Category Archives: Flexible Learning

Update on the status of the ReCap service

Update – 7th October 2020

All functionality has now been restored and the ReCap Service is running as normal. It is therefore possible to:

  • View recordings – recordings are available to use and share with students
  • Process recordings including the generation of automatic speech recognition (ASR) files for the addition of captions
  • Make recordings – recordings can be made using the Personal Capture Software and Panopto Capture
  • Upload media created elsewhere – if you have created recordings using other software while the ReCap service was unavailable these can now be uploaded to the system if you wish to do so 
  • Edit recordings – editing functionality is available including the import of automatic captions.

A full ​list of recently restored services can be viewed on the IT Service NUconnect website

Support

‘Video: Making Content at Home’ webinars can be booked via Elements

For further help and advice regarding any video creation options please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk 

Getting ready for semester 2

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. 

Planning your teaching? New Flexible Learning 2020 webinar dates available

New webinars available for colleagues planning their teaching and creating their content. Find out more and book using the links below: 

New sessions 

New dates available for 

Daily drop ins 

Need some specific advice on that one little thing you need to be able to do with your content/assessment/learning activity? Pop into a drop in sessions and we can help you decide what might be most effective way for you.

Join any session at the days and times noted on the Flexible Learning schedule. (Campus login required: nid@newcastle.ac.uk)

Full schedule and how to join (no need to book drop in) 

Flexible Learning 2020 resources and support

Visit the flexible learning webpages to find out more about the support available for the implementation of the Education Resilience Framework (ERF). You can also access a number of step by step guides to help support teaching delivery in 2020/21.

What tools should i invest in?

3 interaction types

We start 2020 with our new VLE, Canvas, and a rich array of digital learning tools that can be used to support teaching. There are so many possibilities and it could easily be overwhelming.

This is a short post to begin to answer one of the questions I heard last week “What tools should I invest in?”.

But, let’s back up a bit,  before considering tools we need to think about what we want these tools to help us to achieve? Way back in 1998 Anderson and Garrison described three more common types of interaction involving students:

  • Student-content interactions
  • Student-teacher interactions
  • Student-student interactions

Let’s use this to come up with our list…

Student-content interactions

Your starting point here is Canvas itself. You can present information on pages, embed documents, link to resources on library reading list, include videos, audio and ReCap recordings.

Go to tool #1 has to be Canvas itself.

Linked to this is tool #2 Canvas quizzes.

Canvas support a wide range of question types: multiple choice, gap fill, short answer, matching, multiple answer.  Quizzes can help students practice skills, check their learning and encourage them revisit material.

For short PowerPoint narrations the easiest place to start is the recording features that come as part of ReCap.  We tend to think of ReCap as a lecture recording tool, but there is also a fabulous ReCap Personal Capture tool that you can use to record yourself, and publish in Canvas.  There are several bonuses with using ReCap – you have the ability to do make simple edits, you can use automatic speech recognition to generate captions, and students have the ability pause, rewind and make notes on the recordings that you publish.  ReCap personal capture comes in as tool #3 – you can install on your computer, or if you prefer you can use the new browser based recorder – Panopto Capture (beta).

Student to Teacher interactions

Outside the limited amount of PiP time you are likely to be meeting your students online.  For synchronous meetings there is increasingly little to choose from between Zoom and Teams – the only significant factor being that Zoom permits people to connect by phone – so supports those on lower bandwidth.

Now is a great time to become confident with the online meeting tool you are planning on using throughout your module.  I’ll leave it to you if #4 for you is Teams or Zoom – it would be sensible to settle on one, for you and your students.  Teams could be a strong contender if you plan to use this as a collaboration space over the module/stage, in which case do review the article on Building an online community using Teams.

Once you setting on your meeting tool, now is a great time to explore options for using whiteboards, polling, breakout rooms in these spaces and to begin to plan active online sessions.

For tool #5 I’d go with Canvas Discussions – these are easy to use, work really well in the Canvas Student and Teacher apps and are great for Q&A sessions, introductions, crowd-sourcing activities, and of course discussions!

Student to Student interactions

Learning at university is a social! There are huge limitations on what we can do in person – but what can we do to help learning be as social as it can be?  This isn’t so much about tools, but about the activities we design in: break out room discussions, group tasks, peer reviews, debates – things that might start in a timetabled session and then spill out.

For synchronous meetings and study sessions all our students have access to Zoom and Teams.  We can model how to use these, build students’ confidence in these spaces and show them how they can collaborate in Microsoft 365 collaborative spaces (Word documents, OneNote…).   I’ve already mentioned Teams and Zoom (#4), so for tool #6 I’ll pitch for Microsoft 365 with an emphasis on collaboration.

What do you think?

These are my top 5 tools, you may have a different list.  What have I missed out?