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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

    Research and Education Space (RES)

    By Jessica Gramp, on 28 May 2015

    RESMark Macey (mark.macey@bbc.co.uk) works on a project named the Research and Education Space (RES) as the Education Engagement Manager, which is being developed through a partnership between the BBC, Jisc and the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), who share the goal of  building a platform that indexes and aggregates materials available for education and research use.

    The RES project aims to help teachers and learners find online teaching resources in all subject areas and at all levels which can be relied on. RES is building an open, accessible catalogue of online educational resources that can be used in both Primary, Secondary, HE and FE teaching, either directly within classroom materials and on electronic whiteboards or in materials developed by educational publishers and software providers. The aim is for RES to make student’s learning more interesting, varied, colourful and informative and to allow teaching to become more enriched across different levels and subjects.

    The RES project is in a developmental phase and research is needed to make the offer as rich and as useful as possible to those in education.

    Mark is planning to hold research groups (made up of teachers from different subjects and across the HE/FE sector) in late June/ early to mid July in White City, west London (dates and times TBC depending on availability of attendees). It would be great to know if this is something that might be of interest and if you might be available and interested to attend to offer your knowledge and experience. If you are interested then please let Mark know (at the above address) what dates you can and can’t do in that period. The meeting is likely to be 4-5 hours. Travel expenses will be paid and there is a fee paid for a replacement teacher or direct to you – as well as tea, coffee, sandwiches and copious biscuits 😉

    There are more details about RES below and on the attached Word doc and Mark would be interested in talking with you once you have read about the project. He is available to answer any more questions you might have.

    Read more about the project here (PDF 368KB)…

    Moodle 2.8 – Summer 2015 upgrade

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 27 May 2015

    For the attention of all UCL Moodle teaching and support staff.

    Moodle Summer Upgrade 17 to 22 July 2015

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At 17:00 on Friday 17th July 2015 Moodle will be made unavailable to allow the yearly snapshot copy to be created. Once the process is compete the snapshot will be made available for staff and students, this is expected to be completed by 17:00 on Saturday the 18th July 2015.

    We will also be taking this opportunity to perform our yearly upgrade of the Moodle system as previously advertised. The live Moodle service will be returned to service no later than 10:00am on Wednesday the 22nd July 2015, although it is expected that the upgrade will be returned to service earlier than this time. However we need to include an “at risk” time to account for a full restoration of the service if something was to fail with the planned upgrade. We will keep you notified as to when Moodle will become available over the upgrade weekend via the ELE blog (blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ele) and out Twitter channel (@UCL_ELE)

    For new Moodle upgrade features and changes please see the New Features page Moodle Resource Centre wiki.

    If you would like to find out more about the Moodle snapshot (formerly the Moodle archive), including its intended purpose and how you can hide content, please visit the Moodle Resource Centre wiki for more information.

    What do I have to do?
    If your module ends before the upgrade and you would like the snapshot copy to be made available then no further action is required.

    What if my course(s) doesn’t finish before the upgrade?
    We recognise that not all Moodle courses will end before the 17th July. Some run into August/September and others may run later, several times a year or never stop. More information on the process of requesting a manual snapshot can be found in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki on the Manual Moodle Snapshot page.

    What happens after the snapshot?
    Once you have a snapshot copy of your course we strongly recommend you take some time to consider resetting and reviewing your course so it can be used for the next cohort. For more information on preparing your Moodle course for the next academic year, see the following: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/e-learning/tools/moodle/procedures/preparing

    To see the snapshot (formerly archive) for yourself, visit: http://moodle-archive.ucl.ac.uk

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

    Students’ intellectual property, open nitty gritty

    By Mira Vogel, on 19 May 2015

    Brass tacks by  MicroAssist on FlickrWhat happened when staff on one module encouraged students to openly license the online products of their assessed group work?

    Object Lessons is a module on Bachelor of Arts and Sciences at UCL. In keeping with its object-based nature and emphasis on inquiry and collaboration, part of the assessment is a group research project to produce a media-rich online exhibition. Because the exhibitions are lovely and shine a light on multimodal assessment, the teaching team are frequently approached by colleagues across UCL with requests to view them. In considering how to get students’ permission for this, Leonie Hannan (now at QUB), Helen Chatterjee and I quickly realised a few things. One, highlighted by an exchange with UCL’s Copyright specialist Chris Holland, was that the nature of the permission was hard to define and therefore hard to get consent for, so we needed to shift the emphasis away from staff and the nuances of their possible use scenarios, and onto the status of the work itself. Another was that since the work was the product of a group and could not be decomposed into individual contributions without breaking the whole, consent would need to be unanimous. Then there was the question of administrative overhead related to obtaining consent and actually implementing what students had consented to – potentially quite onerous. And finally the matter presented us with some opportunities we shouldn’t miss, namely to model taking intellectual property seriously and to engage students in key questions about contemporary practices.

    We came up with four alternative ways for students to license their work ranging incrementally from open to private. We called these:

    1. Open;
    2. Publish;
    3. Show;
    4. Private.

    You can read definitions of each alternative in the document ‘Your groupwork project – requesting consent for future use scenarios’ which we produced to introduce them to students. As part of their work students were required to discuss these, reach a unanimous consensus on one, and implement it by publishing (or selectively, or not at all) the exhibition and providing an intellectual property notice on its front page. That way staff would not have to collect consent forms nor gate-keep access.

    Before we released it to students I circulated the guidance to two Jiscmail discussion groups (Open Educational Resources and Association for Learning Technology) and worked in some of their suggestions. A requirement that students include a statement within the work itself reduces the administrative overhead and, we hoped, would be more future-proof than staff collecting, checking off and filing paper records. While making it clear that students would not be at any deficit if they chose not to open their work, we also took a clear position in favour of Creative Commons licensing – the most open of our alternatives, since as well as flexibility and convenience it would potentially lend the work more discoverability and exposure.

    What did the students choose? In the first iteration, out of ten groups:

    • Five opted for Open. Between them they used 3 different varieties of Creative Commons licence, and one submitted their work to Jorum;
    • Two opted for Publish;
    • None opted for Show;
    • Three opted for Private (including one which didn’t make a statement; since the group kept the work hidden this defaults to Private).

    We haven’t yet approached the students to ask about their decision-making processes, but from informal conversations and reading some of the intellectual property statements we know that there are different reasons why half the students decided not to make their work open. One was the presence of elements which were not themselves open, and therefore could not be opened in turn. From evaluations of a number of other modules, we know that the students were not generally all that enthusiastic about the platform they were asked to use for their exhibition (Mahara, which is serviceable but vanishingly rare outside educational settings). This may have contributed to another factor, which was that not all group members felt the work reflected well on them individually.

    Then there’s the matter of deciding to revoke consent, which is something individual students can do at any time. In the context of group work we decided that what this would mean is that if any group member decides at a later date that they want to reduce openness, then this effectively overrides other group members’ preferences. That doesn’t work in reverse though – a student can’t increase openness without the consent of all other group members. So here we are privileging individuals who want to close work, although we do encourage them to consider instead simply ending their association with it. We have yet to find out how this state of affairs works out, and it may take quite a while to find out. But so far it seems stable and viable.

    We would be very interested in your views, suggestions and any experiences you have had with this kind of thing – please do comment below.

    Particular thanks to Pat Lockley and Javiera Atenas for their input.

    Image source: MicroAssist, 2012. Brass tacks. Work found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/microassist/7136725313/. Licensed as CC BY-SA.

    Managing virtual or face to face office hours in Moodle

    By Jessica Gramp, on 14 April 2015

    clock

    UCL Moodle contains a useful tool for helping you to arrange your office hours with your students. The meeting might be virtual (e.g. using Skype or telephone) or face to face.

    The scheduler activity allows you to specify time slots for meetings, which students then choose on Moodle. Tutors in turn can record that the student attended, make notes about the meeting – and optionally assign a grade – within the scheduler. The scheduler sends reminders to both students and staff and allows either to cancel the appointment and book another time. The scheduler also supports group meetings, where multiple students can sign up at one time. It also allows staff to assign students to attend a meeting at a particular time.

    ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design

    By Natasa Perovic, on 9 April 2015

    The ABC curriculum design method is a ninety-minute hands-on workshop for module (and programme) teams. This rapid-design method starts with your normal module (programme) documentation and will help you create a visual ‘storyboard’. A storyboard lays out 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 a more blended format.

    The method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach based on research from the JISC* and UCL IoE**. Six common types of learning activities are represented by six cards. These types are acquisition, inquiry, practice, production, discussion and collaboration.

    learning_types_all_cards

    The team starts by writing a very short ‘catalogue’ description of the module to highlight its unique aspects. The rough proportion of each type is agreed (e.g. how much practice, or collaboration) and the envisaged blend of face-to-face and online.

    curriculum_cards_m

    Next the team plan the distribution of each learning type by arranging the postcard-sized cards along the timeline of the module. With this outline agreed participants turn over the cards. Each card lists online and conventional activities associated with each learning types and the team can pick from this list and add their own.

    workshop team selecting activities

    The type and range of learner activities soon becomes clear and the cards often suggest new approaches. The aim of this process is not to advocate any ‘ideal’ mix but to stimulate a structured conversation among the team.

    Participants then look for opportunities for formative and summative assessment linked to the activities, and ensure these are aligned to the module’s learning outcomes.

    assessment

     

    The final stage is a review to see if the balance of activities and the blend have changed, agree and photograph the new storyboard. graph_s

    The storyboard can then be used to develop detailed student documentation or outline a Moodle course (a module in Mooodle).

     

    curriculum_final

    The ABC team is developing a program-level version based on the Connected Curriculum principles.

    Participants’ thoughts about ABC curriculum design workshop:

    Refererences:

    *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.

    Arena Digital Unit 2 starts Monday April 13!

    By Jessica Gramp, on 8 April 2015

    Over 200 UCL colleagues have already joined UCL Arena Digital, UCL’s free online course to help you improve your Moodle skills and enhance your online/blended learning provision.

    Unit 2 starts Monday April 13 and focuses on communication. It runs for two weeks.

    Discover ways to use communication tools both inside and outside of Moodle.

    In week one, we’ll investigate benefits of online communication and what to watch out for! We’ll focus on using discussion forums effectively with your students, and take a look at some collaboration tools, including blogs and wikis. You’ll find out what UCL systems are available and also why you might choose to use publicly available tools as well or instead. We’ll suggest some popular systems to help you get started and you’ll have the opportunity to share your findings with others. We’ll also leave PowerPoint behind and look at some fun alternatives.

    You’ll get a chance to learn about lecture flipping, tools to help manage virtual and face to face office hours, social bookmarking and web curation.

    In week two you’ll get a chance to use Twitter and learn what all those references to hashtags, favourites, mentions, lists and DMs actually mean.

    So join up to Arena Digital today!