E-Learning Newsletter – April 2019 Edition

E-Learning Newsletter – April 2019 Edition

Welcome to the April 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 email.

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

In this edition:

  • Info: 3 – 5th April SITS Upgrade – Disruption to VLE Enrolment Feeds & Online Assessment Submission
  • Info: Advanced Notice of VLE Summer and Winter Upgrades
  • Info: Start of Term Readiness of VLE Sites
  • Training: E-Accessibility Workshops in April
  • Training: VLE Self-Service Dashboard – Further Sessions
  • Call for Participation: CMALT Cohort
  • April Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0,
  • Training: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Training

SITS Upgrade (affecting student submissions, account

and enrolment changes)

This years SITS/e:vision Live upgrade is scheduled for Wednesday the 3rd of April to Friday the 5th of April 2019. The SITS and e:vision Live systems will be unavailable during this time, but another instance of SITS and e:vision will be made available for view-only access. If you have any queries about the SITS/e:vision upgrade itself please contact sits-support@york.ac.uk.

The VLE will be affected in a number of ways due to the upgrade:

  • Students will be unable to submit to anonymous assignment submission points
  • Staff will be unable to download submissions whilst the work is carried out
  • Student user account and enrolment changes made the day prior to the start of the upgrade will not be reflected in the VLE until the work is complete


Changes to the membership of VLE group users will not be actioned during this time

To check if your department has any anonymous assignments due around the SITS upgrade period you can use the View Scheduled Anonymous Assignments report of the SelfService Dashboard. The dashboard has been updated such that you can now view the due dates of all your departmental anonymous assignments over any date range.

If you do require updates to be made to VLE student accounts or their enrolments during the SITS upgrade please contact the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team at vle-support@york.ac.uk.

VLE Summer and Winter Upgrade Schedule

We are now in the early stages of testing the target release for the summer upgrade of the VLE and this work will continue over the coming months. This release will include further improvements to the mobile device experience and responsive theme, in addition to increased system stability and reliability. The upgrade will also deliver a set of minor feature improvements. We will be providing further information on the specifics of the new release over the coming months.

At this stage, we would like to advise Departments that we are planning to carry out the Summer upgrade over a two-day period on Tuesday the 9th of July and Wednesday the 10th of July inclusive. During which time, the VLE and Replay Lecture Capture will be unavailable to all users.

Stakeholders should also be advised that we will also be carrying out further necessary system maintenance in December of 2019. This Winter ‘Mini-Upgrade’ will also take place over a two day period, requiring Tuesday the 10th of December and Wednesday the 11th of December inclusive. As with the Summer upgrade, the VLE and Replay Lecture Capture will be unavailable to all users. This work is to ensure that the service continues to be robust and stable for the busy assessment periods in the Spring term. We do not plan to introduce any new functionality during the mini-upgrade.

Please ensure that these dates are shared widely within your respective Department. If you are aware of any planned teaching and learning activities that are running during these upgrade periods, please contact the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team as early as possible at vle-support@york.ac.uk and we will endeavour to find a solution for you.

Start of Term Readiness of VLE Sites

As one term finishes and another moves closer, it’s important that departments check that their required VLE sites for next term exist, are ready and are visible to the relevant student cohort(s).

Whether this task is completed centrally by your department’s admin’/professional services team or by individual teaching staff is the decision of each department; please disseminate this guidance accordingly.

We’ve created the following guidance document to assist with the process of checking that sites exist, are ready and are visible to the relevant group(s): VLE Start of Term Readiness 2019.

But, as always, if you have any questions please contact us: vle-support@york.ac.uk  

E-Accessibility Workshops in April

New digital accessibility regulations came into force in the UK on 23 September 2018, in line with the EU Directive on the Accessibility of Public Sector Websites and Mobile Applications.

The regulations require all publicly funded higher education institutions to ensure that their websites, learning environments etc. meet high and measurable standards of accessibility – i.e. that they should be ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’ (Art. 4 Web Accessibility Directive).

If you would like to know more about accessibility, we will be offering the following training opportunities over the next few weeks:

  • a joint PDLT  / Information Directorate workshop on Creating Accessible Documents for the Web: Monday 1st April, from 1pm – 3pm.  Further information and a sign-up sheet are available at: https://tinyurl.com/creating-accessible-docs 
  • a lunchtime briefing session on the EU regulations, discussing the accessibility standards that we should be meeting and their implications for our university web pages and our various digital platforms: Wednesday 10th April: 12.30pm-1.45pm. This event will provide an opportunity for general Q&A about the regulations and what we need to do before the September 2019 compliance deadline. Further information and a sign-up sheet are available at: https://tinyurl.com/accessibility-briefing

Please also note that there is existing guidance on accessibility standards and how they apply to the presentation of learning, teaching and assessment provision in section 1.2 of the York TEL Handbook.  

VLE Self-Service Dashboard – Further Training Sessions

As we move into another holiday period it seems appropriate to offer another round of introductory training to our VLE Self Service Dashboard: https://www.york.ac.uk/eldt/selfservice/

This training will be very similar to that run in August 2018, covering the different areas of the dashboard and demonstrating how they can be used by departmental admin’/professional services staff or VLE coordinators to help facilitate bulk administrative VLE tasks (such as managing assignments, checking automatic enrolments and monitoring site visibility). If you attended one of last year’s sessions there’s no need to attend this one.

We ran a session on Friday March 29th – but if you’re interested in having some dashboard training and did not attend the full March 29th session, you can complete this form to register your interest: VLE Dashboard Training Interest Form.

Questions? Email us at vle-support@york.ac.uk

Call for Participation: CMALT Cohort

We will be running a programme of workshops over the summer term, supporting staff who wish to receive CMALT accreditation.

CMALT is a portfolio-based peer-reviewed accreditation, organised by the Association for Learning Technology, for which the University of York is an organisational member. CMALT aims to foster an appreciation of the interplay between learning and technology as well as provide a platform to allow educators and those involved in supporting education to learn from each other and evidence than they have done so.

If you would like to know more about CMALT, please take a look at the information on our WordPress site.

If you would like to register your interest in getting involved this year, please get in touch with Richard Walker: richard.walker@york.ac.uk

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars

The next Future Teacher 3.0 webinar is on 30 April, 1300hrs on “Designing and running webinars”. The sign up sheet will be available on The Future Teacher website shortly.

If you’ve not attended a webinar before, please do get in touch with us in PDLT so we can show you how easy it is to take advantage of this, and many other learning opportunities. You can view previously recorded webinars and access the interactive learning resource from the Future Teacher website. Previous sessions have featured various University of York staff or resources and 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
  • Strategies to support writing
  • Self-assessment and mastery learning
  • Using Social Media in Teaching and Learning (Glenn Hurst, Chemistry)
  • Inclusive Practice (Emily Brunsden, Physics)
  • Working with Rich Media – Images (Sandrine Devlin, LFA)
  • Working with Rich Media – Audio (David Beer, Sociology)
  • Working with Rich Media – Video (features our Replay guides)
  • Getting Savvy with digital tools and resources
  • Designing appropriate assessments
  • Designing and Creating Online Learning Activities and Resources (Sociology’s resource ‘The Bureau of Applied History’ was added to the inspiration board)

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 Materials

We’ve developed a series of short help videos (hosted on YouTube) covering the most common tasks you might need to undertake when developing, preparing or managing your Yorkshare (VLE) site.

This blog post provides a table listing (and individually linking to) all of the short ‘getting started’ help videos we’ve produced.  The table also includes links to equivalent written guides where available too.

The blog post also provides links to three online Prezi files that further contextualise the help videos:

Basics of using Yorkshare (Prezi)

Prezi contextualising the videos relating to advanced use of Yorkshare’s Content Items

Prezi contextualising the videos relating to Tools and Control Panels

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s