Ally Training for Fix Your Content Day

Each year, the global accessibility community unites on the third Thursday of May for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) to highlight the need for more inclusive digital content. Blackboard seek to join the conversation by inspiring and motivating institutions across the globe to demonstrate how accessible content is better content.

As part of this initiative Blackboard are hosting a Fix Your Content Day which encourages academics to use Blackboard Ally to help make the content on their Blackboard pages more accessible.

To support this initiative we are hosting an additional Ally and Accessiblity workshop which will give your the tools and know-how you need to participate in Fix Your Content Day and contribute to an overall in improvement of accessibility.

The workshop will tale place on Wednesday, 18th May, the day before Global Accessibility Awareness Day so just in time to support you in fixing your content. You can sign up for the workshop on the staff development booking system and register for the Fix Your Content challenge with Blackboard from this link.

microphone

Auto-Captioning in Collaborate

Collaborate Virtual Classroom now offers options for providing captions on recordings, offering far greater accessibility for hearing-impaired students.

How to Create auto-captions

Collaborate is leveraging AI powered speech to text recognition to generate a transcription of what is said during the session. While automated captioning can’t match captions created by humans, it is an easy solution to start with.

The speech to text service and the resulting captions are hosted in the same data center as your Collaborate session.

Use the Auto-generate captions to have captions created for you, as the session owner:

  1. From Collaborate scheduler, select Recordings and find the recording you want.
  2. Select the Recording options menu and select Recording settings.
  3. Select Enable captions, if not already on.
  4. Select Create auto-caption and Save.

It may take time for the auto-captions to generate. You can leave the screen and come back later to view and share them.

Collaborate virtual classroom settings menu

After the captions are created, you’ll see that captions are available from the recording list. The captions will also immediately appear in the recording player for anybody having access to the recording.

Moderators can review the captions. If you want to improve or correct anything in the captions, download the caption file to edit. Upload the new file when you are done.

If you have any queries, please contact the Technology Enahnced Learning Unit at tel@worc.ac.uk

A hand plugging in a black cable

External Examiner Access to Blackboard 2022

With marking season underway, we thought it would be a good idea to provide updated guidance for getting EEs access to Blackboard so that they can moderate student assignments.

The first step is to ensure that examiners have their University of Worcester single sign-on account set up (this can be arranged via HR). 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. As with all University systems, it is extremely important that users use Chrome or Firefox as their browser.

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 on the Courses tab (which you can see has been selected in the image below). Clicking on the module name will open the course.

\"View

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, including Panopto video assignments.

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.

Using Vevox for Q&A

You may be familiar with Vevox as an in-class polling tool, but you may be less familiar with its utility for conducting Q&A in both online and face-to-face sessions.

Benefits of using Vevox Q&A

  • Allows for and encourages interactive engagement between session / class host and student participants.
  • Perfect for creating topical ‘sub conversations’ which in-turn helps to reinforce collective learning.
  • Unlike the chat panel in Collaborate or Teams, the Vevox Q&A panel is anonymous. This puts everybody on a ‘level playing field’ and empowers even the quietest person in the room to have a voice and ask questions.
  •  Great resource for consolidating questions and interactivity coming in from multiple audiences  (online / remote & physical audience).
  • Moderated Q&A allows the host presenter / lecturer to easily control the flow of questions and decide what questions to publish.
  • Q&A can be left open indefinitely to allow participants to post into the Q&A board, even if the session is not being presented live.
  • Can also be a highly effective tool when conducting a group work exercise.

How to get started

First, check that the Q&A panel is visible on your Vevox home screen. If you do not see this, go to the settings and you will see an option to switch the Q&A panel on. Then, using the Q&A panel is like any other Vevox session, generating a code for students to enter on their personal devices in order to participate.

Moderation

  • Moderation is a powerful tool to use when appropriate and sometimes may be necessary depending on the situation.
  • Moderation provides your Q&A with an extra layer of ‘Quality Control’ as submitted questions must first be reviewed & published before appearing on the Q&A board.
  • It gives much more control to the host and works particularly well in a ‘co-hosted’ environment.
  • Moderation can be toggled on/off at any time during a session (see below).
  • All moderated questions still appear in the data report
  • If using Moderation, you also have the ability to share a ‘Moderation Link’ with external users (does not require a Vevox License).
  • Important Note: Even if Moderation is not switched on, Questions can still be actively hidden on demand.

\"How

As we all know, the majority of teaching is carried out by one person without a moderator to keep on top of the questions being asked. One way around this is to structure your teaching into sections, moderating and dealing with questions after each section.

Case Study

Below, Dr Christina Stanley at the University of Chester explains why she favours using the Vevox Q&A panel over the chat panels in the VLE or in Teams.

“I found that when asking questions in live Teams sessions, students just weren’t responding, either vocally or by using the chat, so I tried using Vevox (the Q&A board) instead. Suddenly, responses flooded in; from having no responses at all in the chat, I instantly had about half the class responding using Vevox. Student feedback indicates that many prefer to ask/answer questions using Vevox due to the anonymity it allows them. This is especially important for those students who suffer from anxiety, or just lack confidence. Vevox is therefore a powerful tool for ensuring our online teaching is both engaging and inclusive.”

Dr Christina Stanley
Senior Lecturer
Dept of Biological Sciences
University of Chester

If you have any queries about using Vevox, including the Q&A panel, please contact us at tel@worc.ac.uk 

Releasing Turnitin grades in the Grade Centre

The move to Ultra based navigation has seen a number of changes to the way Blackboard looks when the user first logs in. Primarily, this is built around a clearer, cleaner look and feel.

One result of this is that the Grades panel – which replaces the My Grades area in classic Blackboard – is now far more visible to students. Consequently many more students are accessing this area to obtain their grades and feedback.

While Blackboard assignment results have always been released by unhiding the corresponding column in the grade centre, there was no imperative to do so with Turnitin assignments, as students almost always accessed grades and feedback via the submission point. Although this is still the method we would recommend to students, you may now find more students using the Grades panel. This means it is a good idea to release the columns for Turnitin assignments on the feedback release date to prevent confusion and unnecessary queries.

To do this, simply perform the reverse of the method you used to hide the column:

  1. Go to the Grade Centre
  2. Select Full Grade Centre
  3. Locate the column that relates to the assignment in question. Hidden columns will display the icon with the red line below.
  4. Click on the circle/arrow icon to bring up the menu.
  5. Select \’Hide from students on/off\’. When visible, the icon above will no longer appear.

If you have any queries, feel free to contact us at tel@worc.ac.uk

Vevox mini workshops

Have you used Vevox yet in your teaching? It\’s a fantastic online polling software that really boosts student engagement and interaction.

We will be collaborating with the Vevox team to provide two 30-minute mini-workshops, which will take place online.

One of these sessions is intended to look at and discuss the Q&A board within Vevox and some of its more advanced features, while the other is a ‘Brunch And Learn’ session, which is set to include some information around past and upcoming release features, as well as guest presentations from two University colleagues, Amy Cherry and Rob Herbert, around how they use the platform in their teaching methodologies and their own personal experiences with the product.

Please see full details and registration links for the two sessions below:

Utilising Vevox Q&A  (Wednesday 30th March: 14:00  – 14:30)

Register interest

 

Brunch & Learn (Friday 1st April: 12:30 – 13:00)

Register interest

What to do with your recordings in Blackboard Pt 1

As you are probably aware by now, video files should not be simply uploaded to Blackboard. The files are far too large and will rapidly use up your module\’s data quota. Instead, videos should be uploaded to Panopto.

However, some staff have enquired about managing their Collaborate recordings, which raises a number of questions – how to link to them, whether to upload to Panopto – so we thought it would be a good idea to explore this.

Data Storage

Let\’s start by looking at the way the systems manage storage.

Blackboard

Every Blackboard module has a default data quota of 1000MB. Where there is a genuine need, this can be extended, but the data quota of the entire University needs to be carefully managed, as exceeding this has a significant financial implication. Removing videos is an easy way to bring this down. Remember that any resource you delete from a module must also be deleted in the files area in order to impact on the data quota.

Collaborate

Collaborate videos are stored outside of the module on which they were recorded, so do not impact on the data quota. However, there is an overall data quota for Collaborate that also needs careful management. As a result, we are required to archive older videos, having recently deleted all videos recorded prior to January 2021.

Panopto

There is currently no data quota for Panopto storage as we are charged by the number of views. However, this is likely to change in the future as Panopto moves to a charging by storage model.

Should you move Collaborate recordings to Panopto?

Given that Collaborate recordings eventually need to be archived, some staff have asked whether it would be better to move all Collaborate recordings to Panopto as a matter of course. This is probably not necessary but there may be instances when it would be a good idea:

  • Will the recording be required for a long time? If students will need to access the video for longer than a year, then it might be a good idea to download the files and upload to Panopto.
  • Will the recording need to be deployed on future modules? Some resources may be of use to students on future modules, in which case a move to Panopto may be a good idea so that resources can be shared between modules.
  • Does the video need captioning? One drawback of Collaborate is that it does not provide closed captions, which may be required for accessibility. If you have students on your course who need closed captions, then uploading videos to Panopto may be a good idea, as Panopto does have excellent captioning options.

Bear in mind that uploading videos wholesale to Panopto is a significant undertaking for you as the course tutor, so you should weigh up these issues before you decide what will work best for you and your students.

Also consider that, although there is currently no data quota on Panopto, this is likely to be introduced in the future, so we as an institution will also need to manage Panopto usage. Therefore it\’s probably a good idea to only upload resources to Panopto where you think it is really necessary.

In part 2 we will explore linking to your video resources within your modules using the various tools available.

If you have any queries feel free to get in touch at tel@worc.ac.uk

Why you should not hide your assessment points from students in Blackboard

We strongly recommend that you always keep your submission points visible to your students. The advantages of 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.

The screenshot below is how you would ordinarily see the assessment from a tutor\’s view:

\"Blackboard

To ensure your students can see the assessment, click on ‘Student Preview’ to view your course from a student\’s perspective:

\"entering

Now you are in student preview (as indicated by the orange bar) you can clearly see the assessment submission point is visible as a student:

\"student

This is the best way to check the visibility of any item in Blackboard to see if it can be accessed by your students. If you would like any further information on this, please contact TEL@worc.ac.uk

TEL Workshops – Spring 2022

Spring is just around the corner, and it\’s the ideal time to dust off the old grey matter and refresh your TEL skills!

This semester, we at the TEL team are offering our usual range of workshops as detailed below, which you can sign up to via the staff development booking system.

Also look out for our new short course on blended learning which will empower teaching staff to plan and implement high quality blended learning using the range of software and tools available from the University.

Date Workshop Time
15/02/2022 Blackboard made simple 10:15 – 11:30
22/02/2022 Collaborate Virtual Classroom 10:15 – 11:30
28/02/2022 Vevox Polling Software 10:15 – 11:30
02/03/2022 Tests and Surveys 10:15 – 11:45
08/03/2022 Camtasia 10:15 – 11:45
09/03/2022 Assessing Presentations Online 10:15 – 11:30
11/03/2022 Accessibility and Ally 10:15 – 11:30
15/03/2022 Introduction to Panopto 10:15 – 11:30
TBC Implementing Blended Learning TBC

All workshops will be delivered via Collaborate, and a link will be emailed to attendees before the session.

Scheduled Maintenance 8th January

Please be aware that two of our suppliers have scheduled downtime for updates early in the new year.

  • Panopto will be down on 8/1/22 from 10pm for 4 hours
  • Turnitin will be down on 8/1/22 from 0.00 to 8.00

Both systems will be unavailable during this time. If this will impact on your students, for example for assignment submission, we recommend that you send an announcement to make them aware.

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