Academic Technology Newsletter - March 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 and QuestionMark Perception (QMP). We also offer consultancy and support in general teaching and learning themes such as assessment, collaboration, and increasing engagement. Find out more about the Aademic Technology team hereLink opens in a new window.
A reminder: TEAL Fest runs online next week March 14th - 18th and promises an exciting programme focusing on the conference themes of hybrid, inclusive online communities, rethinking flexible/blended teaching and learning and transition. Find out more about TEAL Fest and register hereLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window. The deadline to register is tonight Thursday 10th March at 23:45.
- Following the most recent update to Moodle, an issue was identified whereby courses that contained only blank spaces in section/topic names generated an error when trying to back up or import from other affected courses: error/setting_invalid_ui_label. This is easily remedied by editing the section name and removing the offending blank spaces but we expect a further update, currently scheduled for Tuesday 15th March, to provide a permanent fix. Please note Moodle will be offline briefly to allow for this minor update during the at risk period 07:00-09:00 although any interruption is expected to be fairly minimal.
- We have been investigating the Reminders plugin which has been visible in Moodle for some time but was not properly configured. Reminders works with the Moodle calendar and can send out email reminders for activities that are due to be completed in Moodle. See the brief guide on how to use Reminders.Link opens in a new window
- An ‘Accessibility quick tips’ presentation was delivered at the LDCU TEAL Forum last month. A video of this part of the session can be viewed hereLink opens in a new window. You are welcome to download the presentation slidesLink opens in a new window or contact us if would like to discuss the accessibility of your Moodle spaces further. Here are W3C's top tips for writing accessible web contentLink opens in a new window; this is a handy resource if you’re unsure of where to start.
- Moodle summer upgrade update. The release of the much anticipated but late running Moodle 4.0 has been further delayed by Moodle HQ (Perth, Australia). As a result we are now planning to make a more modest upgrade in July from Moodle 3.10 to Moodle 3.11. There will be some minor improvements and bug fixes but the interface and menus will remain very similar and recognisable. However following an ongoing consultation with staff and students we do expect to enhance the Warwick Moodle by the introduction of a new contemporary theme to give the VLE a much needed update. We will provide more information about this next term. See here if you want to find out more about Moodle 3.11Link opens in a new window
- Do you, your team or colleagues in your department need help and support using Moodle? See details about the new bookable Moodle Support Sessions in the training and workshop opportunities section below.
- The second instalment of the Vevox Spring webinar series took place on Thursday 3rd March; please feel free to watch the recordingLink opens in a new window if you were unable to make it to the session. Nick Roberts of Grace College, Indiana, shares his experiences of moving from clickers (i.e. handheld PRS devices) to Vevox.
- We are seeing increased use and some great interaction with Vevox this academic year. Our latest figures show that 1,739 sessions have been delivered using this polling tool since September, totalling almost 77,000 attendees!
- Also a friendly reminder to your students. We still get some helpdesk calls from students who have mistakenly clicked on login at vevox.com. Students do not need an account to interact, they should always be encouraged to go to Vevox.appLink opens in a new window.
- If you want to find out more about Vevox, there is a wealth of resources available at the Vevox help siteLink opens in a new window.
- There is an ongoing theme issue that means anyone navigating collections with more than six pages will experience a problem when viewing the dropdown navigation menu. The current theme prevents page 7+ from being displayed. While we await the theme fix to be applied in the next 7-10 days a workaround is to use other navigation methods such as using the up down keyboard keys or the on-screen next page and previous page arrows.
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. These sessions are not for reporting errors or issues which should still be submitted via the Help Desk. Appointments are available in the first instance between 11am and 1pm 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.
- In addition to the Moodle support sessions, we would also like to hear from staff about what training and resources they would like to see provided by the Academic Technology team in the future. Your responses will help us to develop content which meets the needs of the wider community. Please circulate this 'Suggestion Box' to staff in your departmentsLink opens in a new window.
- We have just obtained the license to use the JISC Digital Capabilities toolLink opens in a new window this online diagnostic tool allows staff and students to reflect on their digital capabilities and to identify current strengths and areas for development. On completion the participant will receive a personalised report with suggested next steps and links to resources that can help them develop further. Data is private and only combined anonymised data can be viewed by the organisation. We will be providing more information and promoting this more widely in the summer term. However if anyone receiving this newsletter from the superuser community would like to have an advance preview please contact Jim Judges email@example.com in the first instance.
See here for some recent experiences related to the use of lecture recordings:
- Emerging strategies for the use of video in flexible teaching, an Echo360 webinar seriesLink opens in a new window – three webinar recordings from a recent Echo 360 webinar series.
- The Cost of Asking: ‘Say that Again?’: A Social Capital Theory View Into How Lecture Recording Supports Widening ParticipationLink opens in a new window –a research paper by Jill MacKay, Emily Nordmann and co-authors, Sept 2021.
- The In-Class “Chat Box” – Using An Anonymous Question Platform to Support StudentsLink opens in a new window – a new blog post by Prof Louise Robson focusing on her use of anonymous backchannel discussions with students in her classes
- CultivateLink opens in a new window is the ADC's open access series of events and resources to support learning, teaching and assessment.
Lecture Capture and Echo360
- We continue to receive high levels of scheduling requests and would like to remind people that we need 2 working days’ notice for new schedules to be created or existing schedules to be updated. If you do have urgent amendments to make, please use the online booking form or telephone the IDG Help Desk.
- We have updated our guides to note that Echo360 devices allow for up to 8 hours of recording time (rather than the 4 hours on older devices) and similarly can now provide a full transcript for the period. However, we continue to recommend that recording schedules are set for shorter periods of 4 hours or less to reduce risk due to power or other disruptions affecting the upload to the Echo360 server, and to make editing and viewing easier.
Camera / video capture
- We continue to receive occasional support requests to state that the camera did not work when requested – or captured the room when not required. Whilst we have identified one room where the camera does require investigation and potential replacement, in the majority of cases these have been due to camera capture not being used to enable or disable camera capture. Please see the camera capture guide.Link opens in a new window In summary, in rooms with 2 displays and a camera, the presenter must choose between recording the right-hand side input OR the camera. If the camera capture is ON, then this takes precedence and the right-hand input will not be recorded.
Room bookings and ‘Record all lectures for a module’
- Central Timetabling are reviewing their advice to departments and will be recommending that where seminars need recording these will now be flagged as ‘LEC ALLOCATE IN TABULA’. This means that when they are passed to Lecture Capture Scheduling, via Tabula, they will be recorded automatically as ‘lectures’ if (i) the module is set to record, (ii) they are in a room with lecture capture, and (iii) they have a presenter associated in the room booking data (this is the same requirement for all events in room bookings to be captured automatically).
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
- The new Warwick Assessment System’ (WAS) from WiseFlow has arrived. Phase One with a limited group of departments (WMS, IATL, CAL & GDS) begins in April 2022. From August 2022 Phase Two will then bring some further departments onboard as this phased rollout continues. Training sessions and demos will be made available in the coming months. A recent announcement from Chris Hughes (PVC Education) informed us that "The system covers all administrative and delivery processes up to the point of generating marks for exam boards, as no system on the market can currently cope with the final part of the end-to-end process of assessment and marks management. This will continue to take place in our Marks Management System. Enhancements will be made to this in-house platform to ensure effectiveness gains."
You can read more about the system here: https://www.uniwise.co.uk/wiseflow
- The eassessment team supported the Economics department in February with more than 2000 students attempting online tests. This work received an ‘official thank you’ from the students in the Economics department via the SSLC. In addition they have recently designed and supported the delivery of an Engineering Lab quiz for more than 300 students and they have helped to deliver face-to-face exams for the Medical School in the SLS computer room using the QMP secure browser. This is in addition to recent online assessments for French, German and Spanish students for their midterm grammar tests.
- This team has also supported student module feedback collection for Computer Science, Maths Institute, History, IATL, SMLC and the English Department.
This tool continues to develop and evolve and new features are added periodically:
- The Microsoft Teams co-organizer role is still "coming soonLink opens in a new window" but you can now share the management of breakout rooms. If you're the meeting organiser, you can now delegate presenters to manage these breakout spaces. Although only one person at a time can have this role it can be transferred before and during a meeting see here for more detailsLink opens in a new window. Or to try it out go to a meeting's details > breakout rooms (top tabs) > cogwheel (settings - top right) > switch on 'assign presenters to manage rooms' > select presenter . Make sure you have invited at least one person and have allowed everyone or at least one person to be a presenter.
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.
It is always an exciting time when software is upgraded or new technology is added to our suite of tools, however it is even more exciting to welcome a new addition to our wider team. We would therefore like to offer our best wishes and congratulations to Cameron Deans (Service Administrator, Academic Technology) and his partner Fiona who have just welcomed the arrival of their new baby.
All the best for the end of term and the forthcoming Easter holidays.
Cameron Deans, Yihua Huang, Michelle Jackman, Jim Judges, Natasha Nakariakova, Kiruthika Prabhakaran, Paul Trimmer, Nadine Stewart & Svetlana Zakhidova
Academic Technology | Flexible & Online Learning| Education Group | University of Warwick
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This newsletter is aimed at departmental academic technology staff, moodle administrators and others with an interest in the technology enhanced learning tools provided and supported by Warwick. Please feel free to share any of the news and information with others in your department. If you have colleagues who would like to receive a notification each time this monthly newsletter is published then please ask them to use the Notify button at the top right-hand corner of our main News page. If this information is no longer of interest and you would like to unsubscribe please contact email@example.com (Jim Judges).