Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 23.03.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time tomorrow to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.

Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 05.03.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time on Monday to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.

Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 23.02.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time tomorrow to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.

LTD’s Good Practice Guides

Over 30 years of combined experience working with academic and administrative staff have been distilled into the many Learning Technology guides and other resources that now reside in the Learning Services Wiki.  These guides are aimed at saving you time and enhancing the student experience – ensuring a consistent quality and making your courses more engaging.  The wiki uses calendars accessed via the Administration and Building & Teaching tabs that detail what you may be working on at the various parts of the course lifecycle.

Here are three that have had the most impact on the staff and student experience:

Learning Edge: Good Practice in Building and Teaching your Course

This document contains some suggestions on how to enhance the educational value of your course, based on existing good practice and feedback from our Student eLearning Surveys.

 

 

Quick guide: Enrolling Staff from within a Course

Did you know that you can enroll colleagues as instructors into any course that you are an instructor on?  This single sheet guide shows you how this is done.

Quick Guide: Diagnosing Student Access Issues

This guide looks at some of the common problems that students may report when trying to access Learning Edge for the first time (or as a returning student).

 

The three documents above form part of a wealth of guides and resources accessed via calendars of activities.  We invite you to spend a few minutes browsing these calendars (from the Administration and Building & Teaching tabs), perhaps looking at the entries for this time of year – all focusing on enhancing the student experience.

David Callaghan
Learning Technologist
Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

 


 

 

Top tips for Learning Edge Part 2

It’s been over two months since Carol’s ‘Top tips for Learning Edge’ post back in 2011, since then more and more support centred answers have been assembled from the user queries and feedback we’ve received.  There’s something for everyone in this collection to enhance ‘your’ experience on Learning Edge – ranging from areas such as Course Management, Groups and Content.

Course Management Tips

1. I have a lot of files to upload into my module area, how much file space is acceptable within my module area?
No need to panic, the allocation of file space for each module will be monitored by LTD in the near future. In the meantime, to ensure an acceptable standard – it is best practice to utilise the tools and building blocks available to minimize any bulky file uploads. A good place to start is to embed any content through eShare or any of the multimedia (YouTube, Flickr) mash up tools within Learning Edge.

2. I can‘t see my module(s) when I login?
To access a module in Learning Edge, you need to be enrolled with the required user rights from within the area. Ask your department administrator to enrol you.

3. As module lead, can I enrol fellow tutors to my module?
Of course, tutors can enrol fellow tutors. Follow these instructions from your area:

  • In your ‘Control Panel’ for your course
  • Click on ‘Users and Groups’
  • Click on ‘Users’
  • Place your cursor over ‘Enrol User’ and click ‘Find Users to Enrol’
  • Click on ‘Browse’
  • Now leave all fields as default and enter the desired username or surname in the blank field and click on ‘Go’
  • Now select the check box on the desired row and click ‘Submit’
  • From the drop down menu next to ‘Role’, now select which role you require
  • Click ‘Submit’

4. Can I manage the display of courses listed on the ‘My Institution’ tab?
Yes, you can edit the display of courses and other information.

Just select the small ‘cog’ icon in the top right hand corner of the ‘My Courses’ module and select or deselect the options you wish to see/not see.

For further information, please refer to this LTD quick guide.

5. Why are my courses marked as ‘unavailable’?
This is because all new Blackboard courses are created as ‘unavailable’ by default. When a course is unavailable, instructors can access it, but students cannot. This is to prevent modules going live then they are still being built.

Information on making your course available can be found in the previous ‘Top tips’ post.

6. It’s hard to find a course on the ‘My Institution’ tab as I have so many listed?
You can try searching for the course. Hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key and press ‘F’ on your keyboard and you will get a ‘Find’ box pop up within your browser. Type the module code or part of the course ID and select ‘Next’ to find that text on the current page. You could also try hiding the modules that you don’t often use, see tip 4 above.

Groups Tip

1. Can I assign students into more than one group?
Yes, you can put students into as many different groups as you like, however you will need to create each group and then add students to each group individually. Information on setting up groups can be found in the previous ‘Top tips’ post.

Content Tips

1. My students state that streamed audio files within Learning Edge won’t play on Macs?
Apple Mac users can install the Windows Media Components plugin for QuickTime, which will allow users to stream .wma and .wmv file formats within Learning Edge.

2. Can I use large multimedia files in my Module area?
As mentioned earlier, instead of taking up large areas of disk space. Large multimedia files should be embedded and streamed online via YouTube, which can be incorporated into Learning Edge areas through the mash up building block. If you need to host media more securely, contact us for more information about the institutions streaming server ‘eStream’.

Any further questions please email them to one of the team and we will endeavor to answer them for you. If you would like to arrange a meeting with one of the team, please ring 01695 650 754 (or internal 7754).

Mark Wilcock
Learning Technologist

Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 07.02.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time tomorrow to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.

Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 23.01.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time on Monday to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.

What’s on your Learning Edge wish list? Extending the functionality of Blackboard with Building Blocks

There are a vast number of tools and features available in Blackboard, but I’m sure you will agree, there are some things you can’t do, at least not yet! The great thing though about Blackboard is that through Building Blocks we can build more functionality into the system.

Perhaps you would like new features which help you manage your course, such as a way to quickly check all web links in a module or a way to maintain an online attendance register. Maybe there are features which you know would help your students, such as a tutorial sign-up sheet or a way for them to send files to their eReader. What other features would appear on your ‘wish list’?

Building the Blocks

To help you come up with some ideas, let’s talk a little bit more about what Building Blocks are and how they work.

Building Blocks essentially allow third-party developers to create customisations and extensions for Blackboard Learn through open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and web services. The types of building block that can be developed are:

  • Course Tool
  • Course Control
  • Group Tool
  • System Tool
  • User Tool
  • Content Type
  • Module

There are already a range of third party extensions available through Blackboard Extensions that we can try, including tools developed by other HE institutions. Also, we can now explore the viability of new in-house custom developments too!

One such development I recently started was the ‘Course Availability Per User’ system tool – Edge Hill University’s first Building Block! The aim of this Building Block is to assist administration of Blackboard by detailing a selected user’s course enrolments and respective availability.

Building Blocks can be as simple as querying data or as complex as connectors for synchronising data to externally hosted services e.g. Campus Pack. They are developed using a combination of the JDK (Java Development Kit), Building Block APIs and an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Developers use IDEs such as Eclipse and NetBeans to assist with the creation of Dynamic Web Applications. A Building Block is a Dynamic Web Application with the addition of one specific file: bb-manifest.xml. This file sets the properties that determine how the Building Block will behave and interact with the Blackboard 9.1 environment. Once the development of the building block is complete it is exported as a .WAR (Web Archive File) file and uploaded into Blackboard.

Community Resources

Edugarage provides a wealth of developer documentation, sample code/tools and user discussion to assist developers with creating building blocks.

Oscelot Projects is another great resource for open source eLearning solutions, developer related collaboration and code/tools.  Take a look at their web pages to see what others are currently developing.

Have your say

So, have you got any ideas? What course tools are missing? What functionality would be really useful for online group work? What could improve your course management or administration?

We’ve already added Building Blocks such as ‘Add Test Student’ and the ‘Paste from Word Mashup’ in response to requests from staff and we’d like to know what you would most value next. Feel free to suggest ideas and leave a comment. We can’t promise to add it all but we can certainly try!

 

 

 

 

John Langford
Learning Technology Systems Officer

What technologies did you get for Christmas?

Many of you lucky folks will have been fortunate enough to have received amazing new personal technologies or tools this Christmas and we’d love to hear about what you’ve got and how you’re using them in your studies, or for your teaching. You can use the comments box below to tell us all about how you’re using your iPods and Kindles, your digital recorders, tablets and favourite apps!

For those of us (myself included) that didn’t get a shiny new iPad2, I thought I’d highlight some of the great technologies we’ve now all got access to through Learning Edge. After all, Learning Edge got lots of really exciting new tools from Santa too!

Learning Edge is more than just Blackboard; it includes a whole range of teaching and learning systems. The list is long and it’s growing … this Guide to Learning Edge gives you a quick overview of all the facilities that are currently included, and remember, this lists only the core online technologies you have at your disposal – we’ll talk about classroom technologies, portable devices, web tools and apps another time!

Just before the New Year we introduced a number of new features to Learning Edge when we updated Blackboard Learn 9.1 to Service Pack 7, including enhancements to the Grade Centre, Interactive Rubrics and Timed Assessments.  A student Blog now, for instance, might be set to only appear in ‘Needs Grading’ status after a student has made three posts, rather than with each individual post.

We’ve also added additional functionality with Building Blocks such as, ‘Blackboard Mobile Learn’, ‘Paste From Word’ and ‘Add Test Student’.

Log In ScreenshotBLACKBOARD MOBILE LEARN
The Mobile Learn app provides quick and easy access to courses in Learning Edge.

For staff and student guides on getting the most from the Blackboard Mobile Learn app, visit the eShare Mobile Collection.  Here, you will find information on downloading the app to your device, setting the course notifications you want to recieve on the go and, for teaching staff, information about building mobile friendly courses.

 

Paste From WordPASTE FROM WORD
The Paste From Word mashup is another useful enhancment for both staff and students as it helps overcome formatting problems when copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word into the Blackboard visual textbox editor (VTBE). For a guide on using this functionality visit the eShare Learning Edge: Paste From Word Guide.

ADD TEST STUDENT
For staff wanting to  view their courses as their students see them, the Add Test Student enhancment is perfect. To learn more about using this functionality visit the eShare Learning Edge: Add Test Student Guide.

Campus Pack Tools ScreenshotCAMPUS PACK
Finally, in addition to all this, we’ve got a brand new ePortfolio system called Campus Pack!

Campus Pack will provide students and staff with their own personal online portfolio space within Learning Edge, with facilities such as blogs, journals, podcasts and wikis as well as PDP, CV and other portfolio template solutions. Tutors will also be able to embed Campus Pack content within Blackboard course areas.

We’ll be blogging about Campus Pack a lot more in the coming weeks but if you are interested in learning more about this tool, there is an online webinar running on Monday 16th January at 3pm 2:30-3:30pm. The webinar is aimed at staff involved in Campus Pack projects this term and next, but this is an open session, and anyone (staff or student) who is interested is welcome to join.

Email [email protected] and the webinar joining instructions will be provided.

I hope you’re making the most of all these fantasic technologies at your finger tips – remember if you need any help at all, Learning Technology Development are here to help.

Megan Juss Profile Picture

Meg Juss
Learning Technology Development Divisional Co-ordinator

Staff Reminder: Learning Edge Drop In 12.01.12

Are you working on something new in Learning Edge? Do you want help or ideas?

Staff are invited to visit the LINC Development* room at lunch time tomorrow to:

  • Learning Edge LogoExplore the potential of Learning Edge
  • Focus on enhancing current practice
  • Resolve any queries

These regular open door Drop In sessions have been organised to support staff building and working on courses and are the perfect opportunity to gain additional advice from a Learning Technologist.

No need to book! Please just drop into the LINC Development room and a member of the Learning Technology Development department will be on hand to help and advise.

Drop In Schedule this Term:
12.01.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
23.01.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
07.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
23.02.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Thursday, LINC Dev
05.03.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev
23.03.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Friday, LINC Dev
03.04.12 – 12 pm – 13 pm, Tuesday, LINC Dev
16.04.12 – 13 pm – 14 pm, Monday, LINC Dev

*Please note: a change from the advertised location of these Drop In sessions printed in a Learning Services Staff Development leaflet. Staff may continue to visit the SOLSTICE Centre for  support with Learning Technology, but the LINC Development room has been booked to comfortably accommodate any number of staff during these open door Drop In periods.

Hope to see you there!
The Learning Technology Development Team.