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    Globally Deactivating Portico Enrolments in Moodle

    By Karen A M Shackleford-Cesare, on 23 May 2017

    Context

    When Portico enrolments are activated on a Moodle course, student enrolments on the course are automatically updated every night to mirror the Portico student list for the associated module. Consequently, students who change courses, or withdraw from their studies permanently, or temporarily because of extenuating circumstances, are automatically un-enrolled from their Moodle courses. Usually, as in the first case cited, this is desirable. However, because as a consequence, any grades these students were awarded before they withdrew, become inaccessible, this may not be desirable in the other two cases.

    Note: the grades, submissions and logged activity are not deleted, and can be accessed again if the student is re-enrolled manually. But, when a student is no longer listed on a course, there is just no way to view their content.

    Remedy

    To reduce the likelihood of this particular “missing grades” problem occurring, the decision has been taken to deactivate Portico enrolments globally in Moodle, six weeks from the start of each term. Hence, after this juncture a student who discontinues a course won’t be automatically un-enrolled. Thus, any user with the requisite permissions can continue to access this student’s grades, etc.

    What do I need to do?

    If a student is un-enrolled from a course before Portico enrolments is deactivated, whose grades, etc. are needed then the way to re-link this data to the student is to enrol them manually and tick the ‘recover grades’ option when doing so. This must be done for each course, for each user. The enrolment must be manual as automated Portico enrolments does not offer the ‘recover grades’ option, so even if students are restored in the module in Portico, and then re-enrolled on the course, their grades/work will not be re-associated.

    Should any ‘new’ students still need to be enrolled on a course after Portico enrolments are deactivated, who would normally have been enrolled via Portico enrolments, they will need to be enrolled manually.

    Can I re-activate Portico enrolments on my course(s)?

    Yes. However, please assess whether you risk losing access to some students’ grades before you do this. For instructions on re-activating Portico enrolments, please see:

    https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/MoodleResourceCentre/Enrolment+-+Portico+enrolments

    Note: Portico enrolments can be ‘deactivated’ within the course at any time by anyone with Course Administrator or Tutor access, thereby stopping any updates to the list of enrolled users on the Moodle course. Please see:

    https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/MoodleResourceCentre/Enrolment+-+Portico+enrolments#Enrolment-Porticoenrolments-Activatinganddeactivatingmappings

    Will Portico enrolments be globally re-activated?

    No, they will not be globally re-activated, but you can activate Portico enrolments in your course(s) at any time. However, they will be globally deactivated again, 6 weeks into each term.

    Student Training Assistants wanted

    By Caroline Norris, on 19 May 2017

    We have a number of vacancies for UCL students to assist on our IT training courses.  This is casual, part-time work at £12.40 per hour (UCL spinal point 15).  The number of hours available will vary and you can choose whether to accept work at any given time.  You will need to be a UCL student and available for work from October 2017.

    You will have an in-depth knowledge of a range of software applications including Microsoft Office.  A good knowledge of any of the following would be highly desirable: data analysis software (SPSS, Stata, R, Matlab), Unix, programming (HTML & CSS, SQL and Python).  Patience, confidence, excellent time-keeping and an ability to explain concepts simply and clearly are essential skills. Visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/training for more details of the courses we provide.

    If you would like to know more, please read the full job description.  Please contact isd-training@ucl.ac.uk if you have any further questions about the role.

    Closing date for applications is 4 June and interviews will be held on 19 and 20 June.  We will let you know by 13 June if we wish to interview you.  To apply, please complete our job application form and email to isd-training@ucl.ac.uk

    MoodleMoot 2017: Jo’s reflections

    By Joanna Stroud, on 8 May 2017

    My first two days as Digital Education’s new Distance Learning Facilitator (hi!) were spent at the UK and Ireland edition of MoodleMoot 2017 taking place in London. Presentations ranged from the more technical aspects of Moodle implementation to reports into its more pedagogically-driven uses and impacts. My note-taking over the course of a packed conference schedule was frenzied and now, upon writing this post, occasionally unintelligible, so rather than provide a full overview I’ll reflect upon two presentations in greater detail.

    A Head Start for Online Study: Reflections on a MOOC for New Learners. Presented by Prof. Mark Brown (Dublin City University)
    This project was described by Mark as a means of supporting flexible or distance learners’ transitions into higher education. Despite an established distance learning provision, DCU’s programmes had, like many institutions, experienced higher levels of attrition than those seen with more traditional face-to-face courses. Mark reported that this is largely attributable to the diverse motivations of flexible learners and lack of support at key stages of the study life cycle. DCU thus applied for and gained funding to produce resources that would attempt to bridge these gaps and improve outcomes for flexible learners.

    DCU’s subsequent Student Success Toolbox, containing eight ‘digital readiness’ tools, and the Head Start Online course, piloted on the new Moodle MOOC platform Academy, aim to help potential flexible learners ascertain whether online higher education is right for them, how much time they have and need for study, their sources of support, and the skills they will need to be a successful online learner.

    Mark focused on the outcomes of the Head Start Online pilot course. Of the 151 users registered as part of the pilot, 37 were active after the first week and a total of 24 completed the entire course. However, Mark was keen to stress that learners were not expected to progress through the course in any strict or linear fashion, and completion/non-completion can thus be an unhelpful binary. Feedback from learners proved very positive, with the vast majority believing that they were more ready to become flexible learners, better equipped to manage their time, and more aware of the skills needed for online study after taking the course.

    More information:
    Head Start Online via Moodle Academy
    Student Success Toolbox
    Mark’s presentation from MoodleMoot

    Towards a Community of Inquiry through Moodle Discussion Forums. Presented by Sanna Parikka (University of Helsinki)
    Sanna’s presentation described her use of Moodle discussion forums to facilitate meaningful and constructive online conversations that adhere to the principles of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework theory. Use of the CoI framework defines three vital elements of any educational experience as:

    • Social presence: the ability of learners to communicate and engage in social interactions within the learning environment
    • Cognitive presence: the means by which learners can build meaning through reflection and discourse
    • Teaching presence: how we design, facilitate, and guide learners through experiences to achieve the desired learning outcomes.

    Sanna reported upon a range of approaches designed around the CoI framework, suggesting that it is possible to build social presence and give learners the chance to project their personalities online through simple ice breaker activities. Cognitive presence, meanwhile, can be developed through jigsaw learning activities. Cohorts are split into smaller groups of students who discuss and specialise in one specific topic before being redistributed evenly to new forums with specialists from each area and tasked with teaching their new group about their specialism. Teaching presence is built and threaded through each task by providing direct instruction, scaffolding understanding, facilitating discourse, and sharing personal interpretations of meaning.

    Discussion forums are often unfairly criticised, most frequently for lack of student engagement. However, Sanna’s position was that basic interaction is not enough to develop engagement and create new meaning. Her framing and examples of practice underscored the forum as a versatile, flexible means of delivering not just discussion-based tasks but collaborative exercises too.

    More information:
    The Community of Inquiry (Athabasca University)
    M08 Add new learning forums

    UCL ChangeMakers project funding for 2017/18 available

    By Jessica Gramp, on 8 May 2017

    UCL ChangeMakers

    “I cannot recommend the experience enough for any fellow student willing to enrich their learning and skill repertoire while deriving the satisfaction of contributing towards enriching the experiences of UCL’s student community through a UCL ChangeMakers Project.”

    – UCL ChangeMakers Project Lead

     

     

    Make your mark on UCL: Do a UCL ChangeMakers project

    UCL ChangeMakers supports students & staff in running or getting involved in a project to innovate, enhance or improve the learning experience at UCL. There is up to £1000 project funding available for your project (to cover costs such as catering, survey or focus group incentives etc.) in addition to student stipends of up to £150 each. You will also be fully supported by the UCL ChangeMakers Team.

    The deadline for proposals is 22nd June 2017 for projects commencing next academic year (September 2017).

    UCL ChangeMakers is open to all students and staff at UCL. If you want to talk to the UCL ChangeMakers Team about your idea or simply find out more about what’s involved then come and chat to them and other interested people at one of our Q&A sessions on 16th & 26th May; 13th & 15th June 2017. Sign up for a Q&A session.

     

    Apply to UCL ChangeMakers…

     

     

    Moving to Turnitin Feedback Studio – multiple ways to mark with an updated look

    By Annora Eyt-Dessus, on 28 April 2017

    From summer 2017 Turnitin will be moving all users to their updated viewing and grading tool, Feedback Studio. Most UCL staff and students are already using Feedback Studio so will not see any change, but if you’re still using the ‘Classic’ version of the tool you will no longer have this option from late July 2017. You’ll still find the functionality you’re used to, but with an updated look and feel.

    So what does Feedback Studio offer? For a quick tour of the new features of Feedback Studio, and differences with the ‘Classic’ version, you can watch the short video above from Turnitin. (NB. Multiple markers feature will not be enabled initially, and the section shown 4:00mins+ is not relevant to Turnitin through Moodle.)

    Beyond being able to view and navigate similarity reports, it also offers staff a variety of ways to mark – including audio comments, rubrics and saved re-usable comments. Most of this functionality has been available to UCL staff for some time, but Turnitin have been working on the design of their interface.

    For instance, selection of the wide variety of tools Turnitin offers is now done by using icons set alongside the paper for easier faster marking. You may also be looking for a ‘Save’ button, but Turnitin now saves your comments as you move between papers using the arrows in the top right of the screen.

    This new version also aims to be more accessible, with viewing and grading easier on a greater variety of devices using a responsive design, as well as for those using screen readers and keyboards for navigation.

    If you want to try out the new version of Feedback studio, without logging in to Moodle and setting up an assignment, you can explore an interactive demo from Turnitin.

    Universities across the UK will soon be making the change as well as UCL, and we had the opportunity to hear from colleagues at the University of Kent, in partnership with Turnitin, at the recent MoodleMoot.ie conference earlier this April. They spoke of their success in moving to online marking in conjunction with the move to the new Feedback Studio, with over 70% overall of all marks now returned online. Key elements in their success were offering guidance for both staff and students (ours can be found here for staff and students), and offering repeated reminders of the change throughout the summer, so that all staff had a chance to be made aware.

    If you have any concerns or questions about this change, please consult the guidance, and email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk with any issues.

    IT for IOE Summer Term Training Programme – Bookings Now Open

    By Krystyna M Huszcza, on 25 April 2017

    IT for IOE offer training in a wide range of digital tools delivered through hands-on workshops and mini demonstration sessions. Session are open to all UCL staff and students and take place at UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way campus.

    Visit IT for IOE IT Course Booking for full details and access to bookings.

    Session highlights for the summer term include:

    • Social media: Twitter, Blogging with WordPress
    • Digital Notebooks: OneNote, Evernote
    • Endnote Introductory workshops
    • Infographics
    • Screencasting
    • Tips and tricks sessions on Office 2013 applications
    • Office 2016 workshops for Macintosh users
    • Assistive technology: Inspiration, XMind, Read&Write, Balabolka
    • SharePoint
    • And much more

    Most of the course materials can be accessed through our Moodle course. Access to the course is by self-enrolment and bookings are not necessary. Please use the following link: IT for IOE: Training Course Materials & Resources

    More training is offered by ISD Digital Skills Development. See their recent blog post for more information: New digital skills development dates for summer 2017