Call for Proposals: Learning and Teaching Conference 2021

We are now inviting proposals for the 9th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Wednesday 30th June – Friday 2nd July 2021.

Submit and view the call for proposals here.

This year’s conference theme, Improvisation within Constraint: Reshaping a Learning Community in a Time of Change, 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:

  • Flexible approaches to assessment design
  • Embedding skills into the curriculum
  • Lessons learnt from a blended approach
  • Active Learning

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 30th April 2021.

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

E-learning Enhanced: Interactive Blackboard Tools Training Sessions

Distance Learner BannerThe Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to be running our E-learning Enhanced training sessions again this semester.

We’ve got a session scheduled for each of Blackboard’s Interactive Tools: Discussion Boards, Wikis, Tests & Quizzes, and Journals & Blogs. In addition to this, we’ve got a number of Welsh Medium workshops on ‘What can I do in Blackboard?’ as well as some more CPD opportunities.

Blackboard Tools are incredibly versatile and can be adapted for a wide variety of different learning activities: from formative and summative assessment to peer and online learning community building, from reflective activities to the creation of resources. As with all technology enhanced learning, the key is the design of the activity and how that is linked to learning outcomes. Putting the teaching need first and choosing the most appropriate tool will result in meaningful engagements with the task.

These sessions have been designed in such a way to foreground the learning design of the activity as well as the technical creation. Participants will be given the opportunity in these sessions to design a learning activity using the relevant tool and will be provided with technical videos and tips for best embedding their tools in their teaching.

See below for dates and times:

DateSession
22.02.2021Designing and Using Blackboard Discussion Boards
26.02.2021Beth allaf ei wneud gyda Blackboard?
03.03.2021Designing and Using Wikis for Online Collaborative Activities
11.03.2021Creating Blackboard Tests and Quizzes
17.03.2021Using Blackboard Journals and Blogs for Learning Activities
22.03.2021Beth allaf ei wneud gyda Blackboard?

You can see our full list of CPD and book your place online: https://stafftraining.aber.ac.uk/sd/list_courses.php. All our sessions are designed to be run online via Teams. You will be sent a calendar invitation with a link to the session beforehand.

Tips for teaching with Breakout Rooms

Distance Learner Banner

In case you didn’t see our previous blogpost, breakout rooms are now available in Microsoft Teams. In preparation for semester 2 teaching and for increased online teaching, we’re going to give you some design tips on how best to make use of Breakout Rooms. They can be used to great effect to help support and further student learning, as well as offering the option to break down larger groups of students into more manageable discussion groups.

As with all our advice for online learning, think about what you want your students to do before, during, and after the activity.

Before starting Breakout Rooms:

  1. Familiarise yourself with how breakout rooms work. Breakout rooms can only be set up once the meeting has started. To create breakout rooms, you must be the organiser of the meeting.
  2. Design the task for students and communicate that with them beforehand. Ask yourself what it is that you want your students to be able to do after they have engaged with the activity? Do you want them to produce anything whilst in the breakout room? Do you want them to present anything when they come back into the main room?
  3. Make sure that students understand what is being asked of them before they go into breakout groups. Also, give them a strategy for contacting you if they’ve got any questions. This might be using the chat feature in the main room. Or a student re-joining the main meeting again.
  4. Let the students know how long they’ve got in the breakout room before they have to come back into the main room.

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Content Organisation in Blackboard

Distance Learner BannerAs we are using more and more functionality in Blackboard modules, how they are organised has become increasingly important. We receive quite a number of queries from students struggling to locate various items or submission points in Blackboard.

To assist with navigation, we’ve pulled together our top tips on content organisation.

If you’ve got any questions about this or want to request a module MOT, please email elearning@aber.ac.uk.

Tips for Organising Blackboard Content

Before you start creating content on your Blackboard modules, think about how it can best be arranged so that students can easily access it and that learning resources and activities are in a logical place.  

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Kate Exley Workshop: Taking your (PowerPoint) Lectures Online

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce a special online workshop run by Dr Kate Exley on Wednesday 17th February.

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].

So that as many colleagues as possible can attend, we are running the workshop twice (11am-12pm and 1pm-2pm). Please select which session you want to attend when booking.

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 5th February 2021 and should be viewed independently before joining discussion forum – approximately 45 minutes independent study.
  • A discussion forum hosted via Teams on the 17th February, in which participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, share experiences and discuss the topic – lasting 1 hour.

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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.

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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Potential disruption to Blackboard labels and titles

You may notice some changes to Blackboard labels whilst we update our language pack tomorrow morning (Tuesday 10.11.2020).

This will affect menu items and My Modules. Blackboard functionality and access will remain during this time and you will still be able to create content, access materials, and submit assignments. This work is scheduled to take place as part of Information Services’ Tuesday morning maintenance: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/94.

Tips for monitoring chat for online and in person sessions

Distance Learner BannerIn this blogpost, we’ll be looking at some tips for monitoring a Teams chat when you’ve also got attendees joining in person and online.

The planning of the synchronous activity and what you want your students to be able to do after they have engaged with the activity shapes the purpose of the chat. Ask yourself: what role do you want the chat to have in your teaching session?

For example, do you want the chat to be used for students joining online to communicate their ideas with you? Do you want it to be used for them to chat with each other? Do you want the chat contributions to be communicated with those joining in person?

In addition to that, you want to think about how you are asking your online students to engage in the session. Do you want them, for example, to use the raise the hand function to attract your attention? Or, do you want them to only use the chat.

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Changes to Teaching Rooms

Practice Modules

This blogpost is intended to take you through various scenarios that you may wish to use in Teaching Rooms. If you have any questions, please email is@aber.ac.uk.

The following changes have been made to teaching rooms:

  • There are now two screens in the teaching room. Screen 1 (the one with the web camera on) is the main screen. Screen 2 is directly linked to the projector. Use Screen 2 to display materials to your class and to share with participants via Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams has been installed and a shortcut is on all desktops.
  • New desktop microphones have been installed and lapel mics removed.

If you are in a teaching room and require technical assistance, pick up the phone and wait. It will automatically dial through to Technical Support.

Before the session we advise you to:

  1. Set up a Teams meeting for participants who are unable to join the session face to face (How do I do that?)
  2. Have the teaching materials easily available to you – we recommend you use OneDrive and copy your materials to the desktop before beginning the session. Avoid bringing USBs etc. into the teaching room. (How do I use OneDrive?)
  3. Communicate with any students joining via Teams how they will be participating in the session and how you will handle questions from them.

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