars

We’ve got a packed Lunchtime Webinar schedule for the summer term, with one webinar each month until July. All of our webinars use Blackboard Collaborate software and joining instructions are always sent out the day before the session.

Turnitin: the basics (for staff) – Thurs 5 May, 12.30-1.30pm

This webinar will be delivered by the University’s Academic Integrity Coordinator, Stephen Gow. It is suitable for academic and professional staff with limited or no experience of using Turnitin or staff who require a refresher. The workshop will:

  • Explain Turnitin’s capabilities in assessing the originality of assignments;
  • Allow colleagues to view examples of the Originality Reports produced by Turnitin and to discuss how such reports can be interpreted;
  • Clarify the approach taken to the use of Turnitin – by staff and students – at the University of York;
  • Outline the process by which the University manages student access to Turnitin;
  • Outline how staff can use Turnitin ethically with student groups.
  • Show how Turnitin can be used for screening individual pieces of work and/or whole classes.

Click here to sign up for May’s webinar

Peer assessment with Yorkshare – Weds 1 June, 12.30-1.30pm

Peer assessment provides an active learning opportunity for students, developing subject knowledge, critical appraisal and reflective learning skills. We will explore three approaches to peer and self assessment using Yorkshare: the peer-assessment tool, peer feedback using blogs and adaptive release for model answers.

Click here to sign up for June’s webinar

Details of future lunchtime webinars can be found on our Development Opportunities page and will be advertised in upcoming newsletters. You can also visit our lunchtime webinar archive to watch recordings of previous sessions.

Show and Tell: in-class polling with ResponseWare – Thurs 19 May, 12.00pm

Our summer term Show and Tell focuses on our pilot of TurningPoint polling software and the accompanying ResponseWare app. This software allows staff to embed polling questions into PowerPoint presentations to enable students to respond in real time using any device. Guest speakers include:

  • Joe Fagan from the Department of Education, who has been trialling the software in both large lectures and smaller seminar groups.
  • Emma Rand from the Department of Biology, who has used TurningPoint and ResponseWare in large lectures in Central Hall.

There will also be a chance to take part in a demonstration of the software and find out more about our plans for TurningPoint and ResponseWare in the next academic year. The event will be held in LFA/204 (Harry Fairhurst Building) and lunch will be provided from 12.00pm with speakers starting shortly afterwards. For more information and to book a place, click the link below.

E-Learning Team response to the 2015 IT Survey

The University of York IT Survey was conducted by the Information Directorate in October 2015. There were a number of comments relating to Yorkshare and other services managed by the E-Learning Development Team. We look at the top ten issues on our blog and detail actions, resources and future plans to address these comments.

York TEL Handbook Twitter campaign

Some of you may have already noticed that we’ve been running a Twitter campaign to promote the York TEL Handbook over this term. Each week, we’re promoting a different section of the Handbook and highlighting some of the key messages from it. Follow the #YorkTELchat hashtag to look back over the previous tweets and join in the conversation by adding the hashtag to your own tweets.

For those who have utilised the Handbook and would like to give us some feedback, please let us know if you have any comments or suggested improvements via our Handbook feedback form.

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.

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