Digital Education team blog
  • We support Staff and Students using technology to enhance education at UCL.

    Here you'll find updates on institutional developments, projects we're involved in, updates on educational technology, events, case studies and personal experiences (or views!).

  • Subscribe to the Digital Education blog

  • Meta

  • Tags

  • A A A

    Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

    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.

    Communicating and collaborating

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 11 July 2016

    Whether it is a tutor wanting to communicate with their students, or students wanting to connect with one another for support or group work, the ability to communicate and collaborate with others effectively is critical to university life. Thankfully there is a plethora of ways this can be done, using both external tools or those hosted by UCL.

    One such internal tools is called MyPortfolio. It is an online portfolio tool, that also facilitates connections and collaboration via profile pages and group spaces. One of the really great things about MyPortfolio is that it also allows you to easily embed a wide range of external content, so the limits of what you can do with it are your imagination.

    Why not check out our MyPortfolio YouTube playlist to find out more.

    Understanding the essence(s) of portfolio-based learning

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 15 June 2016

    Last week saw the first ever joint AAEEBL and CRA conference, hosted in Edinburgh between 6th – 8th June 2016 whioch was titled, ‘Understanding the essence(s) of portfolio-based learning’. For those who don’t  know AAEEBL is a US based global portfolio organisation, it stands for the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence Based Learning. CRA is a very similar UK based organisation, with it’s name standing for the Centre for Recording Achievement. So, as you can imagine this was a portfolio conference.

    There were 3 key themes that emerged from the conference. These themes kept popping up in presentations and discussion :

    Scaffolding
    Process not product
    Cultural shift/ change

    Let’s look briefly at these themes below, but if you would like a more detailed look them please see the AAEEBL/ CRA Conference 2016 on my personal blog.

    The first theme,  scaffolding, refers to the importance of having structure around portfolio activities. This predominately broke down into conversations about templates and frameworks for guiding staff and students without restricting them. Templates can be useful for giving students a little bit of direction without restricting their creative freedom (depending on the content and detail of the template). They are also useful because, anecdotally, students can find it overwhelming to simply be given a blank space to do with as they please. A template gives students a starting place. In relation to frameworks this was mostly a discussion about their usefulness for staff, to help give them some scaffolding from which to build a portfolio activity into their module or course, either as a single assessment or as an on-going activity to support learning via reflective practice. It was thought that this framework should be fairly high level, meaning it was not too prescriptive and not software dependant.

    This actually leads quite nicely into the next theme, process not product. There was a strong emphasis on focusing on the process and pedagogy of portfolios and not the product (either meaning the final output or the technological product used to facilitate them). It is easy to become distracted by debating whether you are using the best online portfolio system. At the moment UCL use MyPortfolio, which is based on the Mahara platform. As good practice we will be reviewing the use of this platform in the near future, however whether we use Mahara, WordPress or Office 365 the process of running a successful portfolio is the same and the buttons are not as important as strong pedagogy.

    The final theme is perhaps the one that has the biggest impact for portfolio, especially online portfolio adoption at institutions, and that is the need for a cultural shift/ change. This is perhaps best summarised by an analogy that was used by Trent Batson (President/CEO of AAEEBL) at the conference. He was talking about the American automobile and how it took 35 years to become fully part of US culture. First they invented the automobile and it opened up a lot of possibilities, such as people being able to commute more easily for work. But even after this it still took time to build all the roads, parking spaces and petrol stations needed. The idea was proven but it took a lot longer for the infrastructure to become part of daily culture. It is fairly easy to see how this relates to portfolios. There are a number of case studies out there to prove their potential, however the infrastructure to support them is not fully part of the culture of universities. Portfolios tend to expose the learning process which can be an intimidating prospect for both students and staff a like. However, portfolios can offer a very useful reflective space where you can use journals to do written reflections, and also reflect whilst curating examples of work you have produced that you are going to include in your portfolio. Reflection gives us the ability to stop and think about our thinking, and to understand how we can do better moving forward.

    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.