iSpring: Video Case Study 1 of 3

iSpring Early Adopters Project: Video Case Study 1

In the Learning Technology Development team we’ve recently completed the early adopters project in the use of iSpring. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing the knowledge and experience of three selected participants who have successfully embedded iSpring into their eLearning toolkit and produced some impressive learning materials for students.

This week we’re introducing our first video – featuring Sertip Zangana from the Faculty of Health & Social Care.  Sertip is a Senior Lecturer in Advanced Clinical Practice. He talks about his involvement in the project and his general practice, including the benefits his students’ experienced in the online environment, and the challenges involved.

Why not take a few moments to view the first of three video case studies. Look out for the next two videos coming in April.

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Sertips’s video powerfully illustrates the positive effect that technology can have.  His words describe how the use of iSpring can offer huge benefits to the student learning experience. 

At Edge Hill we have built up a critical mass of good practice that can be accessed by staff who are thinking of incorporating these technologies into their courses. If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.

…and you have access to a wide range of user guides on eShare and beyond:

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

 

BBC-featured History quiz engages students in HEA project

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

According to Mason Norton (Edge Hill University) and Dan Taylor (University of Roehampton), in history, there are four broad categories of historian:

  • Empiricist

  • Postmodernist

  • ‘historian from below’

  • ‘top-down’

The categories emerged as part of the Developing Historical Thinking project run by Edge Hill and Roehampton, when Mason and Dan teamed up to create a Cosmopolitan style self-test quiz – aimed at getting first year History students to think about the theory of history.  Mason wrote this post, and Dan comments: “… it’s a thoughtful reflection on a great tool and an enjoyable collaboration”.

 

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

by Mason Norton

HEA-QuizQuizzes can seem like a very basic, almost too simple, pedagogic tool, and with a topic as complex and as endless as historiography, you might be forgiven for thinking that the two would not go together very well. However, back in the summer of 2013, myself and Dan Taylor of Roehampton were given the task of thinking up a quiz to be called ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’. Whilst to me, the answer is simple, I was conscious of the fact that to many first-year undergraduates, the challenge is to get them to think about the theory of history as something other than a tedious irrelevance.

So we realised the quiz could be an opportunity to make something daunting look a little bit fun, whilst making students stop and think. After half a summer of e-mails going back and forward, we managed to get it down to four categories; empiricist, postmodernist, ‘historian from below’, and ‘top-down’. This was a simplification of some historical schools of thought, but it was a necessary one- freshers, for example, are ill-equipped to know, or even care, about debates within, say, the Marxist school of historians about the collapse of the USSR. This process was in itself quite interesting because it showed collaboration not just between the universities, but between the disciplines- I am a historian whilst Dan is a philosopher. The conversations between the two of us were mutually informative- it is useful, I think, for a historian to see what a philosopher thinks of history, and also for a philosopher to see what a historian thinks of philosophy.

Then, we had to think up of ten questions to ask. Easy? Well, no, actually. We needed to strike a balance between covering ground already encountered at A-level, and also introducing students to new areas of historical enquiry. Most freshers, for example, would probably have never thought of treating human sexuality as a subject for serious historical enquiry. So our quiz needed to be constructed as a bridge between what had already gone before- what students would, or at least should, be fairly confident about tackling- and some of what they would be looking at over the next three years.

When we launched the quiz, there was an immediate flurry of interest, which was pleasing. Then, when it came to the dissemination phase, interest expanded even further. We received an e-mail asking if we wanted to let the quiz be used on a History teaching resources site, and then we received an approach to talk about the quiz as part of Making History on BBC Radio 4, with a link to the quiz on the programme’s website, which boosted the profile of the HEA project as a whole.

Consequently, when it came to the second iteration, there followed after the quiz a series of entries on personal journals using BlackBoard (which was also the software upon which the quiz ran), which meant that we could see what students made of the quiz and their answers. This further developed the interactive process between student and tutor. We observed students reflecting upon their engagement, and come the end of the semester, when we ran the quiz again, we could see how far (or not) students had come.

So the quiz, through both its construction and its iteration/implementation, proves the use of technology as a crucial part of the digital humanities, and of education as a two-way street. In the iteration, students have been introduced to some different historical schools via a practical, hands-on exercise, as opposed to say a fifty-minute lecture, followed by a two-hour seminar. We as tutors have then learned more about individual students and their preconceptions, and what we need to work on and/or develop over the next few weeks that the module will be running for- something that we would not otherwise have had necessarily until the first assessment a few weeks later. This dialogic element is what makes BlackBoard such a vital learning tool, in my opinion- we can pick up on the misconceptions earlier, and without causing such a knock-on effect for student grades, or, for that matter, the confidence of individual students.

In the construction, we have been forced to look more seriously at what we had taken for granted- and in the design of this quiz, one or two of my own preconceptions have been challenged- that may well have been the same for Dan too. So this means that we too become better historians (or, in Dan’s case, a better philosopher) as a result of having to rise to a new challenge, which is, to use a cliché, all part of the learning curve.

The result is that a format that may, at first glance, seem trivial and trite, is actually- once you start to work with it in depth- quite challenging and quite stimulating- and offers a new take on what is, perhaps, an old problem.

BestofTEL_SMALLMason Norton

Associate Tutor
Department of English & History
Nortonm@edgehill.ac.uk

What I find most interesting in this post is how Mason highlights the increased connection between academics and students facilitated by the quiz and other technologies.  If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.  LTD would be very happy to work with you to create a similar quiz for your area – perhaps developing a quiz workshop for your team.

BlackBoard also have some good online resources – such as this one about creating tests and surveys (a test is equivalent to a quiz):

   Tests_Surveys_Pools – Creating_Tests_and_Surveys

More generally, LTD deliver a wealth of support and staff development sessions – here’s a link to the current series that you can book on:

   DDE: Digital Practitioner

Collaborate ‘Rooms’

… a 24/7 classroom and/or your own ‘Virtual Office’.

The recent upgrade to our Collaborate web conferencing system has added a ‘Rooms’ feature – i.e., every course and every instructor now have their own Collaborate ‘Room’ that is open 24/7 – with all the rich features of a web conferencing system such as audio, web cameras and the ability to see each other’s computer screens.

We’d like to encourage you to use your tutor room as a ‘Virtual Office’ for student tutorials, 1-2-1 feedback, or even research interviews (making recording a doddle!).

The only thing you need to do is to add a link to let students access it.  An easy option would be to add a ‘Tool Link’ in the course.  Do this by clicking the Add Menu Item icon (the large + sign on the top left menu), selecting Tool Link that will bring up the Add Tool Link box (see the picture), and then enter:CollabToolLink

  • Blackboard Collaborate into the Name box
  • Select Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager from the drop down box
  • Tick ‘Available to Users’
  • Click submit.

You can drag the tool link up the left hand panel to put it somewhere more sensible – perhaps near the Content item?

When students click on the link they will see all the Collaborate rooms and sessions in the course area – including your room.

There are other ways of linking to your tutor room – and you can also send out email links that anyone can use to get into your room – this is very useful for bringing guest speakers into a session.  See this guide about adding a Virtual Office to your email signature.  To have a chat about these options or anything relating to learning technologies please contact us (see the Faculty Contact on this page) or email the LTD team on LTD Support@edgehill.ac.uk / 01695 650754 x7754.  We also offer many sessions on Collaborate through staff development.

PeggySemingtonCollaborateSession

 

Finally, for a quick recap of the feature of the Collaborate system, please take a look at this 5 min overview by Peggy Semington* or the 7 minute interactive orientation from Blackboard.

 


* Peggy Semingson is an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Arlington: https://twitter.com/PeggySemingson

Course User Management

users

Following the our recent transition from the Section Merge Tool (SMT) to the Course Relationship Tool (CRT), I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with a blog post on some useful user management techniques in Learning Edge course areas.

 

bb_ca_usersandgroupsCourse Management – Control Panel

The topics discussed will focus on the Users and Groups section in the course Control Panel and will be particularly useful for Course Administrators.

You can modify a user’s Role and bb_contextAvailability from the context menu arrow, next to the users username:

User Availability

bb_ca_course_options

This replaces the function to ‘Remove Users from Course’ which used to delete the user’s enrolment.

You can now ‘Change the User’s Availability’ which allows you to toggle if the user can view this course or not.

Effectively setting the availability of the users bb_availableenrolment to available (Yes) or unavailable (No).

This also provides the added benefit of being able to switch back instantly, should you need to.

 

Role Selection

bb_ca_user_options

Similarly, a users role can be modified in the same way.

By selecting ‘Change User’s Role in Course’ you can modify the users course role by choosing one from the predefined list:

bb_role_availability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, if you have any questions please contact LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk.

JL_Blog

 

 

 

 

John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

Your Digital Tattoo: What the web says about you! – For Staff

DT_square_smallIs how you present yourselves online important? When people search for information about you what might they find, and how does that affect your reputation and employability? How can you take control of what people can find about you online?

Over the last few years we’ve spoken with hundreds of Edge Hill students about issues these questions bring up, and we’ve helped many to develop their online presence to make it look more professional. Now it’s your turn to look at your own online presence, your ‘digital tattoo’ as some call it, and to think about how you could talk about this important subject with your own students.

We’re running a session on Thursday 5th March 2015 from 12:00-1:00pm, in the LINC ICT Training Room (room G2 on the ground floor).

Please book on the session via the Staff Learning and Development booking system.

Quotes from previous attendees:

  • “I think this is a session that everyone can benefit from and provides useful information that we can pass on to students with regards to developing a positive online presence.”
  • “I really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the elements of this presentation / session and the potential impact for myself and the student experience. A thought provoking session”

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

New Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) is coming this February 2015

BOS banner

The new version of BOS is coming this February 2015. Please refer to my earlier blog to catch up on the new and enhanced features which are coming with the upgrade: http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/learningedge/?p=3721 

The migration dates are confirmed as follows:

Wednesday 25th February & Thursday 26th February 2015.

Please note – there will be no access to the BOS survey tool on these dates.

If a survey respondent attempts to access a survey on these dates they will receive an automatic message advising them to return to the survey link later (it will not specify a date).  Consequently, if you have a survey which is open during the two migration dates above, you may choose to notify your survey audience that your survey will not be accessible on these two dates.

Normal service will resume on Friday 27th February 2015.

What to do next:

I would advise you to log into your BOS account to check your contact details are correct. Once your account is migrated you will receive an email invitation from BOS with an account activation link. You will need to complete this step to validate your account and to choose a new password.

The new version of BOS uses email addresses as the username.

Please remember that any unlaunched surveys with a closing date that is two or more years in the past will not be migrated. If you want to keep that survey, you can edit the closing date to ensure the survey is moved across.

It is worth noting that if you are collecting personal information about individuals, you have a number of legal obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. Principle 5 of the Data Protection Act is particularly pertinent here:

“Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.”

If you don’t have any specific reasons to hold on to the data, then it should be deleted. For more information about your data protection responsibilities see the ICO’s Guide to Data Protection.

 Final points to remember:

All your existing survey links will still work by being redirected to the new location, and do not hesitate to contact me at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or via the phone on 01695 650754 for any further questions or support and guidance following the migration.

 

nina_unsworth Nina Unsworth

LTD Operations Coordinator

 

 

Too good to ignore!

qwickly1

Users of Learning Edge! We have an exciting new addition to the family!

Ok, so it might not be the most exciting thing for some, but we will shortly be switching on a fantastic new tool within Learning Edge to help make your academic communication easier between staff and students.

Qwickly is a tool used to streamline some of those monotonous processes that we’ve heard have been grinding the gears of Learning Edge instructors for sometime…

So what does it do exactly?

Well, this is the good bit… You know all those times that you have to go into each course or module, one at a time, and sometimes create the same announcement? Well, no longer! Qwickly allows you to create one announcement and send it to multiple courses in one click!  Qwickly knows which courses and modules you’re enrolled in and will allow you to select it from a list, create your announcement and send – It’s that easy!

Qwickly2

But wait! That’s not all!

That annoying quirk of trying to remember which course or modules you’ve released to students? Yes! It’s now even easier to do a quick check of which one’s are available and which one’s aren’t and with the click of a button release it to students.

And finally!

You will also be able to send an email to students in multiple courses or modules in the same way as the announcements – super quick for those urgent moments.

So is that it?

Not quite… Additionally, you can ‘qwickly’ see how many papers you have still to mark and also customise the tools that you want to see in the control panel, so if you’re not interested in the email function just remove it from the Qwickly list.

Qwickly

Wow! I can’t wait! So when can we have it?

On Monday 9th February Qwickly will be launched to all members of staff using Learning Edge.  You’ll be able to see the panel at the bottom of your course list on the Home tab.  Sorry it’s all the way down there but we didn’t want it to interfere with any other panels that you can see in the 1st and 3rd columns of your Learning Edge Home tab.

An important note:

Please use this tool responsibly! Please remember that whatever you do has an instant effect.  If you send an announcement, all those students will receive it instantly, this is the same with email.  Once it’s been sent we cannot retrieve it! So please don’t come crying if you send it to the wrong students.

Remember! Just because you can ‘qwickly’ communicate, doesn’t mean you always should. Before hitting send, ask yourself if an announcement or email is the right way to communicate your message!

Equally, if you ‘test’ the availability button, your students will instantly lose access to that course… so please don’t play with the tools unless you know you definitely want a course released (or hidden!)

If you want to see some previews of Qwickly or would like to learn more take a look at these help videos to get a flavour of how easy it is to use.  You can also find out more information in the FAQ area

*Hot hint*

If you don’t want to scroll down a massively long list of courses to get to the Qwickly panel, do you know about tidying up your course list? You can access the guide on how to do this here or watch a video about it here. You can also eliminate seeing the list of instructors should you wish, which saves vital pixel space on the page!

And if you’re feeling really kind, you might want to let your students know about the course list tidying up – it probably annoys them still seeing their 1st year modules when they’re nearing the end of 3rd year as much as it annoys you!

So that’s it! We’re looking forward to switching this tool on and hope you’re looking forward to it too.  Get in touch with LTD if you would like any further details.  We’re more than happy to answer any queries you may have.

If you like, leave a comment on this blog post so you can share your views.

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David Callaghan
Learning Technology Development Officer (FoE)

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Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer (FAS)

Technologies are an “absolute lifeline” for our students!

Blackboard Collaborate and discussion forums help build community and meet students’ emotional and learning needs.

Readers of this Learning Edge blog will be familiar with our Best of TEL series, where we invite colleagues from across the university to guest author posts about their practice, to inform and inspire others. This post has a guest author, but is slightly different, as this time we hear from one of our recent graduates.

Lisa Corcoran, a student on the BA (Hons) Teaching, Learning and Mentoring Practice in 2012-13 and talks about her experience of the TMP3000 Work-Based Research module which incorporated the use of discussion forums and weekly webinars via Blackboard Collaborate:

“Distance learning for me was a very isolating experience, TMP3000 was the final milestone of a long and arduous journey. At times the daily slog of work, family and study seemed relentless with no light at the end of the tunnel. I was at the end of four years study and had found communication a barrier in most of the other modules I had completed.

I think universities who offer distance learning don’t always consider these emotional factors, Edge Hill certainly offered great resources in terms of its library postal service, taster days and written material. But nothing compares to human contact and being able to have that reassurance that you are on the right track.

Whilst completing TMP3000 my feelings are that the communication and support was outstanding and as a learning community we all came together in the final hour though the discussion boards and the webinar to support each other. That learning community was only facilitated because of those discussion boards and webinars, for some people it was an absolute lifeline and the importance should not be underestimated as very important emotional needs and learning needs were met daily on those discussion boards.

On a personal note the webinar sessions were most helpful, the experience I was having with distance learning was very abstract and the webinar made it a concrete tangible process which brought about a change in my state of mind that yes I was on the right track, yes other people were feeling the same way and yes there was somebody there (David) to reaffirm I wasn’t going mad.

I cannot emphasise how important it was for me to take part in live discussions without the misinterpretation of email and the long text, to be able to speak rather than type a question and be part of a discussion with real live people. The experience for me was absolutely invaluable on every level and absolutely without a doubt was a contributing factor to achieving a first class honours.”

BestofTEL_SMALL

Lisa’s story powerfully illustrates the positive effect that technology can have.  Her words describe how the use of technologies, and particularly the web conferencing tool, helped connect her with her fellow students and tutor, and offered ‘human contact’, which addressed her need for emotional support during learning.

At Edge Hill we have built up a critical mass of good practice that can be accessed by staff who are thinking of incorporating these technologies into their courses. If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.

You are also invited to join a Developing Digital Excellence staff development session:

…and you have access to a wide range of user guides on eShare:

If you enjoyed this post, you might also be interested in some of our previous Best of TEL guest entries:

Turnitin Grades – What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen!

It’s that time again… marking.

Very few would actually admit to enjoying marking reams of students’ work right after the Christmas break but it is a necessary (evil) task.

And to make things worse, students seem to be finding their grades out early! How on Earth did that happen? You’ve done everything you thought you needed to, so how are they getting them!?

Yes, the process to hide grades and marks from students is a little convoluted. Ideally we’d have a single button that we could use to hide and then un-hide whenever we want (or even better, on a specific date!) but alas, no such magic exists… yet.  Whilst we await with fingers crossed for a better way, there are a couple of things you need to do now to get it right.

Here’s our top 5 tips for hiding grades:

  1. Remember the Post Date (This is the date on which TURNITIN gives access to any marks and comments you have left via the Turnitin Grade Mark feature).
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  2. Remember the option (within Optional Settings when setting up Turnitin) for ‘Reveal grades to students only on post date? > YES
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  3. Remember to hide the relevant column in the Grade Centre also (Turnitin is a separate programme to Blackboard, so don’t forget that not only do you have to hide in Turnitin, but also in Blackboard!)
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  4. Check that the grade isn’t being fed through to another column that ISN’T hidden! For example Total or Weighted Total column.
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  5. The final one that can be very annoying… if you forget to hide the grades until after you’ve entered marks, then even if you hide the columns retrospectively, if a student has already been in and seen their grade then it may have ‘cached’ on their web browser so regardless of what you do, they’ll still get to it!

If you have any questions at all about this information get in touch with your local friendly Learning Technologist for your department who will be more than happy to help our with any queries or niggles you may have with using Turnitin or Blackboard (or any other learning technology for that matter!)

Oh, still here? Excellent! How about a few more nuggets of information about online submissions?

  • Remember that Turnitin is an individual tool for checking originality in writing.  You don’t need to use it for Images, Videos, Audio, most presentations, or other work that is not predominantly text.  It’s also not designed to take group submissions, unless one person is submitting on everyone’s behalf and you know who that person is!
  • If you genuinely have a group submission, consider using the Blackboard Assignment tool which does allow submission by group (which you can also set up in Blackboard)
  • Also use Blackboard Assignment for ‘other’ file types.  Turnitin only like text files, so if you are submitting a file of a more unusual type, use Bb Assignment
  • Also with that in mind, Blackboard Assignment allows multiple file submissions – so may well be the best option if you are expecting more than one file from students.
  • Remember that Turnitin only accepts files up to 20mb in size!  Any bigger and it will be rejected!
  • Turnitin GradeMark is marking online – don’t forget that you can lose your comments if your connection is flaky (e.g. wireless) as the connection to the server will drop.  It’s probably best to make notes offline and then copy and paste them in to ensure there are no tears at the end of an epic marking sesh!
  • You can ‘navigate’ through students’ submission when marking using the arrows at the top of the page (this goes for Turnitin and Bb Assignment).
  • Don’t forget you can always download work if you find it easier for marking, or need to work offline.  Turnitin won’t allow you to upload a marked paper – so remember to make those comments so you can copy and paste, but Bb Assignment does, so you may wish to consider changing your assignment submission method.
  • It’s worth noting that we have a new feature in Blackboard Assignment called ‘Safe Assign‘.  This is an emerging originality checking tool that may in time replace Turnitin.  If you fancy giving it a go (possibly on a submission that’s not critical to having Turnitin features) then feel free to check it out in your Test Course or come and have a chat with LTD!

Carol_Chatten

 

 

Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer

Students, technology and study – still time to have your say!

The 6th EHU student eLearning Survey is an important means of gathering large-scale, detailed feedback on how students experience technology in teaching and learning. Past surveys have contributed massively to our development and support of technology-enhanced learning. The current survey has a couple more weeks to run but the responses already reveal interesting trends that I thought worth sharing. Do these reflect your own experiences? There is still time to complete the survey at http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_2014 (and be in with a chance of winning up to £100 in Amazon vouchers).

Trend 1. Mobile devices are essential tools to support your studies

This isn’t really surprising when you think that your smart phone has more computing power than Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon. Apart from money, your phone is the one thing you probably won’t leave home without. Survey responses so far tell us that smart phone access to Learning Edge now seems to be a mainstream activity for accessing notifications, presentations and course content. Just under a quarter of you are using Apps to support study – RefMe, PC Availability, Dropbox, Socrative, barcode scanners and note-making apps to name a few.

Table 1 shows how mobile access to Learning Edge has increased year on year alongside other activities. Table 2 shows the types of devices that are being brought onto campus (%).

Table 2. Devices students bring onto campus.

Table 2

 

Table 1. How students use mobile devices for study

Table 1

 

 

 

 

 

Trend 2: Accessing Learning Edge on and off-campus is a much-improved experience

The 2012/13 survey revealed fewer number of you were experiencing technical difficulties when using Learning Edge on and off campus – but oddly, the most dramatic improvement was in the reduction of off campus technical difficulties.

This prompted us to take a fresh look at on-campus access to Learning Edge and I’m pleased to say that it looks like the many #getconnected roadshows and promotion of Eduroam for reliable WIFI access on campus have had a big impact. Early data from the current survey shows a significant improvement in your on campus access to Learning Edge as illustrated by tables 3 and 4.

on campus access to Eearning Edge

Table 3

 

Off campus access to Learning Edge

Table 4

 

 

 

 

 

Trend 3. Learning Edge is essential for 27/7/365 access to your course

Past surveys told us that each year more of you agree with the statement that Learning Edge enhances knowledge and understanding gained at taught sessions. Early indications are that this year is no different – but with a pleasing improvement on 2012/13. There has been a similar improvement in the response to the statement ‘my tutors regularly update Learning Edge with course information and materials –currently 93.4% of student responses agree with this statement (tables 5 and 6 illustrate).

Table 5. tutors regularly update Learning Edge

Table 5

 

Table 6. Learning Edge enhances my learning

Table 6

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst much data has been obtained by this survey so far, it is important to capture the widest sample of experiences and feedback possible. This isn’t a vanity exercise – although praise is always welcomed. As well as the good, we also welcome the bad and downright ugly! This survey is an important part of our commitment to keep listening to you so we can continue improve year on year on what we do.

Lindsey Martin Assitant Head of Learning Services

 

 

Lindsey Martin, Assistant Head of Learning Services (Learning, ICT & Media Technologies)