Call for Proposals: Mini Conference: Virtual Reality

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce the next mini conference. On Tuesday 28 March LTEU will be hosting our next mini conference in person.

This mini conference will be focused on Virtual Reality, building on one of the sessions from last year’s Learning and Teaching Conference.

Colleagues from across the University will be showcasing their use of Virtual Reality in their teaching and research activities – offering advice from design to integration.

If you’re interested in contributing to the event, then please fill out this online form. Please submit your proposal before 17 February 2023.

Bookings are already open – you can book your place online.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (lteu@aber.ac.uk).

Save the Date: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit are excited to announce the date for the 11th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. The conference will be taking place between Tuesday 4 July and Thursday 6 July 2023.

Look out for Calls for Proposals and the announcement of the conference theme. 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.

Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation: Work Complete

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Ultra Base Navigation is now enabled on Blackboard. 

Next time you log onto Blackboard, you will be greeted with a new interface. 

Please consult our FAQ on how to use Ultra Base Navigation. 

Whilst the look and feel of Blackboard has changed, course functionality and content remain the same. 

If you have bookmarked or created links to pages within Blackboard these might need updating. Any links directly to the address https://blackboard.aber.ac.uk/ will still work.    

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will now start work preparing for Ultra Courses, ready for Semester 1, 2023. 

Our Ultra webpages and FAQs will be updated as the project progresses.   If you have any questions, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (elearning@aber.ac.uk).  

Academy Forums 2023

Thank you to all who have attended Academy Forums in Semester 1. We’ve had some great discussions around wellbeing in the curriculum, student induction activities, how students are using technology at Aberystwyth University, and Digital Capabilities (Part 1).

All our handouts from our Academy Forums are available on our webpages.

You can now book your place on our Academy Forums for Semester 2.

  • 24 January, 14:00-15:30: Academy Forum 5: Strategies for Feedback Engagement (In-person, E3)
  • 16 February, 10:00-11:30: Academy Forum 6: Using Technology for Reflective Activities (Online)
  • 6 March, 10:00-11:30, Academy Forum 7: Designing Group Assessment using Technology (Online)
  • 19 April, 10:00-11:30, Academy Forum 8: Digital Capabilities (Part 2) (Online)
  • 17 May, 14:00-16:00, Academy Forum 9: Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum (In-person, E3)

If you have any questions, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (lteu@aber.ac.uk).

Mini Conference Programme Announced

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On Tuesday 20 December, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting an Academy Mini-Conference online.

The theme is ‘Sustainability in Higher Education’.

The Mini-Conference will run from 10:15-14:15.

We’re excited to confirm our programme:

  • Dr Georgina Gough – keynote speaker Embedding Sustainability Goals across the Curriculum
  • Marian Gray: Student Mobility and Cross-Cultural Skills – Global and Sustainable?
  • Dr Louise Marshall – Discipline hopping: Interdisciplinary approaches to a sustainable curriculum

For session abstracts and timings, please see the programme on our webpages.

We hope that you will be able to join us. You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Important Information: Blackboard Ultra

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In our previous blogpost, we announced our move to Blackboard Ultra.

Following the meeting of Academic Board, we can confirm that Phase 1 of the Ultra project, Ultra Base Navigation (UBN), will take place between 3 and 6 January 2023.

During this time, you will notice changes to the landing pages of Blackboard. Whilst UBN offers a new feel to Blackboard, course functionality and content will remain the same. We aim to maintain user access to Blackboard throughout this time, but it should be considered at risk for this period.

Further updates about UBN will follow to help prepare staff and students for this change to the landing page.

Once Phase 1 is complete, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will move to Phase 2, preparing for Ultra Courses in September 2023.

We are blogging throughout the project and key messages will be communicated via the Weekly Bulletin and IS news.

We will provide FAQs and have a dedicated webpage which will develop as the project progresses.

If you have any questions, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (elearning@aber.ac.uk).

Keynote Announcement: Mini Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education

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We’re delighted to announce our keynote presentation for this year’s Mini Conference taking place online via Teams on 20 December 2022.

Dr Georgina Gough will be leading a session on embedding Sustainable Development Goals into the curriculum.

Dr Gough is Associate Professor in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) lead at UWE Bristol. She coordinates a cross university, award-winning knowledge exchange for sustainability education (KESE) and mentors academics to incorporate sustainability into their teaching, learning and professional practice. Georgina leads a long-term project mapping academic activity against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is actively involved in city-level work to achieve the SDGs. She was on the expert panel which developed the HE sector guidance on ESD (Advance HE/ QAA, 2021) and works in partnership with colleagues, students and external stakeholders to embed sustainability across higher education and to share good practice both internally and externally. Georgina is programme leader for MSc Sustainable Development in Practice and teaches in geography- and business-based UG modules as well as contributing to cross-university sustainability modules and academic development initiatives.

Booking for the mini conference is currently open – reserve your place online. Our full programme will be announced shortly.

Exemplary Course Award 2023 Submissions Open

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We’re really pleased to announce that this year’s Exemplary Course Award is now open for submissions with a deadline of 12 noon on Monday 30 January 2023. 

Continuing with the same process as last year, we’ve got a streamlined approach to the award.

Applicants will be asked to outline their 3 standout practices in relation to their module, before identifying which criteria the module meets. Applicants are welcome to submit a Panopto recording including a module tour.

If you’re considering submitting an award, we’ve got training for applicants on:

  • 15 December, 10:00-11:30
  • 12 January, 14:00-15:30

You can book your place at these training sessions via the Course Booking page. 

Further information, including the criteria, is available on our webpages, where you can also access an application form.

If you’re looking for ideas, then check out a recording of last year’s winner and highly commended winners.

If you’ve got any questions, then do not hesitate to contact us (elearning@aber.ac.uk).

Blackboard Ultra: Project Board Meeting 1

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On 3 November, our client support team at Blackboard met with the Ultra Project Board. The board is made up of Information Services members responsible for the move to Blackboard Ultra and academic colleagues.

The meeting’s purpose was to outline the project’s scope, mission, vision, and goals.

Part of the activity involved a Mural board.

On this Mural board we were asked to give an overview of the institutional, departmental, and individual goals we wanted to achieve.

Institutional Goals

We’re looking to maintain our excellent student experience, and making sure that the move is sustainable for all staff. From a pedagogical perspective, we want active learning and student as partners to be an ethos for the project, whilst also focusing on ways that blended distance learning and online assessment can be developed. We want the VLE to be as self-service for our users as much as possible, whilst complying with the accessibility legislation. We want data to flow seamlessly between other systems, and give greater transparency to mark processing. Blackboard Ultra needs to have a clear identity and brand easily identifiable with Aberystwyth. The environment needs to be fully bilingual, easy to navigate, and reviews save users time where possible. Consistency across modules in terms of navigation remains a large driver, with a standardised baseline of best practice and an institutional template. There needs to be opportunities for staff to innovate, with examples of excellent learning and teaching activities. We need to make the most out of our investment and ensure the VLE is GDPR compliant.

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