For colleagues who might be new to the University, colleagues who are returning from research leave and other periods of absence, and those who want a refresher, we are running our E-learning Essentials: Introduction to Blackboard Learn Ultra in January.
We are excited to invite teaching staff to join a free trial of Talis Elevate for collaborative annotation. It is designed to encourage students to engage with course reading and learn actively by collaborative and individual annotation. It features detailed analytics to help you keep your students on track.
For an illustration of what it does, see the main Elevate page
Our free trial of this tool is currently underway and will run through November 2023. Depending on staff response and budgetary considerations, the university may be able to acquire Elevate for longer-term use.
In this blogpost we’ll be outlining the training that we’ve been designing ready for the move to Blackboard Ultra.
We will be offering every department an E-learning Essentials: Introduction to Blackboard Ultra training session. We will be liaising with your departmental director of learning and teaching to arrange this, offering either an online or an in-person session.
In this session, we will outline what colleagues need to do to get their modules ready for September. The main outcome of this session is that colleagues will be able to achieve the Required Minimum Presence. The session includes some design tips, an overview of the analytics available in Blackboard Ultra, as well as how to create Turnitin submission points, links to your reading list, and Panopto links. We’ll introduce you to the updated interactive tools: Discussions and Journals. In addition to this, we’ll look at the new workflow for creating Blackboard Assignments and Blackboard Tests, and the Grade Book.
If you cannot make your departmental session, then we are also offering them centrally.
To complement this session, we are running some centrally organised E-learning Enhanced Sessions:
On 9 March, LTEU welcomed Dr Sarah Gretton and Alice Jackson from the University of Leicester to run a session entitled How to use UN 2030 Agenda Sustainability Development Goals to frame the Curriculum.
Slides and recordings from the session are now available.
In the session, Sarah and Alice gave an overview of how they embed SDGs across all curricula at Leicester, with 100% of their programmes having a module related to an SDG.
Participants at the session were given the opportunity to reflect on modules that they teach on and whether any of the UN SDGs map to them. Participants were also asked if students were aware of this mapping and whether it was captured in the learning outcomes of modules and programmes.
Our next external speaker event is on 19 April, 14:00-15:30, where James Wood from Bangor University will be running a session on Improving Feedback Literacy. You can book this session via the Course Booking page.
On 1 and 2 March, LTEU met with Departmental Directors of Learning and Teaching to update on the Blackboard Ultra project and discuss our plans for training, ways in which we can address challenges, and the support required for the Ultra project.
The slides from the session can be downloaded from this link.
The slides include an update on the project timeline, what academic colleagues will have to do, and an overview of our training approach.
Summary of discussions
Support contact – if you are having any difficulties with using e-learning tools then do contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you out.
Adding Reading List and Panopto Link – Staff members will have to add links to these in their modules. There is currently no way of doing this automatically, but we will continue to investigate ways of doing so.
Departments will be able to choose whether they have an in-person training session or an online training session.
LTEU will continue training on using Ultra over the summer and into the new academic year
Academic colleagues will be able to access and copy materials from historical modules – the current retention period is 5 years + current year.
Where possible, colleagues should use Blackboard text editor features to ensure that their content is as accessible as possible.
A checklist will be produced so that colleagues can check that they’ve done everything required in building their modules.
Colleagues would like a consistent message from Information Services about the project.
Training sessions will be offered to all Registry teams as well as external examiners and franchise campuses.
Communications and approach will include the benefits of the move to Ultra and a list of new features.
Where possible, video materials will be created.
If you have any questions, concerns, or want to speak to us about something specific in your course, then contact us on email@example.com.
Now that the templates have been confirmed we have created an individual Ultra Practice Course for all staff members.
This practice course is private to you and has no students enrolled on it. You can use this course to create content and try out the new Ultra course interface.
You will find your practice course by going to Organisations on the left-hand side menu:
The course has been created with the bilingual AU course template. For further information on course templates, see our previous blogpost. They will be named your name Cwrs Ymarfer Ultra / Ultra Practice Course.
To help prepare you for Ultra courses next academic year, try the following:
You’ll notice that you can drag and drop content much more easily in Ultra. Additionally, you can choose where you add content (without newly created content defaulting to the bottom of the page).
As Ultra is much more fluid than Blackboard original, your approach to content organisation is essential to help students navigate the module. Make sure that you use the preview features so that you can get an idea of how the content looks to students:
It might be that you want to discuss content organisation with colleagues to see if there’s departmental approach that you want to take.
We will be using these practice organisations for training purposes over the coming months. Keep an eye on our blog and webpages for additional information as further guidance is produced.
We’ll be blogging additional tasks over the coming months for you to try in your Ultra practice course. In our next blogpost of this nature, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the Grade Book, Assignments, Turnitin, and Blackboard tests.
If you’ve got any questions about the move to Blackboard Ultra, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Congratulations to Dr Gareth Hoskins, Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences and Professor Reyer Zwiggelaar, Computer Science/Head of the Graduate School on successfully achieving, in December 2022, the UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor award. This award is a national framework which is aligned with the University Supervisor role and supports supervisor development in the sector.
We have an internal support facility for those of you who may be interested in applying, for this award, so please contact Annette Edwards, LTEU, email@example.com or Reyer Zwiggelaar firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The next deadlines for UKCGE applications are 24 March and 23 June.
Also, please hold the 20 April for the 2nd Supervisory Training Day programme for this academic year, programme to be distributed in due course, which will be useful for sections of your application.
We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services, we work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.
We’re really excited to announce our forthcoming Academy Forums for 2022-23. Building on the success of last year’s sessions, and based on feedback, we’ve increased the number of Academy Forums on offer, with 10 running across the academic year.
For those of you unfamiliar with Academy Forums, they’re informal discussions that bring colleagues together from across the University. In each session, we’ll look at a particular topic related to Learning and Teaching. We’ll facilitate the discussion and also provide resources and guidance following the Academy Forum. We then make these available on our webpages. Take a look at last year’s Academy Forum topics:
We’ll be starting our Academy Forums with a discussion around Student Induction. We’ll be thinking about how you prepare students to study. What types of activities do you run in week 1 of your module to familarise your students with the content? Also, we’ll be asking colleagues to share with us how you might use technology in these interactions.
Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University
We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services. We work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.