NILE is integrated into the Active Blended Learning (ABL) process at The University of Northampton and we need to ensure that it is being used effectively by staff in order to provide a quality student experience.
Building on the guidance which was initially produced in January 2012, the framework has now been updated to cover the minimum standards which are expected on a NILE site. This was approved at University SEC on 28th February, 2018 and is subsequently being used as the basis for the new NILE templates which have been developed for the 2018/19 academic year.
On Monday 8th January around 1pm there was a routine housekeeping check on NILE to ensure that it was in line with the student record system data. Unfortunately, this did not work correctly and as a result, some students were made unavailable on sites. The students were not removed from the sites but just lost the ability to view these on their NILE list. Any assessment work previously submitted by the student to the site was retained.
The Learntech team along with IT Services worked on the problem as soon it was identified and finally corrected the problem for all students at 8pm on the 8th January. A number of students were directly in touch with the Learntech team during the afternoon / evening and access was restored for them during the day. We are working with the supplier to ensure that there is no repeat of this problem.
Kathryn Kendon has agreed that for students impacted by this problem with assignments due in 8th January and 9th January, revised deadlines of 10th January (for those with deadlines of 8th January) and 11th January (for those with deadlines of 9th January) will apply. The list of modules which were impacted by the problem have been identified and module leaders were contacted on Tuesday 9th January by the Student Records teams. The extensions will only apply to students impacted by the problem on the affected modules.
We have just enabled an improved way for staff and students to login to NILE. The screen below shows the new Single Sign On (SSO) button which you will now see on the NILE login screen. By clicking onto this button, your machine will try to log you in using details already held on your computer. If it fails then it will just ask you to type in your normal username and password.
The box below this is actually the same box that was previously on NILE and this will also work if your type in your details in the old way. If the new button does not immediately work then you may just need to clear your browsers cookies using the details at the bottom of this message.
Clearing your browser cookies
If you receive an error when trying to log in, it may help to clear your browser cookies. When doing so, ensure you don’t select other items that you want to keep. For example, you may wish to keep saved passwords and your browsing history.
- The keyboard shortcut for Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer is ctrl+shift+delete. For Safari it is ctrl+alt+e.
- If you are unsure on how to clear cookies for your particular browser, please refer to the browser’s own website for help.
Following on from the Learntech team success in the ALT awards 2014, a recent submission for 2017 has confirmed that the Learntech team at The University of Northampton is still one of the best teams in the sector.
On Wednesday 6th September, 2017 at the Association for Learning Technology gala dinner, the Northampton LearnTech team won the runner-up award for “Team of the Year 2017″.
The Award’s overall purpose is to celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the learning technology field and is open to individuals and teams based anywhere in the world.
This award recognised the incredible work and progress made by the team over the past few years and the contribution which they have made to the environment within Northampton in addition to advancing the Learning Technology field more generally.
As part of the application process a group of key staff within the University of Northampton had to talk about the impact which the team had made on their own particular area.
In accepting the award, Rob Howe (Head of Learning Technology) stated that:
“The Learning Technology Team has grown from being a peripheral group to a major force for positive change within the University, its academic partners and the sector. This has been due to the drive, determination and interpersonal skills which are prevalent within the team which has enabled it to encourage staff and students to recognise the value of research informed Learning Technology.
Many aspects of University activity now including Learning Technology:
- Highly functional accessible VLE developed in conjunction with staff and students
- Development of quality mechanisms to better capture feedback and reward engagement
- Engagement in international collaborative bids
- Close links with the Student Union
- Enhancing core University data (e.g. Student Record System)
- Informing the development of new campus (Waterside)
- Leading on the design of new programmes for the University based around Active Blended Learning (ABL)
- Sector contributions
Whilst many Learning Technology Teams will be expected to be successful in the above activities – the group of Northampton should be recognised with the significant progress which has been made in the very wide areas of responsibility covered by their work and the enthusiasm generated within the staff and student body as a whole.”
The whole of the Team is proud to be acknowledged as a leading light within the Learning Technology profession, at the heart of a TEF Gold class University.
The University has a number of relevant mobile apps which have built upon initial developments from 2007. These continue to be updated and evolve – this blog posting will give you a quick update on the most recent changes.
This was one of the original staff and student apps. It contained links to the staff directory, Blackboard Mobile Learn and maps. Whilst this is still available in the Apple and Play stores it is now unsupported and will be shortly be removed and replaced with MyNorthampton.
This has been developed during 2017 and phase 1 is already available in the Apple, Play and Window stores. It will continue to be enhanced during the year and has a number of features which are of use to staff and students.
This was the original Blackboard (NILE) app which allowed staff and students to work on sites available through NILE. It was removed from the app store from August 2017 and will be unsupported from 31st August 2017. Staff should now use the Blackboard Instructor app and students should use the Blackboard app (previously called Blackboard Student)
This is now a dedicated Blackboard app for staff. It is currently in its first release but will be enhanced with functionality which allows staff to manage their NILE engagements from a mobile device. If you are running Blackboard Collaborate from a mobile device then this app is essential.
This is now a dedicated Blackboard app for students. It allows students to interact with NILE / Collaborate sessions from their mobile devices. Please be aware if you have previously downloaded Blackboard student then it will be automatically be updated to this app and the icon will change to the pencil (as shown above).
Lynda.com is a huge library of high-quality online video tutorials supporting study skills, digital skills, business skills, employability skills and lots more.
The tutorials are subtitled and include exercise files. On-screen controls mean you decide the pace of your learning, plus you can view content on any device either via your browser or by downloading the app.
This brief 2017 summer update and links to existing postings collates some of the information around Learning Technology which may be useful. If you wish to discuss any of the following then please contact the team to arrange a meetup.
NILE and training Updates
Module and Programme templates now available within NILE for 2017/18 sites
The new upgrade to Turnitin (Feedback Studio) was released on the 1st August
The training schedule until December 2017 is now available
NILE (Blackboard) is being upgraded on Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 August between 16:30 and 04:30 during which time it will be unavailable. This upgrade just moves us to the latest stable release – there are no significant changes to the interface. Work is currently in progress to enable single sign on and a further update will made before the end of August.
Rob Howe from the Learntech team was pleased to be able to present the ‘Best NILE site Student Teaching and Representation Awards’
If you have any questions around ‘unusual’ or innovative NILE sessions then please feel free to contact the team to discuss how to best implement these and how the technology can best support you. The team will investigate questions such as the numbers of students and where they are located; what devices students are using and how they are connected; extra support which may be needed to get you up and running and any additional services such as audio / visual which may be required.
Check out the recent blog posting to see who is who within the Learntech team
The Learning Technology Team are now through to final round of Association of Learning Technology ‘LearnTech Team of of the Year’ awards. The presentation will be in early September where we will find out what we have been awarded.
Recent research has just been released around student perceptions & experiences of Active Blended Learning [ABL]
Anne Misselbrook and Melanie Cole blog on the benefits of Xerte developments within a Midwifery course
Student survey results provide encouraging evidence for effectiveness of online learning using Xerte e-learning packages
Update on the Learning Styles debate
The recent Learntech team awayday provided an opportunity to take a picture of all of those present (we had to digitally add two members of the team who were away during the day.)
There is also a linked posting which provides the current areas of responsibilities for the team. If you are not sure who to contact then please refer to this in the first instance.
On 18th May, 2017, Simon Sneddon was presented with the Best NILE Site Award as part of the Student Teaching and Representation (STAR) Awards evening.
NILE is an essential part of the student online experience. This award was to recognise staff members who have made a significant effort with their NILE site setup and use.
Students were asked to nominate against the following criteria:
• The site design and navigation assists students to easily find the content they are looking for.
• The content and resources on the site cover all key areas required.
• Tools for discussion and collaboration are effectively used throughout the site.
• Assessment and feedback is clear and well managed through the site.
• The tutor’s Nile Site has an element of innovation which has enhanced engagement
The full list of nominees and the student comments are shown below – congratulations to all of these and to all of the staff that have worked to support them.
The way Nile is used by Alasdair has been described as “truly innovative” as it is utilising most of the available components of the site. Alasdair uploads slides with voice overs, chapters for reading and videos covering related topics onto NILE which are well appreciated by students. He includes online tests which allow students to receive immediate feedback.
Mark provides a huge amount of information onto NILE, but organises it in such a way so that it is not daunting for students. All the content and resources are always uploaded on time so they are easy to find. He talks through all the sites and shows students where to find all the information. Mark utilises message boards to communicate with students and regularly updates these with information on the subject matter and even external job opportunities. All emails are replied to efficiently with the contact information provided on NILE. All feedback and grades are nicely structured so students know where to find all of their grades.
Melanie used NILE to create an online resource to prepare students for their practical assessments. She broke each learning stage down by demonstrating it on video, with added sound and commentary. Each element of the practical was explained clearly and then students were tested on it before they moved through the online learning resource. This learning tool was engaging, interesting, clearly explained and easy to follow. Students described it as the best way of learning a complex subject. The video, audio and online test was a fantastic way to reinforce knowledge.
Simon has proactively designed and prepared the NILE site to be ‘Waterside Ready’, and offers a range of resources including videos, books, journals, and examples of previous assignments for guidance. He has striven to ensure that all students are aware of how to use the site by demonstrating it in sessions, and by clearly signposting each section of the modules and related tasks. On the NILE site, there is an online discussion board where students can discuss the topics and share resources covered. Simon frequently comments and posts updates encouraging students to read each other’s work and have a discussion on the issues raised. These tools for discussion and collaboration are highly effective throughout the site, not only because it is a different way of learning, but also it helps face to face students to share, and to read the work of distance learners, bridging the gap between both student groups. All module content is available at the start of term and so students can start planning ahead. Assessments and feedback have designated folders, which provide the breakdown of all assignments in a clear and accessible format.
Toby uploads links to relevant media currently in the news linking to each topic. He uses a mixture of both interactive and teacher lead learning on the website with e-activities, videos and newspaper articles on NILE building upon content discussed during teaching. Each section of the module is separated into its own folder with a relevant picture which makes information easier to find. Toby uses active discussion boards where topics are tackled prior to the session. As well as written feedback which is easy to find, Toby uploads a 3 minute video clip where he personally talks through the strengths and weaknesses of each assignment and explains how students can improve.
NILE is integrated into the learning and teaching process at The University of Northampton and we need to ensure that it is being used effectively by staff in order to provide a quality student experience.
Building on the guidance which was initially produced in January 2012, the framework has now been updated to cover the minimum standards which are expected on a NILE site. This was approved at University SEC on 10th May, 2017 and subsequently used as the basis for the new NILE templates which have been developed for the 2017/18 academic year.
The Learning Technologists have been aligned to specific subject areas within the Faculties. Whilst the general contact for support issues and advice is Learntech@northampton.ac.uk (x2696), you can contact a Learning Technologist for specific training needs or project planning. For assistance with designing your programme or modules then contact the Learning Design team at LD@northampton.ac.uk.
Learning Technologists alignments:
|Education & Humanities|
|Early Years||Belinda Green|
|Education, Children & Young People||Belinda Green|
|Initial Teacher Training||Belinda Green|
|Special Education Needs & Inclusion||Belinda Green|
|Teacher Continuation Professional Development||Belinda Green|
|English & Creative Writing||Al Holloway|
|English as a Second Language||Richard Byles|
|Health & Society|
|Criminal Justice Studies||Tim Guyett|
|Sociology (including Criminology)||Tim Guyett|
|Midwifery||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Nursing||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Occupational Therapy||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Paramedic Science||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Podiatry||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Sport, Exercise & Life Science||Andy Stenhouse / Liane Robinson|
|Social Work||Andy Stenhouse /Liane Robinson|
|Arts, Science & Technology (FAST)|
|Acting & Drama||Al Holloway|
|2D Design||Al Holloway|
|3D Design||Al Holloway|
|Environmental Science||Al Holloway|
|Foundation Year Programme||Al Holloway|
|Fine Art||Al Holloway|
|Leather Technology||Al Holloway|
|Media & Journalism||Al Holloway|
|Popular Music||Al Holloway|
|Business & Law|
|Accounting & Finance||Richard Byles|
|Economics, International Development||Richard Byles|
|Leisure Management & Languages||Richard Byles|
|Human Resource Management & Organisational Behaviour||Richard Byles|
|International Relations and Politics||Tim Guyett|
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