Learning Technology

Microsoft Teams Meetings 2: recording a meeting

August 10th, 2019

Here’s how to record your meeting in a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Once you’re in the meeting (I’ve blurred my background here: see Blurring your background for how to do this) mouse over the image to bring up the menu bar.

Teams Menu Bar

Click the three dots for More actions.

You can then click Start recording

Don’t forget to tell other attendees that they are being recorded.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Start Recording

When you need to stop recording – it’s on the same menu.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Stop Recording

You can find your recording in Stream.

Microsoft Teams Meetings 1: blurring your background

August 3rd, 2019

Many of us at the University work in open plan offices, but we still have cause to use Microsoft Teams Meetings for a live online meeting with colleagues.

To prevent colleagues being visible to the other attendees via your webcam, or to obscure confidential or irrelevant material in your physical environment, it’s possible to blur your background in the call. This background blur is able to blur your surroundings while leaving you yourself clear and visible.

To activate Background Blur during meetings

When you go into the meeting, select the setting for Blur My Background as in the image below

Teams Meeting How To Blur

This results in your background being blurred as illustrated below:

It isn’t perfect (I notice some of my hair has disappeared into the blur!) but it can very much reduce background distractions. It can be particularly useful if you’re joining a call from a public place or home.

Annual Teaching and Learning conference #1 (Nottingham)

July 26th, 2019

Friday May 3rd 2019 saw colleagues from across the University come together for the annual Teaching and Learning conference on the theme of universal design. This yearly event is a great opportunity for the University community to share best practice and network with colleagues. This year over 250 attendees filled the large lecture theatre in the new (yet to be named) state-of-the-art and award-winning Teaching and Learning Building (see Endnote), making time to reflect about their teaching practice and future opportunities and challenges.

Welcoming participants, Professor Sarah O’Hara, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, invited participants to embrace the opportunity to share best practice and explore how the University teaching and learning agenda can be developed and moved forward. Sarah encouraged us to use the day to reflect, share and improve our practice and push the boundaries, with a view to ensuring that our students have the skills, resilience and creativity that they will need to succeed in their future lives.

Professor Sarah Speight, University Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning announced the formation of the Education Excellence Team, merging the Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement Teams. A new web site, where you can learn more about the team’s activities, has recently been launched.

Fiona McCulloughDr Tina Byrom and Dr Fiona McCullough gave an update about improvements to the Teaching and Learning Observation College. Dr McCullough showed a video of academic staff talking about changes to the Observation College. The initiative encourages teaching staff to enter into dialogue with colleagues. ‘Gradations of formality’ have been introduced so that observations can, if preferred, be carried out on a completely informal basis. An online service will be introduced in the next academic year that will bring together observers and observees, making it easier for colleagues to support one another. The service will send automated reminders that will prompt participants to reflect on previous observation sessions.

Did you attend the Teaching and Learning Conference? Did you attend a session that we have not talked about here? We would love to hear your feedback.


The new Teaching and Learning building includes:

  • a 306-seat lecture theatre with triple projection and a Windows Surface Hub (A03)
  • 16 classrooms with Windows Surface Hubs
  • a 50-seat computer lab equipped with Engineering-specification software (C17)
  • multiple individual and group study spaces (bookable by students)
  • an interactive seminar room with presenting screens (D08)
  • a learning lab with group-study Windows Surface Hubs (D02)
  • a state-of-the-art performance studio (B02)

A full list of rooms in the Teaching and Learning Building and the available technology may be found in the Teaching room equipment guide.


Moodle 3.6 Upgrade: New Module Overview

July 26th, 2019

Now that we’ve upgraded to Moodle 3.6 (July 2019) the main change you will see is in your Module Overview. This gives you a more visual tiled view of the modules you are enrolled on, and can be sorted, filtered and displayed in various ways.

module overview

There’s a Recently Accessed block, and a Timeline block for seeing deadlines.  And you can “star” or favourite modules you wish to return to most often as well as Hide from your own view those you don’t want to see.

For more information:

Because users now see a signature module image on their Dashboard when enrolled in a module, you may wish to provide an image for your own module (the default is a monochrome pattern).

To create and upload your own module image see: How to add a module overview image

Moodle 3.6 upgrade – troubleshooting

July 25th, 2019

Some users with the Chrome browser have experienced display issues with Moodle since the upgrade. We recommend clearing your cache and cookies and this should solve the problem.

Some of the issues reported have been

  • Unable to click some links
  • Icons not appearing, or wrong icons appearing
  • Text and links jumbled up
  • Turnitin submit window too small

If you experience these or any other display issues while using Chrome, please try clearing your cache as follows:

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More (or the three dots) .
  3. Click Settings
  4. Scroll down and click Advanced
  5. Under Privacy and Security click the arrow next to Clear browsing data
  6. Next to “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files,” check the boxes.
  7. Click Clear data.
  8. Log out of Moodle, close the browser and reopen and login again

Other browsers

If you have issues with any other browsers you can find out more about clearing your cache at Refresh Your Cache

If you have any display or formatting issues that aren’t cleared in this way, please get in touch with learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk

Rogō upgrade Monday 15 July

July 11th, 2019

There will be an update to Rogō on Monday 15th July between 9am and midday UK time (4pm – 7pm CN/MY time). Rogō will be unavailable during this time.

The Rogo update will include the following new features:

Rogo logo

  • ability to add 3D images in questions
  • warning for students answering linked calculation questions who haven’t completed the first part
  • clearer and more informative messages around the ‘fail to save scenario’ (when there are network issues)
  • better management for moving students during a summative exam, should that be necessary
  • visibility of first and second marker comments when the marks in Text box questions are being finalised
  • improved linking to Moodle (increased security)

Moodle Upgrade 24 July 2019

June 28th, 2019

Moodle will be upgraded to version 3.6 on Wednesday 24th July.  Moodle will be unavailable for one full day (10 am to 6.30 pm UK, 5 pm – 1.30 am CN/MY).

There are mostly small improvements in Moodle 3.6: the biggest change you will see is to your Dashboard.

The new Course Overview block gives you a more visual tiled view of the modules you are enrolled on.

To help you find and navigate to the modules you use most often there’s a Recently Accessed block.  And you can “star” or favourite modules you wish to return to most often as well as Hide from your own view those you don’t want to see. (Note: this does not hide them from other people’s view, including students, just your own)

By default the module display shows All (everything except Hidden), but you can choose to show just those In progress, Starred or Hidden, or Past or Future.  You can sort by Course name or Last Accessed.  You can display the cards, visually, or have the choice of  a list or summary view.


Other new features (mainly minor) include:

  • bug fixes in Turnitin
  • group messaging
  • easier navigation in Moodle Assignment for markers
  • easier copying of items
  • images are displayed in forum notification emails
  • improvements to Quizzes

Five minutes with… the Faculty and School Support Learning Technology Consultants

May 23rd, 2019

The Faculty and School Support team are a front line team of Learning Technology consultants who work closely with academic colleagues and students to help embed the use of digital learning tools and online pedagogy across the university. They are part of the Learning Technology Section in University of Nottingham Libraries.

What 3 words describe our team?


And a few more: Dynamic, Tenacious, Professional, Motivated, Fun

Tell us something about the Team

  • One member holds an award in wines and spirits
  • Three of us are horse riders
  • A couple of us enjoy dancing of various kinds…
  • We can sometimes be seen boating on the lake or trying out local food establishments
  • We are supportive of each other and value each others’ areas of special expertise

What excites you about learning technology?

  • The people I meet
  • Every day is different, bringing a new challenge…
  • … And there’s always something new to learn
  • The potential to transform students’ lives via their experience of learning

Tell us about a project you’re currently doing

  • Helping set up a new Medical School in Lincoln
  • Working with Microsoft to identify how best to use Office 365 and Teams in teaching and learning
  • Helping a module convenor with reflective video submissions
  • Supporting dissemination of the good practice presented at our recent teaching and learning conference
  • Developing an initiative to develop students’ digital capabilities
  • Supporting a project to develop a learning design protocol uniquely suited to the University

Your top tip(s) for our users?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask us a question! Just framing the question can inspire the answer
  • Everyone here has a strong suite of tools available to us – utilise the correct tool for the job, and if unsure talk to the team
  • Technology doesn’t always work perfectly first time but please persist – and we are here to help
  • Make use of the extensive Moodle Help resources

What do you think will be the most important thing in learning technology in the next few years?

  • Online marking and Artificial Intelligence
  • Moving services to the cloud
  • Rise of personalised and tailored learning based on big data
  • Convergence of technologies for learning, life and work

What have you learned recently and how?

  • I learned a lot more about student diversity during an online course I ran for staff across our three global campuses
  • I learned a lot about the way our Malaysian colleagues work, getting inspiration and ideas, during a recent trip.
  • I’ve learned from experience that steaming wallpaper off a ceiling is far worse than steaming it off a wall
  • Via a DSE learning package I learned that sitting at your desk for too long is dangerous to your health – I’ll be circulating advice.

Top tips to make your learning materials more accessible #1

May 17th, 2019

With new digital accessibility regulations now in force since September 2018, HE institutions are required to be proactive in providing fully accessible websites – which includes VLEs such as Moodle. This provides a real opportunity to review and improve learning materials  for students and others. New websites must be compliant by 23 Sep 2019 and existing websites by 23 Sep 2020. So now is a good time to start making sure that any materials uploaded to Moodle are compliant.

Here are some recommendations for creation of documents (many of which apply to text and Pages in Moodle as well):


  • Use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial,  Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Calibri
  • Ensure font size is at least 12 point (in Moodle use default paragraph text rather than imposing a size)
  • Use dark coloured text on a light (not bright white) background. Make sure the contrast ratio is sufficient (our Moodle format design is created to be as accessible as possible, so the default will be compliant). To check contrast, try printing in black and white.


  • Avoid using colours for meaning – especially red/green combinations – as some people can’t see colour
  • Avoid using text over images (or provide an alternative way of accessing that text)

For headings:


  • Use larger font size in bold, lower case.
  • Borders can be used – but avoid text boxes.
  • Use a meaningful title
  • Use the styles in Word to create a structure – similarly in Moodle use the headings under the i icon


  • Don’t use underlining and italics: these tend to make the text appear to run together. Use bold instead. (Underlining on a web page implies a link – don’t use it unless that actually is the case.)
  • AVOID TEXT IN BLOCK CAPITALS: this is much harder to read.

For layout:


  • Use left-justified with ragged right edge. (Again, Moodle’s defaults are good practice.)
  • Lines should not be too long: 60 to 70 characters.
  • Line spacing of 1.5 is preferable.
  • Use bullet points and numbering rather than continuous prose.
  • Use page numbers and create bulleted or numbered lists using the Office menu button and built-in styles not just symbols and spaces.


  • Avoid narrow columns (as used in newspapers, and not allowed in Moodle).
  • Avoid cramping material and using long, dense paragraphs: space it out.
  • Avoid starting a sentence at the end of a line.

Writing Style


  • Use short, simple sentences in a direct style.
  • Give instructions clearly. Avoid long sentences of explanation.
  • Use active rather than passive voice.
  • Be concise.


  • Avoid double negatives.



  • Pictograms and graphics can help to locate and enhance information – make sure you give an overview in the text of the visual elements that you want students to gain from an image so that no one misses out.
    Here is an example:
    Graphic Accessibility Example
  • Use alt text to describe an image if needed
  • Lists of ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ are more useful than continuous text to highlight aspects of good practice.
  • For long documents include a contents page at the beginning and an index at end.
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks not ‘click here’


  • Avoid abbreviations if possible or provide a glossary of abbreviations and jargon.
Check your documents
Use the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker to find and fix the elements within your document that are not accessible. This can be found under File > Check for Issues

More information

Show, Hide or Stealth Activities – Moodle for Spies!

May 10th, 2019

Every item, resource, activity or section in Moodle can be:

  • Visible to students (Show)  or
  • Hidden from students (Hide)

Now there’s a third option: what I like to think of as “stealth activities”! This shows up in the settings for staff as:

“Available but not shown on course page”

An item like this is not visible to students where it is actually sited on the page but it CAN be linked to from elsewhere.

For example, you could have text or a graphic in a label that links to that resource (which now becomes a “stealth resource”), or you could link to it from a Book.

If an item is set to “Show”

If an item is set to “Hide”

With editing on,
how editing teachers see the item and options   (Options “Show and “Make available” are possible)

With editing off how editing teachers see the item (greyed out and a purple notice)

Students see nothing at all.

If an item is set to “Make available”

With editing on,
how editing teachers see the item and options   (Options “Show and “Make unavailable” i.e. Hide  are possible)

In this example the Blank Moodle course planning document is linked from the text “Course planning document” in the label above it.

With editing off how editing teachers see the item (with a purple notice).

Students do not see the item itself.

However the link in the label is still available and will work if students click it.

If you put in a link to a Hidden item then the link won’t work for students.

They get an error message.

You can also restrict access by date, by membership of a particular group, or by a field in their user profile. If it’s hidden it can be completely hidden, or it can be partially hidden: students can see it’s there but not access it. You can even make access to an item conditional on having completed something else: more on that on our next blog post where we’ll use it to add an acknowledgement of a plagiarism statement before students see the submission dropbox.