It’s Digital Learning Week

It’s Digital Learning Week! As well as launching our TEL Strategy (2017-2021),  Digital Learning Week,  will feature workshops which we are designed specifically to support the development of digital practice and digital capabilities.

Highlights include a Digital Practice workshop on Wednesday 26th April, led by e-learning researcher, author and consultant Helen Beetham, along with workshops on topics including:

  • Course Resources basics
  • Using technology to support inclusive teaching practice
  • Audio and video feedback
  • Sourcing legal digital content
  • Working wonders with WordPress
  • ePortfolios
  • Changing the way you work with Office 365
  • Setting engaging video creation projects
  • How lecture recording can enhance the student experience

You can see a full list of workshops and book your place here –

TEL Strategy Launch

‘Learning in uncertain times: why digital matters’.

TEL Strategy Launch with Keynote Speaker: Helen Beetham

Heap Lecture Theatre, KR
Wednesday 26 April 2017

The digital experience of staff and students is central to delivering academic excellence, student employability and a high quality student experience.  As part of Digital Learning Week, this event will launch the University of Derby’s TEL Strategy (2017-2021) to transform the digital learning experience for all our students.

TEL Strategy aims:

  • Support staff and students to develop their digital capabilities
  • Provide greater active learning engagement and flexibility through enhanced digital learning environments
  • Enhance teaching excellence by introducing baselines to benchmark digital practice
  • Develop the digital environment using a research informed approach and the use of data analytics

Keynote speaker Helen Beetham is an e-learning researcher, author and consultant. She has written influential reports on digital capability, digital citizenship and digital wellbeing, learning experience, and curriculum design. Recently she has completed studies of the online student experience and developed the Jisc Digital Capability Framework with associated resources for practice. In her keynote, Helen will highlight the challenges and uncertainties facing universities in the digital age. She will outline the role that universities can play in preparing students for the digital future, explore the kinds of learning experience that develop digital resilience, and examine the relationship between digital innovation and teaching excellence.

Find out more and book your place here.

Digi Know – Module Evaluation Surveys now accessible from Course Resources

With the EvaSys evaluation system successfully talking to Blackboard, students can now access module evaluation links to online surveys via Course Resources. Any available surveys will be displayed in the section called My Surveys which can be seen when they log into Course Resources.

If there are no surveys or once they have taken surveys, a message will be displayed advising that there are no surveys as shown below.

Once the students complete the surveys, their responses are registered into the EvaSys evaluation system ready for reporting.

Turnitin rendering problem with some submissions containing embedded graphs and charts

There is currently a rendering issue within Turnitin, which may result in certain embedded elements of submissions being incorrectly rendered in the Turnitin online viewer.  This issue may affect submissions where tables / graphs / images have been embedded / inserted / pasted into a Word document or Open Office document, which has then been submitted to Turnitin in the format it was created in (for instance .docx for Word documents).  We do not believe this issue to be widespread, or that it affects a large number of submissions.

This issue does not occur where the document was saved and submitted as a PDF file rather than in the original file format of the authoring software, or where the document does not contain tables / graphs.  The issue also does not affect the underlying file itself (which remains untouched and can be downloaded as a reference). If you are marking student work and you suspect that the formatting doesn’t look as it should, or there is a graph/table missing, download the original file and view it before awarding a final grade.

If you are using Turnitin in your module, and the submitted work is likely to contain graphs and/or charts, please make students aware that they are advised to save and submit their work in PDF format in order to minimise the chances of this rendering issue occurring.

For some versions of word simply exporting as PDF may not fully resolve the issue. If this is the case, another solution is to convert the Word document into a PDF using Adobe Acrobat.

Thanks to The University of Southampton for providing the bulk of this item.

Digi Know – Class Notebook is now available within Blackboard

You can now create a Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook for a given module within Course Resources. Invitations to join the notebook will be sent automatically to students.

Class Notebook

The OneNote Class Notebook is specific type of notebook that lets you use OneNote to create, deliver and collaborate on content with Students within and outside of the classroom.

More information about Class Notebook can be found here

Digi Know: Adding Twitter feed to Blackboard

Are you interested in using Twitter in your teaching, may be encouraging students to collate useful resources under a hashtag, or just share your own twitter feed? For more ideas of how to use Twitter in your teaching check out TEL me more about…Twitter

Academics often have concerns about using Twitter as part of their teaching, as they don’t want to exclude their students that might not be signed up to the service.  However, it’s possible to add a Twitter feed into your module page in Course Resources, meaning all students will be able to have access to and follow the current tweets.

For help making a Twitter feed available in your module, see this guide: Adding a Twitter feed to Course Resources

International AR and VR conference

On the 23rd of February I attended the International AR and VR conference at Manchester Metropolitan University.

There were a number of themes running through the talks I attended. The first was about People’s perception of VR. How do people feel when wearing a headset? This looked the social implication of wearing a headset not the physical comfort. It also looks at how you were perceived by other people when you were wearing a headset, smart glasses or a HoloLens. A new phrase “Fashionology” was coined when looking at how people perceive wearable technology as being purely utilitarian or a fashion statement. A notable finding was that early adopters of new wearable technology often found that people they didn’t know would start conversation with them about the item they were wearing.

Another theme was 360 video. A. Gower from BT sports covered some of the issues of broadcasting 360 video from a live sporting event. One being that cameras have to be left unattended to keep the camera men out of shot. Then officials (not yet familiar with 360 video technology) often move the cameras. Another issue is the vast bandwidth required to upload the multiple ultra HD video feed which are needed for 360 video. There was also the dissemination of the preliminary findings of research done for the Irish tourist board by A. Gidson and M. O’Rawe. They monitored the effectiveness of 360 video produced by the Irish tourist board promoting walking in Ireland.

For me the stand out presentation was from Microsoft with the demonstration of the HoloLens. The HoloLens is a wearable MR (mixed relay) headset that to the user adds a virtual lair of data over the real world. A HoloLens combines the functionality of smart glasses, the Microsoft Kinect, and a powerful windows 10 PC in a standalone mobile device. Unlike the Oculus rift and the HTC vive you are not fully immersed into a virtual world, you are not tethered to a powerful PC, and you don’t need hand controller. The HoloLens uses its’ Kinect functionality to track your hand positions and detect hand gestures to control the interface. The Kinect functionality also models the real world environment, building a 3D mesh of the environment in which it is being used. Knowing what’s around it, you can then attached virtual apps to a real world surface. This was demonstrated by placing a virtual ballerina on a step in the lecture theatre, and then moving around so that audience members were between the HoloLens and the ballerina, the parts of the ballerina that were behind the audience members did not show up. This gives the illusion that the virtual ballerina was really occupying a position in real space. The speakers P.Daukinits & M. Taulty explained that the HoloLens had all the functionality of a windows 10 PC. You could open all your normal windows 10 app and attach them to real space objects. You can place a video on a wall and make it as big as you want or place a virtual recipe book next to the cooker. You can also make a Skype call and see the point of view of the person you are talking to.


There are still some limitation to the HoloLens at just under £3000 it is prohibitively expensive, the field of view is still quite limited, there are problems if like me you wear glasses, and the hand tracking is not as accurate or versatile as using VR hand controllers. However I believe that the HoloLens or at least future incarnations of the HoloLens will be more ubiquitous than full immersion headsets as there uses are far more varied than full immersion VR. Also because the HoloLens anchors you to the real world you don’t get motion sickness.

Live streaming events using Panopto

Lucy Ayre, Repository and Open Access Librarian, University of Derby

The Library celebrated Academic Book Week in January of this year through a series of author talks and books displays. The week was rounded off with a panel discussion on the future of academic books, which had quite a bit of interest from people not based at Kedleston Road where the event was taking place.

We had a problem; how were we going to make sure the event could be attended by people virtually? Also, we didn’t just want to show the discussion as it unfolded, we wanted viewers to have an involvement online, contributing in the same way as the audience in the room.

Live streaming sounded out of our reach. After all, we had nothing to spend and not much technical expertise. When TEL suggested using Panopto I was relieved, I knew from using Panopto before that it captured from a webcam as well as whatever is on the computer screen (part of the event was a live online demonstration), and it’s so easy to use!

We created a new Webcast about a week prior to the event, giving it a name and setting permissions to enable anyone on the web to view it.


The default settings for the Webcast include a chat functionality, allowing viewers to type their questions or comments as they are watching the live stream. We uploaded a preview image with information about when the event was taking place. Finally, we took the embed code from the Share settings to embed the live stream neatly onto our promotional webpage.


We had a couple of comments come through on the feed during the live session, and the recording is still up on the event webpage for people to watch back. One down side to the stream was that non-Derby viewers accessing the webcast were prompted to login to UDo in order to leave comments. When using this technology for a similar purpose next time we’ll see if this can be amended in the settings.


The live stream brought a really innovative element to our event. Colleagues at Buxton could book out a room to show the live stream there, which meant we didn’t have to repeat the event across sites, and everyone could feel involved in real-time.

My top tips for using Panopto Webcast to live stream an event:

  1. Make sure the room you are using has a PC, projector, webcam and microphones (Speak to TEL about which rooms would be most suitable for your event, and speak to IT Field Support if you need extra equipment like we did).
  2. Setup the Webcast early and embed it onto the webpage you want viewers to see it from.
  3. Don’t forget to mic up your speakers and audience! Our viewers could hear the panel members but we didn’t have a roaming mic to capture what the audience in the room were saying.
  4. Have someone monitoring the comments. The comments will pop-up in the corner of the screen, but if like me you have your back to the screen you won’t be able to see who is contributing online!
  5. Build in some time to edit down the live steam after your event, making a shorter version of highlights.

Now that we know how easy it is to achieve a live stream using Panopto, we in the Library are looking to live stream other events and training sessions.