Why is my list of tutees displayed incorrectly at the start of the academic year?

At the start of the academic year, some staff members have reported that students are appearing in the wrong year, or across two years. Some images are set as graphics rather than the student photograph.

Previous tutees show in ePortfolio because of a ‘grace period’ for students from the previous academic year which we apply so that returning students don’t ‘disappear’ as they come to the end of their registration period. This is to support students if there is a delay in them registering (as is frequently the case) and also it enables returning students continuing access to various systems over the summer prior to the formal start of the academic year – especially important for the numerous programmes which start before the main start of the academic year.

Our practice has been developed over the years to address the short period where registration data is so fluid that it cannot be the sole basis for identifying current tutees. This problem is compounded because it is common practice by Schools to assign tutees to tutors on SAP SLcM for an indefinite time, so we cannot reliably use the recorded end date. We have also include admissions data so that tutors can see new tutees prior to registration.

From the 3rd of October, the ePortfolio system will revert back to registration data as the vast majority of students will have had time to register.

Using Trello to stay on track

trello_cardsThe LTDS Online Courses Team have been experimenting with a number of online tools to support team-working and in the process have become great fans of Trello.

A team in different places

Trello gives us a live representation of the project and current responsibilities. It is easy for us to add new people to the Trello Board as the project progresses irrespective of where they are.

To put on a course we bring together a team – academic colleagues, digital media, LTDS.  We are in different locations, and our academic leads can often be off campus.  An online tool works really well for us.

Trello screenshot

Enterprise Shed 2 Trello Board

Mocking up courses

Trello comes into its own after we have done a good deal of planning (on Post-it notes and paper).  We create a Trello List for each Week and give each step a Trello card.

By mocking up the course in this way it makes it easy to check that we have variety of media/approaches and it enables us to experiment with different routes through the learner activities.

If we think the content could be ordered better, then Trello allows us to drag and drop elements.

We also tend to add extra Trello Lists to the board to share project documents and resources eg actions around Marketing. This gives us a a complete “dashboard” for the project.

Customising Trello – agreeing conventions

One of the best things about Trello is that it is so easy to customise  to meet your needs.  If you can agree conventions with your team before you start you will reap the rewards later.

Here are some examples of what we did:

  • To help us see the mix of content in each week we defined labels that related to the activity type for each step, and applied these labels to the steps.

 trello_labels

  • We added Trello checklist to steps to record work to be done and progress.

trello_todo

  • We dragged cards which were finished to the “done” list once work on the associated step was complete.
  • Borrowing from agile practitioners, we indicated the amount of work left on a card by adding a number of asterisks to the end of each card’s title. (*) trivial, through to (***) significant
  • We put links on each card so that we could go straight to the step on the course.  That way if you spotted your name on a card, had time to give you could click through and edit the course content in a couple of clicks.
  • We added comments to Trello cards to remind ourselves of where we had got to, and to leave notes for other team members.

trellocomment

Other useful things

  • It is mobile friendly – Trello works really well on phones and tablets and has mobile apps available from the relevant appstores.
  • Trello has a good search function – eg “#video  WEEK 2” gives the status of steps in Week 2 that have been labelled as video.

trello_search

See the Trello.com for more details.

 

Technology Workshops for 2016/2017

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve totally overhauled our workshop booking system.

It will now be much easier to select the workshop or webinar you want, be it an introduction to Blackboard or ePortfolio or something more advanced.

You can then select a date, rather than scrolling through a long list!

We hope it will make it much easier to get started and even simpler to develop your skills across the technologies available at Newcastle.

We’ll also still be offering bespoke one-on-one sessions if you want to do something in particular with your teaching and need help or advice on how to achieve it.

Just get in touch.

Sessions will be available to get you started with all of our technologies including Blackboard, ePortfolio, Turnitin, using online assessment, ReCap and the University’s new responseware system, Ombea, which allows you to collect student responses to questions and check their progress in large learning environments through mobile devices and tablets.

There are also a range of more advanced workshops to make use of other features such as discussion boards or blogs on Blackboard, Personal Tutoring and Supervision Groups on ePortfolio or even Writing Effective Online Test Questions.

You can read more about the webinars and workshops which are available and book up on our website.

 

 

Teaching Room Response Systems

Ever wanted to test your students’ responses to questions and track their learning during lectures?

response system pictureThe University’s new Teaching Room Response System, Ombea, will allow students to use their own devices to respond to questions and polls during lectures.

Ombea can be easily incorporated into Powerpoint slides to enhance students’ engagement in lectures and large teaching spaces.

While the previous system TurningPoint will still be available this year, Ombea will allow staff to engage students without the need to collect and distribute clickers.

Staff will still need to contact LTDS to acquire a license to use the software and training will be available to both introduce staff to Teaching Room Response Systems and to provide training on Ombea.

The system was selected in response to staff feedback and because of its easy integration with existing systems.

Do you do internet shopping? Online banking? Have a fitness tracker? How secure are they? You need our Cyber Security free online course!

We use devices connected to the internet every day. Smart watches, mobile phones, fitness trackers, tablets, bookreaders and more. And they all contain a wealth of personal information: our browsing histories, banking details, passwords etc.

But how secure are they?

In Newcastle University’s newest free online course: Cyber Security: Safety at Home, Online, in Life we explore the security usability tradeoff that we negotiate every time we use an online service.

This enjoyable and engaging three week course will take you about 3 hours a week to complete. By the end of the course we hope you will more informed and understand the risks of fraud and cyber crime better, to help you make more enlightened decisions about how to protect your personal information.

A composite of mugshots.
Meet the Cyber Security Educator and Mentor team. L-R: (Top row) Steve, Dylan, Phyllis, David, Peter (Bottom row) Martin, Charles, Sia, Aad, Kovila, Maryam.

The course is led by Dr Steve Riddle with an Educator and Mentor team drawn from researchers and practitioners from Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science, an acknowledged Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR).

We invited some cyber security experts to preview the content. The North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit (UK) said:

I was impressed. The content is really relevant and dynamic and not just your basic security tips – there’s a bit more to it than that. It’s very user interactive.

You can join over 9000 people and sign up now. The course starts on Monday 5 September 2016.

ReCap Downtime – 2nd September

ReCap will be unavailable from 2pm on Friday 2nd September whilst we perform the annual upgrade to the service.

Recap

During the upgrade it will not be possible to make new recordings or view or edit existing recordings.

It is anticipated that the ReCap service will be available again by close of business on the 2nd but there is the potential for intermittent outages during the weekend (3rd and 4th September) whilst configuration is completed.

We thank you for your patience at this time and if you require any further clarification please contact the team.

Claire Burnham – Peer Mentoring

In light of the growing success of the University’s peer mentoring programme, Newcastle has appointed a new co-coordinator for the scheme, based in LTDS.

Claire Burnham
Claire Burnham

Claire Burnham began her new role in August and is already involved in helping to support the scheme more widely across the University.

She said: ‘I’m really looking forward to getting going with the programme. It’s going to be very exciting meeting the new mentors and helping to deliver some of the training.’

The programme trains and supports second and third year students to offer help and advice to first years as they begin their studies.

Each mentor works with a group of students in his or her school and a coordinator in their school or unit supervises the project and acts as a point of contact for mentors needing extra support or advice.

A Newcastle alumnus, with a degree in Psychology, Claire is very aware of the importance of getting it right in helping students to transition between school and higher education.

She said: ‘It’s such a great way of supporting students in making the transition to University, having a mentor who has already been through it and can offer support and advice.’

The programme offers full training to all mentors, equipping them with the skills to help new students but also with transferrable skills which will help them to enter the world of work.

As well as arranging and supporting training for peer mentors across the University, Claire is also responsible for making sure that the mentor’s achievements are celebrated.

She said: ‘We will be running, as we have done in previous years, awards for the best mentor in each faculty as nominated by their mentees.’

The awards get presented in a special event to be held at the Great North Museum: Hancock Museum on 5 December.

‘There is also an award for the best coordinator. So the event marks a great chance for mentors and coordinators to get together and celebrate a good job well done.’

If you would like help with training and supporting student mentors in your school or have any questions about the Peer Mentoring Scheme, you can email Claire on claire.burnham@ncl.ac.uk.

Do you have a particularly novel approach to Peer Mentoring School? Get in touch with us on ltds@ncl.ac.uk and tell us about it.

 

Ageing Well: Falls starts 5 September

Ageing Well: Falls is a four week (2 hours a week) free online course, which starts on 5 September 2016. Previous learners really valued this engaging course which is having a real effect on people’s lives.

This course was excellent, it gave a lot of good information and dispelled many myths about “only old folks have falls”, as well as giving resources to check when problems arise.

Photo of Dr James Frith.
Dr James Frith, Lead Educator, Ageing Well: Falls

As we make the finishing touches to the course before it starts, we asked Dr James Frith, Lead Educator, a few questions which come up regularly:

Are falls really that dangerous?

James: Yes. Falls are hugely common and as we get older our bodies are less robust and are more likely to be injured during a fall. Serious injuries include broken bones and head injuries or serious bleeding. A broken hip can be devastating for some people. But for some people the loss of confidence following a fall can be just as disabling as a physical injury. Fortunately we can reduce the risk of falling and the associated injuries.

What is the most common story you hear from your patients?

James: Falls are complex and are rarely caused by a single factor. in each person who falls there are a mix of factors which contribute, so there is not really a typical type of fall.  However, common things which I come across are:

  1. Falling on the bus as people get up from their seats before it has stopped.
  2. Putting out the bins in wet or windy weather.
  3. Getting up too quickly to answer the telephone or the door.
  4. Slipping in the bath or shower.

What can increase a person’s risk of falls?

James: Researchers have identified hundreds of risk factors for falls, so we tend to stick to the ones that we can do something about. The main risks are having a poor gait or balance, poor eye sight, dizziness, some medications, and hazards in the home or on the street, but there are many more.

What can a person do to reduce the risk of falls?

James: Sometimes it can come down to common sense, such as keeping stairs free from clutter, turning on the lights and reporting dizziness to the doctor. But there are other simple ways too, such as keeping the legs active and strong through gentle exercise, having a medication review with a doctor or pharmacist, avoiding dehydration and having walking sticks measured by a professional.

What is the best way to recover from a fall?

James: If someone is prone to falls they should consider wearing a call alarm or keeping a mobile phone in their pocket, just in case they need to call for help. Some people can learn techniques to help them stand following a fall – usually from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. In the longer term anyone who has fallen or is at risk of falls should seek help from a health professional to try to prevent future falls. Sometimes falls can be due to medical conditions which can easily be treated.

Everyone knows someone who has fallen. Why not join our friendly team of falls specialists and thousands of people like you to find out what you can do to help yourself, your family, friends or people you care for?

The lead educators were warm and engaging, and they were generous with their knowledge and expertise.

I liked the interaction between participants. It makes you feel you are not alone in your experiences.

Sign up now at www.futurelearn.com/courses/falls

HEA Conference 2017 – Generation TEF: Teaching in the Spotlight

The Higher Education Academy conference will be held on 4th, 5th and 6th July 2017 in Manchester and will concentrate on ‘improving the quality of teaching and learning in the age of the Teaching Excellence Framework.’

Structured over three days, the conference will provide a platform for higher education professionals to share their experiences, ideas, research and good practice in a community of their peers and learn from internationally respected speakers.

The conference format allows for cross-fertilisation of pedagogies, with a day dedicated to addressing sector priorities, such as retention, assessment and employability, sandwiched between two days of discipline-led activities.

The conference is an ideal opportunity to meet like-minded peers, build networks, and expand your knowledge of sector issues and innovations, thus strengthening your own professional practice and reputation.

Proposals for posters are invited from higher education professionals that relate to this year’s chosen theme and/or one of the sub-themes below:

  • Transforming assessment;
  • Student access, retention, attainment and progression;
  • Embedding employability;
  • Internationalising higher education;
  • Student engagement through partnership;
  • Flexible learning;
  • Curriculum design;
  • Student choice landscape;
  • Leadership of learning and teaching in the disciplines;
  • New pedagogic research in the disciplines.

The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2016.

See more on the conference website.