2nd October 2020
The FBMH eLearning team have been hard at work preparing for the start of semester one teaching. Given the new challenges that we’re all facing, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the important updates, so we’ve summarised a number of our key updates for you below.
eLearning Live Chat
The FBMH eLearning live chat enables staff to ask quick or straightforward questions. A member of the team will be on hand to help you out or point you in the right direction for further assistance.
The chat function is available every day between 10-12pm and 2-4pm.
Course Unit Activation
It is strongly recommended that activate your semester 1 and 2 and all-year courses in the next few days if you haven’t already.
Activation of Blackboard spaces via My Courses (My Manchester)
If you need to copy entire courses from one space to another, please contact the eLearning team using our chat tool.
The team have recently launched a decision tree to help staff decide on the software to use for the creation of their online resource. The tool can be found on our main training page.
We are continuing to run weekly drop-in sessions for training, where you can head along to our virtual session and chat with a member of the team. Depending on your needs, you may be shown how to do something on the spot or we may point you in the direction of alternative training. The sessions run every Wednesday from 1:30pm to 2:30pm on Zoom.
The team has gathered training materials for a number of applications, from Blackboard to more innovative tools such as Piazza and Adobe Spark. The information can be found on our main training page at the link above.
If you have training needs that are not covered by our other means, we may be able to schedule a bespoke group training session. If you think that this is something you and your colleagues need, contact us via the live chat, detailing your requirements and we will be happy to discuss. Examples of sessions we have recently supported are teaching online sessions for PGT tutors and practice sessions for GTAs.
We are also on hand for technical support via the IT Support Portal. For example, if you want to create or add users to an organisation space, you can request help here. This is also the area where you would report technical problems, for example, if you are having difficulty accessing Blackboard.
As part of our wider service, we offer Learning Design support. This can be particularly useful for staff who are unsure on how best to deliver their teaching or for those who just need a bit of extra guidance. So, if you need some last-minute ideas about structuring your course or would like to create some more detailed plans for your future courses, get in touch and we will help you the best we can.
Helping Students Get Online
The HelpMeGetOnline scheme was launched so that students without a laptop or access to WiFi who were unable to purchase this and fulfilled certain criteria could request the loan of a laptop or a dongle.
[2023 Update – The HelpMeGetOnline has now been retired. You may find that links and references to the service are now out of date.]
More information about the scheme is available for staff here.
Reminder: Setting Up New Turnitin Assignments for 2020-21
It is important that each year you delete your previous year’s Turnitin assignments and delete or hide any copied over grade centre columns and start again. Take care when deleting and first make sure that no assignments are being actively used. Please follow this guide to setting up Turnitin assignments which will help you comply with University of Manchester policies and prevent inadvertent de-anonymisation of students. You can always refer to the assignment in last year’s course, to remind you of the assignment wording, marks and weighting.
As always, do contact us if you are having difficulty.
And if you rolled forward (copied) your course from last year’s, you may wish to check there is nothing visible such as model answers and exam answers that you wouldn’t wish your new students to see.
Duplicated Blackboard Content
In case remnants of last year’s duplicated content issue persist, please check over any rolled-forward content and contact us if duplicates of course content are appearing for you. The most important will be to create brand new Turnitin Assignments and to delete or hide any old unused grade columns in this year’s course – but make sure you do this before setting up new assignments and, ideally, before teaching starts.
The @student.manchester.ac.uk and @postgrad.manchester.ac.uk email domains have now been linked to the university Zoom license, so students should be able to sign up for Zoom using their UoM email address. The student accounts have the same functionality as staff accounts with just one exception – students cannot record to the cloud. However, they will still be able to hold meetings longer than 45 minutes, use breakout rooms and administer polling.
We have recently realised that Zoom does not automatically update to newly released versions, and as such, you may be missing out on new features and functionality. We advise that you update to the latest version of Zoom and check for updates approximately once a month.
Flash-Based Resources End-of-Life December 2020 – Act Now
Adobe will end support of Flashplayer on 31 December 2020. Flash-based content will be blocked from running in Adobe Flash Player after this date – this change affects all browsers.
If your Blackboard or Canvas course depends upon any Flash-based content, it is recommended that you seek out an alternative resource in time for the coming academic year. Using Chrome version 76 or newer, you should already see a pop-up message telling you that your resource will not play or load. If you are not sure whether your resource is Flash-based or not, please send details of the course unit code, location within the course and title of the resource to the eLearning team for checking.
If your Flash-based resource is critical to teaching and you cannot find a suitable replacement or devise a workaround, the eLearning team can provide you with a project proposal form with which to request a replacement resource.
Other Useful Links
UMITL teaching toolkit
FBMH – Minimum expectations of online/blended teaching delivery
Information on how to book rooms for preparing online teaching content
Additional resources to support the move to online blended delivery
(includes the Oversight Groups’ recommendations)
FBMH eLearning – Training