Downtime on Hadrian’s Wall @VindolandaTrust

As we move into the weekend and we start to think about how we are going to spend our downtime, and pursue leisure activities, we’d like to share a video with you which gives a lovely insight into leisure time on Hadrian’s Wall.

Meet Dr Andrew Birley, one of our guest contributors to Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier. We asked Andrew to talk about his one of his favourite objects at Vindolanda where he is Director of Excavations.

Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier is a Newcastle University free online course lasting 6 weeks which starts on Monday 19 February (www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall)

We can’t wait for Monday! Can you?

National Teaching Fellowship Scheme 2018

The Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education. The awards support individuals’ professional development in learning and teaching and provides a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes.

More details about the scheme can be found on the HEA’s website.

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 2018 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. The HEA has announced that the 2018 round will open on the 12th February and will close on the 30th of April. This closing date refers to when applications need to be submitted to the HEA by the University. If you are considering applying, please note the earlier submission date below.

Application to be an institutional nominee

Nominations are welcomed from all members of staff who feel their work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Staff who would like to be considered should provide a maximum of 1000 words which address the following criteria.

    • Your personal practice and why this should be recognised as outstanding,
    • Your impact on colleagues, both internally and externally,
    • Your reflection on the above.

Nominations should be sent electronically to ltds@ncl.ac.uk by 12 noon on Friday the 23rd February.

View the LTDS website for more information.

Turnitin UK Academic Integrity Summit 2017

I recently attended the Turnitin UK Academic Integrity Summit 2017 held in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  This was a very timely conference following the release of the QAA report into contract cheating.  I was concerned that this would be a day-long sales pitch from Turnitin but was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite. There were many presentations from institutions around the world, but very little ‘grandstanding’ from Turnitin.

Stephen Gow, Academic Integrity Coordinator, University of York

The first session I attended was a look at the approach from the University of York towards academic integrity. They discussed the importance of the language used at the University, moving away from terms such as “plagiarism” towards “academic integrity”. All their students have a mandatory academic integrity online tutorial they must complete in Semester 1 of Stage 1. They are working closely with the student union on their “integrity week” and are also working more closely with staff, including on their Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

Turnitin Data Workflows

The second session was a discussion session with the Turnitin staff exploring the types of data and statistics institutions would like to get out of Turnitin. This included reports on feedback return time, statistics around number of students receiving extensions, archiving, learning analytics, and reporting on the various functions used. We hope Turnitin will use this in the further developments of the software.

Bill Loller, Turnitin

The third session was facilitated by Bill Loller, Chief Product Officer at Jobvite, who is working on a technical solution to expose contract cheating for Turnitin. They are using expertise from the field of forensic linguistics to develop a product. Forensic linguistics may be used in a court case to determine whether a person did, or did not, write a document. They are currently testing their modelling and developing a report that will provide a confidence score.

Bill continued this theme into a larger session with the group, showing some of the contract cheating/essay mills websites prevalent online. He admitted that Turnitin may have helped with this problem – “crack down on plagiarism and students will look elsewhere”. These websites offer 10,000 words for approximately £300.

Simon Bullock, QAA

Simon Bullock from the QAA was next to discuss his recent publication “Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education – How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills.”  He discussed the risks to the public if students were obtaining their degrees through cheating but that despite attempts it is not yet illegal to offer essay mill services online. The QAA is exploring as many non-legislative methods as possible.

Irene Glendinning, Coventry University

Irene Glendinning of Coventry University presented her research work analysing the impact of policies for plagiarism in Higher Education across Europe. She highlighted the UK and Ireland as being some way ahead of many other countries in Europe. They have developed an academic integrity maturity model, a tool to compare the results of the impact analysis across 27 EU member states.

Cath Ellis, New South Wales

The presentation that had the most impact on me was from Cath Ellis from the University of New South Wales. Cath reported that there was too much anecdotal information forming decisions, and not enough hard data.

To find out how many students are using contract cheating services, Cath asked them anonymously. Out of the 14,096 students surveyed around 6% (n=814) admitted to cheating in some form during their programme. The vast majority of this cheating comes in the form of assistance from other or former students. It is not commercially driven. The cheating group’s attitudes show they are less likely to think it’s wrong, although there was no discernible difference between English and non-English speaking students. Non-English speaking students are as likely to think cheating is wrong as English speaking students. Other findings of the study showed that when there are perceptions that there are a lot of opportunities to cheat, cheating goes up. And when there is dissatisfaction with the teaching environment, cheating goes up.

Cath discussed the need for students to have “ethical fitness” – we should not try to remove every opportunity to cheat as students need to be ethical.

She then discussed the various types of contract cheating and review some of the typical websites.

Assessment design is widely advocated as a possible solution to contract cheating, but Cath argued that this is a myth. We should not change our assessment design because of a small percentage of cheaters. Reduced assessment time (shorter deadlines) will actually drive students towards essay mills.

Cath noted that we are not having the correct conversations with students and advised us to discuss contract cheating with them. Part of the study looked at the perceptions of how prevalent contract cheating is, compared to how damaging it is. The study showed that students in the cheating group thought that a lot of students were doing it and it was not that serious. Staff members thought it was not very common but it was very serious. Students in the non-cheating group followed the same path as the students in the cheating group. They also thought that lots of students were doing it while it was not very serious.

Professor Phil Newton – Swansea University

The last presentation was given by Professor Phil Newton from Swansea University. He presented various research projects that explored academic integrity.

I found the event extremely useful and I have reflected since on the way Newcastle University approaches academic integrity. The presentation from Cath Ellis convinced me that we should not be changing any approaches to assessment to attempt to counter the small number of cheating students, but we should be minimising their opportunities to cheat. We also need to be having more conversations with staff and students about the promotion of academic integrity, and the impact contract cheating could have on their career.


ULTSEC Innovation Fund Submission Dates and Workshops announcement

The submission dates for ULTSEC Innovation Fund have been announced for 2017/18.

Responsive project proposal submission deadlines

Autumn – Monday 20th November 2017 4pm

Spring – Thursday 12th April 2018 4pm

Summer – Wednesday 30th May 2018 4pm

Strategic project proposal submission deadlines

Semester 1: Monday 22nd January 2018 4pm

Semester 2: Monday 21st May 2018 4pm

We will be running some webinars and workshops which will be available to book via the Learning and Teaching Development Programme shortly.

The dates of the workshops are:

  • 19th October 2017 10 .00am – 11.00am Training Room 4 Herschel Building
  • 23rd February 2018 10.00am – 11.00am ARMB 3.41

The dates of the webinars are:

  • 17th October 11.00 – 11.30
  • 19th January 10.00 – 10.30
  • 20th February 10.00 – 10.30

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 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 2nd of October, the ePortfolio system will revert back to registration data as the vast majority of students will have had time to register.

NUTELA 4p’s – Peer Recognition Awards

The 2nd NUTELA Peer Recognition Awards took place on Friday. These awards are designed to recognise University staff who go above and beyond the call of duty to help their colleagues, schools and units to adopt forms of technology-enhanced learning (TEL).

Staff were asked to nominate someone who had helped them understand the purpose of a specific learning technology, or someone who has been instrumental in progressing TEL initiatives.

Congratulations to Jerry Hagon and Tracey Connell for winning the awards.

Both have both been integral to helping other staff to adopt innovative technologies in their teaching. The award was presented by Professor Philip Bradley, Chair of eLSI, and the winners will be invited to the Vice-Chancellor’s Celebrating Success event.

Full list of winners and nominees

Winner – Jerry Hagon –  (School of Chemistry)

Winner – Tracey Connell –  (FMS Graduate School)

Nominations:

    • Anthony Stafford
    • Graeme Tait
    • Ruth Valentine
    • Alex Inskip
    • John Moss
    • Nuala Davies*
    • Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell*
    • Marc Bennet*

* NUTELA Steering Group members are not eligible for prizes since they are involved in the judging process. However, some were nominated and they are recognised here.

Meeting slots are now available for use with any group of students

We are pleased to announce the release of new functionality that will allow you to create meeting slots with any group in the University. Meeting slots are a popular part of the tutoring functionality in ePortfolio that allows tutors to specify particular timeslots they are free, and tutees can then sign up to a slot.
In the version released today, you can use meeting slots with supervision groups, tutees, whole modules, and any other bespoke group of students or staff.
To access the new functionality, navigate to the Meetings section using the drop down menu at the top of the screen (9 dots icon). You will see a new section labelled “Slots”. By selecting this you will be taken through to the page where you set up the slots, but you will notice in the top right hand corner of the page the option to “Add people to Slot Group”.
Meeting slots button

Selecting this will bring up the a search tool that shows your tutees/supervisees on the right hand side, but also allows you to search for anyone in the University.

Search people in ePortfolio

You can search by programme or module code, username, and by first or surname. If you search by module or programme code, there is an “Add All” button at the bottom of your search. This will add all students from the module / programme to your set of slots, allowing you to offer contact to a cohort of students in an organised manner.
If you are a user of supervision groups, you will see a new button on the Supervision Group page. This will allow you to create meeting slots for your supervision group.
Meeting slots for supervision groups
Having selected the students that the slots are to be offered to, you will then pick the length of slot and times you’re available and the students selected will be sent a booking email.
If you would like some extra support with the use of meeting slots, please email ltds@newcastle.ac.uk.

Dialogues: Digital Storytelling with Microsoft Sway

In this session we demonstrated the functionality of Microsoft’s digital storytelling app.

  • Quickly create interactive and accessible web content without needing to be a web developer.
  • Create and/or share Sways with the rest of the web, just the University or select users.
  • Sway Overview

We then presented a case study on how the software has been used to create Research Digistories as online educational resources for research students. In the case study, Sways have been created using past student work and focus not on the product of the research but on the externalisation of the hidden and personal knowledge involved in the research process itself.

Sway is available to all staff and students by logging into sway.com with their Office 365 credentials. (campusID@newcastle.ac.uk and your university password)

Additional resources

Sway Video Tutorials

Sway Quickstart Guide

Sway Online Course

Dialogues: Creating resources that are useful and useable

We spend lots of time creating digital resources, how can we build in accessibility so that they can be used by the widest group of people?

In our 3P session we explored a few ideas

  • documents are best when they have text (not pictures of text), structure, and a sensible reading order.
    – We explored this with a hands-on exercise looking at pdf accessibility.
  • videos are much more accessible and useful when they have a transcript and subtitles.
    – We had a look at how easy it is to add transcripts to YouTube.
  • Images can convey information powerfully, but how can we make these useful to people with little or no sight?
    – We explored the use of images in a Sway

Video Transcripts

As well as helping learners who are hard of hearing.  Captions and transcripts also help:

  • non-native speakers
  • people accessing resources on limited bandwidth
  • those without soundcards or headphones
  • people who prefer to read and annotate text

In this activity we’d like to show you how to add subtitles to a video on YouTube.  You’ll need a video, a script and a google account.

Feel free to use the following example files that we used in the Nutela session.

Sign into YouTube with your own google account

  • Upload the video to YouTube (look for the upload button in the top right), and click Publish when it is done
  • Click on the Video manager button

videomanager

  • Click the drop down next to the video and select “Subtitles & CC

subtitles

  • Next click “Add new subtitles or CC”

add-new

  • The method we will use here is “Transcribe and auto-sync” as this will automatically set the timings of the text:

transcribe-and-autosync

  • Paste your text into the text box and then click “Set timings

settimings

 

You will now see an option under “My Drafts”.

  • Wait 30 seconds or so and then click the refresh button:

mydrafts

Now you can check that it has aligned it correctly by listening to the video and make any changes.

  • To adjust the timings click on the phrase you wish to change and then drag the blue tabs:

change-timings

  • Once you are happy with the words, punctuation and timings click “Publish edits

publishedits

You should see the following video, click on the CC button to view the captions.

(Our demo video is about how we generate subtitles when we don’t have a script.)

YouTube also has a function which automatically generates subtitles

If you don’t have a script for your video you may be able to make use of the automatic subtitles which YouTube adds to all videos.

  • In Subtitles & CC, instead of adding new subtitles you need to select “English (Automatic)

published

  • Listen to the full video to check if the text is correct and make any changes.
  • Once you are happy with the words, punctuation and timings click “Publish edits

publishedits

 

[Huge thanks to Eleanor Lockhart for preparing these instructions and screenshots for the hands-on session.]