Online staff meetings with Skype for Business: New interactive guide

The TEL team love sharing useful technology that can make working life easier and Skype for Business is now available to all staff at the University. Skype is the ideal choice for arranging online meetings between academics, professional staff or external colleagues.

Our friends in Information Technology have made a new interactive tutorial (published on the Learning and Teaching Facilities blog) that shows you how easy it is to schedule and join a meeting using the Outlook Calendar and information for external contacts to join using the Web App.

How can I meet my students online?

 

Blackboard Collaborate logoThe ability to use Skype between staff joins the existing option to hold ‘real-time’ lessons and meetings with your students using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This tool is built into the University’s virtual learning environment and is specifically designed for education. It provides students with the ability to easily interact and communicate with you, in a virtual classroom, through your module on Blackboard.

Read our case studies to find out how Blackboard Collaborate has enabled students to engage online and increased learning opportunities for both on-campus and off-campus students.

 

 

Changing the focus: Accessibility in Blackboard

When thinking about accessibility and inclusive teaching practice, technology is often cited as a solution. Technology can certainly assist students with disabilities but well designed online learning provision can benefit all learners.

Central to this is a shift in focus away from the ‘deficit’ model of perceiving disability, where Universities respond to a ‘need’ and adopting a ‘social’ model that addresses the structural barriers to students’ ability to participate, and succeed in learning. This is where technology can play a key role in levelling the learning playing field by designing systems that optimise access for all (JISC Quick Guide, Getting started with accessibility and inclusion).

The University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, is fully compatible with internationally recognised accessibility standards and has in-built features that allow students with different impairments to engage with digital content.

Turnitin is working towards full compliance. A text based PDF version of students’ work can be downloaded to work with screen-readers.

There are also things you can do to when producing your learning materials to ensure students have the best experience.

Find out how to make the most of the accessibility features in Blackboard and Turnitin.

Find advice on making your documents and screencasts accessible in the Creating accessible teaching and learning resources blackboard course. (Log-in and click the +Enrol button.)

The Library guide to Inclusive Technology provides advice on accessibility features that students can use including Windows, Microsoft and Office365.

 

 

TEL team recruiting! Job vacancies – June closing dates

We are recruiting to several new Technology Enhanced Learning posts within the Centre for Quality Support and Development. These offer an exciting opportunity to join a recently established team who are building on the development of strategic pedagogical and technological initiatives within the institution.

We are looking to appoint:

  • TEL Advisors (1 permanent, 1 maternity cover) £29,301 to £38,183 Closing date: 21st June
  • TEL Support Manager (permanent) £29,301 to £38,183 Closing date: 15th June
  • TEL Support Officers (1 permanent, 1 fixed term) £23,879 – £28,454 Closing date: 23rd June

Please read the job descriptions to find out more and make an application at: https://jobs.reading.ac.uk/ .

Blackboard Service Interruption – 19 April

  • Blackboard experienced a service interruption between approximately 11.30am and 12.15pm BST on Wednesday 19 April 2017.
  • During this time Blackboard was unavailable for staff and students.

Information for staff with online submission deadlines during the service interruption:

If you had online assessment deadlines during this time, please make appropriate allowances for any student submission issues encountered in consultation with your SDTL and Support Centre.

It may be necessary to amend the Due Date for assignments to allow students to submit work, if it is decided an extension of the deadline is appropriate in your circumstance. (Guide on extending submission deadlines.)

If you have a Turnitin submission and the students have emailed you the work, it is possible to submit work on their behalf and may negate the need to extend the deadline. (Guide on how to submit on behalf of a student in Turnitin. )

If you have any queries with regards to the service interruption, please contact us via the IT Service Desk.

Blackboard Assignment submission email receipt error Friday 24th March

Blackboard was unable to send emails between approximately 2am and 2pm on Friday 24th March.

As a result of this issue, students who were submitting to a Blackboard Assignment submission during this time saw an error message after submitting their work because an email receipt could not be sent to them.

NOTE: This did NOT affect students submitting to Turnitin.

It was not clear to students if their work had been successfully submitted due to this and may have resulted in some confusion and concern. Students may also have made several attempts to submit work as a result.

Please be aware that:

  • The students’ work was successfully submitted if they saw this error message.
  • Students will not have received an email receipt for the submission.
  • A copy of the email receipt has not been stored for staff reference in the Files section of the course.

We apologise for the inconvenience and any concern this caused to students and staff. The issue was resolved as quickly as possible by Blackboard engineers.

If you have any questions or queries arising from this incident please submit them to it@reading.ac.uk

 

Digital Advent Calendar – Institute of Education

Yota Dimitradi from the University’s Institute of Education (IoE) has put together a digital festive treat in the form of an online advent calendar for colleagues in IoE and has kindly offered to share it with us. It reveals a different educational App everyday in the run up to December 25th.

You can see the advent calendar and join in by visiting the University of Reading Institute of Education Digital Advent Calendar. Enjoy dipping in to the growing list of apps for a few minutes every day. You might see something you’d like to investigate further and try out with your students.

IoE_Advent

The advent calendar is produced using Google’s blogging platform Blogger. Yota has made use of the Flipcard blog view to fit the advent calendar format.

If you’re not familiar with Apps and using mobile devices, check out the BBC WebWise site: