As we approach the end of a busy Semester 1 and the extended Christmas break, our thoughts turn to Semester 2 which kicks off with the January exam period. We’ve gathered some important information that you’ll need when you start preparing your courses and teaching for 2022.

  1. New eLearning Tools: Camtasia, Gradescope, Padlet and Turnitin LTI
  2. January Examinations
  3. Dual Delivery Teaching
  4. Turnitin Marking Groups – Important Notice
  5. Connecting to AV Facilities using Solstice
  6. Training Materials and Accessing eLearning Support

New eLearning Tools: Camtasia, Gradescope, Padlet and Turnitin LTI


As discussed in our summer showcase, Camtasia is an all-in-one screen recorder and video editing tool, designed for ease of use for those not overly familiar with video editing software. Videos recorded in Camtasia can be built from a pre-designed template, incorporate quizzes/interactive elements or simply be used as a PowerPoint add-in. There are also a number of assets that come with the software ready to use, such as royalty-free music or icons.

Apply for a Camtasia license


Gradescope is another new tool that the university has acquired a license for. Working directly through Blackboard, one of the main benefits of the tool is that it allows paper-based assignments (e.g. hand-drawn diagrams, calculations, paper-based exams) to be collected remotely and then marked online. AI-assisted grading is also offered as an option, as well as dynamic rubrics i.e. rubrics that can be created collaboratively and then edited at any point (a feature not offered in Turnitin). Various assessment types are offered, including exams, problem sets, bubble sheets and online assignments. Full Gradescope guidance can be found below.

Gradescope Guidance – The University of Manchester


The university has a number of licenses available for Padlet, a virtual bulletin board tool designed for collaboration between both teachers and students. It operates like an online noticeboard, where users can share ideas, ask questions and post various multimedia for other users to see. Padlets can be embedded into Blackboard courses with just a few simple steps, and the entire application itself is easy to use and set up.

To read more about Padlet, including information on how to access licenses, visit the page below.

Padlet (Faculty of Humanities)


Whilst Turnitin is not strictly a new tool to the university, you will know by now that we are in the middle of a transition to a newer version of the tool, specifically to Turnitin LTI. Although it is still possible to create assignments using the ‘old’ version of Turnitin, we strongly encourage all new assignments to be made with the new version, not least because staff and students may lose access to papers at the point at which the old tool is turned off (summer 2022). We will publish further guidance on this later in the year.

We have previously published full advice on what to do regarding the transition, and we would encourage all staff to read the below and consider how it may impact their teaching units.

Important Changes to Turnitin

January Examinations

The eLearning team is currently busy building online exams for the January exam period.  We are creating examination areas for units that require them, along with any accompanying student guidance that’s required.

If you have any queries or questions about examination setup or building, please contact us via our helpdesk.

Dual Delivery Teaching

Throughout Semester 1, the university has adopted a blended teaching approach, with various infrastructure changes made to make this as easy as possible. One such example comes from Media Services, who have upgraded a number of teaching rooms to allow teaching via video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Upgraded rooms have seen the installation of two new cameras, a Pan, Tilt and Zoom camera, and a webcam above the presenter’s monitor, allowing teaching staff to decide on the view that any remote students will see.

Guidance on how to use the system and how to access technical support can be found on the Media Services website below.

Media Services – Dual Delivery Teaching

Turnitin Marking Groups – Important Notice

As we transition to the new version of Turnitin LTI, we have been made aware of an issue regarding the display of groups on the assignment page. Specifically, when choosing to mark via groups, the grouped papers will not display in Turnitin unless the Blackboard groups are ‘available’ i.e. visible to students. When groups are available in this way, students can see the name of the group that they are in, as well as the names of any other fellow group members.

Whilst the impact of this is minimal for many courses, there may be situations where course groupings must remain not visible to students. In particular, administrative groups which are set up for DASS students cannot be made visible as this poses a potential GDPR breach. Until this issue is resolved, no administrative groups for DASS students should be made available under any circumstances.

The cross-faculty eLearning teams have reported this issue to Turnitin and we have had confirmation that they are working on a fix, however, we do not currently have an estimated timeframe for this. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch with the eLearning team.

Connecting to AV Facilities using Solstice

As part of the ongoing efforts to upgrade AV facilities in central teaching rooms, Media Services have adopted the use of Solstice; a technology that allows you to connect wirelessly to AV facilities via your laptop or phone. There are a number of benefits for interactive lectures and collaborative student sessions, not least to mention that there is no longer a need for cables or adaptors. The technology has been installed across an ever-growing list of central teaching rooms, and you can read more on how to use it at the website below. Technical support for Solstice comes from Media Services.

Solstice Wireless Display

Training Materials and Accessing eLearning Support

Our eLearning training materials are available online all year round, with content regularly reviewed to ensure that you are kept up-to-date with the latest developments and software. Whether you want to learn more about Blackboard and its uses, record a high-quality video or incorporate PebblePad portfolios into your course, you will find all of our materials on our training pages.

As always, the eLearning team are readily available to help with any queries you have no matter how big or small. Our popular live chat option is available from 10–12pm and 2–4pm every day and is perfect for any quick queries you may have. To discuss bigger issues, or to explore new teaching ideas or practices, you can request an appointment with a member of the team.

eLearning Newsletter – Preparing for Semester 2