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    Lecturecast recording lights trial

    By Fiona C Harkin, on 18 May 2018

    As part of the wider Lecturecast project, ISD are trialling lecture recording indicator lights in the following seven centrally bookable rooms across campus:

    1. Darwin Building B40 LT
    2. 1-19 Torrington Place, room 113 (note: this is a cluster room)
    3. Roberts Building 106
    4. 14-16 Taviton Street, room 433
    5. Chandler House G10
    6. IOE – 20 Bedford Way – 101 – Logan Hall
    7. Medawar Building G02 Watson LT

    In each space, an indicator light will be mounted on the podium desk.  It will indicate the status of the Lecturecast recording.

    What do the colours mean?



    Green– The Lecturecast unit is idle and ready to begin recording








    Solid red– The Lecturecast unit is recording








    Flashing Yellow– The recording has been paused








    Flashing red– The Lecturecast unit faulty/disconnected








    In addition to indicating the status of the recording, the lights can be used to pause and resume a recording during a lecture.  Many Lecturecast users need to edit their recordings to remove conversations had during breaks so having these lights may remove the need to do this.  The how-to-guide will be installed in the seven teaching spaces listed above.

    Refer to the in theatre How-To-Guide for instructions on how to do this.

    If there is a problem with the recording, the light will flash red.  In such cases, it allows staff to contact ISD to remedy the problem as it happens, potentially reducing the risk of a lecture not being recorded.

    During this trial, if you have any feedback or comments, please complete our survey:

    Depending on the outcome of the pilot, recording lights may be rolled out to other Lecturecast enabled rooms at UCL.

    We expect the installations to be completed by the end of the week beginning 21st May.

    Please email if you have any questions.

    BLE/UoL User Experience Conference 2018

    By Jessica Gramp, on 12 May 2018

    Thurs 28th – Fri 29th June

    Hosted by Birkbeck, University of London

    Following the University of London’s successful conference Demystifying User Experience Design & Testing last year, the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) in partnership with the University of London (UoL) is holding a free, two-day event for staff based at UoL member institutions on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June.

    On these two days, we are offering three distinct workshops, which are each focused on different applications of UX. Come along to all three or select those that interest you. Places are limited, so don’t delay registering your place!

    Day 1: Thursday 28th June

    am: User Research: focus groups, user testing and user feedback
    pm: User Centred Content


    Thursday 28th June: Morning workshop

    User Research: focus groups, user testing, surveys and user feedback

    A practical session with guest speakers sharing their insights into user research and associated applications.
    Led by Naomi Bain, Web Officer (Training and User Experience) – Birkbeck, University of London

    0930 Coffee & Registration
    • Introduction (Naomi Bain)
    • Keynote: conducting f2f user testing (Jane Lessiter, Goldsmiths)
    • Case studies: sharing experiences of user research
    • Practical session: how to conduct a web user testing session. This session will include tips, discussion, sharing experiences, questions and trying out the roles of tester and testee (Naomi)
    End by 1300

    Thursday 28th June: Afternoon workshop

    User Centred Content

    An overview of the online tools available to help you to plan and review your own content. Mapping users against online content – bring along a piece of your own content to review! Finishing with a panel Q&A discussion around content strategy and governance.
    Led by Melanie Read, Head of Digital – University of London

    1345 Registration, with a prompt start at 1400
    • Welcome, Introductions and icebreaker
    • Content planning – what tools do you use for planning content.
    • Content mapping – against the difference users types and then creating content suitable to that user.
    • Content strategy and governance
    • Panel discussion: how to manage governance
    End by 1630

    Day 2: Friday 29th June

    am: Moodle and Accessibility


    Friday 29th June: Morning workshop

    Moodle and Accessibility

    This workshop will focus specifically on Moodle and the considerations and requirements to ensure courses are accessible to all users.
    Led by Sarah Sherman, Service Manager – Bloomsbury Learning Environment

    0930 Coffee and registration
    • Welcome & Introductions (Sarah Sherman, BLE)
    • Presentation 1: Birkbeck For All (Leo Havemann, Birkbeck)
    • Presentation 2: Policy for Accessibility (Nic Charlton, University of London)
    • Presentation 3: Working with Moodle (Nic Christodoulou, SOAS)
    • Presentation 4: Accessibility initiatives at UCL (Jess Gramp & Paul Thompson, UCL)
    • Presentation 5: Checking for accessibility in Moodle (Herve Didiot-Cook, Blackboard)
    • Panel discussion
    • Workshop activity: developing Moodle accessibility guidelines for practitioners
    End by 1300

    Book your place now.


    For further details about the event, please contact Sarah Sherman or Melanie Read

    Well-being resources on

    By Caroline Norris, on 9 May 2018

    Did you know that this week is Mental Health Awareness week?  This year the focus is on stress, something we are all too familiar with, especially at exam time.

    Personal development and well-being is not an area that most people immediately associate with but there are actually a number of courses that directly focus on topics like well-being, happiness, resilience, work-life balance and positivity.

    Arianna Huffington has created a range of courses for which look at all aspects of well-being including meditation, sleep, unplugging from tech, letting go and gratitude.   If you are interested in meditation, there is also one specifically on mindfulness. There are also two courses on building resilience, one general one and one looking at more specifically at resilience in the face of setbacks.  There is also a stress management course and one on balancing work and life.

    We’ve put together all these courses and more into a playlist to make it easier for you to access them.  Don’t feel you have to watch them all, dip in and out and see what resonates with you.  Don’t forget that you can use the app on your phone or tablet to download videos to watch (or just listen to) offline as well.

    Kick-starting your literature review

    By Caroline Norris, on 12 April 2018

    30 May 2 – 5 p.m.

    This three-hour session aims to help you leverage some simple software tools to kick-start your literature review.

    The course will start with an review of library and literature searching techniques including creating appropriate search strategies and using appropriate databases.

    We will explore the use of Firefox with Zotero for building a database of literature – the bibliographic database – and some Zotero plugins that will give us useful added functionality.

    We will learn how to annotate PDFs from Zotero and how to extract and report on annotations to produce rich reports of the literature.

    This is a bring your own device session and if you bring a laptop with an up-to-date installation of Firefox you will be able to install the software to be used and practise the techniques described.

    There are no pre-requisites for this course.

    Book a place from April 16 (student)

    Book a place from April 16 (staff)


    Digital Skills Development courses for the summer term

    By Caroline Norris, on 12 April 2018

    ISD Digital Skills Development have released new dates for this term. Courses and workshops cover UNIX, Excel, Photoshop, R, Stata, SPSS and more. We are also running Word courses to help you write up your dissertation or thesis.

    Most courses take place in computer workrooms so there is no need to bring your own device.  However, you should bring your own (fully charged!) laptop for Kick-starting your literature review and all R sessions.

    If you can’t attend any of the dates or there is no date available for the course you want, enrol on our Moodle course to be notified of future sessions.

    For a full list of all courses and workshops visit the student course catalogue or the staff course catalogue.  Visit the HR booking system for all bookings.

    Our student booking system is currently unavailable.  If you are student you can book via the link above.  You will initially receive an email saying that you are on the reserve list.  If a place is available you will receive a further email within 2 working days (or before the course, whichever is sooner) confirming your place. 

    Excel Essential Skills – WORKSHOP 1 is not on the HR booking system
    The workshop on 2 May is full.  If you wish to book for 9 May please email

    The Digital Skills Development at IOE programme offers training in a wide range of apps including: blogging, mind mapping, infographics, screencasting, live polling, Microsoft Sway, SharePoint, Office 2013 applications, Endnote and more. Bookings are open to all UCL staff and students.  Visit Digital Skills Development at IOE – Course Bookings for the full schedule and to book.  The Digital Skills Development at IOE training updates newsletter is now available in Microsoft Sway format.

    Don’t forget, we have a vast range of high-quality video-based courses available at These cover technical skills but also business, personal and creative skills as well.  Visit the UCL page to find out more.

    Not sure what you need or have a more specific issue you would like help with?  Come along to one of the Digital Skills Development drop ins if you want more individual support.

    Gold for Icarus – UCL School of Management Simulator Scoops First Prize

    By Jessica Gramp, on 3 March 2018

    Icarus – a simulation tool developed by UCL School of Management academics – has won 1st prize in the ‘Best use of simulations or virtual environments for learning’ category at the 2017 Learning Technologies Awards.

    Lynsie Chew, Programme Director (MSc Professional Accountancy), and Alan Parkinson, Deputy Director (Education), who initiated and managed the simulator, attended the awards on 29 November where they were awarded Gold 1st place in their category.

    The simulator, which is used in teaching on the School’s MSc Professional Accountancy, simulates running an airport, with users able to control a wide-range of aspects including variables such as the number of runways and the rent charged on retail units.

    Icarus was one of six simulators shortlisted at the 2017 awards.

    The UCL MSc in Professional Accountancy, in partnership with global accountancy body ACCA, is unique in its virtual availability to students located around the world.

    The University approached Unicorn and LAS to design and build a complex and highly immersive simulation which would allow groups of learners from around the world to collaborate and work in teams over different time zones. This was ICARUS – a sophisticated, multi-layered, immersive and above all, realistic business simulation. The judges felt that the choice of an airport as the focus was inspired because of the wide range of businesses and services and the complexities they introduce, that contribute to its success or otherwise. Particularly impressive was the ease with which the simulation can be customised and updated with real world events as they happen and how the impact of what may appear as an isolated incident can affect different parts of the business in very different ways.

    Focusing on demonstrable learner engagement and tangible outcomes required to secure the future of the programme, this project has been an unprecedented success: it boasts a 40% rise in uptake, and 95% student pass rate.

    This post is an amalgamation of  content from the following sites: