Learning and Teaching Conference 2021

1 March – 5 March 2021

The Learning and Teaching Conference 2021 will showcase effective, creative and collaborative approaches to learning and teaching from across the University.

Workshops, presentations and lightning talks will be spread across the week, for our first ever fully online conference allowing you to pop along to connect with colleagues and share new ideas. We are pleased to be welcoming keynote speakers Professor Sue Rigby Vice-Chancellor, Bath Spa University and Professor Dilly Fung Pro-Director for Education, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

As the 2020 event couldn’t take place we can’t wait to see you at this year’s event. Keep a note of the date in your diaries. More information to come.

If you have any questions get in touch LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

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.

NUTELA 3Ps: Canvas Quick WIns and Engaging Students

NUTELA is back, with our first online 3Ps sessions of the year (this time the 3P’s stand for Practice Practice Practice – you’ll have to bring your own pizza and pop!). Please sign up for as many sessions as you like:

Canvas Quick Wins: Refreshing your Home and Module Pages – 15 December 2020, 14:00-15:00

See how to give your Canvas home and module pages a quick make-over, and create a fresh and engaging experience for students. The session will focus on building content with ideas and examples from colleagues.

Sign up to Canvas Quick Wins: Refreshing your Home and Module Pages

Canvas Quick Wins: Keeping Students Engaged – 16 December, 10:00-11:00

Colleagues will share how they have used course-requirement ‘tick lists’, quizzes and collaboration tools to keep students engaged. The approaches covered are all quick to implement, effective, and popular with students.

Sign up to Canvas Quick wins: Keeping students engaged

Tips and Tools for Cutting out Radio Silence: Engaging Students During Synchronous Sessions – 17 December, 14:00-15:00

In this session we will explore new and existing tools and strategies that colleagues are using to engage their students during synchronous online sessions.

Sign up to Tips and tools for cutting out radio silence

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 

Learning and Teaching, New ideas and resources

Ideas and Inspiration, Flexible Learning 2020

Find out more about what colleagues and students have been working on in some of the Flexible Learning case studies and resources.

Social spaces for students

This online resource will provide you with examples of how to use social spaces for students in a digital virtual environment. The resource includes documents highlighting examples of practice and how to use them. As well as cases studies from our university and other institutions taking you through what has worked well and what to maybe avoid.

Canvas tips and favourite features

Hear from academic and professional services colleagues who share some of their Canvas tips, favourite features and positive feedback from students.

Read more on the Digital Learning website

Synchronous online sessions

Top tips from the Academic Practice Team.

The team cover how they planned synchronous sessions, how they used them to build community, and what they did to keep these Zoom teaching sessions engaging and accessible.

Peer assisted learning

Carrie, a peer assisted learning leader, chats with Zoe, a student, to share the challenges and successes of moving to online learning. 

Hear more about the Language Resource Centre PAL Scheme.

New resources and support for teaching online

Maintaining Student Engagement Workshop

In this 60-minute workshop, we will explore together ideas for how you can engage students in online learning including:
• Some dos and don’ts of online learning;
• Methods for setting expectations;
• Alternatives to lectures;
• Keeping students engaging with you and each other;
• Keeping students involved week-to-week.


View dates and book your place.

Considerations for teaching and studying with poor internet

Colleagues and students alike may well be affected by slow or variable internet connections which in turn will make many aspects of online teaching and learning troublesome.

Some helpful strategies to help minimize difficulties.

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). Module and community enrolments now appear as Security Groups in Microsoft 365. You can use these groups to apply permissions to content or add members to a Microsoft Team.

Find out more about these updates to Microsoft 365.

New Online Training Course for Personal Tutors

A new online course, An Introduction to Personal Tutoring​, is now available on Canvas.

Existing webinars and resources

Colleagues have been taking part in webinars and online courses over the last few months and we are continuing to run a lot of our more popular sessions. Find out more about webinars, drop-ins and online courses.

Guides

An extensive range of guides and further resources are available on the Digital Learning site.

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. 

Getting the most out of Synchronous Online Sessions

Like the rest of the University, our colleagues from the Academic Practice Team in the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) have redeveloped their face to face small group teaching sessions for online delivery.   Their learners are postgraduate research students taking  the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE) and academic staff new to Newcastle University who are engaging with Newcastle Educational Practice Scheme (NEPS) Units en route to UKPSF fellowship.   

“In order to make a session engaging online, you have to think about what it is that you’re trying to achieve.”

Dr Rosa Spencer, Professional Development Manager

I met up with Dr Rosa Spencer, Emma McCulloch and Chris Whiting to ask about their top tips on how they planned these 1-2 hour sessions, how they used them to build community, and what they did to keep these Zoom teaching sessions engaging and accessible.

Helpful Hints and Tips

  • Keep group sizes relatively small, 20 people max.
Continue reading Getting the most out of Synchronous Online Sessions

Checking in with our students

This academic year it is more important than ever to capture how our students are doing in these first few weeks of teaching. Two tools that will help us do so are informal module check-ins and the Student Pulse Survey.

Informal Module Check-ins

As the Student Voice Schedule indicates, module leaders are asked to organise informal module check-ins in Teaching Weeks 3 or 4 of each semester. There are various ways in which you can approach these informal check-ins, which will provide you with feedback on students’ engagement and help you decide on any changes you might want to make. Q&A were organised in Teaching Week 2 and at the start of Teaching Week 3 to support you with any queries. Should you have additional queries, do not hesitate to get in touch (ltds@newcastle.ac.uk).

Student Pulse Survey

While the informal check-ins are focused at module level, the Student Pulse Survey gathers information on the student experience at University and programme level.

In Teaching Week 4, all of our taught students will be asked to undertake a short survey. This survey is run centrally from Monday 9th November until Monday 16th November, 10am.

The questions, available on Sharepoint, relate to a student’s overall experience. The survey also includes a reminder about the support available from their personal tutor and an opportunity to request to speak to someone about their broader student experience.

While the administration of the Student Pulse Survey will be managed centrally, we ask that academic units encourage their students to complete the survey, to supplement central promotion. 

The results of the survey are to provide academic units with additional feedback from students on their experience, to further reflect on what is working well and what you may want to adapt/modify for the second half of the semester. The same questions from the Student Pulse Survey will be included in the Stage/Semester Evaluations that will take place at the end of Semester 1. This way you can see whether and if so how student views have developed and changed. 

Academic units will be sent the quantitative results of the Student Pulse Survey on 16th November. Academic units will receive one PDF report of results, per programme per stage of study. 

Making it accessible: Benefits of the Accssibility in Practice Course

The Accessibility in Practice online course is designed to provide you with some of the core skills and techniques for embedding accessibility into your teaching and learning practice, and in making your digital resources accessible to everyone.

Tom Harrison recently completed the online course. He shares the parts of the course he found most useful and how he has changed his practice resulting in real benefits to students.

Hi, I’m Tom Harrison; I work as a Student Recruitment Co-ordinator at Newcastle University and also teach English Literature. My roles involve designing lots of activities and presentations for a wide variety of students, so I was interested in using the Accessibility in Practice course to develop my awareness of how to adjust my materials to accommodate different learner needs.

Tom Harrison

One of the most revealing sections was an exercise to simulate difficulties that dyslexic students could have reading slides in lectures. The team presented a simple story (Aesop’s ‘Tortoise and the Hare’: a classic!) and changed the text a bit to give an idea of how reading speeds can differ.

Even with such a simple, familiar story I found the text difficult to read, and although I managed a couple of lines I got nowhere near finishing the full paragraph in the two minutes allotted by the presenter. The experience was confusing and frustrating, and made worse when the presenter spoke while the text was onscreen: at this point my attention was split between the audio and the visuals, which meant I wasn’t paying attention to either.

The manipulated text, the short reading time, and the over-talkative presenter were of course all part of the team’s cunning plan to show how difficult it can be for dyslexic students to read large blocks of text in a lecture setting. I have to confess that previously I’ve assumed that students can multi-task as I rattle through text-heavy lecture slides, and that highlighting key words and phrases in bold or in different colours was enough to focus students on what they need to know. Those visually-enhanced techniques work fine for some, but of course are no help at all to students who are colour blind, or who are accessing lecture materials through specialist software. I looked back over my old PowerPoints with fresh eyes and realised that, to some students, my beautifully colour-coded, quote-heavy slides would have just been a big blocky mess.

The biggest change the training has made to my practice is that I now appreciate that students need more time to process on-screen text, and that they may be accessing this text in a different way to how I’ve previously assumed. I now make a point of reading out any text that I include on slides to help keep students focused and avoid unnecessary distractions. As an added bonus, I’ve also learnt to cut down the size of my on-screen quotations: no one, not even me, wants to hear me reading out huge chunks of text!

If you are delivering information to students in any capacity I recommend having a look at this resource: the course is full of useful, practical tips that will help you modify what you already do rather than change it to something completely different. Well worth an hour of your time, I’d say, and your students will thank you for it!

All Newcastle University colleagues can complete the Accessibility in Practice online Canvas course on Canvas.