Encourage Student Engagement with Key Texts: Join the Talis Elevate Pilot

Talis Elevate is a tool for collaboratively annotating learning resources, including PDF documents, images and videos. It can be used within Blackboard Ultra course areas.

Elevate has been used for a range of purposes, including encouraging close reading, promoting active reading, recording and analysing student interaction with resources, and for activities that feed into class discussions.

If you would like to be involved in a pilot starting in January 2023, please get in touch with Peter Beaumont or your Learning Technology Development contact. We will be able to provide advice, guides and training to get you started. Any modules involved will need to be using Ultra course view.

Note-taking with Caption.Ed

Caption.Ed not only gives you automatic captions on any device, you can also edit and download your captions as a transcript to create time-stamped notes.

Being able to take good lecture notes is important for everyone. For some, note taking comes easy, others may struggle to take meaningful notes whilst remaining engaged in a discussion or classroom activity.

Students in lecture theatre one is taking notes whilst others are listening to the tutor.

Juggling notetaking with listening to a lecture or engaging with others in a debate, can be very challenging and for some, sensory overload.

Ever thought there must another way?

Edge Hill University offer student support for academic writing and note taking techniques you will use for university level study through UniSkill.   

Students now have access to the latest Caption.Ed app to produce captions for all your live online sessions and recorded media.

Caption.Ed app screen view with timestamped captions on the left and Add a notes field displaying on the right, synced and inline with captions.  A video recording is overplayed below..

Improve productivity with your new Caption.Ed account, take meaningful notes that are synced with your transcript.

Caption.Ed mobile app (new)

The new Caption.Ed app means you can capture conversations one-to-one or in small group sessions.

Five mobile phone screens representing the 5 steps to using Caption.Ed on your device to record a what is being said in a face-to-face meeting.

When your session starts you can generate captions in real-time. You can add time stamped notes to the recorded transcript and edited later, giving you more time to focus on the important stuff.

Want to try your free Caption.Ed account, call in to Catalyst and ask at our Helpdesk or by email [email protected].

Microsoft Bookings

Do you need a way to manage Personal Tutor appointments with your students? Microsoft Bookings might be the solution for you!

Microsoft Bookings is a Microsoft 365 app that makes scheduling and managing appointments easy.  Microsoft Bookings can be accessed through your Microsoft 365 account. Launch the app chooser (top left-hand corner) and search for Bookings.

Open the app launcher.
Microsoft Booking Logo

Follow the prompts to set up your bookings calendar and it will sync with your Teams/Outlook calendar. 

Some of the great features include:

  • You can set up a shared calendar with colleagues.
  • You can add days/hours you want to allow your students to book.
  • You can tick a box to make it an online Teams meeting.
  • Students will only see the Bookings calendar that you publish online for the services, times and staff you choose.
Edit the service you are offering including service duration, days/times.

Once you have created the Calendar you will get a link that you can share with students. Once the appointment is booked it’s added to your Outlook calendar and the calendar of the student!

This is a relatively new app that we’ve not really used before so give it a try, we would love your feedback.  If it’s successful we can run a training session over the next couple of months.

Our Microsoft Bookings guide will help you get started and contains some FAQ’s.

Visit the Microsoft Bookings page for more information.

Leah Wilson – Learning Technologist

LinkedIn Learning

A development journey beyond the classroom

As a mature student at Edge Hill University, I am among the few who are currently in education when the original and rather clunky version of LinkedIn launched.  The nature of my work at that time required little engagement and no requirement for me to interact with the platform, so I knew very little of the more recent benefits the modern-day platform provides. Fast-forward twenty years and I am now frequently checking content, interacting with businesses, connecting with like-minded professionals, and developing insights into industry developments.

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Five Updates that Improve Blackboard Collaborate for You

Blackboard Collaborate has seen a lot of updates over the past year. Here are five improvements you might be interested in.

1. Breakout Rooms can be populated using Blackboard groups

Many of us have wanted to set up groups before a session starts and now you can. Create group sets in Blackboard at any time then choose to use the groups in a Collaborate session using the ‘Course group set’ option.

The location of the Course group set option in the Assign Groups drop down menu.

2. Breakout Groups can be paused

There may be situations where you want to bring the students out of Breakout Groups temporarily, before you select ‘Resume’ and they can carry on with what they were doing.

The Pause and End options available to the person who started the Breakout Groups.

3. Attendees can download the files and contents of the whiteboard

I’ve been asked a few times about exporting the contents of the whiteboard, and now there is a button that allows you to export the contents of the Whiteboard or files opened through ‘Share Files’, as a PDF.

The location of the Download button used to download the contents of the whiteboard tool.

4. Attendees are informed if their browser is not supported

Up-to-date versions of the main web browsers are recommended for the best experience in Blackboard Collaborate. Now students will be advised of this when they enter, although specific browsers will be blocked from entering.

Example screen showing the 'The Browser you're using isn't supported' message.

5. Attendees can change their preferred language

Some students may find it easier to work with the Collaborate user interface in a different language to the default one on the computer they are using. This is easy to do from My Settings, then Session Settings, then Default Language.

Languages can be selected from the drop-down list accessed under Session Settings then Default Language.
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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Are you ready for Blackboard Ultra Course View!

Following the 2019 upgrade to ‘Ultra Base Navigation’ within our Blackboard environment, the institution has decided to move forwards with the transition of courses to Blackboard Ultra Course View.  It has been decided that there will be a phased approach and a number of modules, that have been identified as ‘Early Adopters’, will move to Ultra ready for September 2022.   All remaining modules will move to Ultra in Sept 2023.  

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19th May – Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

To mark GAAD, ‘Anthology and Blackboard’ is hosting a 24-hour global event called…

Banner containing the words 'Fix your content day'.

Along with other institutions Edge Hill University is excited to be taking part, following our success in the event last year, Edge Hill University was placed 3rd in Europe for the most fixes.

The event is focused on making accessible and inclusive digital learning content. The goal is to encourage staff to fix as many digital course files as possible using “Blackboard Ally”.

Make sure your content counts.

Any fix you achieve, however small, on ‘Fix Your Content Day (19th May)’, through the Ally tool will be included in the count and added to the total number of fixes made by Edge Hill University.

Remember Ally can also be used to improve WYSIWYG (text editor) content, fixes here will count too. Here’s a demonstration of using the WYSIWYG editor with Ally.

Support for participation.

Learning Services is holding a two-hour Fixathon 12-2pm (19th May), in person from the Catalyst ‘Oak Room’ and online via web conference, where you can drop in, ask questions about accessibility and bring any documents you want to work on.

Outline drawing of a group of people standing in a circle hands touching, placed to the centre of the circle.  To the left of the group is a caption that reads "May 19 Fix Your Content Day".

Are you up for the challenge?

Get involved by making improvements to your content during ‘Fix Your Content Day’. Simply click where you see the red, orange or green Ally indicators next to the content you share with your students and follow the guidance to make those positive changes.

A captioned image containing the following text "Challenge Accepted!" beneath that an hash-tag (#) followed by the "fixyourcontent".  The Blackboard Ally logo sits at the bottom of the image.

Track the Leaderboard.

When the clock strikes May 19th in the first time zone on Earth (Kiribati), the global leaderboard is launched and the competition begins.

Leveraging usage data from Blackboard Ally, the Leaderboard ranks each participating institution by their total number of files improved out of their total number of students and also tallies the total number of files improved across all Blackboard Ally users over the 24 hours.

Earlier posts may help you on your accessibility journey.

How can YOU use LinkedIn Learning?

All staff and students at Edge Hill University have access to LinkedIn Learning. It is a library of training courses that you can use to help you develop business, technology, and creative skills.

Desk set out ready for study, with a laptop, phone, notebook and pen, and a cup of coffee.

How can I get started?

There is a LinkedIn Learning page on the Edge Hill University website containing videos that will show you how to set up an account and log in. Once you are in, the How to Use LinkedIn Learning course contains lots of videos about how LinkedIn Learning works.

Can I use it for my own professional development?

Jennifer Rouse Barbeau has written about her use of LinkedIn Learning as part of planned professional development time. Jennifer suggests planning to use 20-25% of your personal development time actually watching the videos and the rest for note taking and hands on practice.

Here at Edge Hill University, Chris Nicholas, a Computer Science Research Assistant, spoke to us about using LinkedIn Learning (when it was called Lynda.com) to improve his knowledge of software development. Oladotun Omosebi, a Computer Science Doctoral Tutor, talked to us about his experiences too.

What courses do you recommend?

Last year Laura Glancey wrote a post on this blog sharing her five favourite courses. Katie McCarthy and Daniel Bresnahan have shared some course recommendations here too.

If you don’t have time to go through a whole course then the weekly tips courses might be for you, or even the new TikTok style Nano Tips courses.

How could I use LinkedIn Learning with my students?

The book ‘Applications of LinkedIn Learning in Ontario’s Post-Secondary Institutions‘, edited by Anne-Marie Taylor shares experiences from a few courses where LinkedIn Learning resources were used. We see the resources being used:

  • to “reduce the burden of creating new content” (Chapter 1)
  • to help students learn to use audio editing software that the teacher was not familiar with (Chapter 2)
  • to replace ‘click-and-follow’ demos in class which weren’t working well (Chapter 3)
  • as a framework for student-led courses. This involved identifying knowledge gaps, looking at available resources, deciding on an area of focus, and developing a curriculum and study plan based on this (Chapter 7).

In Chapter 6 ‘Exemplary Practices for Integrating LinkedIn Learning Video Assets in Online Post-Secondary Courses’, Amanda Baker Robinson advises on three stages of using the videos with students, i.e. preparation, integration and consolidation.

Finally, Xiangping Du reports that some Master’s students found LinkedIn Learning useful for the following things. Your use could take these into consideration.

  • “1. enhancing their knowledge and understanding beyond classroom delivery
  • 2. boosting their professional profile by gaining certificates attached to their LinkedIn profiles
  • 3. improving their research skills and helping with their final research project
  • 4. enhancing their employability by learning industry-relevant technical skills
  • 5. inspiring them to embark on more LiL courses for continuous professional development”
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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Iphone Apple Photo” by Freestocks.org is marked with CC0 1.0.

Caption.Ed – What Students are Saying!

Here at Edge Hill University, Learning Services offer students their own Caption.Ed account. Caption.Ed is a real-time and pre-recorded captioning tool that can be used to caption live taught sessions or recordings they produce and save to their computer.

Automatic captions can offer students a means to engage with academic content, the resulting editable captions can be improved so that recordings are meaningful to users.

It is important to note that automated captions are not entirely accurate and are not a substitute where communication support is required.

Student Volunteers

Five Student Advisors volunteered to try the new Caption.Ed app in ways that helps and supports them through their studies.

This is what our students had to say about Caption.Ed and how they are using it not only to generate captions, but also to create an editable transcript of a recording or live session, they also liked how simple Caption.Ed is to set up and use.


Callie HortonCallie Horton

Callie is in the 3rd year of her BA (Hons) History with Politics degree.  Callie used Caption.Ed during lectures to capture a transcript of what her tutor was saying.  She described to us how it enabled her to fully listen to the lecture, knowing that Caption.Ed was working in the background capturing the transcript.  “This meant I could fully listen to the content rather than desperately trying to note everything down”. 

Find out how Callie has been using Caption.Ed.


Alex EvansAlexander Evans

Alex is a third year BSc (Hons) Geography & Geology student.  Alex used Caption.Ed to add captions to YouTube videos where the auto captioning feature may have not been accurate and also for online lectures.   When asked about the benefits of the desktop and browser app his response was: “The desktop app can be used to caption any video, not just something in a specific browser which means its possibilities are endless…..The browser app is very useful due to its pure ease of access, once pinned in the top right hand side of your screen it can be used to caption anything within the browser almost instantly.”  

Find out how Alex has been using Caption.Ed


Laura GlancyLaura Glancy

Laura is studying MA English and Nineteenth-Century Studies.  Laura used Caption.Ed to provide transcripts of meetings. She found this really helpful in preparing her research notes and found the timestamps particularly beneficial.  When asked how Caption.Ed supported her studies Laura commented: “It also saves excessive notetaking, which would be handy in seminars/lectures.” 

 Find out how Laura has been using Caption.Ed


Maya GibsonMaya Gibson

Is a third year BA Hons (Film and Television Production) Student.  Maya used Caption.Ed to generate captions to add to films that she had produced in her course.  Maya loved using the browser version and commented how the software is “Very clear and easy to use with quick results.  

Find out how Maya has been using Caption.Ed


Paula GarlickPaula Garlic

Paula is studying her third year BSc (Hons) in Psychology.  Paula used Caption.Ed to transcribe interviews which was part of her dissertation.  She described to us how it really cut down her usual process of doing this and asked if she would recommend Caption.Ed to other students her response was: “Definitely, I think it is a really worthwhile tool and I will be using it in the future”. 

Find out how Paula has been using Caption.Ed

How do I get access?

To get your free account, email a request here. Our team will process your request and you will receive an invite with further instructions on how to access the software.

Further Reading: Caption.Ed for Online Learning!.