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    Archive for the 'Our Views' Category

    Windows 7 Colour and Font Modifications Missing from Windows 10

    By Michele Farmer, on 7 January 2019

    The issue is that in previous versions of Windows, you were able to get into the settings to change the colour of the window background, so that when you opened a Microsoft Word or Excel file, the background colour on your screen was your chosen shade.

    The window option allowed a colour chart to open up, where you could move the cursor around to find the exact shade you were looking for (alla Win 98, 2000, XP, 2007, etc.). In Microsoft 10, there is no simple option.

    The current accessibility options provided by MS for Win 10 are pretty awful.

    I have been in touch with Microsoft and they say that due to complaints that they will be bringing this facility back, but we do not know when.

    This window is no longer available

    Screenshot of Windows 7 colour and appearance options

    In the meantime UCL users can access a ‘Screenmasking’ option from a networked piece of software called TextHelp Read and Write. This software is either found on the Desktop@UCL, or from the Software Centre or Database.

    Screen-masking Option Menu in TextHelp Read and Write

    Innovating Pedagogy 2019

    By Clive Young, on 4 January 2019

    The latest Innovating Pedagogy report from The Open University explores ten innovative trends in teaching, learning and assessment in eduction.

    Aimed to inform ‘teachers and policy makers’, the annual report – this is the seventh – is free to download from www.open.ac.uk/innovating

    The 2019 report was written in collaboration with the Centre for the Science of Learning and Technology (SLATE) in Bergen, Norway and sketches ten trends ‘in currency’ that they think have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice at all levels. These are listed below “in approximate order of immediacy and timescale to widespread implementation”. Digital education features of course, “technology can help us to do new things, rooted in our understanding of how teaching and learning take place”.

    • Playful learning Evoke creativity, imagination and happiness
    • Learning with robots Use software assistants and robots as partners for conversation
    • Decolonising learning Recognise, understand, and challenge the ways in which our world is shaped by colonialism
    • Drone-based learning Develop new skills, including planning routes and interpreting visual clues in the landscape
    • Learning through wonder Spark curiosity, investigation, and discovery
    • Action learning Team-based professional development that addresses real and immediate problems
    • Virtual studios Hubs of activity where learners develop creative processes together
    • Place-based learning Look for learning opportunities within a local community and using the natural environment
    • Making thinking visible Help students visualise their thinking and progress
    • Roots of empathy Develop children’s social and emotional understanding

    Some of these ideas will be familiar, others more novel so the short sketches provide a useful overview and update, with links to further exploration.

    Ethics education in taught courses – not just a STEM issue?

    By Samantha Ahern, on 18 December 2018

    On the 12th December I visited Central St Martins for the UAL Teaching Platform event Ethics in Arts, Design and Media Education. Much of the discourse at present is focused on ethics education in STEM discplines such as Computer Science and Data Science, or more predominantly the lack of meaningful education.  Much of this has been driven by growing concerns around the algorithms deployed in social media applications and seemingly rapid growth of AI based applications. The House of Lords AI report explicitly talks about the need for ethics education in compulsory education if society and not just the UK economy is to benefit.

    I was intrigued by a potentially alternative viewpoint.

    The role of the arts is to push the boundaries, but are there limits to artisitic expression?

    Are rebellion and social responsibility mutually exclusive?

    UAL seem to think not.

    The focus of the day was ethics in the context of what students make and do, in postgraduate and undergraduate taught course contexts. UAL aim to entwine ethics into the creative process, developing ethics as lived practice.

    One approach to this has been the development of the Bigger Picture unit which requires groups of students to undertake both collaborative practice and participatory design projects. Some of these projects required students to work with vulnerable members of society e.g. the homeless. How do we ensure that the participants equally benefit and not exploited? Throughout the unit students were encouraged to work collaboratively with these participants respectfully, honestly and with integrity. To enable this, explicit sections on ethical considerations were added to the unit handbook and project brief.

    Additionally, UAL has been working on the development of an Educational Ethics Code and establishing an educational ethics committee.

    The code has 3 main themes, these are:

    • Respect for persons
      • Respecting the autonomy of others
    • Justice
      • Does everybody benefit?
      • Are there privilege and power differences?
      • What social good will the project do?
    • Beneficence
      • The art of doing good and no harm

    There was a general acknowledgement amongst the attendees that many of the ethical decisions we make are situation specific and timebound,with key consideration to be given to who is part of the conversation and who has got the power? Privilege and power are important considerations, especially when it comes to consent models, regardless of discpline.

    It was also acknowledged that there is a fineline between support (e.g. timely guidance) and imposition (e.g. lengthy formal ethical review processes).

    Attending this event made me wonder: is this just one part of a much wider debate around compassion and social responsibility? To my mind it is.

    Event related readings:

     

     

     

    Call for Participants

    By Samantha Ahern, on 19 November 2018

    Participants required for the following study:

    What synergies or conflicts exist between current Higher Education Institution Learning Analytics and student wellbeing polices?

    As part of an ongoing response to increasing concerns around student wellbeing and mental health UUK, in their September 2017 #StepChange report, recommended the alignment of learning analytics with student wellbeing. However, is it currently possible for these to be aligned?

    The aim of this study is to identify the key characteristics of existing policies relating to student wellbeing and learning analytics across the UK Higher Education sector, and the synergies or conflicts that exist between them. This will help to establish whether, at present, learning analytics and student wellbeing initiatives are sufficiently aligned, and if amendments are required to aid alignment.

    The study is looking to recruit HEIs who would be willing to share their institutional policies related to student support and wellbeing, and where applicable learning analytics.

    For details of the study please view the study’s Information Sheet.

    If you would like your institution to participate in the study please complete and return the Registration Form by Monday 21st January 2019.

    Participating institutions will be requested to share their policies by Monday 21st January 2019.

    Please return competed registration forms either via email (s.ahern@ucl.ac.uk) or by post to the address below:

    Ms S. Ahern

    ISD –  Digital Education

    UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

    This project is registered under, reference No Z6364106/2018/11/55 social research in line with UCL’s Data Protection Policy.

    Download (DOCX, 36KB)

    Download (DOCX, 36KB)

    Zoomtext and Dragon for Mac – Discontinued

    By Michele Farmer, on 6 November 2018

    Zoomtext has been discontinued for the Mac. At present I do not know what they have planned, if at all, for a replacement.

    The individual Dragon for Mac has also been discontinued, however, users will be able to access Dragon for their Macs via a subscription service for Dragon Anywhere. Information on the Dragon changes can be found here.

     

     

    Free LERU online digital HE summit

    By Clive Young, on 24 October 2018

     

    Do you want to talk and learn about the latest ideas and practical solutions in digital education? To see how digital approaches have enhanced blended and online education in other research universities?

    Sign up for the free online sessions at the Digital Higher Education Summit, a blended conference from LERU (League of European Research Universities), of which UCL is a member . The Online Conference will run from the 1st until the 29th of November 2018. 

    The blended conference comprises a ‘virtual’ online pre-conference and a face-to-face event in Utrecht. The on-campus conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands is an invitation-only event. The online conference is open to everyone. Many on-campus events will continue the topics from the online activities. The Blended Conference starts online on November 1st, four weeks before (some of) the participants convene in Utrecht.

    The LERU theme group on digital education is organising this first ever blended conference to disseminate knowledge of and experiences with digital teaching solutions in this group of leading universities. The blended approach will give a wide group of teachers and staff members the opportunity to build networks and hear about the latest developments from the different task groups.

    Please sign up if you are interested in any of these topics:

    • Video and media
    • Academic development
    • E-assessment

    … and many others

    They will keep you updated on the schedule of activities around these topics. You can also sign up for the already scheduled online activities on the online community.

    There are two ways to join the online conference:

    • As an active participant – actively joining the discussion, exchanging knowledge and experiences concerning specific topics
    • As an passive participant – hear about the latest developments from the different task groups and create new networks

    The online conference can only accommodate a limited number of active participants, so register soon on this link, https://leru.educate-it.nl/

    Video introductionLERU online digital HE summit 2018