Confident, Coherent and Captivating… 10 top tips for thriving in your online job!

Hello!

My name is Eleanor, I am a Digital Student Intern at Edge Hill University and within this post I will share some of the things which I do to boost my confidence in video meetings and help me to work well at home online! Grab yourself a cup of tea and your favourite snack and read on…

Get showered, do your hair, put your face on!

Working at home is great, no need to sit on public transport to get to the office, no small talk with strangers or squeezing into a tight suit on a hot day! Comfort is key, so choose something comfortable to wear for your workday- after all, the camera only picks up your top half, right? Absolutely, although physical preparation to snap yourself into a productive headspace is important too. Much as we all love them, pyjamas are not designed to wear at the office and getting dressed for the day is a brilliant way to throw yourself into a great headspace! Set an alarm to wake you up with enough time to have a shower, wash your face, tame the bed-hair and put your success face on!

Fuel yourself!

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day… But ensuring you schedule yourself time for lunch, maybe a snack and drinking water are also just as important! No-one can thrive on an empty stomach, and to perform at your very best it is so important to look after your body too- a race-car wouldn’t win the Grand Prix with an empty fuel tank!

Photograph of a breakfast table with a variety of food.

A good background keeps the focus on you!

Let’s keep you in the spotlight! Working online means colleagues, clients and anyone else within your meetings only see a tiny version of you in a box on their computer screen- this box must portray the best you! You have got your face of success ready to go, keeping your background plain and discreet keeps distractions from you at bay. Using a plain wall, bookcase or even blurring your background using your video software is a great way to achieve this and allows you to be the star of the show!

Sit up straight and you’ll do great!

Working at a desk or table can help with feeling confident on video calls too! As far as I am aware, most companies don’t hold meetings on sofas- just sitting up at an organised desk with all your resources in front of you and in a supportive chair is another trick to keep you in that workplace mindset. Not only this but sitting at a desk or table also enhances communication skills as it replicates being in an in-person environment where body language and posture is important!

Photograph of office work desk including a keyboard, writing notebook and cup of coffee.

Fancy a cuppa?

Having a drink (whether it be a cup of tea, coffee, water or a soft drink) beside me whilst on video calls is an absolute must-have! Whether it is to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the workday, something to sip on whilst listening to others, or something to clear your throat whilst you are presenting, always keep a beverage to hand. Additionally, taking a break from your laptop screen is so important to aid concentration and avoid headaches/sore eyes, something which making yourself a quick drink provides the perfect solution for!

Working hours only!

Working online from home comes with its challenges, particularly as the lines can become blurred between work and relaxation! Having a space away from work and meetings is important, try to avoid working on your bed or in your ‘relaxing’ or social space where possible. Not only will this enhance productivity, motivation and concentration when working, but your time away from work becomes as separate from your work life as possible! No need for worrying about work when you should be watching a film, spending time with family and friends, or going to sleep!

A quiet space for hearing yourself think!

One of the best ways for me to get myself into the zone and perform at my best within video calls and at work online is to work in a quiet space, away from distractions. Whether this be in a private room with the door closed, outside on a sunny day, or in a part of the house away from the centre of the hustle and bustle of everyday, having the space to think, concentrate and contribute without being interrupted is imperative!

Calm the nerves off camera…

Use the shoulder-only view of video calls to your advantage! Keep something to fiddle with out of the camera view, such as a pen or a fidget toy to calm your nerves off the lens! For me, this helps my concentration and increases confidence and focus whilst working online at home, as well as aiding clear and coherent delivery of contributions to meetings!

Preparation is key!

Scheduling, to-do lists and keeping a detailed calendar are crucial to working successfully at home- a paper calendar is great, although the Microsoft Teams calendar is fantastic at keeping all your meetings, appointments, and deadlines in one place too! Additionally, taking a couple of minutes to breathe, look over agendas and prepare yourself before video calls is a great way to feel confident and assured before you start- you’ve got this!

Photograph of a calendar.

A pen and paper never go out of fashion!

Having a notepad and pen to hand whilst on video calls and meetings is a great way to quickly note down thoughts and ideas which you may have. Handwriting ideas down can also be beneficial to refer back to, or write up on your computer to revise them, develop them, and make them more coherent afterwards! Our brains are wonderous things which (given a little care, focus and love) provide the opportunity for excellence!

I hope that these 10 Top Tips for thriving in your online job help to boost your confidence within your work and online meetings… Most importantly though, remember that the key to success is YOU! Be kind to yourself, prepare yourself and push yourself- the world is your oyster!

By Eleanor Rowell (Student Intern)

Photograph of Eleanor.

A week in the life of a Student Intern

WEEK ONE

Monday:

Day one of 12 weeks has begun. I woke up at 8am ready and raring to go (the first wake up is always the easiest). I did the usual, brush my teeth, wash my face and then a quick shower. The time is now 8:20am and I find myself stood in the mirror pondering over “what on Earth do I wear when working from home?” Anyone else have serious issues with this? I wanted a nice top so that I looked presentable on Teams but then I also felt strange getting all dressed up to literally sit in my bedroom. Not to mention the fact that it was boiling outside so this just confused the situation more. Anyway, after the first unnecessary drama of the day, I sat down at my desk, opened my laptop and mentally prepared for what was about to begin. Forty unfamiliar faces on my screen staring right back at me, it was safe to say I was thrown right into the deep end. Ignoring the nerves, I switched my webcam on and became a part of the team.

Photograph of computer with people on an online video call.

Fast forward a few hours and I am so completely content that I have made the right decision for my career and my summer. I had so many doubts about not being capable enough for the job and worries about missing out on things over the summer due to working full time. However, a few sessions in and I already felt confident that I was being trained by the most equipped and experienced members of staff and surrounded by passionate and supportive work colleagues.

After a long day of ice breakers and training sessions, I logged off ready for the next day.

Tuesday:

Today we dived right in with all things accessibility. I found out that my role throughout this internship is going to be very focused on ensuring all University documents are as accessible as they can be, for example, they include alt-text on images, headings and subheadings and are a readable font etc.

After this we met with the LTD team (which really put me at ease knowing that I will be working with such an approachable and intelligent team) and then began to discuss and work using Blackboard Ally. Having self-directed time today allowed us to actively practice using Blackboard Ally therefore giving me more confidence for the weeks ahead.

Wednesday:

Today we learnt about Panopto which was a strange experience for me. Panopto is a platform that allows lecturers to upload their lecture slides and add a voice over to them in order to create a lecture. Panopto also incorporates captions throughout the videos to ensure that the lectures become accessible for students. In order to practice we had to create our own videos and have a look at the captions that Panopto automatically creates. I really had to wrap my head around talking into a laptop and then listening to my voice back but as soon as I got comfortable with the software, I felt a lot better about the whole thing.

We also had a session today about learning moving online/blended learning. This session provided the opportunity to learn more about the transition to online learning. It was also an opportunity for the rest of the cohort to share their experiences. I found myself getting emotional during this session due to discussing the past year and how isolated it has made students feel and all the things we missed out on. But it was good to hear from others too, highlighting our shared experiences and determination to adapt to a tough year.

Thursday:

I woke up fresh and in a good mood today. We jumped into the day talking about social media and blogs which of course sparked my interest massively due to it already being something I partake in and it being something I want to engage with for the rest of my career.

The next massive highlight of the day was finally meeting my departmental contacts. This at first was nerve-wracking as it was a new person I had to familiarise myself with, but it all so quickly became such a relaxed and positive experience due to my department head being so welcoming, compassionate and just a pleasure to talk to. The meeting felt relaxed which put me at ease about the thought of the next 11 weeks.

When the day ended it was time for me to travel back to my hometown (with Mum and Dad where the food is free). The full week took its toll on me as I travelled back on the train and as soon as I arrived home I unpacked and went straight to sleep.

Friday:

The final day of week one, I cannot believe how fast it has gone! Waking up this morning alarmed me how READY I was for the weekend. Although I was tired, I was equally excited to finish the week in what I knew was going to be an interactive day.

We started the day by going into groups and creating our ‘perfect VLE’. This was such an exciting experience as I got to speak to people that I had not previously spoken too and really got the chance to be creative and confident within a group.

Photograph of steps, with the quote "All ideas grow out of other ideas".

A lot of the day was then spent practicing and reminding ourselves of all the things we had learnt in the past week in order to be completely ready for the weeks ahead and to enhance our confidence in the skills.

We ended the day by completing a reflection task in order to make ourselves aware of how much we had already learnt. This was such a rewarding task as it allowed me to acknowledge how much my confidence had grown in just a week which just made it seem like anything is possible over the space of this internship.

After logging off, in true Friday night style, I got myself ready and headed out with my friends. It felt so good to let my hair down after a long week and to celebrate absolutely smashing my first week!

Cheers to 11 more weeks of challenges, fun and learning experiences!

By Rachel Roche (Student Intern)

Photograph of Rachel Roche

All Aboard the Internship

Application Process

“The future depends on what you do today.”

Progression through life always requires change and spur of the moment decisions, there’s no way around that. The basis of this statement is what encouraged me to start on this Internship. My current degree and hopefully my future career is completely technology based, but when you focus so much on that side, on the side of technological advancement you start to lose focus on your other skills as a human, namely communication and a variety of social skills. I didn’t want to spend all summer on another internship sat behind a computer with no other real way to progress the other skills that can always be viewed as some of the most important in life.

After viewing the job description and person specification for this newly created Student Intern role, it seemed like such a pivotal opportunity for change, to be able to build upon my skills. One of the duties within the Internship was to “work collaboratively across the team with fellow students” and that seemed to be the best way for me to improve my communication skills.  Even at the time of applying to the internship the idea of being thrown into calls and meetings was daunting! But to truly create change you need to face those struggles, you have to fight off that which scares you.

The application process consisted of mainly describing yourself, your current degree, times when you’ve faced hardships and faced defeat but still prevailed, and why you want to take part in this new initiative. It was different to anything I’ve ever done before. I’ve only had one job in the past, which was purely customer based and most of the time I would be working independently. So this internship seemed like a challenge. After filling in this stage of the application, I received an invite to an interview (I think anyone who’s ever had a job can agree interviews are the scariest thing on the planet.) I had no idea what to expect and sometimes that’s the best thing, going into something with no expectations because then in a way you can face anything.

Straight after the interview I realized there was no reason for me to be scared. The interview room consisted of me and 3 members of staff and it was played out as more of a dialogue between us. For example, questions were asked regarding my experience and how I have dealt with certain situations in the past. Overall the interview, which was what I thought was going to be the scariest part of the whole thing, turned out to be the easiest. I had no idea how well I did and it was hard to judge myself.

First Week

There was then a short gap between hearing back about my application being successful and starting the Internship – it was a perfect amount of time to be prepared. I was delighted to be chosen for such an opportunity, to not only help future students and to further develop my skills, but to do so at the University I am currently studying at and to be able to see the impact of those changes.

Screenshot of congratulatory email offering the role of Student Intern.

On the first day, I joined a link to a meeting, not knowing what anyone would be like or what the environment would be like. But I was met with 40 other people in the same situation. That first day mainly consisted of getting to grips with the Internship, what a typical day would be like and what would we actually be doing in the forthcoming months.

Of course, what would the first day of any sort of job or course be like without the typical ice-breaker activities. But I must say, the activities that took place on this first day were completely different to what you might expect! It was scary being put in a smaller breakout rooms and actually having to talk for the first time on that day, but I had to remember when I was in that room that everyone there would be feeling the exact same as me!

Photograph of computer screen with  a video call taking place online.

The first activity was a “Get to know each other” kind of talk. It was so much easier to introduce myself to 3 or 4 other people than 40 other people. The other activity is what really homed in the fact that the internship would be different to anything else I might’ve chosen to apply for over this summer. It was to choose 3 celebrities, dead or alive, to have the ideal dinner party with. My group came up with: Gordon Ramsay, Shakespeare and Russell Howard. (Gordon Ramsay was the only one I was a bit hit or miss with – I would love his cooking but there was always the high chance of him throwing something at me.)

After that first day, it was like I was a completely different person, all of my worries and doubts about how the Internship would go had vanished. The rest of this week was based around building up on our current digital skills. I like to think that I understand technology, but this week really made me realize that there was so much I didn’t know! Even if the internship was just one week long I would have taken away so much! But the fact that I would still have 11 more weeks left made me excited to carry on forward! There isn’t anything I would change about this first week! All of the fellow Student Interns and staff I encountered and worked with couldn’t have been more engaging and supportive with my learning and development.

Looking Forward

At the time of writing this blog, I’m currently at the end of the second week. As of now I’ve been allocated to the department I’m going to be working with for the rest of the Internship and it definitely feels different from the first week. I’ve gone from working with 40 people to working with 2 others. I’ve been placed in the Faculty of Health and Social Care under the Nurse Education and Midwifery department. I’m super excited to be working through the rest of the Internship and to see how my digital skills and interpersonal skills develop.

I would suggest to anyone wondering what to do in the future, to find what resonates with them. No decision you make is going to be final! I would urge others to look for new and exciting opportunities that may feel at first different and challenging –  apply for new jobs, apply for internships and just do what makes you happy in life and what’s going to help you turn into the person you want to be.

Signing off,

Liam Boyd (Student Intern)

Photograph of Liam Boyd.

Ally, what’s in it for your students?

Since 2018, Blackboard Ally has provided clear feedback and guidance about improving the content you create. At Edge Hill University, we all know the benefits for staff, but what’s in it for students?

Here are three students who have taken time to tell us, in these short videos, what Ally means to them and their peers.

Callie

Three inline Ally Branded Circles right to left Ally log then figures standing followed by 'For Students' text.
Click on image to hear from Callie.

Second-year student studying History with Politics.

Darren

Three inline Ally Branded Circles right to left Ally log then figures standing followed by 'For Students' text.
Click on image to hear from Darren.

First-year student studying Teaching, Learning and Child Development.

Maya

Three inline Ally Branded Circles right to left Ally log then figures standing followed by 'For Students' text.
Click on image to hear from Maya.

Second-year student studying Film and Television Production.






There’s never been a better time to get on board with the University’s ‘Build Accessible’ initiative, aimed at supporting staff to create accessible content from the outset.

Join us on Fix Your Content and Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Thursday 20th May.

For more information about this and our plans for the day, read our blog post:
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

Three inline adverts, right to left 'Fix your content day, Global accessibility day' and Learning Technology Development.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

On Thursday 20th May 2021 it is the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access, inclusion and accessibility.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day graphic of brightly coloured nondescript line drawings of people.

Did you know that 1 billion people Worldwide have disabilities. Some common disabilities and impairments include visual, hearing, motor and cognitive. The goal of Global Accessibility Awareness Day is to shine a light on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web. Someone with a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities. 

Source: https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/

Alongside our ongoing ‘Build Accessible’ campaign, we are excited to to support GAAD and we will also be taking part in the Global ‘Fix Your Content Day 2021 – Blackboard Ally’. 

Fix Your Content Day Graphic.

This 24-hour competition (taking place on Thursday 20th May 2021) is committed to creating accessible and more inclusive digital learning content across institutions globally. The objective of the day is simple, make as many ‘fixes’ as possible to your Blackboard course files through using Blackboard Ally. During the day Blackboard will track the activity of participating Universities and award a champion at the end of the day!

It would be great if lots of staff could engage with this competition, even just making a couple of fixes to your files would help push our accessibility score up and get Edge Hill on the leader board.

To support staff with accessibility and GAAD why not attend our ‘Build Accessible’ drop-in session taking place on the day? Learn top tips on how to make your content more accessible and get support with any accessibility queries. Further details about the drop-in session can be found on the Getting Digital Ready wiki page.

Resources

This short video (1:06) provides an overview of accessibility scores: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik_-ECvVWYs

For additional support with accessibility, visit our bespoke Accessibility wiki pages: https://go.edgehill.ac.uk/display/ls/Accessibility

Read our latest blog posts:

You can also tweet your accessibility good deeds throughout the day by using the hashtags #GAAD and #FixYourContentDay. Tag us @LTDatEHU

For more information or support please contact the LTD Team via email at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk

Blackboard Collaborate – Introducing Gallery View

A new feature is now available to use as a Moderator in your online lecture and seminar sessions in Blackboard Collaborate – Gallery View.

What is Gallery View?

Similar to other video conferencing platforms, Gallery View will allow Moderators to see up to 25 camera feeds from session attendees on their screen, allowing them to see individual attendee reactions and improving the overall teaching and learning experience when delivering via Collaborate.

What’s more, Gallery View includes the option to change to two additional viewing modes – ‘Speaker View’ and ‘Tiled View’ – which will follow the active speaker and will make their camera feed the main video that is on-screen – Ideal for presentation and discussion-based scenarios.

Each of the the new viewing modes are selectable on the top right-hand corner of your Collaborate screen:

This picture shows the new Gallery View mode in Blackboard Collaborate. There are 20 individual cameras on the screen, and a green arrow is pointing to where the setting can be found on screen to switch between Gallery View, Speaker View and Tiled View.
Gallery View in Blackboard Collaborate.

New Control Features

Gallery View also includes some additional controls that will allow you to configure the overall view on your own screen and to moderate your session whilst using the Gallery View mode.

Your attendees are listed in alphabetical order and their camera feeds can be zoomed in upon to allow for less cameras to be on-screen and for any displayed cameras to be in a larger size.

If you would like for particular attendees in your session to appear first then Gallery View now has the function for any individual’s camera to be pinned so that they appear at the top of your attendee list. You can pin more than one person at a time and their camera order will appear in the order that you pin them in.

To pin an attendee, simply click on the attendee control icon on their camera feed and select ‘Pin Video’:

To view any cameras that are not currently on display, you can navigate between ‘pages’ of your session using the left and right-arrow icons on either side of the session screen.

These controls are highlighted below:

Lastly, you’re able to moderate your session by clicking on individual attendees and selecting the option to either send them a private message, change their role in the session or remove the person from the session:

Please note: To use Gallery View, you must use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium) as your web browser. At this time, Gallery view isn’t available in Safari® on iOS or iPadOS.

Sharing Content

Whilst in Gallery View, you are also able to switch the focus to any content that you would like to share, such as a PowerPoint Presentation or screen-sharing, and return to the Gallery View mode once you have stopped sharing.

Disabling Gallery View

By default, Gallery View is enabled for all attendees in the session to use.

You can make Gallery View available to Moderators only or disable the function altogether by selecting the Settings ‘Cog’ in the Collaborate Panel, followed by ‘Session Settings’.

In the ‘Session Settings’ window, you have the option to make Gallery View available for either all attendees, Moderators only or for Gallery View to be disabled altogether.

Overview Video

Want to see Gallery View in action? See this short introduction from Blackboard, below.

Blackboard Collaborate – Gallery View Help Pages

Blackboard Ally Course Accessibility Report

One of the beneficial features of Blackboard Ally is the Course Accessibly Report.  For each module it shows:

  • Overall course accessibly score.
  • List of issues that have been identified in the course.
  • Distribution of course content by type.

The accessibility report organises content into options such as “Content that’s easiest to fix” and “Content with most severe issues”.

Accessing the Course Accessibility Report

To access the report, go to Course Tools – Accessibility Report. 

Course Management menu from within a module.
Course Management menu from within a module.

You can then click on the ‘Start’ buttons to begin improving the accessibility of your content. 

Ally Accessibility Report showing how the report displays an overview of the accessibility of content.
Ally Accessibility Report

Accessibility Scores

Blackboard Ally measures the accessibility of your course content and displays an accessibility indicator showing how it scores. The higher the score the fewer the issues.

Low (Red, 0-33%): Needs help! There are severe accessibility issues.

Medium (Amber, 34-66%): A little better. The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement.

High (Light Green, 67-99%): Almost there. The file is accessible, but more improvements are possible.

Perfect (Dark Green, 100%): Perfect! Ally didn’t identify any accessibility issues, but further improvements may still be possible.

Blackboard Ally Indicators, Red, Amber, Light Green, Dark Green.
Blackboard Ally Indicators

Instructor Feedback Panel

Content with the easiest issues to fix can often be done so directly from the Instructor Feedback Panel for example adding Alt text to images, this is a quick way to improve the accessibility of a document.

Other documents require you to download the document, fix any issues & then upload the improved version, you can do this all from within the Instructor Feedback Panel. 

In the example below, the first step would be to click ‘All issues’.  Ally lists the issues within the document and provides instructions on how to fix them.  From within the guidance you can choose to download the document and once the issues are fixed reupload your improved file.  This automatically replaces the existing inaccessible file and updates the Accessibility Score.

Ally Instructor Feedback Panel showing what the interface looks like.
Instructor feedback panel.

To learn more about how to build accessible content we have created a whole section on our Accessibility pages.

We have also scheduled lots of new sessions to support you with this:

Build Accessible: Making Documents Accessible

Build Accessible: Importance of accessible formats and accessibility software (Blackboard Ally)

Further details and how to book can be found on our Getting Digital Ready pages.

Getting Digital Ready – March’s staff development offer

This month we have a range of bookable staff development sessions on offer, from getting started with Learning Edge to implementing breakout rooms successfully.

Spotlighted sessions

Making “Groupwork” Work: Facilitating effective groupwork online

Making “Groupwork” Work: 
Facilitating effective groupwork online

This session will explore techniques, tips and strategies to effectively facilitate groupwork online, with a specific focus on integrating breakout rooms in Blackboard Collaborate and utilising tools such as the whiteboard, Padlet, Vevox and more. Not only will we consider how to set up/use breakout rooms effectively, but how we can use them with a purpose, for example, to work intensely on focused tasks, establish closer connections via discussion/activities and build momentum for discussion back in the main room.

Monday 15th March (12pm-1:30pm)
Thursday 15th April (1pm-2:30pm)

Email digitech@edgehill.ac.uk to book on.

Build Accessible

Build Accessible

Build Accessible: Making Documents Accessible
– Wednesday 17th March (1pm-2pm)
– Thursday 22nd April (12pm-1pm)
– Wednesday 2nd June (1pm-2pm)

Build Accessible: Importance of accessible formats and accessibility software (Blackboard Ally)
– Friday 19th March (12pm-12:30pm)
– Friday 9th April (12pm-12:30pm)
– Friday 7th May (12pm-12:30pm)

Email digitech@edgehill.ac.uk to book on.

Take a look at March’s bookable staff development sessions below. Please email digitech@edgehill.ac.uk to book on.

Thursday 4th March (12pm-1pm)
OneDrive: Making online collaboration and sharing easy

Thursday 4th March  (1pm-1:30pm)
Using the Blackboard Journal and Blog Tools

Thursday 11th March (12pm-1pm)
PowerPoint’s Zoom feature for Assessments, Poster Presentations and Interaction

Monday 15th March (12pm-1:30pm)
Making “Groupwork” Work: Facilitating effective groupwork online

Wednesday 17th March (1pm-2pm)
Build Accessible: Making Documents Accessible

Thursday 18th March (12pm-1pm)
Introduction to Learning Edge for Staff

Thursday 18th March (12:30pm-1:30pm)
OBS (Open Broadcast Studio): Adding new possibilities to your presentations

Friday 19th March (11am-12pm)
Microsoft Teams (Part 2)

Friday 19th March (12pm-12:30pm)
Build Accessible: Importance of accessible formats and accessibility software (Blackboard Ally)

Tuesday 23rd March (12pm-1pm)
Setting up Turnitin Submission Dropboxes 

Thursday 25th March (12pm-1pm)
Blackboard Collaborate

Tuesday 30th March (2pm-3pm)
Using Padlet to Facilitate Discussion and Interaction with Students

Wednesday 31st March (1pm-2pm)
Are we YouTubers?: Using Flipgrid and Microsoft Stream as video-blogging tools for students

To find out more information visit Getting Digital Ready for the session blurbs. To book onto any of the above sessions email digitech@edgehill.ac.uk.

Pre-recorded Sessions

If you can not attend a live session or want to work through a session at your own pace, we have pre-recorded a range of sessions. These pre-recorded sessions can be found on LTDs Training and Consultation page – https://go.edgehill.ac.uk/display/ls/Training+and+Consultation

Training and Consultation

LinkedIn Learning

Another valuable online resource for staff development is LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform which contains a wide variety of courses on topics including business, management, design, photography, IT, marketing, media and much more.

As part of the My Staff Development offer, within each of the pathways you will find a range of LinkedIn Learning courses we have recommended. These pathways have further been divided into Build, Develop and Enhance.

Screenshot of the LinkedIn Learning courses available underneath the 'Resources' section. Shows three pathways - build, develop and enhance.
Screenshot of the LinkedIn Learning courses available underneath the ‘Resources’ section.

You can access LinkedIn Learning via the LinkedIn Learning home page or using the LinkedIn Learning iOS app or Android app.

Online Staff Development Toolkits

We understand the importance of moving teaching and learning online, so in response to staff needs and seeking to enhance digital skills, we have developed online toolkits.

These toolkits aim to develop your digital skills and provide a greater awareness of the resources, services and support available to you. 

View the toolkits by clicking on the image below. 

Online Staff Development

For more information about staff development opportunities, visit the Getting Digital Ready wiki page, which is part of the collaborative My Staff Development offer.

My Staff Development (Programme 2020/21) Logo

Attendance Scheduling with Qwickly Attendance

Qwickly Attendance icon

Today, we’re excited to announce that Qwickly attendance session scheduling is now available within all Blackboard courses. This feature has been a widely requested among staff here at Edge Hill University, and now all users have the ability to bulk create scheduled attendance sessions into their online register schedule.

Typically, staff create an attendance session within the moment that they take attendance for a session. This new feature enables staff to schedule attendance sessions for an entire semester before classes start, providing staff and students with:

  • A clear roadmap of all sessions throughout the semester
  • Assistance to all staff in identifying sessions where attendance may have been forgotten
  • The ability for instructors to mark a student excused far in advance, providing clear insight for other staff members of any known absence.

To schedule an Attendance session, staff must go to the bottom of the Attendance setting menu within Qwickly Attendance. Here they can input the start and end date for their courses (or the first and last date of the semester), as well as the days of the week when they meet. Once an Attendance session has been scheduled, it will appear in the Attendance Record and will be immediately available for an instructor to use to track attendance. For further insight please view the video link below, or head over to the Qwickly Section on the Learning Services Wiki.

If you would like any further information about Qwickly Attendance or other learning technologies, please contact your Learning Technologist via Ask LTD

wordpresspenpic

Mark Wilcock
Learning Technologist

Build Accessible-Student Use of Alternative Formats

In Jan 2019 EHU acquired a new technology called Blackboard Ally to help improve the accessibility of content within Blackboard, in line with UK legislation.   

Ally not only provides staff with an accessibility score and guidance on files uploaded to Blackboard but also provides the files in alternative formats. 

Alternative formats provide greater opportunities for everyone to access the information they need in the way they need or want it. With alternative formats all students can meet the same learning objectives using resources that are built to target the needs of the individual student.  For example, students have converted lecture slides to audio, listening to them during their commute and to help them revise.   

In the past the advice was to upload your materials to Blackboard as PDF’s to aid viewing on mobile devices. Since then, technology has moved on and advice has changed.  It is easier and quicker to upload an accessible document in its original format, such as a Word document or PowerPoint. In its orginal format, students can then choose to download a version of the document that’s right for their own learning style through Ally Alternative formats. 

We are often asked if students are using this feature? Yes they are!  

Our students are now accessing the resources that you upload to Blackboard in a variety of formats, between Sept 2020-Jan 2021 there has been a total of 19,600 downloads across 1,952 courses.

A chart showing the distribution by alternative format type between sept 20 and Jan 21.
Distribution by Alternative Format type Sept 20-Jan21

The two most popular alternative formats that students have accessed is ePub and Tagged PDF:

Ally alternative formats are automatically generated from the original source document and this is why it is so important (as well as a legal requirement) to make the content you upload accessible.  See our wiki pages for help & support with creating accessible content. 

We have also scheduled a range of sessions that focus on accessibility:

Build Accessible: Making Documents Accessible
– Wednesday 17th March (1pm-2pm)
– Thursday 22nd April (12pm-1pm)
– Wednesday 2nd June (1pm-2pm)

Build Accessible: Importance of accessible formats and accessibility software (Blackboard Ally)
– Friday 19th March (12pm-12:30pm)
– Friday 9th April (12pm-12:30pm)
– Friday 7th May (12pm-12:30pm)

Email digitech@edgehill.ac.uk to book on.

Build Accessible