Category Archives: Technologies and Systems

Digital exam system usability testing

Are you a member of academic or professional services staff interested in digital exams?

The digital exam system procurement process is going ahead as planned, and we are making adjustments to enable staff to participate in usability testing while remote working. 

We appreciate that this is a very busy time for colleagues across the University. However, it is necessary to go ahead with usability testing now to support the digital exam system procurement process.  If you are interested and have capacity to participate in usability testing your contribution will be very valuable. 

We are looking for volunteers to test digital exam systems, to help assess how user friendly each one is.  Testers’ feedback will be a key part of the evaluation stage of the tender process, and have a direct impact on which digital exam system the University introduces from next academic year.   

Usability testing is open to all University staff.  You can choose to test from the perspective of either: 

An exam administrator testing how to create exam settings, and manage marking and moderation processes.  Approximately 90 minutes per system. 

An academic testing how to create exam questions, and carry out marking and moderation.  Approximately 2 hours per system. 

To participate you need to commit to test all of the systems that meet the University’s mandatory requirements, which we estimate may be between 2 and 4 systems.  This is required to ensure that the evaluation process is fair, and we’ll be able to confirm the number of systems being tested the week before the testing begins.   

Full instructions and video demonstrations will be provided for each testing task. You can complete the testing tasks at any time that suits your schedule over the usability testing period from Monday 1 June to Monday 15 June. 

To register your interest in doing usability testing please complete this form by 12 noon on Tuesday 26 May 2020.  Please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk with any queries. 

Fast Web view in .pdf documents

When viewing .pdfs online, there is a feature called fast web view. This is meant to help users by opening the first page of the .pdf before the rest of it has loaded, but sometimes this causes an error in Google Chrome. This results in only the first page being visible.

When creating exam questions, please ensure that any .pdfs created to not have fast web view enabled to ensure all students will be able to open the document in any browser.

To check to see if a .pdf has Fast View Enabled, look at the properties of the document (File > Properties). In the bottom right hand corner it will say Fast Web View Enabled: [Yes or No]



PDFs with Fast Web View are normally created from the Adobe suite of software tools. If you are creating a .pdf from Word you will not have this issue.

To disable fast view in Acrobat, go to Edit > Preferences > Documents > Save Settings > Save As optimizes for Fast Web View [deselect] .

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.

 

New Digital Learning Website

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Digital Learning website go.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning

This new site brings together the digital learning activities taking place across the University, providing you with information, step by step guides and ideas to help you to get the most out of digital technologies for learning, teaching and assessment.  

Visit the site to find out about: 

Canvas– the University’s exciting new Virtual Learning Environment replacing Blackboard from 1st August 2020. Staff and students can find project updates, information about the support available, answers to FAQs and upcoming events. 

TEL Services, lots of information about our centrally supported technologies and systems, digital exams and access to TEL guides providing you with step by step instructions. 

Blended Learning, if you want to explore online educational materials and collaborative learning opportunities with traditional face-to-face delivery, visit these pages for inspiration and support. 

We will be continuing to update the site with resources so please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see that can support you in your role. Get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk