Following the feedback sessions that ran for staff and students in January and February, the University has now gone out to tender for a new VLE (currently Succeed) for implementation for academic year 2017-18.
The interested suppliers will be presenting their solutions to the University as follows:
Wed 5 April
9.00-10.30 – Canvas, Pathfoot C21
11.00-12.30 – Brightspace, Pathfoot C21
Thur 6 April
11.00-12.30 Synergy Learning (Moodle), Cottrell 2B87
Fri 7 April
11.00-12.30 – Blackboard, Cottrell 2B87
All staff are invited to attend these sessions – please sign up at https://stirling.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/vle-presentations-2. Student participation is being co-ordinated by the Students’ Union.
In addition, there will be a drop-in session in Training Room 1 in the Library from 10am to 4pm on Monday 10 April where all students and staff are invited to test each of the systems and provide feedback.
If you use the Google Chrome browser and have recently experienced some features stopping working properly then this posting may be relevant to you. From Chrome version 42 onwards Google have stopped supporting a plugin protocol called NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface). This plugin is used to make the following items launch or work from within Chrome:
- Authored contents that require Java; for example, some older SCORM packages or publisher content
- The Blackboard Virtual Classroom and Chat Tool (not much used in Succeed)
- Multi-File Drag-and-Drop in the Content Collection or Course Files area
It’s the last one of these which could prove most problematic, the file drag and drop into Succeed.
You can temporarily turn the NPAPI plugin back on, but by the time Chrome has received version 45 (September 2015) this option will itself be disabled. We were hoping by then that Blackboard would have handled this issue with an alternative solution so files may be dragged and dropped into the file store in Succeed, but this is only being indicated as being fixed in a ‘Future Release’ of the VLE.
To turn the NPAPI plug in back on temporarily until September 2015, open a Chrome session and input in to the address bar:
This will open a page showing the NPAPI plugin option. Click Enable under the NPAPI option, then restart Chrome to allow this plugin to work for another couple of months.
After September 2015, if there’s no solution in place from Blackboard all we can recommend for the dragging and dropping of multiple files to upload into Succeed is to use another browser (preferably Internet Explorer 11, as Firefox will also be subject to the NPAPI plugin being turned off in the future, though not as soon as September 2015) .
Staff at the University of Stirling can install and make use of the peer-to-peer communication tool Microsoft Lync. Lync allows communication by audio, video and instant messaging, as well as the recording of sessions and distribution and sharing of content such as PowerPoint presentations. Users familiar with Skype or Blackboard Collaborate may wish to try out Lync to test how it compares for meetings and teaching and learning purposes. Lync is also fully integrated with Outlook, allowing meetings to be scheduled and placed in your work calendar, with invitations sent out by email.
A couple of guides to using this software have recently been created and are housed on a new Microsoft Lync page on the Information Services (IS) web site:
The guides are:
- Using Microsoft Lync – An Introductory Guide
This guide is aimed at staff wishing to run basic Microsoft Lync sessions, dealing with installing and setting up the software and how to connect to other staff and communicate with them.
- Recording in Microsoft Lync
This guide explains how to record sessions in Microsoft Lync, where the recordings are stored, how to change the location of stored recordings and how to process them through Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Relay in order to add them to a Listen Again page.
Further guides on using Lync are in the pipeline, including a guide on how to make use of the presentation features within the product. Watch this space.
The University of Stirling has subscribed to lynda.com, a massive training resource of help videos providing quick answers to software problems or more in-depth training courses. Thanks to integration with the university’s portal, handled via Shibboleth, it is possible to add links to these lyndacom resources to your Succeed site, opening up a wealth of training resources and instructional videos. Students will click a link in Succeed and be taken to the resource in lynda.com without having to log in again.
A guide on how to add a link to a lynda.com resource to Succeed is now available on the IS web site:
Quite a few Succeed-related guides for staff and students have been updated in the past week or so, with the following guides now available containing updated step-by-step instructions and screen shots:
Listen Again and Camtasia Relay
Using the Camtasia Relay Portable Recorder
Creating Listen Again Recordings from Camtasia Studio 8
Lecture Recording (Listen Again) Consent Form
Quick Guide to Lecture Capture using Camtasia Relay
Subscribing to Lecture Podcasts via Listen Again
Recording Using TechSmith Fuse (the mobile version of Relay)
Blackboard Collaborate Guide to Scheduling and Joining Sessions
Blackboard Collaborate Moderators’ User Guide
Blackboard Collaborate – Student User Guide
Turnitin and Assignment Submission
Submitting Your Assignment via Succeed
Using Contribute With Succeed
Using Macromedia Contribute 3
All these updated guides may be found on either the Staff Succeed Help page at http://www.stir.ac.uk/is/staff/it/software/succeed/ or the Student Succeed Help page at http://www.stir.ac.uk/is/student/it/software/succeed/ and they are marked ‘(updated November 2014)’.
This is part of an on-going attempt to keep the supporting documentation for Succeed as up to date as possible.
A new guide has been produced explaining how to implement ‘Exceptions’ in the settings of online assessments in Succeed. The most common use of this would be to allow students who have an alternative assessment method set up and recorded in their Agreed Record of University Adjustments (ARUA), also often referred to as the Agreed Academic Arrangements (AAA), to have longer time to sit an online exam paper. These exception settings on assessments in Succeed get round the old problem of having to set up multiple versions of an assessment to cater for all students with different types of AAA.
The guide assumes assessments have already been set up and deployed to the relevant place in the Succeed module and that the identities of the students in question are known at the outset of the process.
There is a problem with the ‘Item Analysis’ and ‘View All Attempts’ features in the Grade Centre in Succeed. If you run an Item Analysis or View All Attempts for an assessment, the average time taken by the users is not displayed.
Item Analyses are supposed to show you lots of useful stats about your assessment, such as how many people took it, average score, the ‘difficulty’ of each question etc. It’s also supposed to show you how long, on average, students took to do the assessment. This is the bit that’s not working, however. The average time is displayed as a very low number, often 00 hours and 00 minutes. Also, if you try to ‘View All Attempts’ for an assessment from the relevant column in the Grade Centre the duration is not shown through that method either. A report is produced with columns for Last Name, First Name, Username, Grade, Attempt Number, Date, Status and also a column for ‘Duration’. But whereas all the other columns are populated with data, the Duration column is empty. So you cannot find out how long students took via this method either.
The only way you can find out how long students took to complete an assessment is currently to view each student’s submission individually and look at their ‘Test Information’. This will tell you how long they took, but if you have a lot of students this will be time consuming.
This issue has been reported to Blackboard and they have acknowledged it as a ‘Known Issue. there is currently no patch we can install to fix this and it will be targeted for being mended in the April 2015 Release (which we may not upgrade to until some time after April 2015).
Here are a couple of tips to help you tidy up your Course Listing in Succeed. You may find your ‘My Courses’ list is getting quite long. You can do the following couple of things to make this easier to navigate:
1) Turn off the list of Instructors/Announcements
Succeed shows you a list of people who are Instructors for a module, and previews of Announcements in that module. If you don’t need to see these you can hide them. The effect is to close up the gaps between courses in your listing. Here’s a Before and After shot:
To do this click the icon at the right hand end of the top of your ‘My Courses’ panel header:
All your courses are then listed on the next page. Alongside each course are some check boxes, one each for ‘Course Name’ (leave this selected, otherwise you won’t be able to see your course!), ‘Course ID’ (off by default and you have no need to show it), ‘Instructors’, ‘Announcements’ and ‘Tasks’. Merely remove the ticks in the check boxes to hide the Instructors and/or Announcements for the relevant modules. Scroll to the foot of the page and click ‘Submit’ to update your changes.
The makers of Succeed, Blackboard, are running a survey to try and get some feedback from the user community on how often and in what ways users (both academic staff and students) make use of the mobile version of their Learn system (‘Learn’ is what we call ‘succeed here at the university of Stirling). If you would like to participate in this survey and add your views, please complete it here:
This week we ran a Teaching Bites session on Quizzes and Surveys in Succeed. If you want to see what was discussed you may watch the presentation at the Teaching Bites Listen Again page:
Future Teaching Bites sessions will be added to this page. There’s also further information on all the Teaching Bites sessions, including supporting materials, in the ‘Learning and Development – My Learning’ course area in Succeed. In this course navigate to:
> Course Content > IT & Information Skills > Teaching Bites
…to find all the information you need.