At the moment these warnings can be ignored against Succeed as they telling us to upgrade our certificates in the near future and this is already in hand. Clicking on the lock icon will provide the precise details of why the particular icon is showing. In Succeed you should only see up to three issues:
That website does not have a public record
The site contains insecure links (these start ‘http’ not ‘https’)
Connection encrypted using RC4_128 with SHA1
The first and last will always appear (both should be resolved with the new certificates).
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:
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.
A demonstration of MyProgress has been arranged for Tuesday 17th March at 13.00 in the Enterprise Zone.
What is Myprogress?
Myprogress is a mobile assessment product for recording skills and managing structured examinations. It enables authoring and delivery of rich observational competency assessments on iOS and Android devices, online and offline. Its offline app means that students and assessors can capture evidence, even in challenging environments with no connectivity.
Myprogress gives you all of the tools you need to manage skills assessment effectively
Enables students to respond to assessments at any time through a customisable free App, even offline
Enables tutors and mentors to manage assessments and engage with students through personal feedback at the moment of need without having to leave the campus and visit widely dispersed students on placement
External assessors can complete observations in real time using the student’s device or their own (we include a reviewer role for remedial escalation)
A progress file enables students to collect a record of achievement
Assessments can be mapped to professional competency frameworks, including learning outcomes
Advanced reporting tools for reviewing individual and group activity and scoring
Most Succeed spaces will have a link to the Course Representatives tool (usually in Module Administration). As a student you can use this link to put yourself forward as a course representative and your fellow students can contact you via the same link.
It is always good to start the New Year at the Durham Blackboard Conference. It’s a conference organised by users not Blackboard. The particular users are the Learning Technologies Team (LTT) based at Durham, in particular Julie Mulvey and Malcolm Murray. The conference has two great features: it is a great conference and it is inexpensive to attend — what’s not to like!
Before the Conference proper starts there is an afternoon of workshops and Dr Stephen Vickers and I gave a workshop on ‘LTI in Action’. LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability. The LTI specification defines a standardised way for Virtual Learning Environments (e.g. Succeed) to link to external tools (e.g. Turnitin or Resource Lists — because Turnitin’s implementation is very new we don’t currently use LTI to link to Turnitin at Stirling although we will at some future point; the same applies to Resource Lists). More details on the workshop can be found on the ceLTIc project blog:
Including a picture of the ceLTIc M&M dispensing machine! Stephen and I have worked together for a number of years on the LTI specification, including two JISC funded projects: ceLTIc (creating environments for Learning using Tightly Integrated components) and ceLTIc II. For details see the project’s web site:
This year’s theme was students as partners, giving the wonderful conference logo:
Following the theme, presenters were encouraged to co-present with the students participating in the local partnership activities, and may did.
The conference opens with Malcolm’s welcome which was as amusing as ever and is great way to get things going. Next was the first of the keynotes: Engagement through Partnership given by Dr Abbi Flint from the HEA. The simplest way to summarise Abbi’s talk are the HEA documents (the 2nd of which Abbi co-authored):
In the user presentations at the conference, Scotland was well represented with presentations from Glasgow Caledonian University (x3 — well down Jim/Fraser!) and Edinburgh University. I didn’t catch all the GCU presentations but the first was an example from their Engage initiative. This was a presentation with a student from the MSc International Fashion Marketing. The student talked about how Engage had worked on the MSc programme and the changes that students were proposing to the design of the curriculum; Jim outlined the goals of the programme.
The Edinburgh presentation was on using Open Badges to recognise students engagement with course representatives activities at Edinburgh. Again a co-presentation with a student, in this case it was the student who had drawn up the framework for engagement that the badges were designed to reward. As this has just started at Edinburgh there is not yet any data on how many students have put in the effort to earn the badges but I’ll be following the outcomes with interest and will very probably ask for Edinburgh to update us via a future Scot-BUG presentation.
Thus ended the first day of the conference and in the evening a special treat is in store and that’s dinner in the Great Hall (requires QuickTime) at Durham Castle — it’s an amazing place to sit and eat your dinner! For those of us staying at the Castle, it is an equally amazing place to have your breakfast — especially on the Monday when there were two of us staying! Staying in the Castle also means it is a short walk from the dinner back to your room….
The second day opened with Dr Alan Masson, Blackboard, giving the 2nd keynote Students as Partners – Blackboard’s Perspective. What was noticeable from Alan’s talk was how many of his examples from Blackboard were of activities that we are already doing at Stirling: My Learning (a space in Succeed where learning materials can be found across a range of topics) and from Bristol a space for Course Representatives which eLD is working on at the moment with the students’ union. We also have the sign-up for course representatives managed via Blackboard.
Next was the traditional Blackboard Road Map presentation and the biggest news from this is that Blackboard are working on a responsive interface to Blackboard (aka Succeed). This means that Succeed will work nicely on Phones and Tablets re-configuring the interface to work sensibly on each device. This is a big project as re-building the interface is a major undertaking but one that needs doing as the current interface is getting a little long in the tooth and more importantly does not take advantage of many modern UI innovations. A demonstrator for the new interface should be available around April to allow anyone to play with but don’t expect the new interface in production at Stirling until August 2016 at the earliest. Which you may regard is good or bad news!
The final keynote was Doug Belshaw from Mozilla (Mozilla is most famous as the organisation behind the Firefox browser but also supports Open Badges – Doug worked on Open Badges). Doug spoke on Radical Participation and challenged the audience at one point to draw our architecture of participation! There isn’t a great deal of point in explaining what Radical Participation means when we have access to the Mark Surman’s blog posting that inspired Doug. It’s well worth reading:
Pretty much the remainder of the day was taken up with vendor presentations. I was especially interested in Aspire’s as they were talking about their LTI implementation for their Reading List product. It looked very nice and I’m looking forward to experimenting with it in the near future.
Lynda.com have released a building block for Succeed (Blackboard Learn 9.1). A building block provides for a tight integration between Succeed and a third-party product. The building block adds Lynda.com to the Succeed Mashups (like YouTube). The upshot is that it is very easy to search the huge amount of content available via Lynda.com and then add it to Succeed for your students to use.
A guide to using Lynda.com via Succeed has been prepared and is available here:
As the end of the Autumn semester approaches, chances are you’ll be wanting to make sure that your students complete their end-of-module feedback questionnaire, the Module Evaluation Questionnaire (MEQ). You have several tools at your disposal to try and ensure you get the maximum number of returns:
Remind just those students who haven’t completed it by email – find out who they are by going to the Grade Centre, locating the column associated with the MEQ and then looking for the double dash. This indicates no submission for that student. The green tick shows they have completed the MEQ, the blue clock shows they are in progress now (as shown below).
Base the release of certain items in the module on the condition that the students have completed the MEQ (using Adaptive Release). This could include example past papers in the run up to the exam, or you could make the link to your Listen Again page dependent upon students having completed the MEQ. This video guide from Blackboard On Demand will show you how to set up Adaptive Release criteria: http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r9/movies/Bb9_Adaptive_Release_Create_Simple_Rule.htm
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
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.