The core technology underpinning NILE, known as Blackboard Learn, is changing. This will have a major impact across the University as NILE courses are updated to Ultra over the next three academic years, starting with Level 4 and Foundation courses for teaching beginning in the 2021/22 academic year.

Blackboard Learn Ultra is a modern, responsive VLE, that has been designed to work across the widest range of devices. While the original version of Blackboard Learn was, and in many respects still is, a highly functional and well-engineered VLE, it does not have the same ability to work seamlessly across the full range of devices that our students now expect. Blackboard Learn Ultra is Blackboard’s answer to the challenges posed by today’s students, the majority of whom now access the VLE from a mobile device.

The Ultra experience is very different to the Original experience. From a design point of view it has a simpler, more modern and less cluttered look-and-feel. And because it has been designed with mobile devices in mind, it flows and responds well on smaller screens, whilst giving users a similar experience regardless of whether it is accessed on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

We have titled the project to move NILE from Blackboard Learn Original to Blackboard Learn Ultra ‘UON Ultra’, and you can find out more about the project and the timescales here:

https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/staff/nile-guides/blackboard-ultra

Tagged with:
 

One of our students in FHES (Faculty of Health Education and Society) has reflected on the first few weeks of term and their opinion on pre-lecture coffee and Hyflex:

“For me the first two weeks have gone well, I have quite quickly adjusted to the way things are working. Did have a minor hissing fit last week when I arrived on campus at 8h30 for a 9 am lecture to find no coffee would be available till 9 when I had to be in class. Pleased to say that by this week the matter was resolved, and pre-lecture coffee was available.

I have decided that under the present conditions I prefer the synchronous online lectures to in class as despite the limitations around having discussions I can at least breath and focus.  In class, I have found wearing a mask very distracting and I spend more time suppressing my claustrophobia then concentrating on the lecture, also I find the lecturers talking from behind a visor is quite muffling and I can’t always make out what is being said. That said clearly some lecturers are way better at delivering online than others but I have been very impressed with how Collaborates breakout function works. This has been my tech revelation of the year so far.”

The University is continuing to refine hyflex models and share experiences on when this works well, how it can be refined and when other methods of delivery may be more appropriate.

For more information on socially distanced delivery then please see the Learntech blog

If you have other experiences to share then please email rob.howe@northampton.ac.uk

Tagged with:
 
Picture of Christine Collymore
Christine Collymore – FHES

“The situation was that the room was not big enough to accommodate all the students, so they chose to sit nearby, whilst there were others who could not  come to the face to face session and were online.

I am a bit of a wanderer when I am teaching and so I do not know if the students could always hear me when I move around. There is also the issue of not being able to hear the student’s contribution because of the masks and so I needed to ask on a couple of occasions for them to repeat themselves.

…there is a need to multi-task in terms of ensuring there is participation and accessibility of resources and activities for this delivery method.

On reflection, I will ensure that I have a hard copy of the presentation, in case IT issues occur and to keep checking in with the students who are online or sitting nearby more often. The 2 hours flew by.”

The University is continuing to refine hyflex models and share experiences on when this works well, how it can be refined and when other methods of delivery may be more appropriate.

For more information on socially distanced delivery then please see the Learntech blog

If you have other experiences to share then please email rob.howe@northampton.ac.uk

Tagged with:
 
Picture of Sally Sun
Sally Sun – FBL

Sally Sun from Faculty of Business and Law has kindly reflected on her experiences of Hybrid / Flexible Learning on the module BUS1004 (Introduction to Management).

She notes ‘…this is a case study about my practices of teaching students online and F2F at the same time during March 2020. I feel that I have adopted some teaching practices which are very similar to what is suggested in the HyFlex teaching approach, so this is my reflection about my experiences of what went well and what can be improved. This reflection is designed around Gibb’s reflection cycle to help me focus on my experiences.’

4 key points were noted by Sally regarding her experiences:

  1. The new delivery format has satisfied the needs of a certain kind of students
  2. Students got excited when they interact with students online
  3. She felt extremely exhausted after the session
  4. She felt the teaching quality was not her best level for F2F students in the class

The University is continuing to refine hyflex models and share experiences on when this works well, how it can be refined and when other methods of delivery may be more appropriate.

For more information on socially distanced delivery then please see the Learntech blog

If you have other experiences to share then please email rob.howe@northampton.ac.uk

Tagged with:
 

If you are interested in how engaged your students are with your video content, then Video Analytics can provide you with some useful insight.

You could discover that your video is a total sensation. That your students watch it over and over again. That they stop at specific points to really take in and digest what you’re talking about. That they are watching it and it is helping them achieve better outcomes.

Conversely, lots of my videos have appeared in front of staff, a small percentage of them click on the video and those that click on the video rarely make it all the way to the end. This forces me to reflect: does it need to be an hour long? Would it be more engaging if it were just 15 minutes? Do I sound very bored?

The wonders of modern Video Analytics have revealed to me that I am not, perhaps, as interesting as I have led myself to believe.

Setting aside my own self-esteem issues, Video Analytics can make a massive positive difference to how you teach and enable you to focus your energy and time in the most productive way.

Every one of your videos in MediaSpace has an Analytics report for you. It can tell you things like how many times a video has been viewed, where your viewers are in the world and what device they have viewed your video on. This is really useful data.

But, let me be clear: you are not required or compelled to use this data. You can continue to produce videos in the same way that you have always done. However, if you are curious to find out how engaged your students are with your videos then feel free to dip your mouse into the glorious world of Video Analytics.

I’m happy to provide a link to some thorough guidance provided by Kaltura or you can contact your subject Learning Technologist and ask them questions about Kaltura analytics or any of our tools and platforms.

This is a link to a detailed guide on Analytics.

One final thought: if you are not inclined to explore Video Analytics then let me offer you one tip: keep your videos short, focused and accessible.

Happy content creation.

Tagged with:
 

This blog is a home for some of the links which provide useful ideas for icebreakers for online classes. If you have particular favourites/collections then please email them to rob.howe@northampton.ac.uk.

Equity Unbound / OneHE

Hyper Island Toolbox

Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online.

Tagged with:
 

Whilst the Padlet team are aware that they need to make the product more accessible, their progress during 2020 has been slow. The product has been used in many subject areas and usage is still growing.

Those using the product should be aware that some people with accessibility needs may not be able to access all parts of the screen or access all of the content being displayed. This may include people who primarily use screen readers and / or keyboards to access content.

The Padlet blog does indicate the main issues at the current time. It should be noted that those needing higher contrast on their screen should download a web extension such as High Contrast for Chrome to increase this for Padlet pages.

Those making use of Padet will need to review the information provided and consider the appropriateness of the tool for their own situation. The Learntech team are considering alternatives if a need to change is required.

Tagged with:
 

A range of different delivery styles have been used by tutors ranging from face to face, hybrid (mix of face to face and online) and purely online. The return to teaching approaches for Autumn 2020 recognise (in the advent of COVID-19) that there is the possibility of staff working with students who are both physically on campus and also accessing the session remotely. This has been termed a hybrid flexible approach (shortened to Hyflex). The Hyflex approach should assist with socially distanced delivery.

Guidance notes (only accessible to those with internal accounts) have been developed to assist staff who are operating under the Hyflex model. These will be updated as new information becomes available over the academic year. A shorter summary of these notes (which includes an update on session recordings) is also available.

For staff which wish to check their knowledge on online delivery then this is available through the Jisc Discovery Tool (circa. 10 minutes to complete)

A presentation on the delivery model and scenarios (used in the training sessions) is available.

Some strategies for teaching in a Hyflex mode may be found on the Inside Higher Education pages.

Tagged with:
 

The University has licensed the Jisc Discovery tool which allows staff and students to complete a simple set of questions around digital literacy and be directed to useful resources depending on the answers provided. 

In addition to the basic option to “Explore your overall digital capabilities” (which is applicable for all staff and students) – a new option has just been released “Effective online teaching”. This allows you to explore your digital capabilities for online teaching.

After completing the report you will be given a quick summary based on your answers along with further links to assist in your development.

In order to access the tool please follow these steps:

1. Log in at https://jisc.potential.ly/ with these details:

2. Put the Organisation as ‘University of Northampton

3. Login with your normal staff or student account.

4. If this is the first time you have logged in then just complete the registration information.

5. From the home page on the left click onto “Effective online teaching”

Your Learning Technologist will be happy to discuss the report in more detail and assist in any technical development using our tools.

 

In addition to the excellent range of resources which are available for students to help with NILE, a new Organisational resource has just been released on the platform for those who are new to NILE. This 20 minute mini-course will provide a basic introduction to NILE including navigation and useful tools such as the calendar, activity stream and the Blackboard app.

The course will supplement information and resources provided by tutors and provide a springboard into NILE usage.

New students will be able to view the course by clicking onto the Organisations link after logging into NILE and then click onto the link for “Student Introduction to NILE”:

It is then possible to access all the material in the course. A printable / downloadable confirmation page is available for those who complete all materials.

Staff wishing to preview the material for their own use/reference should follow the guidance for enrolling on Organisations (click on “Add Organisation to Workload”) and search for “Stu-Intro-NILE-staffview”

Tagged with: