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NILE sites have been, and continue to be, created for the 15/16 academic year for modules and programmes. We have changed the way that we roll out the sites, and are trialling automatically copying in content from last year’s site (with a matching site ID). There are a few exclusions to this which are mainly postgraduate modules. This is because the content that is copied is a snapshot of the 14/15 site at the time of copying . Therefore, for example, if we take a copy of the Spring NILE site last year into the Spring session for this year we could be taking content that is no longer used. It is more appropriate to wait and perform the copy from the Standard or Autumn cohort. This will need to be organised/managed manually.

Accessing and working on your 15/16 Sites

You can add sites to your NILE account by using the Manage My NILE Sites box on the Sites & Organisations tab, or get in touch with the NILE Administrator (Rachel McCart) to request the site is added to your account.

Your Learning Technologist (LT) will be in touch through Subject Leaders to organise workshop sessions where groups and individuals can attend and work on their sites to get them ready for the new year. Your LT will be in the session to help with any queries and provide guidance.

Submit your work

In performing the copies we had to choose to copy all the content or none. Unfortunately there is not a way for us to choose to exclude the ‘Submit your work’ area so we had to bring in that content too. As many of you may be aware this means that Turnitin submission links (Blackboard assignments are fine) will break, and therefore need to be removed from the 15/16 site (please DO NOT remove them from the 14/15 site), and new ones need to be created for assignments in the 15/16 year.

The NILE administrator (Rachel McCart) is working her way through performing this task on the new sites, but as I’m sure you can appreciate this is a lot for one person to do so it is taking some time. If you would like to expedite this process you can do it yourself. If you would like some guidance then check out the help tab on NILE and follow the link to Preparing your NILE site for the next academic year. Please just let Rachel know if you have done it, and which site(s) you’ve done it on so she can exclude them from her list.

What you will see in the new sites

You will notice that the content that has been copied in appears at the bottom of the left menu. You can click and drag this around to re-order it.

You will also notice that ‘Module materials’ has become ‘Module activities’, and ‘Assessments’ has become ‘Assessment information’. This is to move NILE sites in line with CAIeRO practice, and make it clearer to staff and students about what to expect when they click the link.

QAA Audit

The QAA audit is due to start at the beginning of August therefore your Sites need to be ready by the end of July: this is when a 10% sample of the 15/16 sites will be performed. For more details about the audit please get in touch with your Embedded Quality Officer.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please comment on this post or email us at learntech@northampton.ac.uk

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Access the Panopto training session (44 minutes)

Busy staff often complain – with justification – that training isn’t available when they need it. Learntech are always looking for better ways to make training easier to access and, as part of our improvements for 2015, are starting to introduce ‘pop-up training’ options. These are sessions on topics suggested by small groups of staff who are able to spare around an hour at a time on a date to suit themselves. Once we have been able to arrange a trainer and the resources, we will offer more places to other members of staff through School managers and the staff Facebook group. This will be at relatively short notice – maybe as little as a week – but we hope that this option will prove popular.

Panopto was the subject of our first full session – requested by three members of staff, we actually saw 12 staff attend and have created an online resource for staff unable to attend as a result. You can access the Panopto training session here, with a Podcast version available if your browser or device has difficulty displaying that content. Producing a Panopto recording of a Panopto recording is a bit more complicated than just creating a Panopto recording, but the attendees got a lot out of the session and were contemplating some novel uses. The ability to collectively share notes between students and instructors was a feature many thought should be more widely used.

If you have any similar training needs and can arrange for at least two staff members to attend, we will be delighted to do something similar for you. Contact your School Learning Technologist or mail us at learntech@northampton.ac.uk with your requirements, numbers and possible dates.

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The Learning Technology team have had numerous requests for  a way to send an announcement out to more than one site at the same time. We have acted on this feedback and have made a tool available to you which enables the management of announcements. There are a couple of added bonuses too! You can also send an email to multiple sites, and make your sites available to students – without having to go into each site individually!

The use of this tool comes along with the rearrangement of the Sites and Organisations management tools that all staff have access to. The Sites & Organisations tab on NILE tends to be quite under used, and feedback about the Home tab indicates that it is too crowded. So, we have made the logical step to move the Manage my NILE sites box away from the Home tab, and group it with other site management tools on the Sites & Organisations tab. More information about the new ‘Quick Actions’ tool and the ‘Manage my NILE sites’ box, can be found on the Help tab on NILE.
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Attendees at the event

On the 10th February over 40 staff and 20 students visited the Park Library Tpod to try out the Smart Table which we had on loan and also take the opportunity to talk to staff representing LearnTech, CfAP, Academic Librarians and Resource Development.

This was the first time that we had arranged for a Smart Table at Northampton. Smart TableIt appears that whilst the table has been focused so far at the primary education market (a range of case studies are available) – there may be some niche applications for HE which were being discussed.

We are currently assessing the event to assist us with planning follow-up sessions.

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The summary of the 2014 mobile survey has now been published and we are really grateful to the 444 respondents who took their time to complete this. As part of the survey, we gave staff and students the opportunity to add comments and make suggestions about the University’s mobile provision and specifically about developments that need to be made.

Device support

For the first time Android has slightly overtaken Apple in device ownership. This is inline with Gartner’s predictions and findings. Blackberry ownership is still in decline, whilst Windows phone ownership has increased to 6.6% of respondents. The web based versions of iNorthampton complement the app for those that are unable to download it onto their device. A dedicated Windows app is being requested by the user community, however there is no timescale for approval or release, yet.

iPad users have requested a dedicated version of iNorthampton which complements the NILE (Blackboard Learn) download. In last year’s report we stated that this would be available in 2013, however it is still in development and will hopefully be released before the end of the 13/14 academic year.

 

Wireless

IT Services are responsible for the site wide implementation and maintenance of the campus wireless provision and they have now successfully implemented the educational wireless service Eduroam. Eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Just connect to Eduroam wireless from your mobile device and enter your Northampton username (in the format username@northampton.ac.uk) and password (which is normally used to log in to Northampton machines). Choosing to connect to Eduroam when on campus will give you a dedicated connection to the Wifi and you will no longer need to authenticate through a browser.

iNorthampton

Use of the iNorthampton app has increased with NILE, Library and Timetables being the top three tools within it for staff and students.

When asked about functionality that participants thought would be useful to include in the app the most common answer referred to the Library tool. Users would like to be able to renew books and check their account details. Other comments included requests for more detailed maps (e.g. room finder, opening times), access to email and other University services and more use of texting.

We are working on the new version of the app which will incorporate some of the functionality being requested. Unfortunately innovative development of the app has been slowed significantly by the changes made to the web site, and the compatibility between that platform and the mobile development platform. This has resulted in the app remaining stagnant for a much longer period than we are happy with.

Other comments 

“Links to bus timetables, email, and other University services”

Northamptonshire County Council have their own app (called NCC) for Android and iPhone, which was developed by staff here at the University. This already has live bus timetables, so we’d recommend you use this if you can. They also supply a text service to send bus times to your mobile.

We took the decision not to include email, as smartphones already include a tool to integrate this. We will be providing more guidance on how to setup email on devices in the next release.

Where possible we will include links to University Services, but we will be maintaining a balance between iNorthampton just being full of links to the main University site and actually displaying data within the app itself. For example, we are working closely with Student Services to ensure that information pertinent to living in halls and navigating around campus is included in current, or bespoke functionality.

“More use of texting for institutional messages?”

The Learning Technology team are currently investigating text messages through NILE. This will be phased in during the 2013/2014 academic year.

If you would have any other comments on iNorthampton then please mail LearnTech@northampton.ac.uk

 

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We’ve produced a short guide which we hope will enable new students and staff to navigate their way around NILE. The guide doesn’t cover everything that NILE does, but we hope it is enough to get started.

We have put a link to the guide on the front page of NILE but feel free to share this link:

bit.ly/welcometoNILE

Let us know of any errors and we’ll update the guide.

NILE login Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The default My Sites box on your NILE homepage is an unhelpful, alphabetical mess. We attempted to alleviate a little bit of the ridiculousness by prefixing site titles with ’12/13′ last year so at least all your 12/13 sites will appear at the top of the box, but we have come up with a better solution! It’s called ‘Group by Term’ and you can enable it on your own NILE homepage by following these instructions.

Hover your mouse over the My Sites box and click on the cog icon at the top right:

My Sites Cog Icon image

In section 1 of that screen, tick the box next to ‘Group by Term‘:

Group by Term imageSo far, we have two Terms set up on NILE, one for the 12/13 academic year, and one for 13/14. You can specify which one(s) you would like to be displayed in your My Sites box (Show Term), and also whether you would like see the Term, by default, in its expanded or collapsed state (Expand Term) – click on the image to zoom in.

Choose whichever options you require, click Submit and you will see a better organised My Sites box:

Term organised box image

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The summary of the 2013 Mobile Survey has now been published and we are really grateful to the 936 respondents who took their time to complete this. As part of the survey, we gave staff and students the opportunity to add comments and make suggestions about the University’s mobile provision and specifically about developments which needed to be made.

 

Downloads

iNorthampton is now made up of two key components which were previously bundled into a single app. The main iNorthampton download is available for both Android and Apple users – other devices (e.g. Blackberry) should make use of the pure web version as indicated on the January 2013 blog posting.

The link to NILE from iNorthampton will prompt the download of Blackboard Mobile Learn (this is also available as a separate download for Blackberry, Apple and Android).

 

Some respondents had noted issues with downloading iNorthampton onto their devices – these people should contact the Learntech team (LTSupport@northampton.ac.uk) for assistance. A few Android users noted concern over the permissions which were requested during download. The nature of the Android device requires these permissions in order for the app to run. A full list of the Android permissions and the reason for them has been made available.

 

Device support

The survey results indicate the continued growth of Apple and Android device usage. Blackberry users have declined over the three years of the survey and other devices have only negligible growth at the present time. The web based versions of iNorthampton complement the app for those that are unable to download this onto their device.

iPad users have requested a dedicated version of iNorthampton which complements the NILE (Blackboard Learn) download – this is planned for release later in 2013.

 

Wireless

The University has increased wireless coverage over Park and Avenue and is providing a number of new services to enhance this area. Eduroam is being phased in and will allow staff and students to be able to log onto the network at Northampton for long periods of time whilst moving around the site. It is already available to any Northampton staff and students who visit other Eduroam enabled sites. Just connect to Eduroam wireless from your mobile device and enter your Northampton username (in the format username@northampton.ac.uk) and password (which is normally used to log in to Northampton machines). It is anticipated to make this available at Park and Avenue shortly.

 

Extra Functionality requested

“Please can we have notifications from NILE when new announcements are being posted?”

This is now available within the Blackboard Mobile Learn download for Android and Apple devices – these users should ensure they have the latest download in order to receive this functionality.

 

“Can we get additional links to bus timetables, email, virtual desktop and other University services?”

Northamptonshire County Council have their own app (called NCC) for Android and iPhone, which was developed by staff here at the University. This already has live bus timetables, so we’d recommend you use this if you can. They also supply a text service to send bus times to your mobile.

We took the decision not to include email, as smartphones already include a tool to integrate this. We will be providing more guidance on how to setup email on devices in the Autumn release of iNorthampton.

Virtual desktop work is currently in development and will integrate this into iNorthampton as soon as it is released.

Where possible we will include links to University Services, but we will be maintaining a balance between iNorthampton just being full of links to the main University site and actually displaying data within the app itself.

 

“Please could we have more maps and opening times on iNorthampton?”

Currently the release includes maps for Park and Avenue campus. Maps are one of the reasons for the large size of the app as they are fully downloaded to be able to run offline. We are investigating alternative formats of maps and are currently looking at including town centre maps as part of the core download.

We hope to include opening times and (ideally) links to the restaurant menus in the summer release of iNorthampton.

“Could we have more use of texting for institutional messages?”

Northampton are currently investigating text messages through NILE this will be phased in during summer 2013.

If you would have any other comments on iNorthampton then please mail LTSupport@northampton.ac.uk

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This blog posting has relevance for all iNorthampton users (Apple, Android and Blackberry)

iNorthampton has been updated on Apple devices to ensure that it is compatible with the iPhone 5 and IOS 6. This update has made a fundamental change to the way in which NILE is accessed through the app.

icon for the University's iNorthampton app

Following the update, when you click onto the springboard link for Bb NILE you will be directed to a second app called Blackboard Mobile Learn (if you do not already have this app then you will be prompted to download it). This is an updated version of the tool which was previously embedded in iNorthampton.

The benefits of using Blackboard Mobile Learn means that:

  • NILE will format correctly on iPads
  • There is an enhanced link to notifications and announcements on your device
  • Ability for mobile formatted tests where appropriate

This change (in linking to Bb Mobile Learn) will be subsequently rolled out to Android users later in the year.

Changes to the way in which Blackberry users are supported

From April 30th, 2013 iNorthampton will cease to be supported as a Blackberry application. For more details on the reason for this – please see the Mobile Central Update. The advice for Blackberry users is to add a shortcut to iNorthampton from the home screen of your BlackBerry (add shortcut to home screen feature for Blackberry OS 6+). This will allow you to access Maps, Courses, News, Events, Library, Directory, Timetables and Get Help. In order to access NILE you should download Blackboard Mobile Learn for Blackberry

How do I add a shortcut to iNorthampton on BlackBerry?

  1. Visit  m.northampton.ac.uk in your BlackBerry’s browser.
  2. From the BlackBerry Menu, select “Add to Homescreen”.
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We are pleased to announce the latest release of iNorthampton which has been updated in response to staff and student feedback. This release builds on many of the requests which have been made, along with providing an excellent foundation for further development.

icon for the University's iNorthampton appGeneral Improvements based on feedback

“Need to be able to personalise the app more”

We have included the ability to define your role when using the app from the first launch. This puts a framework in place to enable us to deliver more personalised information in the future.
You are now able to rearrange the tools on the springboard to move the ones you use most to the top – or just to a new page (currently only available on iOS).

 

Specific improvements to current tools:

iNorthampton Maps iconYou want updates/improvements to Maps. “And maybe a campus walkthrough, using video or augmented reality”

The main campus maps have been updated and will continue to be updated as new maps are released.

We have made augmented reality functionality available for iNorthampton on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Users of these devices can now lay a map of key buildings on top of the picture they see on screen through their camera lens. This dynamically updates as the phone moves to reflect each building and its distance from the phone.

We are currently looking at a tour to be included in a later release.

You would like “to be able to check your library account and renew books”

The library website has become more ‘mobile friendly’ and you will be directed to this when you have conducted a search. You will see a link termed “View availability on Library Site” which will take you to the library site and allow you to login to check your account and renew books. We’re still looking into ways to bring these links into iNorthampton.

“There should be more content from the Students’ Union”

We have worked with the  Students’ Union to add SU news, the SU Youtube channel and SU photo galleries. You will see these when viewing the ‘news’, ‘videos’ and ‘images’ links from the springboard whilst in either the ‘Current Student’ or ‘Prospective Student’ profiles.

“I want to get notifications/reminders from NILE”

This is now available as part of a separate download of Blackboard Mobile Learn rather than being part of the app at this stage – we hope to bring it into iNorthampton very soon. The separate Mobile Learn App is recommended for iPad users in any case as it has been optimised for this device.

The link to NILE within iNorthampton will still provide mobile access to all of your sites on NILE and has been used in a number of pilot projects in The School of Arts and also Science and Technology.

“Why can’t I get NILE on my Blackberry?”

You can – but you have to get the separate Blackboard Mobile Learn app. It’s not possible to build this into another app on the Blackberry platform as it stands. We’re hoping that upcoming changes to the Blackberry operating system will allow us to improve the iNorthampton experience for Blackberry users.

iNorthampton Timetables iconImprovements to the timetable module – “I don’t want to have to log in every time, and should show more of my timetable when I do”

The iNorthampton link to timetables has been completely redesigned for Phase 2 and now allows:

  • The ability to pick any date in the academic year
  • Timetable location now links to Google Maps to assist with finding the building where room is located.
  • Improved help and advise

“Can we have a tool to report faults in halls?”

A telephone number has been included in the “Get Help” section of iNorthampton , and we are still investigating a more detailed GPS-based solution for a future development (sorry, no dates for this yet).

Suggestions for new features

“Please add bus times / traffic information / parking information / car sharing site / taxi numbers to the app”

Logo for the Northamptonshire County Council mobile appNorthamptonshire County Council have their own app (called NCC) for Android and iPhone, which was developed by staff here at the University. This already has live bus timetables, so we’d recommend you use this if you can. They also supply a text service to send bus times to your mobile. Sadly this does mean that  the NCC won’t let us use the timetable data, but we’re looking at including links to the timetables on the website, as well as to traffic information and the car sharing website.
At present we can’t collect the data for how many parking spaces are free at any one time on site, but we have asked Infrastructure Services to look into this for us.
The University does not have a recommended taxi company, so we won’t be supplying taxi numbers, sorry.

“The app should include email, and access to file storage”

We took the decision not to include email, as smartphones already include a tool to integrate this. File storage is a little more complex, as iOS devices in particular do not have an accessible folder structure where files are stored. There are a few web-based alternatives available though. Apart from files in NILE, you can also access documents stored on the web (or in cloud services like Google docs or Windows Live) through a mobile browser.

“It would be great to include links to other apps that are useful for learning”

We didn’t want to bulk out the app with these, as they may not all be relevant to all users. However when we find useful apps, we will be adding recommendations to our LearnTech blog. If you’d like to make a recommendation, or write a guest post, just let us know!

“Opening times and menus for the restaurants would be good, and links to offers from Greggs!”

We’re looking at adding ‘places of interest’ to the maps in phase 3, and this will include all the eating places, hopefully along with opening times and menus. If you want offers from Greggs, they will give them to you – but only in exchange for a like from your Facebook account.

“A tool which shows the nearest free PC would be good”

We are still awaiting further development in this area and will update iNorthampton when this becomes available.

……and finally

We are also pleased to announce that Northampton’s experience with iNorthampton has also featured in an international Blackboard marketing campaign.

The app has been downloaded over 13,600 times during the past year.

If you have further suggestions to share, they are always welcome. Send them to the team at mobilefeedback@northampton.ac.uk.

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