Library & Learning Services have lots of information on how to make documents accessible on their wiki pages and accessibility training takes place throughout the year. Please contact [email protected] for information.
At Edge Hill the Ally tool is available to all staff and students within Blackboard course areas. Staff can use this to see how accessible a course area is and establish which changes should be made to course items to improve accessibility. For staff and students Ally enables course content to be downloaded in alternative formats to suit individuals’ needs.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the virtual classroom platform for the institution. It can be used via a web browser on a computer or an app on a phone or tablet. The tool is available within every Blackboard course at Edge Hill University. Each online classroom contains web conferencing tools that will allow you to perform two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, breakout rooms, transcripts and session recording.
At present, you may find that your face to face sessions are now being delivered online through this platform. We have created this blog post to help students student prepare and engage with the virtual classroom at Edge Hill University.
Tips on Participating in a Session
Ensure your using a compatible browser. Please refer to the browser support page for further guidance.
Find a comfortable place with no distractions.
Before your first session, visit Blackboard Collaborate Help – Getting Started.
Plugin your webcam and microphone, if they are not built into your computer. For best results, use headphones with a built-in microphone.
Accessing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session:
You may be
provided with a link to the Blackboard Collaborate Session from a Blackboard
course, or you may have been sent a link in an email. In either case, click on
the link provided.
From your course menu on the left, click on the ‘Collaborate’ link which is usually under ‘Module Communication’.
Click ‘Course Room’ (shown below) or the title of a designated room, then ‘Join Course Room’ to join the session.
Find your way around:
Take a quick tour of the video below before you start engaging. This video is designed to give you a quick tour of all the important features and controls in the user interface.
Be sure to join your session 5 – 10 minutes prior to the start.
Set up your audio and video when you first join a session.
Participate in the session by responding to polls and providing feedback to the moderator.
Raise your hand by clicking the hand icon when you have a question or a comment.
Use Chat to send text messages to other participants and the moderator during the session.
Remember that running other applications on your computer can slow your connection to the session.
Should I mute my microphone?
Best practice for a synchronous course is to have your microphone on mute unless you want to speak. If you are participating with an online session, watching and listening is all that will be required unless you need to engage, it only takes an instant to unmute your microphone.
Can I use my Phone or Tablet?
You can participate in a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session directly from your mobile device (Apple or Android) with the free Bb Student app. Within the app, you are able to fully interact during the session:
Join live classes
Share audio and video
Interact via text chat
View content shared by the instructor
Use whiteboard tools
Use emoticons, hand raising, polls, breakout rooms
When participating from a mobile device, you will have the best experience over Wi-Fi. Devices running operating systems prior to iOS 8.4 and Android 4.4 can experience rapid battery drain, so it is recommended that you are fully charged or plugged in.
Mark Wilcock Learning Technology Development Officer
There is an exciting development planned to improve our services in terms of support for students with SpLD.
The SpLD team attended Skype training on 14 November 2013 to consider how it could be used when supporting students with SpLD (Dyslexia/Dyspraxia). The day was very informative and we were able to talk with students who already access support this way. We have been aware for sometime that students who are living or working (or both) at a distance from Edge Hill find it difficult to access the specialist support.
The team think that Skype is a great idea for students on placement or distance learners who can’t get in to the main campus for their support. The plan is to run a pilot scheme in the New Year with a view of providing support via Skype in the future.
As a service development idea, we are keen to hear your feedback as it is very important that students are involved as we consider making changes to our service. We would love to hear from you if you do feel you could benefit from using Skype for your one to one SpLD support or if you have any reservations and would like to discuss it with us. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Last month Learning Services and IT Services combined forces to bring the first ever Technology Road Show & Mobile Clinic to the University. The event was hosted in the Hub, to which students and staff took the opportunity to see demonstrations of Edge Hill mobile applications, and to speak to us and obtain technical support for mobile devices (phones, tablets and laptops).
Application wise, we showcased all of the institutions’ mobile apps and online resources, and when we demonstrated our very own Edge Hill Central we found that many students didn’t know this was available, or what it could do. The combination of having Blackboard Mobile Learn, Email and library access all in one place was quite a surprise to users – prompting them to download the app on the spot!
In terms of the hardware issues we encountered, practically all the concerns were focussed on Wi-Fi connectivity. Of course, with digital natives becoming the majority on campus and in the classroom, it’s vital we ensure your internet enabled devices are connected. So to clarify and resolve this issue, please ensure you connect to eduroam. Like the users we encountered, you’ll find that if you use EdgeNet it will repeatedly ask you to authenticate on a daily basis and even building to building. The new, and much easier way for continuous access is eduroam.
Eduroam will ensure you won’t have to enter your account details on a daily basis, your connection will roam around campus with you and will be active until you change/reset your network login password. Make sure you connect your device to eduroam today.
Overall the Technology Road Show was a success and we’re pretty sure everyone we spoke to took something out of the event. If you missed out on the Road Show and have a question for us, please do get in touch on the following address: [email protected]
In today’s climate when the cost of things seem to be on the increase, it can be a relief to hear about something with the potential of making your studies more affordable.
We all know how software can help us with our studies. Occasionally we need to purchase specific software to do a particular task, such as word-processing to write an essay or editing software to develop a project…
…but do you know about Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) that you can download and use? Software that may do exactly what you want and more to help with your studies.
We’ve taken a look at some software and believe it can benefit most people in a number of situations, software that is affordable, accessible, assistive and flexible.
Programmes assembled in to portable collections so that you can use them with almost any computer anywhere.
In certain cases you can handpick from several items tailoring the software bundles to your individual needs.
All this including technical support, guidance and regular updates from reputable software developers and providers within the freeware and open source communities.
As you will no doubt be aware a web browser is a program that allows us to view web content on the internet, covered recently by John Langford in his blog ‘Demystifying Web Browsers’.
However, more often students want to do more than just view online content, they want to view it in a way that suites them.
So, and as you would expect, technologists have come-up with ways to help you, by finding solutions that have a positive impact on your browsing experience.
With the recent improvements to Edge Hill University’s website and the availability of ICT across campus, Learning Services recognise that our students may want to personalise the way they see, hear and interact with the information provided and to improve access to it.
Through a series of guides, Learning Services is pleased to assist students as they study and so they can begin to customising their browser settings in such a way that makes viewing web pages easier.
Other guides are being produced and will be made available so that all students can start to discover for themselves other ways to interact with websites and web content.
The first of these quick guides are now available on eShare click on the links below to learn more.
Whether you are developing teaching and learning content or professional documentation for your department or service, there is good practice guidance and software available which all users may add to their resource toolkit.
Inspiration® mind-mapping software creates visual representations of plans / ideas or concepts in the form of a diagram or mind map. Inspiration can transform your visual map into a linear format at the touch of a button to suit all preferred learning styles. You can create your own map or use one of the many templates on offer.
Inspiration is an excellent tool for any form of planning such as modules, presentations, lectures or seminars. Inspiration is used for scoping research activities and analysing key findings from both quantitative and qualitative data. The colour-coding, visual and diagrammatical aspects are helpful in linking key themes and formulating research analysis.
TextHelp Read and Write® allows you to access text in an auditory format and text is read aloud directly from your PC. TextHelp can assist when reading assignments for marking, proofreading and highlighting errors within written work. TextHelp highlights the text when reading and identifies grammatical, spelling and homophone errors with its advanced functions and has an in-built dictionary where definitions are read aloud.
Inspiration® and TextHelp® incorporate their own training videos and mini training guides are available from the Learning Services Wiki via Locate a User Guide and Using ICT.
To access Inspiration or TextHelp on the network: select Start →Network Programs → Accessibility → Inspiration or TextHelp.
Accessibility Essentials Series by JISC Techdis. This series provides guidance on creating accessible documents using a range of everyday applications that we access on the Edge Hill University network, such as Word, PowerPoint or via PDF files. JISC Techdis guidelines are available via the Staff Development wiki.