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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  • Archive for the 'General Learning Technology' Category

    Test Moodle accounts for staff to experiment with

    By Mira Vogel, on 14 October 2014

    Find the link in your Moodle course area's Settings block.

    Moodle now gives any staff member in an editing role the ability to create up to 15 test accounts for up to 15 days. These are easy to set up from any Moodle course area. They are assigned a student role in the Moodle course area where they are set up, but their creator can use them across other course areas they edit.

    What’s the point of these?

    As Moodle editors, test accounts can help you understand the how the materials and activities you set up in Moodle will be encountered by your students, beyond what Moodle’s ‘Switch Role To’ function affords. Specifically they let you:

    • anticipate students’ needs when making design decisions in your Moodle area.
    • reassure yourself about exactly what students can access, eg when you’re hiding or revealing elements, when using Groups and Groupings, or using the Gradebook to give assessment feedback.
    • familiarise yourself with the way things display to students eg Quizzes, the Gradebook, Forum posts, email alerts.
    • anticipate student questions and author instructions accordingly, for students from their point of view.
    • discover important insights when experimenting with something new in Moodle; interacting with the new thing in one or more student roles, then logging back in as editor to see whether it works as intended from a tutor point of view.

    How can they help?

    • you can test and check as you go along – in other words you can play, experiment and build your confidence within Moodle.
    • you’re independent and don’t have to rely on colleagues to pose as students.
    • you can design your Moodle areas from an authentic student perspective, which hopefully makes them easier to use, which in turn means fewer student questions and more student satisfaction.
    • if you want to persuade your colleagues to try something new in Moodle, you don’t have to rely on their imaginations or optimism so much – you can actually show them, and even let them log in and play.

    What can you do with them?

    A few of the things you can only do with confidence if you can log in as Test Students.

    • Testing bulk enrolment into Groups.
    • Testing the difference between separate and visible Groups.
    • Testing what privacy looks like for your private Forum.
    • Testing whether the things you need to be selectively hidden are displaying as anticipated (and whether they are available when the time comes for them to be revealed).
    • Testing whether your Grouped resources and activities are displaying to your different Groups and Groupings as intended.
    • Testing whether emails from news/announcement forums are working, and how they behave, so you can instruct students about settings in a way appropriate for your course.

    How can you get some?

    There are instructions in the Moodle Resource Centre.

    Anything else to know?

    The accounts are only for Moodle and cannot be used to access other UCL services requiring full user accounts.

    Have you met BoB?

    By Natasa Perovic, on 9 October 2014

    Box of Broadcast

    Box of Broadcast

    BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National is an innovative shared online off-air TV and radio recording service for UK higher and further education institutions.

    Staff and students can record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels. The recorded programmes are kept indefinitely in an media archive, which currently stores over 1 million programmes and are shared by users across all subscribing institutions. The archive also includes searchable transcripts and one click citation referencing.
    The recordings can be set before or after the broadcast (30 day recording buffer). The programmes can be edited into clips and shared with others. They can also be embedded into Moodle.
    To start using BoB, log in with your UCL user details http://bobnational.net/

    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.

    MyPortfolio upgraded to 1.9.2

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 12 August 2014

    MyPortfolio was successfully upgraded on 12 August 2014 to version 1.9.2.

    You can now access a number of new features and service improvements, including improved accessibility, support for Creative Commons 4.0  and sorting of files within a folder.

     Improved accessibility –  W3C WCAG 2.0 level AA

    Creative Commons 4.0 licenses support – the new generation of CC licenses offer improved global protection for your work, read more on their website.

    Sorting of files within a folder – when you include a folder block on a page you can now choose how to sort the files, in either ascending or descending order.

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

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

    E-Learning Development Grant Winners 2014

    By Natasa Perovic, on 7 August 2014

     The winning bids for E-Learning Development Grants (ELDGs) 2014/15  have been selected. 

    Congratulations to all!



    Summary title

    Alan Parkinson, Lynsie Chew, Jim Berry Management Science & Innovation Using e-voting Data and Feedback to Steer Teaching and Learning
    Kevin Kiernan Management Science & Innovation Multi-part Mixed Media Questioning For Objective Formative Assessment
    Antonis Bikakis; Anne Welsh; Simon Mahony; Charlie Inskip Department of Information Studies LOBD: Linked Open Bibliographic Data: creating an open, linked and interactive educational resource for bibliographic data
    David Bowler Physics & Astronomy Investigating IPython notebook servers for teaching physics
    Michael Clarke & Chris Donlan Developmental Science Evaluation of a new blended learning programme
    Nicole Johnston LIS – Social and Historical Sciences – UCL Qatar Using Lecture Capture to flip the classroom for students who speak English as a foreign or second language
    Sarah Warnes Management Science & Innovation Using scenario and action-based blended learning to engage and motivate students in a large cohort
    Adam Liston UCL Institute of Neurology Distance Learning Neuroanatomy Workshops – development of an online resource
    Amit Batla UCL Institute of Neurology Interactive case based instructional methodology in clinical neurology
    Daven Armoogum Physics & Astronomy The Custom Analysis Toolkit
    Gesine Manuwald Greek and Latin Artefacts from the Petrie Museum in Greek and Latin classes



    Call for Apps!

    By Dean Mohamedally, on 6 August 2014

    Several of UCL’s Undergraduate and Masters courses at the Department of Computer Science have a focus on app development for industry and for faculties across all of UCL. This includes mobile and cloud applications. These courses have team of 2-3 students who work closely on a consulting learning experience with their clients (you). The Department of Computer Science have successfully run this for several years in a row, with sponsorships from Microsoft, Google and other companies. Read more about the programme here…

    Dean Mohamedally would be delighted to hear from you on this year’s “Cross-faculty – Call for Apps” especially if

    • You are part of healthcare, public sector services or charity organisations that require public domain app technologies
    • You are part of a UCL faculty, in research or teaching, with content ready to be disseminated in the form of an interactive app or data to be collected by an app
    • You are a new UCL spinout or existing UCL enterprise and need app development support for existing materials
    • You are working with industry sponsors or startups and see a need for apps that will benefit the university and industry
    • In general, you have a great idea for an app!

    A contract from UCL Advances is issued with the IP of the app project belonging to you, the client. UCL Advances will also assist with the app publishing.

    Please get in touch with Dean at D.Mohamedally@cs.ucl.ac.uk

    You can send him an initial app description (about four lines) of what you would like the student teams to work on and what kind of technical resources this will require.

    TERM 1 Deadline (Oct-Jan) call for apps:  send apps descriptions to Dean by Friday August 15th at 5pm
    TERM 2 Deadline (Jan-April) call for apps: send apps descriptions to Dean by Tuesday October 21st at 5pm.

    Please note that the deliverables from these projects will not be maintained by the students, so you should consider how they will be supported and maintained once the term has ended. While it is possible for students in following cohorts to improve upon existing apps if you resubmit it to the project pool, there is a gap between May and September each year when no projects are running. You should also consider how your project will fit in with UCL’s existing web and mobile services.