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

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:

Using Collaborate for Remote Working

You will be aware of the Covid-19 situation and as a result you may be considering moving some of your learning and teaching online. To support this, you may be looking at using Blackboard Collaborate. The TEL Unit have compiled this guide for your use and consideration.

What is Collaborate?

Blackboard course menuEach Blackboard module is pre-populated with the Collaborate Virtual Classroom tool. This appears as a link in the standard menu which is hidden by default. To activate this just click on the dropdown link at the side of the name and select “Show link”. This is now visible to your students and ready to use.

 

 

Collaborate enables you to share your slides and/or screen and communicate with your students using audio, video or a chat panel. Students can ask questions using the “hand raise” button.

 

Requirements for using Collaborate

  • A good Internet Connection
  • Laptop with built in mic/webcam, or a USB headset (if using a desktop PC), such as the Microsoft LiveChat LX – 3000
  • A recent version of either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox Browser

 Support

The TEL Team are scheduling additional workshops in order to meet demand. These can be found on the Staff Development Workshops web page and a place can be reserved via the booking system.

Additional Support Resources:

Collaborate Help Pages in University Blackboard Manual: https://lttu.uk/support/Blackboard/Manual/virtual-classroom.html

Blackboard’s own “Getting Started with Collaborate” video: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Get_Started

In-Situ help via the burger menu on the top left hand side of your Collaborate Classroom Panel where you can report an issue directly with Blackboard.

We have attached a “Holding Slide” with some instructions for the benefit of your students. You may wish to display this at the start of your Collaborate Session.

‘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!

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.

Assessment as Learning using Peer Mark

PeerMark is a peer review assignment tool within Turnitin which allows students to read, review, and evaluate papers submitted by their classmates. Incorporating assessment into the learning process itself has many pedagogical benefits and uses. Reviewing the work of their peers can broaden students’ understanding and enhance analytical critique. Students could even review a sample essay in order enhance their learning. Peer mark may also reduce anxiety around assessments.

The TEL Unit are offering a workshop around PeerMark on the 10th January from 10:00 – 12:15 in EE1022 . If you are interested in utilising this feature within your own learning and teaching, please book on to the workshop via the ‘Staff Development Workshops’ page.

Are you September-Ready?

Say it quietly – September is just around the corner. Sorry to have to bring that up.

Do you have everything in place, ready for your students to arrive? Here is our checklist to help you to prepare.

Have you enrolled on your modules?

From this year, all staff, including module leaders will need to complete the Blackboard Access form on the logged in Staff Portal for each of their modules. Please allow 24 hours for your request to be actioned.

There is also a Blackboard Access 2018-19 form still live on the staff portal. If you are taking over a module this year, it may be useful to enrol on last year’s module.

Are you familiar with the new template?

Blackboard has a slightly new look this year. For more on this, see our previous blog post.

The sections marked out with a red stripe contain instructions for tutors and are not visible to students. These sections can be deleted once you feel you no longer need them.

If you have not yet updated your new Blackboard site the default welcome message will notify students that  their tutor has not added any content yet.

Have you transferred your content?

As ever, modules will be empty and you will need to transfer content from the 2018/19 instance of the module. Do not transfer the Assessment page as this needs to be set up afresh each year.

Instructions for transferring content can be found here.

Sharpen your skills

We run a range of courses designed to help you get the most out of Blackboard. These are published on the Staff Development Workshop page and will be advertised via our Twitter, blog and the staff newsletter.

If you require one-to-one training on a specific area of Blackboard, email us with details at TEL@worc.ac.uk

Blackboard Rollover

2019/20 modules are now live on Blackboard! Please be aware that there are a couple of changes this year:

All staff will need to enrol on their modules this year

Due to GDPR and data security reasons, staff are not being auto-enrolled onto modules. You will need to complete a form to enrol onto your modules, which can be found on the logged in staff portal (pictured). Please get the module leader’s permission (unless, of course, you are the module leader) and allow 24 hours for access to be granted.

For more information, see our previous blog post regarding this.

Blackboard Access link on Staff Portal

Things will look a little different

The TEL Unit have developed a new Blackboard template in consultation with a focus group of university staff. Pages now include guidance and tips for staff, which students are unable to see.

Read more about the new template here.

Transferring content

As ever, modules will be empty and you will need to transfer content from the 2018/19 instance of the module. Do not transfer the Assessment page as this needs to be set up afresh each year.

Instructions for transferring content can be found here.

If you have any queries, please contanct the TEL Unit at TEL@worc.ac.uk

New Blackboard Template

Based on feedback from users, we have made some changes to the standard template for Blackboard courses to improve clarity and usability for staff and students alike. This means that when you open Blackboard in September you will see some changes to how the tabs are laid out.

The module template now contains guidance on what should go on each page.

Only staff can see this content – this is invisible to students (try the Student Preview to see this in action) so should not be edited. Once you have set up your course area for the new academic year, you can delete this information if you wish. 

The Assessment tab has been separated out so as to be more easily identified. All assignments and information relating to them should be included on this tab. For information about which would be the best system to use for your assignment, see our handy flow chart. For information about setting up assignments see our guidance on using Blackboard and Turnitin for assessment.

Don’t forget to edit the welcome message to include the name of the module leader and a contact email (see how to edit your welcome message here). 

For more advice about your Blackboard modules:

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