NEW Recurring MS Teams Meeting Feature in Blackboard

Today, a new feature has been made available in Blackboard which allows you to create recurring MS Teams meetings.

This new feature works very similarly to the recurring options available in Outlook. As can be seen in the image below, you can now arrange MS Teams meetings through Blackboard based on how often you want them to recur; on what days you want them to recur; and when you would like this recurrence to end.

Students should be encouraged to add this link to their calendars as this will automatically add the whole series to their calendars.

Screenshot showing the options available in the new recurring meetings feature.

When setting up your recurring meeting, please ensure that you include clear information which demonstrates which sessions should be accessed through the link that you have just created.

Table demonstrating which sessions can be accessed through the Teams link

For further details on how to use this new feature, please visit our FAQ.

Interactive Blackboard Tools Series – Journals and Blogs (Part 1)

Teaching staff at Aberystwyth University make excellent use of basic functions of Blackboard keeping it consistent and easy to navigate, meeting the needs of their students. Some staff go beyond Blackboard Required Minimum Presence, using additional, interactive functions in many different creative ways. Considering the current emphasis on online learning and the use of asynchronous online activities we would like to introduce you to some of the more advanced (although still easy to use!) tools in Blackboard:

  • Journals and Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Tests

We have already written about discussion board – perhaps the most versatile of all the Blackboard tools. In this blog post we will focus on blogs and journals and the value these tools could bring to your teaching. 

Both journals and blogs, typically written in an informal way, are tools conducive to reflection and personal expression. The difference in their use is determined by whether or not they are aimed at being shared with others. Journals in Blackboard can be set up in two ways:

  • Private journals cannot be anonymous, are seen only by the lecturer and the student who wrote it, if enabled other students may view them but not comment or edit.
  • Group journals enable students to write individual entries into one group journal, group members can view and comment on all entries.

Watch a tutorial on creating journals

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Alternative activities to in-person teaching

There may be occasions where it is not practically possible for you to simultaneously deliver non-lecture activities (e.g. seminars, workshops, etc.) to students in-person and students joining via MS Teams.

In this blog post, we will explore some different options for delivering alternative activities for those students that cannot join in-person sessions. Before you begin to design an alternative activity, consider the following points:

1.

    • Which alternative activity will best emulate the experience that students in the original in-person session are getting?

2.

    • What are my intended learning outcomes and which activities will best achieve these?

3.

    • How long will it take me to plan an activity and do I have the capacity to do this?

4.

    • Think carefully about your assessment criteria – will the alternative activity that you provide allow the students to undertake the module assessments successfully?

5.

    Clarity and focus are at the heart of any well-designed online activity. Ensure that students using your alternative activity know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. If you ask students to use any technology, you must provide students with clear and concise guidance on how to use these.

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Welsh-Medium Continued Professional Development – What’s on?

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit offers several sessions for Continued Professional Development (CPD) covering a range of topics. We offer sessions in both English and Welsh and Welsh-medium sessions will appear in Welsh on the staff training website. Here is an overview of the Welsh-medium sessions that we are offering throughout the rest of the semester:

November 2020

16.11.20 (11:00-12:30):

    • CDU: Datblygu eich arferion addysgu (D & A: Ar-lein)

17.11.20 (14:00-15:30):

    • CDU: Defnyddio MS Teams, Offer yr Ystafell Ddysgu ac Addysgu syncronaidd (D & A: Ar-lein)

20.11.20 (14:00-15:00):

    • Hanfodion E-ddysgu: Cyflwyniad i Turnitin (D & A: Ar-lein)

25.11.20 (11:00-12:00):

    Hanfodion E-ddysgu: Cyflwyniad i Panopto (D & A: Ar-lein)

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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.

MS Teams: 10 Common Questions

Following training sessions that we have conducted over the past few weeks on using MS Teams for learning and teaching activities, here are answers to 10 common questions. Further information on using MS Teams can be found in our Microsoft Teams FAQs, and please do not hesitate getting in touch with us if you have any further queries (lteu@aber.ac.uk).

Q1: If I am sharing my screen can I still see the chat function?
A1: Unfortunately, unless you have two screens then this will not be possible. You could either ask a student to monitor the chat for you or you could stop sharing your screen from time to time to check what has been posted in the chat. There are some advanced share screen options that may enable you to see the chat in some instances, and we’re happy to discuss these with you further.

Q2: I would like to add an external individual from outside Aberystwyth University to one of my ‘teams’ within MS Teams, is this possible?
A2: It is possible to add external individuals who have an Office 365 account with an ac.uk domain, but any external individual who has an email account that is not an ac.uk address will need to complete a request form to have their domain added to AU Teams access. Alternatively, you could set up meetings with external individuals through MS Teams without having to request access.

Q3: After recording a meeting, how would I access the recording and how long is it available for?
A3: After ending a meeting the recording will appear in the meeting’s chat and this will be available to download for 22 days. Please familiarise yourself with the University’s Lecture Capture Policy for details on what type of sessions are appropriate to record.

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Useful Information: Online Teaching

Distance Learner BannerSetting up sessions through MS Teams:

  • Unless otherwise agreed, Microsoft Teams should be used to run all online teaching sessions.
  • Details of online teaching sessions should be posted in Blackboard (see our FAQ how to set up a Teams meeting in Blackboard?).
  • Please note that for any sessions set up through Blackboard, students will be able to use the link to join the session 15 minutes before the chosen start time. Any time prior to this, students have the option to add the session to their Office365 calendars (see our student FAQ).

Keeping students informed:

  1. Use the announcements feature in Blackboard to communicate with your students. (See our FAQ How do I add an announcement to my Blackboard module?)
  2. Ensure that your Blackboard contacts page has your contact information and clear instructions on how and when students should contact you.

Delivering online sessions from the University:

  • If required, you may come into the University to deliver your online session from the teaching rooms in the allotted timetabled slots. Please ensure you are using the correct room and time allocated to your activity. 

CPD sessions:

  • The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be running a number of CPD sessions for staff members over the coming weeks, focusing specifically on online learning and teaching and associated E-learning tools.

For any technical assistance with using MS Teams or any of the E-learning tools, please email elearning@aber.ac.uk. If you wish to discuss any aspect of learning and teaching, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

 

Learning and Teaching Updates – September 2020

Distance Learner Banner

We would like to provide you with an overview of recent developments and support materials that we have worked on for the past few months.

This information is also available at:  https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/it-services/elearning/continuity/

Scheduling MS Teams meeting from Blackboard

All teaching sessions held in MS Teams should be scheduled in Blackboard. This includes timetabled online activities.

Setting up a meeting: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/3067

Information for students: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/3061

Recording seminars and Teams activities

There are privacy concerns which need to be considered when recording a meeting in MS Teams.

Further information: Guidance on recording seminars and Teams activities

Using teaching rooms

Information about using teaching rooms this academic year, including how to use MS Teams in an in-person teaching session is available at Teaching Room Guide 2020-21

Support materials for students

Supporting your Learning resources for students are now available at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/important-info/living-and-learning-in-aberystwyth-2020-21/students/supporting-your-learning/. We will add to this page during the semester as things change or we approach key points for students.