- News for Staff
In this article:
Staff will be aware of the changes to Minerva, the institutional VLE (virtual learning environment), over the last few years. Last year's successful upgrade of Minerva module areas to Ultra was a necessary step to provide our learners with a more accessible and reliable learning experience. It was also important for the University to move away from Original Course View, which had been in use, largely unchanged, since 2008 and is no longer actively supported by our supplier, Anthology (formerly Blackboard).
Within this article you’ll find information to help you prepare your 2023/24 module areas, including information about content copying, and a summary of key updates to Minerva functionality since June 2022.
2023/24 Module Areas
New Minerva module areas for the 2023/24 academic year will be available for population from early June, four months before teaching begins in semester 1. Module areas will include the Leeds module template, which provides a suggested structure for teaching areas and was created following consultation with staff and in collaboration with students, to improve consistency across all modules.
For technical reasons, and to ensure that module areas are uncluttered, content will not be automatically copied from the previous instance of a module. Unlike last summer, when there was a requirement to convert module areas to the new Ultra interface, once staff have reviewed their teaching content they can simply use copy functionality to copy individual items or folders from previous modules. Comprehensive guidance on copying will be available to coincide with the release of 2023/24 module areas.
Top Tips and Reminders for Content Copying
- For modules that have run in previous years, staff will need to copy content
- Copying module content from one Ultra module to the next is a simple and easy process
- Where possible, the structure in the institutional template should be used
- Individual files, folders and content can be copied easily
- Integrated assessment tools (Turnitin, Gradescope, Top Hat, Pebblepad) will maintain the original assessment dates and may not work correctly, therefore any such copied items will need to be deleted then replaced. Blackboard assignments and tests can be copied successfully, but assessment dates will need to be updated in 2023/24 modules following copy
- Although it is possible to copy an entire module in one click, this should not be done as this will cause cluttered module areas and not all content types will copy well
- Your local Digital Education Enhancement Teams are also available to provide help and advice
People are at the heart of the University’s digital transformation strategy, with last summer’s upgrade to Minerva providing a solid and innovative foundation for us to build on as we work together to deliver a truly world-class student experience.
"As we look ahead to the 2023/24 academic year, it’s important that we reflect on the things that worked well, and the things that could be improved, in terms of our online teaching content. To continue to provide our students with a teaching experience that is evidence based and pedagogically sound, and to ensure we meet the changing needs of our diverse cohort of learners, an annual review of content in Minerva is essential. Therefore, we ask for your support in how we manage the rollover of modules.
By automatically rolling over modules we are left with duplication of the template and a potentially ever-growing number of resources. Instead, colleagues in the Digital Education Service have worked with Anthology, the company behind Minerva, to deliver improvements to core teaching functionality and content copy processes to make building 2023/24 Minerva module areas as easy as possible.
However, for those that need additional help, online guidance and training are available, along with hands-on support from faculty-based learning technologists in the Digital Education Enhancement team. We really do appreciate your co-operation."
Professor Jo-Anne Murray, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation
Your Feedback and Minerva Key Updates
Since last summer, we’ve asked for your feedback on Minerva so that we can work with Anthology to identify areas in which key updates can be made to assist both staff and students. We’re really pleased to say that a range of updates have been made since last summer, including:
- New module search, which gives staff and students the ability to search a module for content
- Improved functionality in messages - staff can now message/email just students
- Drag and drop functionality improved
- Progress Tracking reports - staff can now see how students are engaging with their materials
- Test improvements allowing for easier creation and management of Question Banks (known as Pools in Original modules)
A summary of key updates made over the past year within Minerva will shortly be available.
Over the coming months, we will continue to pass suggestions for improvements, based on staff and student feedback, to Anthology.