Digital Residence

The blog post was written by Dr Lucy Hatt, Senior Lecturer in Leadership at Newcastle University Business School.

Have you ever wondered how many places you can be at once?  Before Covid19 lockdown homeworking, the most places we could manage to be at once was two.   Unless we happened to be a Time Lord, most of us could only be in one place physically, and perhaps another place mentally, at the same time. 

However, online learning requires us to inhabit a third space – the digital space.  As well as the incongruence and mental stress that’s created by being physically at home and mentally at work, we need to be present on-line in the digital space too.  And, in order for our students to engage fully in on-line learning, we need to support and encourage every student to establish a digital residence as well as a physical residence.

Dave White, Head of Digital Learning at the University of Arts, London, researches the phenomenon of digital residency and came up with a framework to describe and analyse people’s approach to online spaces.  In this framework, we can choose to be present professionally and personally online across a continuum that ranges from visitor to resident.

Digital residency quadrants

Take Gemma, a fictional student of a post-graduate executive education programme.  In her professional role as marketing manager, Gemma is a visitor of the digital space, seeing it as a collection of tools she can use to gather information useful to get a particular job done.   However, in her personal life, she has created a digital residence in the form of her Facebook and Twitter posts and in Zoom calls with her friends and family.  In her personal life, Gemma sees the web as a series of spaces or places where she chooses to be present with other people.

When we are in the digital space in “visitor mode”, we leave no deliberate social trace of ourselves.  We might be searching for information on Google, reading product reviews, watching videos, shopping, or “lurking” on social media reading the posts of other people.   When we are in the digital space “in resident mode” we are living out a portion of our lives online.  We leave a social trace, which remains when we go offline.  To be a digital resident requires a digital identity, which we create and develop by making social media posts, participating in discussion boards, making comments, giving reviews and feedback and responding quickly to direct messages.

In order for our students to engage fully in the learning experience, as educators we need to engage with them in all four quadrants of the framework.   In order to encourage digital visitors, our digital learning platforms need to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, so our visitors can easily gather the information they need.   In the past, we have contented ourselves with students who are digital visitors, because we have been able to engage more fully with them when we have shared the physical space of the classroom. 

However, now Covid19 has restricted that possibility at least in the short to medium term, we need understand how to encourage and support our students to be digital residents too.  If our students only “visit” online learning spaces rather than residing in them, we are failing to engage them fully. Learning is likely to be more superficial and less transformational – and altogether less satisfactory.  We need to find ways to allow and encourage our learners to develop a digital identity in which they feel safe to integrate their “shoes-off” self and establish digital residency.

We can do this by such behaviours as acknowledging, sharing and relating to domestic intrusions, encouraging “off grid” student WhatsApp groups, having regular check-ins at the start and end of synchronous teaching sessions, using music and ambient sounds, integrating wellbeing activities, incorporating playful tasks and maintaining a sense of humour.  In order for professional learners to integrate their work identities, its important to design activities that require the integration of theory and practice, perhaps reflecting on how theory has informed practice encouraging students to identify opportunities to use practice to develop their theoretical understanding.

As with many of the ways that Covid19 has forced us to change our educational practices; being aware of the various ways our learners engage with the digital space will benefits that will last long after we get back into the classroom.  Recognising and valuing the “reality” of the digital space will enable us all to establish our own digital residence more consciously, and in doing so, we will encourage more learner engagement and become better educators.  

Read our Case Study to find out how we applied the Digital Residency Framework to the design and development of the online spaces for learners on the Executive Education Programmes.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dr Helen Webster, Head of the Writing Development Centre, Newcastle University, whose presentation in the HaSS Education Community Room, introduced us to the work of Dave White on Digital Residence, and to Rosalind Beaumont and Dr Tracy Scurry who lead the HaSS Education Community Room.

Learning Communities Toolkit

Students around a table

Working alongside student interns, Newcastle University HaSS colleagues have developed a new Learning Communities toolkit – a range of accessible and reusable ice-breaker and community-building resources. Available via Canvas Commons, this toolkit is ideal for educators looking for ways to encourage and facilitate effective learning communities within their module groups.

Why is a learning community needed?
Developing a learning community amongst a group of students can be hugely beneficial. Not only does it provide students with the opportunity to come together in a safe place to share opinions and ask questions, but it also allows them to feel a sense of belonging and connection with other students (this is particularly useful where minority groups are concerned). Learning communities also provide academic benefits: encouraging attendance at lectures, active engagement, and group collaboration. This toolkit provides a range of ideas to get you started and support you along the way in the development of your learning community.

How to use this toolkit
We’ve published our Learning Communities toolkit on Canvas Commons to make it easy to find, download and reuse in your own courses. To help you find activities quickly, we have organised them into three separate categories: Icebreakers, Building Community Activities, and Maintaining Community Activities.

You can preview and download the toolkit here:

https://lor.instructure.com/resources/bb4c049eeff34e15b2091c6fd4755651?shared

Sharing video – ReCap or Stream?

In an earlier post we showed demonstrated how to host videos on ReCap and Stream and then add them to Canvas.  But how do they compare?

Let’s take a student perspective what are the differences between these two as a consumer?  If you are making notes from video you’ll value things like variable playback speed, the ability to view full screen and the option of viewing or searching the caption/transcript — all of these are easy to find whether video is hosted on Stream or ReCap.

ReCap

ReCap has a handy rewind facility – if you miss something you can go back 10 seconds with one click. It also lets you make private timestamped notes on the video – so you can mark places you want to go back to.  If the video is long you can help students find their way around by adding Content items.

Stream

Stream videos can be added to a watchlist, they can be liked and, if you permit it, students can add comments to the videos.  These will be visible by anyone with permissions to view the video.  Stream helps you find your way around content by converting any timestamps you put in comments or the video description into clickable links.

There are good reasons to turn comments for particular circumstsances – eg are providing feedback, pointing out helpful sections or taking part in peer review.

Permissions

Stream videos are only available to people with @newcastle.ac.uk email addresses, so you’ll need to sign in to view the content above. ReCap videos are normally shared with those on a particular course, but you can make them public as we have done with the first video here.

Getting ready for semester 2

Books and a computer screen

We’ve pulled together a helpful list of new and existing resources for colleagues preparing for semester 2. There are lots of quick tips, ideas from colleagues as well as guides, courses and webinars.

Getting ready for semester 2 digest

An easily skimmable digest of ideas, resources and useful links covering Canvas, assessment, synchronous online sessions and more.

What works?

Get ideas and inspiration from colleagues who have generously shared how they redesigned and delivered teaching in Semester 1.  You can read about what has worked in their short accounts on our effective practice database

See how modules have been redesigned, how fieldtrips have gone virtual and how lots of achievable ideas have kept students engaged.

Webinars

View and book onto available webinars.  We know time is short, so we are adding digests to the webinar listings to make it easy for you to pick up key messages from the sessions.  New webinars include Digital Polling  and NUIT will be offering some revamped Zoom sessions. 

Canvas

We have an ongoing programme of Canvas webinars and have updated and extended the Canvas Orientation course.  These will be vital for colleagues new to teaching this year.  Remember too that all staff and students can pose questions to Canvas 24/7 support.  

Flexible Learning Online Course

All colleagues also have access to the Flexible Learning 2020 Canvas course which articulates changes needed under the Education Resilience Framework.   

Join a Community

Share ideas, ask questions and find out more from your colleagues

You might be interested in the Zoom CommunityTeams CommunityCanvas Community and Numbas Users.  

NUTELA (Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advoates) and Newcastle Educators also run regular practice sharing sessions and have Teams sites that you can join.   

Visit the Digital Learning Site

We continue to improve the guides and resources on the Digital Learning Site and have noted important changes in the site’s newsfeed.

Get in touch

Let us know if there are any other resources you would find helpful or if you would like to share some of your teaching practice. You can get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk .

Guiding students through your Course

When you are working remotely it is really easy for students to be confused about what needs to be done and what’s important week by week.

Here are 3 simple ideas to help.

1. A module “roadmap”

Here are examples of roadmaps from a number of modules – they show what is happening week by week and help make connections between what is happening.

View examples from Law, NUBS and HaSS PGCert in more detail or read the case study from Ros Beaumont to find out more.

2. Use Canvas modules to set a flow through your course

Use your Canvas modules to direct student’s activity week by week or topic by topic. Every Canvas course has a sample structure that you can adapt to match your teaching pattern. You can hide or lock materials that aren’t yet relevant and even set requirements so that student need to view or complete certain conditions before they can move on.

See our updated information on Canvas modules in the Canvas Orientation course.

3. Suggest timings for activities

Without the normal structure of face to face time on campus it’s harder for many students to structure their time.

HSS8007 indicationg timings on activities

Add a weekly overview to give students an idea of your expectations for how much time to spend on the activities for a given week. This will help them plan their time, and make sure they give their attention to the things that you signpost as being most important.

From overwhelmed to ordered

It will take a bit of time to consider ordering, signposting, and setting a flow in your modules, but this need not be onerous and it’s one way you can help your students feel less overwhelmed in these strange times.

Learning and Teaching, New ideas and resources

Ideas and Inspiration, Flexible Learning 2020

Find out more about what colleagues and students have been working on in some of the Flexible Learning case studies and resources.

Social spaces for students

This online resource will provide you with examples of how to use social spaces for students in a digital virtual environment. The resource includes documents highlighting examples of practice and how to use them. As well as cases studies from our university and other institutions taking you through what has worked well and what to maybe avoid.

Canvas tips and favourite features

Hear from academic and professional services colleagues who share some of their Canvas tips, favourite features and positive feedback from students.

Read more on the Digital Learning website

Synchronous online sessions

Top tips from the Academic Practice Team.

The team cover how they planned synchronous sessions, how they used them to build community, and what they did to keep these Zoom teaching sessions engaging and accessible.

Peer assisted learning

Carrie, a peer assisted learning leader, chats with Zoe, a student, to share the challenges and successes of moving to online learning. 

Hear more about the Language Resource Centre PAL Scheme.

New resources and support for teaching online

Maintaining Student Engagement Workshop

In this 60-minute workshop, we will explore together ideas for how you can engage students in online learning including:
• Some dos and don’ts of online learning;
• Methods for setting expectations;
• Alternatives to lectures;
• Keeping students engaging with you and each other;
• Keeping students involved week-to-week.


View dates and book your place.

Considerations for teaching and studying with poor internet

Colleagues and students alike may well be affected by slow or variable internet connections which in turn will make many aspects of online teaching and learning troublesome.

Some helpful strategies to help minimize difficulties.

More control over your content in Microsoft 365

We’ve just rolled out a new way you can control how your students and colleagues interact with content stored in Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365). Module and community enrolments now appear as Security Groups in Microsoft 365. You can use these groups to apply permissions to content or add members to a Microsoft Team.

Find out more about these updates to Microsoft 365.

New Online Training Course for Personal Tutors

A new online course, An Introduction to Personal Tutoring​, is now available on Canvas.

Existing webinars and resources

Colleagues have been taking part in webinars and online courses over the last few months and we are continuing to run a lot of our more popular sessions. Find out more about webinars, drop-ins and online courses.

Guides

An extensive range of guides and further resources are available on the Digital Learning site.

Getting the most out of Synchronous Online Sessions

Like the rest of the University, our colleagues from the Academic Practice Team in the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) have redeveloped their face to face small group teaching sessions for online delivery.   Their learners are postgraduate research students taking  the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE) and academic staff new to Newcastle University who are engaging with Newcastle Educational Practice Scheme (NEPS) Units en route to UKPSF fellowship.   

“In order to make a session engaging online, you have to think about what it is that you’re trying to achieve.”

Dr Rosa Spencer, Professional Development Manager

I met up with Dr Rosa Spencer, Emma McCulloch and Chris Whiting to ask about their top tips on how they planned these 1-2 hour sessions, how they used them to build community, and what they did to keep these Zoom teaching sessions engaging and accessible.

Helpful Hints and Tips

  • Keep group sizes relatively small, 20 people max.
Continue reading “Getting the most out of Synchronous Online Sessions”

Questions about online learning- you are not alone!

There’s loads to learn to get ready for teaching this term, Canvas, synchronous online teaching, guidance in the ERF all of these are new.  If you are puzzled about the best place to start you aren’t alone!

Questions about online learning?
I'm thinking about....is there a better approach?
How can I encourage students to engage in online sessions?
How can I make the best use of Canvas?
Drop -in to our Zoom room for friendly pointers http://bit.ly/talktoLTDS
http://bit.ly/talktoLTDS

LTDS’s Learning Enhancement and Technology Teams are here to help.  We are running regular drop-in sessions each week where we can chat through options with you, give pointers to resources we know that will help and suggest ideas for you to consider. 

We don’t know much about thermodynamics, cell biology or philosophy but between us we have loads of experience with online learning.  If we don’t know the answer we can phone a friend and get back to you.

No question is too basic!

We run hour long drop-in sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  You don’t need to make an appointment. Each drop-in has two members of our team to help answer your questions.

See http://bit.ly/talktoLTDS for our drop-in and webinar schedule and information about how to join.

Adding Captions to Videos in Canvas

There are lots of different ways of making videos and generating captions. In this blog post we’ll present two of these recipes – think of them as starting points that you can adapt and develop – they use existing University systems – so all you need is a web browser.

When we make recordings and videos for student to watch before or after scheduled teaching sessions we need to add captions to these videos. Captions are a text alternative that makes the video meaningful to someone with hearing difficulties.  We also know that they are used significantly by non-native speakers, and those working in noisy environments.

CC button on player

When a video has captions applied the person watching the video can turn them on and off – this is normally done by clicking on a “CC” (closed captions) button.

The captions for a video are held in a text file that contains segments of text along with timestamps. 

Video files are large, and your Canvas course is limited to 20GB of file attachments. So, it makes sense to add videos to one of our University Video Platforms (ReCap or Stream) and embed them into Canvas from there. ReCap and Stream both have Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) capabilities and can add machine generated captions to videos. These won’t be 100% accurate, but they can be edited.

In overview the process is:

  1. Upload your video
  2. Add, edit and publish the machine generated captions
  3. Publish the video in your Canvas course

ReCap

You can view all the content that you have access to on ReCap by going to your campus ReCap site (Newcastle, London and NUMED/NUIS

Record Files
  1. Upload your video:  Upload content to Recap (.docx) or record content with ReCap Personal Capture (.docx)
  2. Add automatic captions to the recording
  3. Publish the recording in Canvas

The ReCap integration makes sure that all students and teachers on the course have access to the recording – you do not need to adjust permissions.

Stream

You can explore Stream by logging into Office365.ncl.ac.uk.
Click on the App Launcher and select Stream. 
If you are already signed in you can navigate to https://web.microsoftstream.com/

Select stream in Office365.ncl.ac.uk
  1. Upload a video to Stream or Record the Screen
  2. Generate automatic captions for your Microsoft Stream videos and Edit the transcript
  3. Publish videos in Canvas

Do I have to edit automatic captions for my videos?

The university has recently agreed text for a captions disclaimer for students. This makes it clear that automatically generated captions aren’t 100% accurate and that students need to be use these alongside their wider reading. Students requiring accurate captions as part of their reasonable adjustments should contact their disability adviser.

If time permits, light touch editing of captions will help many students.

More information

See the video guides on the Digital Learning Site
Captions disclaimer for students

How do I know whether my students are engaging with their modules and who might need more support?

As we move into the new academic year this is a question that many colleagues may have.

With an increased amount of online teaching and non-synchronous learning activities, ensuring that students are effectively engaging with their studies will be particularly important in 2020-21.

Many of the ways in which you gauge whether groups of students, or individuals, are engaging in the teaching on your module will remain the same, some will need tweaking for different teaching formats, and others tools and information are new for this year.

This blog post gives a whistle stop tour through some of the approaches that colleagues may be using in 2020-21 to look at students’ engagement in their modules and identify those needing additional support or guidance.

Reading the (Zoom) room

Whether the session is on campus in present-in-person format, or an online synchronous teaching session, as educators you will still glean much from observing your students as they participate in their small group teaching.

 This can be as simple as keeping an eye on attendance. If a student doesn’t attend a session or multiple sessions without cause or notice, follow up with them and potentially escalate this to their personal tutor if required.

Tip: To find a student’s Personal Tutor search for them in NUStudentSearch

For those that are attending, are they participating? Are they contributing to discussions, working with other students on the learning activities you set, asking questions in or outside of the session?

Does the informal check in in teaching week 3, as detailed in the Student Voice schedule, highlight individuals or groups of students who are struggling to engage in the module? Perhaps it helps you to identify content or topics that need revisiting or a need for further support on how students should approach their learning? There are many ways you can approach this informal check in which provide you with feedback on students’ engagement.

What does your Canvas show?

Our new VLE Canvas, has an in-built tool which provides a wealth of information about students’ engagement with the teaching materials and activities in your module.

The New Analytics tool in Canvas provides a daily updated set of information to colleagues on the module at the level of the whole cohort, and down to individual students.

This tool allows you to get a quick overview of the module, providing useful real-time insights as the module progresses including:

  • marks and averages for both formative and summative assessments
  • data on student participation with structured learning activities –  including collaborating in Canvas, posting in online discussions, responding to announcements and other forms of student activity
  • weekly page views data showing the sections of the module and resources being accessed  

Its flexibility means you can also look at the level of all students, smaller groups or individual students to identify those in need of support and to inform conversations with your students.

A screen shot showing an example of the data available in Canvas New Analytics. This graph shows the average page views and average participation data for the whole cohort and an individual student over a 2 month period.

You can also easily directly contact specific students based on their activity through the tool, a way of highlighting additional resources on a particular topic to those whose quiz scores suggest they would benefit from this, for example.

For more information on the tool and how to access it see the staff guides on the Digital Learning website.

What about attendance monitoring?

The Attendance Monitoring Policy has been adapted to the new academic year, to allow schools to take a more flexible approach of considering a combination of attendance and engagement information.

  • Present-in-person teaching sessions will continue to record student attendance via room scanners for those students who attend in Newcastle, with reports accessible in SAMS through the usual processes.
  • Where colleagues wish to take attendance, but the teaching session is not held in a space with a scanner, they can choose to make manual attendance lists which can be input into SAP.
  • As some students will be studying remotely, and the SAMS data will therefore only provide a partial picture, a new report in Canvas can be accessed alongside this data. The Zero Activity Report will show any students who are enrolled on the course but have not accessed Canvas in the period specified when the report is run.

It is recommended that colleagues in schools look at the SAMS data and Zero Activity report in conjunction as part of their monthly attendance reporting.

The Zero Activity report can be run more regularly, and colleagues are recommended to run this a few weeks into term to identify any students who have not accessed the VLE or participated in their learning across their programme of study.

It can also provide additional information to Personal Tutors or Senior Tutors when identifying a need for, and providing additional pastoral support to, individual students.