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August 6th 2021 will bring some important changes to Blackboard Ultra courses.

First, and most difficult to miss, is a change to the location of the Tools menu and the Student Preview button. Currently the Tools menu is on the upper right hand side of the page and is indicated by icons. This will move to the left side of the page and will become text buttons instead of icons. The Student Preview button will move from the lower left to the upper right side of the page.

Currently the Tools menu and Student Preview buttons are located as follows:

However, from 6th August onwards they can be found here:

Also coming in the August upgrade is Gradebook filtering. This feature is very much like the Smart Views in Original courses, but also allows quick and easy instant filtering, as well as giving staff the ability to save preferred filters.

The August upgrade will bring improvements to the Calendar and to the Peer Review tool in Ultra courses. After the upgrade, hyperlinks will be supported in the calendar location field so that staff can link any virtual tool of their choice in the calendar event, and students can launch the virtual session from the calendar itself.

Peer Review was introduced to Ultra courses some time ago, but the August upgrade brings some useful improvements. The current capabilities of the Peer Review tool are explained in Blackboard’s guide, Peer Review for Qualitative Peer Assessments. Following the August upgrade staff will be able to access the submissions reviewed by a student right from that student’s grading panel. Students will also have direct access to the submissions available for their review from either the Due Date or the Calendar views. This makes it easier for them to act when reviewing their pending tasks.

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New look-and-feel for the NILE homepage

June 2020 sees a new look-and-feel for the NILE homepage. While the new homepage is indeed radically different, NILE courses are entirely unaffected. You can read more about the new NILE homepage here:

What is the new NILE homepage for staff
https://askus.northampton.ac.uk/Learntech/faq/230369

What is the new NILE homepage for students
https://askus.northampton.ac.uk/Learntech/faq/230368

New NILE courses for the 20/21 academic year

New NILE courses for the 20/21 academic year will be available for use from the 2nd of June onwards. As usual, the new courses follow the standard template as set out in the NILE Design Standards, so you can create your courses afresh, or you can copy materials from your 19/20 courses into your 20/21 courses. To copy materials across, please follow very carefully our instructions about how to do this:

Bulk copying content between courses in NILE
https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/staff/nile-guides/blackboard-learn#s-lg-box-15196768

Full information about finding and setting up your new NILE courses can be found in our FAQ – How do I set up my new NILE course for the upcoming academic year?
https://askus.northampton.ac.uk/Learntech/faq/180655

There are no significant changes to the way that module courses have been created, however, there are major changes to the way that programme courses have been created.

Changes to NILE programme courses

Earlier this year the Student Experience Committee approved changes to the way that programme courses are created in NILE. For many years each programme has had a number of different programme course variations in NILE, which meant that for most programmes there were often eight different variations, and no single course that collected together all students on a programme. From this year onwards there is now a single programme course per programme per academic year, and this course has all students on it who are taking the programme (all years of study, full- and part-time, single and joint honours). This means that a single honours student will be enrolled on one programme course, and a joint honours will be enrolled on both of their programmes courses, plus the joint honours programme course. Foundation students will also have a single programme course for all foundation students.

NILE updates for anonymous marking

As anonymous marking becomes the new normal for the 20/21 academic year, changes in the integration between NILE and the Student Records System mean that you will no longer see students on your NILE courses who have transferred or withdrawn from your modules. The main effect of this is that you can now safely use Turnitin’s ‘Email non-submitters’ tool.

Additionally, and to assist with the process of anonymous marking, the Learning Technology Team have put together the following guides for staff and students:

Anonymous marking guide for staff:
https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/sage/turnitin_anonymous

Guidance for students submitting work anonymously
https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/sage/turnitin-submission/anonymous

Help and support with NILE

As ever, for help and support with any of the NILE tools, or simply to find out more about what NILE is and how the Learning Technology Team can help you, please see our website:
https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/

And do feel free to contact your learning technologist for advice and guidance about anything related to educational technology in general, or NILE in particular:
https://libguides.northampton.ac.uk/learntech/staff/nile-help/who-is-my-learning-technologist

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The December 2019 update on all the new MediaSpace features is available to watch right now.

Click this link to watch and listen to the video update.

Highlights include:

  • The ability to create 360 video content which can be added to a private MediaSpace subscription Channel.
  • Video content or audio podcasts can be uploaded, downloaded and viewed offline in the Kaltura KMS Go mobile app.
  • Content creators can easily share video playlists with friends or tutors.
  • MediaSpace now lets you create video where the viewer chooses what happens next.
  • NILE users can add My Media to the Home tab to access MediaSpace without needing to go to MediaSpace.

It’s a frankly mind-numbing 15 minutes long but, trust me, it’ll get you up to speed on everything fresh with MediaSpace. If you’d rather not listen to me yatter on then search for Kaltura on askus.northampton.ac.uk and you’ll find all the bite-sized FAQs you could possibly dream of.

If you don’t want to listen to me or read the FAQs then MediaSpace also has an expanded library of short video tutorials located conveniently and logically under the Video Tutorials tab on MediaSpace at video.northampton.ac.uk

If you don’t want to watch or listen to the updates, or read about them in teeny chunks then you can always sign up for a scheduled training session, book your Learning Technologist for some personalised support or even arrange a 1:1 in a quiet spot somewhere.

MediaSpace is getting better every month and we hope you enjoy everything it has to offer in in 2020.

Have a good break.

Al

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