Using Skype for Business for Learning and Teaching Activities

The E-learning Group have been supporting colleagues in the Education Department to use Skype for Business for a webinar for PGCE students who are currently out on placement in schools. The webinar offered support to students regarding their upcoming assignments.

Skype for Business is available to all members of the University as part of Office 365 package. In addition to creating virtual meetings, it also gives you the ability to deliver virtual classrooms from the comfort of your own office at a time that is convenient to you. It’s straight forward for students to sign in to the webinar – all they need to do is be connected to the Internet.

In addition to creating an online classroom, Skype for Business also has some additional features that might be of use. Skype for Business meetings can be recorded and then uploaded to Panopto. In addition to this, it has interactive features that can be used by participants in the actual session. These features include polling software:

Skype for Business also has an Instant Messenger service built in so webinar participants can ask questions and respond to queries throughout the session.

Plans are already afoot to look into different learning and teaching activities that Skype for Business can support, including being used for a special revision session.

If you’re interested in using Skype for Business for learning and teaching activities, including webinars, then the E-learning Group are running a training session on 18 December, 3pm-4pm in E3, E-learning Training Room. The session will cover how to set up a Skype for Business meeting, how to load a presentation, how to use the interactive features of the software and also how to record the session. You can book to attend the session online here.

If you are interested in using Skype for Business and are unable to attend the training session, drop the E-learning Group an email and we will be more than happy to arrange a consultation. Our Skype for Business Guide is available on our webpages.

 

Submit your Blackboard Module for an Exemplary Course Award

Applications for the Exemplary Course Award are now open. The closing date for applications is 12pm, 1st February 2019. To submit an application, download the application form here and consult the guidance available on our webpages.

The Exemplary Course Award is designed to recognise exemplary practice in Blackboard modules. Since its launch in 2013, the Exemplary Course award has awarded 5 exemplary modules, 8 highly commended and 3 commended awards.

This year’s awards are slightly different. Although the Exemplary Course Award is still based on Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program Rubric, we have made some adjustments to emphasise the interactive uses of Blackboard to provide a blended learning environment for students. In addition to this, extra weighting has been given to the accessibility criteria to ensure that the Blackboard modules are accessible for all learners.

We will be running a training session for those of you who are considering submitting an application for the ECA on Wednesday 12th December, 3pm-4pm in E3, E-learning Training Room and also on Tuesday 8th January, 3pm-4pm. You can book onto these sessions by going onto the CDSAP book a course pages.

Aberystwyth/Bangor Academy Showcase

Academy Showcase is a space for sharing good practise among staff from Aberystwyth, Bangor and other Higher Education institutions. Every year we run two sessions with two presentations each, one from Aber and one from Bangor. Anybody can join Academy Showcase from their own machines using the link available here

We look forward this year’s presentations and we hope some of you will be able to join us.

Webinar Academi Aberystwyth/Bangor 2018/19:

 

21st November 2018 at 1pm -2pm

Using Flashcards to Encourage Student Learning by Dr Basil Wolf and Dr Ruth Wonfor (Aberystwyth)

Surveys of our students show that many of them rely heavily on rereading and exam cramming, methods that might be successful in getting them through exams, but which are suboptimal in developing long-term memory and ability to develop expertise in their subject area. There is considerable research to show that long-term memory is boosted by repeated retrieval practice that is spaced over time. Flashcards offer one method of achieving this. We will talk about our experiences and present use of Anki, a freeware flashcard programme, in teaching anatomy and physiology to first year students.

Distance Learning to promote best practices and behaviours in infection prevention: the potential of the MOOC – Using Blackboard Ultra by Lynne Wiliams (Bangor)


20th March 2019 at 1pm-2pm

Potential, (un)realised: Is self-regulation the differentiator between our students and what can we do about it? by Dr Simon Payne (Aberystwyth)

We asked AU students and staff questions such as, “Why do students underachieve or even drop out?,” “What distractions do students face that interfere with their best intentions to study and improve?,” and “What happens to ‘turn students off’ from learning and striving to achieve?” The answers were remarkably similar from both groups, suggesting agreement on the problem and potential alignment on solutions. Self-regulation is the voluntary control of impulses which can facilitate or hinder us from achieving our goals. Hence, self-regulation includes the ability to regulate cognitive processes and activities, e.g. to plan, monitor and reflect on problem solving activities. Self-regulation also includes the control of one’s competing/conflicting motivational and emotional impulses and processes, e.g., overcoming social anxiety to contribute in class. Clearly, the development of self-regulation skills will help students achieve their objectives for entering HE. This presentation will provide techniques for tutors to help their students and tutees to be better self-regulators, and introduce and rationalise an ambitious AU-wide programme of studies that target student self-regulation ability.

Second speaker to be confirmed.

Sessions will be provided in English.

 

Academy Forum 2018/19

This year’s Academy Forums are now well underway. This year, our Academy Forums are structured around themes that emerged from the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference and were put forward by conference delegates.

The Academy Forums for the year are:

  • 03.10.2018, 3pm-4pm: Introduction to Academy Forum
  • 11.10.2018, 10am-11am: JISC’s Student Digital Tracker
  • 16.11.2018, 11am-12pm: Students as Partners
  • 17.12.2018, 1pm-2pm: Innovative approaches to feedbacl
  • 21.01.2019, 12pm-1pm: Learning Design
  • 28.02.2019, 3pm-4pm: Research-Led Teaching
  • 01.04.2019, 12pm-1pm: Instilling self-regulation in learners
  • 09.05.2019, 11am-12pm: How do we know our teaching is working?
  • 12.06.2019, 2pm-4pm: Using Learning Analytics, Summary and Close

You can book onto the Academy Forums via the CDASP booking pages.

Our Academy Forums provide an informal space for members of the University community to come together and discuss matters relating to learning and teaching and technology-enhanced learning.

Last year’s Academy Forums were based on JISC’s Enhancing the Digital Experience for Students’ Cards. Some of the discussions that we had last year. Within the E-learning Group, we started to develop our own Student Engagement Strategy and started to think about how we might work more closely with our student partners. In addition to this, we also started working with colleagues in the Careers service to talk about the digital skills that were required in the workplace.

The Academy Forums are held in E3, the E-learning Training Room. To access E3, you will need your Aber Card. Enter the Hugh Owen building via the Language Labs and proceed up the stairs to Level E. Swipe your Aber Card and E3 Training Room is just around the corner on the right hand side.

If you wish to join the Academy Forum mailing list, email elearning@aber.ac.uk. Notes from previous Academy Forums are available on the Academy Forum wiki.

Training and Support

This year’s E-learning Training programme is well underway. You can book onto our training sessions via the CDSAP booking pages. This year, our training is split into 3 different levels so that the training that we are offering you meets your needs.

Our first level is E-learning Essentials. These sessions are aimed at people who have not used the systems before or who would like a refresher. A key aim of these sessions is to ensure that participants are able to adhere to the University’s policies. Whilst these sessions are technical, we ensure that there is always a view as to the pedagogical rationale surrounding them. Following this, our next level is E-learning Enhanced. The idea of these sessions is to begin to explore innovative ways in which you can use the E-learning software to support your learning and teaching. Our final level is E-learning Excellence. These sessions support the development of innovative approaches to technology-enhanced learning.

There are a couple of new sessions that we would like to draw your attention to:

  • What can I do with my Blackboard course? In this session, we will be looking at the interactive tools that can be used in Blackboard to enhance learning and teaching. There’s a special version of this session on 13th December specifically looking at how Blackboard can be used for Distance Learners.
  • Introduction to Skype for Business. This session will look at Skype for Business and how you can make use of it to create a virtual classroom. We will go through setting up the Skype for Business meeting and the interactive
  • Using Panopto for Assessments. Panopto is the University’s Lecture Capture Software. In addition to recording lectures, Panopto can also be used for assessments. This session will look at how you might use Panopto for student assessments.
  • Teaching with Mobile Devices. We will look at how you might use mobile devices in your teaching. As well as using mobile devices to teach, we will also look at ways in which you can use polling software to increase interactivity in your teaching sessions.

We’ll also be running sessions on the Component Marks Transfer tool that allows marks to automatically feed through from Blackboard into AStRA which may be of use to those who manage this process.

Our sessions are participatory and interactive. If you would prefer a one-on-one version of our sessions, or if you have any specific requirements, then please email elearning@aber.ac.uk.

Access to E3 Aber Academy has also changed. In order to access the E-learning Training Room, enter the Hugh Owen Building via the Language Labs on Level B. Proceed up the stairs until you reach Level E. You will need your Aber Card to swipe to let you in. E3, the E-learning Training Room, is just down the corridor on the right hand side.

Do you need assistance with Panopto?

Panopto is the University’s Lecture Capture software and is installed on all teaching rooms across the University. In line with the Lecture Capture policy, all lectures require to be recorded using Panopto.

The recordings are widely used and greatly appreciated by our students. In order to ensure that recordings are of the highest possible quality and audio is successfully recorded, the E-learning Group offer the following support for using the software:

  • Panopto start-offs – a member of the E-learning Group will pop in to the teaching venue before the lecture and make sure all the settings are correct, it won’t take longer than 5 minutes
  • One-to-one consultations- we can meet you at a convenient place and time and give you brief training on using Panopto
  • E-learning Essentials training sessions – the next training session on using Panopto will take place on 14th November at 4 o clock, please book via CDSAP
  • FAQs – step-by step instructions with screenshots

We are happy to assist you with using Panopto in any way convenient for you.

Please contact us on #2472 or elearning@aber.ac.uk

6th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

This year’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference saw a range of students, academic and support staff come together from across the University to showcase their innovative practice. This year’s conference theme, Stepping up Students Learning, aimed to showcase and celebrate the areas of best practice in teaching and learning happening at Aberystwyth. Hot off the heels from recent accolades for the University, including being named University of the Year for Teaching Quality and also achieving TEF Gold, there has been much innovative practice to celebrate and share. One of the strengths of the conference is providing a space in which colleagues can come together and discuss their learning and teaching.

This year’s keynote was given by Professor Jonathan Shaw from Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab. Jonathan discussed how the lab focuses on mainstream and alternative approaches to using technology to foster amore hybrid and open approach to teaching and learning.

In addition to the keynote, two of Jonathan’s colleagues, Oliver Wood and Thamu Dube, offered workshops to conference participants. Oliver’s workshop focused on LEGO as a teaching tool – participants were tasked with using the LEGO to discuss ideas. Colleagues were equipped with strategies as to how they could use LEGO in the classroom as part of a learning activity. The LEGO is now available in loan stock. If you wish to make a booking for the LEGO, email is@aber.ac.uk with your requirements.

The most beneficial part of the conference was listening to and hearing about the innovative approaches to learning and teaching that are happening across the University. It’s difficult to pick out particular high points, but some of the messages that we will taking away from the conference include:

  • Using technology to enhance feedback
  • The Video Essay as a method of assessment – you can view that here
  • Students as Partners in learning design
  • What not to learn from bad gym coaches

Recordings from the conference will be available on our webpages so if you missed a session, or you’d like to hear more about a particular topic, click here.

We will begin organising next year’s annual learning and teaching conference shortly. If you’d like to propose an idea or suggest a keynote, then get in touch with us (elearning@aber.ac.uk).

Jisc Digi Tracker: benefits and what to do with findings?

Read Jisc Digi Tracker and Jisc Digi Tracker: Key findings

What benefits came out from the project?

  • Clear directions for improvements.
  • The benchmarking data helped us to reflect on AU strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other institutions.
  • As a valued participant in the pilot Student Tracker we were the only Welsh university invited to take part in the pilot Staff Tracker and we’ve worked closely with JISC and the Aberystwyth University Translation Unit to provide a Welsh language version of the survey.
  • Aberystwyth was asked to be part of a series of 10 Institutional vignettes on how the digital experience tracker has supported our practice. The vignettes will be published by Jisc in September.
  • In March, we were chosen to give a presentation at the national conference, Digifest 2018.

What next:

  • Full sets of benchmarking data will be available in mid-September
  • Taking the findings to TELG
  • Consulting SU on communicating the findings to students
  • Provide training sessions that address the areas for development
  • Presenting the findings on this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference

We would like to hear your thoughts on this project and seek advice on how to best take the findings forward and communicate them to students.

Please leave a comment or contact elearning@aber.ac.uk

Next post from the series on DigiTracker:

Experience of using the tracker – Aberystwyth Univeristy vignette prepared by Jisc

Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) no longer available after December 2018

The licence for the Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) which allows students to use their own mobile devices for in-class voting expires in December 2018 and will no longer be available.

We are aware that some of you used it in your sessions, therefore we would like to encourage you to keep using interactive course activities and consider one of the options below:

  • Although it will no longer be possible to use the remote version of Quizdom allowing students to vote from their own devices, you will be able to use four sets of Qwizdom with a total of 118 handsets. Rather than using their own mobile devices students will have to vote using the handsets. If you wish to book the sets please email is@aber.ac.uk including the date(s) and time you wish to use the equipment and how many sets you wish to use.
  • The E-learning Group have been surveying the growing number of online polling tools available. Most of them are paid for services with different packages available depending on the types of tools, size of class etc. However, almost all have a free option which is a cut-down version of the paid-for service. All the services that we looked at are cloud-based – they don’t have software that you download, but you create your presentations via a web page and they are saved and run remotely.

Some of the polling software we recommend:

PollEverywhere

  • 40 participants, unlimited number of questions, 23 question types , PowerPoint integration

Mentimeter

  • unlimited number of participants, 7 questions per presentation (5 quiz and 2 other type), 10 questions types, Power Point integration

Socrative

  • 50 participants, unlimited number of questions, 3 questions types, reporting available

Please note that you will still be able to use the QVR in the first semester 2018.

Please contact the E-learning Group if you wish to get more information or training on using different classroom polling methods.

 

Jisc Digi Tracker: key findings

Read Jisc Digi Tracker

Key findings of the tracker:

What did we find particularly interesting?

We know that students use mobile devices, but the fact that nearly the same percentage of students support their learning through use of smartphones (30%) as through use of laptops (33.1%) was surprising. It is useful to have the starkness of this data to emphasise changing habits and reinforce how important it is.

62% felt they would like digital technologies to be used much the same as they are now rather than more. There is a tendency to think ‘we have done something, let’s see how we can push for next/different thing’. Perhaps we need to concentrate on things we are doing now that are really good and improve them rather than try to introduce new services.

It was also interesting to see what students considered an assistive technology. We were not sure if students didn’t understand a question or had a different understanding.  A lot of things students said we would not have considered to be an assistive technology (e.g. student app, google, end note).  We tend to think of assistive technology as something that helps you if you have a particular need – students perhaps see assistive technology as ‘something that helps me’.

Next post from the series on DigiTracker:

Benefits of running the tracker and what will we do with the findings?