The technology choices have been driven by need and based on feedback from students and staff, as well as some changing legal requirements.
These investments were initiated by the University Resilient Curriculum Project Team led by Professor Peter Lambert and Professor Tim Ibell, and will be delivered by a number of collaborating professional services departments, including the CLT, DDaT, Academic Registry and the Skills Centre.
- Inspera - This proven online assessment platform has been piloted at the University for the past two years. Inspera can be used for coursework and exams in a digital environment that include remote invigilation of exams and students bringing their own device for traditional exams. It offers a number of automatic marking features that can reduce marking time. Only some of the features will be available in the 2020/21 academic year, but additional features will come online as we continue rolling out the platform. We expect the initial functionality to be in place in October, for staff setting exams for January 2021.
- Zoom - We have purchased an institutional Zoom license to complement Microsoft Teams’ rapidly developing functionality, which does not currently include breakout rooms and staff control of online teaching sessions. The intention is to use Teams where this is the appropriate tool, but Zoom where Teams cannot fulfill requirements. Both Zoom and Teams will be integrated into Moodle, so students can access all their online learning from one place. We expect the Zoom license to be active in the second week of August.
- Moodle templates - Inconsistency in online teaching and learning material provision was a key student concern from students at the end of the emergency move to online teaching. All learning materials should be initially accessed via Moodle, the University’s approved Virtual Learning Environment. Moodle templates, currently being rolled out, will enhance consistency while still ensuring teaching staff still have flexibility in how course materials are presented.
- Blackboard Ally - New accessibility regulations coming into force on 23 September 2020 require us to enhance the accessibility of all our digital materials. DDaT are currently developing a policy around digital accessibility. Blackboard Ally allows staff to check the accessibility of documents that are uploaded to Moodle, and automatically fix some of the accessibility issues or generate documents in alternative formats for students. This should be done as last check before uploading documents and initially using the accessibility tools in the Office 365 will help in developing accessible documents. Blackboard Ally is now installed which will allow teaching staff to assess the accessibility of new and existing learning materials.
- Loan equipment for remote teaching - We are in the process of investing in loan equipment for staff to use for remote or in-person teaching which is not in general teaching rooms (visualisers, graphics tablets, microphones). More information on the equipment and loan process will be available soon.
There are a number of smaller system developments, including Numbas (online formative maths assessments). Further information for staff involved with delivering blended teaching is at https://teachinghub.bath.ac.uk/the-bath-blend/course-teaching-staff/.