Dr Cleo Cameron (Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice)
Course Structure Tool
I used the guide prepared by the University’s Learning Technology Team (AI Design Assistant) to help me use this new AI functionality in Blackboard Ultra courses. The guide is easy to follow with useful steps and images to help the user make sense of how to deploy the new tools. Pointing out that AI-generated content may not always be factual and will require assessment and evaluation by academic staff before the material is used is an important point, and well made in the guide.
The course structure tool on first use is impressive. I used the key word ‘cybercrime’ and chose four learning modules with ‘topic’ as the heading and selected a high level of complexity. The learning modules topic headings and descriptions were indicative of exactly the material I would include for a short module.
I tried this again for fifteen learning modules (which would be the length of a semester course) and used the description, ‘Cybercrime what is it, how is it investigated, what are the challenges?’ This was less useful, and generated module topics that would not be included on the cybercrime module I deliver, such as ‘Cyber Insurance’ and a repeat of both ‘Cybercrime, laws and legislation’ and ‘Ethical and legal Implications of cybercrimes. So, on a smaller scale, I found it useful to generate ideas, but on a larger semesterised modular scale, unless more description is entered, it does not seem to be quite as beneficial. The auto-generated learning module images for the topic areas are very good for the most part though.
AI & Unsplash Images
Once again, I used the very helpful LearnTech guide to use this functionality. To add a course banner, I selected Unsplash and used ‘cybercrime’ as a search term. The Unsplash images were excellent, but the scale was not always great for course banners. The first image I used could not get the sense of a keyboard and padlock, however, the second image I tried was more successful, and it displayed well as the course tile and banner on the course. Again, the tool is easy to use, and has some great content.
I also tried the AI image generator, using ‘cybercrime’ as a search term/keyword. The first set of images generated were not great and did not seem to bear any relation to the keyword, so I tried generating a second time and this was better. I then used the specific terms ‘cyber fraud’ and ‘cyber-enabled fraud’, and the results were not very good at all – I tried generating three times. I tried the same with ‘romance fraud’, and again, the selection was not indicative of the keywords. The AI generated attempt at romance fraud was better, although the picture definition was not very good.
Test Question Generation
The LearnTech guide informed the process again, although having used the functionality on the other tools, this was similar. The test question generation tool was very good – I used the term ‘What is cybercrime?’ and selected ‘Inspire me’ for five questions, with the level of complexity set to around 75%. The test that was generated was three matching questions to describe/explain cybercrime terminologies, one multiple choice question and a short answer text-based question. Each question was factually correct, with no errors. Maybe simplifying some of the language would be helpful, and also there were a couple of matched questions/answers which haven’t been covered in the usual topic material I use. But this tool was extremely useful and could save a lot of time for staff users, providing an effective knowledge check for students.
Question bank generation from Ultra documents.
By the time I tried out this tool I was familiar with the AI Design Assistant and I didn’t need to use the LearnTech guide for this one. I auto-generated four questions, set the complexity to 75%, and chose ‘Inspire me’ for question types. There were two fill-in-the-blanks, an essay question, and a true/false question which populated the question bank – all were useful and correct. What I didn’t know was how to use the questions that were saved to the Ultra question bank within a new or existing test, and this is where the LearnTech guide was invaluable with its ‘Reuse question’ in the test dropdown guidance. I tested this process and added two questions from the bank to an existing test.
This tool was easily navigable, and I didn’t require the guide for this one, but the tool itself, on first use, is less effective than the others in that it took my description word for word without a different interpretation. I used the following description, with six rows and the rubric type set to ‘points range’:
‘Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cybercrime, technologies used, methodologies employed by cybercriminals, investigations and investigative strategies, the social, ethical and legal implications of cybercrime and digital evidence collection. Harvard referencing and writing skills.’
I then changed the description to:
‘Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cybercrime, technologies used, methodologies employed by cybercriminals, investigations and investigative strategies. Analyse and evaluate the social, ethical and legal implications of cybercrime and digital evidence collection. Demonstrate application of criminological theories. Demonstrate use of accurate UON Harvard referencing. Demonstrate effective written communication skills.’
At first generation, it only generated five of the six required rows. I tried again and it generated the same thing with only five rows, even though six was selected. It did not seem to want to separate out the knowledge and understanding of investigations and investigative strategies into its own row.
I definitely had to be much more specific with this tool than with the other AI tools I used. It saved time in that I did not have to manually fill in the points descriptions and point ranges myself, but I found that I did have to be very specific about what I wanted in the learning outcome rubric rows with the description.
Journal and Discussion Board Prompts
This tool is very easy to deploy and actually generates some very useful results. I kept the description relatively simple and used some text from the course definition of hacking:
‘What is hacking? Hacking involves the break-in or intrusion into a networked system. Although hacking is a term that applies to cyber networks, networks have existed since the early 1900s. Individuals who attempted to break-in to the first electronic communication systems to make free long distance phonecalls were known as phreakers; those who were able to break-in to or compromise a network’s security were known as crackers. Today’s crackers are hackers who are able to “crack” into networked systems by cracking passwords (see Cross et al., 2008, p. 44).’
I used the ‘Inspire me’ cognitive level, set the complexity level to 75%, and checked the option to generate discussion titles. Three questions were generated that cover three cognitive processes:
The second question was the most relevant to this area of the existing course, the other two slightly more advanced and students would not have covered this material (nor have work related experience in this area). I decided to lower the complexity level to see what would be generated on a second run:
Again, the second question – to analyse – seemed the most relevant to the more theory-based cybercrime course than the other two questions. I tried again and lowered the complexity level to 25%. This time two of the questions were more relevant to the students’ knowledge and ability for where this material appears in the course (i.e., in the first few weeks):
It was easy to add the selected question to the Ultra discussion.
I also tested the journal prompts and this was a more successful generation first time around. The text I used was:
‘“Government and industry hire white and gray hats who want to have their fun legally, which can defuse part of the threat”, Ruiu said, “…Many hackers are willing to help the government, particularly in fighting terrorism. Loveless said that after the 2001 terrorist attacks, several individuals approached him to offer their services in fighting Al Qaeda.” (in Arnone, 2005, 19(2)).’
I used the cognitive level ‘Inspire me’ once again and ‘generate journal title’ and this time placed complexity half-way. All three questions generated were relevant and usable.
My only issue with both the discussion and journal prompts is that I could not find a way to save all of the generated questions – it would only allow me to select one, so I could not save all the prompts for possible reuse at a later date. Other than this issue, the functionality and usability and relevance of the auto-generated discussion and journal prompt, was very good.
On Friday 8th December, 2023, three new NILE tools will become available to staff; the AI Design Assistant, AI Image Generator, and the Unsplash Image Library.
AI Design Assistant
AI Design Assistant is a new feature of Ultra courses, and may be used by academic staff to generate ideas regarding:
- Course structure
- Discussion and journal prompts
The AI Design Assistant only generates suggestions when it is asked to by members of academic staff, and cannot automatically add or change anything in NILE courses. Academic staff are always in control of the AI Design Assistant, and can quickly and easily reject any AI generated ideas before they are added to a NILE course. Anything generated by the AI Design Assistant can only be added to a NILE course once it has been approved by academic staff teaching on the module, and all AI generated suggestions can be edited by staff before being made available to students.
AI Image Generator & Unsplash Image Library
Wherever you can currently add an image in an Ultra course, following the upgrade on the 8th of December, as well as being able to upload images from your computer, you will also be able to search for and add images from the Unsplash image library. And, in many places in Ultra courses, you will be able to add AI-generated images too.
First Thoughts on AI Design Assistant
Find out more about what UON staff think about AI Design Assistant in our blog post from Dr Cleo Cameron (Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice): First Thoughts on AI Design Assistant
Other items included in the December upgrade
The December upgrade will see the ‘Add image’ button in a number of new places in Ultra courses for staff, including announcements (upload from device or Unsplash), and Ultra tests and assignments (upload from device, Unsplash, and AI-generated images). However, please note that images embedded in announcements will not be included in the emailed copy of the announcement; they will only be visible to students when viewing the announcement in the Ultra course.
Ultra rubrics will be enhanced in the December upgrade. Currently these are limited to a maximum of 15 rows and columns, but following the upgrade there will be no limit on the number of rows and columns when using an Ultra rubric.
To find out more about these new tools, full guidance is already available at: Learning Technology – AI Design Assistant
You can also find out more by coming along to the LearnTech Jingle Mingle on Tuesday 12th December, 2023, between 12:30 and 13:45 in T-Pod C (2nd Floor, Learning Hub).
As ever, please get in touch with your learning technologist if you would like any more information about these new NILE features: Who is my learning technologist?
“The Smart Import AI engine is a highly advanced tool that is learning at an impressive rate.” Svein-Tore Griff With, CEO, H5P. Quote used with permission from H5P.
H5P (HTML5 package) software has been available to staff at the University of Northampton since August 2022.
In June 2023 H5P released a feature called Smart Import, which uses Artificial Intelligence technology to assist in the creation of teaching content. This is an extension to the current suite of H5P tools we currently have at the university.
A two-week trial of Smart Import took place at the University of Northampton (UON) in August 2023.
We looked for a range of staff to participate in the trial as ‘testers’ to assess whether this has value for UON. In total 15 staff took part in the trial. All participants of the trial were provided with the agreement text to read before the trial began, as a prerequisite for using H5P Smart Import. Participants also received a paragraph of text to read which was provided from H5P, which might help in regards to copyright and so forth of the material provided.
Staff taking part in the trial were asked to perform one or more of the tasks listed below:
- Provide a small chunk of preferably ‘open education resource’ learning material.
- Provide prompt text of over 500 characters.
- Provide a YouTube video link.
- Provide a website link which you include in your learning resources.
- All the above tasks.
Using the resource or text provided to H5P, the Smart Import function, very quickly, with the power of AI technology, generated a range of interactive learning resources including Interactive Book, Dialog Cards, Quiz, Drag the Words, Crossword and more.
The ‘testers’ were asked for feedback on their experience of using H5P Smart Import, some quotes are shown below:
The speed at which the content types were produced, and the variety of the content types was quite incredible.Kelly Lea, Learning Technologist, LLSS.
Smart Import AI engine is an advanced tool that make creating interactive activities very quick and save the lecturer a lot of time.Mosavar Farahani, Senior Lecturer Biomedical Science.
I’ve just used a PDF (that I found online) to create an interactive book on creating content for neurodivergent students. I have to say I’m absolutely astounded by how well H5P did this. It took less than 10 mins to create, and the content is really engaging and interesting. (I can see this being a huge benefit to students).Richard Byles, Learning Technologist, LLSS.
As well as quickness of producing interactive online content using the Smart Import feature, comments about educational value were received.
I think the AI generated book, could easily be used to help students with revision and assignment related prompts.David Meechan, Senior Lecturer in Education, FHES
I tried it for a webpage and find it very useful and informative for my teaching/assessments/quiz sessions, especially the dialog cards, question set, crossword, drag the words, etc. options.Rahul Mor, Senior Lecturer in Business Systems and Operations, FBL
I liked the fact it could be split up into different components and copied elsewhere. Good that it provides a citation URL.Helena Beeson, Learning Development Tutor, LLSS
The package makes thinking of interactive activities simple.Kate Swinton, Learning Development Tutor, LLSS
Rob Howe, Head of Learning Technology LLSS states: “The review process is really important, as everything else tends to work from it. This is an important step for tutors”.
Liz Sear, Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care FHES adds: “I think it is a matter of learning how to use this to best advantage and being mindful of checking the resources made“.
Jim Atkinson, HR Staff Development Trainer and E-Learning developer says: “I think with training and tips on how to get the most out of the tool, it would be an excellent tool to use“.
H5P in NILE
The H5P content generated by Smart Import AI technology is provided in NILE in the same way as manually generated H5P content.
H5P Smart Import benefits
The automatically generated Interactive Book provides a structured online e-learning package with multiple activities including quiz questions. Alongside the Interactive Book other content types can be generated such as Dialog cards, Accordion, Question set etc. This automation speeds up work.
Rob Howe states: “Allow tutors to quickly achieve outputs which would have taken far longer than without the Smart Import”.
What happens next?
The university is currently considering whether to license Smart Import.
Further information about H5P Smart Import can be found by visiting the site below.
Further to the post of 26/09/2023, Robin Crockett (Academic Integrity Lead – University of Northampton) has added to his small-scale study by adding a second AI ‘writer’ and a third AI-text detector. The full report is available to view by clicking on the graphic below.
The new features in Blackboard’s November upgrade will be available from the morning of Friday 3rd November. This month’s upgrade includes the following new features to Ultra courses:
- Ability to change ‘Mark using’ option without updating the Turnitin assignment due date
- Improved image insertion tool
- Improvements to matching questions in tests
- Improvements to journals navigation
Ability to change ‘Mark using’ option without updating the Turnitin assignment due date
A source of frustration with Turnitin and Ultra courses has been that once the assignment due date has passed it is not possible to change the ‘Mark using’ option. This means that if the UnderGrad Letter or PostGrad Letter schema has not been selected when setting up the assignment, it cannot be selected during the marking process without moving the due date to the future, which in most cases is not an advisable course of action. This has meant that in cases where the correct marking schema has not been selected, a mapped Gradebook item has to be created to show the numeric grades as letters. This restriction has now been removed, and ‘Mark using’ can be changed without changing the due date.
Staff can update the ‘Mark using’ option in the gradebook by selecting the assignment in the column header and choosing ‘Edit’.
Please note that once the desired ‘Mark using’ option has been selected and saved, the gradebook will continue to show the original mark until the page is refreshed.
Improved image insertion tool
Following November’s upgrade, the Ultra rich text editor will have a dedicated button for image insertion. Previously, images were inserted using the attachment button. As well as being more intuitive, the new image insertion tool will allow images to be zoomed into, and to have the aspect ratio adjusted prior to insertion. Once inserted, images can be resized by using the grab handles on the inserted image.
Improvements to matching questions in tests
Building on last month’s upgrade, which improved multiple choice questions in Ultra tests, the November upgrade improves matching questions in tests.
When using matching questions, the options to select partial and negative credit and to allow a negative overall score are now easier to select. Partial and negative credit is on by default, and credit is automatically distributed equally across the answers.
Additional answers (i.e., answers for which there is no corresponding prompt) has been renamed ‘Distractors’ to more accurately reflect its function in matching questions.
In the above example, students would have seven possible answers to match to four prompts, and would score 25% of the total value of the question for each correct match.
Please note that images, video, and mathematical formulae can also be used in matching questions, as well as in most other types of question in Ultra tests.
More information about using matching questions is available at: Blackboard Help – Matching Questions
More information about setting up tests in Ultra courses is available at: Blackboard Help – Create Tests
Improvements to journals navigation
After the November upgrade, the ‘Marks and Participation’ option in Ultra journals will be available via the tab navigation on the left-hand side of the screen, providing consistency of navigation with Ultra discussions and assignments.
As ever, please get in touch with your learning technologist if you would like any more information about the new features available in this month’s upgrade: Who is my learning technologist?
In the heart of the Waterside Campus, a new art installation by Senior Digital Marketing Lecturer and creative artist Kardi Somerfield is rewriting the rules of engagement, merging art and education to create a unique learning experience and visual identity for the newly refurbished Waterside bar. We recently had the opportunity to meet with Kardi Somerfield, to discuss her work.
Kardi’s work stands as an extraordinary tribute to Northampton, stretching three meters in height and an impressive nine meters in length. It encapsulates the very essence of Northampton. Boasting over 200 distinct locations and nearly 300 characters, this monumental piece symbolizes the heart and soul of the town. The installation, at its core, epitomizes inclusivity in our local community.
Creating a work of these dimensions came with its own set of challenges. Transitioning from drawing on a digital screen to delivering a huge-format vinyl involved creating a vast Photoshop file with over 1000 layered elements including buildings, characters, and wildlife.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Kardi’s creation is its interactive dimension. By integrating QR codes, she created a digital-physical bridge, allowing visitors to interact with the artwork in unique ways. This innovative artwork blends digital and analog technologies and transcends the visual spectacle to become a powerful pedagogical tool, particularly for storytelling within the realm of education.
Learning Technologists Richard Byles and Kelly Lea, and Head of Learning Technology Rob Howe have published the outcomes of their research into student perspectives of Artificial Intelligence on the recently launched LTE (Learning Teaching Excellence) platform.
The insights presented in the report are derived from their student survey launched in May 2023, focusing on a range of topics including reasons and barriers for adopting AI tools, ethical considerations and thoughts on staff use to create new content.
The report provides a clear and concise presentation of their research results, discoveries, and conclusions with input from Kate Coulson, Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement and Senior Lecturer in Fashion Jane Mills. The central theme here revolves around the crucial dialogue surrounding the inclusion of student opinions in shaping AI guidance within the educational landscape.
Currently, Richard and Kelly are on the lookout for volunteers who can participate in video interviews on uses of AI in the classroom. These aim to shed light on how educators are introducing Generative AI Technologies to students, further enriching our understanding of AI’s role in education. Your voice could be an essential part of this ongoing research.
Report Link (PDF): Exploring Student Perspectives on
Generative Artificial Intelligence Tools in
Higher Education: A Survey-Based Study
R Byles, K Lea, R Howe
More information about the University’s position on AI is available from:
The new features in Blackboard’s October upgrade will be available from the morning of Friday 6th October. This month’s upgrade includes the following new features to Ultra courses:
- Send reminder from gradebook
- Partial credit auto-distribution for correct answers for Multiple Choice questions
- Delegated marking option for Ultra assignments
Send reminder from gradebook
New in the October upgrade is the addition of a ‘Send Reminder’ tool in the Ultra gradebook. However, please be aware that this tool is in a very early stage of development, and, due to its limited functionality, staff are recommended not to use it.
Instead of using the the send reminder tool, staff are advised to continue using the current process of contacting non-submitters via the student progress tool, as reminders sent via this method will always be sent as emails as well as Ultra messages:
- Identifying and contacting non-submitters (NILE assessment workflow guide)
- Identifying and contacting non-submitters (video guide – 1m 30sec)
In it’s current form, reminders sent via the new send reminder tool cannot be sent as emails to students; instead, students will receive an Ultra message only. Additionally, reminders cannot be sent for assignments which have release conditions applied, which are automatically applied to all Turnitin assignments. Send reminder messages cannot be customised by staff, and students who receive a reminder will receive the following Ultra message:
Important Notification: Your assessment has not been submitted.
Your assessment named ‘[Name of Assessment]’ has not been submitted.
If you have already received mitigating circumstances or an extension for this assessment, you can ignore this message.
Important information about late submissions, extensions, and mitigating circumstances:
In accordance with University policy, you can submit assessments up to one week late, but your grade will be capped to a bare pass. Extensions are available through your module leader if you have unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from meeting an assessment deadline. The maximum extension period is two weeks, and grades for assessments which have an extension will not be capped. Please note that late submissions and extensions are only available at the first submission point.
If unforeseen circumstances mean that you will need longer than two weeks to submit your assessment, you may be able to apply for mitigating circumstances. If your application for mitigating circumstances is successful this will defer submission of your assessment to the resit submission point, so you can submit to this for an uncapped grade. If a mitigating circumstances application is approved at the resit submission point, it is recognition of extenuating circumstances at that time, but there is no further opportunity to resubmit the assessment.
More information, help and support:
More information about late submissions, extensions, and mitigating circumstances is available from: University of Northampton Guide to Mitigating Circumstances and Extensions.
If you need any other support regarding your assessment, please contact the module leader for help as soon as possible.
The deadline for the above-named assessment is shown below:
Due date: [Assessment due date]
The send reminder tool can be accessed in the Ultra gradebook, from both list and grid view:
However, at the current time the assessment submission point must be set to ‘Visible to students’ for the message to be sent. If the assessment submission point is set to ‘Hidden from students’ or ‘Release conditions’ an error message will be received when trying to send the message.
Once the send reminder tool reaches a sufficient level of functionality, we will update our guidance accordingly.
Partial credit auto-distribution for correct answers for Multiple Choice questions
Following the October upgrade, when setting up multiple option test questions with partial and negative credit allowed, percentages will be automatically allocated and equally distributed between the correct options. However, these can be overwritten should staff prefer to weight the distribution unequally.
More information about setting up tests in Ultra courses is available from: Blackboard Help – Create Tests
Delegated marking option for Ultra assignments
Delegated marking is already available with Turnitin assignments. After the October upgrade, staff marking Ultra assignments will also be able to create marking groups allowing the different members of staff marking an assignment to see only the assignments that they are marking.
Please note that this first version of delegated grading only supports assignment submissions from individual students. Tests, group assessments, and anonymous submissions are not supported at this time.
The option to allow delegated marking for Ultra assessments is available in the assignment settings.
After selecting the delegated grading option, select the appropriate group set. Staff can assign one or more members of staff to each group in the group set. If multiple markers are assigned to the same group, they will share the grading responsibility for the group members. Staff assigned to a group of students will only see submissions for those students on the assignment’s submission page, and they can only post grades for their assigned group members. Any unassigned staff enrolled in the course will see all student submissions on the assignment’s submission page, and will be able to post grades for all students.
Robin Crockett (Academic Integrity Lead – University of Northampton) has run a small scale study investigating two AI detectors with a range of AI created assignments and has shared some of the initial results.
He used ChatGPT to generate 25 nominal 1000-word essays: five subjects, five different versions of each subject. For each subject, he instructed ChatGPT to vary the sentence length as follows: ‘default’ (i.e. I didn’t give it an instruction re. sentence length), ‘use long sentences’, ‘use short sentences’, ‘use complex sentences’, ‘use simple sentences’.
The table below shows the amount of the assignment which was detected as using AI in two different products: Turnitin and Copyleaks
|Essay 1||Essay 2||Essay 3||Essay 4||Essay 5|
|Default||100% AI||100% AI||76% AI||100% AI||64% AI|
|Long||0% AI||26% AI||59% AI||67% AI||51% AI|
|Short||0% AI||X||31% AI||82% AI||27% AI|
|Complex||33% AI||15% AI||0% AI||63% AI||0% AI|
|Simple||100% AI||0% AI||100% AI||100% AI||71% AI|
|Default||100% AI at p=80.6%||100% AI at p=83.5%||100% AI at p=88.5%||100% AI at p=81.3%||100% AI at p=85.4%|
|Long||~80% AI at p=65-75%||100% AI at p=81.5%||~95% AI at p=75-85%||100% AI at p=79.1%||100% AI at p=80.6%|
|Short||~70% AI at p=66-72%||100% AI at p=76.9%||100% AI at p=87.3%||~85% AI at p=77-79%||100% AI at p=78.4%|
|Complex||100% AI at p=72.9%||100% AI at p=81.0%||~90% AI at p=62-73%||100% AI at p=77.7%||0% AI|
|Simple||100% AI at p=83.6%||~90% AI at p=73-81%||100% AI at p=95.2%||~90% AI at p=76-82%||100% AI at p=84.9%|
X = “Unavailable as submission failed to meet requirements”.
0% -> complete false negative.
Turnitin highlights/returns a percentage of ‘qualifying’ text that it sees as AI-generated, but no probability of AI-ness.
Copyleaks highlights sections of text it sees as AI-generated, each section tagged with the probability of AI-ness, but doesn’t state the overall proportion of the text it sees as AI-generated (hence his estimates).
Additional reading: Jisc blog on AI detection
The new features in Blackboard’s September upgrade will be available from the morning of Friday 8th September. This month’s upgrade includes the following new features to Ultra courses:
- Email non-submitters – anonymous marking improvement to Turnitin in Ultra courses
- Progress tracking – automatically enabled in Ultra courses
- NILE Ultra Course Awards 22/23
- Online NILE induction for new students
Email non-submitters: anonymous marking improvement to Turnitin in Ultra courses
Currently, when marking students’ anonymous Turnitin submissions, it is not possible to precisely determine who has and who has not submitted, which makes it difficult for staff to contact and support non-submitters.
With Turnitin assignments, the student progress indicator in Ultra courses displays one of three states, the current meaning of which is:
- Unopened (student has not submitted)
- Started (student has opened the assignment, and may or may not have submitted)
- Completed (student has opened the assignment, and may or may not have submitted)
At present, when a student opens a Turnitin assignment, the student progress indicator automatically changes from ‘Unopened’ to ‘Started’. (It is not possible for a student to manually change the student progress indicator from ‘Unopened’ to ‘Started’; this can only be done by opening the assignment.) However, in order to display ‘Completed’, each student who submitted the assignment has to manually change the progress tracking state from ‘Started’ to ‘Completed’. This means that while staff know that a student whose student progress indicator shows ‘Unopened’ has definitely not submitted, it is not possible to determine whether students whose student progress indicator shows ‘Started’ have submitted the assignment or only opened the submission but not submitted. Additionally, as a student can change the status from ‘Started’ to ‘Completed’ without submitting an assignment, the ‘Completed’ indicator does not provide a sufficient guarantee that a submission was actually made.
Following the September update, the way that the student progress indicator works will change, and will allow staff to know with certainty which students have and have not submitted. These progress states will effectively become locked to the submission status in Turnitin and will not be modifiable by students. Therefore, after the September update the meaning of the statuses will be:
- Unopened (student has not submitted)
- Started (student has opened the assignment, but has not submitted)
- Completed (student has submitted)
For staff, this is a considerable improvement over Turnitin’s ‘Email non-submitters’ feature (which was withdrawn by Turnitin for assignment submission points set up after February 2022), as staff will now be able to see which students have submitted and which have not, and will be able to filter and sort the Gradebook and quickly send a message to all non-submitters. And, crucially, this will all be possible to do while not disclosing the identities of the individual authors when marking their work in Turnitin.
Following the September upgrade, staff will continue to see anonymised Turnitin submissions as normal in the Turnitin assignment inbox:
However, when looking at the progress summary for the assignment in the Ultra course, staff will be able to see the submission status for each student, and can use filtering and sorting to quickly select and message non-submitters. When using this feature to select and simultaneously message multiple students, each student will receive a private message which will not disclose the identities of the other recipients. As well as being able to read the message in NILE, students are also automatically emailed a copy of the message. Following the changes to University policy regarding student email addresses, from the 13th of September onward, copies of announcements and messages emailed from NILE courses will go to students UON email addresses (i.e., those ending @my.northampton.ac.uk) and not to their personal email addresses, e.g., addresses ending @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @qq.com, etc.
You can find out more about setting up and marking Turnitin assignments in Ultra courses, and about messaging non-submitters at: NILE Assessment Workflows – Ultra Workflow 1: Turnitin
Progress tracking – automatically enabled in Ultra courses
Progress tracking is a helpful feature for students, as it lets them view their progress in Ultra courses. Progress tracking also provides useful insights for staff about how content in their Ultra courses is being used, and how students are getting on in their courses. When considered alongside other information, progress tracking can provide clues to staff about which students might be struggling and might benefit from additional support.
At present, progress tracking is default off in Ultra courses and needs to be switched on manually in each course. In the days following the September upgrade, progress tracking will be automatically and permanently enabled in all new and existing Ultra courses.
Progress tracking in Ultra courses is a considerable improvement over what was available in Original courses, both in its scope and ease of access. Plus, unlike Original courses, which only provided data about students who had accessed the course using a laptop or desktop computer, the data provided about student progress in Ultra courses takes account of access via laptops/desktops, mobile devices using a mobile browser, and mobile devices using the Blackboard Learn app.
You can find out more about progress tracking at: Blackboard Help – Progress Tracking
NILE Ultra Course Awards 22/23 & 23/24
Did you put together a great NILE Ultra course in 2022/23? Do you know someone who did? Or, have you recently put together a great NILE Ultra course for 2023/24? If so, please consider making a nomination for the next round of Ultra Course Awards. Nominations are open until the 31st of December, 2023, and winners of Ultra Course Awards for their 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 courses will be formally announced at the University of Northampton Learning and Teaching Awards 2024:
Ultra Course Awards 22/23 & 23/24 – Make a nomination
Online NILE induction for new students
If your students are looking for some information about logging in to NILE, finding their way around, and understanding a bit more about how NILE works, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve refreshed the student section of the Learning Technology Team website, which now includes an online induction to NILE for students.
The online NILE induction covers the following:
- What is NILE?
- Logging in to NILE
- Finding your way around NILE
- Personalising your NILE profile
- Accessing your NILE courses
- Understanding how a NILE course works
- Accessing content in NILE in alternative formats
- Submitting your assignments on NILE
- Improving your digital skills
- More information, help and support with NILE
You can view the online NILE induction pages at: NILE Introduction, Help & Support
And, of course, do feel free to add a link to this page in your NILE courses.
As ever, please get in touch with your learning technologist if you would like any more information about the new features available in this month’s upgrade: Who is my learning technologist?
- First Thoughts on AI Design Assistant
- Blackboard Upgrade – December 2023: AI Design Assistant, AI Image Generator, and Unsplash Image Library
- H5P software trial of the feature ‘Smart Import’ using AI technology
- Testing the AI detectors Part 2
- Blackboard Upgrade – November 2023
- Kardi Somerfield’s Vision Fuses Education and Creativity in Immersive Northampton Artwork
- Student Insights on AI: A Detailed Report
- Blackboard Upgrade – October 2023
- Testing the AI detectors
- Blackboard Upgrade – September 2023
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