E-Learning Newsletter – July 2019 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.

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: VLE Module Site Rollover 2019
  • Info: VLE Summer and Winter Upgrade
  • Info: Panopto 7.0 Upgrade Overview
  • Info: Accessibility Department Reports & Next Steps
  • New Research Article: Peer Observation and Review of Online Teaching
  • Info: Archiving of Replay Recordings made during the 2017-18 Academic Year
  • Info: VLE and Replay Holiday Guidance One-Pager for Students
  • Recap: Learning and Teaching conference posters
  • Recap: Innovating in Assessment in the Arts and Humanities, 5th June 2019
  • Educational Development: Departmental teaching and learning sessions
  • Training: E-Accessibility Workshops
  • Webinars: Future Teacher 3.0
  • Standing Item: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Technical Training


VLE Module Site Rollover 2019

We have now completed the 2019 rollover of module sites for the departments who use this service. All new modules sites for the 2019/20 academic year are now present on the system and you can see them at the top of your module lists. Please take some time to check that the modules are as you would expect or pass on the message to module owners in your department that they should now check that they are able to see the modules and they are as they would expect them to be.

All Instructor, Course Builder, Grader and Teaching Assistant enrolments from the 2018/19 module set have been reproduced on the new 2019/20 module set. Those departments who use self enrol will have had the self enrolments converted to permanent enrolments. This includes departments who use Student enrolments for staff which are then elevated to Instructor enrolments.

All new modules currently have the 2019/20: prefix on the module name and are unavailable to students, no students or group users which would enrol students are deployed, these will be added later. Later in the year, the 2019/20: prefix will be removed when the 2018/19 module set will have their module names changed with the ZArchive prefix.

The York Module list has also been updated to show the 2019/20 module set as the default (only applies if you are using this in preference to the standard Blackboard module list).

VLE Summer and Winter Upgrade Schedule

We are now in the final stages of preparing for the summer upgrade of the VLE and this work will continue over the next week or so as the deployment dates of the 9th and 10th of July loom. 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 as detailed in our VLE Departmental Coordinators Briefing last month. We will be providing further information, guidance and training on the specifics of the new release over the coming months.

We would like to advise Departments that we are now committed 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.

Panopto 7.0 Update (22/06/2019) Overview

On Saturday 22nd June, Panopto – the cloud platform that the University uses to provide it’s Replay service – was upgraded to version 7.0.

New features which have been available to end-users include improved Statistics and Report Generation tools, an improved video player, and an improved Mobile experience.

The release also has delivered improvements to administrative functions, including greater flexibility on the delegation of user permissions. This is a feature which we believe will assist Departments in performing routine service tasks without the assistance of the PDLT. Over the coming weeks, we will be in touch with named technical contacts in Departments.

For a full breakdown of new features within the release, see the Release Notes on Panopto’s website

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.

Workshops in July/August

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

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.

New Research Article: Peer Observation and Review of Online Teaching

Drawing on evidence from distance learning peer observation programmes, including the University of York’s own provision for distance learning tutors, Richard Walker has presented a summary of peer observation and review of online teaching as an entry in a new Encyclopedia of Teacher Education. The entry discusses the emergence of peer review of online teaching as a development technique and outlines the key stages and outcomes which may arise from an effective peer exchange.

Walker R. (2019) Peer Observation and Review of Online Teaching. In: Peters M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Teacher Education. Springer, Singapore

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: VLE and Replay Holiday Guidance One-Pager for Students

We have a “VLE and Replay Holiday Tips – Student One Pager” guide available that covers three key areas students should think about to get the most out of the VLE and Replay over the holiday period:

  • Using Yorkshare VLE and Replay off campus (includes outage period details)
  • Tips for assessment preparation
  • Guidance on seeing VLE sites for next term.

These areas cover the main queries that our team receive from students concerning holiday time.

This document is available to students on their “Help & Support” tab within the VLE, and we also tweet it out. Feel free to disseminate it in your area if desired.

If you have any feedback about this one pager please contact amy.eyre@york.ac.uk

Recap: Posters from Teaching and Learning conference

PDLT had two poster stands at the University Teaching and Learning Conference on 21 June, one for James’ research on student use of lecture capture and Lilian’s collection of padlet uses by staff. 

Recap: Innovating in Assessment in the Arts and Humanities, 5th June 2019

The session provided an opportunity to share and celebrate some of the approaches to assessment and feedback that are being developed in the Departments within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Contributions were made from five different Departments focusing mainly on diversifying assessment and feedback formats and embedding employability and transferable skills.  Participants shared their insights into developing new approaches, and the processes of turning these ideas into reality and evaluating their effectiveness in context. The session provided a useful example of how activities providing a forum for staff to share their experiences can be of use in promoting conversations across and within Departments and Disciplines. The session was recorded and is available to view by University of York staff.

Further information and a link to the recordings is available via the following page:

Recap: Innovating in Assessment in the Arts and Humanities, 5th June 2019.

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars

Future Teacher webinars are taking a break over the summer and will return in September.

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)
  • Future Proofing Future Teacher – including sharing and reusing our Journeys

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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