There are many resources available to help you learn online, even if you have never done so before. Please see below some of the tools and apps that you may encounter now that teaching has been switched to online as a mitigation for COVID-19.
Teaching will continue away from campus online through our virtual learning environment, MyAberdeen. Many of you will already be using MyAberdeen to find learning materials and resources associated with your courses. You’ll also know that it’s here where you will be notified of any announcements about your courses or the University.
What might differ is instead of attending classes on campus your lecturer may choose to prerecord some material or they may have a “live” class where you can join a meeting room and take part in the lecture just like in class but from home. There are lots of different ways that your tutors will be able to interact with you through this time.
- What does online learning look like?
MyAberdeen is also available as an app, called the Blackboard app. It allows you to access course essentials on smartphone and mobile devices.
Here’s a guide to the Blackboard app, explaining its main features.
If you would like to take a more detailed tour of MyAberdeen and the type of learning activities available in course areas, there is a taster course on Blackboard Course Sites. New users must create an account to access the taster course area.
The taster site has the following content designed to showcase the most popular methods of teaching and learning online:
- Introduction – a sample introductory video;
- Unit 1: Video content and sample assessment - experience a common teaching tool (video) and assessment tool (multiple choice quiz) while learning about wartime in Aberdeen;
- Unit 2: Written lecture and sample assessment - get accustomed to digital lectures while reading about the basic characteristics and functions of a cell;
- Unit 3: Discussion board – share your opinion on the benefits of online learning in the pursuit of equality of opportunity while also using a discussion board;
- Unit 4: Podcast assessment - familiarise yourself with this popular digital tool while you listen to a debate on the future of electric cars and renewables. You'll also listen to a bonus podcast about mindfulness.
- Introduction – a sample introductory video;
- Collaborative teaching and learning
Your course tutor may choose to use the Collaborate Ultra tool in your course area. Collaborate Ultra is the web conferencing tool built in to MyAberdeen.
Course tutors may use this tool to stream live or recorded lectures. They might also use the Collaborate classroom to host online tutorials, meetings, presentations or group working.
There are options in this space for audio, video, text chat, whiteboard, sharing desktop, upload files, polls and breakout rooms.
If you have not used Collaborate Ultra before, you may want to familiarise yourself with the tool by viewing this Toolkit video.
This Blackboard page provides more detailed information on participating and even presenting in Collaborate sessions, if that is required by your tutor.
All course-related teaching and communication should take place in the MyAberdeen environment, but in rare circumstances, your tutor may wish to communicate or collaborate with you via other tools such as Skype or Microsoft Teams or OneNote.
As a registered student, you can download and install a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 on up to five devices.
- Panopto - lecture and presentation recording
Tutors may use the lecture capture software Panopto to record lectures remotely.
As a student, you can also use Panopto to record presentations if required by your tutor.
If you are required to record any presentations, you will receive guidance from your lecturer.
Naturally, the nature and types of assessments will differ online. Your tutors may employ the following methods of assessment:
- Submission of written assessments using the Blackboard assignment tool or the Turnitin assignment tool available in MyAberdeen
- Short answer or multiple-choice quizzes
- Collaboration and group discussions may be assessed using discussion forums or the web-conferencing tool Collaborate available within course areas in MyAberdeen
- Group assignments
- Presentations – as described above, you can record and share your presentation using Panopto, in real-time via Collaborate, or by using the audio-recording function in PowerPoint.
- Reflective exercises and assessments (such as journals, portfolios, discussion forums).
There is a specific user group for online students featuring apps and resources that are particularly useful for students studying online. It can be accessed here.
- OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business is an integral part of Microsoft Office 365 and provides cloud-based file storage for your course-related files. You can save, edit, share, and sync your files from any device with an internet connection and collaborate on documents with other students and staff.
If you have saved essential course-related files to your H drive, and want or need to work on these off campus, you can copy them from your H Drive to OneDrive for Business. See our Toolkit guide Copying files from H Drive to OneDrive for Business.
- Productivity and time management
Learning from home on your own may provide some challenges around motivation, engagement and time management. Luckily, there are a number of productivity tools available to help you.
If you’re having to study at home instead of on campus, Noisli may be a useful tool.