E-Learning Environments team blog
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    We support Staff and Students using technology to enhance teaching & learning.

    Here you'll find updates on developments at UCL, links & events as well as case studies and personal experiences. Let us know if you have any ideas you want to share!

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    Turnitin upgrade on 2nd September 2014

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 20 August 2014

    Turnitin will be unavailable on 2nd September 2014 from 0800 to 1000 whilst we carry out a routine upgrade.

    On 2nd September we will upgrade Turnitin to version 2. There are many benefits to this upgrade, including submit anything, choose your defaults and more option in the settings.

    Submit anything – You will be able to allow any file type in Turnitin.

    Choose your default – In the settings you’ll be able to set your own defaults that will be used each time you set up an assignment.

    More option in the settings – including attaching a rubric and setting the start, due and post dates.

    Additionally the tabs long to top for a submission are changing. When you click the link on the Moodle course the new version takes you straight into the submission inbox.

    Please note that version 2 of Turnitin will run alongside version 1 for a period and this upgrade will not affect existing assignments. More details on the transition between plugins will follow soon.

    If you have any questions about the upgrade please email ele@ucl.ac.uk and we would be happy to answer your questions or address your concerns.

    All times are for the UK (GMT or BST), for other locations please convert: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

    Humans need not apply — video

    By Matt Jenner, on 18 August 2014

    Humans need not apply is a video on robots, automation and how they will inevitably take over the workforce. If it’s happening, I hope we get to enjoy the show? Or maybe humans and robots can work together as a team. It’s a tricky subject but this video, while slightly contrversial in some of its exclamations is a succinct review of where we’ve come from, where we’re heading and lazy horses. Brilliant.

    We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different. And it’s here. Robots are in the same place where computers were in the 80s and they will get smarter and cheap.

    “Horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There’s little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay.”

    This video isn’t about how automation is bad — rather that automation is inevitable. It’s a tool to produce abundance for little effort.

    News for Lecturecast users: Direct booking is introduced and the Lecturecast Resource Centre gets a make-over.

    By Rod Digges, on 18 August 2014

    neon video sign

     

    A new booking form, linked into the Lecturecast system allows UCL staff members to schedule recordings for portico registered modules directly.

    Staff wishing to book non-portico module recordings should email ele@ucl.ac.uk

    The Lecturecast resource centre  has been substantially updated, giving more detailed information about a number of existing and new topics. We very much hope that the UCL Lecturecast community find the resources both interesting and useful – included is new information about:

    • Live webcasting and an invitation to join with ELE in a preliminary study of its potential for teaching at UCL.
    • The new personal capture client – the PC version is even more user-friendly with a completely new look and feel. The lastest Mac version is more reliable. (PC users should download the latest personal capture software from Lecturecast the old version will no longer automatically update).
    • A new embed facility allowing Lecturecast recordings (voice and display only) to be embedded in Moodle and other web pages – much like embeding a YouTube video.
    • How Lecturecast course instructors can use EchoCenter pages to access viewing figures.

    HEA Senior Fellowship Case Study Series: 4 – Researching learner interaction and engagement with in-class response systems

    By Matt Jenner, on 15 August 2014

    As a four-part series I am openly publishing my case studies previously submitted for my Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I submitted my application in February 2014. If you’re interested in this professional recognition programme, please visit their webpages and look through the Professional Standards Framework (PSF). UCL runs an institutional model for fellowships called ARENA, your institution may run one too – speak to people!

    Case Study 4 – Researching learner interaction and engagement with in-class response systems

    In 2012 I conducted research, in parallel with my job at UCL, focusing on increasing student interaction and staff engagement of an in-class question and response system colloquially known as ‘clickers’. Evidence suggests clickers provide interaction opportunities to stimulate and engage learners[1] and have a benign or positive effect in student performance[2]. Clickers are popular across many disciplines, in particular the physical sciences, but there is a particularly low interest in medical sciences.

    I wanted to directly address this shortcoming so I enlisted two academics in the UCL Medical School. I assimilated the current method of teaching, and the materials used (K1). From here we adapted a learning activity to align with the new tool being applied (A1). I underpinned the use of the technology with existing literature and the evidence of realigning the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side’ [3](K2), which evidence suggests is an effective method for learning and teaching (K3, V3). I provided pre-lecture technical support to reduce technical barriers and was on-hand in the lecture to support as/when needed (A2). Questions were designed into the lectures and the clickers provide immediate feedback (A3). Staff react to clicker data with an approach called ‘contingent teaching’[4] where they dynamically respond to the answers/feedback provided (A3).

    I designed evaluation questions for each lecture based on Bloom’s Taxonomy[5] for learners-based evaluation of the teaching approach and learning outcomes (A4). Questions were derived from categorising Bloom into three sub-categories; remember or understand, apply or analyse the topic and evaluate or create new knowledge (K5). When questioned, 74% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the clickers and the related teaching approach encouraged interaction and helped to achieve metacognitive learning (K5). I integrated these data with post-lecture interviews for the lecturers. Using this analysis, we designed next steps for future use and identified gaps and areas for improvement (A5).

    I conducted evidence-based research and followed best practice around clickers to ensure inclusion was academically merited (V3). Measuring (and increasing) engagement within the traditional lecture was aiming to promote participation for learners (V2). It was understood that clickers do not directly enhance learning but can lead to higher-order learning. I used my understanding of the wider field of evidence to define their most appropriate use within the lectures (V1, V3).

    By implementing a technology which was new to staff and guiding them with appropriate techniques known to increase interaction and engagement, I provided an evidence-informed approach which could be used to transform didactic content delivery into something more engaging. My research adds to a disproportionately small body of knowledge for clickers in medical education and the study overall was positive. Staff involved still use the clickers, the impact I measured plus the evidence collected, can be further used to promote clickers within UCL, the Medical School and beyond. It earned me a Distinction in my MSc Learning Technologies and furthered my ambition to make a lasting, positive difference to higher education.

    (493 words)

    HEA Professional Standards Framework links referenced in this case study:

    Areas of Activity

    • A1 Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
    • A2 Teach and/or support learning
    • A3 Assess and give feedback to learners
    • A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
    • A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices

    Core Knowledge

    • K1 The subject material
    • K2 Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme
    • K3 How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
    • K5 Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching

    Professional Values

    • V1 Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities
    • V2 Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners
    • V3 Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development


    [1] Bligh, D.A., (2000). What’s the use of Lectures? London/San Francisco; Jossey-Bass

    [2] http://w.lifescied.org/content/6/1/9.short

    [3] King, A. (1993). From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side. College Teaching, Vol. 41, No. 1, p30- 35. Taylor & Francis Ltd.

    [4] Beatty I. D., Gerace W. J., Leonard W. J. and Dufresne R. J., (2006). Designing effective questions for classroom response teaching, American Journal of Physics. Vol. 74, p31-39.

    [5] Bloom B.S., (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

    UCL Moodle Archive, Imagestore, Lecturecast outage 18th August

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 14 August 2014

    The following services will be UNAVAILABLE between 17:00-19:30 on Mon 18th August 2014 whilst planned system maintenance is undertaken, and should be considered AT RISK until 09:00 on Tues 19th August 2014.

    UCL Moodle Archive (read-only archive of moodle courses from previous years)

    https://moodle-archive.ucl.ac.uk/

    UCL Imagestore (UCL Imagestore is an online digital archive of images, read more at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/common/creative_services/imagestore)

    https://www.imagestore.ucl.ac.uk/

    Lecturecast (central lecture recording system)

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/e-learning/core-tools/lecturecast

    (no content can be viewed/edited, any new content scheduled to be recorded during this time will be recorded but will not be processed/published until after 09:00 on Tues 19 Aug)

    Any centrally hosted video content embedded into systems such as
    - UCL Moodle – https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/
    - Silva webpages
    - UCLeXtend – https://extend.ucl.ac.uk/
    - https://www.londonentrepreneurshiponline.com/
    - any other centrally hosted video content

    Also read this story on the ISD News page: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/isd-news/isnews/aug2014/Moodle_Archive_Imagestore_Lecturecast_outage_18th_August

    HEA Senior Fellowship Case Study Series: 3 – Facilitating communities of practice at UCL and beyond

    By Matt Jenner, on 14 August 2014

    As a four-part series I am openly publishing my case studies previously submitted for my Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I submitted my application in February 2014. If you’re interested in this professional recognition programme, please visit their webpages and look through the Professional Standards Framework (PSF). UCL runs an institutional model for fellowships called ARENA, your institution may run one too – speak to people!

    Case study 3 – Facilitating communities of practice at UCL and beyond

    At UCL I have facilitated and been involved in two active communities of practice. One external group called ‘Moodle User Group Greater London’ (MUGGL)[1] is for e-learning professionals with an interest in ‘Moodle’ – an online learning environment. More historically, I helped this community have an agenda for meetings with a colleague, Sarah Sherman in a neighbouring university consortia the ‘Bloomsbury Learning Environment’ [2]. The other, the ‘Distance Learning, CPD and Short Courses Network’[3], is an internal network I help steer for colleagues at UCL. These communities focus on “sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice”[4]. Drawing on my enthusiasm for e-learning and connecting people, the communities I facilitate take me beyond my desk and into the wider sector (A5, V3, V4).

    People often disappear into enclaves, with daily priorities overarching valuable reflective opportunities. I work responsively to sustain and grow communities with common needs, values, locale and domain of discourse. All too often communities around information technology end up as one-way monologs beset by dry jargon. Instead I plan active pedagogically-focused sessions and encourage sharing and collaboration. This provides a vital source of information, future utility (V3) and cross-sector discovery (A4).

    I regularly participate in wider CPD events and read literature in the areas of distance learning, MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) and e-learning to remain current in my understanding and share my experiences within networks and social media (V3). For the internal community, I organise and deliver centralised updates from professional services and the wider context of relevant developments so colleagues can gain purview of the changing landscape of higher education and e-learning (V4).

    Both communities started three to four years ago as special interest groups created around particular foci. I have encouraged expansion of both networks, with events often attracting 50–150 people and a core membership of many times that figure. With this increasing range of members I must ensure to maintain respect for the needs of the group when planning three-four hours of their professional development time (V1). Communities are grown, not constructed, and sharing and learning cannot be “legislated into existence”[5]. I sideline my leadership in alignment with members’ interests to ensure events are planned with consultation and encouragement for active participation in each session. I make events accessible by adding remote attendance options and capturing them on video, to encourage participation and preserve inclusion for the diverse members of the community (V2).

    I have received feedback stating I “did a great job organizing everyone and your presentation was beautiful”. Comments for MUGGL events have noted a “big crowd for the #muggl Moodle 2 meeting today” and “spent the morning at #muggl good presentations from @mattjenner […] we watch and learn!” Connecting people is an integral part, with one group visit commenting “how proud we are to work in such an engaging institution. Most participants left inspired”. In relation to expanding the community a senior member of staff spoke of a well-attended event that “the increase in numbers and interest across campus reflects the importance of this area”. Feedback is can be sporadic, but I take comments on board for future sessions and resolving any issues.

    (515 words)

    HEA Professional Standards Framework links referenced in this case study:

    Areas of Activity

    • A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
    • A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices

    Professional Values

    • V1 Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities
    • V2 Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners
    • V3 Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development
    • V4 Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates recognising the implications for professional practice


    [1] https://sites.google.com/site/moodlelondon/

    [2] http://www.bloomsbury.ac.uk/ble

    [3] https://www.mailinglists.ucl.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/distancelearning

    [4] http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/nli0531.pdf

    [5] Dubé, L., Bourhis, A. & Jacob, R. (2005). The impact of structuring characteristics on the launching of virtual communities of practice. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 18(2): 145-166.