Category Archives: Other

Have your say: staff focus groups on enhancing the student learning experience

With increased emphasis on online and remote learning, and the need to focus on innovative ways to support students, Newcastle University is currently reviewing the use of student data to support students’ learning, and how to incorporate reflective learning as part of staff and student practices.

We need your input…

The University is running focus groups that will offer you the opportunity to contribute to two topics that impact on the student learning experience and provide you with the tools to enhance student engagement and attainment. Please see below for details.

Using data to support student learning

We would like to invite you to take part in an online focus group on the use of student data to support teaching and learning. Newcastle University aims to understand whether staff and students would benefit from the use of a learning analytics system to enhance teaching, personal tutoring and student attainment.

Learning analytics can be understood as the process of making meaning of students’ participation in online content and activities with the aim of providing informed feedback to optimize learning.

The focus groups give us the opportunity to share ideas, needs, and challenges with the use of learning analytics, and your valuable opinions will help inform the University’s investigation into the use of student data to enhance the student learning experience. 

DateTime
Monday 30 November 202010.00 – 11.30
Monday 30 November 202013.00 -14.30
Tuesday 1 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Tuesday 1 December 202013.00 -14.30
Wednesday 2 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Dates and times of analytics focus groups

If you are able to take part in a learning analytics focus group, please complete the following form by Thursday 26 November 2020: data focus group sign-up sheet 

Re-defining ePortfolio

We would like to invite you to take part in a focus group on how best to incorporate student reflective learning, both academic and personal, within your practice.

Driven by a need to engage better with reflective practice, the University’s current ePortfolio system is under review. We are returning to a baseline of what we need to achieve to support students and staff to understand, undertake, provide evidence for, and in some cases assess, reflective practice.  

This gives us the opportunity to share ideas, needs and challenges with reflective practice in order to identify what is needed from a ‘system’ that is relevant to all students. Furthermore, we aim to identify technology that will work in parallel with current University systems to ensure streamlined working processes for staff and students. 

We need your valuable opinions to help shape the University’s ePortfolio review process. If you are able to take part in a focus group, please complete the following short form by Thursday 3 December 2020: ePortfolio focus group sign-up sheet

DateTime
Tuesday 8 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Tuesday 8 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Wednesday 9 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Wednesday 9 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Dates and times of ePortfolio focus groups

If you have any questions about the focus groups, please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk 

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).

From this week, module and community enrolments appear as Security Groups in Microsoft 365. You can use these groups to apply permissions to content or add members to a Microsoft Team.

To look up a module or community in a Microsoft app use the following naming conventions:

  • Module-ModuleCode-AcademicYear e.g. Module-ACC1011-2021
  • Communities-CommunityCode e.g. Communities-COMMUN68

Easily control who can view your Microsoft Stream content

Over the last few months, we’ve seen an increased use of Microsoft Stream for sharing video content with colleagues and students. Up until now to share you either had to:

  • make your Stream videos visible to everyone in the organisation
  • manually add people to a permissions group
  • share content with an existing Microsoft Team

Now you can share your videos with a Canvas Course by typing the relevant module or community code.

Applying Stream permissions

Find out more about publishing Stream videos in Canvas

Quickly create a Microsoft Team for your Canvas Course

Microsoft Teams is being used across the institution to compliment modules requiring a collaboration space and supporting group projects.

Originally, the only option you had to add students to your team was by using a Join code but now you can leverage the enrolment groups to bulk add your module or community members to a team.

Adding a community to a Team

If you’d like to find more about how colleagues are using Teams in teaching or have questions about setting up for certain scenarios why not join our Teams@Newcastle community.

Collaborate on files in OneDrive and SharePoint

You can use security groups to give view/edit access to files or folders stored in OneDrive or SharePoint. For example, you could create folder where students can view content, but the teaching team can edit. This can be useful if documents will change regularly over time such as a live data set.

You can try this out by giving Direct access to a file or folder.

Granting access to a module in SharePoint

Note: Module and community enrolments are based on SAP data. Users manually added to a Canvas Course will not be part of the group and will need to be granted permissions separately. 

Online Assignment Submission Principles

In 2014  University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee agreed a set of principles which stated that all appropriate assessments should be submitted through Turnitin. 

Now we have moved to Canvas as the Virtual Learning Environment, this has opened up some new options for online submission. Alongside the Turnitin tool it is now possible to create Canvas assignments, which offer features like double blind marking, group submission and moderated marking, whilst still using the Turnitin similarity checker.    

Given the new functionality now available, this is an appropriate time to revisit the principles.  The updated Online Assignment Submission Principles were approved by University Education Committee in August 2020.   

These principles are guidelines for how to get the most from submissions, advising that the Turnitin Similarity checks are carried out on Canvas and Turnitin assignments. If you allow students to submit multiple drafts they should not be allowed to see the similarity score, unless the assessment is focused on improving the students’ academic writing. Where appropriate the students’ work should be added to the Turnitin repository.   

The principles recommend that Schools communicate to their students when their work is going to be put through the Turnitin similarity checker.    

Full details are available in the Online Assignment Submission Principles document Online-Assignment-Submission-Principles.pdf  

If you require support creating assignments, or using the marking tools, please see our list of Canvas webinars https://services.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning/canvas/colleagues/training/ 

or the Flexible Learning 2020 Webinar programme https://services.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning/contactandsupport/dropins/ 

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 

what has the qaa ever done for me?

Over the last three years there have been huge changes in the external framework within which English universities operate. The creation of the Office for Students (OfS) in 2018 has had significant impacts that are still working their way through the sector. One of these was to change the focus and nature of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

QAA still has a place in the external regulatory framework. It carries out reviews of higher education in England on behalf of OfS. It also supports development of the UK Quality Code (i.e. the things all higher education providers need to do to maintain and enhance educational quality).

The volume of this work for QAA has significantly decreased though over the last two years. In its place QAA has established a membership scheme to (as QAA put it) ‘improve quality and secure standards by giving exclusive access to expert advice, insight and valuable resources based on our extensive expertise’.

Newcastle is a QAA member. This means that we get access to a range of webinars, workshops and resources to help us in our work to give our students an outstanding educational experience while they are studying with us.

There’s an overview at https://www.qaa.ac.uk/membership/programme-2020-21, of what we have access to as QAA members. Not all of it is for everyone, but the opportunities and resources (https://www.qaa.ac.uk/membership/resources) cover a wide range of areas – including some you might not normally associate with QAA. To access these all you need is your Newcastle email address.

Numbas and the migration to Canvas

This post provides some further information on how the move to Canvas affects Numbas tests.

Will my Numbas tests roll over to Canvas automatically?

Numbas tests are attached to a particular course in a VLE, and therefore will not be moved across when we change from Blackboard to Canvas. Tests will need to be set up again for the new academic year, which is no bad thing as you will need to make some decisions about the set up in Canvas. See the section How do I create a Numbas test in Canvas? below.

Remember that Numbas tests are prepared on the Numbas Editor (the Public Editor is at numbas.mathcentre.ac.uk). This means that you can redeploy your existing test in Canvas.

How can I access scores from Numbas tests deployed in Blackboard?

If you require scores from Numbas tests deployed in Blackboard then you should access these before the close down of Blackboard on July 31st.

However, the Numbas LTI tool will continue to have a record of attempts. A request can be sent to numbas@ncl.ac.uk if you need access to data after the close down of Blackboard.

How do I create a Numbas test in Canvas?

Numbas can be deployed in Canvas in two ways:

  • as a module item, alongside other learning resources; or
  • as an assignment.
Numbas
module item
Numbas
assignment
Add Numbas content ✅ ✅
Record student scores ✅ ✅
Hide from calendar, to do list, etc ✅
Restrict by date ✅
Add scores to Gradebook ✅
Use as a pre-requisite ✅

The following videos demonstrate the set up of each. For full step-by-step instructions see the Canvas Orientation Course.

Adding a Numbas test as a module item

In the following video, I add a Numbas test as a module item in Canvas:

Adding a Numbas Assignment

In the following video I set up Numbas as an assignment in Canvas:

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

Latest Update on Transition to canvas

As many of you know, the University will be moving to Canvas on the 1 August 2020 and all use of Blackboard will end on the 31st July.

We know colleagues across the University are working incredibly hard at the moment to implement the remote delivery and assessment of the University’s programmes. We have therefore postponed the start of the workshops for colleagues in academic units from this week, until after the Easter break.

The way we are delivering this support is also changing. The face-to-face workshops we had intended to deliver will not now take place. These will be replaced by a programme of shorter webinars, supported by a range of online resources. We have arranged these webinars so that in total, there will be the same number of spaces available on webinars as we had planned to deliver in face-to-face workshops. As with the face-to-face workshops, there is no requirement to attend these webinars if your preference is to get familiar with Canvas via the other online resources we are providing.

We know that the demands on colleagues means that many will not be able to engage with the training opportunities at this time. We will be offering a comprehensive programme of webinars throughout the summer, so 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.

If you are unable to attend a webinar, you also have access to the Canvas Online Orientation Course available on the dashboard when you log in to Canvas. This has been designed by University colleagues 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.

If you have any queries please contact the Canvas implementation team.

 

Transition to the Digital Exams Service: A Timeline

Following our October 2019 post introducing the digital exam service, we have a progress update and some news about what’s happening next.  Centrally supported digital exam provision (including the OLAF Service, and the Diversifying online exam provision project) is being combined into a single service, and we are reviewing our requirements ready to tender for a system that meets our needs. 

February 2020 

Requirement Mapping Workshops will be taking place. The outcomes of these sessions will help to inform the requirements that we will take to system providers.  All academic and professional services staff with an interest in digital exams are invited to contribute.  Please sign up via the link to have your say! 

March 2020 

Tender for digital exam system (30-35 days response time). A set of final requirements will be issued. 

April – May 2020 

Scoring of tender submissions against requirements will take place alongside user testing of software that meets our mandatory requirements.  Look out for updates about how to get involved. 

June  July 2020 

A provider will be awarded the contract to supply a digital exam system to the University.  

Following this, work will be undertaken to move as much of existing digital exam questions and content into the new system as is possible. 

August 2020 

The new system will be vigorously tested and integrated with University systems. User guidance and training for all stakeholder will be developed. 

August assessment period

Any exam deferrals and resits in the August assessment period will need to be completed/submitted in Canvas. The Blackboard license ends on July 31st and from that point no staff or students will be able to access that system.

Schools should adopt the same method of assessment that was used in Semester 2 for any resits/deferrals in the August assessment period. If a Blackboard test was used in the Semester 2 assessment period, then a Canvas quiz should be used in the August assessment period.

If you ran an OLAF exam in Semester 1 you can either deliver the resit using a Canvas quiz or a Turnitin submission.

Information and support is available via the Education Continuity webpages.

September 2020 

Digital Exam Service launches with new software – OLAF is no more. 

All digital exams previously taken in both Blackboard as part of the OLAF service and in WISEflow as part of the Diversifying Online Exam Provision project will be delivered using the chosen software. 

Training will be offered to all academic and professional services staff involved in delivering digital exams, and briefing information will be available for students. 

Phil Race and Sally brown – Assessment and feedback videos

Heriot-Watt University have released a range of videos of Professor Phil Race and Professor Sally Brown discussing key elements of assessment and feedback.

Phil is an authority on assessment and is widely published, including the excellent “The Lecturer’s Toolkit”.

Sally is Emerita Professor at Leeds Metropolitan and regularly keynotes at Educational conferences. Sally developed the National Teaching Fellowship scheme when working at the Higher Education Academy.

We’ve embedded some of the videos below, but please visit Youtube to view more of these videos.

Giving your first lecture

Marking your first assignment

Sally Brown – Marking your first assignment

Feedback on Assessment

Sally Brown – Feedback on assessment

Student Tips – feedback on assessment

Measuring Learning