Appropriateness of announcements in myUWE

Since we released the additional announcement functionality in myUWE - where members of academic staff who are attached to a teaching activity in the timetable have the ability to publish an announcement to the activity in myUWE the myUWE team have been monitoring the list of announcements being published. There is no sense that we are in any way policing the application it is merely to gauge the extent of its use and usefulness.

However, we have noticed that some staff are publishing announcements that appear to be supplementary learning and teaching material to students on teaching groups. This is not necessarily appropriate use of the announcements application in myUWE. This is because a myUWE announcement behaves very differently with respect to visibility, context and duration of availability than a Blackboard announcement, which may be a more appropriate medium, and we thought it worth pointing out some of the potential problems with using myUWE in this way.

Visibility

A user can see a limited number of announcements in the myUWE home page only the five most recently published announcements are visible without paging through the channel. So, if there are a series of announcements presenting learning and teaching material a student may not see an important notice of a cancellation or closure published earlier.

Context

Although myUWE states the group membership on all announcements, an announcement in myUWE is not labelled in context unless the publisher makes it so (that is, the module code or activity is not presented in the heading of the announcement). Announcements appear in the myUWE home page and not in any specific module-related or programme-related area which could result in the announcement having no context at all, including group membership, until it is opened.

Duration of availability

A myUWE announcement has a finite life (defined by the announcement period), at the end of this life the announcement is no longer available to the students. The announcement is not stored for future reference and is no longer available to the publisher. In effect, there is no history of the announcement having been made.

Whereas a Blackboard announcement to a module run remains available to a student as long as they are associated with the module run and to staff as long as the module run is available in Blackboard. Content in Blackboard can also be stored by the user for future reference. It is also worth noting that Blackboard announcements are also visible on the myUWE home page.

Effectiveness

Announcements in myUWE has been developed with importance and immediacy in mind the main purpose is to draw to the attention of students important information appropriate to them as an individual or as a member of a particular group. Using myUWE announcements to publish general and other non-specific information, or by not removing irrelevant or out-of-date announcements, can have the effect of “diluting” the importance of other announcements and may in turn cause them to be ignored by the intended recipients.

All these reasons illustrate why it may not be appropriate to use a myUWE announcement to broadcast learning and teaching material.

Return to the Announcements Channel guidance

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