Digital Education team blog
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    IT courses for UCL staff and students at UCL Institute of Education

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 28 April 2016

    The summer term training schedule is now available and bookings are now open. To view the schedule and making bookings see: IT for IOE Course Bookings

    The programme offers a choice of mini demonstration sessions, mini workshops and full hands-on sessions and includes:

    • sessions looking at iPad apps, Prezi, blogging, mind mapping, Lynda.com, various web tools and Office 2013 applications
    • new hands-on workshops on Evernote, OneNote, WordPress, screencasting tools
    • Mac sessions looking at Keynote (alternative to PowerPoint) and Office 2016 applications
    • hands-on Endnote sessions

    All sessions take place at the UCL IOE campus, 20 Bedford Way

    Sharing data, sharing experiences

    By Stephen Rowett, on 26 April 2016

    The thing we love most in Digital Education is working with our students, hearing their ideas and seeing what they can achieve.

    The UCLU Technology Society recently approached us about an API for accessing information at UCL – what is available now and what more could be made available in the future. It’s a difficult question, as we don’t own most of the data we process and don’t have the right to just make it available. But with the UK topping the Open Data Barometer, it’s such to be a question we will have to face.

    The leaders in this field in the UK are Southampton and Oxford. Four members of TechSoc and myself recently visited Ash Smith and Chris Gutteridge at Southampton, who have done tons of work in opening up university data – everything from buildings to catering.

    The TechSoc have written up the visit as a blog post, so I’ll do no more other than link to their report of the visit.

    Reflections after UCL’s first Mooc

    By Matt Jenner, on 22 April 2016

    I wrote eight weeks ago, just before UCL’s first foray on FutureLearn went live, to share thoughts on the journey so far. By way of transparency, and [selfishly] having a justification to look back, I wanted to share some reflections after UCL’s first, and second, Moocs have finished.

    Why We Post: The Anthropology of Social Media

    After years of research Danny Miller and the team went Full Avalanche mode to ensure their research was moving into the hearts and minds of the world. After studying the Anthropology of Social Media across the globe, Danny’s idea was simple; he wanted for anyone interested to find out his team’s discoveries. About two years ago Danny explained his concept for how this would happen. What he wanted, in my mind anyway, was a pyramid of dissemination:

    Pyramid of Research Dissemination for Why We Post

    Pyramid of Research Dissemination for Why We Post

    Danny’s an ambitious researcher and he knows how to get his work out to a large and diverse audience. If you’re curious to see these outputs here are the web links to find out more:

    There’s a lot to get through and I hope that the effort spent on these outputs will be enjoyed by many as the months and years go by.

    Location of learners: A global audience

    Why We Post provided an interesting exercise to visualise the location of learners on a global map – they are a truly Earth-wide audience:

    Why We Post: Global Audience

    Why We Post: Global Audience – click the image for the live Zeemap – ~2000 entries as-of 21 April 2016

    Thanks to Zeemaps, who provide this service for free.

    It started with a very Brazilian focus due to some early publicity from a blogger in South America but then as the course started, the pins started appearing all over. It’s so exciting to see all these people, from all across the world, taking part in a simple exercise as ‘pin yourself on the map’. It should become a standard feature for all online courses, especially very international ones. Some people even put full names and addresses – if I had the budget – I’d like to send them all a postcard from Bloomsbury, London!

    Offering multiple languages // translating online courses is hard work

    Each team member in Why We Post, or the original ‘Social Media Impact Study’ research activity, was given a fieldsite where they will spend many months studying the use of social media, and the surrounding anthropological context. There was always the ambition to make the research outputs as multilingual as possible – so we ended up with the brief of making 9 courses as a part of the dissemination package. Making one online course is challenging enough but 9, in 7 languages you don’t know, is an interesting challenge.

    Turkish? Why We Post: Neden Paylaşıyoruz: Sosyal Medya Antropolojisi :)

    Turkish? Why We Post: Neden Paylaşıyoruz: Sosyal Medya Antropolojisi via UCLeXtend :)

    Firstly the plan was to build the course in FutureLearn – this would prove enough lessons-learned to equip us (disclaimer: Laura Haapio-Kirk far more than me) with a working model of the course. Once built (or mostly so) we then made a pathway of converting it into UCLeXtend – still English. Now FutureLearn and Moodle are different beasts – but we found ways through. With a little tinkering, and designing a style-guide, we converted one platform to the other (by hand, btw, and all credit to Perla Rembiszewski who worked super hard to get this done). Once the English UCLeXtend course was ready it became a template, Perla and Laura then converted it into 7 documents, all in English but with empty placeholders for the translation.

    If you imagine breaking a course down into chunks – each of these would be a row in a table. Then it gets tricky, translation is not a process, it’s an art. A translator is not an Input:Output engine, they’re a multilingual human. They have to read, interpret, learn, translate and then piece it back together. Being super organised helps a lot. The process creates mistakes and translation quality is, at best a variable, and at worst, somewhat arguable. Unless you’re paying full whack (which gets super-expensive) you’re also probably relying on good-faith and interest in the project to get to the end. Credit due to Laura who managed the whole process and barely complained about it; that’s the mark of a professional.

    Multi-language versions of Why We Post – now available

    The the course is now available in

    All via UCLeXtend and remain open for study at any time as self-paced courses / open learning resources. This makes me happy.

    Moodle is multilingual, quick reminder

    Lastly, it’s surprisingly easy to enable other languages in Moodle – people say negative things about it (shame, but I get it) but being able to just ‘turn on’ Spanish (or whichever) is quite powerful for a globally ambitious researcher who wants to share back to their hosts who gave them so much. And we’ve yet to have a support request in Spanish from a troubled user – I’m worried we’ll only be able to ask them dos cervezas, por favor if they do! But maybe a fair exchange for a password reset?

    Many Faces of Dementia – high levels of participation

    Step 2.2 from the Many Faces of Dementia - Tim Shakespeare's FutureLearn Mooc

    Step 2.2 from the Many Faces of Dementia – Tim Shakespeare’s FutureLearn Mooc

    Tim Shakespeare’s course, Many Faces of Dementia, covers rare forms of Dementia. It highlighted how powerful the FutureLearn platform can be at engaging learners. Tim has made a great course, covering Dementia in a human and scientific way. The learners must’ve appreciated this because it trumped many (many) FutureLearn courses in the level of engagement recorded. Courses usually achieve around a 20% fully participating learner statistic but the Dementia course had clocked in over 45%. This means of those who started the course 45% of them went on to completing 50%, or more, of all the steps in the course. If we can get in and see why, we’ll do what we can to share the secret – because this is really good.

    Selling certificates // income generation

    I won’t go into much detail – it’s not a large sum – but we’re planning on using the income generated for good causes. Originally I hoped to set up a fund for learners on lower incomes to apply for gifted certificates but this is actually quite tricky within university finances. Instead we’re exploring options of funding student research to enhance or report on our Mooc activity. I want to send any income generated in the right direction.

    Chatty learners & Why We Don’t Post?

    It turns out, people are not all that social on a social learning platform. Yes, there were lots of really valuable discussions and people who were commenting, replying, liking and following others were adding genuine, insightful and meaningful contributions – I have no desire to degrade or downplay this part. What’s so surprising is still how few people actually do this; a huge majority of people are not using the social functions. Many Faces of Dementia has 4 comments per learner and Why We Post had around 6. Some basic URL digging shows FutureLearn has just over 3m learners and 12m comments, so about 4 comments per learner across the site. I know some people don’t start after sign-up, but it seems that even those who do, they still don’t necessarily contribute conversationally throughout the course. Can you imagine weekly seminars where only a handful of people ever speak? (Oh, yeah – humm…)

    The numbers are not perfect and some people post a LOT (I see you ;)) but these averages seem worth scruitinising. I’d like to explore how to make a really social course, or better understand Why We Don’t Post? I don’t think Danny’s up for that one…

    Keeping courses short // Run parts if you like long ones

    Are shorter Moocs better? I don’t know the minimum or maximum length but 4 weeks, 1-2 hours per week seems good. If it’s actually 4 weeks but 3-4 hours per week, people may struggle to fit it in, and you might lose people. Better research is out there. UCL’s next course, Making Babies in the 21st Century, is six weeks – so I’m still mulling this rule over. Any longer than six weeks and I would be tempted to split the course into two parts, so people can space out the learning and fit it into their lives. Time will tell on this one, ha.

    We’re going for more

    The second round of Mooc proposals is open for anyone at UCL to submit an interest in. Initially the call is for expressions of interest in developing a MOOC to run on the FutureLearn platform at some point within the coming 12 months.

    • Briefing meeting at 1-2pm on 27 April in the Logan Hall, UCL Institute of Education.
    • Deadline for expressions of interest is 9 May.
    • Deadline for proposals is 23 May.

    The panel, chaired by the Pro Director for Teaching, Quality, and Learning Innovation will meet to decide which proposals receive central funding, with notification to teams by 6 June 2016. More information is available via the Teaching and Learning Portal.

     

    ABC has reached 21

    By Natasa Perovic, on 24 March 2016

    Digital Education has now run 21 of our popular rapid learning design workshops. ABC uses an effective and engaging paper card-based method in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and over the last year has helped 70 module and course teams design and sequence engaging learning activities. It has proved particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format.

    To find out if ABC is for you this short video captured one of our workshops earlier this year.

    Participants feedback remains encouragingly  positive 

    “I thought the ABC session was really helpful.  I had been a little unsure ahead of the session what it would achieve – but I genuinely got a lot from it.  Going back to the basics of methods etc really helped focus on the structure and balance of the module.  I thought the output was very useful.”

    “Thank you for convening the abc workshop today, i  found it thought provoking and challenged the way we think about our teaching. It is too easy to stick to what we have done previously and I found today gave me different ways to think about how to evaluate our current teaching and to bring in different approaches. It will definitely improve my thinking and I will continue with the approach to incorporate some of the ideas into the modules.”

    “Thank you for the workshop today- it was an eye opener. I found it really useful to think about categorising how the learning objectives will be delivered and assessed, and examining the variety of ways that these can be achieved. It made me think more deeply about what skills the students can develop by making them responsible for their learning journey and not simply the content that needs to be delivered to them. We will let you know how it goes!”

    “It was great and many initiatives have emerged from it.”

    abc workshop group work

    For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša

    cy_np

     

     

     

    For more information see :

    ABC Curriculum Design 2015 Summary
    http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/12/02/abc-curriculum-design-2015-summary/

    ABC workshop resources and participants’ feedback http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/09/30/9169/

    ABC beginnings http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/04/09/abc-arena-blended-connected-curriculum-design/

     

    ABC News:

    We are currently developing an online toolkit to support the workshop, have been working closely with CALT to embed the Connected Curriculum in designs and we are developing collaboration projects with The University of Glasgow, Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Leiden (Netherland) and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile) in order to look at the learning impact of this method. Our colleagues in Chile are even translating the workshop into Spanish.

    ABC also featured on UCL Teaching and Learning portal as a case study: Designing programmes and modules with ABC curriculum design http://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/case-studies-news/e-learning/designing-abc-curriculum-design

    Feature Focus!

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 8 March 2016

    There’s a wide web out there, with lots of possibilities to be achieved by utilising the plethora of creative and helpful online tools. MyPortfolio is a great resource to pull all of this external content together, in one easily viewable and shareable space. To compliment the external tools, there is also a lot you can do with internal tools such as journals and files. Once you are happy with your page(s) you can even choose a Creative Commons License to help make your content more easily shareable, and help create a bigger impact with your work.

    To see a demonstration of some of possibilities of what you can embed and create with MyPortfolio check out our Feature Focus! MyPortfolio collection.

    Explore. Play. Learn.

    Gingerbread dreams: what happened on the way to UCL?

    By Moira Wright, on 7 March 2016

    A link to the ideal soundtrack to listen to whilst you are reading this this blog is embedded in this image and will open in a new window.

    All the little boxes!

    You can follow the link and listen to my chosen soundtrack[1] whilst reading this blog. The link is embedded in the image above and will open in a new window.

    So why exactly did we ask participants of the workshop run at the UCLU Education conference to build and decorate a cardboard box which explained their digital journey to UCL – asking them to use Lear’s masterpiece – Owl and Pussycat [2] as inspiration for their own story?

    Well, the simple answer was that we wanted to gain insight into the student digital journey to UCL. Faced with survey fatigue from students and our desire to hear what they think we felt this would be a lot more fun to do than another Opinio!

    You can hear what one participant had to say about it all – and make your own mind up about how well the workshop went by following the link below to the UCLU Education Conference YouTube video and a 1.5min interview with a participant sharing feedback and their thoughts about the session.

    …and if you are wondering why I chose the song – well it’s all about challenging conformity :-)

     


     References and Notes

    [1] Little boxes (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boxes (Accessed: 5 March 2016).

    [3]ESL and Popular Culture (2012) The owl and the pussycat ~ poem with text. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSjNk5Fi_6Y (Accessed: 6 March 2016).



    Please click on the image above to see more photographs from this session.