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    Archive for the 'e-Learning Development Grants (ELDG)' Category

    Addressing ten Moodle accessibility concerns for UCL’s disabled users

    By Jessica Gramp, on 17 May 2017

    UCL staff from Digital Education Advisory and UCL’s Disability Services teams are currently looking at how to improve the accessibility of UCL Moodle for those with disabilities, which will benefit all users. Information from two focus groups, one with students and one with staff, have highlighted a number of concerns, which the Accessible Moodle project aims to address.

    The focus groups identified ten areas of concern (listed in order of priority):

    • Clutter – it is difficult to find what you are looking for amongst irrelevant links and content.
    • Emphasis – understanding what is the most important information is not easy.
    • Layout – page elements are not configurable, there is too much visible at once and the blocks are too wide.
    • Navigation and Orientation – pages are long and disorganised, with links to external services not adequately signposted.
    • Usability – some interfaces, especially for assessments, are particularly difficult to use.
    • Awareness – useful features (skip links) and services (Moodle snapshot) remain unknown to those who would benefit from them.
    • Personalisation – there’s a lack of configurable page elements (blocks, fonts, font sizes and colours) or information about how to do this independently with browser plugins and other assistive technologies.
    • Text – there’s a lot of overly long text that is too small, in a difficult to read font with poor contrast and in difficult formats both in Moodle and the resources it contains.
    • Consistency – there’s inconsistencies between some Moodle courses and conversely some courses not being adequately distinguishable from others.
    • Graphics – there’s heavy reliance of written information that could be expressed more simply with icons and images, with appropriate alternative text for those using screen readers.

    The learning curve of using new interfaces, problems with assessment, and clunky mobile access were also mentioned by the focus group participants.

    These issues will be addressed by a number of initiatives:

    • A new, more accessible UCL Moodle theme for use on desktop and mobile devices.
    • Changes to Moodle configuration.
    • Enhanced Moodle features.
    • Improved training, staff development and support.
    • Proposals to Moodle HQ and iParadigms (who provide Turnitin) to improve interfaces.

    Further updates on this project will follow on the Digital Education blog.

    Moodle in the classroom

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 4 November 2016

    Words by Rebecca Yerworth:

    We all know that it is good to make lectures interactive and that there are many tools out there to help us. Various departments have invested in hardware and software to enable students to ‘vote’ or submit other responses during lectures… but how many of us use these tools? I am technically savvy and keen to apply best practice in my teaching, yet I cannot face using them! I want to, I love the concept, but have been put off by the need to install software and setup session specific activations, quite apart from the need to train myself and the students in how to use the systems. There had to be a better way I thought, how about Moodle? I’m used to putting lecture notes on it, and students are used to navigating to the right course page to find them … are there any Moodle activates which could be used within a lecture?

    So I applied for an E-learning development grant, which funded a student (Bindia) to work with me on exploring this.

    We found that “Hot Question” was the simplest and most versatile tool, but also successfully tried out “Choice” and quiz questions where you drag and drop labels on to an image (this worked really well the second time … once we had shrunk the image and shortened the labels so that they fitted on to smartphone screens!).

    I love using the ‘hot question’ activity as a virtual flip chart, and it came into its own during the revision sessions.  I displayed an exam style question on the board, and instructed students to answer part 1 via Moodle. A couple of minutes later there was a bunch of answers simultaneously displayed on the board and the students devices. “Between them these two would get full marks” I commented before going on to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the answers.  One mouse click created a new page in the activity and we moved on to another part of the question, with the previous page save for students to review later.  Students reported how helpful they found this session – and the saved answers that they could look back on later.

    Another activity which received positive feedback from the students was when we used ‘choice’ in conjunction with an on-line multi-choice medical ethics activity. The class worked through the case study together, anonymously entering their guess/answer to each question in Moodle. I then selected the most popular option on the website… “oups, most of us would have acted outside of General Medical Council Guidelines… well done the 10% of you that selected option c.” Having to enter their own choice forced the students to think through these tricky issues, and seeing what the rest of the class choose helped provide reassurance and an understanding of what other students thought.

    We made some user guides, which will be available via the UCL-Moodle help wiki, in the hope that others will be inspired to try out Moodle-In-lectures. If you do, it would be interesting to hear how you got on.

    I will defiantly be using more Moodle in lectures this year. As well as setting up specific activates, I will make sure I have a generically labelled ‘Hot questions’ and ‘Choice’ on every page that I can use and reuse for impromptu activities – like when a student ask a good question and you want to find out what the rest of the class think before providing the answer.

    Introducing the new E-Learning Baseline

    By Jessica Gramp, on 7 June 2016

    UCL E-Learning Baseline 2016The UCL E-Learning Baseline is now available as a printable colour booklet. This can be downloaded from the UCL E-Learning Baseline wiki page: http://bit.ly/UCLELearningBaseline

    The 2016 version is a product of merging the UCL Moodle Baseline with the Student Minimum Entitlement to On-Line Support from the Institute of Education.

    The Digital Education Advisory team will be distributing printed copies to E-Learning Champions and Teaching Administrators for use in departments.

    Please could you also distribute this to your own networks to help us communicate the new guidelines to all staff.

    Support is available to help staff apply this to their Moodle course templates via digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

    We are also working on a number of ideas to help people understand the baseline (via a myth busting quiz) and a way for people to show their courses are Baseline (or Baseline+) compliant by way with a colleague endorsed badge.

    See ‘What’s new?’, to quickly see what has changed since the last 2013 Baseline.

     

    ABC Curriculum Design 2015 Summary

    By Natasa Perovic, on 2 December 2015

    (For latest news about ABC LD, visit ABC LD blog)

    ABC Curriculum tour dates for 2016 and Summary of 2015

    For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša

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    Book us early! We start our ABC 2016 tour with a visit to Glasgow!

    The ABC curriculum design method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and designed to help module teams design engaging learning activities. It is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format. More information below.

     

    December 2015 – ALT Winter Conference webinar

    The ABCs of rapid blended course design by Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Recording of the session is available to view here: http://go.alt.ac.uk/1NIpziZ

     

    December 2015A brief overview of ABC curriculum design method by Clive

     

     

    October 2015 – Presentation about the ABC workshops

     

     

     

    September 2015 – Progress with ABC Curriculum design and downloadable ABC workshop resources and participants’ feedback 

     

     

    March 2015 – ABC beginnings, by Clive and Natasa

     

    March 2015 – Blog post about the First ABC Curriculum design workshop

     

    UCL Arena Digital Unit 3: How can we involve students with Campus Pack blogs, wikis and podcasts?

    By Clive Young, on 5 October 2015

    A new unit of UCL Arena Digital is coming!

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    There will be some new additions to UCL Moodle from September 2015. Campus Pack will provide a suite of tools comprising blogs, journals, wikis and podcasts that can be used to support students’ reflective, social learning and collaboration, as well as enabling tutors and students to record audio directly into Moodle.

    This unit will guide you through these new Moodle tools, and discuss ways of using them in your teaching.

    The unit will last two weeks, taking 1-2 hours of your time, culminating in an interactive webinar which will allow you to explore advanced features and take a look at what colleagues are already doing with the tools.

    UCL Arena Digital Unit 3 will run October 19th – 30th 2015.

    Live webinar Wednesday 28st October 2015 2 – 3 pm.

    Go to the course.

     

    Research and Education Space (RES)

    By Jessica Gramp, on 28 May 2015

    RESMark Macey (mark.macey@bbc.co.uk) works on a project named the Research and Education Space (RES) as the Education Engagement Manager, which is being developed through a partnership between the BBC, Jisc and the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), who share the goal of  building a platform that indexes and aggregates materials available for education and research use.

    The RES project aims to help teachers and learners find online teaching resources in all subject areas and at all levels which can be relied on. RES is building an open, accessible catalogue of online educational resources that can be used in both Primary, Secondary, HE and FE teaching, either directly within classroom materials and on electronic whiteboards or in materials developed by educational publishers and software providers. The aim is for RES to make student’s learning more interesting, varied, colourful and informative and to allow teaching to become more enriched across different levels and subjects.

    The RES project is in a developmental phase and research is needed to make the offer as rich and as useful as possible to those in education.

    Mark is planning to hold research groups (made up of teachers from different subjects and across the HE/FE sector) in late June/ early to mid July in White City, west London (dates and times TBC depending on availability of attendees). It would be great to know if this is something that might be of interest and if you might be available and interested to attend to offer your knowledge and experience. If you are interested then please let Mark know (at the above address) what dates you can and can’t do in that period. The meeting is likely to be 4-5 hours. Travel expenses will be paid and there is a fee paid for a replacement teacher or direct to you – as well as tea, coffee, sandwiches and copious biscuits 😉

    There are more details about RES below and on the attached Word doc and Mark would be interested in talking with you once you have read about the project. He is available to answer any more questions you might have.

    Read more about the project here (PDF 368KB)…