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    Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

    Course Overview – Navigating Moodle 3.1

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 21 September 2016

    Over the summer we upgraded Moodle to the latest stable version, which brought a number of new feature, many of which you can read about in our Moodle Resource Centre wiki New Features section.

    One of the biggest changes, which has caused some concern, is the new Moodle Course Overview block which fills the centre of the My Home page in Moodle (what you see when you first log in).

    Therefore I’d like to take some time to explain a bit more about how this block works, you can also find some guidance from the external Moodle HQ in the Moodle Docs for Course overview block.

    As well as listing courses, as the My Courses block previously did, this new block also offers an overview of activities on your course which may need attention, including Moodle Assignments, Turnitin Assignments, SCORM packages and forums.  If these have pending activities then they will display a message saying ‘You have ‘x’ [activity name]s that need attention’.

    If you click where it says that it will expand to show details of what the activity is and what actions may be required:

    • For Moodle Assignments this notice should only show for students if there is a submission (or re-submission) required and for tutors/ course admins if grading is required.
    • With the Forum this notification will display until you have accessed the forum, and until you have logged out and then logged in again – so it will display until you next log in to Moodle.
    • For Turnitin and SCORM activities the notification is a little different, as it will always display the activity but by clicking it you can confirm if the required submission/ grading has taken place.

    Please note this lack of clarity in language and information displayed has been communicated to Moodle and we are watching their future releases to see when this will be made clearer.

    The Navigation block on the right-hand side still features a ‘My courses’ list, which shows all the courses you are enrolled on in a much more compact way. This may be a better navigation tool than the Course overview, which can be limited in how many courses it displays. Alternatively you might also want to use the search box located above the Course overview block.

    Hopefully this explains it a little better. If you still have any questions then please contact the ISD Service Desk.

     

    Remember to reset before adding new students.

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 14 September 2016

    As with previous years, now that the Moodle Snapshot has been taken, and the upgrade has been successfully performed, all Moodle courses that have completed their yearly cycle or are no longer in use need to be reset.

    PLEASE NOTE. IF YOU ARE RUNNING A POSTGRADUATE COURSE, OR ANOTHER COURSE THAT CURRENTLY STILL HAS ACTIVE STUDENTS OR PENDING SUBMISSION – DO NOT RESET.

    Resetting is only for course which concludes prior to the 22nd July 2016 Snapshot. For any other courses please see our guidance on appropriate procedures.

    Why we need to do a course reset?

    Course resets are an essential part of the Moodle housekeeping process because they:-

    • Clear out old student data.
    • Remove students’ permissions from Moodle courses.
    • Remove student records from Moodle database.
    • Increase Moodle performance through database optimisation.
    • Keep our campus licensing agreements at the correct level.
    • Makes existing/current courses easier to manage and less prone to errors.

    What happens if we do not do course resets?

    • We build up dead data in the live database which still has to be queried by the system which in turn impacts upon Moodle’s performance.
    • We have to count these expired students against our Licensing for systems such as Turnitin, which increase our costs.

    But how do I do a course reset?

    Instructions on how to do a reset are located here https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/bR88AQ

    Portico

    During the upgrade process all Portico mappings in Moodle were de-activated. This was to ensure that no students are accidentally unenrolled when the Portico team implement the new enrolment data for the 2016-17 academic year.

    If you wish to keep existing students on a Moodle course (for example masters course, courses with an end date after 22nd July) then please DO NOT reactivate the Portico mappings.

    If you are resetting your course for the 2016-17 academic year, and all required data is saved in the Moodle Snapshot (https://moodle-snapshot.ucl.ac.uk) then please remember to re-activate Portico mappings.

    You can find out more about the Portico enrolment block on the Moodle Resource Centre wiki: https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/MoodleResourceCentre/Enrolment+-+Portico+enrolments

    The Moodle Snapshot (previously called archive)

    For anyone worried about a loss of historical data, please remember on the 22nd July 2016 we took the Moodle annual snapshot. This snapshot is a point in time capture of Moodle including all the student data, that is set in a read only mode for you to access as required as a separate instance from live Moodle (previous instances are located here http://moodle-archive.ucl.ac.uk/).

    My Course requires a reset at a different period of the year. What do I do?

    For those courses such as postgraduate, medical and other non-standard timetabled courses and modules please see the following guidance page.  https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/sBxiAQ

    We greatly appreciate you help in this activity any questions please contact the ISD Service Desk (https://ucl.ac.uk/isd/help)

    UCL students win Jisc Summer of Student Innovation Prize

    By Janina Dewitz, on 9 September 2016

    Know It Wall has been announced as a Summer of Student Innovation winner, bagging £10,000 in funds to further develop their idea in collaboration with Jisc.

    On 23 August, seven of the 15 Summer of Student Innovation ‘Student Ideas’ first round winners beat the competition to secure further funding and support from Jisc to develop their ideas into real products ready for market. Following a four day Jisc run ‘design sprint’ in Birmingham, the student teams went head to head to persuade the judges in a Dragon’s Den style pitch, and we are proud to announce that Know It Wall came out on top!

    Know It Wall aims to make current academic research accessible to the intellectually curious public through the use of text and high quality audio-visual content. So far the team have produced 18 episodes on topics ranging from human memory to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Team Know It Wall is planning to spend the prize money on producing video content and the development of additional features to the website.

    Feeling curious? Dip right in at http://knowitwall.com !

    Find out more about the project…

     


    The Summer of Student Innovation is in its fourth year and is managed by Jisc. More information is available at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/student-innovation.

    “The competition really does show that students are best placed to address education sector issues, and their innovative ideas are perfect for supporting learning, teaching or research”
    – Andy McGregor, Deputy Chief Innovations Officer, Jisc

    Have you got students with an innovative edtech idea? Digital Education Futures can provide support and mentorship.

    Contact Janina Dewitz, Innovations Officer, j.dewitz@ucl.ac.uk

     

    Lecturecast archiving complete

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 18 August 2016

     

    Lecturecast archiving is now complete. This means that content that is required for use can now be unarchived – this is straightforward and details are given in the Lecturecast Guide here http://bit.ly/17m3JOX

    Next academic year the usual monthly content deletion cycle will commence in October, according to the Lecturecast Archive Policy http://bit.ly/2bshOix

    PLEASE NOTE: Archived material will only be deleted two years after the date of its capture/recording. Thus it is critical to move old material out of the archive if you want it retained for viewing
    If you have any questions or concerns surrounding this procedure please contact the ISD Service Desk.

    Box of Broadcasts August upgrade

    By Jessica Gramp, on 3 August 2016

    Box of Broadcasts TV

    UCL staff and students have access to audio and video content from free-to-air TV and radio channels through UCL’s Box of Broadcasts subscription. Staff can also make clips and embed this media into their Moodle courses without worrying about infringing copyright. And unlike YouTube, the clip will remain indefinitely.

    On 1 August 2016 the new Box of Broadcasts (BoB) went live with a fresh look, enhanced video quality and more powerful searching capabilities. The search now returns ordered results in a much easier to follow format.

    From September, BoB will deliver a whole host of improvements:

    • A platform working across desktop, iOS and Android devices.
    • More powerful searching capabilities (using TRILT metadata).
    • Better programme coverage and a permanent archive of content from nine channels:
      • BBC1 London.
      • BBC2 .
      • BBC4.
      • ITV London.
      • Channel 4.
      • More4.
      • Channel 5.
      • BBC Radio 4.
      • BBC Radio 4 Extra.
    • Better thumbnail previews on search results.
    • Preview clips before saving.
    • Label your own clips.
    • Personalised email alerts when programmes are ready to view.
    • More detailed citation data.

    Limited content and functionality during upgrade period

    Throughout August some of BoB archive content and some functionality won’t be available during the upgrade period.

    On 1 August you won’t be able to access your saved clips and playlists, but don’t worry these will be accessible again in September. Also, you may not be able to access some archive content broadcast before 1 July 2016. There will be some programmes in the archive available before this date but not everything.  The archive content and enhanced functionality will be restored in September, along with all the exciting new features. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during the upgrade period.

    Find out more

    You can now find Box of Broadcasts on their new Twitter handle @OnDemandBoB. All followers and previous tweets will stay attached to the new handle, so if you’re following us you don’t need to do anything. Just make sure you tag @OnDemandBoB in your BoB tweets, as the old handle will no longer be active.
    To promote the BoB upgrade to staff and students here’s a short video highlighting all the exciting improvements.

    Check out the new Box of Broadcasts

    The new link to BoB is learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand.

    However, bobnational.net  will redirect here so you can still use that.

    Coming soon to Moodle

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 12 July 2016

    The Moodle summer upgrade will take place between the 22nd – 27th July 2016. During this process Moodle will see a number of improvements and new features.

    These include an enhanced grading interface for PDF submission in Moodle assignments, a new Turnitin marking interface (called Feedback Studio) and the ability to pin discussion in forums.

    If you would like to read more please see the New Features page in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki.