upgrade and move to cloud hosting – amended date for planned downtime
As previously communicated, the University will upgrade the ReCap service to the latest version of Panopto (the software that powers ReCap) and transition the service to being cloud hosted for academic year 2023/24.
In preparation for this transition the University IT Team are working closely with Panopto to transfer our recordings to the cloud and ensure that all existing integrations with other University systems (e.g. Canvas and timetabling) continue to work correctly.
To complete this work a period of system downtime is required and this will take place later than initially planned due to the transfer of existing recordings taking longer than Panopto anticipated.
The downtime will now take place during early September (likely to be week commencing 4 September, the exact date to be confirmed when available) and the impact will be as follows:
Viewing of recordings – during the downtime recordings will continue to be available for viewing although users may experience short outage periods of a few minutes.
Creation and editing of recordings – the following activities should not be attempted during the downtime as they will not be transferred to the upgraded system:
creation of new recordings
copying of existing recordings
editing of existing recordings
interactions with recordings (e.g. taking a quiz, making a note, subscribing to a playlist, adding a bookmark)
We are aware that some teaching is due to take place during the downtime and plans have been made to ensure that these sessions can still be recorded using ReCap. Those with teaching sessions scheduled during the downtime will be contacted directly with information about the plans. This will not involve any changes to what presenters are required to do but will mean recordings will not be available as quickly as they normally would.
The call for nominations for the 2024 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) is now open and the deadline for nominations is 12 noon on Friday 3 November 2023.
The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) is a highly prestigious award which celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education.
The awards support individuals’ professional development in learning and teaching and provides a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes.
The Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence (CATE) celebrate collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning.
For more information about the awards, including eligibility and the application criteria, please visit the information pages on the Learning and Teaching website:
Digital Exam Support Assistants (DESAs) are PGR students who support invigilators in digital exam venues to help students troubleshoot any technical issues using the safe exam browser software. Safe Exam Browser is software which works alongside Inspera offering a secure ‘locked down’ digital exam. Inspera Assessment is the University’s Digital Exam system used for present-in-person, secure online assessments.
How do DESAs support exam invigilators in digital exams?
DESAs are on-hand to support students and invigilators to troubleshoot issues faced when accessing Inspera for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) exams. Exam invigilators have reported that the presence of DESAs makes them feel more confident in digital exam venues. Feedback has stated that DESAs have been a ‘confidence booster’ and that invigilators ‘couldn’t do it without them’. Invigilators reported that the DESAs were responding to queries quickly which has also been stated by students who had DESA support.
How do students find the DESA support?
39 students submitted their feedback on their Semester 1 22/23 BYOD exam. When asked how satisfied they were with the technical support available in their exam, two thirds of students (67%) reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied.
Students reported that ‘those who requested support were dealt with quickly and there was little hassle.’
How did the DESAs find their experience?
We asked some of our DESAs how they found their experience in the role this year. Check out some of the quotes below:
“I had a wonderful experience with the team. Enough training was given to staff. Would like to work with the team again. Thanks for giving me the opportunity.”
“Regarding my experience in the DESA role this academic year, it provided me with a valuable opportunity to contribute to the Digital Assessment Office and engage with fellow students. The role not only enhanced my understanding of digital assessment practices but also allowed me to develop essential skills in communication and collaboration. I am grateful for the experience and the chance to be a part of improving the assessment process at Newcastle University.”
We are pleased to report that the DESA role will be returning in the 2023/24 academic year. This support provision has been crucial in supporting our students with any troubleshooting during their BYOD digital exams. For more information you can email the Digital Assessment Team.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards aim to raise the status of education at Newcastle University by rewarding individuals and teams who have made a marked impact on the student educational experience.
The 2023 winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards have now been announced, with two winning submissions out of a very competitive field of nominations:
Dr Carys Watts School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences
Dr Watts receives her award for her sustained, and much valued, record of achievement and dedication to student learning and support. She is commended for her excellent work on the Support to Study, Virtual Exchange and Study Abroad initiatives, and more generally for her collegiality and passion for teaching.
Carys commented “I am delighted to receive this award and to be recognised for progressing student mobility, co-creativity and enterprise activities. Working with some incredible colleagues and teaching a diverse student community keeps me motivated, reflective and innovative in my approach to education”.
Rosalind Beaumont School X
Rosalind receives her award for her record of innovation and creativity in support of student learning and staff development, both within her School and Faculty and more widely across the University. She is praised for her teaching excellence, dedication to sustainability, and for her support and contributions to the University’s Professional Standards Framework scheme.
Rosalind remarked “It’s an honour to be recognised by my peers for my work with both students and staff in different educational contexts at Newcastle over the last 15+ years. I’m here through a lot of determination, luck, and the countless conversations with colleagues and students which have helped shape me into the educator and colleague I am today. Thank you to all of you who have been part of my development so far – there’s always more to do, so let’s get on with it!”
The panel, chaired by Ruth Valentine (Interim PVC Education), were extremely impressed with the scale of impact, breadth of activity, and the creative approaches to education and student support demonstrated by all awardees.
On Friday, at the end of this Art of the Possible event, we got together with Dr David Kennedy, Dean of Digital Education, to look back over the main themes and to find out his views on some of the common questions and challenges running through the week.
Many thanks to David for this conversation, to all our speakers and presenters who have contributed over the week, and to colleagues who have come along and shared their insights and questions.
Let’s keep these conversations going!
You can catch up on recordings and resources from links on this blog:
In this Art of the Possible presentation, Jack Ennis and Jo Robinson-Lamb from NUIT’s Digital Adoption Team walked us through some of the AI driven productivity tools that are already available in Microsoft products and then whetted our appetites with previews of Microsoft products being developed now.
The Learning & Teaching @ Newcastle University podcast was launched in the 2021 Art of the Possible week Blended learning: effective practice. This monthly podcast celebrates the great things we are doing in learning and teaching here at Newcastle University.
In each episode we hear from a wide range of guests, and guest hosts to discover more about their stories and the work behind their stories. These can be long form conversations, magazine style articles, and much more.
In the latest episode (episode 37), Ben Steel from LTDS sat down with Pro Vice Chancellor Education Professor Ruth Valentine and Dean of Digital Education Dr David Kennedy.
AI text generating technologies have been around for a long time, but they have made significant advances in recent years. Most are trained on extensive data sets and are capable of producing human-like written content quickly and easily. There has been a lot of media coverage of these tools recently (in particular ChatGPT) with concerns raised about the risk they present to academic integrity.
As with all emerging technologies, it is our role as educators to explore and investigate the opportunities they provide to our students’ educational experience, as well as to consider any potential negative impacts. Ben, Ruth and David discuss Newcastle University’s response to these tools, with a focus on the five principles for the use of AI at Newcastle.
You can find this episode (and our back catalogue) at the following places:
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly changing landscape, with new and innovative tools emerging constantly. But how can you keep up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in this fast-moving field? In this blog post we will share some of our favourite articles on AI to help get you started:
To find out more about AI at Newcastle University, and keep up-to-speed with new and emerging developments in the use of AI in teaching and assessment, please visit our Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle site.
This year there have been many conversations about AI in Education – at School level, with our students and between colleagues. Next week we have further opportunities to keep the conversation going and learn together. What’s clear is that no one person is the expert in this fast moving space.
Over the week we have a number of in-person and online events. We will also be adding to this blog over the week. Come back to see posts about AI, outputs from our events and the next AI themed episode of our Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle podcast.
Add your thoughts
Throughout the week we will be collating questions and opportunities and adding them to two Padlet boards. Get involved by adding your own thoughts to these boards or upvoting ideas that resonate with your own. At the end of the week we’ll revisit these with our Dean of Digital Education, Dr David Kennedy.
We’ve refreshed our Inspera support guidance materials on the Learning and Teaching site, where you will now find links to our new range of webinars and marking how-to videos. We will continue to expand our online guidance resources over the summer.