One of the benefits to having a subscription to a dedicated Polling Tool is receiving regular updates. Vevox is the University’s dedicated Polling Tool. You can use it to add interactivity to your teaching sessions as well as your meetings.
Our resources for Vevox are available on our webpages.
Enhancements that have come this month are summarised below:
Use of LaTeX to create questions in Polls means that colleagues in disciplines such as Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science can make use of formulae in the creation of their polls. Take a look at Vevox’s LaTeX helpsheet to help you set up your polls.
Correct answer explanations allow you to provide additional feedback to students when they get a question correct. This can help you save time when running your quiz. For a video summary, check out Vevox’s guidance on Running a Quiz.
Results from polls can now be displayed as numbers as well as percentages meaning that participants can get an idea how many of their colleagues have responded to the questions. Not used polling in Vevox before? Check out their guidance on how to create a basic poll.
Vevox fully integrates with Teams meaning that you can run the sessions in your online teaching meetings and participants can respond via the Teams app without having to enter a 9 digit code. Find out more on our How do I use Vevox with Microsoft Teams FAQ.
We’re always on the lookout for case studies so if you’re using Vevox polling in your teaching session drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you’re using it.
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.
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.
For further details on how to use this new feature, please visit our FAQ.
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.
Teaching staff are encouraged to provide access to teaching sessions forstudents unable to attend them in person. The guidelines below providea step-by-step checklist of all things that need to be completed to conduct an effective session for both students sitting in the classroom and those joining via MS Teams.
Note:Make it clear that this has been provided for students who are not able to attend the session in person and that all students who are well and not self-isolating are expected to attend the sessions in-person and that attendance during face-to–face session will be closely monitored.
Revise the teaching room guide and watch videos demonstrating using the new teaching room set-up:
Downtime on the systems we rely on is never popular. Making the decision about when to take Blackboard out of service is one of the hardest parts of our job. Juggling the different areas of work at the University as well as making sure that all the relevant parties are consulted takes a lot of time. We try to avoid finishing maintenance on Fridays – it’s best that problems don’t emerge over the weekend when support staff aren’t here. Equally, we don’t do work during University closed periods (it’s hard to seek assistance from software companies as they’re often on holiday too).
We try to fix a date – we crosscheck with other commitments at team, departmental and University level. There are times we have to avoid – any time during teaching (including the PGCE students who start earlier and finish later than others, as well as those doing Distance Learner or Lifelong Learning Courses). Also, any time that students need to revise or Blackboard is needed for exam purposes is out. Once we think we’ve found a suitable date, we ask a smaller group of individuals what they think – Faculty Registars, Senior Managers, Academic Registry and other key contacts. If they spot a problem then we begin again.
When the date is confirmed, we begin advertising the downtime. We will always put a message on a banner in Blackboard, use the Weekly Email and Information Services’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.
So we don’t organise into Blackboard downtime lightly. We ask people, we tell people, we plan it and we do our best to minimise its impact. We don’t always get it right for everyone, but we do our very best to balance all the competing demands of a complex institution.