Recent updates to ePortfolio

To improve functionality, and in line with staff and student requests, there have been some recent updates to the ePortfolio system.

Graduate Framework

The new Graduate Framework was embedded in ePortfolio for the start of this academic year, and is now the default skill set for taught students. Students can link blog posts (reflections/evidence) to attributes of the Framework. Students can download their information as a PDF, including a summary of number of posts by graduate attribute. The old Graduate Skills Framework is still available for those who have used it previously.

Supervision Groups

Supervision Groups are used to support projects, placements and other activities. Supervisors can communicate with groups of students, whilst students share reflections and updates with just the supervisors in a safe environment for non-collaborative work.

The groups now support multiple supervisors following requests for this. In addition, the interfaces for Supervision Groups and sharing portfolio content have been simplified and made more efficient.

Placement Support

The Placements sub-system for ePortfolio supports access by external supervisors as well as students and staff. It includes rubric-based assessment, custom forms, automated form scheduling, and 3-way file sharing. This went live in 2018/19 for PGCE programmes and additional programmes are using it in 2019/20.

There have been numerous enhancements based on requests from different placement schemes, including additional options for rubric-based assessment, CSV downloads of form data, admin notes, and quick links to create record meetings.

Other Changes

There have been various other enhancements/bug fixes in ePortfolio, including:

Meeting records – now includes a duration (requested for Admin recording of meetings and avoiding overlapping events).

Accessibility – you may notice some changes, including darker colours for buttons in order to meet accessibility colour contrast requirements.

Various changes – to support switching to a new institutional data feed, which is more efficient and sustainable.

If you would like to know more about any of these changes, or would like to know more about utilising new functionality, please contact Sam Flowers in LTDS.  

Undergraduate research: present at BCUR, sponsorship available, CV points

If you are an undergraduate  with a piece of  research that you’re proud of—or you’re a lecturer with students like that—please read on!

Newcastle University is looking for students to represent us at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research 2020 and Posters in Parliament 2020.

You might be working on a dissertation, or you may have devised your own topic for an assessment. You might have worked with an external company, or worked with a researcher over the summer to help them with their research project. All types of research are welcome.

Postgraduates are also welcome to apply as long as the research was completed while they were an undergraduate and they graduated within the last 12 months.

Practical, transferable skills! Taking your learning outside the University! CV points!

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

  • What: the UK’s premier conference for research done at undergraduate level
  • Where: University of Leeds
  • When: 6-7 April 2020
  • How: presentations or posters

Posters in Parliament

  • What: an opportunity to present your research in the prestigious surroundings of Westminster Palace
  • Where: Houses of Parliament
  • When: tbc
  • How: posters

Continue reading Undergraduate research: present at BCUR, sponsorship available, CV points

NUTELA Small Grants Fund

Apply for up to £500  to explore and embed technology-enhanced practices into  your teaching.

Perhaps you have an idea for your teaching that uses technology, but need some funding to support it or maybe you know of interesting technology enhanced learning at another institution and would like to be able to visit to explore it further.

Applications are invited for a wide range of activities which enable you to explore, disseminate or import ideas and practices, and share these with colleagues at Newcastle through the NUTELA network.

Applications for up to £500 are welcomed, and applications will be on a rolling basis, rather than at set points in the academic year.

For more information about the fund, what it can be used for and to apply, please see the NUTELA Small Grant Fund Application and Guidance Notes.  

Alternatively submit your application online here

Any queries should be sent to nutelaops@newcastle.ac.uk

WebPA Replacement: Buddycheck Pilot

There is a need to replace WebPA as the University’s VLE integrated tool for peer evaluation of group work contribution. WebPA is open source and this leaves the University vulnerable to system failure with a lack of technical support. There have been a number of bugs and stability issues impacting on the usability and reliability of WebPA that have caused disruption for staff and students.

The viability of a number of options has been considered in order identify a product that has high usability i.e. has a simple workflow for setting up and managing an evaluation, and that offers as a minimum the same functionality that is available in WebPA. Buddycheck has been identified as an option that meets these essential requirements and offers VLE integration. Buddycheck has a simple workflow for setting up evaluations and allows customisation of questions, rubrics, terminology and default settings.

Buddycheck is being piloted during Semester One 2019/20. A number of Semester One modules have signed up to take part but there may be capacity to support more. If you are interested in taking part in this pilot please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk with details of the group assessment.

WebPA will remain available in Blackboard until the end of 2019/20 and users will be supported by LTDS, however the intention is that it will not be available once the University moves to Canvas at the beginning of 2020/21.

Numbas and Canvas

It’s recently been announced that Newcastle will replace Blackboard with Canvas as our main virtual learning environment from the 2020/21 academic year. We’ve had a few questions from colleagues about how this will affect Numbas, so this is a short note to say, in essence, it won’t.

Numbas is currently linked to Blackboard using the LTI standard, which Canvas also supports. When we switch to Canvas, links to Numbas will work the same way.

This is what adding a Numbas resource in Canvas looks like.

Multiple institutions around the world are already successfully using Numbas with Canvas. We will of course do our own testing before the switch happens.

Advance HE Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshops

During 2019-20, Advance HE will be running a series of one-day Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshops.

With teaching excellence still a major focus of the HE sector, and increasing pressures across institutions to respond to policies such as the subject level TEF in England and challenges such as the mental wellbeing of both staff teams and students, Advance HE’s workshops will provide practical guidance on improving your teaching practices working alongside peers from a range of institutions and disciplines.

Click to book onto an Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshop

As members of Advance HE, staff at Newcastle University are able to receive discounted rates for Advance HE development programmes, conferences and events. Although there isn’t central funding for such events, your school may wish to fund relevant opportunities.  Whether you are near the start of your career, an academic, a member of professional services, a senior leader in an executive team or working in governance, Advance HE have timely and tailored development opportunities for you and your teams.

Find out more about Advance HE programmes and events

COULD YOU HELP REVIEW UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH ABSTRACTS?

Reviewers are sought to help select students with the best undergraduate research to represent Newcastle University at British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) events.

Successful students will represent Newcastle University with a poster or oral presentation at the main BCUR conference in the Easter vacation, or with a poster at Posters in Parliament in February / March.

What you need to know:

  • You will need to have time the w/c 25 November to review approximately five to ten 250 word abstracts.
  • Staff from all disciplines are welcome, as specific subject knowledge is not required to review the abstracts. BCUR’s events are generalist, so contributions are expected to convey findings and their importance to a non-specialist audience.
  • Rating criteria will be provided.
  • The reviewing panel will not convene physically; it will be done electronically.

Find out more about last year’s successful entries on the Newcastle University BCUR website. To volunteer, please get in touch with thebcur@newcastle.ac.uk

This opportunity to submit an abstract to the conference will be promoted to students soon. If you have any questions, or know of any students with some impressive undergraduate research, feel free to contact the organising team at thebcur@newcastle.ac.uk.

Education for All: Learning and Teaching Conference 2020

2nd April 2020

Newcastle University Campus

How do we deliver Newcastle’s educational vision, meet the needs of all our students and support and develop our staff? 

This one-day conference will explore these questions and more.

All are invited to join the conversation on the 2nd April 2020.

Join us – Registration is open

You can book your place for the conference now.

Hear from the two exciting keynote presenters and be inspired by the work of your colleagues and students across Newcastle University’s campuses.

Keep up to date with how the day is developing by visiting the conference website.

Call for submissions

Why not share your own practice? The call for submissions is also open.

Proposals are encouraged from everyone involved in learning and teaching at all Newcastle University campuses – students, academic staff, professional services staff, technicians and external collaborators.

There are full details about how to submit, formats, themes and criteria on the conference website.

The deadline for submissions is 10 January 2020.

Spread the word

Tell you colleagues about the conference and how to register – all are welcome.

Are they doing some interesting work that deserves to be known more widely, and just need some encouragement? This is their chance, why not suggest they submit a proposal.

NUTELA Learning and Teaching Conference Award

Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates (NUTELA) are passionate about promoting technology in teaching and supporting colleagues to explore technology enhanced learning.  In recognition of some of the fantastic work that is delivered by colleagues across the University the NUTELA Learning and Teaching Conference Award was introduced in 2018.

The award is open to anyone who is selected to be part of the Learning and Teaching Conference programme who is effectively using technology in their teaching.   All  eligible abstracts are judged by members of the NUTELA Steering Group and should include:

• Elements of technology enhanced learning
• Innovative teaching and learning practice
• Student engagement in teaching and learning
• Practice which can be transferable to other disciplines or areas of study.

The top three abstracts are awarded up to £150  to further the work of their projects or disseminate their findings.

2019 Learning and Teaching Conference NUTELA award winners
  • 1st Prize: Dr Alesssio Ianetti, Teaching Fellow, School of Pharmacy Who wants to be a millionaire: A game for the Pharmacy curriculum
  • 2nd prize: Dr Emma Cockburn, Lecturer, School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences Fusing team-based flipped learning and animations 
  • 3rd prize: Dr Chris Graham, Director of E-Learning, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics  Building flexible and accessible web-based course material 

Dr Alessio Ianetti shares more about his project and how he used his award in this blog post.

If you are interested in finding out more about the learning and teaching conference visit the conference website. Registration and the call for submissions will open on the 1st October 2019.

Parent-Child Modules

Many staff often request for modules to be joined together on Blackboard where the content delivered on those modules is the same. When this happens, we create what is called a parent-child module. The existing modules become child modules of a newly created parent module. Combining the modules in this way means that the content only has to be added to the parent, but students continue to see the content via the child module they are enrolled in.

For example, a lecturer requests modules K1920-ABC2000 Introduction to Newcastle and K1920-ABC2004 Introduction to Newcastle (Erasmus Study Abroad) to be combined as all Continue reading Parent-Child Modules