News & Updates

News & Updates

News and Updates from 2022

June

MyAberdeen Enhancements in June 2022

Please find below some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further information about the latest update is available online.

Original and Ultra Course View

  • Blackboard Collaborate - A new option to use Collaborate on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Chime technology is available within the session settings.
     

Ultra Course View

  • Embedded Documents - Common file types can now be embedded in an Ultra document or assessment, as well as having the option to download.
  • Blackboard Ally - Staff can now use Ally to check the accessibility of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) content in Ultra documents, for example when editing text and images.
  • Multiple Attempts in Group Assessments - The option to allow multiple attempts to group assessments is now available to staff.
  • Journals – now allows unlimited entries, improved navigation, improved pagination and a count of graded journals for staff.
April/May

MyAberdeen Enhancements in April / May 2022

Please find below some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. April’s update was large but also delayed and so this MyAberdeen Enhancements communication is larger than normal and includes some additional functionality for Ultra tests that some staff have been eagerly awaiting. You may also have noticed the new “in-product updates” pop-up within MyAberdeen itself. Further information about the latest update is available online.

Original

  • Text tips for images

Ultra and Original

  • Session Time Out Warning
  • In-Product Updates and User Engagement Surveys
  • Course Activity Related to Grades Report
  • Undo and Redo in Bb Annotate (available later this month)

Collaborate

  • Live data insights

Ultra

  • One Question at a Time
  • Prevent Grades from Auto-Posting
  • Calculated Numeric Question Type
  • Download Results
  • Functionality for Students in Tests
  • Staff Access to Submission Receipts
  • Student Feedback Display Controls
  • Weighted Overall Grade Calculation
  • Unlimited Journal entries
  • Displaying Code Snippets
  • Usernames Visible to Staff
  • Granular Content Copy
  • Mobile App Improvements
March

MyAberdeen Enhancements in March 2022

Below are details of some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further details about the latest update are available in our guide.

Updates Applied 3rd March

Ultra: New Peak Panel When Creating Learning Modules

When staff create a learning module in Ultra, all settings now appear in a peek panel (layer on right hand side). From the peek panel staff can:

  • Name the learning module
  • Set the visibility of the learning module for students
  • Add an optional description
  • Apply forced sequence to the content in the module. Note this option is no longer available on the Release Conditions panel

Ultra: Learning Modules Forced Sequence

Staff can now add more content to a learning module when the forced sequence option has been applied. If staff add or change content, a warning is displayed: "Additions and changes in content can make students who already started the module follow a different order."

Ultra: Sticky Header in Tests

Tests now have a header to improve the user experience. The header is sticky, meaning that it is always visible as a student navigates the test. This header also appears in assignments that include questions. Please note, the header does not appear when the test is viewed on a small window or mobile device. The new header displays the following helpful information:

  • A progress bar
  • Time remaining if the instructor has set a time limit
  • The number of answered questions out of the total questions in the test or assignment
February

MyAberdeen Enhancements

Below are details of some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further details about the latest update are available in our guide.

Updates Applied 10th February

Original: Force Completion changes to better support Multiple Attempt Tests

The Force Completion option now requires a time limit and automatic submission. This change enforces the submission of incomplete or abandoned attempts.

Original and Ultra: Incorrect submission date on assignment submission receipt

The assignment submission receipt previously included the timestamp when the student started the attempt. The timestamp now shows the time/date the student submitted the attempt.

Ultra: Prohibit late submissions

Select this setting in assessments to enforce a hard deadline and disallow a late submission. In-progress and saved attempts will auto-submit at the due date. Note that selecting "Prohibit late submissions" auto-enables "Prohibit new attempts after due date" (see following update). Students with accommodations can continue working past the due date. This feature does not work with Peer Review or Group submissions. 

Ultra: Prohibit new attempts after due date

Select this setting to prevent students from beginning a new attempt after the due date. Staff can enable the "Prohibit new attempts after due date" option on its own. This supports a scenario when students should have the full amount of time available on a timed test. A student can resume any attempt saved before the due date passes. This supports a scenario where the student experiences a disruption during the assessment. Students who submit an attempt after the due date will have their submission marked as late. This feature does not work with Peer Review.

Ultra: Pronunciation display and recording

Users can now add text guidance and an audio recording of their name to their user profile. Users can use the text guidance to describe the pronunciation of their names for other users or they can record the pronunciation of their name. Text guidance and audio recordings appear with pronouns next to their name in course areas. This feature does not work in the Safari web browser.

January

eLearning Team Updates

This month we welcome Paulina Martinkova to the eLearning team, who joins our two year Graduate Trainee programme. 

January also sees the launch of our new Course Accessibility Service which is aimed at raising awareness of accessibility issues and supporting staff to fix issues with course documents. The service, carried out by our eLearning Support Assistants, is currently being piloted with a small number of courses in the Ultra view.

MyAberdeen Enhancements

This month sees the switch-on of the pronouns feature within MyAberdeen. Users can now specify their pronouns on the profile pages to appear next to their name in discussions and messages. Currently, the pronouns only appear in the Ultra course view with functionality for the Original course view expected in the future.

News and Updates from 2021

December

MyAberdeen Enhancements in December 2021

Below are details of some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further details about the latest update are available in our guide.

Updates Applied 2nd December

Ultra: Accommodations - In the Ultra course view, Accommodations for extra time can now be set by entering a percentage value providing more flexibility.  This development is in response to feedback from our institution.

Ultra: Point-based and point-range rubrics - Staff can now customise rubrics on MyAberdeen with points, or point-ranges, however our recommendation remains to use a percentage range rubric.  Staff looking to use a points-based rubric should contact CAD for advice.

Ultra: Set Group Visibility - Staff can now set the visibility of group sets or individual groups.  Hidden groups can be used when applying filters in the Gradebook grid view or when setting up conditional release.

November

MyAberdeen Enhancements in November 2021 (Applied on 4th November)

Below are details of some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further details about the latest update are available as a PDF as well.

Ultra courses: Course Staff

Course Staff list which replaces the image of the Course Coordinator on the top left of the course. This
helps students to identify Course Staff members. The first two members of staff will be shown with the others visible with a "Show more" link. Course coordinators are shown first. Staff names are listed in alphabetical order when having
the same role.

Ultra courses: Course Banner

It is now possible to show a banner at the top of the content page. When adding a new course image,
instructors can opt to make it visible within the course and are able to easily crop the image to the
preferred size and zoom in or out on the uploaded image to select the part they want to focus on. There is
advice on finding copyright cleared images on the Library, Special Collections & Museum website. 

Ultra courses: Course Schedule

It is now easier to add a course schedule (appearing at the bottom of the left hand side menu). This helps
students to identify class meeting days, times, and location.

Ultra courses: Rich text editor improvements – new options when using tables

Additional formatting options are now available when using tables:

  • Text Style
  • Alignment options
  • Lists
  • Insert content
October

MyAberdeen Enhancements (Applied on 7th October)

Below are details of some notable enhancements to MyAberdeen. Further details about the latest update are available as a PDF as well.

  • Submission Receipt - Ultra Courses: This new functionality in assignments provides students with a unique tracking number that confirms their submission.  A window with the tracking information will appear to students after they submit their work. They can also receive an email with that information if they have a registered email and download a similar text file to keep for their records.
  • Rubric Criterion Increase - Ultra Courses: Rubrics can now have up to 15 columns and rows, previously limited to 10.
  • Rich Text Editor Add table function - Ultra Courses: The rich text editor in Ultra now has an Add Table function allowing users to organise tabular data in a more accessible way.

Collaborate Enhancements (Applied on 14th October)

  • Adjust recording playback speed: Users viewing Collaborate recordings can now adjust the speed of playback to suit their needs. 

 

September

MyAberdeen Enhancements (Applied on 2 September) 

  • Email Notifications - Original and Ultra Courses: The styling of email notifications has been improved, making the course name more obvious and maintaining customisations (e.g. justification of text). 
  • Improvements to the Assignment Attempts Screen in Ultra Courses: In Ultra assignments, the feedback panel on the right-hand side of a submission can now be collapsed to widen the screen of the submission area and have a better view of it. 
  • Show/Hide the “Additional Content” Section at the End of an Ultra Assessment: Lecturers can now decide whether to hide or make visible to students the "Additional Content" section at the end of Ultra assignments and tests. 
  • Partial Credit for Fill in The Blank Questions in Ultra Courses: In Ultra tests, fill in the blanks questions now support partial credits, allowing more granularity in the grading of students' attempts. 
  • Progress Tracking for students: In Ultra courses, if enabled by the Course Coordinator, students can self-assess their progress through course materials and activities by selecting whether they have completed it or not. This can only be enabled in courses with no activity (this will not be necessary later this year, when an updated release of this functionality is applied to MyAberdeen).  More information about progress tracking here.

Collaborate Enhancements 

  • New Whiteboard in Collaborate (Applied on 19 August): The whiteboard in Collaborate has a brand-new set of annotation tools, making it much easier to draw, type, create shapes, highlight areas, etc. Annotations made within the session now persist. 
  • Breakout groups integrated with MyAberdeen course groups (13 September): Groups created in your Origianal courses (group sets) and Ultra courses (course level groups) will be available in your Collaborate sessions for breakout groups. 

Other Updates

Bb Assist - launch planned for w/c 20 September

Blackboard Assist is a new feature to help students access the different resources and services available to them at the University, accessible from the Base Navigation on MyAberdeen.

Blackboard Webinars

Preparing to use the Ultra Course View? Blackboard are offering free workshops to guide you through setting up and designing your course and explore the features and functions available.  

Course Rollovers 

Course rollovers have now taken place. Please check your courses to ensure all the information is correct. Make sure you review and update your course content, update assignment and due dates and check that all the materials have rolled over correctly. You can find the checklist for updating your course in the Course Rollover pages. 

August

eLearning Team Updates

Five new eLearning Support Assistants (working part time) have been recruited to help triage support calls coming in to eLearning. They will start in September following their induction and training. Students at the University were offered the opportunity to work with the team and the following candidates were successful: Kristina Benedikova, Laura Forero Rincon, Alannah Comerford, Astrid Lucia Offersen and Jack Murray-Bird. Welcome to the team!

MyAberdeen Enhancements

  • Top Navigation Bar Changes in Ultra Courses: The top navigation bar has changed to have text-based links instead of the iconography, improving the accessibility of MyAberdeen. The Student Preview function has also moved from the Details and Actions menu to the new header.
     
  • Media and Attachments for Tests in Original Courses: In Original Courses, Blackboard have expanded the places where files and media can be embedded in Test questions. 
     
  • Advanced Filtering Options in the Gradebook of Ultra Courses: Staff will be able to filter their gradebook view by multiple variables like users, groups, items, and categories. The new approach provides a more dynamic experience where multiple filters can be used on demand. The filters applied can also be bookmarked and accessed later.
     
  • Further detail about the latest update.
July

This month, we say farewell to Phil Whieldon who is retiring and welcome to Megan Buchanan to joins the eLearning team as a Graduate Trainee.

In preparation for the start of term, we have started to list our staff development offerings on the Course Booking System, which include workshops for staff in the School of Biological Sciences as they move over to the Ultra course view on MyAberdeen.

Our popular course “Designing and Tutoring Online Courses” will run also again in August and October.

June

eLearning Team Updates

The eLearning team will be joined by a student Intern Plus from Monday 7th June. This new Inter Plus role will “use the results of the previous project to develop student-focussed online resources in order to enhance the student learning experience.

The foundations of support resources are already available within the University’s Toolkit and on the University web pages, this can be further enhanced from a student perspective. The ultimate aim being to create a Toolkit to support online learning for students.”

May

eLearning Team Updates

This month, we say farewell to eLearning Adviser Florin Nedelea who leaves the team to take up a new post as Faculty Development Officer in CHERI and our two Student Interns Evie Gilbert and Serena Rossi.  We wish them all the very best for the future.

On the 20th May, the eLearning team will be supporting Global Accessibility Awareness Day.  Activities taking place include, workshops, a “fix your content” competition and drop-in sessions.  For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit our GAAD web page.

 

MyAberdeen Enhancements

Original & Ultra Courses - Unread Message Indication (Update due 6th May)

The Messages icon on the base navigation of MyAberdeen now shows an indication of the number of unread messages.  

Screenshot showing messages notification

 

Ultra Courses - Assessment Categories (Update due 6th May)

In the Ultra course view Overall Grade to Date column, staff can now create rules for an Assessment Category.  These rules allow staff to select which grades are included in the Overall Grade to Date Column.  For example, staff may wish to only include the highest two grades out of a total of five assignments (dropping the lowest three).  

 

Screenshot showing calculation rule

 

Ultra & Original Courses - Pinning a Video in Collaborate (Update due 13th May)

Users in Collaborate can now pin a video to remain visible.  Staff may wish to pin a video of a student who has been struggling, while a student may wish to pin the video of a tutor, classmate or sign language interpreter.  Use the ellipsis icon next to a video feed or visit the Attendee’s panel to pin a video.

 

Screenshot showing Collaborate pin video function

For more information visit the Blackboard Help pages or email eLearning@abdn.ac.uk

April

MyAberdeen User Group

A new MyAberdeen User Group MS Teams site has been launched to provide an informal space for staff to share good practice, discuss challenges and opportunities, in the use of the learning and teaching technologies related to MyAberdeen. Join the inaugural meeting on 29 March, at 2.05 pm, to preview some of the enhancements coming in April.

Enhancements to MyAberdeen

Original and Ultra Courses – Staff Names now appear in Title Case and Student Names in UPPER CASE

Staff and Student names in MyAberdeen can be clearly distinguished, making it easier to enrol academic and support colleagues in course areas.

 

On Thursday 22nd April 2021, typically after 17:00 hours, you will notice the following MyAberdeen enhancements appear (there will be no downtime):

Ultra Courses - Conditional Availability by Users or Groups

In the Ultra Course View, along with the ability to apply release conditions of date and performance, staff will now be able to make learning material available to specific users or groups.  This can be accessed by selecting the visibility drop-down menu for an item on the course content page.

Ultra Courses - Assignment with Peer Review For Qualitative Peer Assessment 

Qualitative peer review can now be enabled for an Assignment in the Ultra Course View.  This new functionality will provide staff with opportunities to design assessments that develop students’ critical analysis skills, a deeper understanding of assessment criteria and deeper learning.

Ultra Courses - Rich Text Editor Improvements 

In the Ultra Course View, the Rich Text Editor improvements for this release are related to paragraph format change and allow the creation of more rich and customisable pages. They include clear formatting, text alignment, line height and undo.

 

Soon after the MyAberdeen enhancements on 1 April there will be enhancements to Collaborate on 8 April (there will be no downtime):

Original and Ultra Courses – Collaborate Video Gallery will be available to Moderators – 8 April

The new Video Gallery View will be released gradually, starting with the moderator role on the 8 April, followed by the student role soon after.

More details are available in the Gallery View information document.

March

New Graduate Trainee

eLearning welcomed Craig Stewart to the team, filling a previously vacant position.  Craig has worked in the university for a number of years and will embark upon the two-year Graduate Trainee Programme.  Following his induction, Craig will work towards completing a series of milestones on his way to becoming an eLearning Adviser.

Blackboard Collaborate Enhancements

Sessions that run for very long are automatically disconnected

Sessions can still be scheduled for any length of time including no end date, however if anyone stays in the session for more than 12 hours at a time will result in the session being disconnected. Users can rejoin the session if needed. 

Collaborate Support chatbot available in more places

The Collaborate Support chatbot, released in January, is now also available on some error pages, as well as on the Report an Issue panel.

February

MyAberdeen Enhancements

On Thursday 4 February, typically after 17:00 hours, you will notice the following MyAberdeen Enhancements appear (there will be no downtime):

Ultra Courses – Changes to Blackboard Assignment Grading Panels

When staff go to a Blackboard assignment to grade it, the grading area will become more streamlined, with clear options for grading with a rubric, viewing the Originality report (currently provided by SafeAssign) and providing feedback. This improved navigation will also be visible to students when they go to access their grades and feedback for their assignment. 

Ultra and Original Courses – fixes to the Group Assignment Submission page for students

The Group Assignment Submission page could be confusing to students if they navigated away from it without selecting Cancel, as it implied a submission was in progress. This issue has been fixed.

Blackboard Collaborate Enhancements

Attendees can now get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session using the new Chat Support feature. You can find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel. 

January

Student Intern

Serena Rossi, our new Intern Plus student, starts her new role from Monday 18 January. Serena will be involved in a joint eLearning/SLS project to enhance students' blended learning experience.

Start of Term

Course Readiness Checklist had been developed for those staff that may find this useful.  There is no requirement for staff to use it but it is there for those who might find it useful as a quick check before the start of term to identify if any areas may have been overlooked.  

Making Courses Available in MyAberdeen

Course coordinators - please remember to make your course available to students, otherwise students will not be able to access it.  More information about making courses available can be found in the support pages on making courses available.

Remember: You do not need to have all the information updated before making it available to students, as you can hide materials that have not yet been updated.

As a minimum, we recommend having an updated course guide in your course and having a welcome video / text and sending an announcement, once you have made it available, welcoming the students and giving them an outline of what to expect next week, when the course starts.

Keeping Students Informed and Engaged

We recommend making weekly announcements in your courses, providing students with an outline of the activities for the week ahead and your expectations. It is important to make things explicit and ensure your students are kept regularly informed – this helps to prevent students getting anxious.

Check out the video tutorials on how to create an announcement in Original | Ultra.

Staff Course Enrolments

Course Coordinators – if you are enrolling staff that will be teaching on your courses in MyAberdeen please search for staff using their username.  This ensures the correct accounts are added to the course.  Check out our guides on how to add staff to Ultra | Original courses.

Blackboard Collaborate – Current and Future Enhancements

Blackboard Collaborate was updated on the 10 December to include Chat mentions and formatting. These enhancements help attendees to engage socially and collaboratively through the chat. In February 2021 a select group of institutions will be piloting their new Video Gallery functionality, which will then be rolled out across all institutions.  Further information on this will follow later this year.

Upcoming Blackboard Learn Webinars

Blackboard are offering a number of webinars to support you using MyAberdeen, which is delivered by Blackboard Learn. Please do visit their ‘Webinar Series’ website to sign up for some of their sessions if you need to enhance your online skills.

eLearning Online Sessions and Support

eLearning (Centre for Academic Development) continue to offer online sessions on Panopto and Collaborate. Contact cad@abdn.ac.uk or sign up via the course booking system. If you need support with MyAberdeen or with the design and delivery of your course please email eLearning@abdn.ac.uk.