New staff development webinar: How to effectively use Mentimeter Pro in your teaching

Mentimeter has been a popular tool for interaction over the past 18 months and the University now has a Mentimeter Pro licence available for staff. Mentimeter is an online polling software that can be used to present live or asynchronous polls, quizzes and word clouds. It can be used for in person or hybrid sessions, as well as for online teaching either synchronously or asynchronously. The DEO will be running training on how to use Mentimeter Pro effectively in your teaching over the next few months.

Our first webinar, run by Naomi Beckett and Sophie Shippen, will be on the 22nd September from 10:30am – 11:30am on MS Teams. All the details, and information on signing up can be found on the DEO Events page.
More information about Mentimeter, and guidance on setting up your own account can be found on the DEO website.

If you have any further questions, please contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Re/Play corrective work, Wednesday 8th September

On Wednesday 8th September at 15.30, the Digital Education Office will be making a change to the Re/Play service to allow for presentations to be added via the text box editor in Blackboard. This piece of work is minor, and there should be no noticeable impact during the work, but please note that the service will be at risk between 15.30 and 16.30 while we make this update.

This will not affect recordings in rooms, but there may be a very short break in service at the start of this time.

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Summer work on Blackboard, Re/Play and Teams for Education – new features and scheduled downtime

Over the summer we will be working to improve our systems and introduce new features. Blackboard, Re/Play and Teams for Education will all see improvements and new features. Please contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk if you have any questions. 

Blackboard 

  • Migration onto cloud servers – this will scale the capacity of the system to meet demand, enable us to receive bug fixes and upgrades more quickly, and eliminate the need for any downtime for future upgrades and fixes. 
  • Improved text editor – key features include: better copy-and-paste, improved editing from mobile devices, improved accessibility, display computer code snippets, easy text wrapping around images. 
  • Reusable comments bank – a new feature will allow individual markers to maintain a bank of reusable comments 

As previously announced, Blackboard will be unavailable from 9pm on Friday 30 July to 9am on Tuesday 3 August while the migration to the cloud server takes place. For further information see our Blackboard developments summer 2021 project page. 

 Re/Play 

  • New manual recording app – in our equipped rooms you will now be able to make full use of in-room camera equipment 
  • Live streaming – a new service for live streaming from our equipped rooms 
  • New Desktop Recorder – we will be introducing a new desktop app called Mosaic 

We have also fixed a security problem relating to embedded content – embedded videos added before 19 July 2021 have been replaced with direct links, and all new embedded content should use the mashup tool. 

For further information see our Re/Play summer improvements page. 

Teams for Education 

Microsoft Teams offers tools for collaboration, discussion, teamwork and community building. These are intended to complement Blackboard. 

  • Optional Teams space for each taught unit – Teams spaces will be created automatically, with students and teaching staff, but will be hidden from students buy default 
  • Simple integration between Blackboard and Teams – for active Teams, direct links will be added between Teams and the appropriate Blackboard courses 

For further information see our Microsoft Teams for teaching project page. 

Re/Play developments summer 2021

This summer, for security reasons, there will be an important change to the way Re/Play videos are embedded in Blackboard. If you wish to embed any new video content in Blackboard, please use the Mash-up Tool.

The DEO will also be working with IT Services over the summer to improve Re/Play for the coming academic year. The improvements will include:

– New manual recording app – we are updating the manual recording functionality in our equipped rooms (replacing the old Ad Hoc app), this will allow for full use of in- room camera equipment.
– Enabling live streaming – to support a move to hybrid teaching, we will be enabling a service for live streaming from our equipped rooms.
– Replacement of the Desktop Recorder – the current recorder is no longer supported, so we will be deploying the new recorder, ‘Mosaic’.
– An improved user interface for browsing and selecting recordings – videos will be displayed in Blackboard as screenshot tiles rather than in a list.

Further details and user guides will follow soon. If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Teams for teaching – current plans and how to get involved

Microsoft Teams will be part of our core set of supported digital education tools in 21/22. The DEO is working with IT Services to scope and implement a simple way for Teams to be used in programmes and units with minimal administrative overheads. We are working closely with users and stakeholders to shape the service. 

The project has enjoyed an enthusiastic engagement with existing and potential users of Teams for teaching. Many thanks to all those who have contributed. Through surveys, interviews, and a well-attended focus group, we are refining use cases for: 

  • Synchronous teaching through Teams meetings   
  • Engagement, discussion and community-building at a class or group level 
  • Staff- and student-led teaching and groupwork. 

Student membership of unit and programme Teams will be synchronised with SITS data – if students join or leave a course, that will be reflected in the membership. The space will be linked to the relevant Blackboard unit. Programme spaces will be available on request. 

Group activity can be achieved by creating public or private channels within a unit or programme Team. Staff and students can continue to create their own Teams for other groupings but will need to maintain membership manually.  

For more information, or to get involved, look at the Teams for teaching project webpage or contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk. 

Teams for Teaching in 21/22

Microsoft Teams will be part of our core set of supported digital education tools in 21/22. Teams provides tools to better support collaboration and student group work, for sharing resources, running synchronous online teaching and for hybrid teachingTeams can also enable active learning activities which encourage student engagement with highly blended and online learning – and so address an issue reported by our students in the 2019 Pulse Survey and 2020 Jisc Student Digital Experience Survey.

The DEO are working with IT Services to scope and implement a simple way for Teams to be used in programmes and units with minimal administrative overheads. As part of the project a suite of support and guidance materials, including case studies and exemplars will be developed.

The project aims to deliver Teams for Teaching by the end of August. The DEO are currently collating requirements through a survey, interviews and focus groups. For more information or to get involved please contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Xerte upgrade and downtime Wednesday 14th April

IT Services will be upgrading Xerte to version 3.9 between 8am and 1pm on Wednesday 14th April. During this time Xerte resources will be unavailable to staff and students.

This upgrade brings security updates, and improved functionality including:

  • Accessibility enhancements
  • Stand-Alone pages
  • Page enhancements
  • Media sub-folders

We will blog again when Xerte is available for staff and students.