Annual Learning & Teaching Conference 2022: recordings and resources now available!

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We at the LTEU want to say a big thank you to everyone who got involved and attended our annual learning and teaching conference.

If you didn’t manage to attend not to worry, we are pleased to announce that all of the recordings are now live on the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference programme page.

If you attended this year’s conference, we would love to hear your feedback, please fill in our Annual Learning & Teaching Conference 2022 Survey. We are beginning our preparations for our 11th Annual Learning & Teaching Conference and your feedback will help us make it the best one yet!

Blackboard Ultra: Stakeholder Meeting 1

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The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is starting to work on our next project: the move to Blackboard Ultra. Over the coming months we’ll be using our blog to communicate project progression as well as important information.

Over the next year or so, you’ll probably hear the following phrases:

  1. Ultra Base Navigation: the name given to the new design and navigation within Blackboard, before you enter a module or organisation.
  2. Ultra Course View: a more modern design and easy-to-use interface for modules with some new tools that are not available in the Original Course View.
  3. Original Course View: the design and interface we are currently using for modules and which Blackboard is retiring.
  4. LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability): the external tools integrated into Blackboard such as Turnitin and Panopto.

There are advantages to using Ultra:

  1. More intuitive course design and content creation.
  2. Increased compatibility with mobile and tablet devices.
  3. Benefits from Blackboard’s continuous updates and support.
  4. Updated aesthetic.

Whilst we recognise these benefits, the change may be disruptive for colleagues and students but we will be working hard to ensure the rollout is as smooth as possible.

For colleagues, we’ll be running training sessions next year so that you are as prepared for this change as possible.

In this first blogpost, we’ll provide a summary of our first stakeholder engagement meeting which took place on Friday 16 September. Your departmental directors of learning and teaching along with other stakeholders were invited to the meeting.

Our client support colleagues from Blackboard gave attendees a tour of the Ultra interface from an instructor’s perspective and a day in the life of a student.  

We have made the meeting available for everyone via Panopto.

Following the stakeholder meeting we will be working on the following areas:

  1. When can we enable Ultra Base Navigation?
  2. What will the course creation and copying process look like for colleagues?
  3. How does Blackboard Ultra manage Welsh and English content?

Keep a lookout for further updates. If you have got any questions, do let us know (lteu@aber.ac.uk).

Vevox Update: September 2022

The University has a site license for Vevox, a polling software, which means that we benefit from regular updates. You can view the March updates on this blogpost.

The summary of the updates for September are below:

Vevox interface available in Welsh

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce that Vevox,  the University’s polling software, now has an interface available in Welsh.

Since we procured Vevox we have been working closely with their Customer Services Manager to develop the system to meet the needs of our learning and teaching and we are really pleased to see this development.

Users can choose their language in the interface when they log into Vevox.

Click on the language icon highlighted below and select Cymraeg and Save.

Language button highlighted in the Vevox login page

New question type available

There’s a new ranking style question available – ask your students to rank things based on importance or put things in the correct order.

This question can either be marked as correct or used to generate user preference. From the poll, select the Ranking style question.

Want to learn more about Vevox?

If you’re new to using Vevox, book yourself onto our E-learning Essentials: Introduction to Vevox training session which is taking place on Thursday 22 September, 11:00-12:00. You can also check out our guidance materials to get started.

If you have any feedback on this update, or other Vevox functionality, feel free to email us (elearning@aber.ac.uk) and we will be happy to raise on your behalf.

Vevox Training Session

Last year, the University procured Vevox as its Polling Tool solution. Since then, we’ve seen lots of fantastic in-class polling activities taking place across the University.

For those of you who haven’t used Vevox before or would like some guidance, Vevox will be running a training session:

  • 22 September, 11:00-12:00

Book your place on our Courses Booking site.

This training session will be taking place online via Teams. A link will be sent to you prior to the start of the session.

For more information on Vevox, take a look at our Vevox Polling Tool webpage and blogposts.

Student Digital Insights Survey Results (2021-2022)

By Joseph Wiggins

Aberystwyth University has once again run the Students Digital Insights Survey, a survey that asks learners the impact of online and technology implemented learning. This year over 600 students at Aberystwyth University took this survey.

The Key Metrics

81% of students felt supported to use own devices, 74% felt support for access to online platforms / services off site, 83% approved of the quality of the online learning environment, 44% found online learning materials engaging and motivating, 72% found online learning convenient, 80% identified online learning on course as quality, 22% fond that they were provided with reward / recognition for teir digital skills, 72% said they were supported to learn effectively online.

The JISC survey has changed in the last year with some of the key metric questions being changed, for the questions that have stayed very similar or the same we can compare to last year’s results.

Key Metric2020-20212021-2022
Supported use of own devices60%81%
Access to online platforms off-site67%74%
Online learning environment40%83%
Quality of online learning on course69%80%

In a majority of these key metrics we saw a positive increase with Aberystwyth University having improved from the previous year. This trend of improvement is mirrored throughout the survey results. In the case of questions which changed in the key metrics a lot of them are incomparable because of the changes made. For example, last year asked about ‘Well-designed’ online learning materials. This was changed to ‘Engaging and motivating’ online learning materials.  With online learning trends questions relating to motivation are typically exceptionally more negative, making questions that use these adjectives much more negative.

Read More

Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University

We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services, we work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.

All the information that you need is on the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit webpages. Our Supporting your Teaching webpages will help you with various teaching solutions.

We write a blog full of the latest updates, details on events and training sessions, and resources.

If you need to get in touch with us, you can do so using one of two email addresses:

lteu@aber.ac.uk (for pedagogical and design questions, or to arrange a consultation) or

elearning@aber.ac.uk (for technical queries regarding our e-learning tools listed below)

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Academy Forums 2022-23

We’re really excited to announce our forthcoming Academy Forums for 2022-23. Building on the success of last year’s sessions, and based on feedback, we’ve increased the number of Academy Forums on offer, with 10 running across the academic year.

For those of you unfamiliar with Academy Forums, they’re informal discussions that bring colleagues together from across the University. In each session, we’ll look at a particular topic related to Learning and Teaching. We’ll facilitate the discussion and also provide resources and guidance following the Academy Forum. We then make these available on our webpages. Take a look at last year’s Academy Forum topics:

This year, we are seeing a return of some in person Academy Forums as well as having some run online via Teams. You can view the dates, session descriptions, and book your place on our booking page for the first three sessions – keep your eye out for future sessions.

We’ll be starting our Academy Forums with a discussion around Student Induction. We’ll be thinking about how you prepare students to study. What types of activities do you run in week 1 of your module to familarise your students with the content? Also, we’ll be asking colleagues to share with us how you might use technology in these interactions.

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Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

We are looking forward to welcoming you to the 10th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, which is just over a month away, 12-14 September.

 This year’s conference theme, Designing the Teaching of Tomorrow: Innovation, Enhancement, and Excellence: Celebrating 10 years of Aberystwyth University’s Learning and Teaching Conferences, aims to reflect the commitment that AU staff have to enhance the student learning experience and recognise a decade of conferences. 

We’re pleased to confirm our full programme.  We will have 2 online days (Monday 12 and Wednesday 14 September) and 1 in person day (Tuesday 13 September).

 You can register for the conference by completing this online form.  

 We’re very excited to welcome three external speakers this year: 

  • This year’s keynote speaker is presented by Kyra Araneta, Jennifer Fraser, and Moonisah Usman from the University of Westminster. They will be looking specifically at socially just staff and student partnership work.
  • Our second external speaker, Alex Hope, will be looking at meaningful ways in which we can embed sustainability across our curricula.
  • We’re delighted to welcome back our colleague, Ania Udalowska, to run a session on the Digital Learning Champions project they are running at the University of Arts London.

We have an exciting and varied programme this year with representatives from all faculties. In addition to our external speakers, we’ve got some great topics being presented by colleagues:

  • Round table on developing students’ digital capabilities with colleagues from Business, Psychology and Education
  • Academic integrity in a post-Covid landscape
  • Student engagement strategies
  • Authentic assessments
  • Translanguaging within a bilingual context

We look forward to seeing you at the conference, and please remember to register for the conference by completing this online form. 

Parent-child modules 2022-23

Image of Blackboard logo and parent-child

Now that the 2022-23 modules are available to staff, we can link them together at the module co-ordinator’s request. This process is known as parent-childing. Linking modules together is an effective way of dealing with separate modules with the same content so you don’t have to upload materials to two or more different modules.

This process makes one module the parent, whilst the other module(s) become a child. There’s no limit on how many modules you make a child but there can only be one parent.

If you’d like to parent-child your modules, and you’re the module co-coordinator, contact elearning@aber.ac.uk with the module codes for the parent and child modules.

Examples from Aberystwyth

Many members of staff are currently using parent-child modules across the institution. Some examples are:

  1. Modules are taught the same content but there’s a module available for different years
  2. Modules with the same content delivered in English and Welsh
  3. Modules that bring together different degree schemes and have different module IDs, for example dissertation modules

Essentially, any module that shares the same content is ideal for parent-childing.

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Annual Learning and Teaching Conference: Celebrating 10 years

This year marks the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit’s 10th year of organising the annual learning and teaching conference. To celebrate, we’ve made all of our materials from our previous conferences available on our conference webpage.

We’ve also been looking over our stats and brought together a number of facts for you.

Since the first conference in 2013, we have had:

  • Over 400 different members of staff and students from Aberystwyth University present at the conference
  • Over 1000 attendees

Most sessions by Department:

Our top 10 academic departments presenting at the conference are:

  1. IBERS with 41 sessions
  2. Education with 28 sessions
  3. Lifelong Learning with 26 sessions
  4. Psychology with 21 sessions
  5. Computer Science with 18 sessions
  6. Aberystwyth Business School with 17 sessions
  7. International Politics with 14 sessions
  8. Physics with 13 sessions
  9. Geography and Earth Sciences with 12 sessions
  10. Law and Criminology with 11 sessions

Most sessions by a presenter

We’ve got a tie for first place with the greatest number of sessions run by an academic member of staff. With a total of 8 sessions, we have Education’s Steve Atherton, Psychology’s Antonia Ivaldi and Gareth Norris. Tied in fourth place, with 7 sessions, we have IBERS’ Basil Wolf and Physics and the Graduate School’s Maire Gorman. Big well done to them.

We’re really looking forward to the next 10 years of conferences. We hope you can make the conference between 12 and 14 September with a mixture of online and in-person sessions. Book your place online.