20th August 2020
eLearning Live Chat
The FBMH eLearning live chat was recently launched to enable staff to ask quick or straightforward questions, where a member of the team will be on hand to help you out.
The chat function is available every day between 10-12pm and 2-4pm.
Course Unit Activation
Manual course unit activation is now available again after IT services applied a temporary fix to the system. There are some limitations to this however. Please see the announcement below on StaffNet for more details.
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.
Changing Course Unit Codes Post-Activation
We have recently found that if a course is activated and the code is subsequently changed (for example, changing MEDN12341 to MEDN12342 to take account of semester changes), this causes a new course space to be created any recent updates made to the original 2020/21 course unit may be lost. Therefore if needing to make changes to a course unit code, we recommend that these changes are made first, then that the new course that is created is activated. From there, you can begin to update the new 2020/21 course unit space. As always, if you need assistance, please contact the eLearning Team.
HTML Pages Don’t Look Right?
When copying html files please check to make sure they appear as expected in the new course. If something doesn’t look right, please contact the eLearning team for assistance.
Blackboard Community Spaces and Programme Spaces
The system for creating and controlling enrolments into BB community spaces is currently experiencing some problems, and as such, we are unable to action any changes to these spaces at the moment.
However, in the meantime please do send us any requests for the creation of new programme or community spaces or to make changes to enrolments on these. We then hope to process these when the system is up and running again.
To submit these sorts of requests, please visit the Support Portal: Request Support, then click on the Blackboard, Turnitin and eLearning request tile. If you would first like to have a chat about your needs, please use the chat tool.
Softchalk – Embedding Videos from the UoM Video Portal
UPDATE 17/09 – NOW FIXED
Embed codes work as ‘unlisted’ on YouTube, meaning that anybody with the link can view the video. Therefore, videos uploaded to a specific course space or as private will still be visible to all students accessing the Softchalk lesson via the embed code. They should not need to log into Blackboard to view an embedded video.
We are receiving numerous reports of embedded videos from the podcasting server not playing when embedded in Softchalk and potentially other applications (e.g. iSpring). We first recommend using the Firefox browser and making sure that you are logged into blackboard first. At the moment, this is only affecting Windows users.
To alleviate the issue, we would also recommend putting in a link to the video alongside the embedded version, enabling students to have a second way of accessing them.
The podcast team are aware that there is an issue with embedding videos from the server and playback in Google Chrome. They are currently looking into this.
Flash-Based Resources End-of-Life December 2020 – Act Now
We are receiving numerous reports of embedded videos from the podcasting server not playing when embedded in Softchalk and potentially other applications (e.g. 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