It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to preparing our units for the next academic year. As you think about populating your units (with the good intention of making an early start and not leaving it too late in the day!) here are five key takeaways to help get you started.
1. Check your unit access
All the new curricular units for 2021/22 are now available to staff on Brightspace. If your unit is missing, it might just be that you haven’t been added as teaching team on the unit yet. Unit Leads are responsible for adding staff to units, so check with your Unit Lead. But if they’re not available (or for any other reason that you don’t have visibility of the units you expect to see) contact the IT Service Desk on 01202 965515 or raise a ticket online.
Click on the green Record with Panopto button to create a Panopto folder on your unit. Any recorded Zoom sessions scheduled from the unit will then sit in this folder. And as permissions are linked to the unit classlist, any students with access to the unit will have access to any recordings you embed by default (so no need to share any links or update any sharing permissions). Clicking on this button needs to be done once per member of the teaching team.
3. Populate the default template areas and say Hello!
As a minimum, it’s good practice to populate the Unit Information & Organisation content areas. Units will be visible to students from one week prior to the start of Semester 1 (for the majority of programmes this will be 13 September). This will reassure students that they have access to everything they need to begin the year. Don’t forget to unhide your content as you populate it, and to add a Welcome or holding announcement for students.
4. Hide your content
You may not have everything on your unit in place by 13 September, but remember that whilst you continue to build your unit you can add your learning materials but keep them hidden from student view. You can then make them available when you’re ready, or you could add a date release condition to them so they become visible automatically.
5. Make use of the Digital Pedagogies Framework checklist
The Digital Pedagogies Framework has been devised to provide structured guidance for staff when building and delivering their units. To help with its application, make use of the accompanying Checklist. The checklist makes it easy to work through each section of your unit, making sure you’re covering all the bases, and will help you keep tabs on your progress by ticking off as you go. And if you see any tools that you haven’t tried yet and are interested in exploring, you can follow the links off to the online guidance.
Further guidance and support
At the top of the Brightspace Staff Resources page (found under Help in the nav bar of any unit on Brightspace) you’ll find a link to Unit Preparation Guidance 2021/22. You’ll find everything you need here to get you started on preparing your units for the new academic year. And if you need any further help, you can always talk to your Faculty Learning Technologist.