Resources from the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

Hector, our AberForward who has been working with us to support the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, has pulled together a list of resources inspired by the talks at the conference. If you want to watch any of the sessions again, then you can do so on our webpages.

Conference Keynote: Dr Chrissi Nerantzi

Our conference keynote was definitely a highlight. Chrissi asked conference attendees the following questions. Below are the results from our conference delegates:

Mentimeter poll result outlining how much colleagues agree with the following statements:

I am feeling more creative since the pandemic broke out (3.8)

My students react more positively to create tasks since the pandemic broke out (3.2)

I find it easier to be creative in my teaching practice during the pandemic (3.3)

Being creative means risk lowering my evaluation scores linked to my teaching (3)
Mentimeter word cloud results answering the following question: What is your main driver to innovate in your practice?

Most common answers:

Engagement
Student engagmeent
Fun
Curiosity
Inclusivity
Learning

If you’re interested in reading more about Chrissi’s work, then take a look at the following webpages:

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Reflections on running the Student Learning Ambassadors Pilot Project

By Anna Udalowska

Pedagogical literature emphasises the importance of students’ active involvement in all initiatives which impact their learning experience. As we, the LTEU, work so closely with teaching staff advising them on best practices in learning and teaching, we felt that our provision would benefit from students’ direct involvement. We decided to partner with a group of students, acting as Student Learning Ambassadors, to focus on one of the most frequently raised issues in student feedback – Blackboard modules’ design.

A lot has been done already to improve navigation and consistency of Blackboard modules, e.g., we introduced departmental Blackboard menus and Blackboard Required Minimum Presence. There are some excellent examples of Blackboard modules out there, some of which are showcased in our Exemplary Course Awards. Nevertheless, comments on difficulties in navigation and lack of consistency of the Blackboard module still appear in student feedback (e.g., Digital Insights Survey).

Before starting the project, our Unit had an opportunity to attend a workshop on student-staff partnership delivered by Ruth and Mick Healey who are the leading consultants in this aspect of student engagement. The session as well as follow-up consultation focusing specifically on the Student Learning Ambassadors project was invaluable. Although our project was focused mainly on consulting students, we did our best to implement underlying values of student-staff partnerships, empowering students to take ownership of the project, helping them to realise the impact of their work and reflect on how it benefited their growth.

The Student Learning Ambassadors project was advertised through the AberWorks scheme and the AberCareers platform as well as among current Peer Guides and Student Representatives. In the week before the project started students completed their induction which included familiarising themselves with health and safety working procedures, information security and data protection guidelines, and introduction to the LTEU.

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Weekly Resource Roundup – 11/8/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. 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.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Other

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.  

Parent-child modules

Image of Blackboard logo and parent-child

Now that the 2021-22 modules are available to staff, we can link them together at the module co-ordinator’s request. This process is known as parent-childing. Linking modules together is an effective way of dealing with separate modules with the same content so you don’t have to upload materials to two or more different modules.

This process makes one module the parent, whilst the other module(s) become a child. There’s no limit on how many modules you make a child but there can only be one parent.

If you’d like to parent-child your modules, and you’re the module co-coordinator, contact elearning@aber.ac.uk with the module codes for the parent and child modules.

Examples from Aberystwyth

Many members of staff are currently using parent-child modules across the institution. Some examples are:

  1. Modules are taught the same content but there’s a module available for different years
  2. Modules with the same content delivered in English and Welsh
  3. Modules that bring together different degree schemes and have different module IDs, for example dissertation modules

Essentially, any module that shares the same content is ideal for parent-childing.

What do students see?

Students will see the name of the module that they are enrolled on (even if it’s the child module) when they log into Blackboard but they will see all the content placed in the parent module. Instructors will not be able to place content in the child module.

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Panopto – available in Welsh

If you use Welsh as your default language in your web browser, or use the Welsh version of Windows, you’ll notice that Panopto is now available in Welsh.

  • To view Panopto in Welsh on the web, in Blackboard, and if you use Panopto Capture – change your browser language (How do I do this?)
  • To view the Panopto recording in Welsh – change your operating system language (How do I do this?)

To find out more about the partnership between Welsh universities and Panopto which made this happen, take a look at Panopto’s press release. We are pleased to say that in February 2021 Aberystwyth University was part of the initiative organised by Swansea and Cardiff University to lobby Panopto for this important change.

Update to Blackboard Required Minimum Presence

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Academic Enhancement Committee has approved the updated Blackboard Required Minimum Presence for the forthcoming academic year.

The RMP was changed last year in response to increased online teaching. As the University prepares for September, the RMP has been updated to reflect any changes.

You can view the RMP on our webpages.  

The RMP also includes a checklist so you can quickly check that your module adheres to the RMP.

If you have any questions about creating content in Blackboard, take a look at our Blackboard FAQs, Blackboard Guides, or contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (elearning@aber.ac.uk).

2021-2022 Modules now available to Staff

Modules for the academic year 2021/2022 are now available for staff teaching on modules. This is in order to assist staff in preparing for the new academic year. You may have noticed that a new tab has appeared on the top menu of your Blackboard screen: 

If you’re enrolled as a staff member on the module in Astra then you should be able to view your modules for next academic year. If you’re not able to see a module that you are enrolled on then contact your Departmental Administrator. Students won’t be enrolled on the module until registration is complete.  

You’ll notice that the codes for modules have changed slightly owing to the new MAF form. AB1 denotes modules running in semester 1, AB2 denotes modules running in semester 2, and AB3 denotes modules running in Semester 3 and Semester S.

We’ve got the following support available to help with Course Copy: 

Read our FAQ

If you have any queries regarding Course Copy, or need further assistance, please email elearning@aber.ac.uk

Student Learning Ambassadors – What is a well-designed Blackboard Module? Project Findings

In the week beginning from the 12th of July the LTEU run the What is a well-designed Blackboard module? project. We recruited 9 students to work with us as Student Learning Ambassadors. The group included: one 3rd year undergraduate History student, one 3rd year undergraduate Childhood Studies student, two 2nd year undergraduate English Literature and Creative Writing students, one 3rd year undergraduate Economics student, one International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Postgraduate student, one 3rd year and two 2nd year undergraduate Psychology students.

Throughout the project students completed the following tasks, working independently as well as part of the group:

  • mindmapped what it means for a module to be well-designed
  • generated a list of items that should be included in a Blackboard module
  • categorised the list of items they came up with
  • took part in usability testing on two existing Blackboard module
  • gave us a tour of a Blackboard module from their department that they found easy to use
  • wrote a short blog post on one aspect of a module design that is important to them with practical tips for teaching staff
  • identified common issues in Blackboard modules, reflected on the impact they have, and created a set of recommendations on how they could be fixed
  • proposed changes to existing Blackboard Required Minimum Presence

In the next few weeks, we will be publishing findings of the project including blog posts written by the Ambassadors themselves. We are incredibly grateful to Angela, Erin, Katie, Ammaarah, Elisa, Lucie, Charlotte, Gabriele and Nathalia for all the hard work they contributed to the project. We believe that all staff will find the findings as useful as we did. As my time as the Online Learning Specialist in the LTEU comes to an end I am extremely pleased and grateful to be able to conclude it by running this project. I genuinely believe that active involvement of students in the design of their learning should be a priority and I hope for more opportunities for student-staff partnerships. I would like to thank all staff I had an opportunity to work with these past months, thank you for your inspiring work and continuous commitment to providing the best possible experience to our students.

Weekly Resource Roundup – 28/7/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. 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.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

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.  

Interactive Blackboard Tools Case Studies – Wikis

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This case study is based on and includes extracts from the Student-led Planning of Tourism and Hospitality Education: The Use of Wikis to Enhance Student Learning book chapter written by Dr Mandy Talbot (Aberystwyth Business School) and published in the Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Hospitality Education.

What tool do you use and how? 

Dr Mandy Talbot used Blackboard wikis to facilitate a student led, collaborative learning project (…) on the second year, bachelor degree module: international tourism development. (…) The module course work required students to work in small groups to identify and evaluate the tourism development strategies that were being followed in given tourist destinations and to compare these with approaches being taken elsewhere. Due to the collaborative and interactive nature of the assignment the most suitable web tool was the wiki.’

Why did you choose this tool? 

Before implementation of wikis ‘students undertook the exercise by creating and delivering a group PowerPoint presentation of 15 minutes to the class, with a further 10 minutes for questions.’ Dr Mandy Talbot changed the format of this assessment in order to:

  1. ‘Improve the cohesiveness of student group work: The wiki format provides a collaborative work space for students to develop their work’
  • ‘Provide students with more opportunity to interact with the work of other groups: The wiki format enables students to visit each other’s’ presentations over an extended time period. Wiki pages also have comment boxes which enable students to pose questions and engage in discussion on the other sites.’
  • ‘Develop student IT skills: Students will learn how to create and structure web pages’.
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