Accessibility, Blackboard, Conference, Cynhadledd, Hygyrchedd, partneriaeth myfyrwyr, Student partnership

Blackboard Conference 2018 – Cynhadledd Blackboard 2018

by Dewi Parry

A Welsh version of this blog post is available below.

I recently visited the Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference 2018, this year held at The University of Manchester. The conference was a good opportunity to hear about various projects and good practice from other institutions, and to pick up some ideas along the way. I thought I’d blog about a few of the interesting talks I attended, and report back on some developments as far Blackboard are concerned.

On the first day, I attended Sheffield University TEL team’s presentation “Institutional direction and the student voice: Making change happen”. Delivered by Danny Monaghan and Farzana Latif, this presentation around their VLE refresh was interesting as it covered some of the work that we have done here at Cardiff around minimum expectations of VLE use, but also went on to cover further areas such as:

  • A course checklist for preparing modules for the following year;
  • No more content rollover! (very interesting!!);
  • A programme level approach for courses (an example here would be how MEDIC structure their courses);
  • Guest access, giving more access and control to staff;
  • New admin processes;
  • A refresh to the look and feel of the VLE.

The key to their successful project was working in partnership with students. A survey was built with the Students Union to capture the student voice, and the feedback was used to drive change. Students also played an important role in delivering the right messages and raising awareness of the changes in the form of ambassadors. They also noted that running projects with students and training them were a good way of developing further ideas.

Another interesting session was delivered by Laura Hollinshead and Claire Gardener from the University of Derby TEL team. As part of “Inclusive Derby”, the University have invested in tools to aid inclusive practice. The first is the ATbar, which is a toolbar included on to the web browser which aids the accessibility of websites. The second is Blackboard Ally,  which is a Blackboard tool that provides content uploaded to Blackboard in accessible formats such as HTML, audio and braille. Ally also offers feedback to tutors on the accessibility of their content with suggestions to improve.

It was interesting to hear how the team had set the narrative around the rollout, not asking staff to review all content to date, but to consider accessibility issues when revisiting content or creating new content. We have trialled Ally at Cardiff (it was for a month), and have looked at the features. Derby’s considerations were very similar to ours – what does optimal accessibility looks like, what is acceptable, how should we up-skill staff to create accessible documents etc. Derby ensure that accessibility is a cultural shift and staff must engage.

Here’s a checklist of low-effort adjustments Blackboard suggest to  start creating more accessible content. If you are interested in creating accessible content, please contact the team ceilt@cardiff.ac.uk.

Image of Blackboard panel discussionI really enjoyed Volker Hirsch’s timely keynote, particularly following the recent Facebook scandal. Hirsch questioned what ‘right’ and ‘responsible’ mean when it comes to data. The panel session, discussing Edtech as a driving force for education was interesting. Prof Neil Morris of Leeds stating “the last 10yrs has focused on content, we now need to revisit design”. Berit Kjeldstad of NTNU stating “we need more focus on knowledge around how students learn”. Finally, our own Karl Luke presented around learning journeys with video, where he discussed the role of actor-network theory in his research around lecture recording, and raised issues with analytics when considering student engagement with lecture capture.

From Blackboard’s point of view, there was much discussion around Ally, as was to be expected. There was also discussions around:

  • Cloud hosting, with many institutions now moving or have moved to cloud hosting;
  • Learning analytics, with Blackboard showing the improvements and the roadmap for their tools;
  • Welsh language, with the Blackboard Localisation team working on a Welsh version of their “Blackboard Help” site, which is a welcomed development for Welsh institutions such as ourselves;
  • Participation, with Blackboard promoting their Community service which has been up and running for a couple of years now.
  • Partnership, with Blackboard wanting to work more closely with institutions.

image of Blackboard help site in welshThanks to all involved with hosting the conference, and it was great to meet up with our peers. Here are a couple of links to further #bbtlc18 blog posts:

Notes from #bbtlc18 by Jin Tan (Cardiff University)

Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2018 by Danny Monaghan (Sheffield University)

For more information around the Welsh Language Standards and what they mean for Cardiff University staff and students, please visit the Cardiff University website.


Gan Dewi Parry

Yn ddiweddar, ymwelais â Chynhadledd Dysgu ac Addysgu Blackboard 2018, a gynhaliwyd eleni ym Mhrifysgol Manceinion. Roedd y gynhadledd yn gyfle da i glywed am brosiectau amrywiol ac arfer da gan sefydliadau eraill, ac i ddod ar draws syniadau newydd. Meddyliais dylwn i flogio am rai o’r sgyrsiau diddorol mynychais, ac hefyd adrodd yn ôl ar ddatblygiadau gan Blackboard.

Ar y diwrnod cyntaf, mynychais gyflwyniad tîm eDdysgu Prifysgol Sheffield “Cyfarwyddyd sefydliadol a’r llais myfyrwyr: Gwneud y newid ddigwydd”. Cyflwynodd Danny Monaghan a Farzana Latif ogwmpas adnewyddu eu amgylchedd dysgu rhithwir (ADR). Roedd yn ddiddorol gan ei fod yn cynnwys rhywfaint o’r gwaith yr ydym wedi ei wneud yma yng Nghaerdydd o gwmpas disgwyliadau defnyddio’r ADR, ond hefyd aethon nhw ymhellach i ymdrin â:

  • Rhestr wirio cwrs ar gyfer paratoi modiwlau y flwyddyn ganlynol;
  • Dim mwy o rholio cynnwys trosodd i’r flwyddyn ganlynol! (diddorol iawn!!);
  • Dull lefel rhaglen ar gyfer cyrsiau (esiampl yma byddai sut y mae MEDIC yn strwythuro eu cyrsiau);
  • Mynediad gwadd, gan roi mwy o fynediad a rheolaeth i staff;
  • Prosesau gweinyddol newydd;
  • Adnewyddu golwg a theimlad y ADR.

Gweithio mewn partneriaeth â myfyrwyr oedd yr allwedd i lwyddiant y prosiect. Adeiladwyd arolwg gydag Undeb y Myfyrwyr i gipio llais y myfyrwyr, a defnyddwyd yr adborth i sbarduno newid. Yn ogystal, chwaraeodd y myfyrwyr rôl bwysig wrth gyflwyno negeseuon cywir a chodi ymwybyddiaeth o’r newidiadau ar ffurf llysgenhadon. Maent hefyd yn nodi bod rhedeg prosiectau gyda myfyrwyr ac eu hyfforddi yn ffordd dda o ddatblygu syniadau pellach.

Sesiwn diddorol arall oedd cyflwyniad Laura Hollinshead a Claire Gardener o dîm TEL Brifysgol Derby. Mae’r Brifysgol wedi buddsoddi mewn offer i gynorthwyo ymarfer cynhwysol fel rhan o “Derby Gynhwysol”. Y cyntaf yw’r ATbar, sydd yn far cynnwys ar y porwr gwe, sy’n helpu hygyrchedd gwefannau. Yr ail yw Blackboard Ally, sef offeryn gan Blackboard sy’n darparu cynnwys sydd wedi’w lanlwytho i Blackboard mewn fformatau hygyrch, megis HTML, sain a braille. Mae Ally yn cynnig adborth i diwtoriaid ar hygyrchedd eu cynnwys gydag awgrymiadau ar syt i wella.

Yr oedd yn ddiddorol clywed sut y mae’r tîm wedi gosod y naratif ar gyfer ei gyflwyno, dim gofyn i staff  adolygu’r holl gynnwys hyd yn hyn, ond i ystyried materion hygyrchedd wrth ailymweld â cynnwys neu creu cynnwys newydd. Rydym wedi treialu Ally yng Nghaerdydd (am fis), ac wedi edrych ar y nodweddion. Roedd ystyriaethau Derby yn debyg iawn i’n rhai ni – sut mae hygyrchedd gorau posibl yn edrych, beth sy’n dderbyniol, sut y dylem ddatblygu sgiliau staff i greu dogfennau hygyrch ac ati. Mae Derby yn sicrhau bod hygyrchedd yn newid diwylliannol ble mae rhaid i staff ymgysylltu.

Dyma awgrymiadau gan Blackboard ar ffurf restr wirio o’r mathau o addasiadau ymdrech isel i ddechrau creu cynnwys yn fwy hygyrch. Dolen Saesneg. Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn creu cynnwys hygyrch, cysylltwch â’r tîm – ceilt@caerdydd.ac.uk.

Image of Blackboard panel discussionFe wnes i fwynhau prif gyfeiriad amserol yr Athro Volker Hirsch, yn enwedig gan ddilyn sgandal Facebook yn ddiweddar. Holodd Hirsch beth yw ystyr ‘cywir’ a ‘chyfrifol’ pan ddaw i ddata. Roedd y sesiwn banel, yn trafod “Edtech” fel grym ar gyfer addysg yn ddiddorol, gyda’r Athro Neil Morris o Leeds yn nodi “mae’r 10 mlynedd diwethaf wedi canolbwyntio ar gynnwys, mae angen i ni nawr edrych yn ôl ar ddyluniad”. Nododd yr Athro Berit Kjeldstad o NTNU “mae angen mwy o ffocws arnom ar wybodaeth ynghylch sut mae myfyrwyr yn dysgu”. Yn olaf, cyflwynodd Karl Luke am siwrneiau dysgu gyda fideo, lle bu’n trafod theori rōl rwydwaith-actor yn ei ymchwil ogwmpas cipio darlithoedd, a cododd materion gyda dadansoddiadau wrth ystyried ymgysylltiad myfyrwyr â cipio darlithoedd.

O bwynt Blackboard,roedd llawer o drafod o gwmpas Ally, fel yr oedd disgwyl. Roedd hefyd trafodaethau ynghylch:

  • Cynnal yn y Cwmwl, gyda nifer o sefydliadau bellach yn symud neu wedi symud i gynnal yn y cwmwl;
  • Dadansoddiadau dysgu, gyda Blackboard yn dangos y gwelliannau a’r map datblygu ar gyfer eu hoffer;
  • Y iaith Gymraeg, gyda tîm Lleoleiddio Blackboard yn gweithio ar fersiwn Gymraeg o safle “Blackboard Help”, sy’n ddatblygiad i’w groesawu ar gyfer sefydliadau Cymreig fel ni;
  • Cyfranogiad, gyda Blackboard yn hyrwyddo eu gwasanaeth cymunedol sydd wedi bod ar waith ers rhai blynyddoedd bellach.
  • Partneriaeth, gyda Blackboard eisiau gweithio’n agosach gyda sefydliadau.

image of Blackboard help site in welshDiolch i bawb sy’n gysylltiedig â chynnal y gynhadledd, a roedd yn wych cael dal i fynu gyda’n cyfoedion. Dyma gwpl o dolleni #bbtlc18 pellach:

Nodiadau o #bbtlc18 gan Jin Tan (Prifysgol Caerdydd) Dolen Saesneg

Cynhadledd Addysgu a Dysgu Blackboard 2018 gan Danny Monaghan (Prifysgol Sheffield) Dolen Saesneg

Am ragor o wybodaeth ynghylch Safonau’r Iaith Gymraeg a’r hyn y maent yn eu olygu i staff a myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd, ewch i wefan Prifysgol Caerdydd. Ysgrifennais y cyfnod yma yn ddwyieithog.

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