Latest Event Updates

iLead iLearn Webinar Series – Your Role as a Module Leader.2nd Febuary 2018

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This webinar looks at your role as a module leader and aims to be a helpful resource for existing module leaders and those who may be taking on this role in the future. Key areas within this webinar include:

How does the University of Cumbria see this role?

How does this role integrate with other academic roles and responsibilities?

What on-going help and support is there?

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)

 

 

iLead iLearn Webinar Series – Adding Digital Interaction with Blackboard Tests and Quizzes, 1st February 2018

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The session began with an overview of how Blackboard Tests and Quizzes can enhance your Blackboard site and help you to evaluate learning, encourage self-assessment and gauge student progress.

Included in the webinar was a demonstration, from both the instructor and student perspective, of a pre-built quiz with questions including examples of multiple choice, jumbled sentence, hot spot, matching, multiple answer, fill the blank, opinion scale, ordering and true/false.  We then looked at completion of the test, instant feedback the student received and how staff can support/feedback through grade centre.

We then moved on to build an example in Blackboard of how to create a test, add questions and deploy to your students.  This information is available to help you create your own in our guide to Blackboard Tests and Quizzes.

The session ended with a demonstration of how you can easily transform Word documents containing questions into Blackboard readable text and import into Blackboard.

Anyone interested in using this functionality is encouraged to contact aqd@cumbria.ac.uk.

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iLead iLearn Webinar Series: Managing Assessment Effectively 31st January 2018

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This session looks at ways to streamline and standardise aspects of the assessment/feedback cycle. It takes a programme/level approach to ensure consistency across and between module teams. This is followed by ways to create assessment criteria and introduces rubrics. These will be discussed in more detail in a future webinar.

The session moves on and discusses managing the assessment process for students and then for academic staff. A few suggestions concerning Academic integrity follow, introducing essay mills and bespoke ‘ghost writers’.

The concluding slide provides links to the University regulations and the level and grade descriptors.

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)

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https://hml.cumbria.ac.uk/Play/3710

iLead iLearn Webinar Series – Using PebblePad with your Students. 30th January 2018.

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The session started with a refresher of what PebblePad is and its development over the years. PebblePad is the market leader in the ePortfolio world and we have been using it at UoC since 2005. All staff and students have accounts at UoC which can be accessed from the Staff and Student hubs and even from within Blackboard itself. The system is complemented by a wonderful app, PebblePocket, which is free from Google Play and iTunes. If anyone leaves the university, they can register for an alumni account, which is free forever.

We outlined a few of the many ways PebblePad can be used: creating a wide variety of assets such as portfolios, blogs, activity logs, or by creating assets from the in-built templates provided by the system. These assets can then be shared with other PebblePad users or those without PebblePad account. Items can also be created and provided with a weblink which the intended audience can click on without the need for a username and password, so it’s also an excellent web publishing tool.

We then continued to talk about how PebblePad can be used for assessment and the various ways of getting the best out of students. Custom templates can be designed (workbooks) – usually by academic staff – which can provide the student with structured scaffolding on which to build their work. We also looked at the many ways of giving feedback – both formative and summative.

The session ended with a quick demonstration of how to easily add items to PebblePad and we had a glimpse of some good examples of templates currently in use at the University of Cumbria.

Once users login, PebblePad provide lots of in-built support via their homepage (called the Learning Centre) and we in AQD have supplemented this information with various articles and helpsheets via our TEL Knowledgebase which can be found here.

Anyone interested in using PebblePad with their students is encouraged to contact aqd@cumbria.ac.uk to start off interesting conversations!

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)

 

 

 

iLead iLearn Webinar Series – Preparing and enhancing your Blackboard site. 29th January 2018

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The session started with a brief recap of how Blackboard usage has grown at the university, with the system now being classed as “mission critical”.  A move to module-site delivery and a consistent approach resulted in a set of protocols being developed, and these were shown during the webinar, along with other support available, such as a staff-facing knowledgebase.

Access to these resources can be found via the Staff tab on Blackboard, along with the route to accessing your Blackboard module site, which was demonstrated during the webinar.

The option to review and reuse existing content was highlighted, and a tour of an exemplar site showed how a course could be organised; following the protocols and making the most of the tools available.

A quick walkthrough of adding a profile picture to your site, and making a screen-recording introduction to your course then followed.

Finally, there was a quick update on some system changes that are being planned for 2018/19

A additional question asked outside of the recording was about creating a banner on Blackboard.

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)…

View “preparing and enhancing your Blackboard site” webinar recording (university login required)

 

 

 

New Blackboard Developments for 2018/19

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There are some exciting  changes coming to Blackboard for 2018/19 academic year such as:

  • Course Creation and Automated Template Application
  • System Home Page Redesign and Responsive Theme
  • Summer Upgrade

Course Creation and Automated Template Application

Background

The Blackboard course creation route has remained largely unchanged for a number of years. Although it has worked well, it is fairly inefficient and is not robust enough to support future developments and tighter integration with SITS.

Currently, apart from student enrolments, there is a lack of two-way communication between SITS and Blackboard for our module deliveries.  All modules created in SITS (via a MAV) and completed with the correct data are automatically created in Blackboard however if the course should subsequently be removed from SITS then this is not reflected on Blackboard which has caused issues of incorrect sites being used.

Students no longer associated with the MAV are not automatically removed from the Blackboard site.

To begin working on a site a tutor needs to select a course from within Blackboard (this relies on the module site creation process above), redesign or apply the correct template and, if required, copy any existing materials across from the previous instance of the course manually.

Proposed Development

The new system will:

  • Improve and increase updates in both frequency and capability of enrolments and course creation
  • Simplify the route to consistent Blackboard sites
  • Reduce the risk of incorrect Blackboard site selection
  • Limit the number of sites created to only the ones which are actually required
  • Establish the foundation for an enhanced dynamic link between SITS and Blackboard
  • Create more accurate SITS records

Once in place, Blackboard sites will only be created when the lead tutor is assigned to the MAV within SITS, this is critical as Blackboard sites will not be created without this data.  Once the data has been entered on the MAV in SITS the Module Blackboard sites will be available to a tutor within a few hours.  Requests for “non-module” Blackboard sites will be via a form request.

The identified tutor will automatically be attached to the newly created site and will find it listed under “My Courses”, or within the “Pending” category if the tutor has enabled “Terms”.

On selection of the site you will be taken through the two-step process of attaching a template and optionally, copying selected content from a previous instance.  The basic site is now ready to add/update content and attach other tutors as required.

If you plan to deliver a course where a number of modules are taught together then the system can help you create a combined site by prompting you to identify the modules (MAVs) to be included.

Only students who are on the MAV will appear on the Blackboard site.

The new system will be in place for all 2018/19 courses.

System Home Page Redesign and Responsive Theme

Background

System analysis, sector trends and our experience tells us that students are increasingly accessing learning materials via alternative devices year on year.  Whilst analytical data from Blackboard confirms the traditional desktop is still top of the list for access, a significant proportion of logins are from mobile and tablet devices and has been increasing for a number of years.

With our current system, display response to this wide variety of devices is difficult to predict but we are aware it can sometime cause issues, unpredictable behaviour and, on the whole, results in an inconsistent user experience.

To help mitigate this frustrating user experience, we are developing a new interface using a Responsive Web Design approach.

Responsive Web Design will make the site mobile-friendly and improve the way it looks on devices with both large and small screens as it automatically scales, reorders and prioritises content and elements to match the screen size on which it is viewed.  It also keeps images from being larger than the screen width and prevents users on mobile devices from needing to do extra work to read content.

The Blackboard App is constantly being updated, and the responsive theme will work in conjunction with the App to provide a much more seamless experience when using a mobile device.

As part of this project theme functionality, the Homepage and other “non-course” areas will be reviewed to provide a much more engaging experience.

Summer upgrade

The annual system update will take place during summer. The date has yet to be arranged, but it is likely to be at a similar time to previous years – around the end of July / early August.  Please be aware that Blackboard will be unavailable for up to 24 hours during the upgrade.

Regular and timely upgrades are necessary to ensure we have;

  • Full system support for each academic year
  • Access to the latest features and updates
  • Support for current client software – operating systems, browsers, etc.
  • Up-to-date security and performance settings

We will publish further information regarding dates and any new features of interest as soon as they become available.

Details and descriptions are subject to change, and more information will be circulated as necessary and as it becomes available.

 

 

 

 

 

Using Mentimeter to promote student engagement and inclusion – Davina Hill & Kelly Fielden

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Providing an inclusive, safe and varied learning environment is central to promoting engagement across a diverse student population. Browser-based interactive presentation programmes such as Mentimeter can be used to achieve this in a way that reaches multiple learners simultaneously through their own portable devices and grants them anonymity.

We used this session to present our research on student perceptions of two features of Mentimeter: interactive multiple choice quizzes and the option for students to ask open anonymous questions during class.  We found that students across two different levels, subject areas and contexts (anonymous questions and quizzes) recognised the value of Mentimeter in promoting engagement and inclusion.  All students were in favour of Mentimeter being used again.  Students perceived the quizzes to be fun, to consolidate learning, break up the lecture, and increase focus, while users of the anonymous open questions saw value in the potential for less vocal students to have their voices heard.

Participants in the Pedagogy in Practice session had the opportunity to take part in a quiz and an anonymous question and answer session, both of which were held remotely across campuses in Carlisle, Ambleside and Lancaster.  This allowed the participants to interact with the software from a student’s perspective.  Full functionality was accessible to all via Skype. Anonymous questions from the floor were used as the starting point for discussion around participation in quizzes by students with learning disabilities, by students of different ages and at different levels of study. We offered practical guidance on using interactive presentation software across various contexts. We concluded that technology-enhanced learning tools such as Mentimeter are effective in promoting student engagement and participation, and suggest that an optimal approach is to use these in combination with verbal question and answer sessions to suit a diverse population of learners.

To view the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, please click here

PIP Practice in Pedagogy Seminars

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Due to the success of PIPs last academic year we are running a series of seminars again for staff to meet and share practice on teaching and learning themes face-to-face. They will take the form of a short presentation by the lead, followed by an opportunity for discussion.  All staff are welcome whether you teach or support student learning, and you are encouraged to share examples of successful practice as well as challenges to which you have found solutions, or that are yet to be solved!  Bring your lunch

Thursday 14th December 1 – 2pm

“Sharing TEL tips to develop our digital capabilities” Sandie Donnelly

Lancaster Room SB204 Sentamu Building
Whether you’ve got some TEL tips to share or you want to make more use of technology in learning and teaching, please join our TEL PIP to share expertise, Christmas treats and find out about software available to staff and students at UoC.
Monday 18th December 12 – 1pm

“Use of Mentimeter to promote student engagement and inclusion” – Davina Hill & Kelly Fielden

Via VC Carlisle (SKF05) Skiddaw Building & (AXB002) Alexandra Building Lancaster and skype option available

The provision of an effective learning environment is central to promoting engagement and is a key component of the Teaching Excellence Framework. Mentimeter, a technology-enhanced learning tool can be used to achieve this in a way that reaches multiple learners simultaneously and grants them anonymity. We will use this session to describe our research on student perceptions of Mentimeter, offer practical guidance on using interactive presentation software to promote engagement and inclusion, and provide a forum for discussion. We will focus on two features of Mentimeter: interactive multiple choice quizzes and the option for students to ask open anonymous questions during class

Link to book on to PIP seminars:https://cumbria.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/pedagogy-in-practice-seminars-29th-november-14th-18th

Assessment Briefs

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We have updated the Good Assessment Guides – now called Assessment Briefs. They can be found using the following link:

https://v3.pebblepad.co.uk/spa/#/public/94jgbwjqG6jcsqfkdGg8Zj3GRh

On here you will find information and tools to help you with group work, creative assessment, inclusive assessment, marking and moderation and feedback. Save the link and check back periodically as the resource will develop and expand.

Nicky Meer, PFHEA reflects on Barriers to Fellowship

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Nicky Meer, looks back on her recent PFHEA accreditation.

Although the HEA does not define who ‘ought’ to be a fellow, many have found that colleagues outside of a narrow norm can face barriers to accreditation. Some face barriers through their own self-belief: ‘I am just a technician/learning advisor/library staff… so I wouldn’t be able to get it’.  And others may face barriers due to subconscious or unintended assumptions made by those who create schemes or resources that help people compile their submissions. This could result in specific language patterns used or narrow examples given, potentially making people outside of this feel it’s not for them.

To read the full article on the HEA Blog, click here