Education IT digest - Hilary term 2022

IT projects continue delivering innovative uses of IT in teaching, learning and student administration. This term's digest focuses on Student Systems and Digital Education projects including the launch of an accessible content tool in Canvas, and a new system for coursework submission.

WebLearn decommissioning update

Use of WebLearn will wind down between now and July 2022, at which point usage of WebLearn will be severely restricted for general use and only very specific uses will continue. We plan to effectively end the service at the beginning of 2023.

If you are currently using WebLearn for any on-going activities, you must move this activity to an alternative platform by July 2022.

Inclusive Teaching Enhancements project

The Inclusive Teaching Enhancements project aims to provide the tools in Canvas that will support the aspiration of making inclusive teaching the default practice at Oxford. The latest project deliverable will be Blackboard Ally, an accessible content tool that will be deployed in Canvas and which will allow students to access a range of alternative formats immediately without the need for intervention by staff. Increased use of Blackboard Ally by staff will also help with creating more accessible learning materials from the start, gradually reducing the need to make individual adjustments.

The project will complete its activities in June 2022. More information is available on the Inclusive Teaching Enhancements Project page.

Coursework submissions in Inspera

Since Michaelmas term 2021, staff have been using Inspera to manage coursework submissions. This extends the use of Inspera, which was already in use for online exams.

SharePoint Online Examining sites, which replace Weblearn, have also been created to provide areas for departments in which marking exam board activities and paper setting can be completed in a secure environment. Early life support and knowledge transfer to the Student Systems Support Centre will take place shortly.

TMS

TMS, the new Teaching Management System that replaces OxCORT for undergraduate teaching, has been in use by colleges and departments since the beginning of Michaelmas term 2021. The TMS Project is now finished and has handed over business-as-usual support to the Student Systems Support Centre (SSSC).

A number of departments are already using the student sign up feature for Department Teaching Events in TMS. If you are interested in using this feature in future terms, please see the TMS website for more information.

For further information you can find out more about TMS and login to the system, or contact the Student Systems Support Centre (SSSC).

Digital Award Documentation

This project will be delivering a new, online system for providing degree certificates, transcripts and verification of degrees. During lockdown, production of certificates and transcripts was put on hiatus and an interim solution was deployed to issue Degree Confirmation Letters electronically. This approach will be scaled up to deliver certificate printing, verification, and electronic transcripts, and will be available later in 2022.

HESA Data Futures

This project, which is managing the changes to student data submission required of the University, has now been reconfirmed by HESA, the Higher Education Statistics Agency. HESA have been redesigning the way that student data is collected, moving from retrospective annual data collection, to in-year data collection and, assurance. This will lead to HESA being able to supply more timely data to support decision-making, but is a substantial change to the way that student data is returned.

We are currently identifying what work is needed to meet these new requirements, so we can be ready for the first HESA Data Futures return in October 2023.