Dr Mathew Hillier, Monash Education Academy, Monash University, Australia and Professor Geoffrey Crisp, PVC-Education, University of New South Wales, Australia will be hosting a series of webinars over the coming months focusing on transforming assessment with topics such as digital literacy, written and audio feedback and blended simulation-based learning. Take a look at the further details below. Continue reading Transforming Assessment Webinars
Anyone is welcome to come along to this exciting student trade fair.
- Designed in response to industry and employer requests for graduates that can apply their learning, and who are entrepreneurial in their approach to developing new approaches, products and services for industry.
- A chance for students to showcase their problem solving, innovation, product design and commercial awareness skills through problem-based, demand-led design.
This is about design and selling; in industry you need to present to clients and get their buy-in through a sales pitch. It takes students outside their comfort zone to look from the point of view of a client
Mechanical Engineering Trade Fair
25 April 2017
2pm to 4.30pm
Kings Road Centre
There is another Trade Fair for Computing Science on 2 May:
Computing Science Trade Fair
2 May 2017
2pm to 4.30pm
Kings Road Centre
We often get queries about whether it’s possible to amend or delete questions from a test in Blackboard when the test has already taken place. The answer is yes – and if the test uses question types that have automatic grading Blackboard will automatically regrade the test to reflect the changes you make.
That said, there is a bug in Blackboard which on rare occasions can cause problems with students’ test attempts when you amend or delete a question. To help safeguard against this we recommend that you take the steps below before you make any changes to a test after it has taken place.
Close the test and make sure that there are no attempts in progress
Ensure that the test is no longer available to students, so that there is no danger that they might be taking the test when you make the change. To check this:
- Go to the Content Area where the test is deployed in the module, and hover over the name of the test. Click on the dropdown arrow that appears, and select Edit test options:
- EITHER under Test Availability make sure that for Make the link available the No option is selected:
- OR/AND scroll down to the Display Until date, and make sure this is set to a date and time in the past (this can be 5 minutes from the current time):
- Scroll to the bottom of the test options screen and click Submit to save any changes you have made.
- Open the Grade Centre by clicking on Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.
- Find the column for the test, and scroll down to check whether there are any attempts in progress, shown with the ‘Attempt in progress’ icon of a blue clock:
- If there are any attempts in progress submit them on behalf of the student if appropriate. See ‘Attempt in progress’ grade centre icon for an explanation and instructions .
Export grade centre
- In the module, open the Full Grade Centre. In menu bar at the top of the screen you’ll see the option Work Offline on the right hand side. Click the down arrow and select Download:
- In the Download Grades screen leave the default options selected, and click Submit.
- On the next screen click the Download button and save the file to an appropriate location (e.g. your H: drive or shared file space for your school).
Download test results
- In the Grade Centre find the column for the test, and click the dropdown arrow to the right of the column name. Select Download Results from the menu:
- In the Download Results screen leave the default options selected. Click the button to download results, and again save to an appropriate location.
Note: both of these actions produce a .csv file, which you can open and amend in Excel as required.
Amend or delete a test question and regrade attempts
Once you have completed the steps above you can go ahead and make the required changes to the test.
- Open the test canvas. You can do this via the Control Panel > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests, then hover over the name of the exam and click the dropdown arrow. Select the Edit Test option.
- Scroll to the question that you need to amend or delete, and hover over the title. Click the dropdown arrow that appears:
- To amend a question select Edit from the dropdown menu. Make the required changes. Click Submit and Update Attempts. Blackboard will display a warning message; click OK, and the test will automatically be regraded:
- To delete a question select Delete and Regrade from the dropdown menu. Blackboard will display a warning message. Click OK, and the test will automatically be regraded:
- Once you have amended or deleted all of the required questions, check the Grade Centre column for the test to ensure that the attempts have been automatically graded as expected.
Doing your viva in Politics has been revolutionised by a new mock viva video for Ph.D. students.
Politics PGR Director Professor Tony Zito and Kate Manzo (Geography) realised that students often were not attending or were not paying attention to more traditional approaches to preparing students for their viva, so he decided to show them exactly what to expect by making a video.
Tony said: ‘A lot of students were just not coming to the sessions I was running about vivas and what their viva would be like.
‘I think for those who were in first or second year of their Ph.D.s their viva seemed very far away and for those nearing the end of their project the viva had become something too scary to think about.
‘So we decided to make sure that there would be something online that they could always access, perhaps even in the middle of the night when they were worrying about an upcoming viva.’
Tony enlisted the help of politics student Russell Foster, himself preparing for an upcoming viva.
Russell agreed to be filmed during a mock viva with Tony and Kate taking the roles of internal and external examiners.
The mock viva was kept very formal, with Russell entering the room in a suit to greet his examiners, just like in the real thing.
‘It was great of Russell to agree to do that on camera because it’s a pretty scary thing but he was happy to help other students.
‘The video worked really well and will hopefully give other students an idea of what to expect as their viva looms.
‘You can see Russell go through the whole process so hopefully it will be helpful to them to see the whole thing so clearly laid out.’
The video was posted on Youtube, with Russell’s permission and is used frequently as a resource for students in GPS approaching the end of their Ph.D.s.
Tony said: ‘We’re not sure of the impact yet. We did this in October 2013 and Ph.D.s are a slow process so we’ve not had that many students through yet to notice any particular trends but we expect that it can only have a positive impact.’
Thinking of doing a similar thing in your school? Contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk for more information or for technical support.
For more examples of good practice in teaching and learning from across Newcastle have a look at the Case Studies Database.
Lecturers in the Law School are making use of industry professionals to teach students about ‘real-life’ as a legal professional.
The school makes use of professionals from local practices to assess first year’s interviewing techniques and invites Law Lords and senior judges to meet students in order to help them to establish contacts and feel comfortable in the formal and often cliquey legal world.
Jonathan Galloway, just one lecturer making use of professionals in both law and economics as part of his Competition Law module, thinks that regular contact with those working in the profession gives Newcastle students the edge.
‘Not only is it great to hear from someone who can tell you in a more anecdotal sense how the theory you learn about during your degree works in real world situations, it also builds students’ confidence.
‘For many of them, the world of court, particularly places like the supreme court or Parliament can seem completely out of reach. Meeting a senior judge or law lord can help them to feel more comfortable and confident in applying for jobs or placements at these types of places later.
‘For some Newcastle students, they may never have met a barrister or a judge before. Having people who work at some of the most prestigious firms or in the top jobs deliver elements of their courses helps them to see that these sorts of professions are within reach for them and hopefully encourages them to aim high after they graduate.’
For Jonathan, this works both ways: ‘It also works the same way for the firms themselves. Although many of the most prestigious firms in London, they come into regular contact with students from London-based Law Schools, many may not meet many students from Newcastle.
‘Inviting them to speak means that they already have a sense of what Newcastle students are about and how much they could offer their firm as a graduate.’
The Law School makes use of professionals to assess interviewing techniques in the early stages of the degree and to deliver some lectures on modules such as Competition law and Human Rights law.
Although much of this takes place later in the course and Jonathan is keen to stress that students always already have a theoretical grounding in the area which professionals come to discuss, he thinks it is inherently valuable for the students:
‘We’ve had some really excellent people, not just lawyers but economists too to help the students get a more rounded sense of how wide-ranging legal studies is and how many different sectors the law touches upon.’
To read more about what Law is up to see the Case Study Database.
Or if you have an example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
All 2015/16 modules will be available in Blackboard by Monday 27 July 2015. There is no Blackboard downtime scheduled and there will be no changes to Blackboard for the new academic year. However, you will notice some changes in the way that assessments are copied over from existing 2014/15 modules into the new 2015/16 modules. These changes have been made in order to tidy up the grade centre, and to avoid potential issues with assessments being accidentally made available to students.
Blackboard tests are copied over, but not deployed
This applies to all Blackboard tests, including OLAF exams. An existing test will not be available to students, and there will not be a column for the test in the grade centre. As an instructor you can access the test to edit it, and you can deploy it to make it available again to the 2015/16 cohort. The steps to do this are outlined below:
1. To view and edit an existing test: click on Course Tools in the Control Panel. Select ‘Tests, Surveys and Pools’ from the drop down menu, then click on Tests.
2. The tests area lists all tests that exist in the module. Locate the test you wish to view/edit in the list (you can sort items in the list by Name and Date Last Edited). Hover over the name of the test and click on the drop down arrow. Click ‘Edit’ to open the test for editing.
3. To deploy an existing test: go to the area in the module where you want to make the test available to students. Click on the Assessment menu and select Test.
Turnitin assignments are copied over but hidden from students
It is not possible to reuse an existing Turnitin assignment, so you do not have an option to deploy an assignment again. However, as an instructor you can view hidden assignments if you need to refer to them (for example to check the settings that you used for Turnitin assignments run in 2014/15).
Note that no student data is rolled forward from one year to the next, so a rolled over Turnitin assignment in a 2015/16 module will not contain any student work. If you need to refer back to 2014/15 students’ work you will need to access this in the 2014/15 version of the module.
Date Management Tool
If there is any content in a module which has Date/Time Restrictions set up for it, at the Blackboard rollover the content is copied and the date restrictions rolled forward by one calendar year (e.g. an item that was made available from 1 November 2014 will now be set to become available from 1 November 2015).
Blackboard has a Date Management Tool that allows you to easily amend Date/Time Restrictions for all content in a module in one place. The tool can be used to amend all content simultaneously, or choose to amend dates/times for individual items. This Blackboard Help page explains how to use the different options in the tool.
Content areas are hidden by default
When content is copied from an existing 2014/15 module into a 2015/16 module by default it is hidden from students at the top level. This is done to allow instructors to update/amend content if required, before making it available to the new cohort of students.
To make a content area available to students, hover over it in the menu, click the drop down arrow, and select ‘Show Link’:
Remember that you can double check what students can see in a module using the student preview mode (explained in this post).
Last year’s ReCap recordings are not copied over
A reminder that ReCap recordings are not copied when modules are rolled over in Blackboard. If the 2014/15 version of a module included a ReCap content area this will be copied into the 2015/16 module, but it will not contain any recordings until new ones are created during the module.
Learning and Teaching Development Service’s Rebecca Gill answers your questions about making this software work for you….
1) What is Respondus for?
Respondus is a piece of software that can be used with Blackboard to help set up online tests or exams. It is widely used by the Online Assessment and Feedback (OLAF) Service, and it can also be very useful to academic and support staff who are running their own formative or summative online tests.
2) How might staff be able to use it?
The software converts test questions written in Microsoft Word into Blackboard test questions. Respondus allows staff to quickly and easily create large sets of questions, to build exams or question pools in Blackboard. It works with a range of question types, including multiple choice, multiple answer, matching, jumbled sentence and fill in the blanks questions. Respondus can also be used to download exams from Blackboard with or without answers.
3) How might it benefit students?
Respondus makes it easy to create large sets of questions in Blackboard, which means that as well as building summative assessments, staff can more easily create practice tests for their students to use in revision. It also has the option to add feedback for correct and incorrect answers to each question, making it easier for staff to provide detailed feedback on exams – this is particularly useful for large group teaching, because the amount of time needed to add the feedback is the same whether you are setting an exam for 20 or 200 students.
4) How might it benefit staff?
Respondus can help save time when setting up Blackboard tests, and streamlines the process of deploying a test with required settings. The ability to download Blackboard tests to Word means that you can edit existing test questions in Word and easily reimport them to Blackboard. Once you have set up a series of test questions they can easily be edited and reused in future years.
The software can also be used to create a paper version of a test without answers, which is a helpful backup if any students have problems logging in when you are running an online test or exam. In addition some Schools use Respondus to download Blackboard tests so that they can easily be made available to their external examiners.
5) What will the workshops do?
The workshop starts by introducing Blackboard tests and question pools. You will then learn how to create exam questions in Microsoft Word using Respondus format, and will practice importing the questions into Respondus, and uploading them to Blackboard to create a test or question pool. The workshop will also cover using test settings to control availability, question display, and releasing scores and feedback to students. Finally you’ll practice downloading tests from Blackboard to create a copy in Word.
6) Who might/should be interested?
Any member of academic or administrative support staff who is responsible for creating Blackboard tests/exams, and would like to learn how Respondus can help. The workshops are suitable for anyone who has general experience of Blackboard.
Book a workshop on using Respondus to create Blackboard tests.