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    We support Staff and Students using technology to enhance teaching & learning.

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    Archive for the 'Digital literacies' Category

    Introducing the ‘UCL Student Blog’

    By Moira Wright, on 6 October 2015

    bloggingE-Learning Environments (ELE)  is launching a pilot that gives students the opportunity to write short review blog posts and get them published on a UCL blog page. We’d like to hear from any students and staff interested in taking part.

    The idea is that students review clips or programmes of online resources that are relevant to their studies. These might be TV or radio programmes from BoB (Box of Broadcasts), Lynda.com courses, TED Talks, Khan Academy resources, YouTube videos or any other online resource that may be of interest to others at UCL.

    Staff might even use these resources in class and link to them from their Moodle courses. Staff can also help to tag the posts with keywords relevant to the topics they are teaching.

    Don’t worry if you have never written a blog before. ELE will provide you technical support and training on how to write for the web will be provided via Lynda.com and the ‘Writing for the Web’ course.

    We’d also like to include student reviews of apps to form the ‘My Favourite Apps’ pages.  We think with so many apps around it would be really good to share what people at UCL are using, and why and how they are being used.

    By answering some simple questions, you can write a (really) short review of an app you are using and tell us why you are using it – maybe it has improved your life, helped your learning or saved you money. People can vote and winners of ‘My Favourite App’ will have their review posted on a digital postcard on the front page of UCL Moodle.

    Students can be recognised for this work with HEAR (Higher Education Academic Report) for your blogging (you’ll need to meet the criteria). The HEAR is an electronic transcript of verified academic and non-degree related achievements attached to students record. See the UCL HEAR Information for Students.

    Students could also use this work to form a project for gaining a Jisc ‘Institutional Change Leader’ (ICL) award, accredited by the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

    If you are interested in being involved, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

    Examples of similar programmes being run at other universities and colleges are available in Jess Gramp’s blog posts ‘On the Box‘ and ‘GC Student innovators‘.

    The first post is up and was written by 3rd year UCL Department of English student Ellie Pearce. In the blog called ‘Bentham Returns’ Ellie imagines Jeremy Bentham waking up in the middle of the festival ‘to celebrate all things digital’ UCL digifest which took place in Nov 2014. She has really captured the spirit of JB and we’re sure you’ll be inspired to get working on your own first review and hunting down clips, programmes and library resources. We’re aiming to build a rich archive of film, programme and clip resources in which can be accessed used and added to, over time.


    GC Student innovators blog

    By Jessica Gramp, on 6 October 2015

    GC Student Innovator BadgeGloucestershire College are crowd sourcing students to lead on important change projects across the college.
    One of these projects is the student innovators blog, where students review apps. The aim of this project is to get more people at the college using and talking about technology to support learning and to build the technical skills of the students involved.
    “The Student Innovators is a group of students passionate about using technology to help learning. They will be trying out apps and web tools alongside their studies and give feedback on the Student Innovator blog. They work together as a team to share their experiences so you know before you download which app is best. You are welcome to read their reviews and leave comments.” (gcstudentinnovators1415.blogspot.co.uk)
    Students at the college received training and support in how to write for the web. They followed a pro forma in order to review each app. This contained the following sections:
    • Name of App:
    • Cost:
    • Device/s used:
    • What was good about this tool?
    • What was bad about this tool?

    Note: I would probably also add to this, which platforms the app is available on. E.g. Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux etc.

    Once the posts are published on the blog, people can ask questions and post comments. The commenting feature logs people in using their Google account by default. However, people can select from a number of other online services to log in as, including WordPress, OpenID or AIM. This provides some protection from spam and other misuse, since it only allows registered users to post comments to the blog.
    During term time, the college selects an ‘ App of the week’ by seeing which post has had the most views, and is therefore the most popular with students.
    As part of the blogging process, students design a ‘card’ promoting the app, which is then used to advertise the ‘App of the week’ on the homepage of the college Virtual Learning Environment.
    Read student posts from last year:
    Although they didn’t know in advance, students who participated received the following benefits:
    • vouchers;
    • open badge;
    • end of year party.

    However, students mentioned they would have participated regardless of these, since the learnt a lot in the process.

    Positive outcomes of this project include:
    • Participants gained confidence in writing and practice writing for the web.
    • Participants built their digital footprint, which can help them demonstrate their skills to potential employers.
    • College students could see what apps other students recommended and why.
    • Anyone could post questions and comments, hence starting conversations around using technology to support learning.
    This project was presented at the recent ALT-C conference in Manchester, UK.

    UCL is developing a similar, student-led project and is calling for both staff and students to take part.
    • We need students to volunteer to become app reviewers and bloggers.
    • We need tutors to volunteer to promote this to their student;  link to relevant app reviews into their Moodle courses and help with tagging.

    Find out more and sign up here…

    ABC Curriculum Design Workshops

    By Natasa Perovic, on 30 September 2015

    Arena Blended Connected Curriculum Design


    • A 90 minute hands-on workshop to help module teams design engaging learning activities.
    • Teams work together to create a visual ‘storyboard’ showing the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and how these will be assessed.
    • ABC is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format.

    Between March and September we had 11 workshops with 37 teams from SLMS and BEAMS.

    The feedback from participants:

    • “This process was really useful. It helps us think about the modules in their entirety. It is really good how everything maps out in a clear framework like this.“
    •  “We haven’t had such level of detailed discussion as a team. I think the structure and the materials are facilitated well. “
      “It is a good way of focusing on creating the balance within a course.“
    • “It makes you think about: OK , we are going to use this technique, but where, how, for what and how does it fit with everything else? And this is the way into that, I think.“
    • “It helped us formulate in our own mind the course structure. Yes, very useful.“
    • “Made me more conscious of a formative assessment, which really did not occur to me before. “
    • “This has been extremely useful. Not only that we start to think about individual modules and how we can use electronic resources, but it makes us think about the degree together, rather than as separate modules. “
    • “It reminds you of all different formats that you can use, rather than sticking to the same old same old.“
    • “I think it was good to take a step back from the content and look at the varied type of activity. “
    • “We are not trying to be very innovative, but it is a question of being open to new ideas“

    To organise ABC workshop for your programme contact Clive Young and Nataša Perović.

    ABC CD workshop resources:

    The resources are also adapted for ABC CPD and Life learning courses.


    To organise ABC workshop for your programme contact Clive Young and Nataša Perović.







    *Viewpoints project JISC

    **UCL IoE: Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.

    Connected Curriculum

    Lynda.com is now available offline on your computer

    By Jessica Gramp, on 25 August 2015

    You might have noticed a recent addition to the buttons on Lynda.com courses over the past week. This is a new feature that will allow you to view content offline on desktops via an application download. When you are viewing a course in Lynda – as opposed to a video or playlist – you will see a [View Offline] button above the video, as shown in the screenshot below. When you click on this you will be prompted to download the Desktop app for your computer system.

    Download courses to watch offline on your desktop or laptop by following 3 simple steps:

    1. Download the native Mac or Windows App ( by clicking ‘View Offline; on any Lynda.com course).
    2. Login with just 1-click (this will check you are already logged in to Lynda.com via your web browser).
    3. Select the ‘View Offline’ button on any Lynda.com course page to add courses to the Lynda.com Offline App.
    Offline viewing

    (^ Click to enlarge)

    Once installed you can click the ‘1-click login’ and it will take you to Lynda.com in your web browser and you should then see a message saying “Successfully connected!” – providing you were still logged in to Lynda.com.

    Successfully connected

    From the app you can easily add courses by clicking the [Add courses] button in the top, right corner of the page. This will open your web browser and take you to Lynda.com, where you can use the same [View offline] button you clicked before to install the software to add the software to your Lynda Offline App.

    Lynda Offline App

    (^ Click to enlarge)

    You may need to allow your web browser to launch an external application (as shown below):

    Chrome popup for launching external app-circled


    You can try this new offline viewing feature out for yourself on your computer.

    To get started log in (with your UCL credentials) via www.ucl.ac.uk/lynda.

    Learn with Lynda

    By Clive Young, on 20 July 2015

    ISD E-learning Environments are delighted to be hosting Laurie Burruss from lynda.com who will be running three exciting workshops for us on 3rd September 2015.

    Laurie is the director of digital media at Pasadena City College, where she has also been design professor for the past 15 years. Laurie is a professional digital storyteller, and she has developed a rich curriculum in digital and new media. Laurie is also an Education Consultant to lynda.com and will share her expertise and experience with us. Lynda.com is a vast online library of video tutorials supporting learning in software, creative and business skills which is free to UCL staff and currently enrolled students.

    These workshops are for anyone who is interested in incorporating video-based learning into their teaching and how to successfully adopt a blended or flipped approach to learning. There will be opportunities to share ideas, discuss different approaches and create your own lynda.com playlist. Laurie will be happy to discuss your programme requirements during any of the sessions.

    You are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions, please book using the links below. Refreshments will be available throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to bring their own device and to install the lynda.com app where relevant.

    Session 1: The Power of Video & the Moving Image 11:00 – 12:00

    Book here

    In the last three decades, teachers have moved from the four walls of the classroom to the infinite possibilities of the Internet. Online video resources are becoming fully integrated in the learning space and a matter of choice for the student. As well as this rapid adoption of this technology, witness what we have learned about how online video changes and enhances the way we learn. A great online video structures learning around meaning, presents the big picture of the subject matter, and supports it with granular details and steps. Learn “how we learn with video” and about the factors that affect our learning.

    Session 2: Teaching and Learning with Lynda 12:30 – 13:30

    Book here

    Although many educators use lynda.com personally to “keep up” with technology, few explore the many ways to integrate lynda.com’s library into their course subject matter expertise. Effective technology communication skills paired with subject matter expertise and mastery prepare students for “real world” jobs and innovative learning pathways. In this session, Laurie demonstrates several effective solutions for using lynda.com to enhance and create curriculum. You will leave with a variety of templates and solutions for integrating lynda.com into the classroom at the institutional level, the course level and the project level.

    Session 3: Beyond the Classroom Walls: Reinventing Yourself, Your Class, and Your Teaching Methods 14:00 – 15:00

    Book here

    Teaching and learning is changing from what students need to what students want to achieve personally, from textbooks to online aggregated resources, from classroom to cloud. Innovative changes free the teacher to rethink the “classroom.” In this session, Laurie shares her experiences in a spectrum from face-to-face to online learning opportunities, Discover the infinite possibilities in teaching and learning as you reinvent yourself as a teacher!

    Digital Literacy at UCL

    By Moira Wright, on 24 June 2015

    In my notes for this blog are the headings which include student networking, UCL digifest, partnership working, UCL Teaching and Learning Portal, Westminster Briefing and UCL QAA HER, UCL ChangeMakers and Lego. This list is a somewhat typical of the diverse aspects to my newly created role as Digital Literacy Officer at UCL (I think under 2 years still counts as new?). A lot of ground to cover in this post so will try to be economic with my words (for those that know me – no easy thing).

    Firstly some highlights from the London Digital Student Meet-up (LDSM).

    Early in June a group of 50 students and staff from different institutions in the London area met for a morning at UCL to discuss digital literacy and student engagement projects. LDSM was co-organised by LSE and UCL and aimed to provide a platform for student networking it was open to all students. To ensure a high ratio of students the invite stipulated staff were welcome as long as they were accompanied by students.

    London Digital Student Meetup, June 2015

    The event had come about from attending the Jisc CAN conference in April with 3 UCL students. They had participated as panel members and given elevator pitches on the UCL digifest – which they had all worked on as volunteers. Hold the date for UCL digifest 2016 – February 24-26th

    Feedback from the UCL students had been that meeting other students and hearing about their projects had been one of the main benefits in participating. That, and a conversation during the conference with Dr Jane Secker, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor from London School of Economics about the limited number of opportunities for students to network convinced us both that an open informal student networking event would pique interest.

    London Digital Student Meetup, June 2015The morning was very informal with a lot of time in the agenda for discussion and networking and a world café table topics and Lego*. From the anecdotal evidence I heard at this event it is clear that student digital literacy projects are proving to be increasingly impactful and insightful for those involved.

    Jane introduced the event with reference to the Jisc six capabilities model. The model is being updated and modified from the seven capability model. The new model (awaiting release) includes wellbeing.

    Peter Chatterton was next up for a talk and group discussion about the Jisc Change Agent Network . There were also updates about the pilot for the SEDA Institutional Change Leader award – which is just about to complete its first iteration this summer – the news is that there are plans are to run it again in the new academic year.

    Helen Beetham then introduced a draft of the new Jisc Benchmarking the student digital experience tool which was made available to participants for consultation. The tool has been designed to provide institutions with a benchmarking framework to help improve the student digital experience – awaiting release – but once complete the tool will then be rolled out to universities via the NUS ‘student voice’ network. The work is part of the Jisc Digital Student project and once launched will really help universities to assess institution provision against existing evidence of student expectations.

    By the end of the morning several things had become apparent to me. And they are, digital literacy must be embedded as a cultural approach in organisations, and is a life-long learning need, that giving ownership to students in this debate is mission critical and joined-up. The other thing was how universal the love of Lego is and how useful a tool it is for engagement*. We have future venues offers from two participants and plans to take them up.

    Work has started on the new Digital Literacy pages for the UCL Teaching and Learning Portal. An exciting first project for the Digital Literacy stream of UCL ChangeMaker projects with students developing content for the student pages. The excellent UCL ChangeMakers programme is making this possible and has just completed its successful pilot year with an impressive list of projects – summaries of UCL ChangeMakers projects are available by following this link . I am really looking forward to working on more digital literacy student projects in the new academic year.

    The Westminster Briefing I attended with Fiona Strawbridge last week in St James was full of useful information for the upcoming QAA Higher Education Review of UCL with the theme Digital Literacy that UCL has self-selected. UCL will present a snapshot of digital literacy at UCL for the review so I was really looking forward to hearing what Gemma Long, Review Manager from QAA had to say. Firstly we heard that the two themes chosen (employability and digital literacy) were chosen as they are ‘areas that are particularly worthy of further analysis or enhancement’ no surprise for anyone – particularly those who had read the House of Lords Select Committee report on Digital Skills which was released in February. QAA seems realistic in where they think universities are in developing digital literacy for their students but the emphasis has to be on staff developing the capabilities and confidence in their own digital skills sufficient to meet the student needs and expectations.

    John Craig, Senior Director Education and Research, HEA talked about the idea of an information society where information expands and becomes more accessible with digitization accelerating this trend and a society that could become victim to Information Obesity “a failure to turn information into knowledge…..as physical obesity is not simply too much food, so information obesity is caused by more than just information overload” (Andrew Whitworth).

    Katherine Ready was next – she is Digital and Information Manager from the Open University shared the really excellent open resource Being Digital – a collection of short activities designed by the Open University Library Information Literacy group for developing digital and information literacy. You can choose developed Pathways where learning is on a particular theme so you can work your way through a topic and gain a deeper understanding.

    Charlie Inskip from UCL Department of Information Studies then discussed some of the findings from research funded by SCONUL as part of a wider project, Research Information Literacy and Digital Scholarship funded by Research Information Network (RIN). The findings highlighted the importance of teaching, research and technical skills in developing resources and a need for library and information staff to continually develop their digital literacy skills. He concluded that ownership of digital literacies should be shared across and amongst institutions and services and is not the purview of one stakeholder and the ever changing and flexible landscape of digital literacy and an awareness of the continuously changing context is required to successfully meet the current challenge.


    Footnote on Lego

    *I had been inspired by a presentation I had seen recently which had introduced me to the concept of ‘Serious Lego Play’ . (Alison James at the CRA conference in Plymouth)

    Also noted on 11th June that the University of Cambridge announced plans to establish a (link to) “LEGO professorship of play in education, development and learning” alongside a research centre, with £4 million of donations from the LEGO Foundation – news must have got out!