Between July 21st 3pm BST and July 22nd 3am BST , NILE will be upgraded to the latest version. For any issues with timings please contact Rob Howe
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/05/05/nile-summer-upgrade-2013/
2013/14 NILE sites now available
The 2013/14 NILE sites are now available to use and area based on the template discussed at SSECs
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/03/13/201314-nile-site-templates/
Organising your courses and modules in the sites box within NILE
To make ‘My Sites’ far more useable, click the cog icon at the top right – then tick the box next to ‘Group by Term’ to arrange sites by academic year. You may also wish to untick any sites you do not need to see on the homepage; and/or click and drag in the first column to change the order the sites are listed in.
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/05/07/organise-your-my-sites-box-on-your-nile-homepage/
Planning for 2013/14 NILE sites
Rachel McCart is working with the team till July to assist academic staff with migrating and setting up NILE sites for the 2013/14 academic year. She is specifically, administrating site copies, merging modules and setting up Turnitin for 13/14 NILE modules – requests for work on modules within the current academic year are being dealt with by the rest of the team.
For more details: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/03/13/201314-nile-site-templates/
Assisting with status updates and Turnitin submissions
The LearnTech team have added a widget in the top right corner of the NILE screen to display the current time and date in the UK. This is to help overseas students to determine the correct deadlines to work to for online submission.
We have also added a box on the login page to notify users that the NILE and Turnitin services are (or are not) working normally. We will change the image to a red cross if there are any problems with either of the systems. At all other times a green tick will be displayed.
New Library Account Service
The new ‘My Library Account’ box embeds live library account information onto your NILE homepage.
More details: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/04/17/new-%E2%80%98my-library-account%E2%80%99-service/
LearnTech Training sessions
A range of training to assist staff with SaGE, NILE and other learning technologies is now available.
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/04/24/learntech-training-may-june-2013/
Video – Out with the old and in with the new
The University has now acquired the Kaltura Video Streaming platform which is used by institutions worldwide and will provide a solid base for future work involving video along with a tight integration into NILE. As part of the migration to this new tool, LearnTech are phasing out the old Video Library Server (VLS) which has been used in the past. All those who have uploaded content onto this service have been contacted and advised on the process to transfer files.
For an overview of Kaltura please look at http://corp.kaltura.com/
SaGE (Submission and Grading Electronically)
Results of SaGE survey and further planning
SaGE survey and feedback are now available on the SaGE blog
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/sage/2013/05/05/sage-survey-findings-and-moving-forward/
Results of 2012/13 mobile survey
The results of the 2012/13 mobile survey are now available and are informing future developments of iNorthampton and mobile services more generally at Northampton.
More details at: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/2013/04/19/2013-mobile-survey-%E2%80%93-response-and-actions/
LearnTech Staffing and Communications update
Since the last newsletter, Rob Davis has left the team and been replaced by Simon Thompson. Simon will pick up responsibilities as key contact for Social Sciences.
Rachel McCart is working with the team till July to assist staff with migrating and setting up NILE sites for the 2013/14 academic year. She is specifically, administrating site copies, merging modules and setting up Turnitin for 13/14 NILE modules – requests for work on modules within the current academic year are being dealt with by the rest of the team.
The full team list is at: http://www.northampton.ac.uk/info/200309/technology-enhanced-learning/1160/contact-us
A new support email address has been created for the team for any Learning Technology related issues (LearnTech@northampton.ac.uk) . All emails sent to the old LTSupport email address are now being forwarded on to the new address.
Between July 21st 3pm BST and July 22nd 3am BST , NILE will be upgraded to the latest version.
Currently Northampton are on Blackboard 9.1 service pack 9. The upgrade will take us up to service pack 12.
Whilst during the academic year mainly security fixes are applied, annually we need to ensure that NILE is at the most stable version with the latest features to benefit staff and students. Our hosting contract provides us with at least 99.9% availability for NILE 365 days a year providing we ensure that we maintain our version.
The new version contains new functionality which will be of use to staff and students and ensure that NILE is maintained as an advanced virtual learning environment to maximise the student experience.
For more details on the main changes then please follow the links below. Major new features were included in service packs 10 and 12. Service pack 11 just included a number of minor improvements. Please note that the July upgrade may not contain all of the changes depending on the feedback from the focus group.
*SP 11 was a maintenance service pack that included fixes and improvements to features introduced in Service Pack 10.
A list is available for those that wish to check browser compatibility with SP12.
A staff and student focus group is being consulted on the changes which are being introduced. If you would like to join this group then please contact Rob.Howe@northampton.ac.uk.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com) 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
On the 1st April the new module and programme / course NILE sites were created for the 2013/14 academic year.
These were based on the templates which have been discussed at the February and March University and School Student Experience Committees (SSECs).
If you wish to view the templates for yourself then please follow the links for either the:
Please note that the staff guidance areas shown on the templates will not be shown to students in the final versions.
As part of the preparations for populating the new NILE sites, module leaders are being contacted to provide details on any NILE sites which may be merged together to allow for easier administration. Support is also available to staff with regards to copying materials from previously used sites and setting up submission areas for students. A dedicated NILE Administrator is in post until July to assist with these tasks. Staff will still be required to be responsible for ensuring that material on the sites is current and correctly structured prior to their cohorts starting.
Comments on the templates outside of the SSECs should be made to LTSupport@northampton.ac.uk by 25th March.
Introduction and Overview
Transition Out (TO?) was a six month intensive investigation (Jan – June 2012) funded as part of the URB@N project looking at how students want to use (or are already using) technology which will assist as they look towards completing their course and moving into employment or other future opportunities. This could be any type of technology ranging from mobile devices, social networking and cloud services. Students may not realise that the activities they are doing will assist with their transitions – they might be actively collaborating with peers (Ellison et al, 2007), using time management or planning tools, or generally enhancing their skills and experience using a range of technology. The work builds from the LLIDA (JISC, 2009) and SLiDA (JISC, 2010) investigation of supporting learners in a digital age.
Key Results (n=214)
5 Key Messages For Students
From the data which has been gathered so far, teams which support students (e.g. Careers and Library) will be able to refine their support, engagement and provision. Those involved in the development and running of courses will be provided with further guidance and support to consider how development of the digital literacy of the cohort will impact on their ability to gain future opportunities on leaving. Provision should be integrated into the student experience rather than being seen as a bolt-on.
PDF of presentation made at Employer Engagement in a Digital Age – 4th July 2012 (University of Greenwich)
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C. (2007), The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00367.x/full [Accessed 30th March, 2012]
JISC (2009), Learning Literacies in a Digital Age [online]. Available from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/projects/elearningllida.aspx [Accessed 30th March, 2012]
JISC (2009), Study of how UK FE and HE institutions are supporting effective learners in a digital age [online]. Available from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/slida.aspx [Accessed 30th March, 2012]
Rossi, N. (2011), Social Networking: Professional standards and boundaries must be maintained when you are online. Available from: http://www.nmc-uk.org/Documents/NMC-Review/NMCReview_issue4.pdf Page 8. [Accessed 30th March, 2012].
Rob Howe and Penelope Stanton
Following our successful bid to the Leadership Foundation, under the Changing the Learning Landscape scheme, Professor Megan Quentin-Baxter from Newcastle University visited Northampton on 17 January, where she held meeting with a range of colleagues interested in the Open Northampton project.
She delivered an introductory session on open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP), attended by 25 representatives from our staff and students.
As a result of consultation with various groups during the session, Megan collated some of the collective thoughts around what are some of the key terms with reference to OERs and OEPs; Some of the dreams and nightmares; and some of the enablers and barriers.
Megan will compile a structured plan to develop and enhance staff and students’ digital literacies in relation to open educational resources and associated practices, both as users and contributors.
Megan’s next visits will be a one-day workshop on OER and OEP to be held in MY120 (Avenue Campus) on 28 January, and then another one on 12 February at Sunley . We invite colleagues to consider attending these sessions. Please let Professor A Armellini (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you are attending so adequate catering arrangements can be made.
We look forward to working with you on Open Northampton.
The Open Northampton project aims to put the university on the global map of open educational resources (OER) and develop appropriate open practices in curriculum design and delivery. Approval by UET was obtained and work has begun on a number of fronts. A bid was secured from the Leadership Foundation, which will provide the university with consultancy time led by Professor Megan Quentin-Baxter of Newcastle University. Megan is well known in the field of OER. She and Tim Seale of the Open University will be running sessions on various aspects of open practices at Northampton. Their contribution will be valuable to get the Open Northampton project off the ground, and to raise awareness of OER across the university.
Sessions will be held on 17 and 28 January, 12 and 20 February, 5 and 20 March. We would very much encourage colleagues to participate in these sessions. For further details, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Usher left the team at the end of June 2012 and Adel Gordon subsequently moved into the role of supporting Science and Technology. Rob Farmer moved into the role of supporting Arts.
Belinda Green joined the team on 17th September as dedicated Learning Technologist for The School of Education (funded by the School). This is similar to Andy Stenhouse who is funded by The School of Health and is their dedicated Learning Technologist. Al Holloway maintains a central position with a supporting role for Education and Health – working with Belinda and Andy.
Rachel Maxwell joined the team on a part time (0.8) post on the 5th November and is picking up support for NBS from Adel Gordon.
We currently have a vacancy for Rob Davis’ post as he left on the 21st December. The interviews for this post will be held on 8th February and the successful person will pick up support for Social Sciences. This work is currently being distributed between current central team members.
From left to right (Rob Howe, Belinda Green, Rachel Maxwell, Andy Stenhouse, Rob Farmer, Adel Gordon)
Al Holloway was not available for the photo.
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.
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?
- Visit m.northampton.ac.uk in your BlackBerry’s browser.
- From the BlackBerry Menu, select “Add to Homescreen”.
NILE is now 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.
In January 2012, a framework was produced which covers the minimum standards which are expected on a NILE site. This was taken to University SEC on 1st March, 2012 and subsequently used as the basis for the new NILE templates which were developed for the 2012/13 academic year. As indicated by the communication sent out on 11th September, 2012, NILE sites will be reviewed against the checklist in the first instance to identify the range of content available to students.
The review, based on a series of standard questions, will feedback information to the module leaders regarding content which should be added to the site along with any action which is required to remove old material; duplicated menu buttons; or other items which may cause confusion to students.
The outputs of the review of NILE sites will be used to inform further planning regarding the use of modules guides and whether they are still required.
Initially the quality team will focus on a sample of modules from each School in discussion with the associate deans. However it is anticipated that all sites will eventually be checked. If there are any items which need clarification (such as which site is currently being used) then tutors may be contacted. A 5 minute rule has been implemented in that if material is not found within 5 minutes of looking for it then it will be classed as not present on the site.
This review will ensure that sites are meeting the foundation level of quality in the first instance. Further discussions are in progress to refine the content required to meet higher levels of standard.
The developmental work around the quality of NILE sites will enable the University to ‘develop systematic approaches to the use of the virtual learning environment across the University in the interests of parity of student learning opportunities’, a recommendation from the last QAA Institutional Audit in June 2009.
Should you require further information on this work then please contact either Lee Jones (x3001) or Rob Howe (x2483)
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