Tips for using Collaborate

Many people are now well up and running with using Collaborate for online teaching so here are a few additional tips and ideas for moving forward with your online teaching:

Before your session

You can schedule a session in Collaborate and send the link out in advance to your participants – remember you can’t enter the session or upload files until the start time so allow early entry in the settings to give yourself time to prepare.

Image of required settings on Collaborate

Send students the guest link to the session – this will effectively give them a short-cut to the session and make it easier to access. Tutors should access the session via the Blackboard module to ensure you have moderator permissions.

You can also send the guest link to external people such as guest lecturers – once the session has started you can then “promote” them to enable them to present.

Send a reminder an hour or so before the session is due to start with the guest link embedded again.

During the session

Remember to use the record function so your session is available for those who couldn’t attend.

Image of Collaborate in-session settings menu, including the record function.

If you find the connection is poor turn off your webcam to save bandwidth. It’s also a good idea to ask students to turn off their cameras and microphones while you’re presenting to save bandwidth and prevent background noise. If students are having trouble hearing you they can dial in using a phone.

Image of Collaborate camera and microphone settings

If for any reason your session drops out – don’t panic! Make sure you close your browser down completely, then go back into the session again – if you don’t close the browser you may still be logged on in another window.

Breakout rooms are great for group work – here’s the Blackboard help on using breakout groups:

https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Breakout_groups

Unfortunately the TEL Unit don’t have capacity to investigate individual student issues however our ‘Getting Started’ video can be found here:

https://vimeo.com/359000224

General help for students is provided by Blackboard here: 

https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant

After the session

Recordings won’t be available immediately after the session as they can take a while to process, however you can access your recordings from the burger menu on the top left hand side of the virtual classroom page.

Image of the Collaborate Sessions menu

You can also access a register to see who attended the session and how long they were signed in for. From your sessions page change the filter to all previous sessions:

Image of Collaborate Filter Sessions function

Click on the button at the end of the session you want to access and choose “View reports”

Image of Collaborate Session sub-menu

For more general guidance on remote working IT have produced this useful guide:

https://www2.worc.ac.uk/it/documents/Homeworking_Tips.pdf

Uniview Downtime

With the increased use of video for learning, teaching and assessment, IT will be carrying out an essential upgrade to the Uniview/Planet E-Stream media streaming server on Thursday 9th April from 13.00.

This means that users will be unable to upload any new files or watch videos hosted on this service until the upgrade is complete. At the same time we will be removing any videos that have not been accessed for the past 18 months so please check any content you have previously uploaded.

The upgrade will allow increased capacity and improved functionality of this system so please bear with us while we complete this essential work.

‘Have a TEL related query? The TEL team are offering staff support drop-in sessions online; Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10am – 11am. You can access the drop-in here: https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/5ec551fb8282487eb0a115a4c4bea6b1

Online PowerPoint Lectures

We know you’ve all been very busy getting to grips with BB Collaborate for delivering real time lectures to your students remotely. However you can also produce video lectures for students to view in their own time quickly and easily using Camtasia and Powerpoint. The PowerPoint Camtasia add in is available to anyone who has Camtasia installed on their machine. If you do not have Camtasia, you can download it from the Software Centre.

We do not recommend that you upload a PowerPoint with a voice over directly to Blackboard as these are very large files and will use up your data quota very quickly. Instead we recommend that you either use the Camtasia PowerPoint add in or turn your PowerPoint Presentation into a video.

PowerPoint Camtasia Plugin tab

Turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video

Once you’ve completed your video lecture, make sure you upload it to Uniview and use the mash-up tool in Blackboard to present to your students.

Guide to using UniView

There are further helpful resources around remote delivery available on our Remote Working page.

Staff are also welcome to attend our Collaborate drop-in sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 – 11:00 via the link below:

TEL Me More Programme Update

Image of TEL Me More programme overview

On 24th March, the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit will be hosting their annual ‘TEL’ Me More seminar. Colleagues from across the University will be showcasing their own innovative uses of technology as part of their Learning and Teaching.

The event is a fantastic opportunity to network with colleagues from different areas of academia, share great ideas and learn some new skills. You do not need to be a techie to attend; an interest in new approaches to Teaching and learning is all that’s required.

The event runs from 11:00 – 14:00, with  lunch and refreshments provided.

Programme:

11.00 – Introduction

11.15 – Replacing paper Social Work Practice Documents with online PebblePad Workbooks

This presentation will look at how the use of paper documents for recording students’ achievements on placement has now been superseded with an online version, using the PebblePad software. PebblePad enables the student to record their work while on placement with the ability for tutors and other assessors; Practice Educator (PE) and Workplace Supervisor (WPS) to view and sign off their work securely online. Although a PE or WPS can change at relatively short notice, it is a quick, easy and secure process for the student to share their work with a new PE or WPS. 

11:45 – Mutual Benefits: The Potential of Disabled Foster Carers as Foster Carers

Disabled people are largely absent from the fostering workforce and, in partnership with Shaping Our Lives Disability Network and Foster Care Co-operative agency , Dr Peter Unwin was awarded Big Lottery  funding wanting to find out why this is the case.

The research found that disabled people are resilient, have many skills and are well able to empathise and support young people in need. Yet their potential is largely ignored by fostering agencies, despite Fostering Network estimating that there is currently a shortfall of some 8000 foster carers in the UK.

We worked with four pilot sites and several disabled foster carers but still find it challenging to get the wider world interested in what is a cultural change. Making the video with Gerry Beattie is intended as a ‘marketing’ vehicle to help bring about this much-needed change.

12.15 – Lunch

12.35 – Person-Centred Dementia Studies on Blackboard – Delivering a PG Cert at a Distance

The course is entirely delivered online via the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment. Students engage with online lectures, videos, research literature and discussions to facilitate their independent study.  This course provides regular interactive learning opportunities via seminars in the Collaborate virtual classroom and engagement with students and tutors via unscheduled discussion forums.

13.05 – Session 4: TBC

13.35 – Networking & Discussion

13.50 – Conclusion

‘TEL’ Me More 2020

Save the date

On 24th March, the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit will be hosting their annual ‘TEL’ Me More seminar. Colleagues from across the University will be showcasing their own innovative uses of technology as part of their Learning and Teaching.

The event is a fantastic opportunity to network with colleagues from different areas of academia, share great ideas and learn some new skills. You do not need to be a techie to attend; an interest in new approaches to Teaching and learning is all that’s required.

The event runs from 11:00 – 14:00, with a free lunch and refreshments provided.

The full programme will follow but, if you don’t want to miss out, sign up via the Staff Development Workshops page.

Last year’s ‘TEL’ Me More event was the most successful so far. The TEL Unit hope that 2020 will be even better yet!

Beat the floods with Collaborate

It’s a bit wet out, isn’t it? Half the roads have been closed, the rest blocked with traffic jams and the Hive has had its own moat replete with a paddling (the collective noun – thank you Google) of ducks. Heavy rain again today may bring further disruption as the river levels rise once more.

Amid this chaos, staff across the university have been making use of Collaborate Virtual Classroom to deliver lectures and tutorials when they and/or their students are unable to make it onto campus. Collaborate can also be used to attend meetings when your physical presence is not possible.

Due to the floods, I used Collaborate to host an approval event. Seven colleagues in four different venues accessed Collaborate and we were all very impressed with the connectivity, video and sound quality. Much better than other alternatives that I have used in the past.”

Catriona Robinson, College Director Learning, Teaching and Quality

Collaborate is a plugin on Blackboard and can be found in the left-hand menu of any module under Virtual Classroom. From here you can schedule a session, send invites to attendees, or use the generic course room for impromptu meetings.

All you need to operate collaborate is a laptop, pc or mobile device, a decent internet connection and, if you are the speaker, some form of microphone and a webcam, if desired. As with all TEL systems, users should ensure that they are accessing Collaborate via either Google Chrome or Firefox. Other browsers will not work.

For more information about using Collaborate, see our detailed guidance about the system.

If you have any questions or require additional suppoprt in using Collaborate, please contact us at TEL@worc.ac.uk.

Upcoming Workshops

Need to sharpen your skills on Blackboard? Maybe you would like to explore the advantages of marking in Turnitin or using Collaborate to facilitate remote learning? Or perhaps you would like to explore the functions of the Retention Centre to monitor student engagement and identify those who may be struggling.

The Technology Enhanced Learning Unit is running a series of workshops to help get you up and running. There will also be a session covering Vevox, the University’s new polling software. The courses on offer are:

  • Vevox – find out how to use the university’s new in-lecture polling system – 04/02/2020, EE1022
  • Camtasia – learn how to create your own video resources – 17/02/2020, EEG023, 10:15-11:45
  • Running an Online Session in Collaborate – explore remote learning using the Collaborate Virtual Classroom – 18/02/2020, online class, 10:00-11:15
  • Setting up and Using Turnitin – find out how to use Turnitin for online assessment and marking – 03/03/2020, EEG031, 10:30-12:00
  • Using Quizzes, Tests and Surveys in Blackboard – learn how to utilise Blackboard’s extensive range of testing tools – 04/03/2020, EEG023, 09:45-11:15
  • Turnitin Peer Assessment – discover the pedagogical advantages of having students review the work of their peers – 18/03/2020, EEG031, 10:00-12:15
  • Designing Accessible Courses – find out how to ensure that your online content is accessible to all students – 25/03/2020, EEG031, 14:00-16:15
  • Tracking Student Engagement in Blackboard – use the retention centre to track how well your students are engaging and to identify problems before they arise – 23/03/2020, EEG023, 14:15-15:45
  • Advanced Turnitin – learn how to use rubrics and quick marks within Turnitin (you will need to be familiar with the basics of Turnitin beforehand) – 06/04/2020, EE1022 09:45-11:15

Please book places via the Staff Development Workshops page.

Downloading Results from the Grade Centre

Today we’re going to talk about one of Blackboard’s best kept secrets, one that can can save you time and effort.

After you have completed marking assignments, rather than typing results up into a spreadsheet, instead you can download the results directly from the grade centre into a spreadsheet or CSV file.

To do this, first go to the grade centre, which can be found under the Course Management settings near the bottom of the left hand menu. Click to expand the sub-menu.

Course Management menu, with Grade Centre sub-menu displayed.

Select Assignments to see Blackboard and Turnitin assignments, Tests to see the results of tests or quizzes, or Full Grade Centre to see both types of results.

Navigating the Grade Centre

You will see a list of students all of the students who are enrolled on the module, with a column for each assignment or test that has been set. Only assignments that have been graded will show a grade.

You may have to use the scroll bar within the grade centre (as opposed to the window’s scroll bar) to navigate further down the list.

Exporting the Grades

On the right hand side of the screen you will see the Work Offline command. Click this and select Download

Grade centre tool bar, with Work Offline highlighted
Click image to expand

You will be given the option to export the full grade centre or specific assignments, which you can do by clicking on the Selected Column dropdown and selecting the assignment you require.

To export as a CSV, choose the Delimiter type Comma, for Excel, choose Tab.

Export Grade Centre options, with the Selected Column option selected
Click image to expand

Your chosen fileds will be downloaded as a spreadsheet or CSV, depending on the delimiter type chosen.

If you have any further queries, please contact the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit at TEL@worc.ac.uk

External Examiner Blackboard Access

With the pre-Christmas assessment period over, it will soon be time for your external examiners to moderate work on Blackboard and Turnitin. This can be tricky for examiners, who may be unfamiliar with University of Worcester processes and applications.

The first step is to ensure that examiners have their University of Worcester single sign-on account set up. They will need this to access all university systems.

Once this is in place, external examiners can request access to modules via the Blackboard Access form.

The process for this is:

  1. Navigate to the University of Worcester Staff Portal – the link to this can also be found at the bottom of the University website.
  2. Log in to the portal via the ‘Sign In’ button at the top right of the screen using University of Worcester account username and password.
  3. Click on the relevant Blackboard Access link. Usually displayed are the current year and the previous year. This will take the user to the Blackboard Access form.
  4. Complete the form for each module required. When entering the module code, it is important that there are no spaces before, after or within the code. Under type of access, select ‘External Examiner’.
  5. Access to the modules will be granted within 24 hours.

To access Blackboard:

  1. Navigate to the University of Worcester Staff Portal – the link to this can also be found at the bottom of the University website.
  2. Log in to the portal via the ‘Sign In’ button at the top right of the screen using University of Worcester account username and password.
  3. Under Applications, click the Blackboard 9.1 link.

Accessing Assessments

Once in the system, and the Access Request forms have been processed, External Examiners will see the modules they need to mark under My Courses (highlighted in yellow below) Clicking on the module name will open the course.

An image of the Blackboard home page

Accessing the students’ work for marking/moderation depends on the system the assignment is using. The course tutor can verify this if required.

The finer points of how marking/moderation is to take place should be agreed at a course level.

Turnitin

Turnitin is the most commonly used system for assessment and is the best system for text based assignments such as essays, reports and presentations.

Within the course, unless stated otherwise, Turnitin points can be found under ‘Assessments’. The External Examiner will click into the assessment that they are moderating. This will open the Assignment Inbox. Clicking on one of these documents will open students’ work.

For further information, see our sections of the Turnitin Workflow that cover finding assignments and online grading and feedback.

Blackboard

Blackboard Assignments are used for portfolios and non-text based work.

To moderate Blackboard assignments, External Examiners will need to enter via the grade centre and navigate to the correct assignment. Some guidance from the course tutor may be required for this.

See our guide on Grading and Feedback for further information – please be aware that this guidance is intended for tutors.

Vevox Voting System – Pilot Users Wanted!

Next semester we at the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit will be piloting a new voting system and we are looking for volunteers to try this out and provide feedback to the project team.

The new tool is cloud based and requires students to respond from their own devices. Full training and support will be provided to academic staff taking part in the pilot and we are currently looking for expressions of interest.

If you would like to be one of our pilot users please complete the form here and we’ll be in touch in the new year with more details.

Please note that the pilot scheme has now closed.