Call for Proposals: Learning and Teaching Conference 2020

We are now inviting proposals for the 8th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Monday 7th – Wednesday 9th September 2020.

Submit and view the call for proposals here.

This year’s conference theme, Enhancing the Curriculum: Inspire Learning and Invigorate Teaching aims to reflect the commitment that AU staff have to enhance the student learning experience. The four main strands of this year’s conference are:

  • Creating a Learning Community
  • Developing Wellbeing in the Curriculum
  • Embedding Active Learning
  • Working with Students as Partners

Staff, postgraduate teaching assistants, and students are welcome to propose sessions on any topic relating to learning and teaching, especially those that focus on the incorporation and use of technology. Even if your suggestion doesn’t fit a particular strand, other topics are welcome.

We seek to encourage presenters to consider using alternative formats that reflect and suit the content of their sessions. As such, we are not specifying a standardised presentation format.

Please complete this form no later than 8th May 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit at elearning@aber.ac.uk  or phone us on extension 2472.

Kate Exley Workshop

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce that Dr Kate Exley will be running two workshops on Wednesday 26th February 2020.  

Dr Exley is Senior Staff Development Officer at the University of Leeds and a Consultant in Higher Education. She has particular expertise in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Assessment and Accreditation, Supervising Research Students and Career Review, and Course Design and Curriculum Change.   

These workshops have been specifically designed to support the implementation of the forthcoming Active Learning projects that form part of the Learning and Teaching Strategy 2019-2022. The workshops will focus on Active Learning for small and large group teaching. The workshops are open to all members of the University community but we strongly recommend that staff members or their nominee involved in the implementation of the Active Learning projects attend.   

To ensure that as many people as possible can attend, the workshop will run twice – once 9.30am-12pm and again 12.30-3pm. Places are limited and booking is recommended.  

To book your place, fill in your details on this online form and specify which workshop you would prefer to attend.  

If you have any queries regarding these workshops please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.  

Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 5): Assignments

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Blackboard Group Assignments for Instructors

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Assignments/Create_and_Edit_Assignments/Group_Assignments

Before assigning group work

You don’t want students to see group activities as busy work. If group work doesn’t enhance your learning objectives and provide value, consider alternative teaching techniques. Only use group work for projects an individual student can’t do as well alone and finish in the intended amount of time.

Research shows that students work harder when others rely on them. To encourage this interdependence, create group assignments that require the students to divide the work to meet the goal, question and challenge each other’s ideas, and share feedback and encouragement.

Before incorporating group work into your course, consider these questions:

  • Will the group work further my course objectives?
  • What introductory material or group resource information can I provide to help students succeed?
  • How will the groups be formed?
  • Will students be involved in planning the groups?
  • How will I assess students’ learning and maintain individual accountability? Will I require a group deliverable?
  • How will I handle concerns and problems

Blackboard Group Assignments for Students

Some Considerations Before you begin

A course group must exist before you create group assignments for it.

  • Students who are enrolled in more than one group that receives the same assignment will be able to submit more than one attempt for this assignment. You may need to provide these students with an overall grade for the assignment.
  • Students who aren’t enrolled at the time that a group assignment has been submitted don’t have access to that submission. These students only see that the submission occurred.
  • Students who you remove from a group can’t see the group assignments. They can access their submissions from My Grades.
  • If you edit the assignment between creation and the due date, the entire group may lose any work already in progress.
  • If you delete a group from the assignment after students have started an attempt but before submission, they’ll lose access to the assignment and lose their work.

You create a group assignment in the same way you create an assignment for students to complete individually. When you create a group assignment, a gradebook item is created automatically. You can create group assignments in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders. The group assignment appears in the course area where you create it and on the group homepage.

A few notes on marking Blackboard Group Assignments

  • When marking a group assignment using Inline Grading, the overall mark given will automatically be submitted for all the students in the group and will become visible in the Grade Centre. However, you can modify individual students’ marks if you need to.
  • Individual marks cannot be applied in the case of anonymous group assignments, as it won’t be possible to identify individual students.

Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 4): Discussions

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Blackboard Discussions for Instructors

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Discussions

Online discussions provide unique benefits. Because students can take time to ponder before they post ideas, you may see more thoughtful conversations play out. You can observe as students demonstrate their grasp of the material and correct misconceptions. You can extend your office hours and reach students more often during the week so that learning is continuous.

Building a sense of community among students is crucial for a successful online experience. With online discussions, course members can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom.

For smaller course groups, you can also offer group discussions, available only to the members of the group.

Blackboard Discussions for Students

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Discussions

In discussions, you can share thoughts and ideas about class materials. In Blackboard Learn, course members can have the thoughtful discussions that take place in the traditional classroom, but with the advantages of asynchronous communication. Participants don’t need to be in the same location or time zone, and you can take the time to consider your responses carefully.

You can use discussions for these tasks:

  • Meet with your peers for collaboration and social interaction.
  • Pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and course content.
  • Demonstrate your understanding or application of course material.

See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Discussions:

faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Discussion”

Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 3): Wikis

Group Work BannerBlackboard Wikis for Instructors

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Wikis

Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials and provide a means of sharing and collaboration. Course members can create and edit pages quickly, and track changes and additions, which allows for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.

All course members can use the wikis tool to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. A course wiki is a vast source of information compiled by course members. Wikis can help build a community of collaboration and learning. Social interaction increases during the exchange of information.

Benefits of using wikis

Wikis can help course members build a shared repository of knowledge. As the knowledge base grows over time, you can expect the wiki to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.

With dedicated use, you can use wikis for these educational purposes:

  • Provide an easy to use environment for communication
  • Promote collaboration rather than competition
  • Foster a social and interactive approach to learning
  • Build partnerships where you can benefit from the strengths of others
  • Increase network building, trust, and negotiation skills
  • Provide support and prompt feedback
  • Provide a one-stop area where information is searched, updated, and accessed easily and quickly
  • Increase and enhance the possibility of creativity, spontaneity, and innovation through the application of reflective thinking

Blackboard Wikis for Students

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Wikis

A wiki is a collaborative tool that allows you to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials. A wiki provides an area where you can collaborate on content. Course members can create and edit wiki pages that pertain to the course or a course group.

Instructors and students can offer comments, and your instructor can grade individual work.

image of wikis

See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Wikis:

faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Wikis”

Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 2): Blogs

Group Work BannerBlackboard Blogs for Instructors

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Blogs

A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended to share with others. Most blogs also have a commenting feature, so that people can respond to one another’s thoughts. Blogs encourage students to clearly express their ideas. Blogs also address the need to expand various aspects of social learning. From the instructor’s point of view, blogs are an effective means of gaining insight into students’ activities and provide a way to share the knowledge and materials collected.

In Blackboard Learn, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them. Similar to journals, you can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade.

Blackboard Blogs for Students

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Blogs

A blog is your personal online journal. Each blog entry you make can include any combination of text, images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments. Blogs are an effective way for you to share knowledge and materials created and collected in the course. You can post entries and add comments to existing blogs. Use your blog to express your ideas and share them with the class.

As the owner of a blog, you can create entries and your instructor and classmates can add comments. A course or a group can also own a blog. In the group area, all members of a group can create entries for the same blog, building upon one another. Any course member can read and comment on a group blog, but can’t create an entry if the user isn’t a member of the group. Your instructor can also offer comments and grade entries.

See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Blogs:

faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Blogs”

Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 1)

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Blackboard Groups for Instructors

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Course_Groups

Collaborative learning offers many benefits over traditional instruction. Studies show that when students work as a team, they develop positive attitudes, solve problems more effectively, and experience a greater sense of accomplishment.

You can organise students into groups so they can interact with each other and demonstrate their knowledge while they learn to appreciate the perspective of others.

You can create course groups one at a time or in sets.

In the Original Course View, each group has its own homepage with links to tools to help students collaborate. Only you and group members can access the group tools.

In the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section and select Groups. On the Groups page, you can view and edit your existing groups, and create new groups and group sets.

Blackboard Groups for Students

https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Groups

Instructors can create groups of students within courses. Groups usually consist of a small number of students for study groups or projects. These groups have their own collaboration areas in the course so that they can communicate and share files.

Your instructor places you in a group or allows you to select the group you want to join. Your instructor chooses which communication and collaboration tools are available to your group.

Picture showing Groups under the menu item groups

See the Aberystwyth FAQ on creating groups:

How do I create a student group in Blackboard? (Staff)

faqs.aber.ac.uk/534 or search “groups”

Additional Distance Learning Forum

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Following feedback, we have added an additional Distance Learning Forum.

Supervising at a Distance

Date: 11.03.2020

Time: 14:00-15:30

Location: E3, E-learning Training Room

This forum is an opportunity to discuss to the good practice happening around the university on a variety of distance learning schemes and modules.  For those of you who are already supervising at a distance, we hope you will be able to bring your expertise and knowledge to those who are newer to this process. 

Book your place online: https://stafftraining.bis.aber.ac.uk/sd/list_courses.php

Save the Date: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit are excited to announce the date for the 8th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. The conference will be taking place between Monday 7th and Wednesday 9th September 2020.

Look out for Calls for Proposals and the announcement of the conference theme later this month. As usual, we will be updating our Learning and Teaching Conference Webpages and also our blog to keep you up-to-date with how things are progressing. 

 

Digital Experience Insights 2019-20: How do you rate technology at Aberystwyth University?

Aberystwyth University is taking part in the Digital Experience Insights project aiming to explore our students’ experiences of technology. The project is based on online surveys designed by Jisc and used by different institutions across UK.

It allows us to get better insights on how students use technology and benchmark our results against other HE intuitions in our sector.

We would greatly appreciate your help in promoting this survey to all students: