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Click to view video - Creating video with Kaltura.

In this ABL Practitioner Story, Grant Timms (Senior Lecturer in Marketing) reflects on his use of the Kaltura video recorder and streaming platform to create videos and video quizzes to support student engagement.

Grant shares his feelings on the importance of considering the needs of the audience,  how analytics help him track audience engagement, and how to stand out in a digital world where students attention is often hard to catch.

The Kaltura Capture recorder and the MediaSpace video streaming platform are available to all staff and students at the University of Northampton. A link and an introduction can be found on the NILE Help tab, under Tools & Resources.

If you’re inspired by his experiments with video quizzes then contact your Learning Technologist for training and support, or explore on your own by reading this FAQ.

Case study produced by Learning Technologists Al Holloway and Richard Byles.

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Click to view interview with Clare Allen.

In this new ABL Practitioner Story, Clare Allen (Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour) shares her experience and thoughts on using Padlet in her teaching to support open group discussion.

At the beginning of the year, she asked the students to discuss in small groups what they thought learning was and to use Padlet to upload an image that best represented the thoughts of their group.

Clare talks about how she introduced this new tool to her students, why she found Padlet more engaging than simply delivering PowerPoints slides and what impact she feels it made on students understanding of their subject.

Listen to Clare in conversation with Richard Byles and Al Holloway, Learning Technologists for the Faculty of Business and Law, and if you’re interested in exploring how Padlet could support your teaching then copy the following link into your browser:

Padlet is available free to all staff and students at the University of Northampton and can be found on the NILE Help tab, under Tools & Resources.

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FBL Marketing Lecturer Samantha Read shares her top ‘Teaching and learning resources – Ideas for an ABL approach to teaching and learning’.

This list features links to; OERs(Open education resources), tools for creating interactive images and video, collaboration tools, quizzes and polls, gamification ideas, storyboarding templates, articles of interest and links to further training.

Samantha recently spoke about her experiences of ABL at the FBL Faculty ABL away day, and recommends that staff consider the following points when implementing a new tool:

  • Don’t try to introduce too many new tools into your online and face-to-face sessions. Practice using a few and start to integrate the ones that you feel confident using and can support students in adopting.
  • If you want students to use an online tool for the face-to-face or online element of your session, provide them with really clear instructions (including a short video where possible) and begin using that tool during the face-to-face session so that everyone will feel comfortable using it.
  • Where possible, embed your resources into NILE so that they are easily accessible. You can usually find an ‘embed code’ to copy and paste into the html section of a NILE content area rather than directing students towards a link.
  • Don’t feel disheartened if one idea works for one group but does not work for another. For me, it’s all about trial and error and adapting the resources and tools to each individual group of students based on their skills, learning preferences and the feedback they provide.


Samantha’s ABL resources can be viewed on the Padlet below. Please feel free to add any other resources that you would recommend to others.

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In this 5 minute video, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance Honor Pacey reflects on her five-year journey at the University, and how she is developing new ways of engaging students with Active Blended Learning at the Waterside campus.

Honor demonstrates a number of new developments designed for this year including; how she supports collaborative ABL activities in class, how NILE quizzes are used to support and focus her students’ attention on the module assessments, and how moving forward she will be working with the students to develop their digital footprints.

Link to Case Study - Honor Pacey

Case study Video Link with Honor Pacey recorded on our Virtual Classroom platform Collaborate Ultra.

When choosing a tool it is important to consider ‘What is the problem to which our NILE tools can be the answer?’

Ale Armellini and Dr Ming

Ale Armellini and Dr Ming

In this video professors Ale Armellini and Dr Ming Nie discuss the relationship between learning outcomes, aligned activities and NILE tool selection by considering the University’s pedagogic approach of Active Blended Learning (ABL).

For more info on how NILE tools can help your students learn using the University’s pedagogic approach of Active Blended Learning please enrol on the NILE training Enhancement Course here.

The NILE enhancement course covers:

  • Discussion Boards
  • Blogs and Journals
  • Virtual Classrooms – Collaborate
  • Videos – Kaltura
  • Tests
  • Self & Peer Assessments

Please note: you will need to login to the course with your standard NILE login details and self-enrol on the enhancement course.


Nick Petford (VC, Northampton) was asked to keynote at a recent Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board but due to his hectic schedule, was unable to attend in person. Rather than sending his apologies, Nick made use of Kaltura to record his presentation and ensure that he was able to contribute to the event.

Following a short test to ensure that everything was working as expected, Nick tucked himself into one of the bookable small rooms in the Learning Hub at Waterside and was able to complete the recording without any assistance. This was then uploaded and available to send to the conference Chair a few moments later. Nick was then able to rush off to the next appointment on his schedule.

Nick Petford keynote

Nick Petford keynote


Commenting on his experience, Nick said,

“I really valued the easy and flexibility which Kaltura provided to record the presentation. I used my own laptop and booked a room which was available to any member of staff – there was very little technical preparation and no special equipment needed.”

If you have not yet had the chance to have a go with Kaltura to create any type of video recording such as a presentation or feedback to students, then please contact your local Learning Technologist.

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Emma Dillon and Anna O’Neill

Emma and Anna

Emma Dillon  RMN,BSc,PGCE,MSc,FHEA.
MHFA Adult Instructor.
Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing.
“As module leader for NPR3028P I really enjoyed working with Anne to develop a Xerte for the year 3 skills week for BSc Nursing.  Anne helped me to transform my ideas into an interactive e-learning package looking at well-being of the student/graduate nurse. It was fun to create and has really positive feedback from the students: “the well-being Xerte really motivated me to look after myself, it was fun and interactive – it really made me think” – “the Xerte reminded me of the core values of nursing and resilience”-” the well-being Xerte really bought the skills week together“.

Xerte E-Learning Package

Xerte E-Learning Package for Skills Week

Anna O’Neill
Lecturer in Practice Development
Faculty of Health and Society
“I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Xerte and the experience of using this package with our third-year student nurses.
Anne’s teaching style was such that I felt comfortable to develop the Xerte with support, so as to truly experience setting up the Xerte, learning to incorporate pictures, links and the ability for students to download their work to upload onto PebblePad.
Xerte is a fantastic way of supporting blended learning and/or distance learning.
We used Xerte for our year 3 skills development package in line with our move to Waterside and our students feedback was extremely positive”.

Xerte E-Learning Package – Skills Week

Xerte E-Learning Package – Skills Week

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Guest post written by Jim Lusted.

“Our classrooms are changing – and I don’t mean the posh new room designs and furniture at Waterside campus. Since I started teaching at Northampton in 2009 the students I have taught have become increasingly diverse in their ethnic background. I’ve gone from having only a small handful of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students to now regularly teaching classes with an even split of people from white and BAME backgrounds. It’s not just in my own department, Northampton has seen a significant increase in the intake of BAME students. This isn’t, however, reflective of the sector as a whole, which has seen very little increase in ethnic diversity across the whole student intake.”

“…our research recommended that staff make a more concerted effort to create groups that offer students the chance to work with a wide range of students, not only their peer or friendship group.”

Read the whole article.

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Written by Dr. Jim Lusted, Learning Designer/Senior Lecturer in Sport Studies

In November 2017 I took up an 8 month secondment as a Learning Designer (LD) with the Learning Technology team. I had been a Senior Lecturer in Sport Studies at Northampton since 2009 and saw this as a great opportunity to try something new for a while. This blog gives you a flavour of my experience of the LD secondment, what I learned about working in professional services.

Why a Learning Designer secondment?

I was attracted to the secondment for three main reasons. First, I had really enjoyed working with the Learning Technology team as a lecturer and had valued their support – through things like CAIeRO course design workshops, ABL development sessions and helping me solve NILE problems. I felt I could fit quite nicely into their team and would enjoy working with them. Second, I had become more interested in teaching and learning practice – particularly as a result of the University’s shift towards ABL, and felt the secondment would be a great way to develop my own skills and knowledge in this area. Third, in my role as programme leader I had enjoyed mentoring new and less experienced colleagues, so I wanted to see what it would be like supporting staff in a more formal role. I must also admit that after 9 years of working in the same role I also fancied a change of scenery – I was eager to try something new.

“…I learned more about T&L practice in my LD role than I had probably done in my whole teaching career up to that point – I had the head space to think about my practice rather than just be chasing my tail teaching sessions every week.”

Download and read Jim’s full reflections


In this video Mark Allenby, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, discusses how peer assessments have provided an opportunity for active learning with his first year BA in Social Work students and reflects on why he will be increasingly using peer assessments in his teaching at Waterside.

Mark introduced peer assessments as formative activities within his 17/18 module SWK1049 – Skills for Practice – using the NILE tool Self and Peer Assessments, in order to help scaffold his students’ learning for their forthcoming assessments.

VIDEO – Mark Allenby reflects on NILE Self and Peer Assessments

Working with Learning Technologist Richard Byles, he has been documenting his students’ feedback using the digital post-it tool, Padlet, and by recording video feedback with student Angell O’Callaghan.

The majority of feedback for the activity was very positive, with many wishing to practice further. Students also identified areas where the activity could be improved. Comments included:

“I would like to use this more often throughout my degree.”

“It was very useful and I liked the autonomy. It was helpful to read others’ work.”

“It was good to take other’s interview skills on board and use them myself, helping me better and develop my own interview skills.”

“Scoring as a Yes/No or a 1/2 doesn’t give a lot of scope.”

“The process (of submitting) was somewhat convoluted but this may be due to it being a new activity.”

Mark says that “peer-feedback is a tool that fits perfectly with the move to ABL, as students are collaboratively engaged in evaluating their own progress towards goals that they have chosen for themselves”. In conclusion, he advocates that staff try the tool for themselves in ‘low risk’ formative activities with students and explain to them the benefits of peer assessments.

For more information on using Self and Peer Assessments please read the FAQ – How do I set up a Self and Peer Assessment in NILE? or contact the Learn Technology team: