New NILE sites and General SaGE guidance

Taken from: by Adel Gordon

Following on from a school session on SaGE and the new NILE site format there were a few items which required more detail / clarification. I thought that a lot of the issues were relevant to all users so have copied the response here.

The blog posting which is aimed at academic staff to prepare their courses and modules for the 12/13 academic year may be found at:
 From the session on the 10th July the following further detail is provided:
1) I seem to now have many variations of sites when I only had one last year – do I need all of these?
NILE has now created one module site for each session which is stored on the Student Record system (QLS). Sessions have been used in many different ways on QLS – sometimes they signify different start dates and at other times they signify a module which runs in different locations or a different mode of delivery. Students are added to their sites based on the session data held on QL.
If you have sessions where the content AND assessment timescales are identical (perhaps where it is just the location which varies) then the Module Leader may opt to combine these on NILE. Send an email to to make this request. You should remember that when combined, communication (announcements, notifications) will go to all of the students on the module unless otherwise specified (e.g. setting up groups and targeting the groups specifically).
If the session content is the same but the start dates / assessment timescales are different (e.g. some students start in September and others start in February) then the sessions should be kept separate. This is due to the requirement to assign a separate assignment submission area for each assessment deadline, and deliver information and learning materials at different times of the academic year.  You can copy material between modules if it is important to share updated material – email if you need assistance on this.
2) The new template which is provided on the Course and Module areas is restrictive – Can I add to these or change the wording?
The wording which now appears on the left side of the module templates was agreed by the Learning and Teaching Committee prior to the PSR and then re validated by the University Student Experience Committee (SEC) more recently. It is based on a clear module layout and wording which students have been requesting on feedback to NSS and ISS. The material which is proposed on the template forms the minimum standards for a NILE module and this will be quality checked later in 2012. Some staff may already be exceeding the content and layout which has been proposed and we would wish this continue… Ideally these sites would then form the basis of exemplary sites to showcase to other staff. Any reduction in module content or significant change of wording from the basic template should be agreed by the SEC prior to student delivery. Many of the menu items such as “Submit your work” or “Reading List” must remain to maintain to consistency throughout NILE and aide central support (and students) to easily locate submission areas etc.
The second part of the session on the 10th July focused on SaGE and referred to three main locations for material on SaGE which I have listed below in order of their importance:
1)    The SaGE blog
This is regularly updated with all of the latest news and guidance on SaGE. Of particular note in here are the SaGE workflows which guide staff through SaGE in a number of simple steps: The workflows are a way of simply explaining the SaGE process with links to relevant resources as needed. They are also a useful resource to go back to at any point in the process to refresh knowledge/memory.

2)    The SaGE userguides
The guides provide further detail on using any of the available tools to submit online and provide feedback. All of the major guides that help with the SaGE process are linked to from the workflows.

3)    The SaGE website
A general information page which contains an overview of SaGE and a link to some of the key resources.

All of the above materials are interlinked and always refer staff back to the Learning Technology team for guidance and support as required.

Staff are particularly advised to review the paper which was taken to UET and SEC on SaGE which identifies the list of assessments which are exempted at this stage (

This paper did identify a number of exceptions such as portfolios, artwork and dissertations. With regards to some of the items mentioned in the meeting, log books, notebooks, presentations and practical outputs would either be considered examples of portfolios or fall into a similar category to artwork. Presentations (powerpoint files), however, can be be converted to enable them to be submitted through Turnitin so may not be authorised as an exemption. Jill Holden is considering this currently and an update will be put onto the SaGE blog with details (including guidance on how to convert the files).
If one of your assessments is a series of entries into a log book, using a blog/journal could be considered as an electronic alternative to the paper based model. These tools work well with the Mobile app and could be good way to introduce recording information electronically in the field/lab. The tools also integrate into the Grade Centre in NILE, so feedback can be provided electronically and Grades can be provided online. Note: these are options, not requirements at present.

Whilst some of the examples mentioned do not immediately fit the SaGE model (practical submissions, presentations/performances) there is the opportunity to add a column to the Grade Centre in NILE which could hold marks and feedback for the student’s work. Hence even though there is no electronic submission, the system could be used to provide electronic feedback.

Some staff requested information regarding the use of e-submission and marking across the country. According to Turnitin, 98% of UK universities use Turnitin for originality checking. 50% of these use the GradeMark tool to markup papers. There really is some great work taking place using these tools. There are a few examples of great practice at UoN in the Case Studies category on the LearnTech blog. Of particular note are Anne Eason’s experiences with SaGE. Externally, there is some great work the University of Huddersfield, alongside JISC and the HEA who run the EBEAM project (Evaluating the Benefits of Electronic Assessment Management) and have some really useful and interesting posts on their blog.
For those who need more detail on the summer 2012 changes then please follow the links below:

General Information on all of the Learning Technology Changes Summer 2012

Specific Information on the QNIG project and the development of baseline module / course templates

The key changes being made for the NILE upgrade on 21/22nd July 2012

For more information or to comment contact: or comment on the original blog posting at:

Popular posts from this blog

STEM networking event

Teaching Genetic Algorithms with Excel

Science and Technology Free Open Educational Resources