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. It 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.
You probably noticed a nice big welcome if you recently logged into NILE, as we’ve switched on a new social tool.
What are the new Cloud Profile Tools in NILE?
Using your Profile Card you can personalise your online presence in Blackboard by sharing a photo of yourself, information about your area of study/work, and an “about me” description.
The tool is optional, so if you don’t want to create a profile just yet, that’s fine, you’ll still be able to use the system. If you do complete your profile, your information will be saved to the cloud (on Blackboard’s servers – the product behind NILE) and your picture will appear in various places throughout NILE, such as Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals, and Wikis. When someone hovers over this picture, your profile card will automatically pop-up so they can learn more about you.
Your profile can appear in the new People Tool - a tool to help students, teaching staff and support staff put a face to your name, and when Social Profiles are enabled, connect with you. There are privacy options, so you can choose whether you want to keep your profile hidden, make it available to just the people who are enrolled into the same courses as you, or make it available to everyone at Northampton.
Your profile can also appear in the Posts page which displays the latest discussion, blog and wiki activity taking place in the courses you are enrolled in.
If you want to create a Profile Card:
You can edit your Blackboard profile from the Welcome screen – click Facebook, Twitter or ‘I’ll update it myself’. If you select ‘I’ll do it later’, you won’t see the welcome screen next time you log in – so you’ll need to click the profile icon in the global navigation bar (top right).
When you first create your profile, you have the option to start by pulling in information from Facebook or Twitter – such as your profile picture or the “about me” description. If you do choose to do this, you must make sure the information you pull in to share is suitable for this professional academic environment. Also be mindful of your own safety and don’t share anything too personal. We recommend you require others’ request permission to follow you.
You can also choose to add a link to your Facebook or Twitter profiles on your Blackboard Profile Card to help people who view your profile to connect with you outside of the Blackboard environment. Again this is entirely optional. If you don’t use these services, or want to keep them separate from your work at the University that is ok – you don’t need to link to these social networks for profiles to work.
You should note that if you use Twitter or Facebook to import details then a link will be made to your Twitter or Facebook homepage – you may wish to break this link after importing or change your security to prevent people viewing details which should be hidden!
Finally, you will be asked to add a personal email address to verify your account. This is because by creating a Cloud Profile, your information will be saved to Blackboard servers and you’ll have the option to use the same profile on other Blackboard platforms, perhaps if you take a MOOC on Coursesites, or work at another Institution. We recommend that you do not display your email address on your profile card. Staff and students at the University will be able to contact you via your Northampton email address should they need to.
In addition to all of the functionality added above, we have also enable the Cloud Spaces feature in NILE. You may access this from the NILE Global Navigation at the top right of your NILE screen.
Spaces are simple social areas that anyone can set up. They are not connected to a course or module area, and can even include people from other institutions that use Blackboard Spaces. Students working on a group project might want to set up a Space to share links to resources and thoughts with each other. Perhaps a group with a niche interest might want to connect with other like-minded people from other institutions.
If you want to learn more before you decide whether to use these features you can check out the videos and information pages provided by Blackboard:
- Blackboard Quick Hit Video – Profiles
- Blackboard Help Website – Profiles
- Blackboard Help Website – Spaces
- Blackboard Help Website – Social Learning Tools FAQs
We are really interested in how you find this new tools. Please contact the LearnTech team if you have any questions.
On the 10th February from 11am till 2pm, representatives from Library and Learning Services (LearnTech, Academic Librarians, CfAP and Collections) will be available in the Park Library Tpod. You may turn up at any point between these times and stay for as long as you wish.
The event is based around an open format where you will be able to talk to representatives about any of the items raised in the recent staff School Technology survey such as:
- Lecture Capture using Panopto
- Video streaming using Kaltura
- Enhanced features in NILE (e.g. Groups / Collaborative Tools)
- Reading lists using Talis Aspire
- Understanding digitising resources
Academic Librarians will be on hand to offer support and answer your questions about Talis Aspire, the Skills Hub, NELSON and subject specialist databases.
You will also be able to see (and have a go) on the demonstration Smart Table which will be available during this time.
Coffee and tea will be available during this time.
If you would like to attend between these times then please signup
WizIQ (the tool which allows for the creation of a virtual classroom) has been upgraded on NILE. The upgrade will allow for:
1. Scheduling recurring classes.
2. Cancel recurring class instances.
3. View recording.
4. Delete Recording.
5. View attendance report.
6. Download attendance report.
If you are interested in knowing more about WizIQ then please contact the Learning Technology Team.
The list below represents the scheduled sessions however they can be run as a bespoke session for three or more staff at any mutually convenient time.
(Link to the UK PSF – A3, K4)
This session is for both staff who are new to the Submission and Grading Electronically (SaGE) Project and those who need a refresher on the current process. The event will cover 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. (12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus
Adding value to your SaGE experiences
(Link to the UK PSF – A3, K4, K5)
Available for staff who already have SaGE experience but would like to attend a small group session to review their current processes and make sure that the most up to date processes and recommendations are being used. The session may look at aspects of the full SaGE workflow (including grades to SATs, Smart Views for the External and external moderation). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus
(Limited to 4 places)
SaGE – Providing quality feedback using rubrics
(Link to the UK PSF – A3, K4, V2)
A dedicated session for those who have already attended the SaGE Essentials session and are confident with the basic SaGE workflow. The event will focus on both Turnitin and NILE rubrics. Rubrics are useful for various styles of marking and can be used for qualitative and quantitative feedback.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
Using the NILE assignment submission area and managing groups
(Link to the UK PSF – A3, K4, V1)
A dedicated session for those who have already attended the SaGE Essentials session and are confident with the basic SaGE workflow. This event will focus on the NILE assignment submission area which may be used for both individuals and groups. (12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus
NILE Essentials – Making the most of your NILE site
(Link to the UK PSF – A4, K4, V2)
This session will introduce the NILE sites which are being used for all module and course areas. Find out the Top Ten most common mistakes with existing NILE sites and how to avoid them to improve the student experience. Attendees will develop confidence with working in their NILE area to add new and exciting content.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
NILE – Encouraging collaboration and NILE interaction using Blogs, Discussion Boards, Journals and Wikis
(Link to the UK PSF – A2, K2, V1)
This session will allow participants to explore the Blogs, Journals, Discussion Boards and Wikis tools inside NILE which encourage greater collaboration.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
NILE – Developing assessments using Tests and Pools
(Link to the UK PSF – A3, K4)
This session will explore the test, survey and question pool tools within NILE. There is a range of functionality which provides the option of auto marked formative and summative assessment with question choices like multiple choice and fill in the blanks. These tools may be used with features such as adaptive release and the performance dashboard to allow greater student interaction with content and a higher level of tutor understanding of student engagement.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
NILE – Understanding and working with the NILE Grade Centre
(Link to the UK PSF – K4, K5)
This session will explore the NILE Grade Centre where all grades created by students within NILE are held and managed. In addition to being the link between NILE and the Student Record System, this tool allows you to manage the student view of grades, collate grades between assignments and manage grades and feedback on physical artefacts and performances/presentations.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
Recording lectures and creating videos for students using Panopto
(Link to the UK PSF – A2, K2, K4)
Find out about the most recent advances which will allow you to capture individual student presentations or whole lectures. The session will provide an introduction to Panopto. (12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
Working with sound and video using Kaltura
(Link to the UK PSF – A2, K2, K4)
Find out about the most recent advances which will allow you to upload and share videos using the tool embedded in NILE (Kaltura). This tool may be used as part of the SaGE process to allow for video submissions.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
Making best use of smartboards
(Link to the UK PSF – A2,K2,K4)
Many opportunities now exist to increase the amount of student interaction within traditional lectures. Smartboards are located in many of the teaching spaces but are often only used to display PowerPoints. This event will introduce the range of tools which allow the Smartboard to ‘come alive’. This event will provide practical experience on using these tools.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
Increasing in class session interaction using the voting handsets
(Link to the UK PSF – A2, K2, V2)
Many opportunities now exist to increase the amount of student interaction within traditional lectures. Voting handsets may be used to increase the amount of feedback students provide within sessions. This event will provide practical experience on using these tools.(12 places). All sessions will be run in the Tpod at Park Campus.
All of the sessions above are also available on request for bespoke events (such as for Subject group training). Please contact your Learning Technologist or mail LearnTech@northampton.ac.uk for details on arranging these.
Monday saw the second iteration of the App Cafe – a new drop-in lunchtime session in the Tpod, run by the Learning Technology team and looking at how we can use apps in the learning and teaching context. This week’s starters included a second look using Dropbox for Cloud storage and some syncing issues, but the main course was a meaty demonstration of the new Turnitin app for iPad.
The most difficult thing that anyone will find with this app is the initial syncing of NILE modules to the iPad, but that is only because it involves an additional step in the SaGE workflow.
Syncing involves generating a class code which is possible using your desktop pc / laptop from within one of the Turnitin papers on the module you are marking. Simply click on the ‘new’ iPad icon at the bottom left of the screen and then Generate code. Once you have the 16-letter code you need to enter it into the app. You don’t need to login with your Turnitin username as most staff don’t have one of this (it isn’t your NILE login!) The code will link that module to your iPad and then you are ready to go.
If you are used to using an iPad then this app is very intuitive – so intuitive that we don’t think you need a help guide on it! Just have a go and see how you get on. The functionality is better than that on a pc as you can take full advantage of iPad features like touch screen technology to add or create a quick mark, Siri to enter the text both for existing and new Quick Marks, longer in-text comments or the full text comment at the end. Voice comments as found in the desktop version of Turnitin are still possible but obviously Siri makes using voice much quicker and easier in the standard QM/text comments as well. So even typing may be a thing of the past!
One other major advantage of the app is that once you have downloaded the papers you can mark offline. So no more paying for wi-fi so that you can do your marking when on holiday, or when abroad working as International Flying Faculty! Simply sync, download, mark and then re-sync when you next have a (free) signal.
Roshni Khatri, Senior Lecturer in Occupation Therapy, has been using the app for a while now and has this to say about it:
“The Turnitin App gives me the flexibility to mark where and when I want to without the need for a WIFI connection. The user friendly interface allows me to give feedback, use comments, rubrics and sync grades without any fuss. Makes marking easier but enables tutors to continue giving high quality feedback!”
The Turnitin iPad app is honestly the best thing since sliced bread – and you won’t find that on the menu at the App Cafe!
The App Cafe is on the 1st Monday of every month, from 1-2 in the TPod, Park Library. Next meeting: 6th January 2014. Bring your lunch and your mobile device (this isn’t just about iPads you know!) We will provide coffee and tea.
On the 31st October, 2013, Rob Howe was invited to Education 3.0 in Moscow to present on the strategic development of Learning Technology at The University of Northampton.
Rob was the only speaker from the UK and joined speakers from leading Russian institutions: FEFU, KAI, LGU, MISiS, and Ural Mining to an audience of Rectors, Provosts, Heads of IT.
The forum was part of a major education exhibition, hosted by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, Government of Moscow and the Moscow Department of Education. The goal was to enhance the access to, and quality of, education through public-private partnership, promoting international best practices that will boost the personal and professional development of individuals.
The Russian government has earmarked £178 million to enable its leading national universities to break into the top 100 in the global league tables. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, announced plans that would see at least five of the country’s universities enter the top 100 by 2020. Education 3.0 was part of a number of events which are encouraging institutions to be more innovative in their outlook.
There was a real interest in the Learning Technology work and developments at Northampton including our Changemaker status…..and surprisingly a question on the Northampton clown during the drinks reception ! As a result of the presentations, Northampton has already had requests for greater collaboration and potential sharing of resources between ourselves and Russian institutions.
Providing Mobile Access to Learning and Teaching
The Learning Technology team are pleased to announce a new monthly lunchtime event for all staff at the University of Northampton.
With more and more people accessing the internet via mobile devices, The App Cafe provides an opportunity to look at the implications of mobile devices and apps in HE and how we can better use them in learning and teaching. This first App Cafe will look at the top five essentials for going mobile and consider some different apps that you can start to use easily in a learning and teaching context.
We want to hear from you. This is a participative ‘by you, for you’ event with an opportunity each month to share the apps you already use in the classroom with fellow staff across all disciplines.
With take-aways like ‘Your 5-a-month’ (top apps for learning and teaching), coffee and even cake, this is one lunchtime event in LLS you shouldn’t miss.
First Monday of the month, starting 4th November 2013 | 1-2pm | in the TPod, Park Library
Book your place by signing up today: https://theappcafe.eventbrite.co.uk
We hope to see you there!
Following the NILE upgrade over the summer, some NILE sites have been responding badly to the use of styles and the menu area has changed to black on black. Blackboard are aware of the issue and will fix it in a subsequent upgrade.
In the interim, if you find your site affected, follow these steps:
1. Open the Site Manager, customisation, site style menu item
2. Chose a contrasting background or type in ‘dedede’ into the code value box for a standard ‘NILE Grey’ background.
3. ‘Submit’ to save changes
Apologies for the inconvenience – we will make another posting or announcement when this is fixed.
Business School lecturer Maggie Anderson is a recent convert to the benefits of using Discussion Boards in NILE to increase her efficiency by vastly reducing the amount of email traffic she receives from students about module related issues, particularly where there is a large student cohort. During a CAIeRO session Maggie commented on the difficulties of repeat email traffic. Her case study reflects on the successes of introducing a Frequently Asked Questions forum and how she has adopted this approach more widely in other modules. She also reflects on the wider pedagogical benefits she observed as a result. Read her case study to find out more!
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