Academic Technology Newsletter - June 2022
Academic Technology Updates
Academic Technology is part of the Flexible and Online Learning Division. The team provides support and advice on a range of technology enhanced learning tools including Moodle, Echo360, eStream, Mahara, Padlet, Vevox, QuestionMark Perception (QMP) and the Warwick Assessment System (WAS) . We also offer consultancy and support in associated technology enhanced learning themes such as assessment, collaboration and engagement.
- We had a Moodle outage on the May 5th between ~15:45-16:15. This was caused by corrupt data being passed to our Moodle hosts. Work has taken place to avoid similar issues in the future. This did cause some subsequent problems with a number of modules in the wrong category that took a few days to resolve, all current and active courses were prioritised. Access to content for enrolled participants (staff and students) should not have been affected, only those with category-wide roles may have had some access issues.
- A more significant single sign-on (SSO) problem on May 10th affected many web applications including access to Moodle ~13:30-15:30. ITS state "We apologise for inconvenience caused by application unavailability on this day" and have provided a detailed incident reportLink opens in a new window.
- We are still expecting Moodle to upgrade to version 3.11 on Tuesday 12th July. This process normally takes at least half a day, but as this is a significant piece of work the VLE should be considered at risk and potentially unavailable for the whole day. Please do let colleagues know. There will be some minor improvements and bug fixes but the interface and menus will remain very similar and recognisable.
- We are working with our host CoSector to deliver a new improved theme for Moodle. Following earlier consultation with staff and students development work is ongoing and we hope that any new look can be applied at or close to the upgrade in July. If more time is needed and there are delays in this work then we would expect that the new theme would be applied in August at the latest. This should be seen as part one of a phased approach to improving and developing Moodle as we expect to be able to continue to develop the VLE's theme and functionality over the next year.
- We are in the process of procuring Blackboard Ally Link opens in a new windowand have had confirmation that this purchase can go ahead. This means it should be added to Moodle over the summer and we will confirm the date once we know more. This is an accessibility plugin that will automatically provide alternative formats of documents for all learners, this will include providing enhanced PDF, audio, epub and electronic braille versions of uploaded files. It will also check course content and provide feedback and guidance on how content can be made more accessible. The tool will also provide institution-wide reports that can be used to monitor progress and identify problems that may need targeting with future support and training.
- Do you, your team or colleagues in your department need help and support using Moodle? See details about the bookable Moodle Support Sessions in the training and workshop opportunities section below.
- Since September 2021 Vevox at Warwick has seen significant activity with 319 active users, who between them ran 2,110 sessions and 9,621 polls. If you are new to Vevox, please see our Vevox at Warwick help guide for advice on getting started. The Vevox help site also has some excellent resources.
- A reminder that SmartEvidence frameworks have been enabled on Mahara and we are interested in hearing from people who might want to set these up.
- We do not have an upgrade date for Mahara at the present time, but when this happens we will be moving to version 22.04 which is a minor update only.
Teams Meeting Recordings in Microsoft Stream
You are reminded that during w/c July 4th Warwick will move to the new Microsoft Stream (on SharePoint). The user experience will be that any Teams meeting recordings made in Teams channels will be stored in SharePoint and any meeting recordings organised through the calendar will be stored in the OneDrive of the meeting organiser.
- See this information page from the IT training team to find out moreLink opens in a new window
- See here for training sessions being offered this month. Link opens in a new window(This could be useful for Super Users to get a better understanding of how this tool will work)
Please note although this content in new Stream can be linked to and streamed directly, Classic Stream will still be available to host content and can be used as a back-up if needed. Alternatively content can also be shared in Echo 360. These options may be useful while we wait for the embed option and other features to be added to new Stream.
Training & Workshop Opportunities
- The Digital Learning Environment (DLE) team is now offering a series of bookable one-to-one Moodle Support Sessions. These are intended to be short appointments to discuss users' needs and requirements so that we can advise on appropriate tools in Moodle for the activity they want to create. Appointments are available in the first instance between 12 noon and 2pm on Tuesdays, 1pm and 3pm on Thursdays and 10am and 12pm on Fridays. Sign up to appointments with DLE staff via MS BookingsLink opens in a new window.
- We now have the license to use the JISC Digital Capabilities toolLink opens in a new window Link opens in a new window This is available to pilot this term, with wider use anticipated next academic year. New users are advised to start with the ‘Overall Digital Capabilities’ activity first. It takes 15-20 minutes to complete, allowing an assessment of current digital capabilities that then generates a personal report identifying current strengths and areas for development.
** Please note due to a planned major update and improvement to this system by JISC on August 1st any reports generated before August should be downloaded and kept for future reference **
- Student Digital Skills Data: What it means for practice and support? Tuesday 21st 1-2pm (online): This LDCU workshop will review anonymous data from the JISC student digital skills capability survey pilots to consider levels of confidence and competence. What do students need and how should this influence our practice and support? Please express interest and book a place hereLink opens in a new window
- There is now an Introduction to Accessibility for Educators self-paced training course available in Moodle. This is a free resource provided by AHEAD, an independent non-profit organisation working to create inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities. We hope you will find this resource useful.
- You are reminded that there is now an Academic Technology Super User Guide available on our website. The guide aims to introduce super users to Academic Technology at Warwick, let them know where to find support and to explain some of the types of tasks they may be required to complete.
- The library team are looking for staff and students’ thoughts on designing the new Co-creation Space with a focus on how the room, resources, and support can best enable co-creation. If you’d like to be involved in the discussion, there's a form to indicateLink opens in a new window which times work best for interested parties to meet up. Feel free to share with anyone you think may be interested — undergraduates, postgraduates, and staff.
Lecture Capture and Echo360
- John Couperthwaite from Echo360 recently visited Warwick, introducing the new Echosystem following the merger with Turningpoint.
- During this visit, we also spoke about Collections, which are now available for Warwick users. Collections are a collaborative space which allows for wider management and sharing of Echo360 media content, which may be of particular interest to departmental administrative staff. Please take a look at the video of the Collections sessionLink opens in a new window.
- Browser captureLink opens in a new window has been released by Echo360 in BETA version. Please let the Academic Technology team know if your department is interested in trialling this. Browser capture is a user-friendly, Echo360 integrated application which will provide a portable facility for personal lecture capture similar to Universal capture, but without the requirement for installed software. It is currently only available with Chrome, however, Echo360 are aiming to expand this to other browsers in time.
- Following the recent release of Collections, we are considering if enabling the Echo360 student libraryLink opens in a new window is appropriate, given the role this plays in terms of collections and assignments in Moodle. We would need to enable this sitewide so we are canvassing opinions - please get in touch with Paul Trimmer or the DLE team generally if you have any questions or think this would be useful for your department.
- Also, with regards to sitewide changes, it is possible to automatically apply automated transcripts as closed captionsLink opens in a new window on a University-wide basis in Echo360. We would like to hear from anyone who thinks this would benefit their department (WMS have already asked if this can be enabled) and also if they have concerns about the impact this might have. If this is enabled, individual departments would not be able to opt-out so it is important that we understand the requirement. As above, please contact Paul Trimmer or the DLE team for more information.
- Echo experience 2022Link opens in a new window is happening on 27-29 June. This is a virtual event where you can learn how leading organizations embrace Echo360’s innovative engagement solutions to create inspired learning experiences for all learners.
Lecture Capture Scheduling
- Lecture capture scheduling requests have now dropped off as we head towards the end of term. We are now preparing for the new Academic year. This includes getting the new Academic Year setup and module sections created, development work on the various tools that we rely on, and changes to booking forms and processes.
- We would like to invite comments on how we schedule recordings to better support all our users - please use the Lecture Capture Booking Form FeedbackLink opens in a new window link to let us know your thoughts.
For guidance on requesting automated lecture capture, please see our guide.
If our guides still don’t answer your questions, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
eAssessment: Update on the new Warwick Assessment System (WAS)
Phase 1 of the implementation of WAS has taken place during the Spring and Summer exam period and is now drawing to a close. Exams and assessments have been successfully delivered in the new system from a wide variety of departments: Applied Linguistics, IATL, Warwick Medical School (UG and MBChB) and Global Sustainable Development (GSD).
18 exams and 9 assessments were delivered to a total 417 students with minimal technical queries. One student reported “The interface was very easy to use and I was able to focus on my exam” Exams are now being marked and the team are supporting the markers with the process.
Phase 1 aimed to explore the functionality and capabilities of the system within the Warwick setting, whilst gathering understanding about the levels of support that will be required for a fuller roll out. Immediate next steps are to deal with any risks and issues that arise as we set up the system and receive feedback from Phase 1. There will be a formal review and lessons learned for phase 1 before the plans for Phase 2 are finalised.
End of Year Exams on AEP using Questionmark Perception
Economics exams: We have completed the last 5 exams for term 3 (comparing to 17 exams for term 2) for Economics. We provided second line support for the Economics exams and nearly 2,500 students have taken the 5 exams. All the exams went smoothly, and the Economics undergraduate office were extremely satisfied with the services that were provided for the whole academic year.
End of Year Exams for Engineering: We are now coming towards the end of the stage that most of the Engineering exams have been completed, with only two exams left. From 16th May, we have been supporting 55 live exams with more than 3600 students attempting the exams online. We were the first line support on the helpdesk during the exam sessions, and the students were getting familiar with the system with less user issues. All the exams went really well and smoothly, data was collected and sent to the course leaders within 48 hours after the exams.
Look ahead: We still have 15 exams on AEP including language exams and the Engineering apprenticeship exams until the beginning of July.
Microsoft Teams continues to develop and evolve and new features are added periodically. As living proof that promised improvements are often slow to materialise we can confirm that the long-awaited Microsoft Teams co-organizer role is almost but not quite here still! This is listed as "GA" (general availability) June 2022, so it looks like it *may* arrive just in time for the end of term. (Editor says > "believe it when it happens"). See here to follow progress.Link opens in a new window
PowerPoint 'Record your presentation'Link opens in a new window has been updated. This includes a dedicated ‘Record’ tab, new presentation views, the option to blur camera background, the ability to re-record an individual slide or entire presentation and the option to export the presentation immediately.
If you have any feedback, questions, comments or tips that you would like to share then please do get in touch with Jim Judges: email@example.com
This newsletter can only provide a taste and snapshot of some of the active areas of interest. We will do our best to send these updates at least twice a term. If you need help and guidance, please refer to the main online Academic Technology pages here. If you have a technical query with Moodle or any of our supported tools, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more general IT enquiries, or if you are unsure who to ask please contact the IT helpdesk.
All the best for a successful end to the summer term.
Cameron Deans, Yihua Huang, Michelle Jackman, Jim Judges, Mazaffar Meharban, Natasha Nakariakova, Kiruthika Prabhakaran, Paul Trimmer, Sarita Sharma, Nadine Stewart & Svetlana Zakhidova Find out more about the Aademic Technology team hereLink opens in a new window.
Academic Technology | Flexible & Online Learning| Education Group | University of Warwick
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