E-Learning Newsletter – September 2017 Edition

E-Learning Newsletter – September 2017 Edition

Welcome to the September 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 (UoY Login Required) for the hyperlinks to work. Otherwise, you can just scroll through the blog post.

You can stay up to date with us by visiting our website: https://elearningyork.wordpress.com/ or following us on Twitter: @UoY_Yorkshare.

In this edition:

  • Info: Preparing for the start of term
  • Info: The ELDT and Anonymous Assignment Inductions (and other student facing activities)
  • Training: 2017-18 Replay Staff Briefings
  • Recap: ALT-C 2017 Day 1 Blog – Learner empowerment through student partnership and co-creation strategies
  • Info: VLE Content Collection Issue
  • Info: Turning Point Software Upgrade
  • Info: New Reading List Software: Summer Training Sessions
  • Info: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra has been Updated
  • Info: VLE Mobile App Update
  • Training: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Training

Info: Preparing for the Start of Term

It is essential that your module sites are up to date and ready to be released to students at the start of term. From updating your content to checking that your students have been enrolled – our ‘baseline use of Yorkshare’ section of the York TEL Handbook provides more information about the steps required.  Also, see our quick-reference ‘term readiness’ checklist. [Online PDF]

One change from previous years is the transition from EARL to a new Reading List system of which you can find further information in the specific news item below. As an additional note to flag ahead of the new academic year, if you have not already checked your modules for content issues, please take the time to ensure that your learning materials – including media items such as videos, have not been affected by the recent content collection issue.

In addition, we will shortly be releasing a tool that will assist departments in checking the readiness state of their modules. VLE Coordinators will be advised of the release of this tool, and will be asked to disseminate a guide detailing its access and use within departments. The tool is due to be developed further to include additional features to assist departments in management of their module sites, enrolments etc.

Whether you are new to the University, the Virtual Learning Environment, or you would simply like a refresher of the Yorkshare toolset, you can request a bespoke training session for either yourself or make a booking for your department by contacting us at: vle-support@york.ac.uk.

Alternatively, we also offer a self-paced ‘getting started’ resource, which you can explore at a time and rate of your own convenience. The tutorial comprises of short narrated walk-through videos (hosted on YouTube) contextualised into a logical tutorial framework. 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 of 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.

The ELDT and Anonymous Assignment Inductions (and other student facing activities)

If you would like an E-Learning Development Team member to deliver an induction to your students on submitting their work electronically to Anonymous Assignment submission points, then please get in touch with us directly as soon as possible.

We are already becoming heavily subscribed for the Autumn Term, so be sure to tell us as soon as feasibly possible if you are likely to need our attendance.

Please note that for any student face-to-face activity that you want us to be involved with, you will need to talk to us directly to specifically arrange our attendance.  

As a staff facing support unit, our time is not governed by the academic timetable and we don’t (and, indeed, cannot) use it to manage our time. Timetabling us for a session without pre-arranging or notifying us directly that you require our presence will not result in our attendance.  This also applies to any kind of induction or special training that you may want us to do with your students directly.

As always, the best way to contact us directly with requests of this nature is to email us at: vle-support@york.ac.uk

2017/18 Replay Staff Briefings

Prior to the start of term, the E-Learning Development Team will deliver briefings for staff in rooms equipped for Replay Lecture Capture across campus.

The session is highly recommended for those who will be using Replay for the first time in the Autumn term – but will also chart updates to the service and provide a refresher for previous users.

The session will include:

  • Updates to Replay in 17/18
  • A run-down of room controls
  • An overview of the web editor and the publication of lecture captures.
  • A short question and answer session

Heslington West (AM)

  • 19/09/2017 – 10:00 – D/L/028 Lecture Theatre (Hendrix Hall)    
  • 21/09/2017 – 10:00 – C/A/101 Lecture Theatre    
  • 22/09/2017 – 10:00 – P/X/001 Lecture Theatre (Replay + Board Capture Room)

Heslington East (PM)

  • 19/09/2017 – 13:00 – LMB/002X Lecture Theatre

You can register to attend a  briefing by completing the following Google Form. [Web Link, UoY Login Required]


Learner empowerment through student partnership and co-creation strategies: Reflections on Day 1 of ALT-C

This year’s Association for Learning Technology conference at the University of Liverpool identified ‘empowerment in learning technology’ as one of the headline themes for discussion by delegates. This offered plenty of scope for experience sharing on effective design strategies for student-led learning activities which develop skills and propel learning – a theme which is central to pedagogy developments and programme renewal at the University of York.

Richard Walker has reflected upon on Day 1 of the conference in a blog post, which you can read on our E-Learning Blog. [External Web Link]

VLE Content Collection Issue

We have encountered an issue with the VLE Content Collection which has resulted in some departmental/institutional content areas having files deleted from them. Some of these files are linked to/used by current taught modules. We have detected this situation before the materials have been permanently deleted and they can be recovered from a backup.

Module sites which could be affected are:

  • Those which use a default course files area located inside an institutional area
  • Sites that contain links to content from Y2011 modules or before

Some module sites are affected in a minor way with only a single broken content link, whereas others contain many more broken links.

Please do not attempt to modify the default course files area of any module site or request module site deletions. We need the existing settings to be maintained so that we can determine which areas of your institutional area may have been affected by the deletion and where content was originally linked to.

Files have been deleted due to a combination of factors:

  • Historically departments were encouraged to store module resources in their institutional areas
    The most recent advice (for at least the last three years) has been that all teaching resources related to a specific year’s instance of a taught module should have their resources stored in the local course files area.
  • Some departments or modules use the institutional area as the default area for module files
    Again this is a historical thing, and may have possibly been held over for convenience as the institution area would open when attempting to attach or upload files. Modules have had their own local storage for many years now and we can see this has been overridden for many modules on the system.
  • A bug, or incorrect information, in the module purge which deletes content from institutional areas
    The effect of this was not noticed until departments reported links to content were showing as broken.

These content collection deletions have occurred as an unintended side effect of the module purge earlier this year where modules over five years old were purged from the system. Files were initially soft deleted and moved to recycle bins by the module purge process (in March) and then fully purged from the recycle bins 90 days after that (in June). It was after this point that the issue became visible to users as broken file links in module sites, whilst the files were in the recycle bins they were still accessible just like any other file.

Fortunately as we keep a 90 day backup after the 90 day recycle bin timeout, the files have not been permanently deleted and they are available for recovery. Unfortunately links to these files from module content items will be broken as we have to recover the files from a backup instance of the VLE and copy them into the live instance, these links will require manual intervention to correct.

What we will do next is:

  • Recover all the deleted content from the recycle bins and restore it to its correct locations in the relevant departmental/institutional areas
  • Contact the VLE Coordinator in each department advising which content collection areas were deleted/restored, which modules were affected and also the volume of broken links for each module affected by this issue. Depending upon the state of modules in your department and the usage of the institutional area for course files, we will agree a way forward to relink content for current (or previous year modules that may need it) and provide a fix going forwards.
  • We will follow this up with information and guidance on the use of the content collection in line with current policy and best practice. This material will cover the correct configuration and use of the default course files area, where different types of files should be stored, how files should be managed such that a record of what has been used for teaching is maintained and a new set of resources is provided for the next cohort, etc.

We have already received a number of content related support requests and we will deal with these based on their urgency.

Please disseminate this information to those in your department who use the VLE.

The E-Learning Development Team apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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


Turning Point Software Update

A new version of Turning Point has replaced Turning Point Cloud on Lectern PCs and Managed PCs across campus. This change is also now reflected in the Software Centre. If you are using Turning Point Cloud, please install the new version of the software. Your existing login credentials and old presentations will continue to work as normal.

FAO Turning Point 5 Users

With the ongoing move from Windows 7/Office 2013 to Windows 10/Office 2016 on lectern PCs across campus, compatibility issues have arisen with an older version of the software (Turning Point 5 ) which has caused disruption when using presentation slides created using this version of the software.

Having consulted with the Desktop Team in IT Services and with the software vendor, Turning Technologies, our advice to staff who wish to use Turning Point functionality within their lecture slides, regardless of the previous version used, is to start using the new version of the software, Turning Point

Turning Technologies is no longer supporting Turning Point 5 on Windows 10. As such, going forward, any changes to hardware or software on University PCs may cause further issues with this old version which the product vendor will not provide us with support for.

What do I need to do?

As computers across campus upgrade to newer versions of Windows and Powerpoint, you will need to use a newer version of the software. As a result of this, some of your older presentations may fail to initially work as expected or take a very long time to load. In order to prevent this, you will need to:

  1. Stop using Turning Point 5 to create new presentations. Install and use Turning Point going forward.
  2. Re-save and optimise your old presentations within the new version of the software.

How do I do this?

  • On a Managed Windows PC on Campus, you can install the software via the Software Centre.
    • Alternatively, with the assistance of your DCO, you can install the software directly by downloading it here.
    • Mac users can download the .DMG file from here.
  • When installed, set your region to ‘Europe/Africa/Middle East/Russia
  • If you have not created an account, select ‘Create Account’ and use your University (@york.ac.uk or @hyms.ac.uk) email address.
  • Open your old presentation slides with the new version of Turning Point
    Note: it may take some time to pre-load old graphs the first time a presentation is opened.
  • Important: Press file > Save As to save a new version of your slides. Once converted, your old slides will no longer be compatible with old versions of Turning Point.

When do I need to do this by?

To limit disruption to your teaching, users should look to update to the new version and update their slides before the start of teaching the 2017 Autumn Academic Term.

Who can I contact if I have questions about this?

Please direct any queries to vle-support@york.ac.uk

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.

Prior to the start of term, 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]

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 lib-resourcelists@york.ac.uk.

Info: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra has been Updated

As a result of our recent upgrade activities there is now new functionality available within Collaborate Ultra:

  • Download recordings.
  • View text chat within recordings.
  • Pre-plan and configure sessions in advance.
  • Report on session attendance.

Learn more by looking at our Collaborate Ultra Upgrade – What’s New guide or by emailing vle-support@york.ac.uk.

Info: VLE Mobile App Update

(This information was originally shared in our August newsletter)
There are currently five main mobile apps available for use with Blackboard products which allow you access to many facets of the VLE on the go. In order to generally simplify their mobile offering, Blackboard are retiring the following three apps in 2017:

  • Mobile Learn” (already retired – August 1st 2017)
  • Bb Grader(TBC – by end of 2017)
  • Blackboard Collaborate(TBC – by end of 2017)

This will leave the following two apps available for use by the end of 2017, only:

  • Blackboard Instructor” – For use by staff
  • Blackboard App” (formerly known as “Bb Student”) – For use by students.

Much of the functionality provided by the Mobile Learn and Blackboard Collaborate apps will be added to Blackboard App and Blackboard Instructor in the future, if not already available. Much of the grading functionality provided by Bb Grader should be available within Blackboard Instructor by the end of 2017.

If you would like to know more about the Blackboard mobile apps please read our new web page or email us at vle-support@york.ac.uk

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: vle-support@york.ac.uk

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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