Academic Technology Newsletter - August 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.
The team will be welcoming Matt Street as the new Head of Digital Learning on September 12th. Matt has many years of experience in academic development and comes to us from Keele University where he was the Senior Lead on Digital Education Projects.
Shahid Mahmood, Academic Technology Officer (FOLD) will be leaving Warwick in early September to take up a new role at Health Education England. Shahid has contributed significantly to our work and growth as a service during the past 6 years, we will be very sorry to see him go, and we wish him all the best.
- We are working with our Moodle host CoSector, to deliver a new improved theme for Moodle. Following consultation with staff and students, development work has been ongoing over the summer, and we expect that this makeover and fresh look can be applied in early September. This is 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 further over the coming year. See here for a sneak preview of how the new theme will look.
- Moodle was upgraded in July to version 3.11. While there are no major changes, you may notice some slight differences and new features, although not all may be applicable to our instance of Moodle. You can see what's new on the 3.11 Moodle Docs pageLink opens in a new window.
- One new feature in Moodle 3.11 is the "plagiarism checker" in the Essay quiz question type. Turnitin must be enabled in the quiz activity settings and will then apply to ALL essay questions in the quiz. It is also now possible to enable Turnitin for the Forum activity. We are seeking feedback regarding interest in these new features.
- Another new feature in the Moodle quiz tool allows users to set minimum and maximum word counts for essay questions too.
- Warwick has obtained a license for the Blackboard Ally plugin tool that helps to increase the accessibility of files uploaded to Moodle. It assigns an accessibility score and gives advice on improving accessibility. Students can also download alternative file formats including PDF, ePub and electronic braille. Ally is expected to be available in early September. Further communication will be provided in the coming weeks. We will also provide some introductory training sessions in September too. See here for instructor information and here for student information.
- Many departments have completed their Moodle rollover but there are still some awaiting decisions for their 22/23 spaces. Super users with access to the rollover tool can make decisions on behalf of their department and the full rollover guide can be found here. If you find there are expected modules missing from the rollover list, please check that they have a module availability record (MAV) in SITS.
- The Moodle-Teams and Tabula Small Groups-Moodle syncs are now available to request in Moodle-Admin for 22/23 courses. We are working with LSS to ensure that SITS enrolment rules are functioning, allowing you to choose module enrolments from a particular academic year and avoiding the problem at the start of an academic year where both incoming and outgoing students are part of a web group.
- We have been experiencing significant data problems including unexpected enrolment suspensions recently. Apologies to all those impacted. As a workaround, students were able to still find modules using the Moodle search field and could still access missing module spaces by following the appropriate link. The problem was resolved on Tuesday evening this week (09/08) and all live and appropriate suspended enrolments should have had a manual enrolment added to ensure access continues as normal.
- Data sync issues affecting ad hoc course creation have now been resolved. Previously, courses created in Moodle-Admin were not appearing in Moodle. Please contact us if you continue to experience issues.
Training & Workshop Opportunities
- Fraser Hill from Vevox will be running an ‘Introduction to Vevox’ session on 14 September at 2pm, demonstrating what Vevox is, how to create a session and using data analytics amongst other things.
- The Digital Learning Environment (DLE) team is now offering bookable one-to-one Moodle Support Sessions. These are short appointments to discuss users' needs and requirements and to advise on appropriate tools in Moodle for the activity being created. Appointments are available from12-2pm on Tuesdays, 1-3pm on Thursdays and 10am-12pm on Fridays. Sign up with DLE staff via MS Bookings.
- The Academic Technology Super User Guide is now available on our website. The guide introduces super users to Academic Technology at Warwick, explaining some of the tasks they will complete and where they can get support. Please contact us if you believe anything needs to be added to the guide.
Lecture Capture and Echo360
- Collections are now available for Warwick users in Echo360. Collections allow easier management and collaboration of Echo360 content which may be of interest to administrative staff. See the Collections video for an introduction to using this feature.
- Following the recent release of Collections, we are canvassing opinions whether enabling the Echo360 student library is appropriate given the role this plays in terms of collections and assignments in Moodle. Please contact Paul Trimmer or the DLE team if you have any questions.
- Browser capture 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, portable facility for personal lecture capture similar to Universal capture, but without the requirement for installed software. It is currently only available with Chrome, expanding to other browsers over time.
Lecture Capture Scheduling
- We will begin lecture capture scheduling for modules for the new academic year in September. We are now preparing for the new academic year including module section creation, development of various tools we rely on and changes to booking forms and processes.
- We will continue to schedule non-module requests or ones that require urgent attention as necessary.
- We would like to invite comments on how we schedule recordings to better support all our users - please use the Lecture Capture Booking Form Feedback linkLink opens in a new window 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 email@example.com
JISC Discovery Tool
The JISC Digital Capabilities Discovery Tool is an online activity for staff and students that is designed to help the individual reflect on their digital capabilities. It produces a personalised profile that identifies current strengths and areas for development and provides links to further support, training and resources based on your profile. This has undergone a summer upgrade and is now back online. See the bottom of this page for information and a linkLink opens in a new window
Assessment System (WAS)
- With Phase 1 of the implementation of WAS drawing to a close, we have provided online support for the MBchB Resit exams. We have also supported the face-to-face marking and moderation session in the computer room, and we have received praise from the WMS team for the ‘brilliant’ contributions we made to the MBChB eAssessment work.
- Phase 2 of WAS will directly seek to replace AEP for assessments usually uploaded in a pdf format to the AEP in the Spring/Summer sessions for the academic year 2022/23. This will then allow the decommission of AEP at the end of 2023 if all goes well. This means that all departments currently using AEP will have to be moved across to the new system for the 2023/24 exam sessions. There will be a process to get onboard which will involve the team assessing your departmental requirements. This means that we would like a key contact from the department to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 2nd September.
- Resit exams on WAS: We will work with the project team to set up the resit exams for all the departments who took part in Phase 1.
Questionmark Perception - Preparing Resit Exams
- Engineering: There will be just over 60 resit exams for the engineering department and apprentices. The resit papers will be ready soon.
- French: Test papers are being updated for students doing the resit grammar exams.
- German: New exam papers are being created for students taking the German resit exam.
- WMS: HMS programme resits for year one students are now ready for September.
Student Module Feedback (SMF)
- CLL contacted the SMF service recently with a request to continue collecting feedback from students using Moodle and to process the data themselves. A report template and instructions has been provided to facilitate this. The central team will consider providing the same service for other departments to help transfer them to a self-service model for SMF. If you would like to seek advice on how to do this, please email email@example.com
- The long-awaited Microsoft Teams co-organizer role has finally arrived in Teams. This role should allow any designated ‘co-organizer' to access and change meeting options and become a breakout room manager too. See Meeting options > “Choose co-organizers" and find out more from Microsoft here.Link opens in a new window
- You are reminded that meeting recordings in Teams are now stored in OneDrive or Sharepoint. Please remember that if any preferred previous functionality is missing you can still use the Classic Stream or Echo 360 to share your video recordings.
The eportfolio tool Mahara is expected to undergo an annual upgrade soon (expected by the end of August), this will be to version 22.04 which represents a minor update only. If you want to find out more about how Mahara can be used as an eportfolio, please see an Introduction to Mahara here.
If you have any feedback, questions, comments or tips that you would like to share then please contact Jim Judges: firstname.lastname@example.org
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,
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 here.
Academic Technology | Flexible & Online Learning| Education Group | University of Warwick