E-Learning Newsletter – February 2021 Edition
Welcome to the February edition of our newsletter, which summarises the latest news on technology enhanced learning provision across the University. You can use the links in the contents below to navigate through the different sections of the newsletter.
In this edition:
- Info: Staffing news
- Info: Help Information for our Systems
- Info: Planned System Outages – Collaborate Feb 11th
- Call for Participation: CMALT Cohort 2021
- New blog post: Academic community building: What have we learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic and what next?
- Resource: Tutoring Online
- Research publication: Facilitating active learning opportunities for students
- Research: Student experience of digital accessibility
- Request: Maple or Mathematica users?
- Webinars: York, AbilityNet and JISC webinars
- E-Accessibility News:
- Survey:How have the workshops impacted what you do?
- Training:Creating Accessible Documents, 11 Feb 10am to 12pm
- Bespoke training
- Meetup: Accessible Documents meetup group 18 Feb 12pm to 1pm
- Update: Texthelp Read&Write Gold and EquatIO
- Update: Blackboard Ally News
- Info: Digital Accessibility Tutorial
- Standing item: Future teacher
- Standing Item: Departmental training sessions
Staffing news: New Educational Adviser joining the PDLT team
We are delighted to announce the arrival of a new member of staff to the PDLT team. Dr Gareth Walker joins us from Leeds University, where he worked from 2014 as the Digital Education Manager for online programmes. Gareth has extensive experience working with academics on the development of blended and fully online programmes. He will join us on Monday 1st February in the role of Educational Adviser, with specific responsibility for supporting departments within the Sciences Faculty. Welcome to the team Gareth!
Help Information for our Systems
As term continues, we want to flag the following resources that we have available:
- Our central “Tech Help & Support” page on our website, which links out to key resources for both staff and students including:
- (For Staff) Online/Dual Delivery Teaching & Learning One Stop Shop – Contains information on building online content and activities, along with related information such as video creation, assessment set up, digital accessibility
- Our new “System Availability” page
We’d also like to point to our materials on video access troubleshooting, which now includes a new further guide:
- Replay/Panopto – Help! My Students Can’t See My Recordings
- General Video – Inappropriate Uploading/Sharing Methods to Avoid
Please share these resources widely within your Departments.
As always, if you have any feedback or queries relating to these materials please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planned System Outages – Collaborate Feb 11th
The Collaborate Ultra webinar platform is upgraded roughly once a month by Blackboard. They’ve just announced their next update window: Thursday, February 11, 2021 from 12:00 Midnight GMT to Thursday, February 11, 2021 4:00 AM GMT.
Collaborate should not be used during this window, even if it appears to be available.
Release notes for feature changes in this update have not yet been shared, but they should appear on the following pages in the next few days: Collaborate Release Notes.
This outage plus others are all detailed on our new “System Availability” web page.
Call for Participation: CMALT Cohort 2021
Would you like to gain professional accreditation for your learning technology skills and experience? We will be running a programme of workshops next year, supporting staff who wish to receive CMALT accreditation.
CMALT is a portfolio-based peer-reviewed accreditation scheme, organised by the Association for Learning Technology, for which the University of York is an organisational member. CMALT aims to foster an appreciation of the interplay between learning and technology as well as provide a platform to allow educators and those involved in supporting education to learn from each other and evidence than they have done so.
If you would like to know more about CMALT, please take a look at the information on our CMALT group information page.
If you would like to register your interest in getting involved next year, please get in touch with Richard Walker: email@example.com
Blog post: Academic community building: What have we learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic and what next?
A new post has been made available which is the first of a planned series of blog posts aiming to explore some of the themes from the event Learning and teaching @York in the Coronavirus Pandemic: A conversation which took place in December 2020. This event brought together a group of around 80 staff and students to share experiences of teaching and learning under COVID in Autumn term 2020. It focused on the following questions:
- What have you learned from your experiences of teaching and learning in the Autumn term 2020 online and on campus?
- What positives can we take forward and share from these experiences in the immediate future and in the post-COVID University?
Throughout the panel presentations and discussions, the importance of community and attention to social/affective aspects of learning was a recurring theme. This posting highlights practice at institutional, Faculty, Department, Programme and module levels and points to some relevant resources and projects.
Tutoring Online – self-study resource now available
This resource has been developed by members of PDLT to support staff delivering online learning. The focus is on approaches to supporting student activity/engagement with online materials, rather than designing the materials themselves.
The resource draws upon established approaches to online pedagogy supplemented by ideas from experienced online tutors at the University. You should find beneficial ideas for your own practice whether you are new or experienced in this form of teaching, and whether you are delivering a fully online programme or have temporarily moved into online teaching due to the pandemic.
It is a self-study resource, which should take approximately 4 hours to work through in total. The resource is currently accessed through Canvas (the Virtual Learning Environment used by the University’s fully online programmes). To request access, please add your details to this short form: Form – Request Access to “Tutoring Online” Materials.
Research publication: Facilitating active learning opportunities for students
A chapter on student-centred learning design at the University of York has been published in a new book on ‘Teaching, Learning and New Technologies in Higher Education’, exploring the contribution that learning technologies can make to engagement and learning outcomes. Further details on the publication are available in our blog post.
Research: Student experience of digital accessibility
A project completed in March 2020 just as we went into lockdown, this paper gives us some insight into the student experience of digital accessibility. Do have a look at this and see if there are steps you can take to improve the student experience further, from using Department VLE site templates to streamlining communications with students. Top tip: Instead of uploading files, consider adding any short text content directly into the VLE instead. A web page is usually the most accessible content you can provide to students.
Request: Maple or Mathematica users?
If you have Maple or Mathematica software users in your department, do get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to help us understand how it fits in with other similar tools. Also view our accessible equations guide at http://bit.ly/eaccess-equations.
Webinars and meetups: York, AbilityNet, Texthelp and JISC webinars
Each month, AbilityNet and JISC run webinars on digital accessibility and related topics.
View the e-accessibility calendar for these and other events.
|Date and time||Event|
|1 Feb to 5 Feb||
Free 5-day online digital accessibility conference organised by UAL with sessions on:
|5 Feb, Friday, 10am to 12.10pm||
Technology to Develop Inclusive Learning Experiences event by University of Kent.
|11 Feb, Thursday, 10am to 12pm|
|16 Feb, Tue, 1pm to 1.30pm||AbilityNet Accessibility Insights with Apple|
|18 Feb, Thursday, 12pm to 1pm||Accessible Documents Group meetup|
|25 Feb, Thursday, 1pm to 2pm||Future Teacher webinar, Rich Media, Video
Featuring Sally Quinn from Psychology
|25 Feb, Thursday, 1pm to 2pm||Texthelp webinar: Demystifying Digital Accessibility with GDS|
Why not watch some recordings from previous webinars?
- Texthelp webinars
- AbilityNet webinars
- JISC Accessibility drop-in clinics run every other month
- Future Teacher webinars
How have the accessibility workshops changed what you do?
Answer three survey questions to help us evaluate the impact of the accessibility workshops and events: Impact of accessibility workshops survey
Last year, the ‘R’ rate for digital accessibility was 5.3. This means that each workshop attendee went on to talk to an average of 5.3 people about digital accessibility. Will it go up this year?
Training: Creating Accessible Documents • Online using Collaborate Ultra • 10am to 12pm • 11 Feb
1221 – the number of attendees who have attended the workshop so far! The workshop demonstrates how ‘universal design’ can help everyone, and not just those with an accessibility need. Practise creating accessible documents using your own documents or using sample documents.
Find out more and sign up for workshop (HR LMS). You’ll have to login to the HR LMS and search for ‘accessibility’ to view the events. Or workshop sign up for those who cannot access the HR LMS. You will be sent a Collaborate Ultra link to join the online training room.
Find other events at http://bit.ly/eaccess-calendar.
Accessible Documents Meetup Group • 12pm to 1pm • 18 Feb
“I really enjoyed this session and I think it is very useful…You can learn so many new things.”
Interested in making accessible content and resources? Join our online monthly meetup to share resources or discuss a challenge you would like help with.
Accessible Documents Meetup Group information and sign up
If your department has specific questions about the kind of documents you produce and how accessible they are to users, why not book a bespoke training workshop where we go through the principles and use your documents as examples? Contact email@example.com to make arrangements.
Texthelp Read&Write Gold and EquatIO
We’ve increased Texthelp users again! We now have465 users, up from 434 last month.
Keep promoting the tools to colleagues and students and do try it out yourself!
Blackboard Ally News
Up to 21 Jan 2021, students downloaded 9,891 epubs from 1,454 courses. Find out more interesting statistics on our BB Ally site linked above.
Please help us find out more about how students use alternative formats by asking them to complete our survey on student use of Ally. We really appreciate it.
Digital Accessibility Tutorial
Our Digital Accessibility Tutorial has been made mandatory across the University. It introduces you to the 2018 regulations and why it’s important to reach certain standards in digital accessibility. Find out how you can create accessible documents and create your action plan today! Login to the HR LMS and search for ‘accessibility’ to find the online tutorial.
Future Teacher 3.0 Webinar Rich Media – Audio, 29 Jan 2021 1pm
The January Future Teacher webinar was on the topic Rich Media, Audio and featured speakers Barry Lee and Chris Jay from Philosophy. View the recording on the Future Teacher website (likely to be on the site from 5 February).
Our next webinar on Rich Media – Video on 25 Feb 1pm will feature Sally Quinn from Psychology. We’re looking for presenters willing to share their experiences on Getting Savvy with Digital Tools on 31 Mar at 1pm. You can also contribute by reviewing the content from the previous webinar and providing a fresh literature review!
The Future Teacher series of webinars has been running for nearly 3 years. 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.
If you have a minute to give us some feedback (feedback form), just let us know what you’ve gained from the FutureTeacher sessions or how they’ve influenced your teaching.
If you are interested in presenting your work on any of the topics, please do get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and see below for information about the webinars.
Future Teacher Webinars
Future Teacher webinars have been running once a month at lunch time for over two years. 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 (Alex Reid, Psychology)
- Collaborative teaching and learning – inside and outside the classroom
- Strategies to support reading
- Strategies to support writing (Lou Stringer, Learning Enhancement, Jenny Threlfall, SPSW)
- Self-assessment and mastery learning (Stefan Wytwyckyj, IPC)
- Using Social Media in Teaching and Learning (Glenn Hurst, Katie Lamb, Chemistry)
- Inclusive Practice (Emily Brunsden, Physics, Penny Spikins, Archaeology)
- Working with Rich Media – Images (Sandrine Devlin, LFA)
- Working with Rich Media – Audio (David Beer, Sociology, Barry Lee and Chris Jay, Philosophy)
- 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)
Standing Item: Departmental training 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
You can also view a comprehensive list of the professional development opportunities that we offer for staff 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: email@example.com
Information on available induction information for staff and students can be found here: Induction Resources for Staff and Students.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.