Academic Technology Newsletter – October 2021
The Academic Technology team & FOLD
We have recently joined forces with Work-based and Professional Learning development and the eLearning Development teams to form the Flexible and Online Learning Division (FOLD) based in the Education Group. This group is managed by the new Director Sam Hardy. Kerry Pinny is the Interim Head of Academic Technology replacing Amber Thomas who left Warwick in July.
- We had multiple reports of a problem with an editing error on Monday morning this week (11/10) this bug was resolved by our host (CoSector) by 10:00am on the same day
- Planned maintenance for next week will mean Moodle is expected to be offline during the Tuesday at risk period (07:00-7:30 19/10), this is for essential work to expand the diskspace for Moodle.
- A recent change has been made to the way in which module occurrences are displayed in Moodle. Module occurrences have now been appended to the titles and are populated automatically based on information in SITS. e.g. “CE1E2:Introduction to Social Work (Occurrence A1)
- Errors when changing course format in course settings were reported following upgrade. It turns out this was a known Moodle bug with certain versions of the Chrome and Edge browsers, the temporary workaround was to use a different browser such as Firefox, however the fix developed by Moodle HQ was applied during a minor update in September.
- A problem meaning course leaders could only see 20/21 instead of 21/22 modules via the https://moodle-admin.warwick.ac.uk/my/ link may have caused a delay for some users setting up twinned Teams, although the Moodle-admin interface remained active for those with access. This issue was resolved by 30/09.
- Our upgrade this year didn't bring many changes or new features, but we are looking forward to a major step forward when we upgrade to Moodle 4.0 in the summer 2022. This promises a new look and improved user interface including improvements in navigation and course editing. Keep an eye on Moodle HQ for more information and a sneak preview, the official launch date is currently December 13th 2021.
Scheduling is now managed by the Academic Technology team. Echo360 support and guidance is available on the Academic Technology website. The Audio-Visual (AV) team continue to provide classroom hardware support. Scheduling can be requested the same way as before.
The eAssessment team had a very busy summer due to very high demand for resit exams. Since the beginning of the academic year, we have been working on the preparation for the December/January exams. We are working on new video guides for students and staff in addition to our existing training materials. If you would like to discuss your needs for online exam and formative assessments, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the Academic Technology training sessions planned for October:
- Thu 14 Oct. 2pm: Moodle: Assignment submission, grading and feedback
- Wed 20 Oct. 10am: Vevox: An introduction
- Thu 21 Oct. 10am & Weds 15 Dec 2pm: Moodle: Getting started with Quiz
- Tue 09 Nov. 10am: Moodle: Assignment submission, grading and feedback
To find out about LDCU workshops including upcoming TEAL Forums and ABC Design Sprints see here.
a series of workshops this term including Podcasting, Math quizzes and Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SOTL).
Did you see? Some recent discussions
- Can I put a 'Closed for Maintenance' notice on a Moodle site that's hidden from students was a question raised recently. You can choose to hide the course completely or leave the space visible to students and hide the content so they can visit the course space and see any message but not the content. Another useful tip is to consider hiding content by using the Moodle restrict access in any of the topic areas (e.g. by date).
- Robert O’Toole prompted a recent discussion about essential tasks to do before term starts that resulted in the following advice being offered to the Arts Faculty as part of an ARTS TEAL Update
- A discussion about the Moodle editor H5P button led to the conclusion that although you can upload H5P content here it doesn’t look like any activity will be tracked or graded. It’s probably better to ignore this and carry on using the embed option via the Moodle HTML “</>” button. A potential solution to help control the size of the H5P display was also offered that suggests setting a
- Do you use badges? It looks like they are being used in Chemistry, Psychology, Foundation Studies, Applied Linguistics, WMS, and beyond. See this badges discussion to find out more. And look here for some guidance on using badges in Moodle.
The Teams Meetings tool keeps developing and the features slowly evolve.
- Our Teams meeting recordings are still being stored in Stream. Eventually, we will move away from this ‘Classic Stream’ service to a new O365 Stream version and any Teams recordings will be stored in SharePoint and OneDrive. We have been keen to delay this transition, especially as some features are still missing in the new version, we have been given an extension to use the existing version until July 2022.
- The PowerPoint Live sharing option allows you to see your notes, slides, and audience while you present. That can be very useful, it also provides some basic annotation tools. However, at the moment it looks like any annotations are not saved. If you need this option then use the regular screenshare to present your PPT so you can save annotations at the end.
- The Whiteboard tool has also developed, with improved annotation and template options. if you use the in-meeting version your sketches are saved and available later via: https://app.whiteboard.microsoft.com/ if this tool is still too basic for your needs or you experience any problems the alternative is to download and use the full Microsoft Whiteboard App, for PC & laptop (Windows 10), iPhone and iPad only. There is currently no Mac version.
- Breakout rooms is a useful feature but sadly it can still only be managed by the meeting “organizer”. We are waiting for the release of the co-organizer role which is scheduled for release by Microsoft for November 2021. We won’t necessarily get this straight away but let’s hope we might see this by term 2 or sooner. There is also a promised feature for pre-meeting room Breakout Room creation and participant assignment, promised by Microsoft for October, so look out for that too, hopefully coming soon. Some departments use Blackboard Collaborate which does have an easier to manage breakout rooms tool, this is limited to 250 participants and any events may need scheduling via AV in advance.
There is so much going on in the world of Academic Technology and online teaching and learning in general that this newsletter can only provide a taste and snapshot of some of the active areas of interest. 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 email@example.com. For more general IT enquiries, or if you are unsure who to ask please contact the IT helpdesk.
All the best for a good start to the term and a successful year.
Kerry Pinny (Interim Head of Academic Technology)
Jim Judges (Senior Academic Technologist)
Natasha Nakariakova (Service Owner, eAssessment)
and the central Academic Technology team.
Academic Technology | Flexible & Online Learning| Education Group | University of Warwick