TEL Training Survey – Closing Soon

The TEL Training Survey will be closing on Friday 5th March, so there is just one week left to respond, if you have not done so already  (and we would be incredibly grateful if you did!)

We at Technology Enhanced Learning unit have been extremely busy this year and have run many workshops and training sessions to help staff get to grips with the technology they need to use to deliver teaching online.

We would like to evaluate the impact of this training by asking staff who’ve participated in our training offering to answer a few questions to help develop our programme of workshops for the future.

Please follow the link below to complete a short survey which should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Video hosting in Blackboard

With the move to online teaching this year, many staff have uploaded video resources to Blackboard to support their learning and teaching. Although this is a good idea – videos can be an invaluable learning resource – the video files do quickly consume the available data quota assigned to each module. Often one video will equal a quarter of the total quota.

A far better solution is to host videos via Panopto. This system was launched at the University in September and is available on all Blackboard modules and organisations. As well as video hosting, Panopto can be used for lecture capture, creation of video learning resources and the submission of video and presentation-based assignments.

Find out more about Panopto on our Panopto page .

When you move recordings to Panopto, you will also need to remove existing videos from your modules in order to free up space for other resources. Be sure to remove videos from both the content areas in which they are deployed and the files area, which is where they are stored.

For more information about file management and optimal usage of Blackboard data quotas, please see our earlier blog post Finding your feet with files.

For more information about the topics discussed in this blog post, please email us at

TEL Training Survey

TEL Training Survey

We at Technology Enhanced Learning unit have been extremely busy this year and have run many workshops and training sessions to help staff get to grips with the technology they need to use to deliver teaching online.

We would like to evaluate the impact of this training by asking staff who’ve participated in our training offering to answer a few questions to help develop our programme of workshops for the future.

Please follow the link below to complete a short survey which should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Happy 2021!

The team at the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to working with you in the new semester. 2020 was certainly a challenge for us all, in a number of ways. Hopefully 2021 will bring positive changes.

We also have some exciting news to share. We have recruited a new Academic Learning Technologist to help meet the growing need for online learning resources. Louise Davies joined the team just before Christmas and will eventually focus on developing PebblePad workbooks and delivering training.

Academic Learning Technologist Louise Davies

Louise has a wide range of experience in e-learning having worked as a Learning Technologist at Newman University and at HOW College. She has also worked in the commercial sector as an e-Learning Developer and more recently as a Learning and Development specialist at NFU Mutual.

We would like to welcome Louise to the University and to the TEL Unit, and look forward to reaping the benefits of her considerable experience.

Blackboard Housekeeping

A little later than usual, it is time for our annual Blackboard Housekeeping.

Please be aware that we will be deleting modules from the academic year 16-17 on 16th November. We will also be deleting all organisations with a 2016 or 2017 date against them. If you have any resources that you need to rescue, please log in and download them (or migrate to a newer module) before 16th November.

Changes in Turnitin

You should all by now be aware of the changes to Turnitin this year (see Judith Keene’s all staff email from 8th September for more information) and we thought it would be useful to go into more detail about a few things that you need to know.

Turnitin has moved

The most obvious change is that the link to add Turnitin has moved from the Assessment tab to the Build Content tab.

The icon has been replaced

When you create a submission point, the Turnitin logo is no longer displayed and has been replaced with a Blackboard link icon. To make it clearer for students, it may be a good idea to include the word ‘Turnitin’ in the title. We would strongly discourage naming a submission point ‘Turnitin’ alone however, as assignment names should always be clearly descriptive.

Adaptive Release

You may notice that, when you create a submission point, you will now see a message like the one below.

Adaptive Release message on Turnitin submission point

There is no need to be concerned by this. As the new installation works slightly differently, this just means that a start date has been set. Contrary to what the message suggests, all students will be able to see the submission point.

You need to hide the assignment in the grade centre

Either at the point you set the assignment up, or before you start marking, you will need to manually hide the Blackboard Grade Centre column from students – otherwise they will be able to access their grades as soon as they have been entered. See the Post Setup Actions section of our Turnitin Guidance for instructions.

Student preview isn’t available

When you try to check your submission point in student preview, you will receive an error message. This is because it is no longer possible to enter a submission point in student preview mode. It does not mean that there is a problem with the submission point.

Error when using student preview

The due date can be altered more easily

Although you enter the due date as normal, should you make a mistake, or if the date changes, the date must be changed from the edit menu rather than from the settings within the submission point. This has been introduced to make it quicker to make such changes.

Editing Turnitin Due Date

It is better for monitoring submissions and reminding students to submit

One of the best features of the new installation of Turnitin is the capacity to monitor which of your students have not submitted. When you look in the assignment inbox, on non-anonymous assignments all students will be listed and it will tell you whether they have submitted or not. You can even send an email reminder to students who have not submitted, including on anonymous submission points.

To do this, go to the Grade Centre, locate the column that relates to the assignment, hover over the column header and click the arrow icon. Then select ‘Send Reminder’.

Send Reminder function in Grade Centre

Some staff have found that the first time they set up a Turnitin submission point, they receive an error message. Clearing your history and cookies will usually resolve this issue. As always, make sure you are using Chrome or Firefox.

If you have any further queries, please contact the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit at 

Blackboard Made Simple – Online Workshop

Thursday 3rd September, 10:15 – 11:30

Are you new to Blackboard? Or do your skills need brushing up a little? Then we have the perfect workshop for you!

Blackboard Made Simple will cover the basics of navigating the VLE, adding content and structuring courses to enhance the student experience. The workshop will also introduce staff to delivering tuition online with blended and mobile learning.

Sign up via the Staff Development Workshop pages.

Student Access to 20-21 Modules

Well, it’s that time of year again – IT will be adding all students to their 20-21 Blackboard modules on Friday 28th August, ready for the start of a new (although slightly different) academic year.

You don’t need to do anything, this process will be automatic as long as your students have both registered for the new academic year AND selected their modules via their Sole page. If they need any assistance with this, both firstpoint and Solehelp will be able to advise.

It is a good idea to ensure you have a clear welcome message on your module homepage and any content in place that you would like your students to see when they first access the module.

If you are still working on your Blackboard modules, you may find this previous post on populating your pages useful.

Enjoy the last few weeks of the summer and we look forward to working with you in September!

TEL Team in Lockdown

It’s been 15 weeks since lockdown began and during that time, we have all had to find and manage new ways of working. Online learning, teaching and assessment have become more important than ever and, here in the TEL Unit, we have been busily working away to support all colleagues and students across the University with their transition in to the world of online learning, and to help make that transition as smooth as possible.

What have we been up to?

We’ve been a little quiet on the social media front recently, and with good reason! The last four months have been the busiest our small TEL family has ever experienced and we’ve worked hard on a range of activities to support the University:

Collaborate Training

  • Just before lockdown we anticipated the move to online and put on 9 ‘emergency’ Collaborate workshops with 106 staff attending.
  • We’ve also carried on providing training and support for Collaborate as more and more colleagues started teaching online.
  • The recent all staff meeting was also carried out using Collaborate with our biggest ever audience of over 500 at one point.
Infographic about Collaborate

TEL Website

Infographic about TEL website usage

Day to day support

  • Online drop in sessions were held twice a week, every week for 10 weeks giving staff the opportunity to drop in and get help from our Academic Learning Technologists along a range of topics, including using the virtual classroom, creating videos, populating materials online, Camtasia and accessing support materials.
  • Our calls for support through our dedicated email and through the IT Services desk were busier than ever.
Infographic about TEL queries received January to June 2020

Dementia project

  • Prior to lockdown, we were commissioned by Dementia UK to work in partnership with them to produce an online course aimed at people interested in becoming Admiral Nurses. We worked on this project alongside supporting our own staff and students during lockdown and are very proud of the results. Paul Edwards, Director of Clinical Services at Dementia UK outlines the rationale for the module on their web site and you can access the resource itself which is openly available here

Open Days

  • We’ve assisted comms with moving open days online, utilising tools such as Camtasia and Collaborate and provided specific staff training for this.
  • We also ran some specific drop-in sessions to help staff prepare their video presentations for the virtual open day.
  • A new project to open up Blackboard to allow prospective students to self-register and attend virtual events and taster sessions is now underway and should be ready for pre-sessional teaching on request

Blackboard Ally

  • With new accessibility guidelines coming into force in September 2020, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our online content is fully accessible for all our students.
  • In preparation for this we have implemented an extension to Blackboard which allows students to download content from the VLE in alternative accessible formats depending on their needs.
  • Ally also allows tutors to see at a glance how accessible their content is using a colour coding format and providing directions on how to improve accessibility. It’s also possible to produce a course report to track all the content in your course. (this is only visible to tutors)
Image of Blackboard Ally scores
The Blackboard Ally accessibility colour coding system

Online Exams

  • With assessment weeks falling in the middle of the lockdown it was necessary to move all the exams and resits online at very short notice.
  • This involved urgent liaison with colleagues across the University including Senior Management, Academics and Registry Services to ensure a consistent and useable system was in place.
  • In May 78 online examinations took place with the vast majority running smoothly, with a further 172 resits and deferrals taking place in July.
Infographic about use of Turnitin from January to June 2020

Turnitin Training

  • We have also developed a bespoke learning package to help staff in the use of Turnitin. This is available through the staff development Learn upon portal and can be accessed at any time.
LearnUpon logo

Of course, our support doesn’t stop there. If staff have any queries about implementing their classes online next semester, or general questions about any of the tools we support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team by emailing

The easiest way to keep up to date with all of the news, guidance and support we offer, subscribe to our blog here. You can also follow us on twitter @UW_TEL

As always, check out our webpages at for guidance on what tools we have to offer and how to use them.

Infographic of TEL contact details