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.
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.
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.
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.
Without the normal structure of face to face time on campus it’s harder for many students to structure their time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
Upload your video
Add, edit and publish the machine generated captions
Publish the video in your Canvas course
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. TheZero 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
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:
Let’s use this to come up with our list…
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.
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).
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!
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.