Category Archives: Other

What works? Sharing effective practice with online/blended learning

A recent DELT Forum was a great impetus for collecting some new examples of what works with online/blended learning here at Newcastle University as the current situation has meant that lots of colleagues have been doing lots of really great stuff to make student learning experiences rich and meaningful.

There are 9 new case studies to explore right now and more to come soon at the case studies site.

A team drawn from LTDS and FMS TEL drew together examples of effective practice in action on three themes:

  1. Supporting and promoting a sense of community for students in online environments.
  2. Providing pathways for students through online modules/programmes to help them structure their studies and learning.
  3. Achieving, promoting and maintaining student engagement with online learning. 

The slide deck from this event is available to all Newcastle University staff.

It contains examples from all three Faculties together with supporting resources and pointers to more developed case studies and contact details for colleagues.

If you have something you’d like to share please let us know by emailing ltds@ncl.ac.uk and we will get back to you.

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.

Hosting videos using different platforms

Videos have become an important medium for remote learning. Video is a great way to communicate with students and an excellent learning resource. Information and guides to support you with the creation and editing of videos that can be found on the digital learning website. But once you have created our video content, where do you host it?

ReCap

When it to comes to choosing a platform to host your videos, it is personal preference. However, we recommend that you use ReCap wherever possible. ReCap is centrally supported by Newcastle University, it’s free to use, and all videos are hosted online. Importantly ReCap is also fully integrated into Canvas which makes the process of embedding videos into a Canvas course very straight forward.

ReCap allows you to add embedded questions (e.g knowledge checks and quizzes) within the video. Videos can be sorted in group teaching folders that will make it easy for all teachers even if they didn’t create it, to embed the video content into a canvas course if you are unavailable.

Microsoft Stream

You may use Microsoft Stream to host your videos, this option comes with a couple more considerations. Embedding a video from Microsoft Stream into your Canvas course is only a few extra steps, please be aware Microsoft Stream is not fully integrated into Canvas and will required using embed codes as you will see in the video below. Students will also need to be logged into Microsoft Office 365 for any Stream videos to play. It is also worth pointing out that at this moment (December 2020), Microsoft Steam is having difficulty functioning on Safari.

Captions and Transcripts

Accessibility is essential, and ReCap and Stream will auto caption your videos quickly and with a good level of accuracy, however it is important to review them for any errors. There is more information about captions and transcripts available at the digital learning website.

Additional Resources

How or where to host your video is a very important consideration and there are various options available to you. The following page will give you more information on the three options we recommend with how to guides for using these systems including how to publish and embed a ReCap recording as well as content about streaming videos through Stream.

The videos below are a quick step by step guide to using ReCap and Microsoft Stream.

ReCap

Stream

If you want further information and guidance on ReCap and how to use it, please see our guides and videos.

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