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E-Learning Newsletter March 2021

31 March 2021 Posted in: News Tagged: , , , By: Technology Enhanced Learning Team

New Home: The ELU is now in IT Services!

On 17 March 2021, following a period of consultation, the E-Learning Unit moved from Student and Academic Services to its new home in IT Services.  Physically and virtually, even when we are all back on campus full-time, you will continue to find us in the same place: Scape East and at Organisationally, you will now “find us” with the rest of Solution Development (led by Richard Young) working alongside the developers, analysts and other teams who support Queen Mary’s learning applications and other systems.

Please note that our remit remains the same and we will continue to provide advice, support and training for anyone using technology for teaching, learning and assessment.   We are excited about getting to know our new colleagues, forming closer working relationships with other ITS teams and welcoming you to our new home!


QMplus – April Release

On Tuesday, 20th April 2021, between 9pm and 11pm, we will be making some updates to QMplus to improve functionality. QMplus will experience some unavoidable disruption during this time but we will keep disruption to a minimum. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. To find out more about what is included in this update, please take a look at our QMplus April Release page.


Blackboard Collaborate – Gallery view (coming soon!)

From the 8th of April, it will be possible to view your Blackboard Collaborate attendees in a gallery view, meaning you can view up to 25 students at a time in your virtual classroom sessions. This development helps align the Blackboard Collaborate service to what is currently possible in Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

To find out more about this and about other improvements, please read the release notes here.


Online Exams Project – New vendor chosen

The Online Exams Project (OEP) has recently completed a tendering process to provide a university-wide online exams solution and has selected a product called Practique.

The Practique platform, offered by Fry-IT, impressed the selection panel, scoring highly in areas such as question banking, security, marking and feedback. With experience in the sector, Fry-IT were able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the examination and assessment environment of Higher Education, and we have already begun working towards pilots later this year and a more extensive rollout in 2022. We will put out a call for interested parties shortly, so please look out for further information in upcoming newsletters.


NEW Feature! – The Content Creation Tool

Do you find the process of configuring multiple QMplus activities repetitive or that you’re unsure of what settings to select…? The Content Creation Tool can help! This new development enables users to select pre-configured activities and resources from templates, allowing you to pick one or several from a list and pop them directly into your QMplus course area. In time, we will develop exemplars to inspire you to use resources differently or simply to save you the leg work in setting up features which are more time intensive to create. Find out more in this video guide.


Face-to-face teaching? Call for participants for research into online synchronous teaching

Following the dramatic increase in teaching and learning online, Shoshi Ish-Horowicz in the ELU is investigating students’ and teachers’ experiences of using cameras (or not!) in webinars.

If you are interested in participating in this research project please email Participation will involve a 1:2:1 interview using Blackboard Collaborate to discuss your experiences of camera use in synchronous online teaching.


Q-Review live streaming as a Hyflex teaching approach

As we prepare to welcome more students onto campus, discussions around effective solutions for hybrid teaching are gathering pace.

In this case study, Michael Parkes, a Learning Technologist for the Wolfson Institute, talks of his experience trialing Q-Review live streaming as a ‘hyflex’ teaching approach for their student enrichment sessions, with students attending in person and online.


Staff development opportunities in April

Please register via the CPD website for any of the courses below:  

Analytics on student engagement:

  • Thursday 15 April, 11-12noon

Advanced QMplus quizzes

  • Monday 26th of April, 3-4pm

We also have a number of self-directed training areas online, for staff to proceed through at their own pace:


Drop-in Sessions and Book a Learning Technologist

Drop-in sessions are online every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1-2pm. There’s no need to tell us you’re coming; just drop-in via the Blackboard Collaborate webinar link on our E-Learning Online Support area on QMplus.

Should your inquiry require more discussion, please access the BALT QMplus page to book a session of up to an hour to discuss your e-learning ideas and issues with one of our learning technologists.


What are you asking the Helpdesk?

The top queries in March were related to: adding captions to videos, plus providing access to Blackboard Collaborate sessions & their recordings…  Read more in our common support questions article.

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