Digital Education team blog
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    Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

    Feature Focus!

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 8 March 2016

    There’s a wide web out there, with lots of possibilities to be achieved by utilising the plethora of creative and helpful online tools. MyPortfolio is a great resource to pull all of this external content together, in one easily viewable and shareable space. To compliment the external tools, there is also a lot you can do with internal tools such as journals and files. Once you are happy with your page(s) you can even choose a Creative Commons License to help make your content more easily shareable, and help create a bigger impact with your work.

    To see a demonstration of some of possibilities of what you can embed and create with MyPortfolio check out our Feature Focus! MyPortfolio collection.

    Explore. Play. Learn.

    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.

    IMPORTANT: No new Turnitin v1 assignment inboxes after the 22nd March 2016

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 26 February 2016

    Earlier this month it was announced that during the Moodle summer upgrade UCL will be moving to a single version of Turnitin, as Turnitin v1 assignments will no longer be supported by Moodle or Turnitin.

    To help ease this transition we will be preventing the creation of new assignments using the Turnitin v1 activity on Tuesday 22nd March.

    After this date, students will continue to be able to submit to existing Turnitin v1 assignments, but it will not be possible for Tutors and Course Administrators to create new Turnitin v1 assignments.

    This decision has been taken to prevent anyone accidentally setting up an assignment with Turnitin v1 that will then not work after the 27th July 2016 (when we complete the Moodle upgrade).

    If you need to set up a new Turnitin assignment after the 22nd March 2016, please use the Turnitin v2 activity.

    Instructions on how to set up an assignment with Turnitin v2 can be found in the UCL Moodle Resource Centre wiki.

    Tips: Managing affiliate student enrollment in Moodle

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 24 February 2016

    Digital Education have had a number of questions recently, all centred around Portico Enrolments being on and automatically removing Affiliate / Term 1 only students after they are no longer ‘active’ in Portico (but may still need Moodle access).

    Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do at a technical level to address this. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution, it just means the solution is more of a work around. This post is here to give you our top tips on managing affiliate student enrolment in Moodle.

    We would advise either:

    A)      Affiliates should be manually or self enrolled, so that it Portico changes have no impact.  (Downside could be extra work for admins).


    B)      Portico Enrolments are de-activated once the cohort is ‘set’ so that Moodle ignores Portico changes.  (Downside is any genuine joiners / leavers not updated).

    Hopefully this is helpful. As always if you have any other questions you can contact the Digital Education team by raising a ticket in the self-service portal or by phoning the ISD Service Desk.

    Turnitin Maintenance 5th March, 15:00 – 19:00 GMT

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 22 February 2016

    The Digital Education team have received the following notification from Turnitin that they will be carrying out maintenance on the 5th March between 15:00 – 19:00 GMT. This means the system will be unavailable during this time. All tutors and/or course administrators are advised to ensure they do not have submission deadlines during this time.


    From Turnitin:

    Scheduled Maintenance on March 5th

    Hello there,

    Turnitin services may be intermittently unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 7 AM to 11 AM U.S. Pacific Time<>.

    An announcement will appear for users within Turnitin in advance of when the system will be unavailable for this scheduled maintenance. This maintenance will affect Turnitin and TurnitinUK users.

    Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.

    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.