E-Learning Newsletter – July 2017 Edition
Welcome to the July edition of our newsletter, which summarises the latest news on technology enhanced learning provision across the University.
To navigate through the contents below, you will need to open up the Google Doc for the hyperlinks to work. Otherwise, you can just scroll through the blog post.
In this edition:
- Info: 2017 Summer VLE Upgrade
- Info: VLE Guest Access
- Info: Yearly VLE Module Site Rollover
- Info: New Reading List Software: Summer Training Sessions
- Recap: ELDT Summer Show & Tell: Not another essay?!? Student created content – Video and other media projects – Wednesday, June 14. D/L/116 (12:00 – 14:00)
- Recap: Enabling active learning through technology
- Development Opportunities and Bespoke Training
2017 Summer VLE Upgrade 11th-12th July
This year the VLE Summer upgrade will take place over two days starting on Tuesday the 11th of July and completing on Wednesday the 12th of July. The VLE will be completely unavailable during this time to all users, and we will post upgrade updates on our twitter feed: @UoY_Yorkshare.
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 2016 Q4 release of Blackboard Learn which includes many improvements and fixes.
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:
- Submission Confirmation Receipts
- Submission Reminders
- Fewer ‘Needs Grading’ Items
- Updated Form Submit/Cancel Button Behaviour
- Drag and Drop Files
- Improved Behaviour for Self and Peer Assessments
- Content Tool Icons
- Course Activity Report Enhancements
- Content Collection Search Permission
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: email@example.com
VLE Guest Access
It has come to our attention, through a third party, that a large number of VLE module and organisation sites have Guest Access enabled, possibly unintentionally. Use of this feature effectively makes sites and selected content visible to the whole internet including search engines such as Google without any authentication.
If use of this feature is intentional and appropriate and the effects of this feature are understood then this is not an issue. If Guest Access was turned on inappropriately for a module or organisation then it can present a problem and expose sensitive information and/or content. In the unintentional Guest Access case we were alerted to, some Announcements exposed information about assessments that could allow students to gain an advantage.
Guest Access in the VLE works at two levels:
- At the module/organisation level
- Top-level exposure of the module/organisation by selecting ‘Guest and Observer Access’ from the Course Management menu and turning the Allow Guests option on.
- Using this option on its own does not, by default, expose any content.
- At the menu/content level
- By explicitly selecting the ‘Permit Guests’ option from a menu item or items on the module/organisation menu.
- This exposes the content contained/beneath that menu item.
Historically the use of Guest Access (on ZArchived modules) meant that sites with this feature enabled would publicly expose, at a minimum, the content of some tools such as Announcements, Contacts and the default Content Area (if used or renamed). Links posted on websites or blogs to deeper content such as Reading Lists could also be exposed as some tools such as this do not require authentication for read only access.
Please note that any resources requiring authentication are not at risk or exposed as guests will always be challenged to enter a valid University of York username and password combination to access these resources.
If you are concerned about this potential exposure of possibly sensitive information and want to know more, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide a list of modules and organisations for your department which have Guest Access enabled at the top level.
We have also created a guide explaining how to check for and remove Guest Access at both the module/organisation and content levels.
Please do contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions about this issue.
Yearly VLE Module Site Rollover
We have now completed the first part of the VLE Module Site Rollover for 2017 (only for those departments that use rollover).
All selected Y2016 module sites and their content have been copied into new Y2017 module sites and will be visible in your module lists. The new 2017/18 sites have the ‘2017/18: ‘ prefix added to the module site names such that they are clearly identifiable as new modules, Y2016 module site names are unchanged and will have no year prefix. Please take some time to check the set of modules, content and instructor enrolments to ensure that they are as you would expect. If you do find any issues please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next change to module site names will occur in the first week of September when we will perform the course archive. In this phase Y2016 modules will have the ‘ZArchive 16/17: ‘ prefix applied to them and the new 2017/18 modules will have their prefix removed such that they are the current modules for 2017/18.
If the module list on your Home tab is overflowed with too many modules, you can add the York Module List which will allow you to filter and view all the module sites you are enrolled upon. Guide on how to add the ‘York Module List’ box to your Home tab. [Google Doc]
Please see the following document [Google Doc] for guidance on how to clean up rolled over module sites ahead of the next academic year.
New Reading List Software: Summer Training Sessions
The University of York will be introducing a new Reading List system in time for the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year to replace EARL.
The Library team are currently in the process of extracting data from EARL and course information from the VLE, which is being used in a test environment to configure the new software. Near the end of the Summer Term we will be holding drop-in sessions and showcases to demonstrate the new system, dates & locations of these will be provided to departments by Academic Liaison Librarians.
During the vacation, the Library are offering Reading Lists workshops, designed as practical sessions to help you edit your own reading lists, and ask any questions you may have about the system. The workshops will last up to two hours and will take place in the Library (LFA/015). You can book your place online. [Web Link]
You can read more about the migration process on the Library’s website [Web Link].
If you have any concerns or would like any additional information, you can pass this on through your Academic Liaison Librarian, or contact our Reading List team at email@example.com
Recap: Enabling active learning through technology: Use cases, instructional design and delivery responsibilities. June 20, 11.40am-12.40pm.
As part of the University’s Teaching and Learning Conference, this workshop focused on strategies for active learning design in blended learning modules, and developed ideas from the March webinar on design approaches for student-led teaching and content creation activities.
Many thanks to Dr Sara Perry for chairing the session and for providing a mini presentation on her own Heritage Practice module, which has encouraged students to develop their skills in communicating their research to the public, using creative methods such as video production, podcasting and blogging.
The slides from the workshop are available here. [Web Link].
Recap: ELDT Summer Show & Tell: Not another essay?!? Student created content – Video and other media projects
This session, with the York Pedagogy in mind, was themed on innovative ways of both engaging and assessing students as well as supporting their development of transferable skills and career relevant knowledge.
Our presenters, Noel Jackson (Electronics) and Ursula Lanvers (Education), explained and illustrated how they implemented group work projects with large cohorts for which a key component was each group’s development of a supporting video clip
You can find out more, and watch a recording of the presented case-studies on our E-Learning Blog. [Web Link]
Development Opportunities and Bespoke Training
VLE Induction – Getting Started with Yorkshare and Baseline Approaches
This can be tailored to an academic or support staff context, specific to your use of the VLE in your role – ideal for those who are new to using Yorkshare or who may need a refresher on certain tools and functionality. Section 1 of the York TEL Handbook also covers recommended good practice for baseline use of Yorkshare. As well as 1:1 consultations at the modular level, we can tailor this session to programme teams for a more holistic overview.
VLE Induction – Yorkshare Administration
Yorkshare Administration training is for departmental administrators who need to create and manage Yorkshare module sites and content system privileges.
VLE Induction – Self-paced Getting Started Tutorial
Additionally, 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 comprises of 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, 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.
You can view a more comprehensive list of the professional development opportunities that we offer on our E-Learning Blog.
To request a session for either yourself or to make a booking for your department, please contact us at the earliest possible convenience at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.