E-Learning Newsletter – September 2019 Edition

Welcome to the September 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.

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:

Advanced Notice of December VLE Mini-Upgrade

We would like to remind departments that we will be carrying out further necessary system maintenance in December of 2019. This Winter ‘Mini-Upgrade’ will 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.

E-accessibility Workshops in September

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.  

Training: Replay Room Briefings in September

Prior to the start of term, the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team will deliver briefings for staff in rooms equipped for Replay Lecture Capture across campus.

The session is highly recommended for those who will be using Replay for the first time in the Autumn term – but will also chart updates to the service and provide a refresher for previous users.

Heslington West

  • 17/09/2019 – 11:00 – 12:00 – B/B/006 Lecture Theatre (Replay + Board Capture Room) 
  • 19/09/2019 – 13:00 – 14:00 – B/B/006 Lecture Theatre (Replay + Board Capture Room) 

Heslington East

  • 23/09/2019 – 13:00 – 14:00 – PZA/108 Seminar Room
  • 24/09/2019 – 13:00 – 14:00 – PZA/113 Seminar Room

You can sign up for a session by completing the following Google Form.

Training: Self Service Dashboard for VLE Co-Ords, Dept. Admins and Others. Wednesday 11th September, LFA/205.

As we move through the holiday period it feels appropriate to offer another round of introductory training to our “VLE Self Service Dashboard”.

This dashboard can be used to check certain elements of VLE site readiness for a new term, quickly access and amend assignment submission points and more. As such, it’s generally designed for use by departmental administrative staff that perform VLE admin’ tasks en masse, rather than for use by teaching staff that are managing a few sites of their own.

This training will be very similar to that run in August 2018 / March 2019, covering the different areas of the dashboard and demonstrating how they can be used to help facilitate various administrative VLE tasks. If you attended one of the previous sessions there’s no need to attend this one, unless you want a refresher.

This session will be on Wednesday September 11th, 14:00-15:00 in LFA/205 in the Harry Fairhurst building.

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: vle-support@york.ac.uk. Departments who envisage a specific need from a number of new staff members are encouraged to consider their requirements and communicate these to the Programme Design and Learning Technology 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 amy.eyre@york.ac.uk

Info: “Collaborate Original” Webinar Platform End of Life

We’ve recently been advised by Blackboard that the Collaborate Original (aka “Collaborate Classic”) webinar tool will start to be phased out globally next year (2020) and so will no longer be supported or usable after that point. We’re still waiting for an exact date on when this will occur in Europe, it may not be until 2021.

The Collaborate Ultra webinar platform will not be impacted by this change. Collaborate Ultra will continue to be usable here at York in 2020 and beyond, it’s just the Original/Classic version of the Collaborate platform that is now facing end of life.

Help: Distinguishing “Collaborate Original” (aka “Classic”) from “Collaborate Ultra”.

Are you aware of anyone within your department still using Collaborate Original (rather than Collaborate Ultra) for webinar-type activity?  

We are keen to scope out who might still be using Original rather than Ultra so that we can get in touch with them to discuss their options going forward. We’re also keen to speak to anyone that has old Collaborate Original recordings that they’re wanting to keep beyond 2020.

Please forward this information on to relevant contacts within your department. If anyone is using Collaborate Original, or has any questions about this, please contact us at vle-support@york.ac.uk  

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.

Info: E-Accessibility News

Over the summer, the e-interns have been busy helping departments to prepare for the start of term by making vle sites and content more accessible, creating templates and exemplar materials for staff to refer to and generally being there to help staff to understand what they need to do. This will be a continual process for all departments and new staff should be introduced to our ways of working by attending the Creating Accessible Documents workshops, following our accessibility guidance and our wiki (see below) and being aware of the department’s own action plan and accessibility statements. The latter is something that we advise should be produced and added to vle sites, or the vle landing page for the department. If you would like help with your accessibility statements, do get in touch and we’ll work with you: vle-support@york.ac.uk

E-accessibility wiki

Several initiatives are happening across the university as a result of the 2018 regulations. Find out more by reading our blog post and visiting our e-accessibility project wiki (UoY login required). The latest items on the wiki relate to:

  • Making equations accessible at the University of York (Draft 1.3, see the STEM resources page)
  • Top tips for accessible social media
  • Frequently Asked Questions page added
  • Making your VLE sites accessible, link added

Workshop dates, guides and links are available on the wiki. If you’d like to be involved with any of the working groups, please do get in touch.

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars

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

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

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 our blog.

If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact us at vle-support@york.ac.uk.

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:

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