TEL team meet our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair

Staff from the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) programme enjoyed meeting our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair.  

Pic of Pete & Chris

Pete Moll (L) & Chris Johnson (R) from the TEL team

We had some great discussions with students about Blackboard (our Virtual Learning Environment, VLE), submitting work and accessing marks and feedback online. It was interesting to hear about students’ previous experiences of VLEs, both anecdotally and via a survey we ran on the day.

The headline survey results showed that 54% of students have used VLEs prior to joining UoR and 60% have submitted assignments or coursework online before. It’s worth noting that although many students have prior experience of using a VLE, only 19% have previously used Blackboard.

We have some really useful resources to help students who are new to Blackboard and/or online submissions. These can be found via Blackboard’s Help tab; there’s a searchable site containing helpful resources on all aspects of using Blackboard and Turnitin. 

Congratulations to the 8 winners of our survey prize draw – we’ve emailed you with details of how to collect your Amazon voucher prizes (kindly donated by Blackboard)!

The TEL team would like to wish all our new and returning students every success for the forthcoming year! 

Chris Johnson / Lauren McCann (CQSD TEL) 

Blackboard and TEL – What’s New for 2018-19

As we start a new academic year, here’ s a summary of changes that have taken place over the summer.

Blackboard redesign

You can’t fail to have noticed that Blackboard has a crisp new look. The redesign was informed by feedback received from student and staff focus groups held in the Spring term. As well as aiming to be more visually appealing, the landing page has been designed to give prominence to those areas of Blackboard which users need to access most frequently. And we’ve used a new responsive theme, meaning that Blackboard should now display well on any device, and any size of screen.

Read more on the new Blackboard design

 

Blackboard upgrade

This was a fairly minor upgrade, but it brought a number of enhancements and bug fixes.

Read more on the Blackboard upgrade

 

Blackboard Ally

Ally is an innovative tool which can help improve the accessibility of content on Blackboard courses. It has been enabled on all 2018-19 courses. Ally is being trialled for a year as part of the implementation of the University’s policy on Inclusive Practice in Teaching and Learning.

Read more on Blackboard Ally

View Blackboard ALLY support materials

 

New support sites for staff and students

We have launched new help sites for you and your students to use Blackboard and related technologies such as Turnitin and Collaborate (web conferencing).

Staff support site: https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support-for-students

Student support site: https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support

Help articles are categorised, so you can for instance find all articles on Marking & Feedback, but the best way of finding what you want is to use the search box at the top of every page.

 

Preparing for the new academic year

Highlighted on the staff support site at the moment is a checklist aimed to help you prepare your Blackboard sites for a new cohort of students – see Getting ready for the new Year.

 

Requesting support

As ever, when seeking support from the TEL team – whether you have a technical query or are looking for advice or training – please contact us by logging a support ticket through the IT Self-Service Portal

You can also simply email it@reading.ac.uk or use the ASK A QUESTION link at the top of the Staff support site.

Your queries and requests for support are picked up and dealt with by the TEL team.

 

Wishing you all a successful academic year.

New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for students)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

In response to staff and student feedback, we’ve been working to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility and the experience of our staff and students when using it. We’ve also been keen to make it more responsive and give a better experience when using it on mobile devices. 

 

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Edit 22/09/18: it should no longer be necessary to clear browsing data before logging on to Blackboard

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

 

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab (shown below) where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and module evaluation surveys.  Continue reading

New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for staff)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

As you may remember from previous communications, we’ve been working, in response to staff and student feedback, to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility, responsiveness and the experience of our staff and students when using it. 

 

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Edit 22/09/18: it should no longer be necessary to clear browsing data before logging on to Blackboard

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

 

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log-in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in,  Continue reading

Known Issue: Blackboard Learn styling error on small screens

There is currently a known issue with Blackboard Learn where users using small screens, ones set to a low resolution or users on mobile devices will not be able to navigate Blackboard Learn as the top level tabs will not render properly.

 

We are aware of the issue and are looking into this. If you need to use Blackboard on a mobile device, please download the “Blackboard” or the “Blackboard Instructor” app from the AppStore, Google Play or the Microsoft Store.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at it@reading.ac.uk .

 

2018-19 enrolments now being created in Blackboard

We are now into the 2018-19 academic year, and from Monday any 2018-19 course enrolments already registered in RISIS will start to flow into Blackboard.

Module Convenors on Part 2 and 3 modules: if you want your students to be able to access your Blackboard course, simply make your course available.

You’ll also want to email them to alert them that the course is available, as they’re probably not checking Blackboard on a daily basis just now!

 

Please note

This applies only to returning students (e.g. 2nd and 3rd years). 

New students (i.e. Part 1 and new PGT students) will not have full access to IT systems until they complete their enrolment in late September, and it is only at that point that they will be able to log on to Blackboard and access their courses.