MS Bookings: Bookings Appointments Enabled

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Want a way to automatically schedule meetings with colleagues and students without going back and forth?

Bookings has been enabled on Office365 accounts. You might want to use this to schedule personal tutor meetings, dissertation supervision sessions, or appointments with professional services staff.

Bookings allows you to schedule meetings and appointments and automatically integrates with your Office365 calendar based on yours and your attendees’ availability.

You can specify your available booking slots, when your meetings are scheduled, whether they’re taking place online, and publish a webpage with a link to share with others or put in your email signature.

Take a look at our FAQ for further information on how to set this up.

Contact Information Services ( if you have got any questions about using Bookings.

Teams Language Interpretation now available

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In its most recent update, Teams made available its new translation channel for online meetings. Now, you can allocate a translator to your meeting and attendees can tune into their interpretation. This solution has been developed in collaboration between Microsoft and Welsh Government.

If you’ve got any questions about using Teams, please contact

In line with the statutory requirements of the Welsh Language Standards and the University’s internal policy on the use of Welsh, the Centre for Welsh Language Services provides a Simultaneous Translation service at meetings (virtual, hybrid and in-person).

Simultaneous Translation allows attendees to use their preferred language (e.g. Welsh/English) completely naturally and easily at meetings, committees and events for example. For further information please contact the Centre for Welsh Language Services

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Changes to Teaching Rooms: Re-introduction of Neck Mics

Information Services is working to re-introduce neck microphones in teaching rooms.

For those who are new to the institution or would like a refresher, neck mics are hooked up to the audio systems in teaching rooms, worn around the neck of the presenter, and can be used for Panopto recordings and Teams Meetings. Take a look at our FAQ on how to use the Neck Microphones.

Health and Safety Information

The reintroduction of neck microphones means that some additional hygiene guidance needs to be followed:

  • Regular hand hygiene helps to reduce transmission of illnesses and diseases; please wash hands regularly and use the hand sanitisers on entry to buildings.
  • To reduce contact points, only one person should use the neck microphone in a teaching session
  • The neck microphone should be wiped down with wipes effective against COVID-19 as per other equipment before and after its use
  • Although the neck mic gives staff greater freedom to move around the teaching room, staff are encouraged to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres, where possible, and maintain good hand hygiene practices before and after handling the neck mics (as noted in the Aberystwyth University COVID Risk Assessment October 2021).
  • In most rooms, the lectern microphones will also stay in place and can still be used (provided staff stay near the lectern). In a small number of rooms, only a neck microphone will be available.

How will the rollout be managed?

Changes to the teaching rooms will be taking place gradually so you may notice the reintroduction of the neck mic imminently. All neck mics will be in place ready for the start of teaching in Semester 2.

Use the neck mic in Panopto

The neck mic can be used on your Panopto recording. When you start Panopto, change the microphone to Neck Mic by clicking on the dropdown menu to the right of the Audio field in the Panopto recorder:

Use the neck mic in Teams Meetings

The neck mic can be used as the microphone Teams meetings. To change your microphone in the Teams meeting:

Select the more options button:

Screen Grab of Teams Meeting Options

This screen grab shows the options on the top right handside of the screen available in a Teams meeting.

Highlighted is the ... option which stands for more options.

And then Device Settings

Under microphone select Neck Mic.

Further Help

We’ve got our Teaching Room Guide 2021-22 which outlines how to use the teaching room equipment. If you are having difficulties with the teaching room equipment in a centrally timetabled teaching room, pick up a phone and it will come through to the workshop.

Contact us if you have any questions (

NEW Welsh-medium Teams site and CPD (March ’21)

NEW Teams Site:
We have set up a new Teams site, Dysgu ac addysgu cyfrwng Cymraeg. This site is for staff at the University who teach through the medium of Welsh or who can speak Welsh. It is an informal place for us to share information about Welsh-medium training with you and a place for everyone to share good teaching practice.

*To be added to the site, please e-mail *
Welsh-medium Learning and Teaching site
Welsh-medium training (March):
The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit offers several sessions for Continued Professional Development (CPD) covering a range of topics. We are holding two Welsh-medium sessions during March.

  1. Hanfodion E-ddysgu Uwch: Beth allaf ei wneud gyda Blackboard (22 March; 14:00-15:30)
  2. Fforwm Academi: Addysgu grwpiau bychain (24 March; 11:00-12:30) *Open to staff from other universities in Wales

For a full list of all sessions (both English- and Welsh-medium) and to book a place on any course, please visit the staff training website. If you have any questions about any of the sessions, please email


Kate Exley Workshop Summary

Last month the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit invited Dr Kate Exley to run a workshop for Aberystwyth University Staff called Moving your (PowerPoint) Lecture online.

What emerged from participants were lots of useful strategies for engaging students whilst teaching online. We’ve summarised some of the discussion below.

Learning Design:

  1. Simple strategies were most effective, such as using word document and uploading into chat
  2. Make use of Polling Software to engage students in their learning
  3. Build in ice-breaker activities to establish initial engagement
  4. In longer sessions, set a task and factor in a screen break
  5. Include tasks for students to do in advance and use the live sessions to scaffold their knowledge
  6. Include social tasks as well as formal tasks
  7. One department are running day long workshops with the option to ‘dial’ in the staff member if they’ve got any questions
  8. Stick to one or two large scale activities in a 40 minute session
  9. Be aware that students might be entering the synchronous session not having engaged with all tasks beforehand
  10. Use collaborative tools such as shared document, whiteboard or Padlet to collectively generate notes
  11. Being more informal in recorded lectures
  12. Offering weekly live q and a drop in sessions
  13. Asking students to meet in groups outside of timetabled activities
  14. Share real life examples / case studies in teaching and ask students to contribute with their own examples
  15. Ask students to look things up / research in the synchronous session

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Tips for teaching with Breakout Rooms

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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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How can I check for understanding whilst teaching online?

Checking for understanding (CFU) plays a crucial role in the learning and teaching process and can verify to the lecturer what is being learnt but also provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their own learning. CFU is one of the biggest challenges in teaching and having to do so within the virtual classroom can make this even more challenging than in a traditional face-to-face setting! However, there are several useful features in MS Teams that can be used to help you CFU. Here are a few tips on how to utilise these features:

The chat function.
You can use the chat function in a variety of ways to CFU. Some ideas include asking students to summarize a concept or idea, or to paraphrase a theory in just a couple of sentences. The chat can also prove as a valuable tool in CFU of quieter students who may not wish to reply verbally to your questions. Here are some tips on how to manage the chat effectively in MS Team.

To inject a bit of fun into the classroom and as a way of avoiding “yes/no” answers, you could ask your students to react to comments on questions that you have posted in the chat to express how they’re feeling about a topic or concept. For example:
Screenshot showing reactions to a post in the chat

Raise your hand feature.
The raise your hand feature in Teams allows users to notify the lecturer that they have a question or a comment to make, but you could also use it to CFU. How about asking students to use the feature in response to a question? For example, “raise your hand if you want me to show you how to do that again”.
You could also use the feature to encourage students to elaborate on their answers in the chat, for example, “raise your hand if you can tell me more about that”. If students are unsure about unmuting themselves, you can encourage them to respond with a written response in the chat.

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Drop in sessions: E-learning tools

We would like to offer staff members at the University the opportunity to join us for our drop-in sessions on using e-learning tools (Blackboard, Panopto, Turnitin and MS Teams) for learning and teaching activities. These will offer an informal opportunity to speak with our Online Learning Specialists and to address any problems or queries you may have.

All drop-in sessions will be held via MS Teams and there is no need to book, just click on the links below. *Please note that sessions with an asterisk (*) will be bilingual sessions, and all sessions without an asterisk will run as English-medium sessions.  

These drop-in sessions will take place on:
19.01.2021 (10:00-11:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting*
21.01.2021 (14:00-15:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
26.01.2021 (10:00-11:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting*
28.01.2021 (14:00-15:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
02.02.2021 (10:00-11:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting*
04.02.2021 (14:00-15:00): Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

We hope that these sessions will provide you with an opportunity to clarify any questions about your teaching needs.

If you have any questions, please email

NEW feature – Breakout Rooms in MS Teams

One of the most anticipated features in MS Teams has finally arrived…. Breakout Rooms! Breakout rooms allow meeting organisers to create and name up to 50 separate rooms within scheduled and ‘meet now’ meetings. Organisers can then assign attendees to those rooms either automatically or manually.

We will be releasing guidance on how to create and manage breakout rooms (for staff) and how to participate in breakout rooms (for students) next week. For the time being, here is a guide from Microsoft on how to create and manage breakout rooms in Teams.

What does the icon for breakout rooms look like?
The icon for breakout rooms is displayed as two boxes (as is highlighted below by the blue box). This should appear on your control bar.
Breakout Room Icon

Why can’t I see this icon?
If you are not able to see this icon, there are two likely reasons:

    • 1. Only meeting organisers can create and manage breakout rooms. If you are not the meeting organiser, then you will not be able to create and manage breakout rooms in Teams and you won’t see the icon during that meeting.


    2. MS Teams might not have automatically updated. To do this yourself, click on your image from the top-right hand corner of the screen (see yellow box on image below) and then select ‘Check for updates’ (see orange box).

Settings bar in Teams
If you have any questions about using Teams, please contact Information Services ( [:cy]Mae un o’r nodweddion mwyaf disgwyliedig MS Teams wedi cyrraedd o’r diwedd…. Ystafelloedd Trafod (Breakout Rooms)! Mae ystafelloedd trafod yn caniatáu i drefnwyr cyfarfodydd greu ac enwi hyd at 50 o ystafelloedd ar wahân, mewn cyfarfodydd sydd wedi’u hamserlennu ac o fewn cyfarfodydd ‘meet now’. Gall trefnwyr yna benodi mynychwyr i’r ystafelloedd hynny naill ai’n awtomatig neu â llaw.

Byddwn yn rhyddhau canllawiau ar sut i greu a rheoli ystafelloedd trafod (i staff) a sut i gymryd rhan o fewn ystafelloedd trafod (i fyfyrwyr) yr wythnos nesaf. Am y tro, dyma ganllaw gan Microsoft ar sut i greu a rheoli ystafelloedd trafod o fewn Teams.

Sut mae’r eicon ar gyfer ystafelloedd trafod yn edrych?
Mae’r eicon ar gyfer ystafelloedd trafod wedi’i arddangos fel dau flwch (fel y nodir isod o fewn y blwch glas). Dylai hyn ymddangos ar eich bar rheoli.
Breakout Room Icon
Pam na allaf weld yr eicon hwn?
Os na allwch weld yr eicon hwn, mae dau reswm tebygol:

    • 1. Dim ond trefnwyr cyfarfodydd all greu a rheoli ystafelloedd trafod. Os nad chi yw trefnydd y cyfarfod, yna ni fyddwch yn gallu creu a rheoli ystafelloedd trafod o fewn Teams ac ni fyddwch chwaith yn gallu gweld yr eicon yn ystod y cyfarfod hwnnw.


    • 2. Efallai fod MS Teams heb ddiweddaru’n awtomatig. I wneud hyn eich hun, cliciwch ar eich delwedd yng nghornel dde uchaf y sgrin (gweler y blwch melyn ar y ddelwedd isod) ac yna dewiswch ‘

Check for Updates

    ‘ (gweler y blwch oren).

Settings bar in Teams
Os oes gennych chi unrhyw gwestiynau am sut i ddefnyddio Teams, cysylltwch â Gwasanaethau Gwybodaeth (


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.