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Using the Minerva module template and top tips for building modules - Staff Guide

The updated 2024/25 template has been designed to improve consistency within module areas across the institution. Changes have been made to the template to assist staff when populating modules, including universal descriptions and text. These amendments reduce the need to create material from scratch where possible.

As part of the Curriculum Redefined Build Phase, use of some template items is now compulsory for all 2024/25 modules – including those which have been developed through Curriculum Redefined and those which have not – in order to directly address student concerns about lack of consistency, and to provide clarity to staff about the information required at a minimum within Minerva modules.

Guidance on how to use the template when building and structuring your modules is provided below, including information about which elements are now required to be used and/or made available to students, and tips to help you get the most out of Minerva. Local Digital Education Enhancement Teams are also available to provide help and advice to individuals and work with programme teams/schools. Contact them directly for support, and watch out for local and centralised training opportunities and information.

If you are new to Minerva, we strongly recommend you review the Getting Started with Minerva Modules guide before building your module.

In this guide:

Required actions

As part of the Curriculum Redefined Build Phase, the following aspects of the template are required to be used and/or completed for all 2024/25 modules (including those which have been developed through Curriculum Redefined and those which have not) :

  • Module teaching staff contact details
  • School support information, including contact details
  • Module accessibility statement
  • Information about how to provide module feedback
  • Module reading list created using the Leeds Reading List tool (where appropriate)
  • Link to Lecture Capture recordings (where appropriate)
  • All summative assessment added to the default ‘Assessment and Feedback’ folder
  • Assessment overview

In addition, staff are required to:

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Personalise your module

Add a profile picture - Required

Add a profile picture which will display in Minerva Discussions, Journals, Messages, the module staff list, and the list of module enrolments page. This adds a personal touch and makes it easier for students to identify you. Profile pictures can also make the module more visually engaging, and in areas like Discussions help to build a sense of community. You only need to do this once and your picture will appear in all of your Minerva modules.

Read our guide on how to add a profile picture for more information.

Screenshot showing upload tool for a profile picture

Add a module image

Module images display at the top of the Module Content page. The image will also display as a module card thumbnail on the Modules page.

  • Images must be at least 1200 x 240 pixels.
  • Don’t put text in the image as it needs to be suitable for different types of devices e.g. mobile phone.

See our guide on how to create a module card thumbnail and banner image for step-by-step guidance.

Add a welcome video using Announcements

Consider adding a welcome video using Announcements. A welcome message can humanise the online experience and can help you build a rapport with students. With Announcements, you can post a text message and/or include a short audio/video recording.

Read our guide on Announcements and our guide on adding recordings to Minerva to find out how to add a message/recording. Contact your Digital Education Enhancement Team for support/local guidance.

How to add content to the template

Read about the items added to your module automatically and how to use them to add content.

Module Information and Help - Required

The learning module (container for content) 'Module Information and Help' contains links and content items (placeholders) for key information, to help students start your module confidently and successfully. In order to maintain a consistent experience for students, ensuring they can find content easily, don't change the name of the learning module or placeholders within it.

Click on 'Module Information and Help' to open it and view/edit each placeholder. Most items will need editing and making available to students. To do this:

  1. Click on a placeholder to open it and add/edit content. Use the three dots icon … to edit content or use the + icon to add content. Select Add Content to add text or links. See our guide on how to edit a Minerva document for full step by step guidance if you need more assistance.
  2. Change ‘Hidden from students’ to ‘Visible to students’ when you have finished 

ItemTo do Why?
Minerva Support WebsiteNo work is required - leave the link unchanged.This link is for students, to help them with using Minerva.
Module Teaching StaffList key teaching staff here. Include name, email address (or other preferred contact method) and office hours.Provides students with contact details for teaching staff, helping with orientation.
Module Structure (optional)Describe the structure of the module here and how it will be delivered. List any computer/software requirements as relevant.Gives students the knowledge required to prepare successfully for the module.
Student Support DetailsA link to the Student Information Service is provided by default. Add additional details as required e.g. School support information.Provides students with contact details so they can get help.
Module Accessibility StatementLet students know of any materials in your module which may not be accessible. You'll find guidance on creating a module accessibility statement on the Digital Accessibility website.All reasonable efforts should be made to ensure module content is fully accessible. Being digitally accessible means removing barriers that can hinder and exclude people with disabilities. Just like other public sector bodies, the University has needed to meet specific accessibility regulations since 2018. If students are aware that module materials are not fully accessible in advance, they can seek help and the University can support them better.
How to give Module FeedbackAdd details of course reps if possible.Informs students about the mechanisms available to provide feedback.

 

Reading List - Required

This is a link to the Leeds Reading List tool. The link should not be deleted or renamed and should only be hidden from students for modules that do not require reading lists e.g. dissertation modules.

To do: Use the Reading List tool for your module's reading list

Why?: It is important that staff use the institutional reading list tool so the Library can ensure that books and journal articles are available, and in appropriate numbers, for use by students, and so that digitised versions of reading list items can be provided by the Online Course Readings Service.

How: Click on the link to open the Leeds Reading List tool. Read the Library reading list guidance if you need assistance.

Mediasite (Lecture Capture) - Required

Automated lecture captures and other Mediasite recordings made available to your module will be available here automatically. The link should not be deleted or renamed and should only be hidden from students for modules that do not provide lecture capture recordings e.g. fully online modules.

For most modules, no further action is required. If you use a Minerva merged module, lecture capture will not be automatically linked to your merged module. Please see the guide on linking lecture capture to modules manually for information on how to do this (you will need to be logged in to view the page).

If you wish, you can also add links to individual recordings anywhere in the module e.g. within each week/unit learning module.

See our guide on Module Lecture Capture in Minerva for more help.

Assessment and Feedback - Required

The folder 'Assessment and Feedback' contains links and content items (placeholders). Don’t change the name/description of the folder, links or placeholders to maintain the consistent experience of Minerva for students. The folder should remain near the top of each module. When designing assessment, staff should follow the guidance set out by the Assessment Design Framework, including use of assessment briefs and templates. Find out more on the Assessment Matters SharePoint site.

Click on 'Assessment and Feedback' to open it (and then 'Submit My Work' as relevant). To add content:

  1. To edit 'Assessment Overview', click on it to open it. Use the + icon to add content. Select Add Content to add text or links. See our guide on how to edit a Minerva document for full step by step guidance if you need more assistance. Change ‘Hidden from students’ to ‘Visible to students’ when you have finished
  2. To add submission points to 'Submit My Work', click on it to open it. Below the default content on support, add submission points using the +icon. Read assessment guides for more information.
ItemTo DoWhy?
Assessment OverviewIn this document you should include an overview of how the module will be assessed. This should include a link to the code of practice on assessment.Prepare students for assessment at the beginning of the module so they have a broad understanding of what is expected.
Academic Integrity Support (2024/25)No work is required - leave the link and content unchanged. This item must remain in the module to ensure students are aware of Academic Integrity at the point of submission.
Submit My WorkCreate all summative submission points (e.g. Turnitin assignments) in the Submit My Work folder.

For large modules with different markers, conditional availability can be used to restrict visibility by groups, making it easier for students to locate the relevant inbox. Alternatively, you can create further structure by creating additional Submit My Work folders by copying the existing Submit My Work folder. Then rename the Submit My Work folders as required. Copy the entire Submit My Work folder so essential information about support available is included.
Help students quickly find submission points.
Technical Support - IT Service Desk (2024/25)No work is required - leave the link unchanged. Provides students with contact details for support with any technical issues submitting work.
Assessment Submission Support (2024/25)This links to student support on how to use supported assessment tools e.g. Turnitin. It can be made available to students ALONGSIDE school-specific information OR instead of school-specific information.

Make the Assessment Submission Support item available and/or add school specific guidance using the + icon.
Provides students with support and help relating to assessment submission.

Learning Resources: [Change to Week/Unit # as appropriate]

Learning Resources: [Change to Week/Unit # as appropriate]

As part of the template, three weekly/unit learning modules have been added for you to start to develop your key learning resources e.g. lecture slides. It is strongly recommended that module content be divided into weekly or unit-based chunks. Teaching content should be made available to students at least 48 hours before lectures/tutorials.

Add as many weekly/unit learning modules as you require, keeping to a consistent naming convention. The naming convention can be changed to fit with the structure of your module(s).

  1. To edit the name, click the three dots icon (…) to the right of it.
  2. Select the pencil icon next to the name, edit the text and press enter on your keyboard to confirm the name change.
  3. You can also add a description to help your students find resources more quickly. This is limited to 250 characters.
  4. Choose whether to enable Forced sequence so students must access the content in order.
  5. Once you’ve finished, select Save.

To add content to a learning module, click on it to open it, then use the + icon to add content. It is important to think about how you want to structure your module before adding content. When you build content, you can only create 2 levels of structure.

There are two types of containers for content, folders and learning modules. Learning modules have been used in the template as they enable students to easily navigate from one item to another, with a reduction in the number of clicks required. Learning modules also have the option to force students’ access to content in a sequential manner. However, if you prefer, delete the learning modules and replace them with folders.

Study Skills

This folder, and the links contained within it, provide access to Skills@Library support for students. Its use is strongly recommended, but not mandatory. Add further links to the folder as needed.

Copying materials

Copying materials from another module

For technical reasons, and to ensure that module areas are uncluttered, content will not be automatically copied from the previous instance of a module. You can use copy functionality to copy individual items or folders/learning modules from previous modules. Do not copy the 'Assessment and Feedback' folder or the old 'Information - Start' here learning module from previous modules. This is because they have changed in the 24/25 template. If you wish to reuse content, copy the individual items instead. Then remove or hide from students any duplicate items to avoid any confusion. Learning Resources held in folders/learning modules can be copied from previous years.

To understand what does and doesn't copy successfully, read our copy from Ultra Course View module guide

Copying structure within modules

If you have a set structure which you wish to use for all your Learning Resources, you can build out the structure and then copy that. To do this, use the same copy functionality as you would to copy materials from another module (detailed in our copy from Ultra Course View module guide). You will need to search for the module you are in to copy structure within it.

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Structure - 2 levels limit

It is important to think about how you want to structure your module before adding content.

When you build content, you can only create 2 levels of structure e.g.

  • Module Content >
    • Learning Module/Folder [1] >
    • Folder [2] then any content added to Folder [2].
    • No further Folders can be added.

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Top tips

Here are our top tips on building your module.

1. Drag and drop to upload files

You can quickly add files, or folders of files, to module content/folders/learning modules via drag and drop.

To do this you will need to locate the file(s)/folder (s)* you want to upload, use your mouse to select the file(s) you want to upload, then drag them into the relevant area within the module. Use the Ctrl key (CMD key if using a Mac) to select more than one file.

*When using drag and drop to upload folders of files, this will create a folder in the module containing your files. It is important to note that this can't exceed 2 levels of structure. If you attempt to add a deeper structure, any folders that exceed the limit of 2 levels will be discarded. For example, if you tried to add a folder with a subfolder to an existing learning module the subfolder would not be added and you would see a notice informing you that 'Some folders were discarded due to the maximum number of subfolders being reached' at the top of the page.

Files can also be added directly from your University of Leeds OneDrive account by selecting the + icon in the relevant area, then clicking Cloud Storage > OneDrive then Connect. You can then add one or more files from your Cloud Storage. You may need to hover beneath content items to make the + icon appear.

2. Create accessible content/files

There are thousands of people in the University of Leeds community with a disability.

When adding content to Minerva modules, make sure the name of the content will make sense to your students. Minerva modules have a content search - if content is named well, it will help students find it. For most content types you can also add a description to help students.

As you add content to your module, review the Ally indicators for tips on how to improve your files to ensure staff and students have the best experience possible. Microsoft's accessibility checker can also be used to review files as you create them.

3. Communicating with students via Minerva modules

There are two key tools which can used to communication with students on your module:

  • Announcements
  • Messages

Announcements are seen by everyone on the module (staff and students). Staff can post announcements to the Minerva module which appear as a pop-up when students enter the module. Announcements can be scheduled for a future date. Announcements which are posted immediately, can also be emailed to module members.

Messages is a Minerva tool for sending communications to module members; only staff can send Messages and students cannot reply. Messages can be sent to all module members, all instructors, all students, groups or individuals as required. Messages can be accessed in Minerva, staff also have the option to email a copy of a message to module members.

Find out more by reading our webpages on Minerva module communication tools.

4. Track progress reports

Progress Tracking is enabled in all modules by default. This provides students with an at-a-glance guide of both the content they have reviewed and that which they have yet to engage with. In addition, it provides staff with reports on engagement with their content.

Find out more by reviewing our guide on Progress Tracking.

 

5. Disable the Blackboard Collaborate module room if you're not using Collaborate

If you don’t intend to use Blackboard Collaborate for live sessions, disable the Collaborate module room. This will help avoid confusion for students who may be asked to use it for one module and not another.

To disable the module room:

  1. Click the three dots icon … to the right of Blackboard Collaborate (under the Details & Actions menu)
  2. Select Disable module room.

You can re-enable the room at any time by following the same steps then clicking enable module room.

6. Preview content as a student

Before making your module available to students, you can use the Student Preview function to see how it would look to a student.
Click the Student Preview link from the top right of the Navigation bar.

7. Make your module available

All modules are created as unavailable to students by default. Once you’re happy the module is ready for students to access, you can make it available by going to the Details & Actions area > Module is unavailable and changing Students can't access this module, to Students can access this module.

8. Tidy up by deleting or hiding content

You should only delete content if it is something you no longer want to retain. An alternative is to hide the content from students.

Deleting content

In the row for the content you want to delete, select the three dots icon ... located to the right and select Delete.

Hiding content

An alternative is to hide the content from students.

  1. Select Visible to students or Conditional availability which will be shown below the name of your content/item/Learning Module or folder.
  2. This will open a drop down menu where you can then select Hidden from students from the dropdown menu.

Belonging and its importance at Leeds

We are on a journey to understanding Belonging and its importance at Leeds; there's a lot we know already. Here are a few things to consider when preparing a module in Minerva Ultra:

  • Do students co-create reading lists and suggest items they’ve read, perhaps on social media?
  • Does your programme or module include some student-led assessment design or choice?
  • Where modules involve discussion groups, are students assigned to multiple groups to encourage peer-to-peer connections?
  • Does module content represent a range of diverse cultures, heritages, and approaches to knowledge?

Learn more about Belonging at Leeds on OD&PL's website.

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