FMS TEL Conference 2022 – Call for Submissions Reminder

The FMS Technology Enhanced Learning Conference 2022 will run in the week beginning 7th November. We would like to invite all members of staff – Professional Services, Clinical, Teaching and Research – in FMS and NUMed to showcase their work in teaching and learning, whether this is in the classroom, online, or managing things behind the scenes.

Conference themes include:

  • Video and Beyond – Virtual and Augmented Reality, Animations, 3D Scanning and Printing
  • Work Smarter – Improving our workflows, shortcuts, efficiency in processes.
  • Continuous Professional Development – Developing and implementing CPD
  • Digital Assessment

Submissions close at the beginning of October. Please check out the Conference Page for full details.

In addition to the FMS TEL Team, confirmed speakers and events include…

  • Prof Ruth Valentine, Dean of Education, FMS
  • Dr David Kennedy, Dean of Digital Education
  • Dr Paul Hubbard, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, NUMed
  • Mr Leonard Shapiro, University of Cape Town
  • Dr Iain Keenan, School of Medical Education
  • Special Edition FMS TEL Journal Club
  • Lightning Talks

Adding and Updating Files in Canvas

This post covers the pros and cons of different ways to upload and manage files in Canvas

As the e-learning modules in FMS are now going live, the team have been looking at ways to manage uploaded files in Canvas.

There are two main ways to add files to your module flow in Canvas:

Directly into the module flow

+ > Add File > Add Item

This method is by far the easiest and quickest way to add a file to your course, and is a great choice if the file will not require updates.

If you need to replace the file with an updated version, it is best practice to upload the new version directly to the files area and replace the original file. The file names need to be identical and uploaded to the same folder for the “replace” option to appear. Updating the file this way means any links to the file within the content will not need updated.

Upload > Replace

In the files area you also have the option to adjust the availability of files, including adding available from and until dates.

Click the green tick next to the file to open the availability options

Inserted into a page

View of options available for a file inserted into a page in Canvas

This is my preferred method for adding a file to a course. You can use ‘Link Options’ to make the file open a preview by default so the page has the appearance of a directly added file but you have the following benefits over adding the file directly:

  • Able to add notes or comments above or below the file
  • The page title does not have to be the file name
  • Any links will be directed to this page so you can update the file/page as many times as needed and links to the content will still work
  • You can create an archive at the bottom of the page for previous file versions
  • Canvas can notify students of changes to the page/file
  • You have access to the page history so you can roll back to previous versions
  • You can add multiple files to one location
  • You can add a to-do deadline to the students to do lists and calendars

If you choose to use the file availability options mentioned in the previous method you may want to add a message on the page stating when the file will be available as the message canvas provides is not very informative:

Canvas Message: The document preview is currently being processed. Please try again later.

Keeping track of your files and file names within your module helps you save time and avoid confusion later.

Accessibility Improvements Using Adobe Acrobat

Quick wins in accessibility by using Adobe Acrobat Pro’s built-in tool.

In FMS TEL we are currently working on accessibility as new module materials are being prepared for release. Did you know that Adobe Acrobat Pro has a built in Accessibility tool that not only checks your document’s accessibility, but helps you improve accessibility with the click of a few buttons?

If you find that your PDFs are receiving low accessibility scores in Canvas, you can use Adobe Acrobat to improve their scores quickly and efficiently. Simply open the file in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Then select the Accessibility tool from the Tools options. (Click on More Tools then scroll down to the Protect and Standardize section.)

Begin by selecting the Accessibility Check. This will tell you what can be improved in your document.

Next you can use the Autotag tool if your document is missing tags such as headings.

You can choose Set Alternative Text to add alt text to your images.

If necessary use the Reading Order tool to set the order in which the document should be read by a screen reader.

With these three easy steps you have vastly improved the accessibility of your document! Try adding it back into Canvas and you will be surprised by the results you get.

Check out our previous posts on accessibility to see how you can make materials more accessible.

Faster Transcription

This post gives tips and tricks to speed up the production of transcripts, including neat formatting and quickly tidying up timestamps.

This post is the last in the series on Captioning and Transcription. The first two posts cover how to decide what to edit, and tips and tricks for faster captioning. This post builds upon the latter, and covers how to create transcripts more quickly.

If you need to produce captions and a transcript, complete the caption editing first and then use the corrected caption file as your starting point for your transcript. Creating a transcript with the method below will not give you a file that can be used for captions.

When creating a transcript, you will need to decide a few things before you start.

  • Are timings important, and if so, what level of accuracy do you need? Does every utterance need a time, or would it suffice to signal timing points at the start of each slide, for example?
  • Is it important to know who is speaking? Training videos may not need this.

The first step is to download your caption file and copy and paste the text into Word. Then, transform your lines of text into a table using ‘convert text to table‘ and setting the number of columns to 4.

Copy your table from Word and paste it into Excel. Once this is done, you can use Excel to trim down your times and make them more human-friendly, using the MID function in a new column. Copy the formula down the whole row to quickly tidy all of the timestamps. This example trims the hours from the start time, and gets rid of the milliseconds and the end time completely.

The formula above (typed into B1) will look in A1 for the source text, and starting with the 4th character, output 5 consecutive characters into the cell, and then stop. You can change the numbers if you need a different segment or more characters, for example, if you want the hours included.

Pasting the resultant data back into Word means you can then use Word’s formatting tools to shape your transcript, adding columns as needed to denote speakers or other important information, and removing columns that contain redundant data.

Cutting and pasting the individual cells containing speakers’ words into a single cell will help improve the look of the document. Paste without formatting to combine the cells into one. Spare rows can then be deleted. Using Find and Replace to get rid of line breaks (search for ^p) and replacing them with spaces further tidies this up. You can then delete the redundant rows.

If you like, you can then remove the borders from your table. You could also set a bottom cell margin to automatically space out each row.

It is important to check your resulting transcript’s accessibility. As this method uses a table, make sure that a screen reader can read it in the correct order. You can do this by clicking into the first cell of your table and then pressing the tab key to move between cells – this is the order most screen readers will relay the text, so check it makes sense.

You can also choose to add a header row to your table to give each column a title. After adding this, highlight the row, click ‘table properties‘ and in ‘row‘ select ‘repeat as header row’. Ally in Canvas will not give a 100% score without this.

Once your transcript is formatted correctly, you can correct your text and fix mistakes in the usual way if you have not already done so for captions. The previous post on Faster Captioning has some tips and tricks to speed this up.