Welcome to the August 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 blogpost.
In this edition
- Info: VLE Summer Upgrade Overview
- Live Sessions: Learning Technology 2019 – What’s New and What’s Hot
- Info: Lecture Recording Policy Review Ratified By Senate
- Info: Replay Service Downtime, Saturday August 10th
- Info: VLE Training for the new Academic Year
- Info: “Getting Started with the VLE” One Pager Guide Available for Students
- Info: Booking the PDLT for Student Induction Activities
- Info: Accessibility Department Reports & Next Steps
- New Blog: Assessment in HE Conference
- Info: Archiving of Replay Recordings made during the 2017-18 Academic Year
- Info: VLE and Replay Holiday Guidance One-Pager for Students
- Educational Development: Departmental teaching and learning sessions
- Webinars: Future Teacher 3.0,
- Standing Item: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Technical Training
VLE Summer Upgrade Complete
On Tuesday the 9th and Wednesday the 10th of July the Yorkshare VLE was successfully upgraded to the 2018Q4 release of Blackboard Learn. This release introduced a small set of new features and a continuation of improvements to workflows and the mobile architecture launched in the previous year. There were also a number of bug fixes, stability improvements and underlying infrastructure enhancements which will ensure a strong foundation as demand on the service continues to increase. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we carried out the upgrade work.
If you have any queries or encounter any issues with the new release please contact the Programme Design and Learning Technology team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also like to remind departments 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 email@example.com and we will endeavour to find a solution for you.
Learning Technology 2019 – What’s New and What’s Hot
We’ve scheduled two sessions (both East and West) to highlight what’s new for teaching in the VLE (Yorkshare) as a consequence of the summer upgrade. The sessions are scheduled as follows:
On Heslington East
Thursday August 22nd at 2pm, LMB/024 (Law and Management Building)
On Heslington West
Thursday September 5th at 2pm, LFA/144 (Harry Fairhurst Library Building)
We’ll also be touching on all the other technology platforms we support (for learning activity) at the University so, if you are new to the University or have been away from teaching for a while, you should also find this session useful and potentially even mildly interesting! In addition to the VLE the platforms supported by the PDLT include Replay (lecture capture), Collaborate (live webinar), Responseware (audience participation in lectures) and Padlet (multimedia collaborative pin board).
Lecture Recording Policy Review Paper Ratified by Senate
On the 9th July, University Senate ratified a paper which reviewed The Policy for The Recording of Lectures (2018). Included within the paper was a summary of The Policy implementation period, and an overview of the methods which were used to evaluate uptake and impact.
Senate ratified all of the paper’s recommendations, which stipulate:
- An abbreviated version of The Policy will be communicated to students via the Student Gateway.
- Departments will be provided with a prescribed digital proforma in order to standardise the recording statements required by The Policy. These will be published on The Replay Website.
- Departments are to work to embed/appropriate advice on how students can make better use of lecture recordings.
In light of the approved recommendations, in the coming days, The Programme Design and Learning Technology Team will meet with YUSU and the new Academic Officer to coordinate a shared communication strategy to convey key aspects The Policy.
Departments have already been contacted by the Academic Support Office with a digital form through which they will be able to outline their recording itinerary for the upcoming academic year.
In addition, Departments will be contacted by The Programme Design and Learning Technology Team to discuss ways to embed student study guidance into teaching, and how this can be appropriated to account for nuances in course delivery and academic discipline. These conversations have already started with some Departments, and interested colleagues – on either a programme or module level – are encouraged to contact the PDLT to discuss. Enquiries should be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Info: Replay Service Downtime, August 10th, 2019
Due to a patch release, Panopto, the vendor who supplies the software for our Replay Service, will be unavailable for users in the three hour period between 22:00 on Saturday 10th and 01:00 on Sunday 11th August.
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.
Info: VLE Training for the new Academic Year
Whether you are new to the University, the VLE, or you would simply like a refresher of our core E-Learning Provision, you can request a bespoke training session for either yourself or make a booking for your department by contacting us at: email@example.com. Departments who envisage a specific need from a number of new staff members are encouraged to consider their requirements and communicate these to the E-Learning Development Team as soon as possible.
Alternatively, we also offer a series of self-paced ‘getting started’ resources, which you can explore at a time and rate of your own convenience. 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.
We’ve also 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.
Info: “Getting Started with the VLE” One Pager Guide Available for Students
We have a “Getting Started with Yorkshare VLE for Students – One Pager” guide available that covers four key things students should know to get started with using Yorkshare VLE:
- Which web browsers to use for the best VLE experience
- How to spot when you’ve been automatically logged out due to inactivity
- What to do if you cannot see the sites you expect on your VLE homepage
- Where to go to find further VLE help.
These areas cover the main queries that our team receive from students.
This document is available to students on their “Help & Support” tab within the VLE, and we will be advertising it via a banner/box on student VLE homepages throughout Autumn term. Feel free to also disseminate it yourselves however you choose, particularly during Autumn term.
If you have any feedback about this one pager please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking the PDLT for Student Induction Activities
As Departments begin to plan for the start of the new academic year, we would like to remind colleagues that we do need to be contacted directly about any sessions that you’d like us to attend – even if the arrangement is a repeat of the previous year.
Due to the partly-reactive nature of how we have to support Departments, booking a member of the PDLT to attend an induction activity via the Timetable is not an accurate measure of ascertaining our availability. More pertinently, unlike academic staff, we don’t use the regular timetable to manage our time, and therefore do not actively check it for bookings.
It is, of course, fine to include us in timetabled events, but do be sure to arrange with us directly as well.
Accessibility Department Reports & Next Steps
We have been actively supporting departments in preparation 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 kicked off a second internship programme in June, which is running up until the end of September. This second group of interns have been 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 of this internship is on developing reusable templates, which will ensure that any new teaching materials are accessible by design, in keeping with 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.
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 Blog: Assessment in HE Conference 2019
On June 26th and 27th 2019, the seventeenth Assessment in Higher Education Conference was held in Manchester. On our E-Learning Blog, we have collated the thoughts of Dr. Richard Walker, Rob Shaw and James Youdale in the form of a blog post.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
Standing Item: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Technical 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:
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.