4.6 Common problems

Common problems

Key Concept: Discuss your plans with students to identify issues with access, devices and preferred online spaces

Technical issues

Use the Student Preview Mode to test how your activity works from a technical perspective before you release the activity to students. You will be able to participate in quizzes, blogs and other Yorkshare tools as if you were a student. Your student preview user account will appear in the user list for the site, so you will be able to add it to groups for testing adaptive release rules.

Check that the instructions you write use the exact terminology and wording as appears within the tool the students are being asked to use. You may find it is easier to point students towards a Yorkshare technical guide. These are kept up to date with any changes in the user interface. Search our guides database for links to guides.

Often it is simply a question of students being able to find the tool or activity that you are expecting them to use. Further guidance on writing instructions is in 5.1 Instructional writing.


Lack of participation

If students are not participating in an online activity, you should check the following are present:

  • You have specified the learning objectives and links between the online activity and face-to-face programme.
  • There are clear deadlines and expectations for participation.
  • The online tool and online space used for the activity is appropriate for the task, is usable by students and easily accessed.
  • Appropriate technical advice has been linked near to where students access the tool.
  • Contacts are identified to deal with both instructional and technical queries.

Within your module evaluation, you should include questions that address non-participation to uncover reasons that prohibited participation or did not motivate students to engage.

Further advice on how to facilitate online activities is provided in Section 5 of the Handbook.

Student access to Google tools

If you have created templated Google Docs for students, you will need to set an appropriate ‘Sharing’ option in order for students to view the Google Doc. It may be easier to create a Google Group with the relevant students, rather than entering multiple email addresses into different documents for sharing.

If you are using Google Sites, you will need to share the site so that it appears in the ‘browse’ option for students to select as their template when they create a new site.


Device compatibility

Prior to creating your activity using an unsupported tool, ask your students what devices they own and are willing to use for learning activities. You may find that some students do not own smartphones or tablets, and therefore are unable to use mobile apps to complete tasks. You will need to consider alternative ways for these students to learn so that they are not at a disadvantage. One approach would be to archive content created in external tools and post this to your Yorkshare module site, for example a PDF export, PDF print or screenshot.

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