Missed our Vevox Essentials training?

Not to worry. Vevox run regular online webinars, so if you’ve not used our new polling software before and want a great beginner’s guide, sign up to their online webinar Zero to Hero (in 15 minutes!). Running on Tuesday afternoons through to the end of November.

We’ve also got our guides and FAQs available on our Vevox webpages.

Don’t forget to come along to our mini conference on Thursday 16th December.  

Weekly Resource Roundup – 12/10/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Mini Conference: Using Polling Software to Enhance Learning and Teaching Activities

Mini Conference Logo

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce that it’s next Mini Conference will be taking place on Thursday 16th December, online via Teams.

We’ll be taking a look at polling software – a tool that can be used to engage students in their learning and drive-up understanding of complex topics. This year, the University procured Vevox, an online polling tool, that is fully integrated in Teams and can make your face to face activities interactive.

Call for Proposals:

We’re looking for colleagues that make use of polling software in their learning and teaching to present at the Mini Conference. Potential topics might include:

  • Using polling for induction and ice-breaker activities
  • Polling for gamification
  • Polling for driving up learning
  • Making in-person teaching sessions interactive
  • Polling for asynchronous activities

Submit your proposal online before Friday 19th November.

Booking for the one-day event is already open – book online.

We’ll be joined by some external presenters at the event so keep an eye on our blog as we announce our programme.

If you’ve got any questions, let us know: lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Academy Forums 2021-22

As the start of term kicks off, we’d like to invite you to the forthcoming Academy Forums over the next academic year. Our academy forums take place around a particular topic or theme relevant to learning and teaching. They’re an informal space to reflect on and share teaching practice, build connections with colleagues from other disciplines, and keep up to date with debates in the HE sector.

Based on feedback from our successful sessions last year, we’ve extended our Academy Forums to 90 minutes.

Our first session is taking place on 2nd November, 11am-12.30pm. In this session, we’ll be taking a look at the results from the Digital Insights survey. The survey is run by JISC and asks students about their digital learning experiences. For the academic 2020-21, we had over a thousand responses. Come along to this session if you want to hear about the findings and also think about ways in which you can build the results into your digital teaching.

Second up, on the 2nd December (10am-11.30am), we’ll be thinking about designing blended learning. Over the past eighteen months, colleagues have delivered purely online, purely face to face, and also Hyflex teaching activities for students. If you want to consider how to blend the online teaching activities with in person teaching activities, then come along to this session. You’ll be able to reflect on the resources that you’ve produced and how you might go about tweaking them for the current teaching context.

Following the winter vacation period, our third Academy Forum session will be taking place on 10th February (10am-11.30am). This session will take a look at strategies for designing authentic assessments. JISC outline, in their paper The Future of Assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025, that one of the key tenets of assessment design is to make it authentic. Participants will be given the opportunity to enhance an existing assessment or design a new one from scratch.

Into spring now, and our fourth Academy Forum of the year will be looking at peer feedback opportunities. Students develop greater cognitive processing through being given the opportunity to work with their peers – from paraphrasing complex theories, through to sensitively critiquing other students’ work, peer feedback activities can be used to great effect. This Academy Forum will be taking place on the 3rd March, 11am-12.30am. 

Our final academy forum will be looking at Students as Partners on 27th April, 11am-12.30pm. There are different approaches that can be used for Students as Partners projects. We’ll be looking at these – from student co-design to enhancement projects. In LTEU, we’ve worked on a number of student as partners initiatives and will be sharing our projects as well as giving you opportunities to establish you own project at session, module, course, or departmental level. 

For now, our Academy Forums will be taking place online. Book your place on our Course Booking site. Hope to see you there.

Dyslexia Week: Invisible Dyslexia

Written by Caroline White, Student Support (caw49@aber.ac.uk)

It is thought that around 16% of the population are dyslexic thinkers. Currently, around 500 students studying at Aberystwyth University have disclosed a Specific Learning Difference, such as Dyslexia. Other students hope to forget the negative experiences associated with the “dyslexic” label or cannot afford the assessment process and so do not engage with Study Skill (Student) Support.

Some dyslexics struggle through school and then thrive in university and win dissertation prizes. Other dyslexic thinkers’ strategies work until their environment changes eg weekly reading loads significantly increase. The issues usually arise when there is a significant mismatch between the presentation of the learning material and the individual’s ways of learning.

Dyslexic skills underpin much academic work. Areas in which many dyslexic thinkers have been found to be above average are: visualising, imagining, communicating, reasoning, connecting and exploring.  The risk is that these strengths are missed when written communication is used to find out what someone understands.

3 key recommendations for inclusive teaching and supporting dyslexic learners:

Be Specific – students can then use their energy to work more efficiently and experience less anxiety

Be Transparent – so that students understand the processes of developing academic skills

Be Mindful – as our students’ experiences are so varied, including the impact of the Covid pandemic

Resources:

Checklist for Inclusive Teaching (Aber)

Short Aberystwyth video:

Dyslexia (PowerPoint)

Inclusion (PowerPoint)

TedEx videos

The Creative Brilliance of Dyslexia | Kate Griggs (15 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYM40HN82l4

The true gifts of a dyslexic mind | Dean Bragonier (17 mins) https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dyslexia+ted+talk

External web sites

Made by Dyslexia https://www.madebydyslexia.org

British Dyslexia Association https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexia. Includes free BDA online training course – dyslexia and mental health – during Dyslexia Week

Microsoft Learning Tools https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education/products/learning-tools

Weekly Resource Roundup – 1/10/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Make classroom teaching interactive with technology

In this blogpost we’ll take a look at how technology can be used to give students the opportunity to feedback thoughts and ideas or work virtually in synchronous groups. Given that students are encouraged to face the same direction in teaching rooms, group work will be a particular challenge in teaching rooms.

We recommend that you encourage students to bring their own devices. This will give you more options  to build up that group discussion. If your students don’t have access to a device, then direct them to is@aber.ac.uk. If you want students to use their own devices, let them know in advance.

Use Vevox for students to feed back the summary of their discussions

Vevox is a polling tool. Here are some learning activities you might consider, or devise your own:

  • Individual think and share – Give students a short brainstorming or problem-solving task, ask them to think for a minute or two and then use Vevox to share their ideas. This works well in the classroom, online, or in a HyFlex environment.
  • Muddiest point or key takeaways – At the end of lecture, ask students to post either their muddiest point or their key take-aways from lecture. If you use take-aways, this not only gives you useful information about how well they understood the content, but also reinforces students’ learning through retrieval practice. Good for teachers and students!
  • Group discussion and feedback – If you are using groups of six where students manage to discuss a question while facing forward (yes, we know this is a challenge!), you can have each group report their headline messages through Vevox for the whole class to see. This allows you to consolidate the learning from all groups during class time.
  • Pre- and post-teaching check of understanding – Students learn best if they can link new information to prior knowledge. Ask students questions at the start of lecture to activate that knowledge, and then ask questions at the end to consolidate it. This can help students to recognise how much they have learned from the lecture while reinforcing their learning.

Check out our guidance on using Vevox.

Read More

Weekly Resource Roundup – 23/9/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Vevox Webinar: Co-creating expectations with Vevox

As part of our institutional subscription to Vevox, we’re able to attend webinars run by Vevox. On Thursday 30th September at 2pm Vevox will be running a webinar entitled Co-creating expectations with Vevox. The webinar will be run by Tom Langston who is a Digital Learning and Teaching specialist at the University of Portsmouth.

The webinar will give ideas on ways in which polling (both digital and “analog”) can be used to engage students, practical guidance on the structure of discussions, and using the Q and A function for students to share their learning and ask questions.

Register for this webinar online.

Sign up for the training session: E-learning Essentials: Introduction to Vevox.

If you need any further information about Vevox, check out our Polling Tool webpages.

Student Digital Experience Insights Survey Results

This spring, Aberystwyth University ran the national Jisc digital experience insights survey. Over 1,000 of our students told us about their attitudes and experiences of technology in learning and teaching. Here are some of the key findings from this survey.

Summary of key metrics

QuestionOur data %UK data %Wales data %
Well-designed online learning environment404144
Supported to use own device605456
Enabled to access online systems/services from anywhere676867
Well-designed online learning materials565354
Quality of online and digital learning on course696668
Supported to learn online/off-campus575153
Able to access all support services you needed online514950
How well you were supported to learn online586162
  • The data relates to the percentage of students that agree with the statements shown.
  • The benchmarking comparisons are also shown.
  • Five out of eight key metrics are higher for AU than other UK and Welsh organisations.
  • General trends are mirrored in other UK and Welsh organisations (areas achieving lower results for AU are low nationally).

You and your current learning situation

Assistive Technologies

  • 17% of respondents said that they used at least one assistive technology.
  • 13% of these students said we have offered them support to use assistive technologies.

Problems when learning online


Digital platforms and services at your organisation


Technology in your learning

Improving the quality of online and digital learning

Students were asked what one thing should we do to improve the quality of online and digital learning. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 42% mentioned improvements to online learning design and organisation
  • 14% mentioned more engaging and interactive online learning
  • 12% mentioned more interaction with other students
  • 11% mentioned more live teaching sessions
  • 10% mentioned better digital provision
  • 9% mentioned more interaction with lecturers
  • 6% mentioned building digital skills and capability

Positive aspects of online learning

Students were asked what aspect of learning online, if any, had been most positive for them. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 54% mentioned flexibility
  • 27% mentioned access to materials and resources
  • 12% mentioned contact with lecturers
  • 10% mentioned benefits for wellbeing and disabilities
  • 7% mentioned engaging and interactive teaching
  • 7% mentioned digital technology
  • 6% mentioned contact with other students

Negative aspects of online learning

Students were asked what aspect of learning online, if any, had been most negative for them. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 45% mentioned lack of motivation or engagement
  • 23% mentioned online learning design and organisation
  • 21% mentioned lack of social interaction
  • 14% mentioned wellbeing issues
  • 14% mentioned issues with IT systems
  • 9% mentioned lack of contact with staff
  • 6% mentioned lack of practical skills

Overall quality of online and digital learning on course

69% rated us as good or above

Developing your digital skills

Support and guidance for digital skills development

How much do you agree that we have given you:% agree
AU
% agree
Wales
% agree
UK
Support for learning online/ away from campus575153
Guidance about the digital skills needed for your course404143
An assessment of your digital skills and training needs222628

Where do students go for help?

Learning effectively online

Students were asked what one thing should we do to help you to learn effectively online. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 35% mentioned improvements to online learning design and organisation
  • 14% mentioned better access to lecturers
  • 14% mentioned more engaging and interactive online learning
  • 13% mentioned more training and help with digital skills and technology
  • 8% mentioned more help with wellbeing issues
  • 8% mentioned better access to resources and materials
  • 6% mentioned better digital provision

How well supported to learn online did students feel?

58% rated us as good or above