Time for Students to Lead Online?

Wall ClockStaff, and students alike have deliberated long and hard over when, where, and how they can work more collaboratively, either in taught sessions, while engaging in a group activity, or during activities that require distance participation.

Look no further, Learning Services has the right solution for you, in the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra tool.

There is greater emphasis these days on giving students the space, time and flexibility to work collaboratively, on joint projects and away from the constraints and rigidity of the conventional classroom environment.

All Learning Edge course templates include a link to Blackboard Collaborate ‘Ultra’, within the course menu (Note that Faculty or Department Administrators must add this course menu template) to merged courses.Blackboard Collaborate Logo

In earlier versions of Blackboard Collaborate, you’ll remember Tutors were given the role of Moderator; everyone else was given the Participant role. The Moderator is the person responsible for the room (usually the tutor), and is required to conduct sessions, and control Participant (usually the student) privileges and the availability of tools.

In the Ultra version, however, although the Tutor has overall control as Moderator, there are a couple of new roles the Moderator can use including; Presenter and Captioner. To encourage effective student online collaboration, we recommend setting up sessions, and applying the Presenter role for all students.

Captioner can be applied to any user. They are given an area to type what is being said, so that those with a hearing impairment can participate and join in with the conversation.

The Presenter role is designed to allow participants/students to use the whiteboard tools and present without giving them full moderator privileges.

Presenters can upload, share, edit, and stop sharing content. Presenters are able to share their screens and upload images or PowerPoint files, they cannot modify another users’ permissions the way a moderator can.  This is a useful role, as all students are given the same, high level of user access, but can’t accidentally exclude another member from the project group activity.

Guides to help you:

If you want to discuss this and other users of Collaborate further, as always contact the Learning Technology Development Team via ext.7754, ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or Ask LTD knowledge base.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Technology Supported Learning – Submission Possible with SafeAssign

Mission ImpossibleLast year the Professional Education Team started to explore current options for electronic submission at Edge Hill University.

 

Mark Sutcliffe (Senior Lecturer in Professional Education) Good Practice Awardshares his experience of SafeAssign, part of the Blackboard Assignment Submission offer, in support of the challenges faced by students with academic writing.

“Prior to using SafeAssign I had known about anti-plagiarism software for some time. However, neither myself nor my colleagues in the undergraduate team I work with had ever attempted to use it. I believe the main reason for this is that we had heard stories of the technology not being as effective as it originally was and sometimes working on an inconsistent basis. As somebody who has been eager to promote IT-related innovation within my area I have always been aware that technology can be as easily rejected as accepted, especially if the initial experience of using it is poor.

In September of 2015 the team convened to discuss ways of further enhancing the effectiveness of practice, especially in relation to supporting academic writing, which often proves the most significant challenge to students’ studies. The additional ways that technology could help us and them was considered and following on from this I liaised with learning services to discuss ideas. A suggestion made by Martin Baxter and David Callaghan was SafeAssign, a recently integrated feature within Edge Hill’s VLE, Blackboard.

Safe Assign User TypesWhat quickly became apparent during the initial demonstration of SafeAssign was how straightforward it was to set up. A few simple clicks embedded this feature as part of creating a new assignment in a course/module area. However, what makes SafeAssign so effective is the way instructors and users can use this tool to check submitted work. SafeAssign initially provides an overall percentage, representing how much of the content connects to its global database, which includes uploaded work and published material. This can potentially provide a quick indicator of how much material has been used from external sources. In addition, SafeAssign generates a report, allowing instructors (and potentially users) to see exactly where such material has been used. I left the demonstration impressed with what I had seen and eager to promote the use of SafeAssign.Safe Assign Student View

At the next team meeting SafeAssign was discussed and demonstrated to my colleagues. It was trialled with work connected to a module submission in December of 2015. It was agreed amongst the team that we encouraged students not to view this technology with negative connotations, rather it was introduced as a supportive tool for their work. This was achieved through making sure that they could utilise the technology during the drafting process and self-check for any potential issues themselves. To assist in this process (and alleviate multiple submissions for a particular module) I created an additional submission point purely for drafts of work.

SafeAssign Logo

The feedback from the implementation of SafeAssign has been very positive. Staff are enthusiastic about having a tool to hand that provides quick assistance in investigating issues with submissions, whilst students recognise SafeAssign as a tool to help scaffold the development and quality of work. Because of its success, other degree programmes are now looking to utilise SafeAssign technology. I would strongly recommend its use.”

You can see and hear Mark talking about SafeAssign and how students embraced the technology in support of their academic writing.

YouTube Video Player

If you feel inspired by Mark’s story and want to use this or another technology to help you enhance and support your own teaching, please get in touch with the Learning Technology Team in Learning Services. We would be very happy to work with you.

Mark David Sutcliffe

 

 

Mark David Sutcliffe
(Senior Lecturer in Professional Education).

Technology Supported Learning – Using Student Journals to Understand the Student Experience

Good Practice AwardThe Journals tool in Blackboard is a private space where students can post opinions, ideas and concerns. This case study, shared by Maria McCann (Widening Participation Manager), describes how the Journals tool was used within a research project, to understand the living, learning and emotional journeys of around 100 new students’ in their first term at Edge Hill University.

When the Student Journal project was envisioned, Maria and the team hoped that a tool within the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE) could be used to help document the student journey. Maria felt it sensible to use, a system already set up, open to all students on any course, something that they would be getting introduced to anyway and would continue to use throughout the lifetime of their degree programme.

To learn more about the Blackboard tools available to support student participation and feedback, Maria contacted Mark Wilcock, a Learning Technologist within the Learning Services, Learning Technology Development Team.

Maria met with Mark, explained her ideas, described what she wanted to achieve and what her key criteria were – she needed something that would allow students to record their thoughts in a single, secure place, that they could access anytime and anywhere. It was from this starting point that Mark (Learning Services) and Maria (Student Recruitment) were able to work collaboratively, to identify the most suitable tools and settings for her project.

Mark recommended a ‘Blackboard’ Organisation, which is similar to a Course area but can be used for non-credit bearing activity to house the research activity, and the Journals tool, which would provide the private online space, for students to write and submit their journals each week. The Journal tool settings were also suggested as a way to ‘release’ and ‘lock’ the weekly journals, at the same time each week, to keep the students on track.

It was decided to theme each week in a way that would be relatable to each individual student, regardless of programme studied. The themes were planned to mirror the systems, processes and services most students would experience and provided a ‘loose’ framework for students to base their journal entry on each week. Students were encouraged to think about key aspects of the theme and further guidance was given breaking down the themes into key points; however students were encouraged to think and write in depth, rather than trying to address all the points listed. Although the guidance was used widely by the students, it was not intended to be prescriptive and students were encouraged to think about what they had experienced in that particular week, their ‘journey’, rather than trying to ‘fit’ the framework. This was reiterated to the students in the briefing at the start of the project as well as emails and ‘posts’ to the organisation on Learning Edge. The benefits to providing a framework allowed quick reading and analysis for the reader.

This combination of Organisation and Journals provided the perfect platform for the research. Participants (and the researcher) had 24 hour access via their tablet, smart phone, PC or laptop, as well as providing complete anonymity (except from the reader-researcher).

Here Maria talks more about her experience whilst working on the project:

Maria McCann YouTube linkInformation about the Student Recruitment Research Activity

The Student Journey Programme is being managed by the Director of Student Recruitment and Administration aims to:

  • Provide an equitable, consistent and seamless high quality experience for all students from first enquiry through to graduation.
  • Provide services, systems and processes which are recognised as sector-leading nationally by prospective and current students and staff.

Edge Hill University Main Reception

This Journal Project sits within the wider Student Journey Programme. Its aims are:

  • To map interactions, activities and events where students engage with the university through its services, systems and processes- encompassing pre-enrolment and through the first 8 weeks of term as a first year.
  • To understand students’ emotional responses, perceptions, views and behaviours in relation to those services, systems and processes.
  • To provide a platform for students (as participants) to define what has the most impact on them and their learning experience (both ‘good’ and ‘not-so-good’ as defined by them).
  • To identify areas of good practice across the university (at different student ‘touch points’) and make recommendations for further enhancement in services being delivered to students.

Want to find out more about Blackboard’s Journal tool and Blackboard Organisations?  Contact your Faculty Learning Technology Development Officer.

Maria McCann

 

 

 

Maria McCann
(Widening Participation Manager)

 

LTD_Staff_0054 Mark Wilcock

 

 

 

Mark Wilcock
(Learning Technology Development Officer)

Blackboard Collaborate Video Case Study 3 of 3

Third and final case study in the series (part 1 and part 2)

Caroline Galon, Graduate Teaching Assistant, in Performing Arts, explains the importance of mastering any new technology and how Blackboard Collaborate provides her with the most stable and reliable platform from which to conduct her research interviews. Caroline tell us how Person looking at image of people-overlay and world map.crucial it is for her research that she has confidence using the technology, especially as her research involves meeting online with extremely busy people, experts from around the world.

On attending training and after talking to her Faculty Learning Technologist, Caroline explains why she continued using Blackboard Collaborate and how she felt it offered her the complete and robust solution she needed.  It was also important to Caroline, that the web conferencing tool used is widely supported in terms of providing best practice resources, guidance and buddy support, particularly as a first time user.

Caroline Galon - youtube playerCaroline describes her own experience of interviewing participants, all of whom are external to Edge Hill University with no previous experience of Blackboard Collaborate and the challenges she faced along the way.  She continues to compare Blackboard Collaborate with Skype, which she feels is more user friendly.

The next release of Collaborate, ‘Ultra’, is currently being evaluated by LTD with internal stakeholders and external colleagues.  It has the potential to offer significant benefits over the current version, such as ease of entry and a more attractive and intuitive interface.

Blog 3 Bb Collab Case StudyBlackboard’s release notes will tell you more about the < The Ultra Experience https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/030_Get_Started/Navigation > and < The Ultra Changes https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Administrator/030_Changes.

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate) and other technologies, your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training session, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Collaborate Case Study 2 of 3

Blog 2 Bb Collab Case Study cropLesley Briscoe, Senior Lecturer on the International Midwifery Programme.  Lesley explains in this the second in a series of three video case studies (click to view the first in the series), the challenges of delivering a programme aimed at both conventional students and those accessing the programme online and from overseas.

She goes on to mention the solutions Blackboard Collaborate provided her, the Midwifery Team and the students studying the programme, particularly those attending from all corners of the world.

Lesley’s video outlines her personal experience and the significance that technology can play to instil confidence in developing an online course that is able to deliver all that it promises.

Click the YouTube image below to hear more about Lesley’s experience…LB youtube_player

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate), your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Collaborate – Video Case Study 1 of 3

David Callaghan is a Learning Technologist and an Associate Tutor for the Faculty of Education on the Undergraduate Professional DevelopmentStudent participating in an online video conference session. Programme, a blended course – delivered mostly online – via our Blackboard VLE and the Collaborate web conferencing system, with some face to face conference days.  So, he can also practice what he preaches.

Collaborate is used by David and his colleagues for student inductions; it’s also used for tutorials giving an equivalent experience to that of distance learners. The feedback from students indicates that Collaborate has made them feel part of the University community.

David Callaghan Associate Tutor

David’s video tells us how using web conferencing can help create an equitable experience – by bringing students together online they are able to support and challenge each other and build a community of inquiry, as they would do in an on-campus classroom.

Learning Edge Blog Post – Student account:
“The experience for me was absolutely invaluable on every level and absolutely without a doubt was a contributing factor to achieving a first class honours.”

Read more in this blog post: Technologies are an “absolute lifeline” for our students!

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate), your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Ever wanted to flip your classroom, teach students across the world or just sort out a space for your own learning?

DDE_BlogDuring April, through the Digital Practitioner strand of the Developing Digital Excellence staff development programme, Learning Technology Development (LTD) are offing a range of sessions which can show you how.
For full session descriptions and to book on a session, click on the appropriate title

Flipping Content – Learn how to make Screen and Pod casts (Digital Practitioner)
Thursday, 09 April, 2015 – 12:00 – 13:00
Add variety to your course with audio and video. Learn the basics of screencasting and podcasting, and start recording your own episodes to share with your students……..

Collaborate; Find out what it is and how it could help you? (Digital Practitioner)
Thursday, 16 April, 2015 – 13:00 – 14:00
Blackboard Collaborate is a real time (live) web conferencing platform which allows the facilitation of teaching and learning, offices, conferences and meeting spaces on the web or on mobile. This rich platform is available for all Edge Hill staff and students ……..

Electronic Assessment Management – Using the right tools (Digital Practitioner)
Tuesday, 21 April, 2015 – 12:00 – 13:00
Electronic Assignment Management (EAM) refers to the tools by which a student submits work online for storage and retrieval by academic, administrative or other staff for marking, feedback or review. One of the key aims of EAM usage is to enhance the student experience………..

Collaborate; Online Teaching and Learning (Digital Practitioner)
Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 15:00 – 16:00
This online session will give you first-hand experience of being a participant on an online teaching webinar using Collaborate software. This virtual training session will give you a general overview of how a Collaborate session looks and feels. You will have the opportunity to interact in demonstrations of the essential teaching tools …… 

Collaborate; Online Personal Tutoring in a Private Virtual Office (Digital Practitioner)
Thursday, 23 April, 2015 13:00 – 14:00
This online session will give you first-hand experience of personal tutoring in a private virtual office, using Collaborate software. You will have the opportunity to interact in demonstrations of the essential tutoring tools ………

Building Your Personal Learning Environment (Digital Practitioner)
Thursday, 30 April, 2015 12:00 – 13:00
A personal learning environment is created by a learner, using the tools that they choose, to manage their learning and communicate with other learners. ……. We’ll look at tools like feed readers such as Feedly, social networking sites such as Twitter ……………

All sessions within the Developing Digital Excellence programme can be booked via the HR Staff Development booking system.
You can view our programme and plan your sessions for the next few months by using the booking system. Most sessions are either held in the G2-ICT training room, Ground floor, LINC Building or as online webinar using Collaborate.

Can’t see what you want…….?
Beyond the advertised staff development programme, Learning Technology Development (LTD) can deliver fully tailored bespoke sessions on Learning Edge (Blackboard) and other online, mobile or classroom technologies. Through discussion LTD will, in partnership with yourself, develop a session to correspond exactly to your departments’ and/or programmes’ needs and processes.

For further information on anything relating to learning technologies or to arrange a consultation for a bespoke session, please contact either your faculty’s dedicated Learning Technologist or contact our (LTD) central support on LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk / 01695  650754 x7754.

 

What Does Your Blackboard Course Look Like to Students?

The Enter Student Preview buttonAcademics sometimes want to check what students can see and do within their Blackboard Courses. One way to see a student view is to select the ‘Enter Student Preview’ button at the top right of the screen.

An alternative is to set up a student account for long term use. This can be done using the ‘Add Test Student’ tool, which is available from Course Tools in the Control Panel.

The short video below talks you through the options.

Viewing Your Blackboard Course as a Student video

Test link

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

 

Facts and Figures about Mobile Technology

Over the last 40 years, mobile technology developments have changed the way we engage with content, communicate, collaborate and learn. Device ownership has reached a critical mass globally, with CISCO (2013) reporting that by the end of this year there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on earth!

In the UK, 61% of over 16s use a smartphone (Nielson, 2013) and at Edge Hill, our 2012 annual student eLearning survey revealed comparable results – 63% use an internet enabled mobile phone and 32% use tablet devices. This increasing ubiquity of access to advanced mobile technology is important to us as educators, as we strive to leverage the benefits for teaching and learning, through improving our infrastructure, services and support. Huge advances have been made at Edge Hill in reccent years, and staff and students now have a mobile rich environment to work in. Here are some of the highlights:

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app, introduced in September 2011, has proved a real hit with our students. They tell us that easy access to announcements, lecture notes and grades is really important to them and usage data backs this up, as we can see the app is being used now more than ever – visits to Learning Edge via the app in September 2013 totalled 53,785 compared with 17,703 in the same period in 2012 – a 204% increase.

Users of Blackboard Collaborate have enjoyed taking advantage of the Collaborate Mobile app to participate in live web-conferencing sessions from their iPhone and iPads, and in May 2013 we upgraded the service to support Android and Kindle devices as well. In October 2013, an inbuilt recording conversion feature was also added, allowing instructors to easily create industry standard MP4 and MP3 formats of their session recordings for playback on mobile devices.

During the summer, the EHU Central app (also known as Edge Hill Central) was redeveloped to include a number of improvements including three fantastic new tools: computer availability, campus map and Ask Us. The new release of Edge Hill Central is available for Android users (with iOS and web app versions to follow) and early feedback has been incredibly positive. Students love that they can find a PC, find their way around campus and ask for help from wherever they are.

Students have also found the mobile-friendly library resources invaluable. As well as the mobile compatible catalogue search tool, we now have Discover More on mobile and over 80,000 downloadable eResources – from Ebrary, DawsonEra (on iOS / Android) and MyiLibrary.

In August the Turnitin for iPad app arrived allowing academic staff using iPads to access student assignments and provide feedback, with options to view originality reports, grade with rubrics, and annotate with QuickMark, highlights, bubble, inline, voice comments. Assignments can even be downloaded to enable offline working.

Students are regularly using their smartphones in EHU’s WIFI spaces (65% of respondents to the 2012 student e-Learning survey) and student enquires suggested connecting to campus WIFI had presented some challenges. As a result, Learning Services initiated a #EHUGetConnected campaign which has seen 16 roadshow events in the first term help around 2000 students access the Eduroam WiFi service and learn all about our fabulous mobile facilites!

The next #EHUGetConnected event is this Friday, 29th November, in the University Library, where we’ll be talking about using apps and eBooks. Get your questions ready, we’re looking forward to seeing you (both staff and students) there!

If you’d like to discuss how you could exploit the potential of mobile technologies in your practice, leave a comment below, contact your learning technologist or come to one of our staff development sessions.

Meg Juss, Learning Technology Development Manager

Meg Juss, Learning Technology Development Manager