E-Learning Newsletter – November 2019 Edition

Welcome to the November 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:

December VLE Mini-Upgrade – 10th – 11th December, 2019

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.

Advanced Notice of January Service Disruption for Panopto

Due to Panopto’s yearly scheduled winter upgrade, all access to Replay and videos hosted within Panopto will be unavailable for the 3 hours between 22:00 on Saturday 4th January and 01:00 Sunday 5th January 2020.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this short window of service disruption.

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

Timetabling the PDLT For Activities

We’ve encountered a number of instances this year where departments have timetabled one of us for an event (typically involving students) which we’ve only become aware of by sheer luck (in two cases due to students thoughtfully apologising for not being able to attend).

We are unfortunately unable to use the Timetable to manage our time and, as a consequence, don’t actually refer to it.  Mainly due to us being a direct (reactive as well as proactive) support unit for the University, we just can’t allow departments to specify where we might be at any given date/time without prior direct arrangement.

Please always directly contact the team member whom you need for a session to ensure both their availability and that they are aware the session needs to go ahead.

You can still assign us to a session in the timetable but please always make arrangements for us to be there directly with us first.

Info: E-Assessment Guidance Communications

Due to the time of year, we’re currently undertaking direct communications with staff and students about electronic assessments. Feel free to forward on any of these materials to relevant parties yourselves.

If you have any feedback about any of these comms, please contact amy.eyre@york.ac.uk

Student Communications

For the last few years, in the run up to and during common assessment periods we’ve run an animated banner across the top of all student VLE homepages that links through to a One Page Guide to Submitting VLE Assignments when clicked:

Submitting Assignments via the Yorkshare VLE. Establish what you need to do in advance. Use robust equipment when submitting. Give yourself plenty of time to submit. Immediately check the file you've submitted. Anonymising your work. Compressing your work. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about assessment submissions. Click this banner to launch a guide covering these and other assessment topics.

This “one pager” document is always available to students on their “Help & Support” tab that appears in the top right of every VLE page, but the banner helps draw attention to it.

This banner has proven popular: it was clicked 2349 times in 2017/18 and 4487 times in 2018/19. We’ve just put this banner up again for the 19/20 Autumn term (it went up on October 28th) and we’ll keep it up until the end of term. We’ll then put it back up in late December for the January assessment period. 

Staff Communications

After the success of our “Start of Term Readiness” staff-targeted comms last year and this, we have created an “E-Assignment Readiness” guide targeting common assessment queries and will disseminate this out the same way:

  • Twitter (also appears in the “@UoY_Yorkshare on Twitter” box on VLE homepages)
  • Newsletter
  • Direct email to key VLE contacts in departments (sent round on October 28th)
  • Animated Portlet on Staff VLE Homepages (started October 28th):

Are your VLE assignment submission points ready? Who Creates and Maintains Submission Points? Pedagogical Help Designing E-Assignments. Technical Help Creating Submission Points. Technical Help Editing Existing Submission Points. Technical Help with Electronic Marking. Click this box to view our short readiness guide covering these points and more.

Training: ResponseWare Session 8 Nov 12.15pm to 1.15pm SLB/208 

ResponseWare is a way to conduct interactive polls and receive text responses from students during lectures utilising students’ own devices, whether a smartphone or laptop. Find out how to get started and how to use it for maximum effectiveness during a presentation or seminar.

You can register for the session using this Google Form.

Sign up for an account before the day if you can by following guides on our Responseware page, http://bit.ly/ytelresponseware.

Do you type maths? Mathtype licences

For anyone who types Maths equations or formulas into Microsoft Office Word or PowerPoint using the Maths Editor, you can improve the accessibility of these equations or formulas by using Mathtype

Recap: PDLT Autumn Show and Tell – Audio and Video feedback

“Video commentary engages my students. It helps to build relationships between tutor
and student and enables feedback that can feed forward, directing students towards successful outcomes” Dr. Bill Soden, Department of Education.

One of the perennial assessment challenges is to ensure that time spent providing formative feedback to students is maximised to help them to understand assessment requirements and improve the quality of their work.  This show and tell event focused on the potential for screen-recording to address this challenge by improving formative feedback. 

Screen-recorded feedback  involves bringing up a student assignment on screen and ‘talking through’ key aspects, expanding on the most important points. Bill Soden from Education and Sally Quinn from Psychology described benefits of this approach in terms of ‘amount’ of feedback, affective benefits when giving difficult feedback, and supporting preparation for supervision meetings and tutorials. Beyond the individual level, they also described the use of screen-recordings to create cross-cohort feedback and resources analysing exemplar materials. 

Please see the following link to our blog for a recap with links to the session recording and further resources.

Training: Creating Accessible Documents • Tuesday 5 Nov • 1pm to 3pm • B/R/012

A workshop demonstrating how ‘universal design’ can help everyone, and not just those with an accessibility need. Practice creating accessible documents and bring your own documents to work on. Find out more and sign up or find other events at http://bit.ly/eaccess-wiki.

Forum: White Rose Learning Technologist Group

27th November 2019 @ The University of Leeds, 12-5pm 

Special Focus on Learning Analytics.

Find out more about attending or presenting, or sign up.

The remit of this Group is to provide an informal forum for Learning Technologists in the Yorkshire and Humberside region to:

  • share ideas of good practice, demos, success stories etc,
  • brief each other on areas of new technologies that may not lie on all our horizons but be relevant,
  • share resources where appropriate – documentation etc,
  • share intelligence between our respective sectors,
  • be an opportunity to discuss concerns that may be common to some or all of us,
  • try and foster some social cohesion and professional identity.

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars

The next Future Teacher webinar is on Online Learning What Works? Friday 29th Nov. 1-2pm.

The Future Teacher series of webinars has been running for two years now. We are re-running the topics from the beginning, adding fresh input by guest speakers and updating resources as we go, to ensure that these open source materials continue to benefit everyone.

Sign up form (when it becomes available).

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
  • Learning Analytics (Jess Wardman, TYMS and James Youdale, PDLT)

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.

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.

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