Introduction to Profiles and Social Learning Tools in Blackboard

Profile Card graphicBlackboard’s ‘Social Learning Tools’ form a small scale social networking style environment within Blackboard, which your students can use outside of their course areas. They include the Profile tool, People tool, Messages tool, and Spaces tool.

The Profile tool will be the one you are most likely to have noticed. The profile pictures feed into Blackboard’s discussion tool, making it easier to see who posted what. The pictures are also used throughout the Social Learning Tools, which you can access through the Global Navigation link at the top right of the Blackboard environment, which has your name on it.

We have written a staff focused overview guide about the Social Learning Tools and a more in depth one about the Spaces tool.

The Social Learning Tools were improved as part of the Blackboard Community upgrade to our system, and a recent update adds important features. The update ensures that students have agreed to Blackboard’s terms of service before they use the tools, and they will be reminded of the section of Edge Hill University’s IT Acceptable Use Policy that relates to social networking type activity. Also, they will have more control over your own information as they will be able to delete their profiles while they are a student with access to Blackboard. Inactive account holders will be notified after 12 months that their profile will be deleted, so even if they don’t get round to deleting their profile it won’t be there forever.

Abandon survey fatigue and tell us what you think!

Academic Staff Survey

Learning Services have run an annual student e-learning survey since 2008. This year we thought we’d do something different and focus on the academic staff experience instead.

You may have seen slides on the plasma screens or received a flyer exhorting staff to take part in the Learning Services survey … and to date 70 of you have very kindly done so. We want to hear about your experiences of Edge Hill’s virtual and physical teaching environments, Library and resources. We also want to get a better understanding of how you like to keep up-to-date with our new developments and how you engage with Learning Services learning technologists, librarians and classroom support staff.

We know it’s a big ask but can you take 5-10 minutes and fill the survey in? You can access it from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/staff_survey

Your responses will be used to improve what we do, for example, we have used the feedback from the annual student e-learning survey to inform major Learning Edge developments including Mobile Learn, the recent addition of Community, 1-Click access from Go, and our Get Connected student Roadshows. We have also used your feedback from the 2012 Audio Visual Technology survey to identify and upgrade classrooms in need of new AV.

 Lindsey Martin Assitant Head of Learning Services

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

Alas Prescott and Ellis

 … it’s a bit like having a tutorial with you … 

An initial request to create an online session for the PG Cert in HE has resulted in a wealth of video resources ranging from academic writing to change management and leadership that are now used across a number of programmes in the Faculty of Health and Social Care.  Trish Prescott and Jeannette Ellis, both Senior Lecturers in the Faculty, produced these resources using an approach that role models a ‘conversation’ .  This blog post reflects that conversational approach, with input from Trish (T:) and Jeannette (J:):

T: We were asked to do a session on Critical Reflection for the PG Cert – a course for staff that are new to teaching in Higher Education. We wanted to try something different – to expose new teachers to a different style of teaching and learning. So we created a screencast [a PowerPoint presentation narrated by Trish and Jeannette] supported by a World Café approach in the follow up face to face.

J: We wanted to get peers/colleagues to engage online before the face to face session – so in class we could do exercises and build on material they had already engaged with.

T: We had some issues with the technology and the process …

J: … our first attempt didn’t record anything! But now we can initiate it all with occasional help – and have even done some fading in and out!

T: Beyond the PG Cert we’ve had a series of evaluations from a blended undergraduate CPD programme asking for more face to face sessions …

J: …so we created screencasts that were perhaps more engaging than some of the existing online activities. Initial topics included:
- Academic writing and referencing
- Doing critical reflection …

T: … and then more sessions for the undergraduate dissertation.

Q: Can you tell me more about your approach?

J: We put ourselves in the students’ shoes – Trish is the ‘academic’ and I am the potentially knowledgeable but not expert student. So I pose questions that I feel a student would ask when they are in a room with you. So you are creating a situation that is almost mimicking what students want to ask but often don’t feel that they can or that they want to.

T: Just putting up a PowerPoint is a one direction approach. Having a conversation allows a debate, and the feedback that we’ve had so far is that ‘it feels like we’re having a 1-2-1 tutorial with you because of the engagement that is going on’ … and that’s why I think it works really well with two of us rather than just one of us talking over it.

J: We’ve created screencasts covering topics such as academic writing and referencing, practice innovation, change management, and leadership. Feedback from the Advancing Practice module was “ … really good, it strengthens the delivery.”

Q: How are you sharing with colleagues?

T: We’ve put generic resources on Blackboard and would encourage other tutors to direct their groups to these resources to ‘deliver’, and then follow with a workshop / Q&A session – this would be a more efficient use of time.

J: Chris Jones and I presented at the staff study day – our session was called “Facing students in alternative ways”. The idea was to share ways of offering a voice of the tutor in formats other than face to face

T: For the PG Cert course it was about role modelling different ways of doing things so that tutors can see ideas in practice and make it theirs.

Q: What feedback have you had?

J: The most significant comment for me was from one of Trish’s students:

“ … it’s a bit like having a tutorial with you … “

… because it almost is:

  • it’s orientated to the individual
  • they pace it and place it according to their own need;
  • it’s dead easy to start, stop or skip.

Q: What are your next steps in the project?

J: So far we’ve limited our opportunities to voice – just talking over a PowerPoint. We are aware that Camtasia would afford us an opportunity to have ‘talking head’ video of us on screen – that’s probably the next level.

T: We’re looking at other software that will allow us to develop a really interactive online session – with lots of activities, things to read, interactive quizzes etc.

J: As well as improving the process of creating screencasts, we’ve also got much better at the content. For instance, Trish now gives a breakdown at the start of each screencast – saying how long it will take. If that’s a long time I’ll suggest they think about breaks; it’s perfectly OK to walk away from it – when they come back they can scroll to where they left off.

Q: What issues and concerns have there been?

T: We thought we’d need a script – but that didn’t work out well.

J: If you’re reading from a script it’s awful – it doesn’t work. It’s got to be natural, in ‘real time’, saying what you are thinking. So what we do now is to have a conversation before we record – perhaps making a few notes on the slides about what we really want to cover – and then just let it go!

T: Students like the result – and we don’t bother editing our mistakes / giggles out – the students have said that these are ‘ … really nice.’.

Q: Where do you record your screencasts – do you book a room?

J: Yes and no. At the moment we are using the old TV studio in LINC – right next door to the Learning Technology team where we pick the laptop up from.

T: This is a really good example of the ‘New Academic Team’ – because it was technologists and us working together to enhance the student experience. Everyone in the LTD team has been very supportive – helping us whenever we turn up.

Q: Did the project meet your expectation?

J: I think, it surpassed it in many ways … we didn’t have any expectations

T: We would try this and see what happens.

J: The driver was to make it better for the student. There was an expectation to improve things, so from that perspective it has, although we haven’t done any formal evaluation.

Q: What system do you put the screencasts on?

J: We use YouTube – we send them to the Media team in Learning Services who put them on the FoHSC’s YouTube channel – and we link to there from Blackboard – it’s very easy.

Q: What is your advice to other looking at doing this?

J: ’Give it a go’.

T: Microphones – get a proper desk microphone …

J: … don’t do what we did and twist a headset microphone – making it look like a pretzel! You need a USB mic.

T: Get help from the Learning Technology team. We still go back to LTD for the final steps of the screencasting process – the ‘publishing’.

J: Take a ‘bite sized’ approach – limit screencasts to 40 minutes or so – and build in activities too.

BestofTEL_SMALL

Jeannette Ellis
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health & Social Care

Trish Prescott
Senior Lecturer in CPD, Learning and Teaching Fellow
Faculty of Health & Social Care

 

The approach that Trish and Jeannette are taking is the Flipped Model – something that is very current in the TEL field – being cited by the Horizon Report of 2014 as an ‘Important Development in Educational Technology’ that is ‘One Year or Less’ from mainstream adoption: (http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed)

A great ‘getting started’ guide for Camtasia written by Peter Beaumont of LTD is available on eShare: http://www.eshare.edgehill.ac.uk/3912/

 

For further help, support and advice on how you can use Camtasia and similar tools to create video ‘content’ for your students please contact your Learning Technologist (see the Faculty Contacts on this page) or email the LTD Team on LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or 01695 650754 (x7754).

 

Students, would you like to represent #Prezi at Edge Hill University?

Prezi

Prezi are currently taking applications from students who wish to become the Edge Hill University Prezi ambassador for 2014-1015.  The role of Prezi ambassador will involve you evangelizing Prezi on our campus by promoting various showcases and campaigns.

The Perks:

  • Free EDU Pro License of Prezi
  • Start Up Experience
  • Access to a network of student Ambassadors around the world
  • Prezi Swag
  • Letter of recommendation at the completion of your term
  • Prizes to top performers may include gift certificates, an iPad, a visit to the San Francisco office, and a trip to Budapest to interact with Prezi’s founders
  • Potential visits to Edge Hill University from Prezi team members

For information on how to apply follow the link below:

http://prezi.com/ambassadors/

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Are you sitting comfortably? Start your dissertation the easy way!

Are you getting ready to start your dissertation? Here is an opportunity to learn some new skills in a place that suits you!

Not finding the results you require when searching online, on the library catalogue or journal databases? Then you need to attend the live webinar to gain some new skills which will improve your search strategy.

The session is called “Finding information for your dissertation” and will run online using Blackboard’s webinar tool Collaborate. You will need to book your place at least 24hrs prior to the session and ensure that you have set up your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to access the session. Once you are booked onto the session you will be sent all the information you need to get set up. Please contact us by email if you are having any issues or phone the Learning Services Helpdesk on 01695 584286.

We will look at why information skills are important, systematic planning for conducting a search and managing the search process and results. This will be demonstrated via application sharing and web tours.

Participating in online webinars is a recognised digital skill for continued professional development, so it is well worth attending just for the experience!

“Finding information for your dissertation”
Thursday 27 March 2014, 3:30 pm
To book go to tinyurl.com/q5ovjwj

Join us for some Digital Excellence

Learning Services are pleased to bring you the following sessions during March.  We are offering a number of new sessions within Digital Practitioner, and we are also repeating some of the very popular topics; the students ideal VLE and managing your digital identity.

For new members of staff or staff new to research, we are also offering a session on using the bibliographic software we have here at Edge Hill – RefWorks

The Digital Practitioner

Keeping up to Date: Following Topics Using Web Feeds and Social Networks
4th March 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Your Digital Tattoo – What the web says about you! Professional and employable digital identities
13th March 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Learn About Campus Pack
18th March 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Learn & Interact At The Touch Of A QR Code
19th March 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Learning Edge – The Students’ Ideal VLE
20th March 12.00pm – 1.00pm

The Digital Researcher

Introduction to RefWorks
13th March 10.00am – 12.00pm

The Digital Office

EXCEL 3 – Working with Data Lists and Pivot Tables
5th March 2.00pm – 3:30pm

All sessions take place in the staff development training room, 2nd Floor, LINC

Please book online via the HR Staff Development booking system.  You can see the full list of the sessions within the Developing Digital Excellence programme and book those you would like to attend.

If there are areas of development you feel you or your team would like to discuss, please get in touch with myself or Elaine Czotter

Rachel Bury rachel.bury@edgehill.ac.uk

Elaine Czotter elaine.czotter@edgehill.ac.uk

 

Tomorrow’s World: #EHUGetConnected Roadshow

We hope you enjoyed the previous roadshow events we hosted at the end of January. We’re happy to announce the next event which will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, 25th Feb 2014) in the Student Hub (Ormskirk Campus) between 11am-2pm.

Mobile-matters

If you haven’t been to see us at any of the previous #EHUGetConnected events, why not come down and see us tomorrow with any issues or questions you might have? The aim of the roadshow is to demystify some of the things you’ve heard about but don’t know how to use, so you can get the best out of resources such as Learning Edge (Blackboard), the campus Wi-Fi (eduroam), any mobile apps and electronic library resources.

For staff and students working off campus or are unable to attend, you can contact us during the event (and beyond) via our social media channels: Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be using the #EHUGetConnected hashtag so if they have something to say or a question to ask about using technologies for your studies, they can get in touch.

If you are passing, why not take time to pop in and talk to us or have a look at our freebie giveaway, who knows what you might discover!

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

 

Taking out the Cache

Every now and again its a good idea to clear your cache. This applies to browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome), operating system temporary files and even the JAVA cache.

Following the recent JAVA 7 update 51 release (14th January 2014) some users who downloaded and installed the update may now need to clear their JAVA cache in order to use some of the Blackboard Tools (Multiple File Upload, Virtual Classroom and Chat).

To clear your JAVA cache follow these instructions:

(Please note these instructions are a guide only and are targeted for Windows 7 with JAVA 7 update 51)

1. Click on the start button and search for ‘Configure Java’.

2. Select the Configure Java icon under the Programs section:

temp

3. In the Java Control Panel, choose the Settings button in the Temporary Internet Files section:

Java_Control_Panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. In the Temporary Files Settings panel Choose the Delete Files button.

Java_Temp_Files

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delete_Java_Temp_Files

 

5. In the Delete Files and Applications panel make sure all options are selected and click OK.

The process can take a few minuets, but once complete the panel will close and you can click OK on the remaining dialog boxes.

 

For further specific information about Blackboard 9.1 with JAVA 7 update 51, please see here.

We hope you find this guide useful and if you have any further questions regarding Blackboard 9.1 and JAVA 7 update 51 please email the LTD Team – LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk

JL_Blog

 

 

 

 

 

John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

 

Looking to the Future: The Horizon Report 2014

The Higher Education edition of the Horizon Report always comes out this time of year, and is worth a read if you’re interested in emerging technologies and their impact on teaching, learning and research.

The 2014 edition of the report is split into three sections. Key Trends looks at things like the growth of social media use and the potential to personalise online learning environments. Significant Challenges looks at things like the need for digital fluency and the challenge of scaling innovations. Important Developments looks at things like flipped classrooms and learning analytics.

On the 20th of May we’ll be doing our annual session where we present on some of the technologies and ideas covered in the report, and encourage discussion. You’ve got plenty of time to have a read before then. If there is a particular aspect of the report you’d like to focus on in the session let us know and we’ll try to include it.

If you want to join us in May, why not book on using the Staff Learning and Development Event Bookings system.

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Developing Digital Excellence

Welcome to the February programme of staff development under our banner of Developing Digital Excellence.  We have brought together a range of activities and support, including an opportunity to take a look at our brand new broadcast TV studio.

We are aware that Semester 2 has started in earnest now and our programme in February will hopefully support some of those pressing developments you have on the horizon.

Staff from our teams’ involved in Developing Digital Excellence will also be available for a chat at the up and coming Staff Well Being Day –  Monday 10th February.    We will be there to talk about  how we can help in terms of developing ICT and digital skills and relieve some of the stress and anxiety around using new technology.  Come and have a chat to find out more about the programme, and also our Blackboard course area which might be a useful resource for you.

The Digital Practitioner

Successfully managing online marking – A guide to  using the Grade Centre in Blackboard February 2nd 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Avoiding Digital Disaster In Your Presentations     February 12th 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Learning On Location: A Mobile Field Trip       February 26th 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Big Brother Knows: Supportive Online Tracking      February 28th 12.00pm – 1.00pm

The Digital Classroom

Tour of the TV Studio  – Creative Edge Building – places limited to 15 so please book early    February 13th 1.00pm – 2.00pm

The Digital Researcher

Introduction to RefWorks     February 14th 10.00am – 12.00pm

The Digital Office 

ECDL Induction     February 3rd 10.00am – 11.00am

POWERPOINT 2 – Enhancing Your On-Screen Presentations  February 4th 9.30am – 11.00am

WORD 2 – Working with Tables and Mail Merge     February 6th 9.30am – 11.00am

EXCEL 1 – Getting Started with Formulas using Microsoft Excel 2010     February 10th 2.00pm – 3.30pm

WORD 3 – Advanced Features of Word Processing     February 11th 9.30am – 12.00pm

EXCEL 2- Functions and Workbook Management     February 17th 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Places are available for all of our courses and more information for the coming months events, and how to book is within the HR Staff Development booking system.

We look forward to seeing you in February.

Developing Digital Excellence team