TEL eLearning Winter School 2018

A quick post to let you know about the eLearning Unit’s 2018 Winter School, with sessions on PebblePad, Twitter, polling tools, e-marking and online tests! All sessions bookable at: eddev@liv.ac.uk and you can read what last year’s Winter School participants thought about the sessions here.

We’ve scheduled the first full week of sessions as listed below. All are bookable at: eddev@liv.ac.uk

  • Monday 8th Jan – VITAL online tests – an introduction (13:30 – 15:30) – We look at the whole life cycle of running online tests via VITAL. The session will include practical experience of creating and managing tests and analysing test results, as well as taking a test from the student’s point of view.
  • Tuesday 9th Jan – VITAL Essentials (10:00 – 12:00) – Entry-level practical session on using VITAL also covering the VITAL Baseline.
  • Tuesday 9th Jan – An introduction to Technology Enhanced Learning (13:30 – 16:30) – Looks at the technologies we have available centrally at Liverpool, their applications for learning and teaching, and highlights policy, strategy and guidelines relating to TEL. Reflect on your digital capabilities and that of your students within the context of your own discipline.
  • Wednesday 10th Jan – An introduction to PebblePad (09:30 – 11:00) – Pebblepad is the University’s online system for a range of activities such as portfolios and student placements. This session will introduce users to the main features and identify different ways the system can be used.
  • Wednesday 10th Jan – PebblePad for Assessment (13:30 – 15:00)
  • Thursday 11th Jan – Stream Capture for lecture capture and screencasting (13:30 – 16:00) – Stream Capture for screencasting and lecture capture. Key concepts, practical considerations, examples and case studies, and how Stream Capture can be used in these contexts.
  • Friday 12th Jan – Classroom polling technologies (10:00 – 11:30) – A look at some of the classroom polling systems widely available and their applications. NB this session will use technologies and software which are currently not available centrally through CSD, but you will be shown low cost or free (but limited) systems which you can use in your teaching.

We are also running a second week of sessions (Monday 15th to Friday 19th January) a number of which are designed to tie-in with the online Bring Your Own Device for Learning 2018 events. All sessions bookable at: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/cll/booking/

  • Monday 15th Jan – An introduction to Twitter in HE (13:30 – 15:30) – This session will provide an overview of the tool, demonstrate examples of how it is used in teaching to support learning, event hashtags and sharing of information.
  • Tuesday 16th Jan – Multimedia Group meeting (10:00 – 12:00) Turning a subject outcome into an interactive resource – This practical workshop is designed for academic staff who are interested in creating interactive resources to support their teaching. We will take a pre-made learning outcome and explore how the content authoring software, Articulate Storyline, can be utilised to create an engaging learning experience.
  • Wednesday 17th Jan – e-submission and e-marking workshops
    • Turnitin and Feedback Studio for e-submission and feedback (12:00 – 14:00) A practical session looking at how you set up and manage coursework submissions through the Turnitin Assignment tool and how you can offer feedback electronically through .
    • The Blackboard Assignment tool for e-submission and feedback (14:30 – 16:00) – A practical session looking at how you set up and manage coursework submissions through the Blackboard Assignment tool and how you can offer feedback electronically using the inline grading tools, rubrics and more. 
  • Thursday 18th Jan – No sessions today – the team will be running the University’s 3rd annual Pedagogic Research Conference (all day).
  • Friday 19th Jan – Getting more out of Twitter – Tips, tools & tricks (Advanced Twitter) (10:00 – 12:00) – For Twitter users looking to enrich their practice, this session takes a deeper delve into some of the tools and services available: Tweetdeck; Analytics; Moments & Storify; Periscope; Tweetchats; Images, GIFs & Video.

All sessions bookable at: eddev@liv.ac.uk

If you want to read about what last year’s Winter School participants thought about the sessions then read our previous blog post here.

Dan

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The University Challenge of using BlackBoard Test Tool

“Magna Carta! Disraeli! Debussy!” are usually my exclamations when watching University Challenge as I desperately attempt to get any question correct over anyone else watching with me.

I’d never get anywhere near a team for University Challenge, I’d like to think I’ve retired.  So I was delighted when Jane Coles, Societies Coordinator for the Guild, contacted our team for help with the trails for the University of Liverpool team.

Jane was looking for a way to run the trial through our VLE BlackBoard and to use the Test assessment tool.  The issues Jane had was:

  • To move a paper test into an online format.
  • Avoid manual marking each attempt.
  • Analyse the results of each student.

After meeting to discuss the issues, we went into the Test tool and looked at the different question types.  To get automatic marking to work, the best option was Fill in the blank option.

One of the benefits of Fill in the Blank option is it’s one of the few question types in Blackboard that allows you to set the correct answer to text that is either an exact match or contains that text.

uni challenge1

So for example, if the question was “Name colour is a ripe banana?”- you could either set the correct answer to be an exact match of ‘yellow’ being correct or contains ‘yellow’ so the student would still get the correct answer if they submitted ‘bright yellow’.

The option would also allow automatic marking, which can be viewed as soon as the student submitted their exam in either the Grade Centre or Retention Centre.

Jane went away and built a test consisting of 127 questions, varying from subjects covered on University Challenge.  Jane also manually enrolled the students onto the module and invited them to attend one of three time slots, Monday-Wednesday, where the trials would be taking place.

To avoid students potentially cheating by searching the web, Jane used NetSupport School software and locked down all the computers in the computer lab to only access the student intranet and Blackboard.

The students sat the trials and were encouraged to answer as many questions as they could during a two-hour slot.  They could leave anytime they liked but could not return once they had submitted their answers.

The trials themselves were successful, with the system not crashing or students having issues navigating through Blackboard and the Quiz.  I attended the final day and everything went smoothly.

Afterwards, Jane and I met to push the results through to the Grade Centre as exclamation marks were appearing.  This was due to the first few questions being of Essay type to simply ask availability, contact details and year studies finished.

Using the ‘Grade Questions’ option in the Grade Centre allowed us to quickly mark the Essay type questions for all student attempts on one page and finally push through the students’ score.

The other issues we had was if the answer was set as a plural answer (e.g. eggs) but the student set their answer as singular (egg) – the software identified the answer as wrong.

In the future we would need to set the answer as singular, but thankfully the score could be overwritten to be correct before marks are finalised.  Other issues to be aware of are to avoid capital lettering, set numbers as figures and text, as well as ensure apostrophes are correct or remove them.

uni challenge2

Also any questions that required two answers, if the student put “Atlantic and Pacific” but the correct answer set was “Pacific and Atlantic” it would be marked as incorrect.  So for future use, we would need to put both combinations in as the correct answer, as the Quiz tool allows more than one set of correct answers.

I found it to be a positive learning experience.  I enjoyed working with Jane and the Guild to get this project completed. I also learnt a lot of about the capabilities and restrictions the Blackboard Test tool offers.

In the time of writing this, the team has been selected to represent the University and are going through the first stages of getting onto the TV show.  I wish them the best of luck and hope Jeremy Paxman goes easy on them.

Ben McGrae

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Turnitin Summit 19th October

As I arrived in Newcastle, I took a walk around its famous Quayside.

Stepping onto one of the iron bridges to take in the River Tyne, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” started playing through my headphones.

This song couldn’t be more ironic or apt for attending the Turnitin Summit.
I planned ahead with a list of questions I wanted to ask about the problems experienced with Feedback Studio, I suspected other attendees came with a similar agenda of grilling Turnitin.

But this was billed as a conference about Academic Integrity and how Turnitin will be working more closely with UK institutions. Marc Daubach of Turnitin, introducing the agenda of the day, reiterated this at the opening.

The keynote speaker was Kerr Gardiner (https://www.kerrgardiner.co.uk/) who is a consultant in Learning Technology. He talked about his past role as Head of Learning Technology at the University of Glasgow, of how they pulled out of using Turnitin within their Moodle integration.

The anecdote was building up to how in the past, he worked in partnership with Turnitin to try to help meet Glasgow’s demands. That now that partnership has strengthened in his work with HeLF (https://helfuk.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-helf.html). Both HeLF and Turnitin are discussing customer service, future problems in learning & teaching, smoothing out workflows and improving partnerships with UK institutions.

A report developed by HeLF outlined that Turnitin need to work on improving:
• Trust – new features appearing late or not working
• Transparency – if updates and new features are coming, to know in advance
• Relations – better communication and more targeted for the UK

Themes that Turnitin need to be addressing were:
• Reliability of the system, as outage times have had a big impact for a number of institutions.
• Data access has been an issue for a number of years being locked down and not accessible to users.
• Marking – still no double/multiple marking or access for external staff
• Workflows and integration – better support for the variety of different VLE systems, accessibility plans and archiving assignments.

Kerr outlined that Turnitin are looking into the future requirements we might have such as detecting ghost writing, and dealing with other forms of assessment like video. He was strong in saying Turnitin need to deliver and that dialogue will continue with HeLF.

Ron Park of Turnitin then addressed the conference with how Turnitin would meet these problems.
• Turnitin have invested £5.2 million in hardware and software to improve customer relations and dealing with calls.
• Turnitin are improving their cloud server to deal with more assignments and to be more stable.
• The Turnitin website is currently in Beta, which allows users to create folders, and users can drag and drop files onto the website. Still unsure of how these files are used.
• Viewer is being upgraded within Feedback Studio so will be turning on features to improve the magnification of a paper and get around the blurred text issue.
• New API will be available in November 2017

Bill Loller of Turnitin did a talk about the Academic Integrity vision and discussed how it is important for UK institutions, and that there is a need to raise awareness and educate teaching staff.

The conference was then broken up into break out areas called Discovery Sessions, which we signed up in advance of attending. The first was ‘Feedback, marking and moderation’ with Ron Park, which tried to address the issues Kerr Gardiner outlined.

This descended into a Q&A session, issues raised were:
• How were Turnitin going to support the variety of VLE integrations?
• Promises made today (double marking) were promised a few years ago with Feedback Studio and we’re still waiting.
• Other assessment tools are getting better, which allow for double marking, group submissions, other file formats like videos.

Turnitin diverted answers to these issues, threatening that if we moved away from Turnitin to a competitor that we’d be going back 5 years. Customer relations and transparency were questionable here.

After lunch it was the remaining two discovery sessions. I attended Bill Loller’s ‘Ghost Writing’ which was an interesting discussion on how it works. Bill talked about how the service is advertised to students, which type of students it is targeted to, how institutions should deal with students caught and how to educate staff about the issue.

The final session was ran by Gill Powell, ‘Preparing to tackle all elements of academic integrity’. Was a discussion of how different intuitions are educating their staff and students, and the challenges they’ve met. A member of staff from the University of Huddersfield shared his academic integrity report.

The rest of the afternoon was a number of talks around the issue of academic integrity. Simon Bullock from the QAA talked about raising student awareness and using technology to help educate students.

Irene Glendinning from the University of Coventry discussed her Academic Integrity scoring model developed through the IPPHEAE project, which involved scoring a number of universities across the European Union.

Cath Ellis from the University of New South Wales did an interesting talk about the global Academic Integrity picture. She’s been investigating students buying essays from online websites, and looking at student behaviour and how they view cheating.

The final talk was a video presentation by Phil Newton from the University of Swansea, titled ‘Pouring ALE on Contract Cheating’. ALE stands for Assessment Design, Law and Education. He described how the websites work for students wanting to have their essay written by someone else and how institutions can tackle the problem.

As I left the summit and boarded the train home, I plugged myself into music and shuffled back to Simon & Garfunkel. There’s a line at the beginning of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” which says “I’m on your side, Oh when times get rough.”

It seems Turnitin are willing to work more closely with UK institutions to improve support and trust in the system. I feel there are still issues in the current Feedback Studio that need to be addressed such as the app and user issues in Grademark. I felt encouraged there is more effort being made to listen to our concerns with the system and want to see action being taken, to be on our side and resolve them over the next academic year.

Ben McGrae

Report – Social media round table May 2017

When King Arthur sat with his knights in Camelot around his round table, would technology have impacted on the stories that make up his legend?

Round table meetings being arranged on What’s App, pulling Excalibur out of the stone captured on Periscope, the Holy Grail quest having a hashtag on Twitter and Arthur’s relationship status with Guinevere being updated on Facebook.

These were the strange images I was conjuring up when I was invited to the first Social Media round table, hosted by my eLearning Unit colleague Alex Spiers. Having worked alongside him, absorbing his knowledge and enthusiasm for mobile technology within higher education, he was a worthy Arthur to lead this session. My role felt like Arthur’s follower in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, running alongside and banging two coconuts together.

C7gw-A1WsAAt5UJ

Our Camelot was the Central Teaching Hub and our round table was a series of them in the GFlex. The worthy knights appearing for this summit came from a variety of backgrounds in the University.

The Library was well represented, digital leads from communication teams, teaching staff, PhD students, Education developers, study abroad, marketing and alumni staff.
This was all found out by our introductory task of going round the table and introducing ourselves to the group, with a description of why we were there. My own use of social media has been driven by my professional work.

I’ve never been a user of Facebook, but do use Twitter to keep connected to news and colleagues in eLearning and higher education. I also use LinkedIn to keep connected with people I’ve worked with in my career.

The reason I attended was to see how people were using social media in their own teaching, how it affects their own professional lives and to see if anyone was carrying anything new that I wasn’t aware of.

My reasons were echoed by everyone in the room and it seemed Twitter was the preferred tool of everyone when using social media. Hashtag for the day was #LIVUNISOCIAL, which helped keep us all connected in the virtual world of Twitter. We were all well fed with a selection of Tunnocks biscuits provided by Alex and Joanna from Education Development.

2017-05-05 10_25_55-#LIVUNISOCIAL - Twitter Search
Alex presented the group with a nice exercise of using our mobile devices in using Slido, which required us to login to a website, input a unique code and start using our mobile devices as a clicker and answering questions on our social media usage.

With Alex leading the pace and topics of discussion, it emerged that many people were using social media for communication, in particular targeting students. Whether it’s the whole student body, a group such as a class, or even potential new students – people put a lot of thought and effort into communicating.

2017-05-05 10_27_11-#LIVUNISOCIAL - Twitter Search.png
Twitter was the highest percentage from the Slido poll, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn. I was shocked that there were no users of Periscope, considering the high percentage of Twitter users, that nobody had used the video streaming app which complements Twitter.

slido pool types of sm
But that’s the point of this session, in time we will probably identify or see the opportunity a technology like Periscope can be used in higher education. The same can be said about other emerging apps like SnapChat and will be interesting to see in the future if these apps are used more widely.

For this session, the discussion revolved around mainly Twitter, how people were in control of departmental accounts and evaluating the pros and cons of communicating this way. Staff were sharing a department account under one name, yet to their audience the students see it as one unified voice, which was interesting to see how it was maintained.

The famous ‘laminated tweets’ provided by the library were fun to read and analyse too.  Some users used Canva to design their tweets which I hadn’t come across before and instantly bookmarked.

2017-05-05 10_27_27-#LIVUNISOCIAL - Twitter Search
Voices from marketing and communication raised interesting concerns about associating social media accounts to the university and what staff should be aware of publishing. In general, people were focussing on the fears of how they are perceived on social media, mainly by how students view them.

The emergence of new apps such as SnapChat was an interesting discussion. A member of the library suggested that as they were not a user of SnapChat, the use of it and language can come across as forced to the audience which were students.

With further sessions planned later in the year, attendees will be invited to hear people present case studies and their own experiences in using social media. But for this session, I enjoyed the open discussion of people sharing stories, ideas and networking.

It was opened up to the group of what they would like to cover in the future, again we used Slido to comment and then it was displayed to the group.  Common themes were understanding institution policy, how to implement social media in teaching practice, how to generate consistent content and how to share good practice.

I did feel the session met my needs, I made some good connections across the university and gained a better understanding of how colleagues were using social media in their own working lives. It was fun afterwards to check out the #LIVUNISOCIAL on Twitter afterwards to see how others felt the session went.

I’m looking forward to the future social media round table session and investing sometime in the emerging social media apps our future students will be using. Hopefully I can see my role change from coconut banger to possibly Galahad.

Ben McGrae

Twitter Moment

Slides

Social Media Roundtable #LIVUNISOCIAL

#LIVUNISOCIAL presentation slide

Social media in education expert Eric Stoller has suggested that “from student recruitment to alumni relations, social media has a place at every step of the student journey” https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/why-educators-need-social-media-07-jul-2015  

We couldn’t agree more. At the University we have some fantastic examples of using social media which need to be disseminated more widely across the campus. So following a chat on Twitter (see below), staff from the e Learning Unit in the Centre for Innovation in Education (CIE) and colleagues in the Central Teaching Lab (CTL)  decided to set up a social media meeting together. The meeting will take place on Tuesday 2nd May 3pm – 5pm. For more details and to register contact eddev@liverpool.ac.uk 

I should also mention that this idea and name was inspired by the excellent work going on at my alma mater: University of Glasgow.

This inaugural round table event is aimed at University of Liverpool staff using social media to support and enhance the student journey. We’ll bring together examples of good practice and also explore new ways these tools can be used. Bring an open mind and a creative approach.

If you would like to book a place contact eddev@liverpool.ac.uk

Places are limited. There will be cakes.

Follow online #LIVUNISOCIAL.

Black Sabbath to Busted – Report on Blackboard Enhanced Assessment and Feedback Event

Leaving home under an early-morning starry sky and up over the misty, snowy Pennines to Sheffield, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Blackboard Enhanced Assessment and Feedback day to which I was travelling. I had a sketched outline of the themes for the day ahead but not much more, namely that we would engage in some way with:

Assessment and feedback – an institutional perspective

  • Examination of key drivers and challenges (reputations, quality of process, quality of data, legal, business efficiencies, risk etc.)
  • Placing use cases on a confidence/effectiveness model
  • Highlight relevant Blackboard solutions

 Assessment and feedback – innovation and organisational change

  • Identifications for drivers for change
  • Gap analysis of practice and stakeholder experiences
  • Prioritisation of opportunities for change
  • Highlight relevant Blackboard solutions

This kind of workshoppy day from Blackboard was something I hadn’t experienced before, so I was propelled by curiosity as much as that it seemed relevant to the work that our team are currently leading on e-submission and e-feedback at Liverpool. What I got was a useful day of frank discussion and sharing of experiences, ideas and commonalities, which was mostly reassuring, with colleagues from other institutions in the kind if depth you don’t often get. This is especially useful for a sense of the bigger picture in HE, to talk about the differently badged or described but largely similar activities, structures and strategies that are top of our agendas at the moment, e-submission and e-marking being one of Liverpool’s current strategic TEL focus. One universal and rapidly-emerging area of concern that became evident on the day was a need for a variety of programme-level views of assessment activity in the VLE for academic and administrative staff and students. This is a long-requested feature from Blackboard usergroups that’s time has come with the adoption of e-submission and e-marking policies across the sector of late and I hope this was the main takeaway message for the Blackboard team.

The event was run by our regional Blackboard Customer Success Team, in partnership with the BB North user group, recognising a need for a more extensive exploration of particular issues that get raised at user group meetings, where the format doesn’t allow fuller discussion. Whilst advertised as intended for senior leaders, learning technologists, TEL managers and academic staff, the majority attending today were learning technologist types. It was instructive to hear that on the previous day at Edinburgh a couple of PVCs had attended, sending some very positive signals about the depth of an institutions’ engagement and intent with the actual tools that students, academic and professional service staff use as a part of their everyday life at the University.

Music, sweet music…

Our first activity was to introduce ourselves telling the room the first piece of music that we had ever bought. An astonishing array of formats and first loves was paraded, from Now compilation tapes to Avril Levigne downloads, from Osmonds vinyls to Busted CDs. Blackboard’s Alan Masson and Gillian Fielding all admitted to their first purchases, but I’ll spare their blushes here. Top-trumping all these, however, was Blackboard’s Steve Hoole, whose overnight Novotel stay featured a vinyl deck (remember these, kids?) and a selection of Sheffield synth heaven albums to spin the night away.

Structure of the sessions

The morning and the afternoon were structured in a similar way so that we would first ‘brainstorm’ our thoughts in groups on a set of e-assessment themes, then work together on some specific ideas from those and bring something interesting back to the room. We’d finally end with a discussion of the potentially useful tools in Blackboard that could be a part of the thinking for some of these. I initially thought this last element was going to be a sales pitch but it was pleasingly nuanced in that the Blackboard team wanted to hear stories of how people are using these tools, where they’re working well and what the gaps are. A very clear point made more than once was that the recent Blackboard activity in developing the assignment tool to offer dual marking, moderation and anonymous marking had been excellent but it now seemed that the Blackboard focus had moved on from this, whilst the toolset still needs work, that there had only been one iteration of the process. Also that this process of close consultation should be constantly repeated for other areas as our needs are constantly evolving, not just for assessment.

Morning Session – what’s needed to enhance assessment and feedback practice?

For the morning, we’d thought about quality, processes and workflows and where the opportunities for enhancement lay. We chucked all of our ideas at the first Padlet below. You’ll find all of the issues that we have encountered in the course of our work as learning technology developers and as part of the University’s EMA project, from how to handle video submission and feedback, to combining some functionality of Blackboard assignments (group tools, double marking, staged release of feedback, etc) with that of Turnitin assignments (Originality Checking, GradeMark, offline marking). In fact, this was another big ask on the day, that Turnitin and Blackboard align/integrate their products in ways that will help us, as you will gather from some of the posts in this Padlet.

Made with Padlet

What leapt out at me was a so-far un-encountered issue at Liverpool of needing a read-only external examiner access to modules. In some institutions administrative staff are packaging up content and assignments into a special section of a module, which only the external has access to, and making the rest of the module inaccessible to them. This is to meet an anxiety around externals potentially changing grades and altering content, but it costs hours of administrative time, essentially duplicating what’s already in the module, so re-introducing at a later stage of the assessment cycle serious administrative burden that the electronic submission process had originally taken away from the front end. What’s needed is a read-only access enrollment level, which is another development idea for the Blackboard team to add to the suggestions box.

Moving on to the next activity in groups again, we were tasked with listing and describing up to five assessment and feedback enhancements that would have significant benefits for the listed stakeholders and the degree to which it would require resource. This photo shows our effort…

dsc01104

…and for those who aren’t adept at reading the handwriting of people who spend their whole day attached to a keyboard our five enhancements (all pretty standard) were:

  1. External Examiner Access – read-only access for external examiners or a similar idea.
  2. Student Assessment Journey – programme level views of student assessment activity for students and staff
  3. Flexible innovative assessment – making the assessment and feedback tools at all points in Blackboard, not just for assignments, so that you can start thinking about using any tool for assessment purposes.
  4. Double marking – further work on the current functionality to take it to a robust, fully-usable level.
  5. Programme Level Assessment – looking at assessment practice across entire programmes and thinking about programme-level learning outcomes.

Hearing back from the rest of the room we discussed in more depth some of the already described above (external examiner access, programme-level views of assessment) and the Blackboard team promised to send round some case study examples of good practice for external examiner processes using Blackboard tools. In a discussion around whether and how institutions were using the Delegated Grading functionality, which was designed for UK HEIs, again the Blackboard team said they would gather together some case studies of where these are being used well. The feeling from the room was that this kind of functionality should be available across all assessment tools rather than locked to a single tool.

A few other interesting discussion points to end the morning session were that many institutions are thinking at programme level about replacing traditional assignment assessment. Video assignments and feedback are rapidly on the rise but also causing headaches as infrastructure and policy isn’t keeping up.

Afternoon Session

As I said, the afternoon session followed the same structure. So our post-lunch digestif activity was another Padlet , this time thinking about innovation and new practices that would enhance assessment and feedback in our institutions. I’ll let the Padlet do the talking so scroll around to see the ideas. I was interested in things like students being able to select the kinds of assessment that they wanted to do, and learners and academics developing assessment literacies through feedback dialogue and feed-forward as a continuous process.

Made with Padlet

As in the morning, next was a group task, where we were asked to think “aspirationally” about how we imagined assessment could look, if we had a free rein. What change or innovation in assessment and/or feedback would have significant impact and how would it benefit learners, tutors, courses and institutions? Essentially we were encouraged to go wild in the aisles of transformative assessment practice.

Our group went Back to Basics and offered the transformative potential of programmes where learning outcomes were mapped to assessment.  Well, someone had to. Other groups had some tidy, Tomorrow’s World ideas including:

  • An assessment wizard which built the kind of assessment you wanted with one view for staff and students (no more multiple systems or at least hiding these from you).
  • A tool that surfaced programme level assessment data.
  • A tool for personalised feedback and assessment routes – feedback raises flags on further help students can get and other staff can see that in later assessments.

And as per the morning session the Blackboard team led a discussion on how their products could work to do some of these things. One thing they did bring back to my attention was the Goals and Outcomes system which has a new dashboard view of the data and I think it would be opportune to review this in the light of programme development work that is heading the way of our team, as this could present an opportunity for offering programme-level views of progress through modules.

The end

So not a sales day, not your regular product roadmap/roadshow day, this represented a deeper dive into Electronic Management of Assessment, including the Blackboard tools that can be a part of that that environment. The Blackboard team wanted the day to be about sharing practice, raising awareness of what Blackboard tools we have already and encouraging us to get the best we can out the Blackboard tools and products that you have and I think this was more than achieved on the day. Thanks to the team and to the Bb North UserGroup for arranging and hosting. I had some very useful conversations (which is pretty much usual for the BB North User Groups meetings) and plenty from all of the above to take back for the project board overseeing the implementation of an e-submission policy at Liverpool.

What music did I first buy? The Muppet Show album. And I’ve never needed any other in my life…

Dan

Winter School 2017 report

winter-school‘Brilliant, engaging, authentic – thank you!’

This year’s Winter School, our sixth, has been the best attended of any we have run so far which was really pleasing for the team. We’ve met lots of new colleagues over the two weeks and been inspired by the kinds of things people want to do with technologies for their learning and teaching. Feedback from the sessions has given us some great ideas on how to develop our workshops and also the kinds of things people would like to find out more about, that’s why we collect it, so we’ll be scheduling in workshops on Evernote and technologies for polling over the next few months for starters. To keep up to date with when workshops are running you can follow us on Twitter (link below), follow us on this blog, keep an eye on the University Announcements page and also search the CLL Booking page here.

‘Lots of showing and sharing of experiences – colleagues sharing their use of various tools… Learning about those tools and trying them out.’

Our aim is to make the Winter and Summer schools a mix of introductory and more exploratory sessions, providing opportunities for staff to extend themselves. In the feedback we get, staff report a valued feature of the sessions is the opportunity to try out new tools and systems, to discuss the strengths and limits of these, how these can be trialed and then made a part of learning and teaching practice, and to share and learn from what colleagues in other schools and departments are interested in and are doing. We are also delighted to read about the wider impact and reach our sessions have in a range of contexts, from enriching personal practice, to staff championing in schools and departments the ideas and knowledge they gain, to applications for research groups.

‘I came to build up professional knowledge and skills for my own personal development and I think this will definitely come in useful in the future.’

‘This will quickly enable myself and other module leaders to elevate the skills of our students…’

Immediate use to help a research collaboration (2 UK sites, 2 European) meet and collaborate. I will include this system as a way of indicating how we will collaborate – thus strengthening a bid for funding. I will explore using this for T&L in a European meeting to demonstrate some of our T&L content.’

Another way we’ve responded to the feedback we get has been developing an advanced session on using Twitter, following a brace of well attended introductory Twitter sessions over the summer. We ran this in the winter school and knowing that it is crucial to include local examples of good practice we enlisted the help of Zelda Chatten, who is part of the team that supports the Library’s social media presence. Between us we were able to share practical tips and useful advice about our experiences using Twitter.

This was a fruitful partnership which extended the range of sessions we run collaboratively (we also run an Adobe Connect session with colleagues from CSD) and one which we will repeat and continue to build on, for example we are planning to develop a session jointly-run with CSD colleagues on Stream Capture.

‘The opportunity to explore some very useful tools in a supported way – I left with some great ways to make my slides more visual and engaging and will pass these tips onto others.’

It was also the first time we ran the session ‘Engaging learners visually’ in which Alex and Tünde shared a few tools that you can use to create more exciting, visual slides, including Notegraphy, Piktochart, Prezi, Haikudeck and some features of PowerPoint. We discussed accessibility considerations when putting together pictoral slides. Judging from the attendance and busy keyboard-working during the workshop, it was a lively and useful topic to cover!  We will definitely run this workshop again.

‘Hands-on guidance through the set-up, recording, stream process. Also love the well-scaffolded and visual resources laid out on the VITAL page. Great!’

If you attended one of our the Winter School sessions you will be enrolled on our Workshop Resources module in VITAL which will contain at least the slides from the sessions and usually further links and support resources on all of the sessions we run. Our Summer School will be running from Wednesday 7th June until Friday 16th June 2017 and some sessions are already scheduled in to run and are bookable here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/cll/booking/

‘Thank you – terrific, inspiring session!’

Thanks to everyone who came along and engaged so positively. We derive much inspiration and learn so much from all of our sessions, which we always strive to make a collaborative venture. But for now, the decorations are stowed back in the loft, the last green triangle Quality Street has reluctantly been scoffed, and the jumper from Santa exchanged for a Star Wars onesie, it can mean only one thing; the eLearning Unit Winter school has been and gone and the festivities over for another year. Hope to see you at the Summer School!

The eLearning Unit team