Justine Walker

Tea with TEL

Girl  holding a piece of cake in the bowl and a teaspoon.

Calling all Staff!

Now that term has started and the pace of life is picking up, it is a good time to get quick answers to any questions you have around teaching, using the University learning technologies.

Good news – between 09:00 and 12:00 on 28th September, The Technology Enhanced Learning Unit will be in reception at St Johns Campus to help you with those niggling queries. Even better news – there will be tea, coffee and cake!

We can help you with: 

  • Editing and adding content in Blackboard
  • Setting up Turnitin submission points 
  • Setting up quizzes
  • Online sessions with Collaborate
  • Making your teaching sessions more interactive with Vevox
  • Any other questions relating to TEL

Pop into reception to sit down, have a chat about using technology to enhance your teaching, and enjoy some tea and cake! 

All systems go for September!

rocket launch, rocket, take off-67723.jpg

As we prepare to launch another semester, it is time to ensure you are ready for take-off. Here is a handy countdown to help you tick off all those important tasks and ensure a smooth journey.

10… Enrol on your modules

You need to enrol on each of your modules, using the request form on the staff homepage. Please allow up to 24 hours for the request to be actioned and your modules to appear on your dashboard. If you are a new member of staff or taking on a new module, you are also able to sign up for last year’s iteration of the module using the Blackboard Access 2022-23.

9… Migrate your content

All of the new modules are empty and ready to be populated with this year’s content. The easiest way of ensuring that you have everything your students need is to copy the content from last year’s module. Instructions on how to do this can be found here. Please remember to not copy assignments or announcements to your new module.

8… Delete any old files

It is very easy for your course file area reach it’s maximum size and migrating a module is a good opportunity to delete any duplicates or files that are no longer needed. More information about this can be found here.

7… Check your accessibility

Did you know that Blackboard includes Ally – a handy tool to help you check that your content is accessible to all users? The coloured indicators next to the content you’ve uploaded reflects the level of accessibility for that item.

The accessibility indicators are only visible to tutors in the module so students won’t see them and are not a reflection of quality, only indicators of accessibility. If you click on the indicator, Ally will tell you the things that need to be adjusted to make your content more accessible.

Meanwhile, students can select the ‘A’ icon to download the document in a way that works best for them.

Ally menu of download options for a document

6… Check permissions

If you are adding One Drive or Panopto links to your module please make sure that the sharing permissions will allow access to students and colleagues who are enrolled on the module. The best option to choose is ‘share with anyone who has the link’.

5… Set up your new assignments

As previously mentioned, you should not copy your assignments from a previous module as this can cause problems with the Grade Centre. New assignments should be created, under the assignment tab on the left hand menu, and named clearly for the students. More information on creating assignments can be found here.

4… Enrol on relevant Organisations

Unlike modules, the TEL team need to enrol users to Blackboard Organisations. Please let us know if you require access to or removal from any Organisations.

3… Ensure your students have access

Often you will be the first port of call for students who are unable to see their modules which can be very stressful for them in their first few weeks. Please ask them to check that they have registered and selected modules for this academic year on their SOLE page as this controls their student access to Blackboard and is not something that TEL can bypass.

If they are unsure or are having difficulties with their registration, ask them to email studentrecords@worc.ac.uk.

2…Check visibility

Once you have migrated the content, deleted files, checked accessibility and made sure the links work, it is worth double checking that the content that you want the students to see is visible, and the content you don’t want them to see is hidden!

1… Utilise the TEL team

No matter how well you prepare, there are always niggles and problems that pop up once the semester gets underway. The TEL team are here to help with this. As well as being available via our dedicated TEL@worc.ac.uk email address, on 28th September we will be available for you to chat to and ask for help in person! Come and visit us in the main reception at St John’s Campus for advice and cake.

MicroLearn – short, social media style learning

Microlearn logo

Following a pilot last year, the University has partnered with GoodCourse to develop and deliver a range of micro-learning courses for all students. These courses take around 5 minutes to complete are designed to mimic the feel of the social media apps.

What is micro-learning?

Micro-learning, as the name suggests, is learning delivered in tiny segments. Courses are highly-focused, distilling complex ideas into simple concepts. This allows them to be completed in minutes and makes  them very convenient.

In our pilot and other studies it’s proven to be an effective way to share knowledge and embed learning. Courses use a combination of different media, including:

  • Short accessible videos
  • Text and images
  • Audio
  • Pop-quizzes

Watch this video for a 2-minute overview:

How will it be delivered?

A text message is sent to students’ phones, it briefly explains the course and how long it will take then encourages them to tap a link. The link takes students to the GoodCourse platform, which has been optimised for mobile – but also works on tablets, laptops and PCs.

The platforms tracks completion rates and allows reminders to be sent if a course is not completed.  

What MicroLearn courses will run this year?

In 2023/24 we plan to run MicroLearn courses on the following topics:

  • Welcome to Worcester – planning for study
  • Sexual misconduct and consent
  • Planning for an A

We are working on courses for a range of other topics, which we hope will be available later in the academic year.

It’s a Rollover!

jump, sky, man-2731641.jpg

Blackboard modules are rolling over on 22nd May 2023. Staff will be then able to enrol using the Blackboard Access form for 23/24 on the Staff Portal homepage.

Things to remember

  • It can take a few hours for the modules to appear on your Blackboard dashboard
  • If they have not arrived after 24 hours check that they are not hidden.
screenshot showing the drop down menu with the hidden from me option highlighted

Check out last week’s blog post here to find out more about tidying up your existing file areas before copying them into your new modules.

Out with the old, in with the organised

Two women using a laptop computer and discussing the information on the screen

As the end of the academic year approaches, it is the perfect time to take a look at your existing Blackboard file storage areas and do some tidying up. Over time, your storage space can become cluttered with old and duplicated files, making it difficult to find what you need and using up your storage allowance.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and best practices for removing old and duplicated files from your Blackboard file storage area.

1. Review your existing files

The first step in cleaning up your Blackboard file storage area is to review your files. This means going through your folders and subfolders and identifying any files that are no longer needed or duplicated. You can sort your files by date modified, file size, or name to help you identify the oldest or largest files.

The link to locate files within Blackboard is highlighted along with the dropdown menu to sort by name.

2. Delete duplicates

Duplicates take up unnecessary space in your Blackboard file storage area, making it difficult to find the files you need. Sorting the files by name is an easy way to spot any duplicates. Once you have found them they can be deleted.

screenshot of the file structure within Blackboard with a duplicate file highlighted

3. Remove any video files

Videos should not be uploaded directly into your Blackboard file area as they can soon eat up your storage allowance. All videos should be added via Panopto (see here for help to do this). YouTube or Vimeo links can be embedded into the module without affecting the storage total.

4. Be ruthless

Just as when clearing out a wardrobe, sometimes it pays to be honest about whether something really needs to be kept. Files are often copied from one year to the next without considering whether they are still used or useful. It is tempting to leave that PowerPoint that you created in 2017, ‘just in case’ you might need it in the future, however we would recommend saving it to your One Drive/Share Point and then deleting it from the Blackboard files.

Sorting out file systems is rarely anyone’s idea of fun, however spending some time doing this now can prevent future problems of a full file area. If you would like any further guidance or help with this please contact us tel@worc.ac.uk

You CAN take it with you when you go

pebbles arranged decoratively with one of them holding a diploma

It will soon be time to say goodbye to your students, but this does not mean that they need to leave all of their university life behind. Students are entitled to a free Pebble+ Alumni Account, enabling them to take their portfolios and assets with them.

Information on how to do this can be found here but should not be followed until the course is completely finished – once the institution account is converted to an alumni account, it cannot be reversed.

Turnitin Again

Turnitin Again

As it is currently peak assessment season, it is worth thinking about how to handle late submissions due to mitigating circumstances.

If you have any students who need to submit outside of the normal timeframe, make sure you create a separate submission point so that they have the opportunity to resubmit after the main deadline has passed.

Getting to grips with the Grade Centre

decorative certificate showing an A+ grade

With many assessments currently underway and marking season in full swing, it is a good chance for a reminder about the recommended process to ensure a positive student experience.

Once the assignment deadline has passed, and prior to beginning to mark the work, you need to ensure that the relevant column is hidden in the Blackboard grade centre. This will prevent students from seeing their grade as soon as it is entered.

How to do this

    Access the Full Grade Centre

    grade centre menu showing highlight on full grade centre option

    Find the column for the assignment and click on the Options button (the round icon with a chevron)

    column menu showing chevron for additional options

    Select the Hide from students on/off toggle

    column menu showing highlight on hide from students toggle

    You can tell when the column is hidden as the grade column will now show an icon with a grey circle with a red line through it

    example of hidden icon

    It is important to leave the original assessment point visible to students throughout the process to ensure that they always have access to their submission. The reasons for this are:

    1. Students are familiar with the submission point in advance, which aids confidence in the submission process.

    2. Enables students to refer to their feedback to inform future assessments.

    3. Avoids panic and confusion on the students’ behalf.

    4. Mitigates any unnecessary support calls and emails to tutors, TEL and the Helpdesk.

    If you are unsure whether your submission point is available to students, you can use the Student Preview option to check.

    Time to Turnitin

    Turnitin Logo

    With courses now in full flow, it is a good time to for a quick reminder on how to set up a Turnitin submission point. This is just an overview; further information and step by step instructions can be found on our website.

    What is the process?

    Turnitin submission points are created via the ‘add content’ option on Blackboard. At this point you can add the assignment name, instructions, maximum grade and the relevant dates.

    Clicking on the Optional Settings’ will bring up additional tick boxes to customise the assignment to fit with University protocols. If you are unsure what any of the options mean, hover over the question mark icon and an additional text box will pop up to give clarifcation.

    screen shot of recommended optional settings

    A newer feature that you may wish to use is the grammar checker. By ticking this option an additional report will be generated that allows you to view any grammatical errors in the submission. More information about this feature can be found here.


    Before you save your submission point, you may wish to add a Rubric. These are completely optional and provide quick way of adding standardised feedback. Further information about how to import a rubric can be found here.

    Ready to go

    Your submission point is now ready to go and will appear as a link in Blackboard.

    Things to remember

    • Students can resubmit work to the submission point as many times as they like until the due date.
    • After the 3rd upload, there will be a delay of 24 hours until the similarity report is received.
    • Once the due date has passed they will be unable to submit again.
    • Resubmissions, resits and mitigating circumstances will require a new Turnitin submission point.
    • Before you begin grading you will need to hide the Blackboard Grade Center column from students – otherwise they will be able to access their grades as soon as they have been entered. Instructions can be found here
    • Grades and feedback are automatically released to students on the Feedback Release Date and time through Turnitin.

    Grammar and Spelling Reports on Turnitin

    Image of a magnifying glass highlighting the word Grammar in a dictionary

    Gud news U can now use the grammer and speling report on Turnitin!

    When creating a new submission point in Turnitin you now have the option to turn on additional spelling, grammar and punctuation checks. When activated, they will generate an e-rater® report that can be accessed by students and tutors in the same way as similarity reports.

    How can I use this feature?

    To enable the feature to be used you will need to check the ETS® e-rater® tick box when creating your submission point. This will generate an additional list of options.

    Image showing the tick boxes needing to be selected to enable grammar check

    When work is submitted and the report is generated, you will see additional options to view the e-rater® report. The results can be turned on or off from the right-hand panel.

    Image showing the button to select for the grammar report

    If you have any questions about how to use this feature please email us tel@worc.ac.uk