E-Learning Newsletter – November 2017 Edition
Welcome to the November 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: VLE Christmas Mini-Upgrade (4 – 10 December)
- Info: VLE Inline Grading Changes (11 – 18 December)
- Info: Blackboard Campus Visit – Thursday 9th November
- Event: ELDT Autumn Show & Tell – Use of Technology to Support the Development of Digital/Employability Skills. November 22nd, 12:15
- Event: ELDT Lunchtime Webinar – Turnitin Webinar – Interpreting Originality Reports (For Staff) Wed, November 29, 12:15 (Online)
- Info: Deleting Content from VLE Module Sites during the Academic Year
- Info: The VLE Instructor Self-Service Dashboard
- Info: Recent “Blackboard” Student Mobile App Issue
- Info: The Scheduling of Lecture Recordings
- Info: New “One Pager” Student Guides on VLE Usage
- Event: Training: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars
- Training: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Training
Info: VLE Christmas Mini-Upgrade (4-10 Dec)
As announced earlier this year, we will be performing a second upgrade to the VLE between the end of the Autumn Term and the Christmas break. This ‘mini-upgrade’ is essential work as it is needed to support the Inline Grading update (see next item) and to correct some issues which have arisen since the start of term.
We plan to deploy this mini-upgrade between the 4th and 10th of December and the VLE will be unavailable to all staff and students for up to two days whilst this work is being carried out. We will confirm the exact dates and times for the scheduled ‘down-time’ in due course, but please do let us know if the proposed dates are inconvenient and cut across teaching activities. We will do our best to take account of your requirements in our planning for the upgrade work.
If you have any queries about this mini-upgrade, please do not hesitate to get back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is especially the case if you have any online teaching and learning activities planned for between the 4th and 10th of December.
Info: VLE Inline Grading Changes (11-18 Dec)
The document rendering technology at the heart of the VLE’s Inline Grading tool is to be migrated from Crocodoc to a newer technology – appropriately named ‘Box View’.
Crocodoc is the platform integrated with the standard (non-anonymous) assignment submission tool to allow mark-up/annotation/commenting (also known as Inline Grading) directly within your browser on students’ submitted work.
As we would expect for a functionality replacement like this, Box View has a very similar user interface and a very similar feature set to that of Crocodoc – however, there are some important changes which should be noted.
For the Crocodoc to Box View migration the key changes are as follows:
- After the migration all existing mark-up/annotation/commenting will be ‘burned’ into the online view of student work. Essentially, you will no longer be able to edit any mark-up/annotation/commenting that already existed on student work before the migration is complete. After the change, you will be able to make and edit new annotations. Please bear this in mind if marking activities will be performed on student work over the proposed migration timeline.
- Box View, at present, does not support free-hand ‘drawing’ on student work, this feature will be delivered in a later update.
- Box View, at present, does not support download of student work that includes any mark-up/annotation/commenting, again this feature will be delivered in a later update.
- Box View does support in-browser preview/rendering of many more file formats than Crocodoc (including video for example).
The migration will occur after the mini-upgrade – provisional dates for the switchover to Box View are some time between the 11th and 18th of December. During the switchover Inline Grading functionality will unavailable for up to 2 hours (assuming the switchover is smooth) although students will be able to submit as normal. Again, we will alert you to the dates and times more precisely in due course – but please do let us know if the proposed dates are inconvenient and we will try to accommodate you.
If you have any queries about this change to Inline Grading please do not hesitate to get back to us. This is especially the case if you have assignment submission deadlines or marking planned for between the 11th and 18th of December. As this change will subtly affect the marking processes, we would suggest any marking of a cohort’s work is concluded prior to the transition.
Info: Blackboard Campus Visit (Thursday 9th November)
Blackboard, our VLE vendor, is coming to visit The University of York on Thursday the 9th of November.
This will present an opportunity for them to reveal some of their plans for the future of the Blackboard Learn product, showcase some of their additional products and services and receive feedback from us on our use of Blackboard Learn, their mobile toolset and the Collaborate web conferencing tool.
If you have any comments or observations on any of the Blackboard products we use, or you’d like to attend then please let us know by contacting email@example.com.
Event: ELDT Autumn Show & Tell – Use of Technology to Support the Development of Digital/Employability Skills. November 22nd, 12:15, SLB/104
“From WordPress Womble to WordPress Winner” – Guest Speaker Dr. Jude Brereton, Department of Electronics.
This session will examine the use of social media content (blogs, personal website, Linkedin pages) produced by students for summative assessment in a one-year taught Msc in Audio and Music Technology. It will also consider the benefits of using social media to underpin staff/student contact, help achieve programme learning outcomes, and encourage self-reflection and independent learning. The session is focused on use of technology to support the development of digital / employability skills.
You may register to attend the Show & Tell by completing the following Google Form. [UoY Login Required]
ELDT Lunchtime Webinar – Turnitin Webinar II: Interpreting Originality Reports (for Staff) – Wed, November 29, 12:15 (Online)
Stephen Gow, Academic Integrity Coordinator in the Learning Enhancement Team will be our special guest to host the December 2017 lunchtime webinar on staff use of Turnitin at the University of York. This webinar on Interpreting Originality Reports in Turnitin is a follow-up to the May 2016 lunchtime webinar: Turnitin, the basics (for staff)
In this webinar Stephen will look at specific features within the Turnitin Originality Report, particularly using the filters and match overview to help identify plagiarism. The session will focus on the strengths of using Turnitin, such as using reports as proof of misconduct and using Turnitin formatively to highlight poor practice. It will also explore some of the drawbacks of the software, for example the increasingly complex database and risk of staff shifting to policing rather than teaching. It is hoped that by the end of the session you feel more confident to explore the Turnitin reports, however will also be aware that Turnitin is only one tool to hand in ensuring academic integrity.
You may register to attend the Webinar by completing the following Google Form. [UoY Login Required]
Info: Deleting Content from VLE module sites during teaching
We would like to remind staff that they should be cautious when making changes to their VLE sites when teaching has begun and modules are available to students. Although we do realise that there will be the introduction of new content and the correction of errors and omissions, under no circumstances should core teaching and learning materials that have been delivered as part of a taught module or have been generated by students or staff be deleted. This may include lecture notes, submissions or feedback etc – which form an essential component of the academic record for the module.
If staff do need to make changes to the content of live module sites, please check that you are not deleting or changing any content which could contain student contributions or may result in their loss. If you are unsure whether a change that you would like to make might result in data or student contributions being lost, please do contact us for guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Info: The VLE Instructor Self-Service Dashboard
It has been good to see that the Self-Service Dashboard, which has included ‘start of term readiness’ reports, has been well received and that its use appears to have prevented some of the more common VLE start of term readiness issues. We have seen a noticeable reduction in support requests relating to module visibility and enrolment issues affecting whole cohorts of students.
We will soon be adding new functionality to the dashboard, disabling open access to the dashboard and reverting instead to a sign-up model for its use. To support these changes, we will be running a briefing session to demonstrate the new dashboard functionality. Administrative staff and those requiring an overview of departmental VLE module sites and online assessment submissions etc. would benefit from attending. We plan to hold a demo of the new features in Week 8 or 9 of term, provisionally between the 13th and the 24th of November. We’ll confirm the date shortly, but please let us know if either of those weeks is particularly difficult for you to attend due to departmental commitments.
Our aim is to make this a tool to help you help yourselves. We have some ideas about the desired reporting functionality, but, ideally, we’d like to ask you what you’d like to see in terms of reports or functionality to assist the management of users, enrolments, modules sites and assessments within your departments. Please contact us at email@example.com with your suggestions, or come on the day to share your thoughts – all ideas are most welcome.
Recent “Blackboard” Student Mobile App Issue
In a previous update, we let you know that students using the “Blackboard” app to view the VLE were seeing a misleading message stating “Late Submissions Accepted” next to every standard assignment submission point: Example iOS Screenshot / Example Android Screenshot.
This was an issue for all students using this app at any institution, it was not unique to the University of York.
Blackboard have released emergency updates to all platforms to resolve this issue:
- Android – fixed version: 3.0.1
- iOS – fixed version: 3.0.1
- Windows – fixed version: 3.1. The Microsoft App Store page still states the current version of this app as “3.0”, but the app will automatically update to version 3.1 if the app store page is visited.
Students will need to update to these new versions of the app to no longer see the erroneous “Late Submissions Accepted” message.
Our team’s stance on the use of the “Blackboard” app for assessment activities is detailed in our “E-Assessment and the Blackboard App” blog post.
Info: The Scheduling of Lecture Recordings
Over the preceding weeks of term, we have encountered a small number of cases where members of staff have been operating, incorrectly, under the assumption that their lectures were being recorded.
- As with previous years, all requests for Lecture Capture should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
- If an item is scheduled, it will be highlighted in the timetable (https://timetable.york.ac.uk/) with a ‘play’ icon.
If a recording is not indicated in the timetable, then it will not be in the Replay recording schedule.
Info: New “One Pager” Student Guides on VLE Usage
The following “one pager” guides have recently been created for students. Please disseminate these as desired. These guides are permanently accessible to students on their “Help & Support” tab in the top right of every VLE page. The guides have also been tweeted, and some shared via banners on the student view of the VLE homepage – more details below.
- Getting Started with the Yorkshare VLE
- Was shared via a banner from the start of this term until end of week five. Had 850+ views. Due to consistent popularity is now being shared via a permanent portlet box on the student view of the VLE homepage.
- Getting Started with the “Blackboard” Mobile App
- For reference: Staff can’t use the “Blackboard” mobile app. If you have staff members that are keen to use a mobile app then they can try “Blackboard Instructor” – Learn more on our VLE Mobile App Update – 2017 page.
- Submitting Assignments on the Yorkshare VLE
- Is currently being shared via a banner on the student view of the VLE homepage, since midday November 1st. Already has 100+ views. We plan to leave this banner in place until after the assessment spike at the start of January 2018.
If you have any feedback on these guides please contact email@example.com
Training: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars
Future Teacher Talks are free monthly webinars on various topics surrounding online learning as part of the wider Erasmus+ Future Teacher 3.0 project. Each webinar begins with a short introduction and then in many cases engaging and interactive presentations from guest presenters. The webinars are fully interactive and you will have plenty of opportunity to actively participate and contribute.
You can view previously recorded webinars and access the interactive learning resource from the Future Teacher website. Previous sessions have covered
- Online learning – what works?
- The Flipped Classroom
- Knowing what they know – getting feedback from students
- Collaborative teaching and learning – inside and outside the classroom
- Strategies to support reading
The next session is on Strategies to Support Writing on Nov 24 at 1300 hrs. Do run the Zoom webinar test before the day to ensure you can access the webinar.
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.