E-Learning Newsletter – June 2019 Edition

E-Learning Newsletter – June 2019 Edition

Welcome to the June 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.

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: New Members of Staff in The PDLT
  • Info: Blackboard Catalyst Award for ‘MoCo’
  • Info: VLE Summer and Winter Upgrade Schedule
  • Info: Accessibility Department Reports & Next Steps
  • Info: Archiving of Replay Recordings made during the 2017-18 Academic Year
  • Info: Advanced Notice of Panopto Service Update, June 22nd, 2019
  • Info: Handling formative/summative assessment electronically
  • Event: PDLT Summer Show & Tell, 18 June
  • Educational Development: Departmental teaching and learning sessions
  • Training: E-Accessibility Workshops in June
  • June Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0,
  • Standing Item: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Technical Training

New Members of Staff in The Programme Design and Learning Technology Team

It is with pleasure that we welcome two new team members to the PDLT.

Nathan Page recently joined us from Aston University, where he was lecturer in applied linguistics. Nathan has a wealth of experience in teaching and supporting distance learners and will be applying this expertise to his new role as Educational Adviser, with specific responsibility for supporting departments in the delivery of the new suite of fully online programmes.

Finally, we are delighted to welcome our latest recruit Robynne Blissett to the team in the role of E-Learning Support Officer, with a specific responsibility for providing front-line support to the Replay lecture capture service. Robynne is already well versed in customer service excellence, having previously worked in first-line support for IT Services and the Library, and will be applying those skills to the new domain of learning technology support.

Blackboard Catalyst Award for ‘MoCo’

PDLT team member Amy Eyre has recently been awarded the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Engagement, alongside Sarah Sherman from the Bloomsbury Group. Amy and Sarah co-run the EMEA User Group for users of Blackboard’s mobile apps or their Collaborate webinar platform, which is affectionately named MoCo (for Mobile and Collaborate).

MoCo has found great success since its founding in February 2017. It now has over 330 members, an information-packed community web space and a well attended monthly online meeting where attendees share case studies, good practice and technical tips. It is for leading and facilitating these activities that Amy and Sarah have won this Community Engagement award.

If you’d like to learn more about the Collaborate webinar platform, or the Blackboard mobile apps, you can contact Amy at vle-support@york.ac.uk

VLE Summer and Winter Upgrade Schedule

We are currently testing and configuring 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 and 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.

Accessibility Department Reports & Next Steps

We have been actively supporting departments in a number of ways in terms of their preparations to meet the new accessibility regulations, with a compliance deadline of 23rd September 2019.

Over the spring term we worked with a team of student interns to review VLE content and to identify any formatting / access issues that will need attention. Reports have now been sent on to all teaching departments, highlighting priority areas for attention.

We will be kicking off a second internship programme in June, which will run over the summer months, with  a second group of interns being assigned to departments to support staff in the review of digital resources and VLE site design, so that materials are presented in an accessible way from September 2019 onwards. The focus will be on developing reusable templates, which will ensure that any new materials are accessible by design, as well as on education and awareness of the WCAG 2.1 principles

Lilian Soon has been busy delivering a number of workshops on how to create accessible documents. We will continue to run these scheduled sessions over the summer, and will also arrange bespoke sessions for departments in response to any requests that we receive.

For further details on our training sessions and accessibility guidance resources, please consult the e-accessibility wiki site, which provides regular updates on what we are doing and has  the key guidance information that you will need to get up to speed with the new regulations.

Info: Archiving of Replay Recordings made during the 2017-18 Academic Year

As per The University of York’s position on the archiving of Lecture Recordings, all recordings made using Replay Timetabled Lecture Capture service during the 2017-18 Academic Year will be placed in an ‘unavailable’ state for student viewership, effective late-September 2019.

To accommodate for students on leave of absence (LOA) and for the reference of members of academic staff, these recordings will continue to remain available for staff viewership only for a further 3 years. For example, a lecture capture made in the Spring Term of 2017 will remain in this state until it is automatically deleted during the Summer Vacation 2023. This life cycle is in-line with the VLE Module Site archiving policy.

Recordings using Personal Recording software or uploaded video resources (i.e. hosted video materials not made using the automated Replay service) will not be targeted as part of the implementation of this policy, and will therefore remain available for viewing on an ongoing basis. Lecturers may download an archival copy of their own recordings at any time prior to permanent deletion.

Affected staff will be notified again prior to recordings being made unavailable in September after Summer assessment resits have taken place.

If you have any concerns or queries in regards to this, please contact vle-support@york.ac.uk.

Info: Replay Service Maintenance Downtime, June 22nd, 2019

Due to an upgrade, Panopto, the vendor who supply the software for our Replay Service, will be unavailable for users between 20:00 and 23:00 on Saturday June 22.

Users should be forewarned that the service will be unavailable during this period. This includes access to Replay lecture captures within the ‘Replay Content’ tool link on Yorkshare VLE sites.

We apologise in advance for any disruption to viewership this will cause.

Electronic Handling of Assessments

We’ve seen a significant rise in queries from both academic and support staff regarding use of the VLE to facilitate formative assessment this academic year (2018/19).

In a bid to help with clarity regards electronic formative assessment handling, and also to elaborate on the flexibility of the standard Assignment tool built into the VLE, we’ve produced a short diagnostic Google Slide presentation to try and help with this.  This is targeted primarily at academic/teaching staff. The presentation is built to be ‘interactive’ so, rather than use normal slide navigation, you will need to click on the boxes on the slides (with the presentation in Preview or Present mode – It won’t make a lot of sense if you go through it in a linear fashion).

Go here for a ‘straight into preview mode’ view (shows browser window but is in presentation mode).

…or go here and hit Present (upper right) for full screen mode (no browser window):

If you have any feedback on the linked presentation or its content then please do get in touch with us to let us know.

E-Accessibility Workshops

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).

Workshops in June/July

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

  • Creating Accessible Documents workshops on
    • 6 June, 11pm-1pm, V/X/230. Limited spaces and requires that you bring your own laptop: Sign up form.
    • 12 June, 2-4pm, B/R/012. Sign up form.
    • 1 July, 10am-12pm, B/R/012. Sign up form.

Other dates and sign up forms will be added to the e-accessibility calendar. Find out more in the section about our e-accessibility wiki below.

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.  

E-accessibility wiki

Several initiatives are happening across the university as a result of these new regulations. Find out more by reading our blog post and visiting our e-accessibility project wiki (UoY login required). Future training dates are also announced on the wiki. If you’d like to be involved with any of the working groups, please do get in touch.

PDLT Summer Show & Tell

Our summer show and tell will be on 18 June, 12pm – 1.30pm, SLB/007 with lunch provided.

Our theme on Audio and Video feedback will feature Bill Soden from Education and Sally Quinn from Psychology. Bill will explain how screencast videos, with their affective and emotional advantage over other forms of feedback, can be used not only for engaging formative feedback but also for reusable feedforward resources. Sally will share how providing her third year students with video and written feedback helps to interrupt the forgetting curve and help them to do more with the feedback they receive.

Sign up form.

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars

The next Future Teacher 3.0 webinar is on 28 June, 1pm – 2pm: Sharing and reusing – our Journeys. 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 for technology enhanced programmes
  • Designing and Creating Online Learning Activities and Resources (Sociology’s resource ‘The Bureau of Applied History’ was added to the inspiration board)
  • The wonderful world of webinars (Amy Eyre, PDLT)

Do run the Zoom webinar test before the day to ensure you can access the webinar.

Standing Item: Departmental teaching and learning sessions

Can we contribute to your Departmental learning and teaching workshops and activities?

Are you planning Departmental teaching and learning workshops and activities for this year?  If so, you may find it useful to know that, as part of our remit to provide advice and support to academic Departments, we can work with you to design and deliver sessions focused on a range of programme design and learning technology matters.  

You may be planning some specific programme developments or looking to explore the potential benefits of different approaches or tools within your learning, teaching and assessment within and across modules.  Or you may want to address some particular learning, teaching and assessment challenges or opportunities within your Department. Themes that we have helped to address recently include:

  • Facilitating interactivity and engagement within large lectures using Electronic Voting Systems and synchronous discussion tools
  • Enhancing student engagement with learning outside class contact time and between scheduled sessions using the VLE

We can provide bespoke input informed by case studies on subjects such as:

  • Learning and teaching in large groups or in small groups
  • Supporting independent study
  • Maximising the benefits of live learning and teaching activities through activities carried out in between sessions (front-loading, flipped learning, ‘blended’ learning)
  • Enhancing formative assessment
  • Enhancing feedback processes
  • Developing assessments to maximise learning (e.g. assessing process elements as well as end products; incorporating collaborative working; integrating skills)
  • Approaches to ‘engagement’ in assessment: Active learning and assessment; ‘real-world’ / authentic assessments; integrating transferable skills

We can also offer Department-specific versions of any of the workshops detailed on the following blog page:


If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact 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 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.

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