Shiny new tools

We are introducing a couple of new digital tools for the start of the new academic year. Note that all tools still need to be set up, tested and piloted.

Sim Venture Evolution

We already use Sim Venture Classic on some of our business modules but will now be adding in Evolution for our blended and distance learning students. Evolution is a business strategy simulation that is highly aligned with pedagogic approaches and subject-based learning. We have already written about our recent Evolution training day.



ZoomZoom is a video conferencing and webinar tool.

We will be using it primarily on our Catalyst programmes but also hope to run some other webinars relevant to prospective students or industry partners.

We will be integrating Zoom with Gateway (our VLE) and Panopto to support sign on and storage.


Browsealoud is an additional tool from texthelp who make Read&Write. We are considering adding it to the portfolio – no definite decision yet.

It is a plug in that we will be adding to Gateway to help users with accessibility and productivity. It allows users have web pages read to them and converted to MP3 files.


So what new tools is your Learning Tech team introducing? Do share!

Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing

Happy New year!

January is definitely the time of year for boosting your mental health and wellbeing. At the RAU we’ve been improving our support services, both offline and online. Some of our activities include:

  • Revamps of a number of our Gateway (moodle) pages including the ones for Student support; Dyslexia and Disability support; Assertive technology and our Big Yellow Button FAQ service



The support we provide to students is an area the RAU pride ourselves on. We will continue to improve our online services in this area.

Accessibility, VLES and web sites

Last week we had our first cross-institutional meeting looking at the new European Union (EU) Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications and its implications for the RAU. The regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018 and state that websites or mobile apps must be made ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’.

At there meeting there were staff representatives from marketing, digital, IT, the Catalyst programme, student engagement and disability support.

A little background information:

  • RAU has a very high number of dyslexic students (around 250 dyslexic students, or 20-25% of the student body)
  • There is a main page on the website that deals with this area, internally there are several VLE pages that cover disability support and assistive technology
  • There is a generic email address available – 
  • IT support a significant number of accessibility tools including: Read&write, Sensus access, Dragon, mind mapping tools

The group agreed a number of actions and areas for consideration and will be meeting again early next year to share our progress.

Jisc online briefing

We also sent (virtually) a few people along to the Jisc online briefing on New regulations, new risks which took place earlier today. There were 209 attendees so definitely a hot topic area!


The briefing began with some polls that suggested that on the whole the HE sector is beginning to get ready for the regulation but isn’t there yet. It then went on to explore the main recommendations:

  • To make your VLE and website perceivable, operable, understandable and robust
  • To publish a model accessibility statement on your website that details what content is not accessible and the alternatives provided (a model is provided). It should give a single point of contact for problems.

There will be future work to create a Further/Higher Education (FHE) Digital Accessibility Working Group. Questions on the regulations can be sent to the Accessibility regulations Jisc mail group.