Marking with Marky Mark – Managing the marking period stress free

Mark avatarYes, it’s that time of year again… Exams are in full flow, the academic year is beginning to come to a close (for students perhaps!) and that means one thing… marking!

It can be a stressful time for tutors with the (virtual) mountains of papers requiring a critical eye cast over them, for this reason we have put together some hints, tips and reassurances to ease you through the period.

Downtime

We don’t schedule any maintenance during the marking period so you should find the systems up 100% during the marking period.  Any issues you experience are likely to be local – meaning that they should be able to be fixed by one of your friendly Learning Technologists (or one of their Learning Services or IT Services colleagues!)

Exceptions are only made for urgent security updates – these will be done as quickly as possible and at ‘off-peak’ times (3am in the morning anyone!?)

Errors (when marking)warning cone icon

You may very occasionally experience problems when marking – usually via Turnitin.  If this is the case, try the following before contacting Learning Technology.

  • Close the window
  • Log out of Blackboard
  • Clear your browser cache
  • Try a different browser
  • If possible try a different PC
  • Try using a Windows machine wherever possible

Plan B

It’s important that you have a Plan B, just in case of the worst scenario! (When you have a Plan B you usually don’t need it but when you don’t… well!)

What will you do if a student or students can’t submit? This may be due to an issue their end or could be some other factor…

  • Will you offer paper submission?
  • Will you offer an extension?
  • Will you allow the to email it and then you submit on their behalf?
  • What time are they due to submit? Is it during office hours so it can be dealt with?

Notificationsnotification icon

For your sanity and students’ don’t forget to keep communicating!

  • Do you make use of the Announcements feature in Blackboard?
  • Do you have a communication plan? Is it via email? Word of mouth? a Twitter account? Do your students know what method you use?
  • Do students have notifications switched on in the mobile app? They need to have allowed ‘push’ notifications… this can’t be set for them!

 

Online Hints and Tips

Turnitin App

Do you have an iPad? You can download the papers to mark offline if so.

Convert Comments to QuickMarks and save them to your library for easy reuse.

For easy reuse in the assignment you’re grading or in other assignments, you can convert a ‘Bubble Comment’ into a QuickMark. QuickMarks allow you to create your own library of feedback that might be applicable, on multiple occasions, to multiple students, across multiple classes and assignments.

Drag and Drop QuickMarks Anywhere on the Paper

You can access a library of feedback by selecting the QuickMark icon from the navigation bar. Use the search box to find a specific QuickMark. Once you’ve selected the QuickMark you’d like to add to the paper, drag it from the panel and drop it onto the relevant part of the paper.

Highlight Tool

Use text highlight together with comments in order to clarify to students what comments refer to.

Taking a break…coffee cup icon

Please note that when using Turnitin, it will timeout after 1 hour of inactivity. ‘Inactivity’ means not interacting with any part of the Turnitin interface, be aware though, scrolling up and down a student submission does not count as activity! Only actual clicking, typing etc. in Turnitin counts as activity.

If you need to take a break or will be away from marking for a little while (grabbing that well earned cuppa!), be sure to close the Turnitin window so that the work that you have done is saved.

As usual, any problems, contact ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk

Mark avatarMark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer
Faculty of Education

 

 

Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer
Faculty of Arts & Science, Medical Education

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

Turnitin Feedback Studio: Ready for marking

As we are swiftly heading on through this semester and towards end of term assessments we thought it would be helpful to once again highlight marking through Turnitin.

Turnitin recently released Feedback Studio; an updated and revamped way of marking papers with some nifty new features such as page navigation and Grading/Similarity layers.

Access to Feedback Studio remains the same way as you would mark before but just in case you need a recap:

How to access Turnitin Feedback Studio:

The same tools are still there but they have been tidied up and even better, have been combined into one view – no more having to switch between ‘Grading View’ or ‘Similarity View’ you can choose to see them both at the same time. This is useful for cross checking originality whilst making comments.

One of the most used features of Turnitin are the Inline Commenting Tools allowing you to leave annotations on pieces of work.  Quick Marks are also available to build up banks of commonly used phrases or corrections which you can drag and drop onto an assignment for quickly highlighting areas for improvement.  Rubrics have become popular to create and deploy across modules as they can reflect the marking criteria included in programme/module handbooks.  The new Rubrics function uses sliding scale bars to indicate a level that the student is working at.  You can also choose to mark using the Expanded Rubric Manager if you prefer to work in this way.  Rubrics can automatically calculate scores which can inform the overall grade.

Finally, should you wish to recap reviewing originality, take a look at the following guidance from Turnitin: Interpreting the Similarity Report.

Full guidance on Turnitin Feedback Studio can be found here: Turnitin Feedback Studio Full Guide.

Don’t forget the Turnitin app is available on iPad to mark assessments.  One particular benefit of using the app is that once all the submissions are in and you sync it to the iPad then you can mark offline.  Once you have re-established a connection all the marks and comments will automatically be uploaded back into Learning Edge including Grades into the Grade Centre!

 

 

 

As always if you need any help or support, contact the Learning Technology Development Team via ext.7754, ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or Ask LTD knowledge base.

 

 

Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer
FAS & Medical Education

Blackboard Student Mobile App

The summer brought a number of changes to the learning technologies used in the University and one in particular I wanted to highlight here is the new Blackboard Student Mobile App available for iOS, Android and Windows mobiles and tablets.

It is radically different to the previous app (Mobile Learn) having had a complete redesign. Here is a run down of what to expect in the new app:

Notifications
Students can choose to receive a notification when new content is added to their courses.  Specific ones they wish to receive is controlled via the desktop version whilst on/off choice is set via the device.

Content
Many formats are now supported natively including most types of image, audio (MP3) and video (MP4).  PDFs, websites and ‘mashups’ are also able to be opened within the app.  Additionally to this, it will look for the appropriate app on the device to open Word, Excel, PowerPoint or similar file attachments.

Tools
Tests created using the Mobile Compatible Tests tool work really well and are easy to work through whilst Discussion Forums are clean and simple to use.
Blackboard Assignment submission is incorporated into the app as it is compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive to access documents and materials that students have produced.

Online Lectures
A separate app is no longer required to use Collaborate as it has been built in to the single app – great news for users of webinars and online lectures!

Grades and Feedback
If work has been submited via the Blackboard Assignment tool, grades and feedback can be obtained via the ‘Marks‘ area in the app where a break down of individual assignments can be found.  Be aware though, if using Turnitin for submissions only grades that are fed through to the Grade Centre can be viewed via the app (no feedback is included).

 

Currently unavailable or unsupported
As the app is still a fairly new version there are a number of areas that are yet to be developed and you may find this renders it unsuitable for your use:

Turnitin is not yet integrated into the app and as such submissions are unable to be made and due dates and feedback can’t be displayed.

Groups are currently not supported as are any tools within a group (such as a group discussion board or wiki) although thanks to the new responsive design implementation over summer these tools will open reasonably well in a web browser.

Blogs, Journals and Wikis are also not currently supported and these will open in a web browser if clicked on from within the app but it is hoped that these will be supported soon.

Standard Tests cannot be taken through the app.

If you would like any further guidance or advice in using the new app please feel free to contact the Learning Technology Development Team on ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk

PLEASE NOTE:
Blackboard Mobile Learn has now been removed from the app stores and is no longer supported by Blackboard.  If a student uninstalls the old app they will no longer be able to reinstall it.

If you are a tutor you may find the following PowerPoint slides useful to show to other members of staff or your own students.

There is also an ‘Instructor‘ app available that can be used by tutors to build certain content and can be used in delivering materials such as webinars and online lectures.

 

 

Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer

BBC-featured History quiz engages students in HEA project

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

According to Mason Norton (Edge Hill University) and Dan Taylor (University of Roehampton), in history, there are four broad categories of historian:

  • Empiricist

  • Postmodernist

  • ‘historian from below’

  • ‘top-down’

The categories emerged as part of the Developing Historical Thinking project run by Edge Hill and Roehampton, when Mason and Dan teamed up to create a Cosmopolitan style self-test quiz – aimed at getting first year History students to think about the theory of history.  Mason wrote this post, and Dan comments: “… it’s a thoughtful reflection on a great tool and an enjoyable collaboration”.

 

Reflections on ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’ Quiz

by Mason Norton

HEA-QuizQuizzes can seem like a very basic, almost too simple, pedagogic tool, and with a topic as complex and as endless as historiography, you might be forgiven for thinking that the two would not go together very well. However, back in the summer of 2013, myself and Dan Taylor of Roehampton were given the task of thinking up a quiz to be called ‘What Kind of Historian are you?’. Whilst to me, the answer is simple, I was conscious of the fact that to many first-year undergraduates, the challenge is to get them to think about the theory of history as something other than a tedious irrelevance.

So we realised the quiz could be an opportunity to make something daunting look a little bit fun, whilst making students stop and think. After half a summer of e-mails going back and forward, we managed to get it down to four categories; empiricist, postmodernist, ‘historian from below’, and ‘top-down’. This was a simplification of some historical schools of thought, but it was a necessary one- freshers, for example, are ill-equipped to know, or even care, about debates within, say, the Marxist school of historians about the collapse of the USSR. This process was in itself quite interesting because it showed collaboration not just between the universities, but between the disciplines- I am a historian whilst Dan is a philosopher. The conversations between the two of us were mutually informative- it is useful, I think, for a historian to see what a philosopher thinks of history, and also for a philosopher to see what a historian thinks of philosophy.

Then, we had to think up of ten questions to ask. Easy? Well, no, actually. We needed to strike a balance between covering ground already encountered at A-level, and also introducing students to new areas of historical enquiry. Most freshers, for example, would probably have never thought of treating human sexuality as a subject for serious historical enquiry. So our quiz needed to be constructed as a bridge between what had already gone before- what students would, or at least should, be fairly confident about tackling- and some of what they would be looking at over the next three years.

When we launched the quiz, there was an immediate flurry of interest, which was pleasing. Then, when it came to the dissemination phase, interest expanded even further. We received an e-mail asking if we wanted to let the quiz be used on a History teaching resources site, and then we received an approach to talk about the quiz as part of Making History on BBC Radio 4, with a link to the quiz on the programme’s website, which boosted the profile of the HEA project as a whole.

Consequently, when it came to the second iteration, there followed after the quiz a series of entries on personal journals using Blackboard (which was also the software upon which the quiz ran), which meant that we could see what students made of the quiz and their answers. This further developed the interactive process between student and tutor. We observed students reflecting upon their engagement, and come the end of the semester, when we ran the quiz again, we could see how far (or not) students had come.

So the quiz, through both its construction and its iteration/implementation, proves the use of technology as a crucial part of the digital humanities, and of education as a two-way street. In the iteration, students have been introduced to some different historical schools via a practical, hands-on exercise, as opposed to say a fifty-minute lecture, followed by a two-hour seminar. We as tutors have then learned more about individual students and their preconceptions, and what we need to work on and/or develop over the next few weeks that the module will be running for- something that we would not otherwise have had necessarily until the first assessment a few weeks later. This dialogic element is what makes Blackboard such a vital learning tool, in my opinion- we can pick up on the misconceptions earlier, and without causing such a knock-on effect for student grades, or, for that matter, the confidence of individual students.

In the construction, we have been forced to look more seriously at what we had taken for granted- and in the design of this quiz, one or two of my own preconceptions have been challenged- that may well have been the same for Dan too. So this means that we too become better historians (or, in Dan’s case, a better philosopher) as a result of having to rise to a new challenge, which is, to use a cliché, all part of the learning curve.

The result is that a format that may, at first glance, seem trivial and trite, is actually- once you start to work with it in depth- quite challenging and quite stimulating- and offers a new take on what is, perhaps, an old problem.

BestofTEL_SMALLMason Norton

Associate Tutor
Department of English & History
Nortonm@edgehill.ac.uk

What I find most interesting in this post is how Mason highlights the increased connection between academics and students facilitated by the quiz and other technologies.  If you have been inspired and would like to learn more your Learning Technologist can help.  LTD would be very happy to work with you to create a similar quiz for your area – perhaps developing a quiz workshop for your team.

Blackboard also have some good online resources – such as this one about creating tests and surveys (a test is equivalent to a quiz):

   Tests_Surveys_Pools – Creating_Tests_and_Surveys

More generally, LTD deliver a wealth of support and staff development sessions – here’s a link to the current series that you can book on:

   DDE: Digital Practitioner

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

Accessible and Inclusive Design: iSpring Version

For those who couldn’t make it to the recent session on creating accessible content I thought it would be worth making a version of the session available.

In the session we looked at how content uploaded to Edge Hill’s Learning Edge online learning environment can be created in ways that make it more accessible to a wide range of students including those with SpLDs and those using mobile devices to access content.

By the way, I used the Yeti Pro microphone that Carol wrote about earlier this month, so the recording will give you the opportunity to listen to it in action.

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Introducing Blackboard Spaces

spaces_cutIf you open the Global Navigation menu in Blackboard, you will see that the bottom icon on the menu links to a tool called Spaces.

These are very simple social spaces that anyone can set up and invite people to. Members of a Space can create their own posts and comment on posts written by others.

You might find Spaces useful if you want to quickly set up a study group and invite people to it. You can even invite people from other universities and institutions that use the Blackboard Spaces tool.

We’ve created a short guide to using the Spaces tool, and members of staff can contact their Learning Technologist for guidance, or if you have any comments.

beaumont_smaller

Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

The Best of Learning Edge: Nominations for Excellent Modules (+Student Prize Draw)

BestofLE

Students, has your lecturer created a great Learning Edge module to help your studies. Was it easy to navigate? Did it use multimedia? Encourage collaboration? Include interactivity and support?

Learning Technology Development (LTD) would like to know more about how lecturers use Learning Edge in ways that you find interesting, innovative or helpful. By finding out, we aim to share this practice across the University and help improve Learning Edge courses for staff and students. Please take a few minutes to complete this very short survey to nominate a Learning Edge module that you have really enjoyed and to tell us why.

For every module you nominate you will be entered into our 5 prize draws to win an official Edge Hill University USB pen drive and mug.  From Friday 11th October till Friday 8th November you can nominate up to 3 modules.

Feel free to post a comment on here if you have any questions. You can also get in touch with us at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or call 01695 650754 if you would simply like to know more about our the event.

Happy nominating and good luck!

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

 

A collaborative experience that engages everyone, every time, everywhere

It is now possible to engage with your students wherever they are. Keep them engaged offering them collaborative and interactive activities and a learning experience. This can be done all through the new platform Blackboard Collaborate.

Blackboard Collaborate Overview

It allows you to create virtual classrooms to deliver presentations, show videos, show websites, communicate synchronously in real time, and engage students in activities that can be presented online.

Mobile support is also available so students can access the online session through an iPhone or an iPad allowing them to access the session wherever they maybe.

iPad

iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

The sessions can also be recorded to allow students to view the recording again and again.

Below is a link to a demonstration by a Blackboard Collaborate Advisor that gives further information on Blackboard Collaborate and the different ways it can be used.

Blackboard Collaborate Demonstration

If you have any questions or would like to find out more information you can contact me directly on 01695 650755 or irfan.mulla@edgehill.ac.uk

Irfan Mulla

 

 

 

 

 

Irfan Mulla

Learning Technology Development Officer (LTD)