All posts by Claire Burnham

Newcastle University Digital Exams Service announced as finalist in the e-Assessment Awards

The e-Assessment Association has announced the shortlisted finalists for its international awards programme, The e-Assessment Awards.

We are delighted to announce that the Newcastle University Digital Exams Service has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Summative Assessment’ category.

The e-Assessment Awards programme holds a unique position, as it encompasses all sectors of education: from schools, through further and higher education to workplace training and professional exams. The Awards programme was launched in October 2016 to highlight and celebrate the outstanding and positive contributions that technology makes to all forms of assessment, and has gone on to showcase the best practice, research and innovation in the sector.

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, recognised this excellent acheivement:

“The nomination reflects the fact that we are a leading institution in the sector for digital exam provision.  It also recognises our commitment to ongoing innovation, exemplified by the recent introduction of digital written exams that students can take using their own devices. 

The Digital Exams Service plays a pivotal role in providing our students an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology, which is one of the four key themes of the University Education Strategy.  Delivering a diverse range of summative exam types in a secure online environment enables authentic assessment, enhances the accessibility of exams for all of our students, and supports the University’s commitment to lowering its environmental impact by reducing the amount of paper required for exams.

The success of digital exams at Newcastle University is founded on collaboration between academic and professional services colleagues in academic units across the institution, together with the Learning and Teaching Development Service, IT Service, and Exams and Awards Office. This commitment to collaboration and innovation provides a strong foundation as we prepare to meet the challenges of delivering rigorous, authentic, and accessible assessment in the new educational landscape resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Finalist e-Assessment Awards 2020

The Digital Exams Service here at Newcastle has also been recognised as an example of good practice and innovation in the recent JISC report: The future of assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025.

e-Assessment Awards – Selected finalists showcase, 3 June 2020

Continue reading Newcastle University Digital Exams Service announced as finalist in the e-Assessment Awards

Canvas training now available: Book a session now

You can now book onto one hour webinars which will cover the core functionality and exciting new features of Canvas, providing colleagues with the skills and knowledge to set up their Canvas courses ready for the 2020/21 academic year. All sessions are available to book on Elements.

You can find details of sessions below and further information and resources are available at services.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning/canvas/colleagues/ (including answers to Canvas FAQs) and on NUConnect

Get Started 

Canvas Fundamentals

A one hour introduction suitable for all staff.

Begin your Canvas journey with this workshop which will explain how to navigate the key areas of Canvas and how to utilise Canvas to provide engaging learning materials and communicate with students.

Sign up to Canvas Fundamentals.

Canvas PS session 

For Professional Service colleagues who will be responsible for supporting Canvas in their academic unit.

Sign up to the Canvas PS session.

Find out more with these webinars

Assignments

You will learn about:

  • How students interact with Canvas when submitting assignments.
  • The Canvas Assignment tool and Turnitin Assignments and the differences between them.
  • How to decide what the most appropriate option will be for the assignment(s) you are setting up.

Sign up to Canvas Assignments.

Quizzes

 You will learn:

  • How students interact with Canvas when completing quizzes.
  • How to use the powerful quizzes functionality within Canvas. You will see the wide range of question types available and the extensive feedback made possible by the Canvas Rich Content Editor.

Sign up to Canvas Quizzes.

More dates to come

We know that the demands on colleagues mean that many may not be able to engage with the training opportunities at this time. The team will be offering a comprehensive programme of webinars throughout the summer, so we hope that if you wish to participate in a webinar you will be able to do so at a time that fits with all your other commitments.  

You can also find out more about the range of self help resources available on the Canvas website.

For any queries get in touch at Canvas@ncl.ac.uk

Support for online marking

There are an extensive range of new resources available on the Digital Learning Website to support you with setting up assignments and marking online.

These include screencasts and TEL Guides that you can work through in your own time, as well as daily webinars and drop ins, if you would prefer some real time support.

A number of resources cover how to get started with Turnitin and how to get the most out of the marking tools in Turnitin Feedback Studio. There’s a summary of what’s available below.

The website also includes support for other tools including Blackboard Tests, Numbas and how to use Recap assignment folders for presentations.

Turntin

Getting started with marking online

For colleagues who want to find out:

  • How to access the Turnitin assignment
  • How to use the main marking tools including bubble comments, inline comments, feedback summary and audio feedback.

Support available


Making use of the additional tools in Turnitin

As well as the tools outlined above you might also be interested in additional marking tools including:

Quick Marks

Comment libraries that can help speed up your marking.

Support available

Rubrics

Rubrics can help the marker provide consistency in marking, and will help students clearly understand what is required to improve on future assignments.


Have a question about marking online?

Come along to an online drop in session, happening everyday, to speak to a member of the team. We can help with questions about the application of any of the tools and approaches to support remote delivery of teaching and assessment.

You can also send your questions to LTDS@ncl.ac.uk or to the IT Service Desk.

Education Continuity

A new resource has been created to support colleagues in the move from campus teaching to alternatives in light of the changes to practices due to COVID-19.  

The Education Continuity pages of the Digital Learning website provide information, guidance and user guides for colleagues.  

The information provided currently covers the key initial considerations for staff making changes to their modules and programmes, and guidance on communicationlecturesseminars and accessibility

The resources will continue to evolve and be added to substantially, so please check back regularly.   

There is support for remote teaching delivery including a number of daily webinars and a twice daily online drop-in session to get real time help with delivering teaching remotely. These currently run until Friday 3 April. 

Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills: University Education Development Fund

Dr Lana Liu, Newcastle University Business School and Dr Mei Lin, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences.

Critical thinking is one of the core skills for academic success but can be one of the biggest challenges for students studying one-year taught masters programmes. 

Dr Lana Liu, Newcastle University Business School and Dr Mei Lin, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences set out to explore how critical thinking can be enhanced in their most recent project, funded by the University Education Development Fund: 

Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills in Postgraduate Taught Programmes: A Comparative Study in MSc AccountingFinance and Strategic Investment and in MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL 

This collaborative project is well underway with surveys and first round of interviews with postgraduate taught students nearly completed and evaluation of the transcripts about to begin. We caught up with Lana and Mei to find out more: 

What motivated you to begin your project? 

We teach on Masters courses in quite different subject areas. Over the years we both identified common challenges in terms of lack of critical thinking our students were demonstrating when they started their course.  This may arise from our expectation, as we were assuming a high level of critical thinking skills because of our set entry criteria to masters programmes. However it became clear that not all students were working at the same level. This was evident from in class discussions, the questions students were asking and in some cases we directly asked students about their understanding of critical thinking at both the start and end of their course.  This has led both of us to investigate underlying issues.  

Continue reading Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills: University Education Development Fund

Access Canvas and book on to the first phase of Canvas training now

All Learning and Teaching colleagues can now log in to Canvas, our new Virtual Learning Environment, which will be replacing Blackboard from 1st August 2020. This is an exciting milestone as we transition to Canvas and with access to a personal sandbox (practice) course and an online Canvas Orientation course, colleagues have an early opportunity to familiarise themselves with the platform.  

How do you get access? 

Go to https://canvas.ncl.ac.uk and log in with your nid@newcastle.ac.uk account. Once you have access you will see your personal sandbox (practice) course and the Canvas Orientation course on your Canvas dashboard. Please do not use Internet Explorer as this browser is not supported by Canvas. 

What training and support is available? 

To support you with the transition from Blackboard to Canvas and to help you to get the most out of Canvas, a comprehensive suite of training has been developed including Canvas Fundamentals, Professional Service sessions, Assignments and Quizzes and more. 

Sessions taking place throughout April-June are now available to book. There will be further sessions released in March to run from July 2020 onwards.  

If you are based at our London, Malaysia or Singapore campuses and are unable to attend face to face training sessions in Newcastle, we are working with colleagues at each campus to organise suitable sessions, which will be communicated to you shortly.  

Further information regarding PGR access to training will also be communicated soon. 

In addition to training, the following support is available: 

  • Access to the 24/7 help from Canvas. This is a fantastic resource and is available to all staff and students. You can contact Canvas via live chat, from within the platform, phone or email for all of your ‘How do I’ questions. 
  • The online Canvas Orientation course accessed from the Canvas dashboard. This has been designed to support you in using the key features and tools in Canvas and there are a number of self-check quizzes for you to check your understanding as you work through each section.  
  • A comprehensive library of Canvas step-by-step guides and video tutorials. These can all be accessed via the digital learning website or the Canvas Community or from the Help Menu within Canvas. 
  • The digital learning website. This is a key source of information with answers to FAQs, upcoming events and project timelines. 

If you have any queries about any of this information or would like to speak with a member of the project team, please contact canvas@ncl.ac.uk

Student Competition: Design a logo and win headphones or an Apple Pen to the value of £100

Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates (NUTELA) are a group of academic and professional services staff who are passionate about promoting technology in teaching. 

We are inviting students to help us design a new logo! Something simple yet eye-catching that we can include on our website and in presentations, social media, and other printed materials. 

You can find out more about NUTELA and some of the events we run at go.ncl.ac.uk/nutela  

What you need to know? 

  • This competition is open to registered students across all Newcastle University campuses 
  • The logo must be 100% original and clearly feature the name NUTELA 
  • The logo must look good in colour and when printed in black and white 
  • The logo can’t contain licenced or copyright material (other than those owned by Newcastle University) 
  • The logo must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting 
    The logo should indicate the group is part of Newcastle University 

How to submit

You should submit your design to nutelaops@ncl.ac.uk  by 30 March 2020.

All submitted designs will be judged by a panel of members from our steering group. Please send any questions to nutelaops@ncl.ac.uk 

Good luck! 

Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2020 are now open for submissions.  The closing date is the 15  April 2020.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence awards aim to raise the status of teaching and learning at Newcastle University by rewarding those individuals and teams who make a marked impact on enhancing our student educational experience.

The Award is open to all members of staff, at Newcastle, NUIS, NUMed and NUL, whose work enhances the student educational experience. In addition, applications are welcome from staff of associated employers with direct and substantive involvement in the delivery of the student experience at Newcastle, for example, staff of INTO Newcastle University. Groups of colleagues who work closely together are invited to apply for the team award.

The awards fall into the following 2 categories:

Category 1: Individual award

  • Up to 4 awards for individual members of staff (academic or professional services staff) whose contribution to education at Newcastle is exceptional.

Category 2: Team award

  • Up to 1 award for teams of staff (either academic or professional services staff, or teams consisting of both) whose contribution to education at Newcastle is exceptional.

For further information on the award, including the application process, please view the Appendix 1: Guidance notes, or visit the VC’s Education Excellence Award section of the LTDS website.

You can  find out more about last year’s winners who demonstrated an exceptional commitment to enhancing our students’ educational experience in this blog post.

If you have any questions about the awards or need any further information please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk

New Digital Learning Website

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Digital Learning website go.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning

This new site brings together the digital learning activities taking place across the University, providing you with information, step by step guides and ideas to help you to get the most out of digital technologies for learning, teaching and assessment.  

Visit the site to find out about: 

Canvas– the University’s exciting new Virtual Learning Environment replacing Blackboard from 1st August 2020. Staff and students can find project updates, information about the support available, answers to FAQs and upcoming events. 

TEL Services, lots of information about our centrally supported technologies and systems, digital exams and access to TEL guides providing you with step by step instructions. 

Blended Learning, if you want to explore online educational materials and collaborative learning opportunities with traditional face-to-face delivery, visit these pages for inspiration and support. 

We will be continuing to update the site with resources so please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see that can support you in your role. Get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Advance HE: Good Practice Grants

The Advance HE Good Practice Grants are now open for applications. These grants will give Advance HE members an opportunity to develop and share innovative practice.

Newcastle University is an Advance HE member so all Newcastle University staff would be eligible to apply.

There are two funding strands:

  • Up to £1000 for ‘What Works’ case studies
  • Up to £4000 for solution-based proposals

Projects that use creative approaches and mediums such as film, animation, and infographic-rich reports are particularly welcomed.

Advance HE are also particularly interested in:

  • Good practice in inclusive leadership: What works?
  • Fostering a sense of belonging for staff and students: What works?
  • Successful transitions: What works for different student groups?

Application deadline is the 7 February 2020 and you can find full information on the Advance HE website.