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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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”.
“Members can login to TRILT with their institutional login and make an enquiry about a historical BBC broadcast by emailing the TRILT URL to the services team: [email protected]“
Two: Make Clips from Sections of Broadcasts using BoB
Three: Request Copies of Broadcasts as an MP4, MP3, or on DVD
As an example we’ve had requests for an MP4 version of a sports event so it could be analysed with software.
Four: Create Playlists of Videos Using BoB
Five: Get Notifications of Upcoming Broadcasts
Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching (TRILT) allows you to request email alerts for forthcoming programmes up to 10 days in advance of their broadcast. This helps ensure that you don’t miss the chance to record useful programmes.
To set an alert up, go to TRILT, click on ‘Sign in’ at the top right of the screen, and log in as you would to BoB.
Choose ‘Auto Alerts’ from the menu on the left hand side.
On the Auto Alerts page you can use the ‘set up your email address’ to set your preferences for the computing device you are on now. You can then save Auto Alerts which will be emailed to you on a selected day of the week.
If the programme is broadcast on one of the channels that BoB records, you can then make a note to log in to BoB to search for it and request that it is saved.
Six: Access films you were struggling to get hold of
While the TV broadcasts are sometimes edited, it may be your only free (legal) option. I’m tempted to say that it’s one of the few places where you can see a pre-special edition version of Star Wars, but the quality is too poor for you to get your hopes up. I can honestly claim that you’ll be getting the experience I got when watching it for the first time as a kid.
The group tool in Blackboard has been around for a while but did you know it can be used for more than just giving students access to group tools? Groups can also help you control access to content items and make lots of admin tasks so much quicker too!
Below we have picked out the top 5 reasons why you will find Groups a useful tool…
1. Student Collaboration
Groups allow students to collaborate using various features and tools within Blackboard, such as discussion boards, journals and Blackboard Collaborate. Think of a group as a room which you populate with various tools and only the members of that group have access to these tools.
To do this, simply create your groups and choose which tools you would like them to access. For example, you might want different groups of students to work together on different topics in their own Discussion Board. Only the members of the group and the instructor can view the content so it’s safe and private for them.
2. Using groups with Blackboard Collaborate for Break Out Rooms
You can now use Groups created in your course or module to auto-create groups for breakout rooms in Collaborate, which will save you time when in the flow of teaching.
Students can stay in their same groups without any extra work for the tutor or facilitator however there is also flexibility for the tutor to adjust groups as needed during the session without altering the groups in Blackboard.
When you start a breakout group (Open the Share panel and select Breakout Groups), go to the Assign Groups menu and select Course Group Set. Choose the set of groups you want to use and start the breakout.
N.B. You can only use group sets (not standalone groups).
3.Using with Tests & Adaptive Release for Content
Tests are often time and date limited. Groups are an easy way to give certain students a different set of constraints to the rest of the class. For example if a number of students have special dispensation for an extra 25% time, putting these students into a group saves you having to manually enter them one-by-one every time you create a Test.
In this scenario, once you have created your group & created and deployed your Test, follow the steps below:
Find the Test and use the chevron to open the Context menu.
Select Edit the Test Options.
On the Test Options page, scroll down to the area labelled Test Availability Exemptions and click Add User or Group.
On the Add User or Group page put a checkmark next the group you want to apply and click submit in the bottom right hand corner.
You can also use Groups with Adaptive Release to control how content is released to Students. Simply click on the grey chevron next to an item title and select Adaptive Release (or Adaptive Release Advanced).
In Adaptive Release, scroll down to Membership and select the groups you want to view the content. Once a Membership criterion is created only those specified will be ale to view the content.
4. Self-Signup for picking a topic
You may be running several sessions and want students to pick a topic or session time to attend. You can manage this by creating self-signup groups where students add themselves to a group rather than being allocated. This might be a group set or single groups depending on the situation. Students get to make their own choice and you can limit the maximum number of students selecting each group. Note, you can tweak the groups if you need to move students around!
You can use ‘Smart Views’ to help filter the Grade Centre screen to only see certain students or groups of students.
Create the Smart Views whilst creating the group or at any other time by following the below instructions:
How to Create a Smart View
From your course Control Panel expand the Users and Groups section and click on Groups.
You are presented with a list of the groups set up on your course.
Place ticks in the tick boxes beside any groups for which you wish to create Smart Views.
Hover your mouse pointer over the Bulk Actions button and choose Create Smart View for Group.
Once a Smart View is set up you can apply it to the Grade Centre.
Using Smart Views to Filter the Grade Centre
From your course Control Panel open the Grade Centre
Select Manage – Smart Views.
You will be presented with a list of any existing Smart Views. From here you can edit, copy, delete or favourite a smart view (‘Favourite’ smart views will appear as short cuts within the Grade Centre menu under Control Panel).
To create a new smart view, click Create Smart View.
Enter a name and description. If you tick ‘Add as Favourite’ it will appear with the Control Panel for easy access.
For the purpose of this exercise select Course Group – this will show selected groups that have been set up in your course.
Select which data should be shown in the view by selecting Filter Results from the down menu.
Click on Submit to finish.
You only need to do the above once. Now that the Smart View is created you can view it from the Grade Centre by clicking on the Filter button.
**Do not set a custom Smart View to be the default view – if a student drops out of the course the view will become inaccessible and you will locked out of the Grade Centre.
Caption.Ed is a real-time automatic captioning tool for live online events, recorded media and operates cross-platforms. Caption.Ed works on your desktop (Windows and Mac) and in your browser.
Why do I need Caption.Ed?
Captions are useful for everyone, to aid understanding, help you retain focus and might help if you’re accessing video content in noisy environments.
Learning Services has invested in Caption.Ed so that students can have a free account.
What makes Caption.Ed standout from similar services?
Ease of use, it works within your browser, improved accuracy, select specific dictionaries such as Social Sciences and Law, Health and Life Sciences, change how your captions appear to you by choosing a suitable text size and theme.
Situations Caption.Ed can be used, In including live teaching sessions on Blackboard Collaborate, YouTube and when videos have no captions, where captions are available but they’re inaccurate and for reviewing a video on a module in Blackboard.
Caption.Ed also produces a transcript you can download and edit to support your own note-taking strategy.
Living a meat-less, animal product free life certainly is not something which appeals to everyone, but it is a choice I made just over a year ago and have committed to ever since. My name is Eleanor, I am a student at Edge Hill University, and I am vegan! My experience has been an adventure and I have learned a lot on the way, so I thought it might be nice to share some of the things I have discovered with you…
Firstly, veganism is not about eating grass and lettuce! Huge shoutout to all the fast-food companies who have given us a vegan burger on their menu, supermarkets for their lovely meat-free aisles and Insta-inspiration for boosting my brain with recipe ideas too. Not only this, but also the ‘accidentally vegan snacks’ that I have stumbled across, I would be lying if I said these weren’t a lifesaver. I said I would share my findings with you so here are one or two animal-free snacks you can enjoy:
Prawn Cocktail Skips
Most Ready Salted Crisps
Sweet treats and salty snacks are always enticing, but fruit and veggies are also perfect to reach for if you’re after something tasty, nutritious, and naturally plant based. Frozen grapes are a brilliant sweet snack, carrots/cucumber to dip into a pot of hummus are perfect for sharing and an apple is a great go-to for on the go fuel!
‘What about protein?’ I hear you ask… Well, loads of veggies and pulses are packed with the protein our bodies need to thrive; beans, chickpeas, lentils, and nuts are just a few examples. Also, other nutrients can be sourced from animal-free foods too- such as potassium from bananas, vitamins A, B and K in spinach, and iron in tofu!
So, there is a couple of perks of a vegan diet for you, but what about the wider impact? According to research, if everyone in the UK were to swap out one meaty meal to meatless each week, our nation’s Greenhouse Emissions would reduce by 8%… that is the same as removing 16 million cars off the road. Seems silly not to, eh!? I am not writing this post to try and convince everyone to be a strict vegan, more so to try a meat-less filling in their sandwiches or switching their bangers and mash to veggie sausages every once in a while! Speaking of sausages, here is some scrumptious vegan BBQ suggestions to enjoy this summer…
Beyond Meat™ burger
Morrison’s ‘Hot ‘n’ Spicy No-Prawns’
Marinated tofu… (yes, tofu can be so good!)
Also, if you don’t fancy your BBQ to be entirely plant based, why not pop some halloumi on your kebabs, or have a Linda McCartney mozzarella ¼ pounder in place of a beanburger!
For now I feel that’s enough of the animal-free replacements and suggestions, so let me tell you a little more about my experience as a vegan and where I am with it at the moment… Firstly, I am not perfect by any stretch! Accidentally eating something not wholly vegan is part of the trial and error of discovering a plant-based diet, milk powder and a bit of egg in the small print can be deceitful. At first, I worried, but then I soon came to realise that feeling guilty about trying your best helps no one, be kind to yourself and just give it your best shot. Also, veganism has boosted my confidence in trying new foods, being more adventurous with recipes and learning what I like! Not only this but getting a little more confident in the kitchen has refined my knowledge of what feels good going into my body and what foods will give me the nutrients I can feel that my body craves.
Most importantly for me, veganism has energised me. In the physical sense undoubtedly, but also in the way that I navigate through life with a consciousness of how my actions may impact others. Just knowing that small changes I have made can make such a big impact are comforting and invigorate my passion to care for this world, and the organisms which live upon it. And with that I urge you, make a small change and give a plant-based swap a go… you never know, you might like it!
Now that we have come to the end of this chatty exploration of veganism, I thought some of you may be keen on a deeper insight into the plant-based world. On the Box of Broadcasts platform through Edge Hill University, there are countless short programmes and documentaries about veganism and making small changes to your diet for the greater good! Simply type in ‘Edge Hill University Box of Broadcasts’ into your browser and log in with your institution details, my personal favourites are:
Jermaine Jenas: Football Going Vegan
Hayley goes… Vegan
Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, with Ellie Goulding
So, sit down, tuck into a Jammie Dodger or two and enjoy!
Here we go! Another week as a full-time worker. I am absolutely loving my experience so far and I feel SO fancy when people ask me what I do for work and I reply, “I am a Digital Student Intern at Edge Hill University”.
I started off the week in a meeting with my departmental heads and my colleague -it’s always so refreshing to catch up with them as it makes me feel so much more connected. Working from home has the potential to be really isolating but my colleagues have been here for me throughout and it really has been a connected experience thus far.
I then spent the next few hours completing one of my modules and making sure it was at the highest accessibility possible. This module included quite a few PDFs, this was a challenge but also became a massive learning curve and helped me become a lot more confident working with PDFs and Adobe Acrobat. Finally finishing a whole module felt really rewarding and I was so pleased with the progress I have made so far – looking forward to completing many more!
To finish off my day I decided to go to LinkedIn Learning and complete some more courses surrounding PDFs to really ensure that I was understanding of how to make them accessible and confident going forward within the internship. Then, I of course wrote this blog entry… Monday… completed.
Tuesday is always my most difficult wake up, I think it’s because the weekend is finally catching up with me. Aware of this, I woke up slightly earlier to give myself time to have a shower and really refresh myself ready for a new day I began by finishing off the LinkedIn Learning courses that I started the day before.
Later, I attended my weekly catchup meeting with other colleagues working for the Faculty of Arts and Science and the managers of the internship. I really enjoy these meetings as it gives me an insight into what people from other departments are getting up to and it allows us to express any concerns and get common questions and queries answered. It’s also just lovely to see familiar faces and be reassured that I do have a wide network of people to assist me if anything doesn’t go as planned.
After this I received a notification saying that one of the modules had content in for me to work on, so I started on that. I decided to make a start on PowerPoints and Word Documents first as it was already the afternoon and I knew I would accomplish more in the day if I focused on these to begin with. It feels SO good getting a lot done in a day and watching the accessibility score gradually rise as you go on.
I did encounter a few problems as the day went on which was slightly frustrating, however, I reported the problems to the correct people and the issues were quickly resolved and/or being investigated. I finished the day off writing this blog and feeling very accomplished with the amount of progress I have made today. Nothing feels better than a productive day!
The middle of the week is here already! This internship is going so fast I can’t believe it, I’ll be back at University before I know it.
I started the day off in a meeting with my departmental heads and colleague, we worked together to resolve the problems that we had the day before and discuss the right methods moving forward.
I then began working on the reading list for my module, ensuring that all scanned documents were deleted and replaced with a digital copy and added to the reading list. This made the accessibility score go much higher on my module as it involved a lot of scanned pdfs.
After this I continued working on PDFs, this took a while as a lot of the PDFs had several pages and I had to tag each document from scratch. It is so rewarding at the end of the day when I look back over my accessibility spreadsheet and see how much I have completed and how much the module has improved.
ONE MORE DAY TILL FRIDAY!
Today has been a very long day, I have been working on a 111-page PDF all day in attempts to make it 100% accessible. Alongside this my sister went into labour so my Mum and I have been attempting to work and look after my 7-year-old niece and 2-year-old nephew at the same time. (I can’t begin to tell you how much I can sympathise with all parents who have had to work at home with their children over the pandemic.) For the most part they were wonderful, and I still managed to have a productive day, but it was not without its challenges!
Whilst working on some more challenging PDFs I decided it was best to have a call with my colleague to talk things over and work out a better solution. It was great to talk to each other about it and assist each other with the process. It really makes the internship so much easier knowing I have a team I can rely on and that we will always be there for each other.
T.G.I.F! We have made it another week working full time with only a small amount of complications!
Not going to lie to you, today was a very stressful day for me, my final degree classification was being released at 11am and I was on edge for most of the morning. I took the executive decision to start the day with a Linkedin Learning course and then complete my weekly refection and look over this week’s blog entries. When my result finally came out, I was so pleased and proud of myself, but I also felt incredibly overwhelmed that the undergraduate chapter of my life is actually over – time to grow up!
After taking in my results I continued working on making my module accessible. I focused a lot on PowerPoints and Word Documents today which took a while but was relatively straight forward to do. I then wrote my blog entry for today and checked over my calendar for next week. Going through this internship I have realised that it is important to check what meetings I have the following week to ensure before I log off on a Friday evening, I am completely ready and prepared.
It has been an absolutely fantastic week, I have completed another module, been continuously connected with my team, completed several LinkedIn Learning courses, welcomed a new nephew into the world and truly grown as a person – each week I become more and more grateful for this opportunity. Now… let’s do it all again!
I think we’ve all at some point been bombarded with the multitude of self-care tips that have gone viral on social media. Especially on spaces like Instagram, Pinterest etc. we see self-care and self-love has become a big topic in online communities and sharing our tips and tricks with one another. Yet on some levels, I think the basics of self-care can be put aside, and it has at times become more of an aesthetic thing to do. Instead of when looking at the basics, it might feel like a bit of a chore! One of the biggest tips that I find people forget, to focus on distraction or escapism is just processing. We all have stress and with the bustle of modern life, we’re often encouraged to push aside them to deal with work and our other commitments. This doesn’t help anyone! When we don’t allow our brain time to process and confront our emotions, we get to a point where we are keeping the pressure in until we inevitably explode.
So great, processing emotions. How do we do that exactly? It’s the fact we need to stop ourselves from instantly distracting ourselves, although at times it can be helpful. We need to give ourselves the time (it doesn’t need to be instant). After a hard day at work, give yourself a set amount of time to sit there and process. This can be in any way! The beauty of emotions is that everyone expresses and processes them differently. So, spend that hour crying, yelling, journaling, letting your mind spiral. Any way you see fit, and let your mind go through these processes.
If you prefer, you can split this time into two. As there are two types of problems, practical and hypothetical. A practical worry is something that can be solved or dealt with. So, in the time you set aside for yourself, use it as time to go through these problems and solve them or set out a plan to. If you do things this way, it will allow you to put to rest anything nagging you in the back of your head. Which happens a lot, in our busy lives!
Hypothetical worries are the trickier ones, these are the fears that creep in when we least expect. We worry, get angry or upset over the infinite possibilities and it can get in the way of our focusing. The way we deal with these is by giving our minds the time to run wild. Let your mind jump from one thing to the next, let the anger come to the surface. By letting your mind process and confront all different types of issues that are causing you distress, it’ll help you feel calmer and get the weights off your chest.
I think another important strategy is to stop looking at emotions like sadness and stress as negative emotions. As much as it is unpleasant to experience them, these types of emotions are our body’s way of telling us that things are getting too much. It’s the warning sign that we need to take time for a break. So, I’d say to approach them less as negative and more as alerts to give yourself some time.
All of this is a lot easier said than done. But it is one focus that can really change your perspective on emotions as a whole and you can grow to understand yourself as a person more. All of this knowledge will make dealing with emotions in a work environment specifically so much easier.