Embedding and linking

The term ’embedding’ is one that you may be hearing more and more in relation to online teaching applications, and with good reason. It is a simple step to take that can make the way students access and interact with resources simpler and more engaging. When you cannot embed a resource there are also other ways of linking which can help create a more user friendly experience for students.


Sharing a link is a way to share an online resource. A link may look like this: www.bbc.co.uk  , or a text hyperlink like this. You can also turn images into links like the one below


How you would do this depends on the platform that you are using but the most common method is to right click on an object or text and select ‘add hyperlink’. Alternative look for this symbol: links image which usually represents the option to add a hyperlink


Embedding is a way of sharing something from the web, such as a video or document, within another webpage. Rather than a link appearing that has to be clicked to access the resource, the resource itself is visible (and can be interacted with) within the destination webpage. The process of embedding does vary slightly depending on where you are embedding from and embedding is not always enabled or allowed.

Begin in the location of whatever you want to embed and look for a ‘share’ or ’embed’ button, often you will be able to select embed after clicking share. Once you click embed you will be given a long code that will look something like this: 

Copy the code that is provided and then go to the destination where you would like the item to appear. The code needs to be pasted either into a specific embedding window or into an HTML text box, the locations and availability of these will vary. The steps below show how to embed a YouTube video into Blackboard once you have copied the embed code, the same steps apply to any embed code from other sources such as Padlet.


  1. In the section you would like the video to be embedded in the blackboard site click build content and select the ‘Item’ option.


  1. When in the ‘Item’ option click the button above the textbox that says ‘HTML’ the box indicated below will then open.


  1. Copy and paste the embed link into the HTML code view box and click update.


  1. You should now see a translucent yellow box in the text box. this indicates the video has embedded. Press submit to complete.


  1. The you tube video should now be embedded in the selected section of your blackboard site. The video will appear at the bottom of the page of that section.




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Assessment contingency process – update from AJP

Refined business contingency process now in place to support assessment

Over the past few months, the Assessment Journey Programme team has been working with a number of key stakeholders across the University to define and test a business contingency process that will be implemented in the event of system downtime.

The agreed process will ensure that there is a consistent approach should Blackboard be unavailable for the submission of student work or the marking or provision of feedback by academic staff.

Details on the agreed process can be found in Assessment Essentials.

Frequently asked questions:

1.What will happen if a submission point is unavailable at the time of submission?

An extension from the time the system is restored is to be provided to all affected students. Digital Technology Services will place a standard message on Blackboard and Faculty Student Services teams will contact students with further details. Module Leaders do not need to take any action.

2. What will happen if Blackboard is unavailable at the time of, or becomes unavailable during, a Blackboard test?

 The Module Leader should liaise with the affected student(s) to arrange an alternative date and update Blackboard accordingly.

3. What will happen if system unavailability prevents access to work for marking?

An extended period of time equivalent to the duration of system unavailability (up to 48 hours) will be allowed to complete the marking and provide feedback to students. Module Leaders should advise students by email if there is to be a delay in providing feedback due to system unavailability; either at the time of marking or the time of releasing feedback. If staff can still meet the original turnaround times this is encouraged.

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Developing digital confidence

More and more we are being encouraged to better utilise online tools and resources to support student learning.  This can include embedding online videos in our presentations, accessing web resources in class as part of group work, using a range of platforms to create resources, as well as interacting with students in the virtual environment as part of blended or distance learning.

Some staff are already doing this extensively, for others this is a newer venture.   Irrespective of how much experience you have, what is important is to start with good pedagogic principles bringing in simple technologies initially, building confidence with the support of peers to help generate ideas and develop skills.

As part of our commitment to support staff in the use of appropriate digital technologies, the HWB TEL Team have developed the Steps to Digital Confidence programme based on staff feedback and requests for support.  It has been designed taking into consideration the academic cycle as well as a hierarchy of training need.

steps to digital confidence

The steps are clustered around key aspects of learning and teaching:

1. Shaping teaching sessions
2. Getting the most out of the VLE
3. Online Assessment
4. Creating engaging resources
5. Interactivity in the classroom
6. Advancing research skills
7. Connecting with students
8. Enhanced feedback and employability
9. Engaging wholly online



Within each of the nice steps there are a range of topics and technologies that can be covered; which we will tailor to your need. Please get in touch if you’d like to arrange either a 1:1 or group session.


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Blackboard Upgrade Weekend – 28-30 July

Please see info below from the central TEL team on this summer’s Blackboard upgrade. If you have any questions please contact ! HWB TEL

Blackboard Upgrade Weekend – 28-30 July | Technology Enhanced Learning at SHU

This summer’s Blackboard upgrade is scheduled to take place during the weekend 28-30 July 2017.

The upgrade will start at the end of the day on Friday, 28th July and continue throughout the weekend. It is predicted that the Blackboard system will be available again by the morning of Sunday the 30th but it should be considered at risk all day Sunday as well.  Staff and students will not be able to access shuspace and Blackboard sites during the upgrade. Therefore please do not schedule teaching and learning activities in Blackboard during this time, including online submission of assessments.

We know that there are some teaching programmes which will be affected by the downtime and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause. As always, the upgrade team will strive to minimise any downtime.

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Marking on an iPad: Blackboard Grader App


Did you know you can mark student assignments submitted to Blackboard on an iPad?

The Blackboard Grader App allows you to add comments and grades to an assignment in the same way that you would via Crocodoc on a desktop computer. You are, however, limited to making text comments and cannot draw annotations as you can on a PC. There are also some features unique to the app, including the ability to dictate comments out loud which are then converted into text. You can also record video and audio feedback directly from the app as well as attach videos stored on the iPad.

The app is not 100% reliable and does have some quirks but it works fine for the most part and for those who prefer marking away from a desk or a computer screen it can be a very efficient way to mark a large number of assignments.

Blackboard’s own information on grader app can be found by clicking here.


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New solution: Submitting videos for assessment

Solution to support the upload of media files is now available – Assessment Journey Programme

A new solution has been integrated with Blackboard which will allow students and staff to upload media files (currently up to 2GB in size, approx 10 mins of video or 30 mins+ screencast), such as video assignments and video or audio feedback, safe in the knowledge that the files are stored securely. Staff can also view or listen to student video or audio assignments and provide feedback without leaving Blackboard. The videos are also playable across a range of devices

This will mean a change to the process for staff and students when submitting media files, so guidance including screencasts is now available in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment Essentials. Students can access video guidance in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment4Students.

For some assignments the videos created will be too large for the new solution. For reference, anything filmed on an iPhone or similar that is over 10 minutes in length will likely be too large. If this is the case for your module, please contact the TEL Team and we will advise on the best solution.

Please contact the HWB TEL team (! HWB TEL) if you need any support with video assessment and submission.

The Assessment Journey Programme are interested in your feedback – email your feedback to ! Assessment Journey Programme

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Google +/ Google Communities

google-plus-new-icon-logo-400x400 Google Plus

Using social media in teaching and learning can have great results, allowing students to easily interact with one another on a familiar platform. It can however also lead to issues with to privacy and security; Google Plus is one option that allows these issues to be easily managed.

Google Plus has been successfully used for teaching and learning within the University. Whilst it is not as widely used as some other social media platforms, its interface will be familiar to those that have used the major social platforms such as Facebook.

A key advantage of Google Plus is that all students and staff at Sheffield Hallam University can use their staff Google account to log in. If you are not familiar with how to use your staff Google account and what it is for you can find this information in our Google Apps blog post. This bypasses the concern of mixing private and professional life that can often arise when using social media in a work or educational context.

Google Plus and more specifically, Google Communities, allows you to create a secure area for discussion where students can share files and web resources and generally chat and ask questions. You can also post on your own Google Plus profile

Bear in mind you can control the privacy of any communities you create including having control over who can join, view and contribute to any communities you create. You can also restrict access so only those within SHU can access posts and communities.

Google Plus can be accessed from the list of Google Apps found in Google Drive. Information on how to access this list can be found in this previous blog post.

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Uploading a video to YouTube and embedding it into PebblePad

It is a common request to know how to upload videos to YouTube and how students can easily submit the for assessment.  It is not very well known that embedding a YouTube video into PebblePad is very straight forward and allows submission without problems of file format or size.

We have created a short screencast showing how to do this. It will be useful for those wanting to know how to simply upload a video, embed a video into a PebblePad portfolio or achieve both.

If your needs differ from these instructions or the screencast fails to fully show how to achieve your desired outcome, please get in touch with the TEL team and we can fill in the gaps or deliver further support by phone, e-mail or in person.

Please find the screencast below:

Upload to YouTube



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HWB assessment information: one stop shop!

As a team we create a number of resources to support staff with online assessment as well as signpost those created centrally by the University. This, along with the relevant faculty guidelines, leads to a lot of information in a lot of different places.

To try and make it easier to find the information or guidance you need, we have created an online resource which you can find by clicking on the link below. The resource has information about faculty policy and recommended practice as well as housing a number of helpful video and written guides.

Assessment web resource:



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Adobe Spark!

Adobe Spark


Adobe Spark is a collection of creative tools available for free online that allow you to quickly create professional looking animated videos, scrolling web stories and social media graphics. The three tools available are Spark Video, Spark Page, and Spark Post.

You will need to go to https://spark.adobe.com to access the tools and it is reccomended that you use your University Google account to login using the following format for your e-mail: yourusername@my.shu.ac.uk and your usual staff password.

Spark Video:

spark video

Spark Video is helpful for presenting information and quickly stitching together short video clips in an engaging resource. The tool allows you to combine photos, videos and text with a basic theme and background music to create a video that can be shared directly from Spark or uploaded to somewhere like YouTube for wider sharing. You can also download videos to have the file for yourself (note: the free version of the tool will add a slide to the end of your video that says ‘created with Adobe Spark’).

Below is a link to an example of an Adobe Spark Video:


and here is an Adobe Spark video that has been uploaded to YouTube:

Spark Post:


spark post allows you to create graphics by combining text with pictures and effect filters to create more distinctive images. Below is an example from the Adobe website

spark post example

Spark Page:


Spark page allows you to create a webpage displaying images, videos and text in a variety of layouts that visitors can navigate through at their own speed. Click here to visit an example Spark Page about walking in the Himalayas.

More information and help can be found at https://spark.adobe.com/ and please get in touch with the TEL team if you would like support with using any of the above in your teaching.

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