Programme of talks released for international EAMS 2018 Conference 

The programme for the E-Assessment in Mathematical Sciences (EAMS) conference has been released, with speakers from across the globe presenting the latest developments in the field of maths e-assessment and offering a unique opportunity to get hands-on with software, whether you are a user, a developer, or just a bit interested!

The conference takes place over 3 days here at Newcastle University, between 28th and 30th August, and is being hosted by the e-learning unit in the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics.

Mohamad Jebara, CEO of the award-winning Australian platform MathSpace, will open the conference, focussing on the innovative ways that MathSpace adapts to learners. Other highlights of day one include longer talks by senior figures from Vretta and DigitalEd, both with origins in Canada, and updates from EAMS 2016 keynote speakers, our own Christian Lawson-Perfect and Chris Sangwin, the lead developers of Numbas and STACK, respectively.

Opening proceedings on day two, Paul Milner, development manager at National Numeracy, will discuss the technology behind the charity’s online platform, which aims to improve the everyday maths of the UK’s adult population. The day will continue with a series of lightning talks covering topics including blended learning, online exams, and applications to subjects including statistics, engineering, physics and chemistry.

Day three will follow a new format, with the opportunity to take part in a ‘sprint’ to collaborate on new developments, to document best practice or exchange ideas. The format and content will be responsive to the topics and discussions arising from the proceedings in the first two days.

The conference takes place in the Boiler House, which will also host the conference dinner on the Wednesday night. Registration is free for Newcastle University staff and you are welcome to drop in and out of the conference sessions, however please do register on the EAMS website.

NUTELA weeding and seeding

The last NUTELA 3Ps (pizza, pop and practice) of this academic year took place last week . It’s been a productive year for the group and we are looking forward to arranging another exciting programme of sessions for next year.

Our excellent presenters showed everyone the new online reading lists system, gave tips about cleaning up Blackboard modules, as well as well as how to explore new ways of adding value with collaboration tools, groups and tests. There was time for attendees to ask lots of questions and give some of the technologies a go.

Special thanks to Paula Fitzpatrick and Stephen Harding from Digital Library Services and Rebecca Gill and Carol Summerside from LTDS for delivering such informative sessions.

We’ve included some resources  below but please feel free to get in touch with with any questions.

Online Reading Lists

Quick instructions for creating your own reading lists.

Blackboard Weeding and Seeding resources

Session presentation: Covering student feedback, Blackboard Baseline,  enhancement and mobile accessibility

Blackboard module checklist: A handy resource to help you consider whether your module meets the recommendations set out in the Blackboard Baseline.

Interested in NUTELA

We are always looking to engage with more members of staff and we have a mailing list which we use to keep people up to date with events and opportunities. Anyone who would like to sign up to the mailing list can email

Also if there are any technologies that you would like to try or find out more about let us know. We can try to include these in our Pizza, Pop and Practice Programme next year.

Blackboard Rollover 2018/19

It’s getting closer to  Blackboard module rollover which will be taking place week commencing the 23rd July 2018.  All 2018/19 modules will be available from Monday 30th July 2018.

Schools who are adopting a new template for 2018/19 may already have had their 2018/19 modules created. Finalised templates should have been confirmed to LTDS by Friday 6th July 2018. If your school wants to move to a template but did not have it finalised by the 6th July, then please contact as this is still possible.

We have a Blackboard rollover document that lets you know what happens with the different areas of Blackboard during rollover including; module content. ReCap recordings, Turnitin assignments and more. This hasn’t changed from previous years, unless you have adopted a new template,  but might be a useful reminder.

Finally to ensure you meet the Blackboard Baseline all schools or subject areas should have a consistent layout and easily navigable structure. Further information about how you can ensure you meet the baseline can be found in the Blackboard Baseline document. We have also produced a checklist that you can work through to check if your module meets recommendations.

Please get in touch with if you have any questions

Teesside University Learning and Teaching Workshop: Minecraft as a teaching tool

If you’re interested in the use of games in learning and teaching sign up to this workshop exploring the use of Minecraft, particularly how it can be used in Biosciences.

The programme includes a keynote from Joel Mills,  Minecraft Mentor & Deputy Director of Learning & Teaching Enhancement, Hull University,  as well as lots of opportunities to use the software and trial the virtual field trip exercise.

Thursday 12th July 2018
Teesside University

To find out more and book your place please visit 


Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award Winners

The winners of 2018 Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards have now been announced after careful consideration of a number of excellent submissions.

Congratulations to Dr Alison Graham, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Dr Patrick Rosenkranz, School of Psychology and  Dr Simon Tate, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology for their outstanding achievements which resulted in them winning an  individual award.

A valued addition for 2018 was the introduction of the team award. Congratulations to the School of Biomedical Sciences Professional Services Team who won this all new award for their exceptional achievements when dealing with new challenges.

The winners have demonstrated a marked impact on the experience of students here at Newcastle University, with the panel commending the winners on a wide range of projects in which they have played an instrumental role. Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education highlighted the excellent achievements of all of the winners:

“The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding contributions to our students’ educational experience. The winners of the awards have demonstrated a sustained record of innovation and creativity in supporting students’ learning and shown exceptional dedication and commitment to support their students. Congratulations to the award winners on this well-deserved recognition.”

Continue reading Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award Winners

Student views on feedback forms

To find out more a student intern, working with staff in LTDS,  evaluated existing feedback forms and gathered opinions from students to identify what works and what could be improved. The project considered a total of 66 forms from 19 different schools and included focus groups and interviews with individual students.

What did they find?

These are a few key findings and you can find full details in the project report.

Form Design

Have clear, separate sections showing:

  • Strengths and areas for improvement
  • Clear advice for future work

Only use tick boxes for objective areas of the marking criteria, such as grammar. When tick boxes were used for subjective areas, such as argument, students found this unhelpful.

Look at your feedback forms and consider whether these should be redesigned. Consult with the students in your school as part of the process.

Utilising the form

Type feedback, wherever possible.

Introduce structured opportunities to help students understand:

  • expectations of the marking criteria
  • the ways in which this is reflected in the feedback sheet

Discuss how you use marking sheets with your colleagues. Try to develop a consistent approach to:

  • the volume of feedback
  • the use of notes in margins

For more information get in touch with

New University Education Strategy

In September 2016 ULTSEC launched a process to develop a new University Education Strategy, to replace the existing Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy.  This development has taken place alongside, and in the context of, the development of the new University Strategy and Vision.

Over the last two years there has been significant consultation across the University on the development of the University Education Strategy, involving discussion at focus groups, open consultation events, University committees and a session at the 2017 University Learning and Teaching Conference.  Following this Senate endorsed the new University Education Strategy in March, and earlier this month it was approved by Council.

We’ve now published the approved University Education Strategy , and it’s accessible to all members of the University at (to access the Education Strategy you will need to enter your University username and password).

UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Closing Keynote: Embracing uncertainty

Closing Keynote: Embracing uncertainty: future- proofing skills, knowledge and capabilities in a paradigm shift

Dr Sam Grogan – University of Salford

Different ways of measuring what we have always done which becomes a distraction – i.e. TEF, fees, Brexit. Sense of a massification and marketisation of HE, alongside a consumer-focussed regulatory environment. There is also a desire for increasingly personalised, tailored learning experiences seen in mechanisms such as the TEF. Consideration of the relationship between the user and the provider. Continue reading UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Closing Keynote: Embracing uncertainty

UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Workshop: Academic Advising for PGT students

Workshop : Academic advising for taught postgraduate students: an exploratory study

Jane Fearon, Alison McCamley and Anna Wawera – Sheffield Hallam University

There had been an institution consideration of how little was done at PGT level. A small exploratory study with students interviewing other students on transition to create some scaffold for PGT support was run.

Development of: Transition support; Personal tutoring and personal development planning; Employability skills; academic literacies and study skills; English for academic/specific purposes; and academic and social integration. Continue reading UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Workshop: Academic Advising for PGT students

Celebrating even more success

Lisa Fishburn, Learning Enhancement and Technology Adviser, was also invited to the  Celebrating Success event as a result of her fantastic work with the School of Dental Sciences transforming 15 years of unmanageable Blackboard content into the accessible, consistent structure that is in place today.

The self named ‘crack task force’ of both dental academics, Lisa and colleagues in LTDS worked together to ensure that the changes had a hugely positive impact on both the student and staff experience.

Christopher O’Connor, Clinical Fellow in the School of Dental Sciences was the lead academic member of staff for this project and you can read about his experience in this blog post

For more information or if you have any questions about Blackboard get in touch with