Spellcheck your feedback in Turnitin

If you’re anything like us, we have been a little bit obsessed with Line of Duty recently (no spoilers here) and understand how the misspelling of the word ‘definately’ can have potentially catastrophic consequences and we wouldn’t want anyone to be accused of being in league with OCGs.

We’ve found a way in which you can add a dictionary to spellcheck your feedback to the browser that you use to mark. We’ve got step by step instructions below for Chrome and Firefox (as you know, we recommend that you use these browsers to access our E-learning tools).

Install the Spell Checker Add-on in Chrome

If your preferred browser of choice is Chrome, install the spellchecker:

  1. Launch Chrome
  2. Click on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the screen:
  3. Select Settings and a new window will open
  4. Click on the three lines in the top left hand corner of the browser next to Settings
  5. Expand Advanced and select Languages
  6. You can add languages (Welsh-Cymraeg and English UK) by clicking on Add languages
  7. You can then choose which languages you’d like to Spellcheck by turning them on so they are blue
  8. You’ll then be good to go

Install the Spell Checker Add-on in Firefox

If your preferred browser of choice is Firefox, install the spellchecker:

  1. Launch Firefox
  2. Click on the three lines in the top right hand corner of the screen:
  3. Select Add-ons
  4. Select Get Add-ons
  5. In the search box enter Geiriadur Cymraeg or British English Dictionary and select the relevant dictionary
  6. Click Add to Firefox
  7. You’ll then be good to do

As these are browser based, you’ll have to add these onto each browser that you use to mark, but once you’re up and running there’ll be no suspicion cast on being ‘H’.

Annual Learning and Teaching Conference Keynote Announcement: Helen Beetham

We are very excited to announce that this year’s keynote for the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference will be Helen Beetham.

Helen is an education consultant, researcher, writer, and digital project leader, with a particular focus on learners’ digital literacies. Recently, Helen helped to develop the Jisc Digital Insights survey. Aberystwyth University was one of the Universities that took part in this project (you can read more about the digital insights findings and the project on our blog).

The third edition of Helen’s co-edited collection with Rhona Sharpe is due to be published in July this year and happens to coincide with the dates of the conference. The book, entitled Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, brings together recent developments and critical theories on designing learning activities that are learner-focused and accessible, and incorporates case studies and research from across the sector.

In addition to delivering a keynote on the topic of curriculum development and digital learning, Helen will also be offering a workshop to delegates so that they can apply what they have learnt to their own specific contexts and curriculum. We will be using the data and findings from the Digital Insights project to support this work.

The conference is running 8th-10th July 2019 and delegates can book onto the conference here.

A draft conference timetable will be available on our webpages shortly.

Helen tweets at @helenbeetham and blogs (sometimes) at digitalthinking.org.uk.

Conference Registration now open

Registration for the seventh annual Learning and Teaching conference is now open. This year’s Learning and Teaching conference has the theme Learning from Excellence: Innvate, Collaborate, Participate! and will be taking place between Monday 8th and Wednesday 10th July 2019.

You can register for the conference by filling in this online form: https://aber.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/7th-annual-learning-and-teaching-conference-registration

This year, we’ve got an exciting and varied programme with activities, workshops and presentations demonstrating the innovative teaching practices that are taking place across the University. A draft copy of the programme will be available on our webpages shortly.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

E-learning Group’s Reflections on the recent Mini Conference

E-learning Group

Following the recent Mini Conference on Inclusive Education, we have been reflecting on our experience of the event. Each member of the E-learning Group has written a short piece on one aspect of the Mini Conference.

Neurodiversity

Janet and Caroline’s session was interesting both in terms of the subject matter and the way it was presented. As a trainer, I’m always looking for new ideas and new ways of presenting information, and this session had lots of those. From matching exercises to group work, this was an incredibly active presentation.

As well as helping understand the human brains work very differently, and that those with neuro-diverse conditions often have to work very hard to achieve tasks that those who are neuro-typical take for granted. Whilst this has the potential for increasing stress and workload, its flipside is that those with neurodiversity can be resilient, creative and find new and innovative ways to work achieve their outcomes.

The session highlighted that may of the outward signs of neurodiversity are very similar, and small changes to the way in which we teach can help.

Janet and Caroline presented their session in an engaging and interactive way – and I shall certainly remember the exercise where we tried to explain a holiday without using the letter e! Try it … it will give you a very quick idea of how working around something that everyone takes for granted leads to very hard-work, a lot of false starts – but also a new and different way of expressing yourself.

Accessibility Checker

I have taken away a new attitude and approach to the tools I use and the materials I produce for my students as an educator.
I will endeavour to stop thinking about students with specific learning differences as individuals to whom I have to tailor my materials on a case by case basis. Students with specific learning difficulties do not have a unique learning style. They have a preference that is shared with the rest of the student body to some extent. It is better to think that their particular learning styles or preferences can benefit the student body as a whole.

I will utilise built in tools such as accessibility checker in word. I don’t need to send my work off to a specialist or use elaborate programs. Indeed, the simpler the materials I produce the more compatible they are with assistive technology. Accessibility does not mean I have to use comic sans for everything. Simple things like adding alternative text to an image, using titles and headers correctly rather than messing around with fonts. Everything I produce does not have to resemble a gilded manuscript. It just needs to be functional to serve its purpose of conveying information which is what my teaching is all about anyway.

What do you hope to do differently (part 1)?

Using Blackboard Tests to widen access to learning

Blackboard Tests are a great way to create a learning resource for students. As a learning technologist and someone who often only sees the technical side of tests, it was really useful to hear Jennifer Wood giving a first-hand account of the many benefits of using this tool. Jennifer teaches Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and using tests has allowed Jennifer to free up precious class time to focus on more useful discussions. Before using Blackboard Tests, students would spend a portion of their class time being tested. Now students are able to test their knowledge and learning outside of class time in an environment in which they feel comfortable. Depending on the question type you select (there are many types of questions), means that the tests can be marked automatically and that feedback be released to the student after they have taken the test. Of course, tests do require some work and you need to be sure what you wish to use the test for to make it useful for yourself and students.

Just like most content in Blackboard, there are many settings that you can use to match the test to your learning need and requirement. The E-learning Group are always happy to check a test, run through settings or also assist in choosing the right type of question for your learning activity. Why not create a test to help your students with revision activities?

What are you going to do differently (part 2)?

Public Speaking and access to core skills

Rob Grieve’s talk helped me to appreciate how big of an issue public speaking can be for some individuals. I found the advice to be a ‘genuine speaker’ particularly useful. Not prioritising style of over substance, focusing on the information I want to convey and trying to speak in a natural for me way are strategies which I am planning to use to enhance my public speaking abilities.

I was also inspired by Debra Croft’s presentation on the Summer University. It is a project giving an invaluable opportunity to young people participating in it. I was particularly impressed with the variety of subjects covered during only 6-weeks, including not only academic subjects but also life skills. The flexible and creative design of the activities and assessment tailored to students’ needs was equally impressive. This presentation really showed how accommodating the differences can make a significant impact on peoples’ lives.

Submit a proposal for this year’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

There were so many useful tips and reflections that choosing one for each of us was quite a task! You can see a full report on the mini conference which is split into two blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2). A reminder that we currently have an open Call for Proposals for our main Learning and Teaching Conference. 

What are you going to do differently (part 3)? 

Academy Forum: Instilling Self-Regulation in Learners

The E-learning Group host several Academy Forums across the academic year. The aim of the Academy Forums is to bring together members from across the University to discuss a matter related to Learning and Teaching. Our last Academy Forum focused on Instilling Self-Regulation in Learners. This topic was suggested following last year’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. At the conference, Dr Simon Payne, Liz Titley, and Liam Knox gave a presentation based on Self-Regulation. In addition to this, the E-learning Group ran an Academy Showcase where Simon presented strategies for instilling self-regulation.

As always, our full notes from the Academy Forums can be found on a dedicated Wiki which can be found in the Enhancing Learning with Technology module which all staff have access to.

A summary of our discussions can be found below:

  • Strategies for encouraging self-regulation in learning and teaching activities
  • Students spend more time learning outside of class time so we should be teaching them how to learn
  • What skills do students arrive with and what do we need to teach them in order to be self-regulated learners
  • How might we emphasise and measure improvement

If you would like to explore self-regulation in further detail then you are able to view the recording from Simon’s recent Academy Showcase. In addition to this, the following articles might be of interest:

Our next Academy Forum is on 9th May at 11am and is focused on the topic ‘How do I know my teaching is working?’ The forums are a great way to share your experiences and learn from others whilst also reflecting on your own approach to the topic. If you’d like to suggest a topic for an Academy Forum next year then do get in touch with us. You can sign up to the Academy Forum by booking online.

Dr Rob Grieve – Mini Conference Presentation

The E-learning Group are hosting a mini conference on Inclusive Education on Wednesday 10th April at 1pm in E3, E-learning Training Room, Aber Academy. In addition to our previous blogpost announcing the line-up for the mini conference, we’re also pleased to announce that Dr Rob Grieve will be giving a recorded presentation entitled Stand Up and Be Heard: Student Fear of Public Speaking.

Rob is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in the Allied Health Professions Department at the University of the West of England (UWE). In addition to his main research area and teaching activities, Rob is also a trustee of the British Stammer Association. As such, he has spoken at several events about the use of presentations as a form of assessment and equipping students with the skills necessary for public speaking. In this introduction, Rob will be drawing on a couple of his recent presentations that he has given at Advance Higher Education. Rob will also be reflecting on Stand Up and Be Heard workshops that he has been running for students with a fear of public speaking. The aim of the workshops was to support learning and teaching related to presentations and public speaking through specific strategies and a review of the overall benefits of public speaking as a transferable skill for university, life, and future employment. Rob builds on a survey conducted in 2012 which evidenced that 80% of students identified that they experienced social anxiety as part of assignments that involved public speaking (Russell and Topham, 2012). In addition to this, a further study (Marinho et al, 2017) identified that 64% of students had a fear of public speaking whilst 89% would have liked their undergraduate programme to include classes on improving public speaking. Further information on Rob’s work can be found on this blogpost. His Twitter handle is @robgrieve17.

We hope that you’re able to join us at the mini conference. There are still a couple of places remaining. You can book onto these online.

References

Marinho, ACF., de Madeiros, AM., Gama, AC., & Teixeir, LC. 2017. Fear of Public Speaking: Perception of College Students and Correlates. Journal of Voice. 31:1 DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.12.012

Russell, G. and Topham, P. 2012. The impact of social anxiety on student learning and wellbeing in higher education. Journal of Mental Health 21:4. Pp. 375-385. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638237.2012.694505

 

Mini Conference: Inclusive Education, Wednesday 10th April, 1pm

Cynhadledd Fer Mini Conference

On Wednesday 10th April, at 2pm, the E-learning Group will be hosting this year’s Academy Mini Conference. The Mini Conference is a smaller version of our Annual Learning and Teaching Conference which allows us to pull together a series of presentations and workshops around a particular learning and teaching topic. This year the Mini Conference has the theme of Inclusive Education.

We’re excited to confirm our programme for the afternoon:

These presentations will offer a series of practical tips and tricks that will help make your learning environments and documents more inclusive. In addition to this, we’ll be looking at how these strategies might be used in practice and within a teaching context.

We hope that you’ll be able to join us for this event. Places at the Mini Conference are limited so please book your place via this booking page.

Call for Proposals: Learning and Teaching Conference 2019

We are now inviting proposals for the 7th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Monday 8th July – Wednesday 10th July 2019.

Submit and view the call for proposals here.

This year’s conference theme, Learning from Excellence: Innovate, Collaborate, Participate!, aims to reflect the commitment that AU staff have to enhance the student learning experience. The four main strands of this year’s conference are:

  • How students learn
  • Effective and innovative learning design
  • Research-led teaching to enhance learning
  • Collaborative and participatory learning experiences

Staff, postgraduate teaching assistants, and students are welcome to propose sessions on any topic relating to learning and teaching, especially those that focus on the incorporation and use of technology. Even if your suggestion doesn’t fit a particular strand, other topics are welcome.

We seek to encourage presenters to consider using alternative formats that reflect and suit the content of their sessions. As such, we are not specifying a standardised presentation format.

Please complete this form no later than 10th May 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact the E-learning Group at elearning@aber.ac.uk  or phone us on extension 2472.

Using Lecture Capture Effectively: Tips for staff and students

In this blogpost we will be looking at how we can use lecture capture more effectively to enhance learning and knowledge retention. We will build on our previous blogpost Making use of the captioning and quiz function in Panopto.

The tips and discussion below are based on a paper being published this year by psychologists from Glasgow, Dundee, Sheffield and Aberdeen Universities, in collaboration with staff from IT Services at the University of Manchester. The paper, entitled ‘Lecture capture: Practical recommendations for students and lecturers’, is written within the context of self-regulated learning and offers guidance to students and staff on how to make the most out of lecture recordings. Aberystwyth University introduced its Lecture Capture Policy in 2016 following the introduction of Panopto in 2013. As lecture capture has increased across the UK Higher Education sector,[1] focus is now shifting on how it works with learning.

The article is available online and is split into 4 sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Self-regulated learning as a theoretical framework for lecture capture implementation
  3. Recommendations for students
  4. Recommendations for staff

In addition to this, the authors of the study have created an infographic with their main findings aimed at students:

Normann et al, 2018.

The full infographic is available online.

The E-learning Group discussed this paper as part of their regular team training hour. Below are some of the points that we would like to highlight to staff and students:

  • Students should view recordings only as supplement to their learning and not as a replacement of attendance. Studies have found that attendance at the live session had a stronger relationship with the final grade with lecture capture being used to support learning.[2]
  • Introduce students to the Cornell note-taking system and encourage them to take notes during lectures. Note-taking enhances knowledge retention, but it is a cognitively demanding task therefore using strategies such as Cornell note-taking system can help students to make most of it. There’s a video introducing Cornell notes here.
  • Incorporate reviewing video recordings into ‘homework’ activities, encouraging them to go through their notes and re-watching only targeted sections of the recordings. Students should re-watch the lecture within a couple of days of attending the session, but not directly afterwards. Making a break between revising increases knowledge retention. Watching the recording in full makes it more likely for the concentration to be lost, therefore students should focus on the sections which they do not remember or understand and use the recording to improve the notes they took in the first place. They should review their notes whilst watching the recording.
  • If student misses a lecture it is advised that they watch the recording in full as soon as possible and then revisit the recording within a couple of days watching only targeted sections as described above. They should watch the recording in its normal speed and take notes during watching as they would do during a live session.
  • Make use of the active learning activities – these might include peer discussions, practise questions at the end of the session, in-class voting. Evidence shows that more of the interactive activities as more likely students will want to attend the lecture rather than watch the recording. Consider using quizzes in Panopto to test their knowledge or check whether they have understood the material: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/index.php?id=2771

We’ll be embedding the tips from this reading into our forthcoming training sessions. We’ve got the following coming up

  • E-learning Enhanced: Using E-learning Tools for Revision Activities (27th March at 3pm in E3, E-learning Training Room)

You can book onto this session here.

We’re always on the look-out for guest bloggers so if you use Panopto in a particular way, why not drop us an email.

References

Credé, M., Roch, S.G., & Kieszczynka, U. M. (2010). Class attendance in college: A meta-analytic review of the relationship of class attendance with grades and student characteristics. Review of Educational Research, 80 (2), 272-295. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F0034654310362998

Newland, B. (2017). Lecture Capture in UK HE: A HeLF Survey Report. Heads of eLearning Forum, retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx0Bp7cZGLTPRUpPZ2NaaEpkb28/view

Nordmann, E., Kuepper-Tetzel, C. E., Robson, L., Phillipson, S., Lipan, G., & Mcgeorge, P. (2018). Lecture capture: Practical recommendations for students and lecturers. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/sd7u4

[1] Newland, 2017 reports that 86% of HEIs have lecture capture technology.

[2] See Credé, Roch and Kieszcynka (2010).

Subscribe to the E-learning Blog

You can now subscribe to the E-learning Blog so that you receive an email notification whenever a new post is written. Keep up-to-date with software developments, new initiatives, training sessions and events that help support technology-enhanced learning and teaching activities.

Some of our latest blogposts include:

  • Blackboard Grade Centre – in addition to recording and managing assignment marks, there are some additional features and options that will help you to use the Grade Centre to its fullest potential. In this series, we will introduce you to these features.
  • Equipment that is available to hire from Information Services – did you know that IS have pieces of equipment that you can borrow? In this blogpost, we let you know what is available and how you can book out the equipment.
  • Inserting quizzes into your Panopto recordings – do you want to test knowledge whilst students are watching lecture recordings? If so, why not insert a quiz into your Panopto recording? Find out how to in this blogpost.

Subscribing to the blog will ensure that you receive up-to-date information as soon as we’ve written about it. To subscribe is simple:

  • Go to the E-learning Blog
  • Scroll down the page and enter your email address and click Subscribe:
  • An email will be sent to you to confirm your subscription. Click Confirm Follow.
  • You’ll then be all set up and will receive an email notification whenever a new post is written

We’re always on the lookout for guest bloggers too – if you’d like to write a blog post about how you’re using technology in your learning and teaching then let us know (elearning@aber.ac.uk).  Also drop us an email if you’d like to suggest a topic or would like us to write about a particular E-learning tool.