Over the summer, we have delivered training to a large number of academics, across multiple disciplines and institutions. One consistent theme has arisen; the use of groupwork for the coming year appears to be far more commonplace than it has been previously.
We have actively been doing product discovery, to identify how we can improve the groupwork facilitation using Talis Elevate. Throughout this process, we’ve found that one of the issues has historically been surrounding email notifications, as students could get notified of discussion taking place in resources they’d not interacted with (e.g. another group's resource). This has limited the amount of groupwork activity that can take place without additional work.
We know this term will be challenging for those teaching, and we want to ensure Talis Elevate isn’t adding to that complexity wherever possible, so we’re making a system change to some of the logic that exists within our notification system.
What’s the change?
Currently, email notifications are set to ‘normal’, a level that means students and staff will be notified of any annotations made on any resource on a module. This results in a large number of emails being sent on active modules.
We will be reducing this default ‘volume’ to ‘quiet’. This means that students and staff will by default only get notifications related to replies to comments the academic/student has initiated.
What does this mean for groupwork?
By making this change, this means students won’t get notified about activity taking place in other group's resources. Academics can all upload resources to the same Talis Elevate module, and share the relevant resource to their relevant group using their current mechanism for sharing content. This also means that for those uploading resources using the LTI integration in their VLE, you can do this without issue into the specific groups area (if your VLE allows this). All the resources will live in the same ‘module’ and the data will be accessible by all staff who have uploaded resources to that module.
Other things to note
Whilst we are changing the default setting, please note the following
- If a student or staff member has manually changed their notification settings previously, this change will not affect them. Their updated settings will be maintained.
- Students and staff will be able to change their notifications after this has been completed.
- This change does not impact the access to resources in any way. Students will still be able to navigate to other ‘group resources’ via the VLE if you do not restrict access within the VLE itself.
- We have previously communicated guidance on group work facilitation that involves creation of Talis Elevate modules for each group. This will no longer be needed. If this has been done already, resources can be re-added to the single module without re-upload, using the ‘search’ tool within the Talis Elevate uploader, allowing you to ‘reuse’ content. We have updated our guidance to reflect this, which can be found here
- This will mean less emails for your academics too. We are confident that won’t be seen as a bad thing. :-)
This is great! But what ideas do you have on delivering groupwork to my students?
We've written a user guide here with some ideas around groupwork facilitation using Talis Elevate. We have listed the options and limitations on each of these, and included some approaches that you may wish to take around group activity too.
As ever, if you have any comments, thoughts, or feedback, we'd love to hear this.