Currently viewing the tag: "NILE"

Do you want to make better use of NILE/ NILE tools to enhance your students’ learning experience? Are you currently using some but not all of the tools, want to find out more, receive updates or refresh your skills? Do you want to hear on what and how your peers are working using UN-supported LearnTech tools? Then please sign up for one or more of the following NEW LearnTech lunchtimes, details below. Feel free to bring along your own lunch – tea and coffee will be provided.

SaGE Updates –

Tuesday 29 November – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Tuesday 17 January – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Monday 13 February – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

This session is for staff who need a refresher on the current process with regards to Submission and Grading Electronically (SaGE). The hour may dip into but is not restricted to the following topics such as the SaGE workflow including marking in Turnitin; passing grades to the NILE grade centre; downloading grades to send to the SATs; and working with the External Examiner.

Please sign up here:

Kaltura/ MediaSpace (video) –

Tuesday 6 December – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus,  Library, Tpod

Monday 23 January – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Wednesday 22 February – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

As the University has now moved to a single video solution in Kaltura (MediaSpace), this is a chance for those who have already started to engage with this tool and those as yet to experience it. The following areas may cover an introduction to MediaSpace; video capture using CaptureSpace; uploading video to MediaSpace; embedding video content in NILE; using quizzes in Kaltura.

Please sign up here:

Collaborate (Virtual Classroom) –

Wednesday 14 December – 12:00-13:00 – Park Campus, Library, IT Training Room – please note the different time & location of this session

Monday 30 January – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Tuesday 28 February – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

This session will introduce those new to using online virtual classrooms (Northampton is licensed for Collaborate: Ultra Experience) as well as for those who are curious to learn about new functionalities now available in the tool. Topics may cover some of the following: setting up the tool in your NILE sites; inviting attendees; sharing files/ applications/ the virtual whiteboard; running a virtual classroom session; moderating sessions; recording sessions; break-out rooms.

Please sign up here:

MyPad / Edublogs (blogging tool)  –

Thursday 12 January – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Thursday 9 February – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

Monday 6 March – 12:30-13:30 – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

MyPad (Edublogs) is the University’s personal and academic (WordPress) blogging tool and can be used in a number of ways to communicate and share learning resources. Topics covered may include: creation of individual / class student blogs; use of menus/ media; blog administration within modules; creation of class websites.

Please sign up here:

Spaces are limited, so do not delay, book today!

In addition the following training sessions are currently scheduled for Xerte – N.B. these are 2.5 hours in duration:

Xerte (online content creation tools) – Park Campus, Library, Tpod

30 November 2016 – 10:00-12:30

14 December 2016 – 14:00-16:30

5 January 2017 – 14:00-16:30

26 January 2017 – 10:00-12:30

10 February 2017 – 10:00-12:30

1 March 2017 – 14:00-16:30 Library, IT Training Room – please note the different location of this session

Xerte e-learning software is the University supported tool used to create interactive e-learning and online content. In this training session you will be introduced to the software templates, features and tools available to enable you to produce an interactive e-learning session.  You will also benefit from hints and tips, technical advice and items relevant to developing e-content generally.  

Places are limited to six per session.  Contact: for more details and to book a place or sign up here:

Unable to attend on these dates? More will be offered on a rolling basis so watch this space. In the meantime, please visit our NILE Guides and FAQs.

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Our Panopto license has now expired. As already described, all content is in the process of being migrated over to MediaSpace (Kaltura) and will be found at

Thanks to those of you who have already reached out to LearnTech and worked with the team to ensure that all of your video content remains accessible to your students via your NILE sites. No further action should be necessary on your part.

If you have not managed to meet with us, you should be able to replace the Panopto links in your NILE sites as follows:

  1. Go into the NILE module which has a Panopto link

  2. Click on the Tools button

  3. Select Kaltura Media from the menu

  4. Wait a few moments to see your videos displayed on screen

  5. Choose the video you want to link to in the module and click Select *

  6. The next screen lets you edit the Title of the video link

  7. Now click the Submit button

  8. Your MediaSpace video is now live on your NILE site

  9. Check the MediaSpace video plays by clicking Watch Media

  10. Finally, you can now delete the old Panopto link by selecting the drop-down arrow beside the Panopto video link

*If when you select Kaltura Media, the corresponding video does not display, please contact and we will be happy to find the original file to add it to your account.

In going forward, should you require support in using MediaSpace, training can either provided by your assigned Learning Technologist or you can attend one of the Team’s new LearnTech Lunchtime sessions that will be advertised shortly.

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To all NILE users, we are aware that there is an issue with the timer function in Blackboard Tests in NILE where a limited number of students are experiencing premature submission prior to end of the test: Blackboard are aware and are working on a fix.


In the interim, where possible tutors are advised not to set the timer when setting up tests and where this is unavoidable, students are advised to use Google Chrome to minimise this occurrence.


If students are still experiencing this problem, please get in touch with your tutor in the first instance. Tutors can refer to We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but please be reassured that we are working on a solution with Blackboard.

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Over the past few months there are a range of blog postings and updates which have been collated below for information and easy access:

NILE and SaGE updates

NILE summer upgrade 2016

Moving away from Panopto

NILE 2016-7 – rolling out and onwards – new templates available for use

NILE guides have been enhanced with a completely revised layout and updated content

Update on NILE quality standards 2016-17

Best NILE Site – Student Teaching and Representation Awards 2016

SaGE – March Update – Dissertation Marking / Exempting Grades / Health and Safety


Pedagogical / developmental discussions

Have you heard about the CAIeRO and wondered what it was? Have a look at this posting on Demystifying the CAIeRO

 Are you still referencing preferred learning styles? – perhaps time to think again

Neuromyths in education


Staff Case Studies

Blended Learning and Physical Volcanology with Professor Nick Petford

Xerte software receives praise from Karen Brasher, Lecturer in the School of Health 

Using Trello to Enhance Teaching and Learning in Fashion

Supporting understanding and engagement through continuous assessment

George Dimmock on How the Academic Librarians can help you. 

Anne Misselbrook on content development with Xerte

Kate Swinton (CfAP) on Effective Feedback

Hannah Rose (Academic Librarian) on Aspire Reading Lists

Ali Ewing on Peer Observation

Emma Rose: Flipped Classroom

James Smith: Blended Learning in Studio Based Modules

Sylvie Lomer (CfAP) on Active and blended learning

Education E-tivity Development: Tanya Richardson & Claire Dugan-Clements

James Underwood (Principal Lecturer in Teachers’ CPD) demonstrating an essay planning technique

‘Blogging for students’ case study video

Assessed Online Debates using discussion boards in NILE

Exploring innovative digital approaches to assessment project 

Science and Technology Research in Pedagogy (STRiPe) blog

Blogs for Assessment in History with alternating ‘classroom’ and ‘online’ fortnightly structure.

Using Pinterest for Aesthetic Development: Elizabeth Palmer

How to be a page-turner for the right reasons!

Watering down Waterside

Designing e-tivities: some lessons learnt by trial and error!

Making an impact in open education

Employability support for Geography students


Staffing updates

 Welcome to new staff in the Learning Technology Team

Grateful student appreciates Learning Technology support


For any questions regarding the above articles then contact your Learning Technologists or email

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This summer, we’re moving away from using the Panopto system to expand and extend the use of our Kaltura MediaSpace platform.

We have enjoyed an excellent service from Panopto, but based on a number of factors, including lots of feedback from staff, we’ve decided to move away from Panopto and instead use our MediaSpace platform to support all our video capture, storage and streaming needs going forward to Waterside. This means we’re going to migrate your content out of Panopto and onto MediaSpace over this summer. So, if you use currently Panopto, can we ask that you do not create any new materials from now on, and instead start using MediaSpace instead.

If you’re new to MediaSpace then there are some useful Help videos at, like this video and we are happy to run training sessions and 1:1’s on request, or you can email if you have specific questions.

Please note, you will not be able to access Panopto beyond 8th July 2016. The videos in NILE will still be viewable by students, but staff will not be able to record any new videos.

There will be more communication from us, to ensure your content is transferred smoothly and that you are confident using the MediaSpace platform but if you have any questions, then please get in touch.

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As in previous years, LearnTech have been working with colleagues in Curriculum and IT on the creation of new NILE course (programme) and module sites for the forthcoming academic year, only this year with a twist: instead of routinely copying over all teaching materials from earlier site iterations, we are taking this opportunity to review and ‘spring clean’ legacy content, particularly with a nod to the course evaluation and redesign coming out of recent CAiEROs.

NILE 2016-17 module template

NILE 2016-17 module template

The updated and fresh NILE template, proposed at (and tweaked on the back of consultations with) the SEC (Student Experience Committee) on 24th February and with the Learning and Teaching Forum, has resulted in the creation of  4,251 ‘clean’ sites, now ready and already receiving content.

Following the updated minimum NILE standards, LearnTech and Academic Librarians have so far worked with colleagues from the Schools of Education and Health running a total of 11 sessions covering changes to the template; reviewing and copying relevant content; checking curriculum data and reading lists and populating sites ready for the new student intake.

The Team is now working on the roll-out to the Business School and is in contact with subject leads from the Schools of Social Sciences, Arts and SciTech, identifying local support needs, creating online resources to help guide site population and working with colleagues from other University support teams to ensure everything is set up and in place for the new academic year – where possible, before the summer vacation strikes!

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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 20th April, 2016 and subsequently used as the basis for the new NILE templates which were developed for the 2016/17 academic year.

As noted at SEC on the 24th February,  it was proposed to enhance the provision of NILE sites for students in four key areas during 2016/17:

  • To respond to on-going staff and student feedback to enhance sites to reduce queries. Colour schemes and other features to enhance accessibility will be addressed where possible.
  • To use external data where available to reduce manual setup / checking. Staff will be automatically added to sites where possible based on data from the previous year. Prompts to set up assignments in the “Submit your work” area will provide information sourced from the Curriculum system.
  • To provide clean sites and work in central teams to work in partnership with tutors to only copy over required information. This will reduce storage needs and also reduce chance of displaying old information on sites. Specific days will be provided for academic teams to work with Learntech to copy content from the previous year and look at ways to enhance existing and new materials.
  • Use of Learntech, CfAP, Academic Librarians, Curriculum and Records teams to work with tutors to ensure sites are ready for 16/17 delivery. Sites will be merged where feasible to reduce the total number of sites viewed by tutors and ensure that students are not left on sites which are not being used for delivery.
When working with NILE sites tutors are guided to review some of the comments made by students as part of the STAR awards. This demonstrates some of the key items which students are looking for when working within NILE.
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On 17th March, 2016, Roy Wallace (Senior Lecturer in Media Production – School of the Arts) was presented with the Best NILE Site Award as part of the Student Teaching and Representation (STAR) Awards evening.

Roy Wallace collects STAR award

(left to right) Roy Wallace collecting his award from Rob Howe (Head of Learning Technology)


The full report on the event produced by Student Union President, Victor Agboola noted that NILE is now an ‘essential part of the student online experience’. he went on to note that ‘…a prominent theme found in the nominations was that students recognised the value in a regularly updating NILE sites. Students praised the lecturers who upload the lecture content before the lecture even takes place, and having the sites well-organised throughout the year. It was found that students then had the opportunity to do some wider research which then allows them to contribute more in both lecturers and seminars.’ Some of the student comments on each of the nominees is also available

The other tutors who were highly commended within this category were:

  • Anoop Bhogal Nair – Northampton Business School
  • Tony Smith Howell – School of Education
  • Claire Allen – School of the Arts
  • Greg Spellman – School of Science & Technology
  • Simon Sneddon – School of Social Science
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[Posted on behalf of Elizabeth Palmer]

When starting to make online activities for blended learning there is a temptation to take content that is currently being delivered face-to-face in lectures (through software such as Powerpoint) and moving that content into an online format where the students are ‘digitally page turning’ through material: read or watch x, y and z before class.
The learning and teaching plan for blended learning is that we are creating interactive activities that support students towards developing their own knowledge, understanding and creating outputs that can then be used in class. In other words we are trying to flip the focus away from tutor created content that the student must passively absorb, to student-led interactive and created content.

Any content provided to students should be done in an interactive, discovery based way i.e. rather than telling them the answer we allow them to discover the answer through questioning, testing, trialling, problem solving etc. online and then reinforce and develop this face to face. If you are trying out e-tivities for the first time Xerte can be a useful package to start this process. Have a look at these two examples of using Xerte to make interactive activities on academic skills: here and here. Whilst they are not necessarily perfect, they demonstrate how you can use Xerte’s functionality to create knowledge checking, interactive exercises that you could then build on in class or use as a basis for students to undertake a more complex task.

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Between Saturday 19th December 10:30pm GMT and Sunday 20th December 10:30am GMT , NILE will be upgraded to the latest stable version. It will be unavailable between these times.

Northampton is currently on Blackboard April 2014  and will be upgraded to the October 2014 release. This version jumps one release above our current point and will ensure that we remain within contracted support. There are no new significant features but there will be security updates.

All users of NILE should ensure that browsers are updated to keep within the supported levels.

Whilst during the academic year 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 security updates to ensure that NILE is maintained as an advanced virtual learning environment to maximise the student experience.

Please contact if there are any comments or questions around the upgrade process.

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