Weekly Resource Roundup 30/6/2020

Weekly Resource Roundup with Mary Jacob, Lecturer in Learning and Teaching

As lecturer in learning and teaching responsible for the PGCTHE, I keep an eye out for new resources to help our staff teach effectively online. This includes externally-provided webinars, toolkits, publications and other resources. Because active learning is high on our university agenda, I’m particularly keen to share guidance for moving active learning online.

Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. 

I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.

Using the Whiteboard Feature in Microsoft Teams

In this blogpost we will be taking a look at one of the tools available to make your teaching in a Microsoft Teams session more interactive. The Whiteboard is a space where you and your students can collaborate.

The whiteboard can be used for:

  1. Students sharing ideas or thoughts
  2. Talking your students through a complicated diagram
  3. Mind-mapping ideas or concepts
  4. Sharing or charting a complex process

There’s a great video on using the Whiteboard in Teams by The Virtual Training Team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDqtWRu0rTA

Continue reading

More training sessions available

Distance Learner BannerThe Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit have got some more Moving to Online Teaching and Using Microsoft Teams for Learning and Teaching Activities scheduled. You can book your place online and we will send you a Teams Calendar invite to attend the training session.

In the Moving to Online Teaching session, we introduce some general guidance on how to design and prepare for online teaching. We look at the various interactive tools available in Blackboard and offer tips on how best to implement them into your teaching. We also provide some guidance on the e-assessment tools available to you, guidance on how to tailor your Panopto recordings for online delivery, and how to design and prepare for online video conferencing sessions. We finish with some guidance on using Third Party Software to support Learning and Teaching.

In using Microsoft Teams for Learning and Teaching Activities, we expand our advice on running online teaching sessions for students and go through the functionality available to you in Teams meetings. We provide guidance and information on how best to run interactive sessions with your students, looking at the document collaboration functionality available in Teams.

Underpinning these sessions are the principles of Active Learning and Accessibility that will help to create effective online learning environments for your students.

We will be developing our CPD programme over the summer to respond to the needs of staff. If you wish to discuss any aspect of learning and teaching, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk. For any technical guidance, email elearning@aber.ac.uk.

Using Third Party Software for Learning and Teaching

Distance Learner Banner

As we move to planning and delivering teaching online, we have to become creative with the tools that we use.

Whilst advice so far has been to use technologies that both you and your students are familiar with, there might be a good reason to try a different platform that is not supported or hosted by AU.

If you are considering using a different platform, do bear in mind the company’s privacy statements and find out what they do with personal data (yours and your students’). For example, Zoom, a video conferencing software, has some great functionality especially around creating breakout rooms. Their privacy statement does, however, show that they collect a wide range of information from both the meeting organiser and participants.

The same principles apply to polling software by third parties. In a previous blogpost, we wrote about being mindful of what is happening to yours and your students’ data. Do ask yourselves when selecting a third party platform:

  • what personal data the company in question is collecting about you;
  • what personal data your students may be required to give;
  • how are your presentations stored;
  • how and where your data is kept.

Most companies make their Privacy Policy easy to find. On most sites, you can find a link at the bottom of the homepage under the heading Privacy.

We are on hand to help you and your students transition to online learning.  Do be aware that our expertise is in supporting the technologies we host here at AU, so it may take a little longer to assist you with queries about other platforms. Many of the principles and best practice about teaching with technology apply regardless of platform, and we will be more than happy to help you with this.

We’re not discouraging you from using these platforms, but we do want you to consider the implications for your and your students’ data before doing so, so that you can make an informed choice on how to deliver learning.

If you have any questions about online teaching, please don’t hesitate to contact us on elearning@aber.ac.uk / 01970 622472.

If you have any questions about data protection and using third party software, including potential personal data breaches, please contact the Information Governance Manager on infocompliance@aber.ac.uk.

You can find further information on Learning and Teaching Continuity on our webpages as well as our FAQs.

Monitoring Student Engagement while teaching online

Distance Learner BannerThis blogpost aims to provide you with information on some useful tools in Blackboard that can help you monitor student engagement. This was initially produced for a Distance Learner forum but the tools discussed apply to teaching online. In addition to providing some guidance on Blackboard tools, there are also some resources on student engagement and teaching online at the end of this document.

Statistics Tracking

Statistics Tracking is a useful way for you to monitor how many of your students have engaged with your course materials. This tool is available in Blackboard.
How do I track students’ use of items in my Blackboard Module? https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/index.php?id=628

Review Status

Review Status ask learners to mark that they have a reviewed a piece of content. This will allow you to track where learners are with their modules and their items. 

Using Review Status places the emphasis on giving students their own review status.

What is the Review Status in Blackboard? https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/index.php?search=2869

Adaptive Release

Adaptive release gives Instructors a flexible way to control which items in a Blackboard module are available to students. You can customise your material to fit the needs of individual students or groups. This is especially useful if you have both core and supplementary materials. For example, you might want to release supplementary material only to those students who score poorly on an assessment, but not to the whole class. You can set up a path of contingent prerequisites, such that students cannot see more advanced material until they have viewed the introductory material. You can make material available only for the time period when it is relevant, such as before or after a laboratory practical. You may also wish to make material available only to a selected group of students, perhaps releasing information to a group of students on their group project topic.
How do I use adaptive release to control when items in Blackboard are made available? https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/index.php?id=582
Irwin, B. et al. 2013. ‘Engaging students with feedback through adaptive release’. Innovations in Education and Teaching International. 50: 1. DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2012.748333. Pp. 51-61. Last Accessed 21.10.2019. This article looks at the impact of using adaptive release for releasing student feedback. The aim of this approach was to encourage students to engage more fully with their feedback. Using adaptive release in this way can also be used to engage students with their learning tasks.

You can use adaptive release via the grade centre and the completion of a test or quiz, for example, to release the next unit to students. Not only that, you can also use it to hide content once it’s completed.

Resources on Student Engagement

Blessinger, P. & C. Wankel. Ed. 2013. Increasing Student Engagement and Retention in e-Learning Environments: Web 2.0 and Blended Learning Technologies. Bradford: Emerald Publishing Limited. Last Accessed: 18.10.2019.

Especially:

Starr-Glass, D. 2013. ‘From Connectivity to Connected Learners: Transactional Distance and Social Presence.’ Pp. 113-143

This publication looks at how technology can be used to engage students. The edited collection provides lots of guidance on learning technologies in teaching.

As the editors identify, ‘any technology, novelty or technical sophistication alone cannot guarantee engagement of learners. These technologies should be used in a purposeful and integrated way and within an appropriate theoretical framework germane to the teaching and learning context’ (2013: 5-6).

One chapter of note is Starr-Glass (Pp. 113-143) who emphasises building a learning community and offering opportunities for collaboration as a way to engage students who are studying at a distance. 

Starr-Glass uses Michael Moore’s theory of transactional difference to look at the repercussions of separating the learner from their peers and instructors. The author encourages learners to rely on more than just the technology.  Distance Learning also seen as an early form of learner-centric activities.

Starr-Glass argues that we are now at a Fifth Generation of Distance Learning (2005- ) – The intelligent flexible learning model (2013: 118). This is characterised by access to technology environments where ‘[l]earners are viewed as knowledgeable, self-assured, and capable of accessing informational networks’ (ibid.). Opportunities for creating communities amongst peers are also explored.

Krull, G. & J. M Duart. 2019. ‘Supporting seamless learners: exploring patterns of multiple device use in an open and distance learning context’. Research in Learning Technology. 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v27.2215. Pp. 1-13. Last Accessed: 18.10.2019. 

We often think about content of Distance Learning courses but we don’t necessarily think about how our students are accessing their content. In this article, Greig Krull and Joseph Duart look at how students make use of multiple devices. They used semi- structured interviews to analyse their findings.

Their findings suggest that students studying via distance learning tend to work in multiple locations (private and public) ‘demonstrating the potential for seamless learning’ (4).

The study also found that students had access to between 2 and 5 digital devices for learning. On average, students used 3 devices for learning (4).

As the authors indicate, ‘[a]n area for future research is how educators can better support students using multiple devices and how to reduce any potential ‘seams’ in their learning experiences’ (10).

Meyer, K. 2014. Student Engagement Online: What works and why. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Last Accessed 21.10.2019.

Meyer examines online learning against a context of retention in Higher Education. Of most interest, might be the section on Experiential and Active Learning (p. 28).Meyer also discusses the importance of fostering an online community amongst learners to encourage engagement with resources. The monograph borrows the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to consider how you might engage students in online learning.

These include:

1.       Level of academic challenge

2.       Active and collaborative learning

3.       Student-faculty interaction

4.       Enriching educational experience

5.       Supportive campus (online) environment

(7-8)

 

 

Teaching Tips: Teaching and Learning Continuity

Distance Learner BannerGeneral Points 

  • Provide clear and easy to understand instructions. This cuts down on the number of emails and queries you will receive.  
  • Use the technology that you and your students know and can use. Remember that you can include links to our FAQs in your Blackboard course to help your students. 
  • If you are using your own computer, check that you can do everything you will need to do. If you have any questions you can contact is@aber.ac.uk. These FAQs will help you: 

Further resources

View the excellent set of resources in the ACUE online teaching toolkit:  

See guidance from UK Copyright Literacy on Copyright, Fair Dealing and Online Teaching at a Time of Crisis. 

Manage your content

  • Active learning at a distance: Think about the learning tasks that you want students to carry out, not just the content covered. Make sure that the tasks are made clear to the students. If the learning task is clear, it will promote active learning even at a distance.   For example, a somewhat vague learning task would be to read three articles. A more active task would be to read the three articles and evaluate their arguments relative to each other, or analyse data across several sources to identify patterns, etc.  
  • Accessibility: Apply principles of good accessibility practice to your PowerPoints, Word documents, and other materials.  
    • Apply ALT tags to images in any materials. 
    • Ensure that speaker notes are included in your PowerPoint files and upload the PPT file into Blackboard. Do not just upload a PDF. This gives students another channel to get all of the information you want them to have. 
    • Use plain English as much as possible. If your students don’t understand something well, they won’t be able to ask you during lecture. 
  • Make sure that your Blackboard course is easy for students to navigate. They should be able to find the relevant material for each week easily and quickly. 
  • Reading materials: Ensure that all reading material is accessible through Blackboard. Use Aspire reading lists. If some material is only available in print form (e.g. books in the library), find alternative e-books or online sources they can use instead. 
  • Adaptive Release: You can use Adaptive Release so your materials appear at set times. Try and avoid too many complicated adaptive release rules as they can make it difficult work out why a student can’t see documents.  
  • Box of Broadcasts is an excellent resource for TV and radio material. You can arrange recordings of upcoming material or use previously broadcast programmes. 

Blackboard Tests and Surveys 

Tests are an excellent way for students to check their understanding of a topic and help you know more about their progress. 

  • Be sure to include feedback on right and wrong answers, so that your students can learn from the formative quiz.  
  • You don’t have to give the correct answer but can give links to readings, or further resources to help learn the material. 
  • Write questions that help your students engage with the material, rather than just remembering facts. You can write questions that require them to analyse material, work with scenarios, and do calculations etc. 

Discussion Boards 

Discussion boards are an excellent way to run a remote seminar. They allow students to engage at times that work for them. They are also familiar to many.  

  • Activities: Provide activities for the students to engage with on the discussion boards – set starter questions that require them to actively engage, for example analysing data, comparing articles, summarising their reading, creating questions from the materials they have read. 
  • Guidance on engagement: Provide guidance for students on how you want them to engage with the discussion boards.  
    • For example, you could ask them to write their own posts, and comment on others.  
    • Tell them how often you want the students to engage and how often you will engage. 
    • If you are running a thread for each seminar, you may want to keep the discussion going for a week and then start a new one at a set time. 
  • Guidance on writing:  
    • Do you want them to write formally or informally? 
    • Should they reference their reading? 
    • Short posts are better than essays – the aim of discussion boards is for students to interact rather than just post their essays  

BlogsWikis and Journals 

Blogs and Journals are a good way of students to document an ongoing process or practice – for example a reading journal. Students can use text, images, video etc. Blogs are visible to all class members, and Journals are private between the student and the instructor. 

Wikis are good for group work. They can be used by all the class, or you can split into groups, and each group can have a wiki. Students can use text, images and video, and you can see each student’s contribution. 

  • Give students clear instructions about how to use the blogs, wikis or journals. Tell them what you expect: how often you want them to contribute and how often you will engage with them. 
  • Example contributions can be useful to help students understand what you expect. 
  • You can make comments on posts to provide feedback.
  • All three types of activity can be graded if you want to use them as an assessment method. 

Panopto Recordings 

Panopto recordings are a good way of presenting information to your students along with PowerPoint slides. You can re-use recordings you have already made, but if you are making new recordings specifically for continuity purposes, bear the following in mind: 

  • Make your videos shorter than a standard lecture. Students will find it easier to concentrate on shorter videos. 
  • Link the recording to a learning activity for your students. Encourage active listening with questions, or other activities. 
  • Make the PowerPoint and speakers notes (if you use them) available on Blackboard. 
  • If you are still working on campus, use teaching rooms or AU equipment to create Panopto recordings. If you are experiencing problems with installing Panopto on your own equipment, consider re-using recordings you have made in previous years until these have been resolved. 

Panopto Quizzes

Quizzes are a good way of breaking up your recording, similar to the way you would use questions in a lecture 

  • Write clear questions that will help your students engage with the recording actively. 

Digital Experience Insights 2019-20: How do you rate technology at Aberystwyth University?

Aberystwyth University is taking part in the Digital Experience Insights project aiming to explore our students’ experiences of technology. The project is based on online surveys designed by Jisc and used by different institutions across UK.

It allows us to get better insights on how students use technology and benchmark our results against other HE intuitions in our sector.

We would greatly appreciate your help in promoting this survey to all students:

Mini Conference: Group Work and Group Assessment, Monday 16 December, 10.30am

Mini Conference Programme

Mini Conference Logo

On Monday 16th December, at 10.30am, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit 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 Group Work and Group Assessment.

We’re excited to confirm our programme:

  • Professor John Traxler, Professor of Digital Learning, University of Wolverhampton: Working (Groups) in the Digital Age
  • Dr Jennifer Wood & Roberta Sartoni (Modern Langauges): Group Work as an Active-Learning Tool in Translation Classes
  • Janet Roland & John Harrington (Student Support Services): Supporting students who find group work challenging
  • Dr Gareth Llŷr Evans (Theatre, Film and Television Studies): Prosesau Creadigol Agored ac Asesu Grwpiau Bach
  • Dr Ian Archer (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit): Learning Environments and your personality preferences
  • Mary Jacob (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit): Designing and Assessing Group Work

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.

Changes to Teaching Machines

Over the summer, Information Services have made some changes to equipment in teaching rooms:

  • Whiteboard capture with Crestron Airboard cameras
  • PowerPoint Presenter Mode with screen mirroring
  • Interactive whiteboards with CleverTouch screens

These tools are available in a selection of rooms around campus.

Crestron Airboard

Whiteboard capture will project everything you write onto the screen. You can also use it to record your whiteboard notes.

Whiteboard capture is available in:

  • IBERS 0.30,
  • IBERS 0.31,
  • Edward Llwyd 3.34
  • Hugh Owen E3
  • Hugh Owen C22

After you have logged into the computer:

  1. Click on the Crestron Airboard icon on the desktop
  2. There is a Crestron unit on wall near the whiteboard.
  3. When the button on unit flashes blue, press it

The Crestron page will then appear on screen and will display your handwriting on the screen. You can share a link to this page with your students. They will be able to see your handwriting on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

If you want to record the handwriting with Panopto, you will need to make sure that you select to capture the computer screen as well as any PowerPoint you are using when starting your recording. You will need to make sure that the Crestron web page is the main window open on the computer when you are writing on the board.

Presenter Mode

You can use Presenter Mode to show your PowerPoint slides to students, and see the speaker’s notes yourself on from the teaching room machine.

Currently in:

  • Edward Llwyd 3.34
  • IBERS 0.30
  • IBERS 0.31
  • IBERS, 0.32
  • Hugh Owen Language Labs (BA8 and BA9)
  • Hugh Owen C22 (permanently in presenter mode with two monitors)
  • All teaching rooms in Penbryn 5.

When you go into the PC it will default to screen mirroring. This means that the display on the monitor will be the same as the display on the projector screen. If you want to use PowerPoint Presenter Mode (speaker notes on the monitor and slides on the screen):

  1. Click on Extend Display on the desktop
  2. To record the slides but not the notes, set up Panopto to capture Second Screen and not the Main Screen.
  3. You can move windows from your main screen (monitor) to the Second Screen (screen) by dragging it to the left-hand side of the monitor
  4. To go back to normal, click on Mirror Display

Interactive Whiteboards

Currently in:

  • All teaching rooms in Penbryn 5.

To use the CleverTouch boards just as a whiteboard:

  1. Tap the bottom of the screen > choose Lux
  2. Tap left or right arrow > choose Note

This will then open a whiteboard application and you can annotate it. Be aware that it isn’t possible to record these screens with Panopto.

To go back to the PC tap the bottom of the screen and then select HDMI.

To annotate PowerPoint etc on PC (HDMI mode)

  1. Click on the left or right arrow on the board
  2. Click on the pen icon
  3. This will provide an image of the screen that you can’t interactive with, but you can write on it.
  4. To move onto the next slide, click on the left or right arrow on the board
  5. Click on the cross icon

This will lose your annotations. Note that the annotations will disappear when you move to the next screen. Also, annotations aren’t captured with Panopto.

New Distance Learner Forum

Distance Learner BannerWe’re excited to announce a new Distance Learner Forum for staff. These Forums are specifically aimed at those who deliver Distance Learning teaching or are considering delivering via Distance Learning in the future.

The Distance Learner Forum was established at this year’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. Book your place on these courses online.

This year there are 3 Distance Learning Forums:

Distance Learning Forum 1: Strategies for Monitoring Student Engagement

Tuesday 22nd October 2019, 1pm-2pm, E3 E-learning Training Room

In the first of these special Distance Learner Forums we will be looking at how you measure student engagement with learning activities in Blackboard. Blackboard has many different types of learning opportunities and activities. In this session, we will be looking at how we can measure student engagement with Blackboard for Distance Learning students.

Distance Learning Forum 2: Creating a Podcast

Tuesday 18th February 2020, 1pm-2pm, E3 E-learning Training Room

In the second of our Distance Learner Forums, we will be looking at Creating Podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to keep your students engaged with the content that you are creating as well as giving them opportunities to build activities into the podcasts. We’ll look at successful podcast design whilst also looking at the practicalities for creating your podcast and embedding it into your Blackboard course.

Distance Learning Forum 3: Gauging Student Opinion from a Distance

Tuesday 26th May 2020, 1pm-2pm, E3 E-learning Training Room

In the third of our Distance Learner Forums, we will be looking at how you can gauge student opinion from a distance. We’ll discuss and present strategies on how to allow distance learning students to feel part of a community and also to learn from each other. We’ll introduce activities that can be done in Blackboard to support this as well as other technologies such as online polling and Skype for Business.

We hope that you’ll be able to attend these forums. Please contact us with any questions.