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    Archive for the 'General Learning Technology' Category

    ISD Digital Roadshow@IOE

    By Clive Young, on 24 May 2016


    Join us for a digital roadshow on June 29th 10.30-3.30pm, Nunn Hall, Level 4, UCL Institute of Education. All staff and students are welcome.

    Listen to key ideas about digital capabilities in relation to educational practice from Diana Laurillard and Nazlin Bhimani. Find out about the range of digital services available from UCL ISD and IT for IOE in short talks and PechaKucha presentations.

    Get practical support and share ideas and issues on stalls including; ‘There’s an app for that’, a ‘Mac Brilliance bar’, ‘The digital library‘, Digital Media Services and much more.

    Network with colleagues over a brown bag lunch, share ideas and concerns and find out how ISD and  IT for IOE and the UCL IOE Library can help staff and students.

    It’s off to work we go: the role of universities and employers in developing digital skills for employability.

    By Moira Wright, on 5 May 2016

    Off to workThe next UCL Digital Literacy Special Interest Group will be taking place on June 9th from 2- 5.00 pm  (ticket link at the end this post).

    The report ‘Digital skills for the UK economy’ (ECORYS UK, 2016), strongly suggests that the vast majority of the workforce increasingly need the confidence, skills and competences to use digital resources in the workplace. Although Higher Education institutions provide support for their learners in developing these skills, often at a high level, these efforts may be more focused on enhancing the student experience and achievement within the education environment than on their employability.

    Indications are that workplace skills are better developed outside the traditional functional skills development model designed for the more specific occupations of the past and instead perhaps should focus on real-world learning experiences and novel approaches to help graduates develop the workplace skills needed today. A recent Spectator article about their internships highlighted ‘ If you write well but can’t edit an audio file or make short video (or work out how to) then this internship is probably not for you’ (Nelson et al, 2016) and novel ways of such as interactive infographics instead of CV’s being used to attract prospective employers attention becoming more commonplace such as this example –

    Jisc have suggested embedding these skills within ‘connected curricula’ and recognising the lifelong learning aspects of employability as a graduate attribute could be underpinned by technology (JISC, 2015). The recent introduction by QAA of the themes of digital literacy and student partnership in developing employability have highlighted the need for higher education to face up to the challenge of delivering practical support in digital and workplace know-how to enhance graduate attributes (QAA, 2015).

    Adaptability, flexibility, complex problem solving, working in a team and an ability to use an ever increasing range of digital platforms, technologies and environments are the abilities that the modern workplace requires – irrespective of role or career choice.

    Who is responsible for developing these digital skills for employability – the university, the employer or the student?

    This event will explore the issues around technology, digital skills and employability in order to provide an opportunity to reflect on evidence, good practice, challenges and opportunities.


    Hugh Mannerings – Academic Lead for Retention & Attainment at Higher Education Academy

    Tobias Buschel – UCL PG student – slack / student projects

    Stephane Goldstein – SCONUL 7 Pillars employability lens

    Laura Firmin and Sophia Donaldson – UCL Careers – internships at UCL

    Charlie Inskip – UCL Department of Information Studies

    Please note the programme will be updated in due course with further details about the sessions and is subject to change.


    ECORYS UK (2016) Digital skills for the UK economy. Available: [ Accessed March 7th 2016]

    Nelson, F., Ross, D., Thompson, D., Chancellor, A. and Beasley-Murray, B. (2016) Internships at the spectator for summer 2016. No CVs, please | coffee house. Available at: (Accessed: 14 March 2016).

    JISC (2015) Technology for employability. Available: [Accessed March 7th 2016]

    QAA (2015) Higher Education Review: Themes for 2015-2016. Available: [Accessed March 7th 2016]

    HM Treasury, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, The Rt Hon George Osborne and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid (2015) Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation. Available at: (Accessed: 10 March 2016).

    HEA, Learning and Employability series 1 and 2 (2006) Available at: (Accessed: 10 March 2016).

    Are we using technology effectively to support student employability?
    Available at: (Accessed: 22 March 2016).

    Link to registration and tickets via EventbriteIt’s off to work we go: the role of universities and employers in developing digital skills for employability.

    For any queries about this event or the UCL DL SIG please email:

    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: (Accessed: 5 March 2016).

    [3]ESL and Popular Culture (2012) The owl and the pussycat ~ poem with text. Available at: (Accessed: 6 March 2016).

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

    Watch us!

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 2 March 2016

    As you may or may not know there is a lot of information on Digital Education and our services in the UCL wiki pages, including Moodle Resource Centre, Lecturecast Resource Centre or the MyPortfolio Resource Centre.

    However, there are some resources you might not know about, such as the UCL Student E-Learning Services – which provides useful guidance for students on how to do things such as submit work and interact with Lecturecast recordings.

    We also have a couple of pages that we use to update you, that you might want to ‘watch’. By watching a page on the UCL wiki you will get updates when it is changed. Think of it like subscribing to the page for updates. Just log into the wiki and then navigate to the page you want to watch. There you will find a ‘watch’ button in the top right, alongside the page title.

    Digital Education pages to watch:

    New Feature – We use this page to post about changes to Moodle whenever we carry out an upgrade. A lot of the time these changes are behind the scenes, so we don’t detail these. Instead we link to the official Moodle release notes for anyone who is particularly interested in the exact details. If there is anything notable that has changed this will be listed on the page. You will also notice that there are sub-pages dedicated to each of our summer upgrades. As these tend to be larger upgrades, with more changes we have dedicated spaces to detail all of these changes. ‘Watch’ the New Features page to get notifications when we update the page after a Moodle upgrade.

    Turnitin: Service Status and Known Issues – This page is a great resource for anyone who uses Turnitin. The Turnitin: Service Status and Known Issues page can be used to monitor the state of Turnitin, and is the best place to check if you suspect there might be a problem with the system. There is an embedded version of Turnitin’s own service status Twitter feed, which is where they will post of any outages. The Twitter feed is somewhere Digital Education have to check ourselves as well, so it’s good to check. There is also a table of Known Issues, which we are currently working with Turnitin to resolve. This includes details of any workarounds that can be used whilst the problem is fixed. Additionally you will find a Turnitin Quirks table, this is a list of features in Turnitin that are working as intended but perhaps not as desired by some users. We would also recommend you ‘watch this page’ (see steps above) to be among the first to know if there are any problems with the Turnitin system.

    Migration to Turnitin Single Version

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 15 February 2016

    As you may or may not know UCL is currently running two versions of the Turnitin plugin in Moodle. However when we do the summer upgrade of Moodle (22nd – 27 July) we will be removing one of these version of the plugin. During the upgrade process we will be removing Turnitin v1, meaning that after the upgrade is completed we will have only Turnitin v2 left on the Moodle system.

    There are a few reasons why we are making this change, although the main reason is that Turnitin v1 is nearing the end of its life cycle. Turnitin are currently trying to phase out the plugin, and the version of Moodle we need to upgrade is not compatible with Turnitin v1. Therefore we will be transitioning to using only Turnitin v2. This single version will make it much easier for Digital Education to offer support with Turnitin issues, and it will also mean that support documentation is less confusing if you are unsure which version you are using.

    Some of you may already be using Turnitin v2, if this is the case then you will simply to continue doing as you have been doing. If you are currently using Turnitin v1 then you may wish to look at our documentation for Turnitin v2. Hopefully you will see that the two versions work pretty much the same, although we think Turnitin v2 can be easier to use as it only has two screens to use – the submission inbox and the settings. (Please note: there are also ‘Turnitin Tutor’ and ‘Turnitin Student’ tabs but these are only for institutions that use both the Moodle plugin and access Turnitin directly through the web, which we do not do at UCL).

    Some of the many other benefits of Turnitin v2 are as follows:

    Easier to support – as mentioned before, if there is only 1 version to support we don;t need to spend time figuring our which version you are using. This also eliminates the risk of misunderstanding when communicating about errors that affect particular versions.
    Easier to use (edit dates within settings) – All the settings for Turnitin v2 can be found in a single place, the settings page, this makes it much easier to use.
    Submit any file type – It is possible to allow the submission on any file type in a Turnitin v2 assignment. However please note files that cannot be rendered in the document viewer will simply appear as a downloadable link, but you can still use many GradeMark features with them. For more information about file types that will render in the document viewer, please see our FAQ on compatible file types.
    Single view submission inbox – This has also been mentioned else where but it is worth mentioning again. Unlike Turnitin v1, which has many different tabs to navigate between, Turnitin v2 as a single view submission inbox. (As previously stated please ignore the Turnitin Tutor and Turnitin Student tabs, these relate to direct web access which is unsupported at UCL).
    Grade nothing – It is possible to grade offline work via Turnitin v2. Simply click on the grade (pencil) icon next to an empty submission to generate a ‘Grading Template’. This is presented in the document viewer as a plain sheet of paper with a Turnitin logo. You can then use all the normal GradeMark features including voice comments and rubrics.
    Ability to email non-submitters – Turnitin v2 has a button in the submission inbox that allows you to email all students who have not yet submitted, even if anonymous marking is enabled. This will allow you to prompt those who still need to complete submission, without having to struggle around issues of anonymity.
    Bulk download GradeMarked papers (after post-date) – Unlike Turnitin v1, with Turnitin v2 it is possible to bulk download GradeMarked papers after the post-date. This means all the grades, quick marks, comments and rubrics are included in the download. You can read more about how this works in our Turnitin FAQs.

    If you would like to see a video demonstrating some of the above benefits then you can do so on our YouTube Channel.

    Finally, you may be wondering about your existing Turnitin v1 assignments. These will all remain functional and accessible after the transition. All previous assignments will be available in the Moodle Snapshot. For any submission expected after the summer upgrade (22nd – 27th July 2016) we do ask that you set these up using Turnitin v2. 

    As the use of the two version is fairly similar there will be no official face-to-face training sessions run by Digital Education, but if you would like to see more about how to set up a Turnitin v2 assignment please see our videos on our YouTube channel.

    If you would like to read more about the Moodle Summer Upgrade you can do so else where on our blog.


    Introducing Digital Education – the new name for E-learning Environments.

    By Fiona Strawbridge, on 21 January 2016

    We’ve changed our name! RIP E-Learning Environments; welcome to the world, Digital Education!

    Why have we done this?

    Our remit has broadened in the last year as the IT Training team has joined us, so Digital Education better reflects the scope of the whole team’s work. The

    Your Name here - Image credit Mike Licht,

    Image credit Mike Licht,

    name change also aligns better with our institutional Education strategy. More broadly, ‘digital this’, ‘digital that’ and ‘digital the other’ seem to be replacing IT, ICT and e- in common parlance and our sister teams in ISD have also now renamed for 2016 – Creative Media Services are now Digital Media, and Web & Mobile Services are now Digital Presence.

    What does it mean for your services and support?

    There have been no changes to the teams or the brilliant support from us that you have all be accustomed to. Only the names of the teams have changed:

    • Digital Education Core Services (formerly E-Learning Services)
    • Digital Education Advisory (formerly E-Learning Advisory)
    • Digital Education Futures (formerly E-Learning Developments)
    • IT Training (watch this space – name change coming…)
    • Learning Spaces

    If you need to contact us to get support, our email is now (this replaces
    Our blog is now:
    And we’re still wading through our website editing links, but for now you can still go to to find out more about the team and our services.

    What’s next?

    Of course changes like this take a while to bed in – we still catch ourselves referring to ELE, and we’re having to update lots of links and documentation (ok – there have been quite a few unforeseen consequences!)  But we are very pleased to bring in the new year with our new name.

    For now, we hope the change to Digital Education acts as a reminder that digital technologies are woven into the fabric of the way students learn and teachers teach as well as our institutional strategies. We continue to look forward to working together by blending the digital with education and making UCL excel at delivering world class teaching and learning to its students for many years to come.