Category Archives: Other

Creating recorded teaching materials while ReCap is unavailable

Since the 30th August the University has been experiencing issues with a number of IT systems. Many systems are currently offline including ReCap meaning that it is not currently possible to view or edit existing recordings or create new recordings.
The latest updates on the situation can be found at https://www.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/latest-news/

While ReCap is unavailable there are other options that can be used to create recordings of audio, video and computer screens.

  • PowerPoint
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Stream
  • Canvas Media Recording Tool

 We have witten a short guide on these options and along with pointers on file sizes and captions:   

View and compare these Recording Alternatives

Support

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

For further help and advice regarding any of the 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

Award winning courses

Two free online courses from Newcastle University were recognised at the National Dementia Awards 2019 last night, where they won Outstanding Educational Resource.

Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well, and Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses were both designed to provide information, advice, and opportunities to share experiences for people living with or care for people with dementia.

Developed in partnership between academic teams in FMS led by Lynne Corner and Professor Dame Louise Robinson, and the Learning and Teaching Development Service, the course are now in their 8th and 3rd runs and consistently get great feedback from learners.

Both courses are open to anyone and are freely available on FutureLearn.

Accessible digital content and systems

The University is carrying out work to improve the digital accessibility of systems and content across the institution. This includes the module content with Blackboard.

This work started with the Art of the Possible week in July 2019. This week of activity showcased some of the great work already underway in this area and provided useful practical CPD sessions for staff to engage with.

This is being followed by visits to academic units during this academic year to inform them of the benefits and ease of accessible content within Blackboard, and other TEL systems. These visits have started and will continue through Semester 1.

The accessibility in practice workshop that has been developed alongside the Student Wellbeing service the helps staff learn how to create accessible and inclusive learning and teaching resources will be offered to each academic unit, as well as being run centrally.

Other work reported on previously will continue throughout the academic year.

Some useful resources

WebPA Replacement: Buddycheck Pilot

There is a need to replace WebPA as the University’s VLE integrated tool for peer evaluation of group work contribution. WebPA is open source and this leaves the University vulnerable to system failure with a lack of technical support. There have been a number of bugs and stability issues impacting on the usability and reliability of WebPA that have caused disruption for staff and students.

The viability of a number of options has been considered in order identify a product that has high usability i.e. has a simple workflow for setting up and managing an evaluation, and that offers as a minimum the same functionality that is available in WebPA. Buddycheck has been identified as an option that meets these essential requirements and offers VLE integration. Buddycheck has a simple workflow for setting up evaluations and allows customisation of questions, rubrics, terminology and default settings.

Buddycheck is being piloted during Semester One 2019/20. A number of Semester One modules have signed up to take part but there may be capacity to support more. If you are interested in taking part in this pilot please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk with details of the group assessment.

WebPA will remain available in Blackboard until the end of 2019/20 and users will be supported by LTDS, however the intention is that it will not be available once the University moves to Canvas at the beginning of 2020/21.