Welcome to an extra September edition of our newsletter, which summarises some key messages as we approach the start of term.
In this edition:
- Start of Term Readiness – Technical checks for teaching and admin’ staff to ensure their VLE sites are ready for use
- Returning to lecture capture of live teaching
- Preparing your videos for reuse
- New Mentimeter interactive polling service replacing Turningpoint Responseware
- The new “Virtual Text Box Editor” (aka VTBE)
- E-Learning at York – Orientation For New Staff
- Start of Term Induction Materials for Students
- VLE sites for staff: Blended Learning Design and Delivery and Tutoring Online
- Blackboard Ally
- Accessible presentations, 20 Sep, 2-4pm
Start of Term Readiness – Technical checks for teaching and admin’ staff to ensure their VLE sites are ready for use
A reminder that we have a central guidance document available for both teaching and admin’ staff on how to help ensure VLE sites are ready for the start of term:
- Lecturer Guidance: Lecturers – VLE Start of Term Site Readiness
- Admin Guidance: Admins – VLE Start of Term Site Readiness
This provides general housekeeping guidance covering how to get ready for a new term.
Returning to lecture capture of live teaching
The new term will see many staff using live lecture capture for the first time in over a year. If you want to refresh your memory of how the system works, key information and links to guidance are available on the timetabled lecture capture web page. In addition, guidance is available on captioning requirements for recorded live lectures, which supplements the University’s existing policy on captioning pre-recorded videos.
Preparing your videos for reuse
In the following blog post entitled ‘preparing your videos for reuse’ you can find a simple checklist of key steps to consider when preparing to reuse video materials. An accompanying video (UoY log in to Panopto required) explains how to manage your videos in the University’s Replay/Panopto system to ensure new students can access them.
New Mentimeter interactive polling service replacing Turningpoint Responseware
The Turning Technologies ResponseWare service will be retired, with our institutional licence expiring on 4th October 2021. The vendor is no longer developing functionality for this service, which means that we will need to introduce a replacement service for the new academic year. If you have Responseware polls that you wish to run in the coming weeks, you can continue to do this until midnight on 3rd October only. Staff who wish to continue using ResponseWare beyond this point will need to arrange an individual licence with the vendor.
Mentimeter will become our new centrally supported polling tool from the start of the new academic year. It does not require any downloads / installation of software by users and it supports a wide range of question formats and response summaries. Although it is not integrated directly with PowerPoint, staff can switch between PowerPoint and an internet browser to show a Mentimeter poll and results. Mentimeter polls can also be embedded in VLE sites to support participation between as well as during live sessions.
Once Mentimeter has been integrated into university systems, there will be single sign-on and university templates that you can use for polls. If you wish to prepare polls using Mentimeter in the meantime, you can use the current free version that allows up to 2 slides per presentation. You will be able to bring these slides together into one poll in future. Polls created within a free account set up with a University of York email address will be brought into the institutional licence once this is activated.
The new “Virtual Text Box Editor” (aka VTBE)
The summer upgrade in 2021 introduced a change to the text box editor used to create and alter many types of content within the VLE, from Announcements to Content Items to Discussion Forum Posts. For guidance on using the new version of the text editor tool, please see our new guide: Using the New Virtual Text Box Editor (VTBE) in Blackboard.
E-Learning at York – Orientation For New Staff
For colleagues who are assuming new teaching responsibilities at the University in the coming academic year, we have composed a brief introduction to the ecology of e-learning services and platforms that are centrally supported and available for you to use.
This may also serve as a refresher for colleagues who are returning to teaching following an extended period of absence on research leave.
Start of Term Induction Materials for Students
Our induction materials for students are now a Practical Guide on https://subjectguides.york.ac.uk/learning-tech
Please note this address has recently been updated so there is a hyphen between ‘learning’ and ‘tech’.
Several cross-team webinars were held w/c August 23rd around what induction materials are available at the University for new and returning students:
Links and Resources from the webinar
- Induction/Transition presentation – with relevant links
- Link to the recording Passcode: Yr1LvM+!
- Induction Resources Spreadsheet – green = resources are ready
- *Things to Know 21/22 VLE site – available to all students, self enrol for staff (login to VLE required)
- Guidance document: inclusive practices
University of York relevant websites
Links to private online courses
- Courses for UG offer holders
- Welcome to postgraduate study at York online course
- Figuring out your degree – for offer holders studying maths topics in their degree programme
Contact Sue Russell if you have any questions.
Blended Learning Design and Delivery and Tutoring Online VLE sites
The “Blended Learning Design and Delivery” resource is available for staff on the VLE. Produced in collaboration with the Academic Practice team, this is a revised version of “Planning for Dual Delivery 2020-21” which refocuses support for the academic year 2020/21 towards ongoing design and delivery of integrated in-person and online teaching and learning.
All staff should automatically have been provided with access to the site and there is also a GTA Access to the “Blended Learning Design and Delivery” VLE Site request form if needed.
The design sections of the site focus on combining in-person and online modes of delivery to best effect. They include links through to the Flipped Learning Toolkit for those looking for more in-depth guidance on this form of blended learning design and also offer support with planning assessment and evaluation of blended learning modules.
The teaching/facilitation section focuses on supporting inclusive learning communities and groups, and designing and facilitating synchronous and asynchronous learning activities in-person and online.
For those looking for a more in-depth focus on online teaching/facilitation, the tutoring online course is also available on request. Our new blogpost Tutoring Online: an introduction to our resource provides a quick overview of the course, including the topics covered and how you might benefit from accessing it.
Our overall score is looking good at 91.4%. The files accessibility score is at 62.9%. Hopefully as academics continue to update materials, we will see an improvement in the score again! Academics can always look at their own modules’ accessibility scores by going to Course Tools > Accessibility Report. Go for quick wins like removing old materials that are no longer needed, adding headings, alt text for images and meaningful hyperlinks and checking colour contrast.
Accessible Presentations, 20 Sep, 2pm to 4pm.
Sign up for training on how to create accessible presentations on Monday, 20 Sep from 2pm to 4pm. Register for the workshop run by the Library Teaching and Learning Team.
This workshop will introduce you to best practice principles for creating accessible presentations using PowerPoint and Google Slides. We will take a look at slide design and working with images and consider how we can make our presentations both engaging and accessible to a wide audience.
The workshop will cover working with master slides, read order of slide content and adding alt-text. You will get the opportunity to work with practice materials to apply your skills and ask questions about working with PowerPoint and Slides.
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.