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 out 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 tel@worc.ac.uk 

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 TEL@worc.ac.uk 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 https://www.dementiauk.org/our-new-admiral-nurse-module/ and you can access the resource itself which is openly available here https://www.dementiauk.org/elearning/#/

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 tel@worc.ac.uk

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 www.uwtel.co.uk for guidance on what tools we have to offer and how to use them.

Infographic of TEL contact details

Online TEL Workshops

With the Covid 19 crisis preventing our usual face to face training workshops, we will instead be running a series of sessions online during June, July and August. These will be a mixture of our most popular regular workshops and sessions that will help you adapt your teaching to the brave new world of working online.

Upcoming Sessions

All sessions will run for an hour from 10:15 until 11:15.

  • 16/06/20 – Camtasia – learn how to create video resources to support learning online
  • 26/06/20 – Blackboard Made Simple – an introduction to using Blackboard, ideal for those who are new to the system
  • 01/07/20 – Collaborate Virtual Classroom – discover how to run lectures, seminars and tutorials via Blackboard
  • 08/07/20 – Vevox – an introduction to the university’s new online polling software
  • 15/07/20 – Designing Accessible Blackboard Courses – find out how to make your modules and online resources accessible to all, including the use of the new Blackboard Ally plugin.
  • 22/07/20 – Tracking student engagement in Blackboard – discover how to monitor your students’ activity in Blackboard, as well as strategies for re-engaging students and promoting active learning.
  • 28/07/20 – Using quizzes, tests and surveys in Blackboard – learn how to utilise Blackboard’s extensive range of testing tools.
  • 04/08/20 – Adapting Student Presentations for online assessment – this session will provide suggestions on how student presentations for assessment can be managed in an online environment.
  • 11/08/2020 – Using Blackboard for Mobile and Blended learning – flipped, blended and mobile learning are now more important than ever. This session will cover how to approach online delivery.

If you are interested in attending any of these workshops, please sign up via the Staff Development Workshop pages.

There is also a new online course covering the use of Turnitin for assessment on LearnUpon.

Blackboard Early Rollover

To All Blackboard Users

The Covid 19 outbreak has meant that we have had to move our learning, teaching and assessment online very quickly and the response from everyone has been amazing.

Many of you are now starting to plan ahead for next semester and with that in mind we have brought forward the rollover of Blackboard modules for academic year 20/21, to allow you some extra time to plan and prepare for next semester.

As in previous years you will need to re-register for access to the new modules from the staff web pages – instructions can be found here:

 https://lttu.uk/support/Blackboard/Manual/accessing-new-courses.html 

With the uncertainty of how much face to face teaching will be possible next semester we would encourage you to think carefully about the design and layout of your modules this year and although there is still the option to copy course materials over from a previous version now is a good time to reconsider the presentation, content and activities you provide for your students through the VLE.

All modules have the basic template with pre-populated menu items which relate to the University baseline standards . This ensures a level of consistency which is one of the top priorities that students have requested – see our Students’ top tips for Blackboard.

Whilst consistency is an important factor, we recognise that all modules are individual and you may want to look at some of the other tools and functionality available in Blackboard – we have a full online Blackboard guide but if you need any further support from the TEL team, either individually or as a course or module team please contact TEL@worc.ac.uk to arrange a session with an Academic Learning Technologist.

All the best,

The TEL Unit

Blackboard Ally is Here!

Ally is a tool which can help promote accessibility and supports both staff and students when using Blackboard.

Blackboard Ally logo

Ally for Students

Students will now be able to access alternative formats for any documents that’s been uploaded to Blackboard by clicking on the icon. A quick start guide can be accessed here:

https://help.blackboard.com/Ally/Ally_for_LMS/Student/Quick_Start

Ally for Staff

Tutors will be able to see coloured indicators next to the content they’ve uploaded reflecting the level of accessibility for that item.

Ally does not affect the workflow for adding new content to modules and you don’t need to do anything differently when using Blackboard – this is just and extra tool to help manage how accessibility your content is.

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.

More information and training will be provided over the next few months but it you’d like to try this out for yourself the functionality is now there and a quick start guide is available here:

https://help.blackboard.com/Ally/Ally_for_LMS/Instructor/Quick_Start

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