E-Learning Newsletter – December 2019 Edition

Welcome to the December 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 down 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)

From everyone within the PDLT, we wish you a very merry holiday period and a very happy new year.

In this edition:

  • VLE Downtime: December VLE Mini-Upgrade, 10 – 11th December, 2019
  • Replay Downtime: Advanced Notice of January 4th – 5th 2020 Service Disruption
  • Info: Holiday/Office Closure Period Guidance Documents
  • Info: E-Assessment Guidance Communications
  • Info: Leave of Absence (LoA) Students and the Christmas Holiday
  • Info: MathType Software Licences
  • Forum: Mathtype lunchtime forum, 13 Dec, 12-1.30pm, LFA/015
  • Training: Creating Accessible Documents, 5 Dec • 10am • B/R/012
  • Training: Xerte training, elearning authoring tool, 6 Dec • 1pm to 4pm • LMB/008
  • Webinars: Abilitynet webinar, 28 Nov • 1pm
  • Webinars: JISC accessibility clinic, 4 Dec • 12.30pm 
  • Webinars: Future Teacher 3.0, 29 Nov • 1pm
  • Info: E-Accessibility News
  • Call For Papers: University of York Teaching and Learning Conference 2019
  • Educational Development: Departmental teaching and learning sessions
  • Standing Item: Development Opportunities and Bespoke Technical Training

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 study and 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

Info: Holiday/Office Closure Period Guidance Documents

Our office will be closed between Christmas and New Year, along with much of the rest of the University. We offer the following guidance documents for these periods, which include hints and tips for continued system use during the holiday/closure periods, and where to find self help online:

Info: Leave of Absence (LoA) Students and the Christmas Holiday

When a student is listed as being on a Leave of Absence in SITS, they will automatically lose complete access to the Yorkshare VLE and Replay lecture captures within 24-48 hours. We can give them access back, but we require permission from their department’s administrators before we can do this.

With this in mind, if you are aware of any LoA students who will need access to the VLE/lecture capture over the Christmas holiday (particularly during the University closure period) for revision, etc, please contact us about these students before the closure period starts.

We cannot re-enable a student’s VLE account if they contact us during the closure period (our office will be closed, and even if we were in, we’d need permission from the department first, which will also be closed), so they’ll end up without resources to prepare for their January assessments.

For more information, please see our guide: Guidance – Leave of Absence (LoA) Students and the VLE / Replay Lecture Captures.

This information will also be emailed around to departmental administrators separately soon

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

Forum: Mathtype lunchtime forum, 13 Dec, 12-1.30pm, LFA/015

A chance for staff to discuss the creation of accessible maths, using Mathtype as a starting point. 

  • Moving from Maths Editor to Mathtype in Word and Powerpoint
  • Flexible outputs using Mathtype in Word – John Bone, Economics.

We welcome new and experienced users of Mathtype to come along so that we can all learn from each other. 

If you have not yet signed up to receive a Mathtype licence, see above.

Our guide to creating equations with MathType.

Our new Mathtype mini-site.

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:

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.

  • 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):

Training: Creating Accessible Documents • Thursday 5 Dec • 10am to 12pm • 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 (HR LMS) or sign up for those who cannot access the HR LMS. Find other events at http://bit.ly/eaccess-wiki.

Training: Xerte Training – elearning authoring tool • Friday 6 Dec • 1pm to 4pm • LMB/008

Xerte (pronounced Zer-Tee) is an elearning authoring tool that is highly accessible, and available to staff at the University of York who wish to create interactive and accessible web pages. 

Web pages can have page navigation, hotspot navigation, scrolling navigation (Bootstrap) or decision tree navigation. View the various page types and find out more.

You can also create accessible equations using Xerte.

These web pages can be embedded or linked from the VLE (Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas) and made available to students.  

Sign up form

Webinar: AbilityNet, 28 Nov, 1:00pm

This webinar is part of AbilityNet’s bi-monthly series of updates on how Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations are being implemented by universities and other HE (higher education) institutions.

“As well as providing regular updates to give the latest news and advice relating to the regulations, on this webinar we will have Richard Walker of the University of York joining us to talk about the journey to compliance at his institution. Richard will share how he has been coordinating the work of University of York’s central professional services in supporting academic departments in meeting the compliance standards for their teaching and learning activities, to ensure an outstanding learning experience for students. There will be a question and answer section with Richard and our experts, and at the request of attendees of previous sessions we are proportioning more time to this in the upcoming webinar.”

Registration form

Webinar: JISC Accessibility Clinic, 4 Dec, 12.30pm-1.30pm

December’s accessibility clinic is focused on what is arguably one of the biggest challenges to an education provider – the learning platform. With hundreds of courses assembled in dozens of different ways, how do you find where the accessibility problems lie? How do you fix them? And more importantly, how can you future proof your staff and your systems so they don’t continue to create the same barriers?

Gavin Henrick, from Brickfield.ie is leading some projects on exactly these points for institutions using Moodle, and will unpack some of the key challenges for any learning platform. Whether you are a Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas or BrightSpace institution, this session will identify the scope of the challenges and point to potential solutions/approaches.

Sign up form.

Webinar: Future Teacher 3.0 webinars, 29 Nov, 1pm

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. If you are interested in presenting your work on any of the topics below, please do get in touch with lilian.soon@york.ac.uk.

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

As we progress into Phase 3 of our digital accessibility work at the Uni, some departments have been successful in their RRF bids for interns to help staff with their vle sites and content. We celebrated the good work done by the interns in Phase 2 with a thank you lunch and some interns will be helping us to run focus groups in departments to gather student views on what’s working and what else we can focus our energies on. Departments are reminded that new staff should attend the Creating Accessible Documents workshops, follow our accessibility guidance and our wiki (see below) and being aware of the department’s own action plan and accessibility statements. Almost all departments have now produced and added accessibility statements 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.

Call for Papers: University of York Teaching and Learning Conference 2019

The University of York’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference will be held on Friday 13th March in the Ron Cooke Hub in Heslington East, with the theme of ‘Inclusive and Engaged Learning’.

The conference organisers are particularly interested in proposals in which student presenters are involved. Themes:

  • Creative and innovative learning methods
  • Building inclusive learning communities
  • Inter-cultural perspectives in the curriculum
  • Diverse learning and assessment strategies
  • Novel approaches to learning Application procedure

All applications for proposals should be made by submitting a completed proposal form online by Monday 3 February 2020. The Learning and Teaching Forum committee will then meet to review the proposals and decide on a programme. Applicants will be informed of the outcome shortly thereafter.

To read more, visit the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference Website.

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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