E-learning Support for Learning and Teaching Activities

The E-learning Group hope you had an enjoyable break over holiday period. As we begin to enter into the examination period, we thought that it would be useful for us to identify what support is on offer for colleagues who provide administrative support for learning and teaching activities.

Our FAQ, What FAQs are useful for providing administrative support for E-learning systems?, might be a good starting point. This is a FAQ designed specifically to bring all our FAQs pertaining to administrative support together so that you are able to find an answer to your question as quickly as possible.

In addition to our FAQs, we also have E-learning Guides available on our webpages. These guides are designed to guide you through the entirety of a process from beginning to end and are useful for those who would like to gain an understanding for a whole process. We’re also happy to meet you face-to-face and of course we provide help and support over the phone and via email. We’re also happy to provide training to yourself and your colleagues. If you and your colleagues would like to request a training session, just get in touch. There may also be some training sessions that you will find useful. Our full training programme for 2018/19 can be found on our webpages.

elearning@aber.ac.uk

01970 62 2472

www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/it-services/elearning

E-learning Blog

 

Equipment Available to Hire from Information Services

Information Services has equipment that’s available to hire to support learning and teaching. A full list of equipment that is available to be borrowed from Information Services is available here.  To book the equipment, contact is@aber.ac.uk / 01970 62 2400 with your requirements

Below are a few items that might be of particular interest.

Lego

Coventry Disruptive Media Learning Lab were our keynote speakers at last year’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference. In addition to their keynote talk, they also offered attendees a couple of workshops. One of these workshops was led by Oliver Wood, a community producer at DMLL and focused on Playing with LEGO to Enhance Learning.

Their methods build on LEGO’s Serious Play methodology and adapts it for Learning and Teaching Activities. Further information on how they use LEGO can be found on their webpages.

A recording of the workshop from the conference can be found here.

The session built on last year’s mini conference, Serious Play for Learning which showcased how LEGO was being used in a variety of disciplines across the University. Information Services has 4 large boxes and 1 smaller box of LEGO available for hire

Virtual Reality Headsets and 3D Camera

There are a number of Virtual Reality Headsets and a 3D Camera available to be borrowed from Information Services. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the increased use of VR in Learning and Teaching. Dr Steve Atherton, Lecturer in the Department of Education uses VR to immerse students in different environments and experience childhood and education from different contexts. Find out more about how Steve is using Virtual Reality by watching this video.

You might also find this blogpost,

At last year’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Joe Smith and Aled John from the Marketing Team gave a workshop on using a 3D Camera and also VR goggles. A recording of the workshop can be found here.

Jabra Speakers

Speakers are also able to be hired from Information Services for Skype for Business sessions. Skype for Business is available as part of the University’s Office 365 subscription. You can install and use Skype for Business from the comfort of your own office.

We’ve seen colleagues across the University use Skype for Business for webinar sessions for students who are out on placement and also to offer students revision sessions in preparation for their exams. Skype for Business might be useful for those who are working with Distance Learning students to provide virtual classroom environments. Skype for Business also has some interactive features, such as live polling, that will help enhance the online session.

A guide on how to use Skype for Business for learning and teaching activities is available on our webpages. If you are interested in using Skype for Business and would like to discuss further or need any support, contact the E-learning Group (elearning@aber.ac.uk / 01970 62 2472).

Using Skype for Business for Learning and Teaching Activities

The E-learning Group have been supporting colleagues in the Education Department to use Skype for Business for a webinar for PGCE students who are currently out on placement in schools. The webinar offered support to students regarding their upcoming assignments.

Skype for Business is available to all members of the University as part of Office 365 package. In addition to creating virtual meetings, it also gives you the ability to deliver virtual classrooms from the comfort of your own office at a time that is convenient to you. It’s straight forward for students to sign in to the webinar – all they need to do is be connected to the Internet.

In addition to creating an online classroom, Skype for Business also has some additional features that might be of use. Skype for Business meetings can be recorded and then uploaded to Panopto. In addition to this, it has interactive features that can be used by participants in the actual session. These features include polling software:

Skype for Business also has an Instant Messenger service built in so webinar participants can ask questions and respond to queries throughout the session.

Plans are already afoot to look into different learning and teaching activities that Skype for Business can support, including being used for a special revision session.

If you’re interested in using Skype for Business for learning and teaching activities, including webinars, then the E-learning Group are running a training session on 18 December, 3pm-4pm in E3, E-learning Training Room. The session will cover how to set up a Skype for Business meeting, how to load a presentation, how to use the interactive features of the software and also how to record the session. You can book to attend the session online here.

If you are interested in using Skype for Business and are unable to attend the training session, drop the E-learning Group an email and we will be more than happy to arrange a consultation. Our Skype for Business Guide is available on our webpages.

 

Submit your Blackboard Module for an Exemplary Course Award

Applications for the Exemplary Course Award are now open. The closing date for applications is 12pm, 1st February 2019. To submit an application, download the application form here and consult the guidance available on our webpages.

The Exemplary Course Award is designed to recognise exemplary practice in Blackboard modules. Since its launch in 2013, the Exemplary Course award has awarded 5 exemplary modules, 8 highly commended and 3 commended awards.

This year’s awards are slightly different. Although the Exemplary Course Award is still based on Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program Rubric, we have made some adjustments to emphasise the interactive uses of Blackboard to provide a blended learning environment for students. In addition to this, extra weighting has been given to the accessibility criteria to ensure that the Blackboard modules are accessible for all learners.

We will be running a training session for those of you who are considering submitting an application for the ECA on Wednesday 12th December, 3pm-4pm in E3, E-learning Training Room and also on Tuesday 8th January, 3pm-4pm. You can book onto these sessions by going onto the CDSAP book a course pages.

Academy Forum 2018/19

This year’s Academy Forums are now well underway. This year, our Academy Forums are structured around themes that emerged from the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference and were put forward by conference delegates.

The Academy Forums for the year are:

  • 03.10.2018, 3pm-4pm: Introduction to Academy Forum
  • 11.10.2018, 10am-11am: JISC’s Student Digital Tracker
  • 16.11.2018, 11am-12pm: Students as Partners
  • 17.12.2018, 1pm-2pm: Innovative approaches to feedbacl
  • 21.01.2019, 12pm-1pm: Learning Design
  • 28.02.2019, 3pm-4pm: Research-Led Teaching
  • 01.04.2019, 12pm-1pm: Instilling self-regulation in learners
  • 09.05.2019, 11am-12pm: How do we know our teaching is working?
  • 12.06.2019, 2pm-4pm: Using Learning Analytics, Summary and Close

You can book onto the Academy Forums via the CDASP booking pages.

Our Academy Forums provide an informal space for members of the University community to come together and discuss matters relating to learning and teaching and technology-enhanced learning.

Last year’s Academy Forums were based on JISC’s Enhancing the Digital Experience for Students’ Cards. Some of the discussions that we had last year. Within the E-learning Group, we started to develop our own Student Engagement Strategy and started to think about how we might work more closely with our student partners. In addition to this, we also started working with colleagues in the Careers service to talk about the digital skills that were required in the workplace.

The Academy Forums are held in E3, the E-learning Training Room. To access E3, you will need your Aber Card. Enter the Hugh Owen building via the Language Labs and proceed up the stairs to Level E. Swipe your Aber Card and E3 Training Room is just around the corner on the right hand side.

If you wish to join the Academy Forum mailing list, email elearning@aber.ac.uk. Notes from previous Academy Forums are available on the Academy Forum wiki.

Training and Support

This year’s E-learning Training programme is well underway. You can book onto our training sessions via the CDSAP booking pages. This year, our training is split into 3 different levels so that the training that we are offering you meets your needs.

Our first level is E-learning Essentials. These sessions are aimed at people who have not used the systems before or who would like a refresher. A key aim of these sessions is to ensure that participants are able to adhere to the University’s policies. Whilst these sessions are technical, we ensure that there is always a view as to the pedagogical rationale surrounding them. Following this, our next level is E-learning Enhanced. The idea of these sessions is to begin to explore innovative ways in which you can use the E-learning software to support your learning and teaching. Our final level is E-learning Excellence. These sessions support the development of innovative approaches to technology-enhanced learning.

There are a couple of new sessions that we would like to draw your attention to:

  • What can I do with my Blackboard course? In this session, we will be looking at the interactive tools that can be used in Blackboard to enhance learning and teaching. There’s a special version of this session on 13th December specifically looking at how Blackboard can be used for Distance Learners.
  • Introduction to Skype for Business. This session will look at Skype for Business and how you can make use of it to create a virtual classroom. We will go through setting up the Skype for Business meeting and the interactive
  • Using Panopto for Assessments. Panopto is the University’s Lecture Capture Software. In addition to recording lectures, Panopto can also be used for assessments. This session will look at how you might use Panopto for student assessments.
  • Teaching with Mobile Devices. We will look at how you might use mobile devices in your teaching. As well as using mobile devices to teach, we will also look at ways in which you can use polling software to increase interactivity in your teaching sessions.

We’ll also be running sessions on the Component Marks Transfer tool that allows marks to automatically feed through from Blackboard into AStRA which may be of use to those who manage this process.

Our sessions are participatory and interactive. If you would prefer a one-on-one version of our sessions, or if you have any specific requirements, then please email elearning@aber.ac.uk.

Access to E3 Aber Academy has also changed. In order to access the E-learning Training Room, enter the Hugh Owen Building via the Language Labs on Level B. Proceed up the stairs until you reach Level E. You will need your Aber Card to swipe to let you in. E3, the E-learning Training Room, is just down the corridor on the right hand side.

Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) no longer available after December 2018

The licence for the Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) which allows students to use their own mobile devices for in-class voting expires in December 2018 and will no longer be available.

We are aware that some of you used it in your sessions, therefore we would like to encourage you to keep using interactive course activities and consider one of the options below:

  • Although it will no longer be possible to use the remote version of Quizdom allowing students to vote from their own devices, you will be able to use four sets of Qwizdom with a total of 118 handsets. Rather than using their own mobile devices students will have to vote using the handsets. If you wish to book the sets please email is@aber.ac.uk including the date(s) and time you wish to use the equipment and how many sets you wish to use.
  • The E-learning Group have been surveying the growing number of online polling tools available. Most of them are paid for services with different packages available depending on the types of tools, size of class etc. However, almost all have a free option which is a cut-down version of the paid-for service. All the services that we looked at are cloud-based – they don’t have software that you download, but you create your presentations via a web page and they are saved and run remotely.

Some of the polling software we recommend:

PollEverywhere

  • 40 participants, unlimited number of questions, 23 question types , PowerPoint integration

Mentimeter

  • unlimited number of participants, 7 questions per presentation (5 quiz and 2 other type), 10 questions types, Power Point integration

Socrative

  • 50 participants, unlimited number of questions, 3 questions types, reporting available

Please note that you will still be able to use the QVR in the first semester 2018.

Please contact the E-learning Group if you wish to get more information or training on using different classroom polling methods.

 

How can we help you with the Blank Course Copy?

Level 0 and Level 1 Blackboard modules for 2018/19 academic year will be created with no content. Previously, year by year the content was automatically copied over for all Blackboard modules.

Preparing the Level 1 and Level 0 modules for the next year will require the module co-ordinators to copy over existing and/or upload new material into the new iteration of their module. All modules will contain an agreed departmental menu template that content will need to be organised under.

We would like to assist staff with preparing their modules as much as we can. We are happy to come to your office or for you to come and visit us. If you would like to book an appointment with a member of the E-learning Group, please let us know a convenient time and place where you would like to meet. We will also run some training sessions over the next few weeks. These can be booked via CDSAP webpages.

We have prepared these FAQs with detailed guideline on copying different elements on Blackboard and produced the information help sheet below.

We look forward to work closely with all staff and supporting you in any convenient for you way.

Anticipating AU’s 6th Learning and Teaching Conference: Stepping up Students’ Learning, 11 – 13 September

We’re very excited to announce that Professor Jonathan Shaw, Lauren Heywood and Oliver Wood from Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) will be giving the keynote address and providing workshops for this year’s Learning and Teaching conference. The DMLL’s Director, Professor Jonathan Shaw, is giving the keynote, while Lauren Heywood and Oliver Wood, DMLL Innovation & Community Producer’s, will be providing interactive workshops.

Coventry’s DMLL aims to “break and remake existing ways of doing higher education” and is committed to driving innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge curricula design and practices and educational technological initiatives. They also emphasise the value of play as “an important part of learning!” They make available a toolbox of strategies that aim increase interactivity, support problem solving skills and inspire debates. You can check out their toolbox here and you can view videos of their work here.

We are eager to hear the discussions, ideas and fun that Coventry’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab will generate and hope they can offer us some innovative tactics that we can apply directly to our teaching and learning.  Register for the conference here. Keep updated via our blog for further news about the conference. A draft timetable of this year’s conference, focusing on Stepping up Students’ Learning, will be available on our webpages shortly.

Image courtesy of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University

DMLL’s director, Professor Jonathan Shaw, drives innovation in curricula design, learning spaces and leads the “implementation of cutting edge educational technology initiatives”

Workshops led by Coventry’s DMLL’s Innovation & Community Producers

Oliver and Lauren promote flipped and playful learning to enable rethinking of traditional modes of teaching and learning. They work with teaching staff to help them generate “new, exciting, and rich educational experiences.

Welcome to the Aber E-Learning blog!

The E-learning Group help staff and students throughout the University to use technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment. Aberystwyth University has been recently awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the E-learning provision was mentioned as one of the institution’s strengths. For all those interested in how technology can make learning and teaching more effective please follow our blog. Each member of the E-learning Group will be writing posts about their area of expertise and interests. We welcome your comments and suggestions! 

Who are the E-learning Group at Aber? 

 

Kate Wright, E-learning Group Manager  

I am the E-learning Group Manager, and I have worked in e-learning since 2003. During this time I’ve seen a lot of changes; when I started, Blackboard was used voluntarily by interested staff and we spent a lot of time explaining to students that they couldn’t see modules in Blackboard because their lecturers weren’t using it. Since then I’ve worked on a number of change projects to increase the uptake of e-learning, including introducing the Blackboard required minimum presence, e-submission and e-feedback, and lecture capture. I have a particular interest in online assessment, and have been heavily involved in the use of Questionmark Perception at the university.  

I have been involved in a number of externally funded projects included HEA E-learning Benchmarking, HEFCW Gwella project, JISC RSC Wales Technology for Learning Small Grant, JISC Digital Student and Staff Experience Trackers. I have presented at several international conferences, I am the chair of the Blackboard Wales User Group, and have published co-authored article in the British Journal of Educational Technology. 

 

Dr. James Woolley, E-learning Enhancement & Engagement Theme Leader  

Hello, I’m Jim and I’m the E-learning Engagement and Enhancement Theme Leader. I joined the E-learning Group in February 2018 following the completion of a PhD, 3 years as a librarian and a few years before that as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, all here at Aberystwyth University.  

My job entails working together with academic colleagues to provide the best possible support in using our portfolio of services. I organise our E-learning training plan and the annual Learning and Teaching Conference. I really want to hear from you if you’re doing something innovative with technology and learning or if you wish to experiment with some new technology. I’m looking forward to working with staff on projects to enhance E-learning provision and learning. I have a particular interest in how E-learning provision supports more collaborative modes of learning. 

If there’s a training session that you think we should be doing or would like to meet with us, drop us an email. 

 

Robert Francis, E-learning Support Officer  

I support the practical use of a wide range of TEL tools at Aberystywth University. In addition to our Blackboard VLE this includes; Panopto, Turnitin for assessment and Questionmark for online examination. I am directly involved in providing technical support and solutions for Staff and Students using this software. I aid in the implementation of the University strategy relating to TEL, accessibility, provision of training, consultation, support materials and technical support.  

I have a background in teaching History and English in the UK and abroad.  I enjoy experimenting with new technology. I have worked in the HE sector providing technical support since 2010. 

I speak Welsh as my second language and I am passionate about its use. 

 

Susan Ferguson, E-learning and Training Assistant  

As E-learning and Training Assistant I support staff and students using e-learning tools, including supporting Blackboard, Questionmark Perception, Turnitin, Panopto, and Qwizdomamongst others, via phone, email, and face-to-face.  This includes supporting staff in using the equipment in teaching rooms, providing training sessions, investigating new equipment and software, and creating user guides. 

 

Anna Udalowska, E-learning Support Officer  

I started working with the E-learning Group in 2017 as graduate trainee. Drawn by innovative and problem-solving nature of the job I applied for the E-Learning Support Officer position which I currently hold. 

For past months I have been working on the promotional campaign and findings analysis of the Student Digital Experience Tracker which ran at Aberystwyth University for the first time. Along with the E-learning Group Manager, Kate Wright I have presented the findings of the AU Digital Tracker at the national conference DigiFest18 organized by JISC. I have been also working on implementing the Component Marks Transfer Tool.  

As part of the E-learning Group I support staff and students who use Panopto, Blackboard and Turnitin as well as oversee smooth running of the online exams using the Question Mark Perception system. I am particularly interested in how technology helps in providing alternative, dynamic and inclusive methods of communication, learning and teaching.