The Exemplary Course Award – Streamlined Application Process

Annually, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit run the Exemplary Course Award, which recognises the very best practice in using Blackboard. This blog post details changes we have made to the process, when dedicated training sessions will be run, how and why to apply, and when the deadline for applications is.
To get an idea of what an ECA-winning module might look like, you can view last year’s winners’ module walk-throughs here (Lara Kipp, in English only, and Rhianedd Jewell, in Welsh and English).

Recognising the particular challenges of this academic year, we have put our heads together to streamline the process in the hopes that even more applicants submit their modules for consideration. The process is still rigorous and detailed, but we have made some key changes to encourage as wide a range of applications as possible.

What has changed?
• You can now submit in two different formats: either a written narrative of up to 500 words, or a Panopto recording up to 4 minutes in length.
• We have streamlined the form in such a way that applicants only need to tick whether a criterion is fulfilled or not – no need to agonise over how many points to award yourself.
• We have integrated the criteria weighting into the form, meaning applicants do not need to calculate scores anymore.

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Save the Date: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

Save the date banner - 30.06.2021-02.07.2021

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit are excited to announce the date for the 9th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. The conference will be taking place between Wednesday 30th June and Friday 2nd July 2021.

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.

NEW Recurring MS Teams Meeting Feature in Blackboard

Today, a new feature has been made available in Blackboard which allows you to create recurring MS Teams meetings.

This new feature works very similarly to the recurring options available in Outlook. As can be seen in the image below, you can now arrange MS Teams meetings through Blackboard based on how often you want them to recur; on what days you want them to recur; and when you would like this recurrence to end.

Students should be encouraged to add this link to their calendars as this will automatically add the whole series to their calendars.

Screenshot showing the options available in the new recurring meetings feature.

When setting up your recurring meeting, please ensure that you include clear information which demonstrates which sessions should be accessed through the link that you have just created.

Table demonstrating which sessions can be accessed through the Teams link

For further details on how to use this new feature, please visit our FAQ.

Weekly Resource Roundup – 23/11/2020

Weekly Resource Roundup with Mary Jacob, Lecturer in Learning and Teaching As lecturer in learning and teaching responsible for the PGCTHE, I keep an eye out for new resources to help our staff teach effectively online. This includes externally-provided webinars, toolkits, publications and other resources. Because active learning is high on our university agenda, I’m particularly keen to share guidance for moving active learning online. 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.   

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.  

Interactive Blackboard Tools Series – Journals and Blogs (Part 1)

Teaching staff at Aberystwyth University make excellent use of basic functions of Blackboard keeping it consistent and easy to navigate, meeting the needs of their students. Some staff go beyond Blackboard Required Minimum Presence, using additional, interactive functions in many different creative ways. Considering the current emphasis on online learning and the use of asynchronous online activities we would like to introduce you to some of the more advanced (although still easy to use!) tools in Blackboard:

  • Journals and Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Tests

We have already written about discussion board – perhaps the most versatile of all the Blackboard tools. In this blog post we will focus on blogs and journals and the value these tools could bring to your teaching. 

Both journals and blogs, typically written in an informal way, are tools conducive to reflection and personal expression. The difference in their use is determined by whether or not they are aimed at being shared with others. Journals in Blackboard can be set up in two ways:

  • Private journals cannot be anonymous, are seen only by the lecturer and the student who wrote it, if enabled other students may view them but not comment or edit.
  • Group journals enable students to write individual entries into one group journal, group members can view and comment on all entries.

Watch a tutorial on creating journals

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External Speaker: Mini Conference: Advice for Action – Promoting Good Feedback Practice

Distance Learner BannerOn Wednesday 16th December, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will host their next Mini Conference.

We are delighted to announce that Dr Naomi Winstone from University of Surrey will be giving a presentation:

From Transmission to Transformation: Maximising Student Engagement with Feedback

Even the highest-quality feedback on students’ work will not have an impact on their development unless students actively engage with and implement the advice. The literature, alongside anecdotal reports of educators, often paint a negative picture of students’ willingness to read and enact feedback. My recent programme of research has focused on students’ cognitive, motivational, and emotional landscapes and how they influence the ways in which students receive, process, and implement feedback on their work. In this talk, I will argue that maximising students’ engagement with feedback is fundamentally an issue of design, where opportunities for students to develop the skills required for effective use of feedback, and opportunities to apply feedback, can transform the role of students in assessment. In particular, I will share a toolkit of resources that we developed in partnership with students to support the development of feedback ‘recipience skills’. Through this approach, I demonstrate how the responsibility for ensuring that feedback has high impact can, and should, be shared between educators and students.

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Alternative activities to in-person teaching

There may be occasions where it is not practically possible for you to simultaneously deliver non-lecture activities (e.g. seminars, workshops, etc.) to students in-person and students joining via MS Teams.

In this blog post, we will explore some different options for delivering alternative activities for those students that cannot join in-person sessions. Before you begin to design an alternative activity, consider the following points:

1.

    • Which alternative activity will best emulate the experience that students in the original in-person session are getting?

2.

    • What are my intended learning outcomes and which activities will best achieve these?

3.

    • How long will it take me to plan an activity and do I have the capacity to do this?

4.

    • Think carefully about your assessment criteria – will the alternative activity that you provide allow the students to undertake the module assessments successfully?

5.

    Clarity and focus are at the heart of any well-designed online activity. Ensure that students using your alternative activity know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. If you ask students to use any technology, you must provide students with clear and concise guidance on how to use these.

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Weekly Resource Roundup – 17/11/2020

Weekly Resource Roundup with Mary Jacob, Lecturer in Learning and Teaching As lecturer in learning and teaching responsible for the PGCTHE, I keep an eye out for new resources to help our staff teach effectively online. This includes externally-provided webinars, toolkits, publications and other resources. Because active learning is high on our university agenda, I’m particularly keen to share guidance for moving active learning online. 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.    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.  

Welsh-Medium Continued Professional Development – What’s on?

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit offers several sessions for Continued Professional Development (CPD) covering a range of topics. We offer sessions in both English and Welsh and Welsh-medium sessions will appear in Welsh on the staff training website. Here is an overview of the Welsh-medium sessions that we are offering throughout the rest of the semester:

November 2020

16.11.20 (11:00-12:30):

    • CDU: Datblygu eich arferion addysgu (D & A: Ar-lein)

17.11.20 (14:00-15:30):

    • CDU: Defnyddio MS Teams, Offer yr Ystafell Ddysgu ac Addysgu syncronaidd (D & A: Ar-lein)

20.11.20 (14:00-15:00):

    • Hanfodion E-ddysgu: Cyflwyniad i Turnitin (D & A: Ar-lein)

25.11.20 (11:00-12:00):

    Hanfodion E-ddysgu: Cyflwyniad i Panopto (D & A: Ar-lein)

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Continued Professional Development – What’s on Offer?

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit offers a number of sessions for Continued Professional Development (CPD) covering a range of topics. We offer sessions in both English and Welsh. Welsh-language sessions will appear in Welsh on the staff training website.
In this blog post, I will detail the range of sessions on offer for you between now and January, who to contact to find out more about them, and how to book a place for a session.
Here is what’s on offer in the coming months:

November:

  • Sessions aimed at Graduate Teaching Assistants, both on Developing your Teaching Practice and on Using MS Teams, Teaching Room Equipment & Synchronous Delivery (English and Welsh language sessions available)
  • A session on Facilitating Intrinsic Motivation in Students – the Self Determination Theory Perspective (English language only)
  • Sessions on E-Learning Essentials: Introductions to Blackboard, TurnitIn, and Panopto (the former in English, the latter two in Welsh)
  • Sessions on Creating Accessible Learning Materials, Learning Environments, and Techniques for Teaching Scientific Subjects as well as Using Jisc Online Surveys (all English language)
  • Two Academy forums on Why and How to Help Students to Reflect on Their Learning, and on Motivation Strategies for Online Learning Engagement

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