Updates to Vevox

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One of the benefits to having a subscription to a dedicated Polling Tool is receiving regular updates. Vevox is the University’s dedicated Polling Tool. You can use it to add interactivity to your teaching sessions as well as your meetings.

Our resources for Vevox are available on our webpages.

Enhancements that have come this month are summarised below:

  • Use of LaTeX to create questions in Polls means that colleagues in disciplines such as Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science can make use of formulae in the creation of their polls. Take a look at Vevox’s LaTeX helpsheet to help you set up your polls.  
  • Ability to Share moderation responsibilities for Q and As with another presenter. See their how to share the Q&A board with a colleague or moderator for further information.
  • Correct answer explanations allow you to provide additional feedback to students when they get a question correct. This can help you save time when running your quiz. For a video summary, check out Vevox’s guidance on Running a Quiz.
  • Filter our responses on word clouds before you present them back to the class to ensure that there’s nothing that you don’t want them to see. Take a look at their instructional video on how to create word clouds.
  • Results from polls can now be displayed as numbers as well as percentages meaning that participants can get an idea how many of their colleagues have responded to the questions. Not used polling in Vevox before? Check out their guidance on how to create a basic poll.

Vevox fully integrates with Teams meaning that you can run the sessions in your online teaching meetings and participants can respond via the Teams app without having to enter a 9 digit code. Find out more on our How do I use Vevox with Microsoft Teams FAQ.  

We’re always on the lookout for case studies so if you’re using Vevox polling in your teaching session drop us an email on lteu@aber.ac.uk and let us know how you’re using it.

View all of these updates on Vevox’s June blogpost.

My placement with the LTEU as a Conference Support and Impact Officer

Hi all, I’m Hector, a first-year undergraduate student at Aberystwyth University studying International Politics and Climate Change. I’m excited to be joining the LTEU team for the next three-weeks for the Annual Teaching Conference 2021.

Prior to beginning my degree in Aberystwyth, I worked as a Support Worker for the charity Leonard Cheshire. My key areas of interest lie within sustainable development, climate change politics and charity work. I have volunteered three times with the youth-led sustainable development charity Raleigh International in Nepal and Costa Rica, as part of Expedition programmes and the Government backed International Citizen Service. I’m a keen advocate of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and am always looking for new ways to engage with and support them. As an Aberystwyth University student, I am an active member of AberHike and will be undertaking my Mountain Leader training over the summer to enable me to lead future hikes for the society.

I have recently worked as a Zoom Steward for the Annual Conference for the Association for Science Education. I really enjoyed this role so when I saw the opportunity to gain more experience in a similar position with the LTEU, I applied. I’m undertaking this placement as part of the AberForward 2021 programme. My role as the Conference Support and Impact Officer will be to offer a student perspective on the various talks given throughout the conference. By undertaking my placement with the LTEU, I am hoping to further develop my organisational and analytical skills. I also want to continue to gain practical and relevant work experience, which this placement helps me with.

I feel as a student we never really get to fully appreciate the amount of effort and thought which goes into every aspect of our learning experience, this has been abundantly demonstrated by the brilliant work which I have seen from my time so far with the LTEU. We have a fantastic and broad range of talks lined up for this year’s conference. If you are yet to book your place, you still have time! Hope to see you there!

What we need to consider when planning for 2021/22 teaching?

The time to get ready for 2021/22 teaching is fast-approaching. Although there is still much uncertainty about what we will be able to provide, we would like to share with you a few points worth considering when planning for next year. These points derive from our reflections and experiences of supporting staff and students over the past academic year, as well as considerations from colleagues across the sector.

How will we measure student engagement?

What we mean by student engagement and how we measure it has changed over the past year. Previously we might have gauged student engagement in the classroom by simply observing their participation during the face-to-face sessions or monitoring their attendance. Since teaching online, we perhaps paid more attention to Panopto statistics, participation in interactive activities on Blackboard and chat in Teams. Making it clear what you mean by engagement and how you are going to measure it, in what is likely to be a new delivery format for you and your students, can help you evaluate your methods and help students understand what is expected of them (Love & El Hakim, 2020).

What will our students need?

We know that during the pandemic many students suffered from isolation, studied in various home conditions and struggled with anxiety and motivation. Going forward we will need to take this into account and balance the increased need for contact hours and socialisation with best pedagogical practices. Although we won’t be able to approach this upcoming year with certainty, it is essential to provide students with a sense of structure wherever possible. One of best practice emphasised during past months is creating ‘roadmaps’ which tell students what they need to do and by when. Another recurring theme across the sector is building a community of learners to address isolation.

How will we manage student expectations?

Managing student expectations is never easy and may be even more challenging this upcoming year. One way of managing expectations effectively is by engaging in a continuous conversation with students and being able to adapt wherever possible. Treating students as partners in their learning design also requires  explaining why we educate them the way we do, even if it is not what they expected. Finally, scaffolding their learning regardless of the form it takes is likely to increase their satisfaction.

How our roles as educators and education professionals will change?

The flipped-classroom approach which our institution promoted this academic year changes the power dynamic in the classroom. It allows students to have more choice over how they learn and when. It also places more emphasis on tutors being mentors and facilitators rather than lecturers. Going forward, the relationships between students and staff is likely to be transformed further. As mentioned earlier, it may be an opportunity to work in partnership with our students, enabling them to be the agents of their learning experience. 

Weekly Resource Roundup – 27/6/2021

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

Other

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 Case Studies – Discussion Boards

We are pleased to present the first case study on using interactive Blackboard tools featuring the use of discussion boards by Dr Martine Garland from Aberystwyth Business School.

Discussion boards were thus a way of recreating the discussion we may have had in class, this led to over 900 posts during the semester.’

What tool do you use and how?

I use discussion boards on a core 1st year marketing module with 97 students. They are used in a very structured way to provide students with an opportunity to apply a theory, model or framework they have just learnt about. I found that with the blended approach adopted in response to Covid-19, students were studying recorded asynchronous content out of synch with the week in which it was intended they should study the topic. This meant that in live MS Teams sessions it was difficult to use that time to do topic specific exercises and create debate as many students had not yet covered the topic. Discussion boards were thus a way of recreating the discussion we may have had in class, this led to over 900 posts during the semester.

Why did you choose this tool?

I chose this tool as it was very straightforward to embed into the asynchronous learning structure and to signpost students to it at the relevant moment in their studies. Each recorded lecture had three ‘discussion points’ that were designed to meet learning outcomes related to application of learning. Having worked through online learning content on a topic, the discussion point asked them to share their experience or a relevant example, and to enter into deeper conversation about the real-world application of a theoretical construct.

How did you design the activity using this tool?

In the PowerPoint of the recorded lecture, I used a consistent icon to indicate discussion, then included directions that they should pause the video, make some notes, then when they have finished the lecture, go to the ‘discussion space’ and share their thinking.

I also used the discussion board functionality to set and receive ‘collaborative task’ activities. They could read the brief at the top of the thread, and they then posted their groups outputs in the thread. It was termed the ‘Collaboration site’ but was just using the discussion board tool.

What do your students think of this tool?

I think it was mixed, some students didn’t engage at all, although the majority did (bear in mind they were awarded marks for participation and engagement). Several students cited the discussion boards in their MEQ feedback:

“I absolutely loved this module. the teacher was exemplary, and she was very focused throughout the module. The discussion board was the best part of module as it gave us the space to apply the theories. overall, one of the best modules in my first year.”

“With everything going on, this module has been run very well this semester. Lots of online content to do and discussion forums for students to discuss the topics covered has made it a very engaging module.”

Do you have any tips for people who want to use this tool?

Make it very clear what you are asking them to do and where they can find it. Encourage students to upload an avatar so the discussion is not so faceless. Certainly for year 1 modules, consider awarding marks for participation an engagement in things like discussion boards, wikis etc. Blackboard reports provide you with a quick and easy way of seeing who is doing what, where and when.

A huge thank you to Dr Martine Garland for sharing this case study. If you like to learn more about discussion board please take a look at the Blackboard Tools for Group Work (Blogpost 4): Discussions post and the discussion boards FAQs.

Weekly Resource Roundup – 16/6/2021

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

Other

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.  

What software can I use for teaching?

Although our Unit’s provision focuses on supporting core tools such as Blackboard, Turnitin, Panopto and MS Teams, a list of software available to AU staff is much longer.

We have recently procured the university polling software – Vevox which can be an excellent addition to the tools you are already using. During the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference (book on the conference) our Vevox account manager Joe Probert will explain how Vevox can be used for learning activities. On Wednesday, we will also have an opportunity to join a webinar on how to use Vevox in your hybrid classroom. If you like to see how Vevox has been used by other institutions, you can also take a look at these case studies.

Another tool that we have previously written about is Padlet which is free and widely used across the sector. Take a look at our previous blog post which includes some ideas on how it could be applied in teaching. There is also a recording of the presentation on Padlet by Danielle Kirk delivered during the 7th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference.

Based on findings of the Digital Insights Survey we have also published a list of digital tools and apps useful for learning. You may choose to recommend these to your students by sharing this post with them or pointing them to specific tools helping them with what they need.

If you decide to use any of the third-party software for learning and teaching, there are a few considerations you need to make to keep yourself and your students safe online.

See: Using Third-Party Software for Learning and Teaching

If you have any questions about using software in your teaching then contact us on lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Vevox webinar: How to use Vevox in your hybrid classroom

We’re really looking forward to seeing many of you at our forthcoming annual learning and teaching conference – the second time that we’ll be running it online.

We’ve had a slight to change to proceedings. On the 30th June, 2pm-2.45pm, we’ll be linking to Vevox’s webinar on how to use Vevox polling software in a hybrid classroom:

In this interactive webinar, we will be discussing how Vevox can be used in hybrid classes to support active learning wherever the location of your students. Joining us on the panel are Carol Chatten, Learning Technology Development Officer at Edge Hill University, Dr. Robert O’Toole NTF Director of Student Experience and Progression, Faculty of Art at The University of Warwick and Carl Sykes SFHEA, CMALT Senior Learning Technologist at The University of South Wales.

We’ll be looking to share customer success stories and examples to show how Vevox can support a blended learning environment and how you can maximise student engagement, interaction and feedback in a hybrid setting. We’ll being looking at the theme of versatility and how important this is to being able to provide a truly inclusive learning experience.

You can book online to attend the conference: https://aber.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/aultc2021

Our full programme is available online.

You can read more about Vevox, our recently procured polling software: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/it-services/elearning/polling-tool/

Taking your (PowerPoint) Lectures Online: Kate Exley Workshop

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce a special online workshop run by Dr Kate Exley on Wednesday 7th July at 10am.

The workshop will be useful for colleagues who are modifying and transferring their traditionally delivered lectures for on-line learning.

Please book your place online [link]:

https://stafftraining.aber.ac.uk/sd/list_courses.php

Places are limited so please book as soon as possible.

Session Overview:

Many colleagues have been involved in providing blended or on-line learning for many years but the Covid pandemic has meant that we have all needed to quickly provide much of our teaching and learning at a distance. This has involved moving our lectures, previously delivered in large lecture theatres and classrooms, to online platforms. The speed at which this huge change has happened has in itself caused significant challenges for staff and students alike.  This blended workshop aims to provide some guidance, examples and a forum for colleagues to share their experiences and ideas for enhancing this provision.

This workshop is presented in two parts:

  • A set of 3 short videos will be made available on or before the 30th June 2021 and should be viewed independently before joining discussion forum – approximately 45 minutes independent study.
  • A discussion forum hosted via Teams on the 7th July, in which participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, share experiences and discuss the topic – lasting 1 hour.

By the end of the two hour, session you should be able to:

  • Consider the purpose of the on-line lecture in Covid times
  • Discuss a range of practical design issues when taking lectures on-line
  • Share experiences and ideas with colleagues ‘in the same boat’
  • Begin to plan your next steps & what you can implement from the workshop

This workshop is mapped primarily to A2, A5, K2, K3 on the UKPSF. 

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Invitation: Aberystwyth University’s Learning and Teaching Conference 2021

Keynote announcement banner

We’re looking forward to this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference which is just under a month away, 29th June-2nd July 2021.

As you may have read, this year’s Conference will be taking place online via Teams so you can join us for as much or as little of the conference as you wish.

You can view the full programme and book your place online.

We’re grateful to have a number of external speakers this year.

Our keynote, Dr Chrissi Nerantzi will be talking about open and flexible pedagogies. At Manchester Metropolitan University, Chrissi developed the openly-licensed practice-based professional developmental programme FLEX which incorporates formal and informal pathways of engagement. She is the founder of the cross institutional Creativity for Learning in Higher Education community, the Teaching and Learning Conversations (TLC) webinars, as well as many other initiatives. You can read more about Chrissi on our blogpost

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