Re/Play – timeout errors (now resolved)

This issue is now resolved.

We are aware of a timeout error message when students are accessing Re/Play from a Blackboard course menu link (eg to the unit collection of all recordings). The supplier has identified the issue is related to search based functions in their systems, and is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Recordings added or shared by other methods – eg those added in course folders or other sections – are currently unaffected.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause; we are working to restore access as soon as possible.

Take part in our Digital Insights Survey!

Have you got time to tell us about your experiences of digital teaching and learning within the University’s online environments?

Our Digital Insights survey is now open! Responses are anonymous but play a huge part in the development of our digital development. This year it’s more important than ever to have your say, as the University is looking at the Digital Learning Environment in order to make tangible improvements to your learning. The Jisc Digital Experience Insights Survey aids us in our work to continuously enhance the student experience. As well as looking at our own data, we will be able to compare our results with other education providers and benchmarking data across institutions. Find a link to complete the survey here, it takes ten minutes to complete: Digital Insights Survey.

Person sat working on a laptop
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

 

 

The Re/Play student survey

Have you got some time to complete our Re/Play student survey?

Re/Play is the function inside Blackboard that lets you watch back your recorded lectures and other videos. You may also see the tool referred to as Mediasite. The University wants to better understand how students use Re/Play, what you find useful and what you find frustrating so they can make the system work better for you.

Please complete this five-minute survey by 5pm on Friday 18th of November and have your say!

You can find out more about Re/Play on our Student Essentials page.

Turnitin Transition 2022

If you are submitting using Turnitin don’t forget to download your digital receipt. If you used Turnitin in previous years please note that, due to the new version of Turnitin, the interface looks a little different this year and you will no longer receive an email receipt. Find out more information, including screenshots, on the Turnitin Transition 2022 page.

Clearing your cache to prevent possible equation display issues

You may have seen an issue with equations not displaying properly in some browsers when using Blackboard. This was resolved by Blackboard on the 6th October, however the DEO have recently received reports that a small number of users have continued to experience issues with equations they have previously viewed in their browsers. If an equation is not displaying properly for you, please clear your browser cache and cookies (using, for example, these instructions), then reload the pageThis only needs to be done once on the device and browser being usedand can be done at any time (for example, in advance of taking a test which includes equations), after which the issue should not persist or recur 

The Digital Education Office are hiring!

Following on from the great work of our Student Digital Champions, we are keen to hire some more students to work with us again starting in January 2023.

Student Digital Champion 

The UoB Digital Education Office (DEO) are looking for passionate students to work with us to ensure that all students can get the most out of their digital and blended learning experiences at Bristol. As a Student Digital Champion, you will be talking to students, course reps and staff members to hear what is or isn’t working in our online learning environments, and identify good practice in teaching and assessment. You will be working as a team, with the DEO and other Student Digital Champions, to identify and address key challenges the student body are facing when learning in an online, blended or hybrid environment, and then propose, pilot and implement practical solutions. In addition, you’ll be adding your own personal experiences and feedback to the work of the DEO, and helping us shape the work we do in real time. To apply for this role, you need to be a current student at the University of Bristol. You’ll be working an average of 3 hours per week spanning from January to December. 

You can read more about how our previous students have found the role in our past blog posts.

Re/Play – getting the most from the video player

Suzanne Collins
Digital Education Office

If you’re a returning student you may have noticed that the video player for Re/Play recordings in your Blackboard course is a bit different. Over the summer we upgraded the player, and the new one is packed full of new features – it’s much more accessible too!

For full information, go to our Student Essentials Re/Play page.

New features include:

Personalise your captions

Change the font, size and colour of your captions so they work for you and your device.

Screenshot showing caption settings

Player in window

Pop out the recording on top of your browser window, so you can keep slides, make notes or other study materials on the same screen. Adjust the size of the player to work with your screen size.

Screenshot of Player in Window

Appinions – Utility

Appinions banner

A great app will keep you glued to your device. Whether it’s lifestyle, social media, utility, gaming, productivity or news; apps are an essential part of student life.
Each month we challenge our Student Digital Champions to delve into a new category, delivering fresh perspectives and making proclamations for essential applications. Which features are dumb? What should be at the tip of your thumb?

Written by Polly Davis and Kexin Li

Polly DavisKexin Li

September 2022 – Utility

There is a palpable buzz around campus. Each year we welcome new students. But this will be the first cohort of freshers to arrive unrestricted since 2019.

For many this will be the first time living away from home, staying in shared accommodation and manging their own finances. Sadly, no-one has invented an app which can end an energy crisis or divert a recession (to my knowledge), but these utility apps could make your University journey a little easier.

Monzo

Monzo app icon

Monzo is my main form of payment in university, and I’ll tell you why. Each week, from my student bank account, I load a set amount onto my Monzo debit account to cover bills, grocery shopping, and socialising and this is facilitated by Monzo’s pots. These pots are where you can separate your money into different functions and withdraw money from them when needed, to help you save and budget if you’re like me and cannot stop tapping your card wherever you go. Even further, after each payment, you get to select what that spend was on to summarise in a weekly report- this visualisation of trends helps me organise my spending massively. Another feature which I am grateful for is the Coin Jar; provided by Paragon, this pot rounds up your payments to the nearest pound, and the money is saved into a pot. When money starts to get tight by the end of the week, you will find that these round-ups have amounted to a fair bit of extra money that can help you by.

When it comes to eating and drinking out with your friends, it can always get a bit awkward and tense splitting the bills and then chasing people for money. With Monzo’s ‘Split the bill’ feature, you can enter the total amount of the bill, add friends to the feature and set the amounts each will pay or split equally, and Monzo will let you know when it has all been covered- hassle free! Monzo currently have a joining offer with a free £5 spend when you make your first card payment in the first 30 days.

You may have heard of other bank accounts that have similar features. Starling Bank, rated at the same service level as Monzo, also provides visual saving spaces, categorised spending and ‘split the bill’ features. Nevertheless, Starling also provides you with a budget planner to help give an overview of your own finances. Once you have provided information of any income and transaction history, Starling Bank will calculate your average outgoings and what they are divided into. You can set your own saving and spending goals, and they will direct you to money management support if they detect that you are overspending.

During a cost-of-living crisis this year, this type of financial guidance can make you feel more in control as a student.

Reviewer: Polly Davis

Download links:

Google Play linkapp store link

Acasa

Acasa app icon

Acasa is an app designed for shared households to set up, manage, and split the household bills in a streamlined way. This app can easily help students to keep track of all the expenses in your house such as utilities, internet, home maintenance, food and groceries, and record who should pay the bills and who has paid the bills. It is an effective helper for students to rent a house together, and it can eliminate the complicated process of paying various bills and effectively avoid misunderstanding and disputes related to paying bills. Acasa helps students automatically calculate their share of each bill, and they can pay off all their bill obligations only once a month. This app has a dashboard interface that clearly shows the income and expenditure between each other, making the complex and troublesome problem of paying common bills simple and clear.

Pros

  • Automatically help everyone in the house calculate their accounts payable
  • Avoid the embarrassment of debt collection
  • Other payments can be included in addition to household bills
  • This app is free for users

 Cons

  • Some users commented that this app is unorganised and hard to navigate
  • Customer service is appalling and inefficient
  • Costs may occur for additional services
  • The dashboard design may confuse the people who are splitting the bills, and incorrect calculations may occur

Reviewer: Kexin Li

Download links:

Google Play linkapp store link

Please be aware that hidden costs have been discovered in some bill-splitting apps.

As one door closes, another opens. On behalf of the Digital Education Office, I want to thank the outgoing Student Digital Champions: Leah Parker, Georgie Pitts, Kexin Li, Polly Davis, Olivia Muggleton and Amy Preston for writing wonderfully engaging Appinion reviews. If you are interested in applying to be a Student Digital Champion, subscribe to this blog so you always see the latest recruitment news.

These apps aren’t supported or managed by the University of Bristol. Don’t forget to think about what data you are adding to these apps if you decide to download and use them. Our Online Identity video highlights some of the factors you may want to think about when you are online.

There will be more Appinions in 2023

A reflection on my time as a Student Digital Champion

Written by Olivia Muggleton, Student Digital Champion

Olivia Muggleton

I began my role as a Student Digital Champion (SDC) in the Summer of 2021. Having recently returned from my much needed post exam holiday, I was re-energised and raring to start making some changes to our digital learning experience as students at the University of Bristol. Since then, I am proud to say that I have provided the DEO with a number of insights, resources and other miscellaneous contributions which I feel will prove useful, not only for current and future students, but also for the DEO in helping them understand what it is that works for us. Beyond this, however, I have also received an immeasurably valuable experience thanks to the DEO, as it has pushed me to develop my skills and confidence in a way that I could not have imagined prior to that Summer of 2021.   

As it was an entirely remotely based role, being an SDC enabled me to gain valuable work experience despite living at my home in South Wales for my final two years of study. Although I was wholly inexperienced in working remotely, I soon discovered that organisation, time management and the ability to work productively and efficiently with minimal supervision, were going to be key to adapting successfully to this new style of work (at the time I had also started Peer Mentoring so this lesson was learnt doubly as fast!). As I was afforded great freedom to select and complete my tasks and projects in my own time, the SDC role really enhanced my skills in all the aforementioned areas, especially as it was a role that I undertook alongside my fulltime studies – Self motivation and drive are essential! As a result, I am now confident not only in my ability to adapt to new modes of working, but also in my ability to produce high quality work in a timely and efficient manner, by setting my own deadlines and keeping a thorough log of my hours. 

Desk with a laptop and lamp. Photo by Rich Tervet on Unsplash

Being able to work autonomously in this sense was not, however, the only skill that I developed thanks to my work as an SDC. The ability to communicate and work well in a team was also a central requirement for this role. Thanks to the highly collaborative and open minded environment that the DEO and other SDCs have created, this is an ability which I feel I have strengthened tenfold. I now feel that I can better appreciate the value and insight that can be gained by encouraging individuals from diverse backgrounds and circumstances to share their ideas and perspectives, as these will inevitably lead to more effective problem solving and an all-round more supportive (and subsequently productive) workplace – From accessibility requirements and culture to professional background, everyone has a unique perspective which can enable you to see the bigger picture when trying to creatively solve problems and overcome particular challenges. In the same vein, the SDC role provided me with an opportunity to focus on the areas of my communication skills which I felt least confident in – For instance, I was able to coordinate and lead two presentations which portrayed the student voice to university staff and academics within and beyond the University of Bristol. This has increased my confidence in presenting and orally communicating my ideas to my team members and audiences in a formal, presentational setting. It has also improved my confidence in taking the lead on projects, a confidence subsequently demonstrated by taking the lead in creating the student digital glossary and keyboard shortcut guide. 

While I would love to elaborate on all the interesting projects and tasks that I had the pleasure of working on during my time as a SDC (and all the skills that I subsequently developed in relation to these projects), I believe it is sufficient to say that this was an incredible opportunity, for which I owe a great deal to the DEO. Accordingly, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the following individuals who made working as an SDC such a valuable and enjoyable experience. Firstly, I cannot convey enough thanks to Naomi (Nay), my first port of call when I needed any guidance in this role – From the beginning Nay has always been in touch and eager to put our ideas into practice, she really cares about our progression as SDCs and what we get out of the role, not simply how we can benefit the DEO. She works incredibly hard and is generally a lovely person who always made me feel comfortable in expressing any thoughts or feedback and regularly encouraged me to pursue the things that I cared about most. I would also like to thank the rest of the DEO team – Every one of them truly respect and actively seek out the student perspective, going out of their way to do it justice. It was nice to be treated as an equal in a professional environment where my input was highly valued, and I have the upmost confidence that the team will continue to work hard to shape their work around the needs and concerns of the students at the university long into the future. Last but not least I would like to thank my fellow SDCs – Although I have seen many come and go due to my extended time within the role, each one of them has inspired me with their ideas and passion, enlightened me and opened my eyes to perspectives and challenges which I may never have even considered without their contributions. Everyone has always been friendly and eager to help each other to be successful, which made for a very easy environment to collaborate and work productively as a team, so thank you!  

Person walking on a beach. Photo by José M. Reyes on Unsplash

I think my three extensions make it quite clear that I would happily go on to continue my work as a SDC, but unfortunately I could not do the role justice as I am no longer a student! So where do I go from here? As of July I have completed my LLB Law with The University of Bristol and cannot wait to get stuck into the legal world in practice. It is fair to say that this role has set me up incredibly well and provided me with a level of confidence in many skills which will prove highly transferable when I commence my next role. From team working and communication (written and oral) to problem solving and even remote working (time management, minimal supervision, organisation), working as an SDC has enabled me to leave university feeling prepared and ready to tackle the next phase in my life, but it has also provided me with some treasured friends which I know will help me on that journey.  

Girl looking over hills. Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

All that is remaining for me to say (in case I have not made it clear enough) is that I highly recommend that you apply to become an SDC – It is more than a source of extra income, it is an opportunity to shape the digital learning experience that is provided by The University of Bristol (and perhaps beyond) while gaining valuable experience and friendships along the way.  

Thank you 

Diolch 

Olivia 

Meet Jack – Bristol Futures student mentor

Have you already taken one or more of the Bristol Futures Open courses? Ever thought about what it’s like to be a Bristol Futures mentor? Applications are open until the 7 September via MyCareer.

In this Digitalk blog, we hear from Jack about his experience as a student mentor on the Bristol Futures Sustainable Futures course in academic year 2021/22.

Profile photo of Jack, student mentor smiling.

The Sustainable Futures course first came to my attention when I was completing it as part of the Bristol PLUS Award. During the 4 weeks, I was impressed with the various aspects of sustainability that were exposed in such a short period. Throughout every step of the course, I was intellectually stimulated, giving me the opportunity to level up my skillset. The opportunity to explore sustainability with an online community of users and mentors made the whole experience more interesting and enjoyable.

With the wish to relive the experience, I further completed the other two courses that the Bristol Futures Team had to offer – I was hooked!  With a lingering sense of euphoria after the courses, I eagerly watched (stalked) the careers website praying that an opportunity to join the team would appear… and it did!

The beginnings

Trained and prepped, I was ready for my first run on The Sustainable Futures course. Working alongside me was a friendly close-knit team from all diverse backgrounds, some experienced some new. As the floodgates opened, users rushed in, brimming with new and fresh ideas. You could feel the positive energy through the screen, people from all walks of life joining together to discuss one of the most important issues of our time – it was incredible!

The week progressed smoothly, with topics of happiness and purpose being discussed throughout the week. Towards the end of the week, we began to highlight any key themes which were present for the lead educators to produce end of week feedback. When the week finished, I was taken aback a bit. I could not believe how enjoyable this was – I felt like I was learning not working.

The peak

The next two weeks flew by, with the topics of food waste and microplastics being a hit with many users. As we journeyed through these weeks, we monitored the chat, stimulated meaningful discussion, and promoted social learning. This was achieved through researching and sharing information which we had found relevant and interesting to the discussion in hand.

Watching the progression of users throughout the course is exciting, as they become more comfortable in expressing their thoughts on each topic. On occasions I got a bit carried away reading about other’s experiences and lessons they had learnt, from nurses to retired miners, they were all willing to share their wealth of knowledge that made it difficult to stop reading.

Halfway through our journey we were given the opportunity to share Bristol-specific events, societies, and local organisations that deserved promotion. This was an amazing chance to do some extra research (and try them out in person) to find out what is being done within Bristol, stumbling upon new start-ups, apps, and initiatives all looking to become more sustainable.

The goodbyes

From the personal, to the local to the global and finally back to the personal, we come to the final week of the course. Often neglected topics were covered throughout the week including mental health where many users shared the difficulties they had faced, how they overcame them and the lessons they learnt. Being part of an online community where people are comfortable enough to share their issues is truly amazing.

One of my favourite aspects about being a mentor on the course is seeing the impact we have had as a team through reflections from users at the end of the course. Here are some examples of user reflections.

From Changing views on sustainability:

‘I always thought people who made content sustainability where toothless in their approaches.  However, after completing this course, it changed my mind.’

To helping people, seek comfort:

‘It was enough for me to ease my climate change anxiety and helped me to have new and different perspectives to do things about it.’

To inspiring:

‘What I got from the course was learning about FoodCycle – I had my first volunteering session with them on Saturday and I enjoyed it so much, as it encapsulated what I enjoy doing most.’

The course had unfortunately come to an end, however for a Bristol Future Mentor the journey has just began. I have just finished mentoring on my third course, and it gets better each time. Each course stretches over 4 weeks, with 3 course runs (with mentors) each year, starting at the beginning of each term and after the summer exams. With the ability work flexible hours, you can ensure that can prioritise your studies when necessary. This makes it a perfect part-time job. If you get the opportunity to take part, grab it with both hands you will not regret it.

Interested in becoming a Bristol Futures mentor?

To apply, see the full role description and link to the application form due by the 15 September 2022 via MyCareer.

Further information on the Bristol Futures Open courses can be found on the Bristol Futures website.

If you have any further questions, you can e-mail the Bristol Futures team on uob-bristolfutures@bristol.ac.uk