E-Learning Environments team blog
  • ELE Group
    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!

  • Subscribe to the ELE blog

  • Meta

  • Tags

  • A A A

    Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

    On the box

    By Jessica Gramp, on 6 October 2015

    At the University of Leicester students are helping to find TV and radio clips that help students learn.
    Those involved in this programme review clips or entire episodes available via Box of Broadcasts.
    Box of Broadcasts TVThe Box of Broadcasts (BoB) service is available to UCL staff and students and allows them to view shows recorded from  free to air channels, including everything broadcast on the BBC (TV and radio) since 2007 (800,000+ programmes). Programmes aired in the last 30 days can be recorded by an user and then remain available to anyone else who wants to access them.
    At the University of Leicester students are helping integrate these resources into their modules, by blogging reviews for others to read and comment on. There are also plans to develop viewing lists of useful programmes for particular subjects. Each blog post is tagged with relevant keywords to make it easier for others to find relevant resources. Staff involved in the pilot also link to the blog from their online course pages.
    Students at Leicester received training and support in writing for the web and were also paid for their contributions once they blogged a minimum of 5 posts.
    One limitation these students encountered with Box of Broadcasts is that the search is difficult to use. University of Leicester students have begun using a service called TRILT to search and set alerts for deeper/future searches: http://bufvc.ac.uk/tvandradio/trilt/
    You can see some examples of these blogs here:

    The first example above (Biology on the Box) was run with tutors amending the tags on the 50 posts to fit with their teaching. Subsequently, these are better tagged than the posts in the English on the Box, where students led the entire process, including tagging. For ‘English on the Box’, 4 students contributed 35 posts and half of these were radio programmes. These students explained that they found it difficult to tag the posts with accurate keywords that were relevant to their modules, therefore it is important to involve the module tutors in this process. 

    There were may positive outcomes for this project, including:
    • Students who participated improved their written communication skills and developed their digital footprint, which will help them to demonstrate their skills to future employers.
    • Students used knowledge obtained from these media clips within their exam answers, so it had a positive impact on their learning.
    • Academic staff could easily incorporate rich media into their modules.
    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 bloggers and approach their tutors to incorporate their blog posts into their Moodle courses – E-Learning Environments can help with the technicalities.
    • We need tutors to volunteer to promote this to their student;  incorporate the ‘viewing lists’ into their Moodle courses and help with tagging.

    Find out more and sign up here…

    UCL Arena Digital Unit 3: How can we involve students with Campus Pack blogs, wikis and podcasts?

    By Clive Young, on 5 October 2015

    A new unit of UCL Arena Digital is coming!


    There will be some new additions to UCL Moodle from September 2015. Campus Pack will provide a suite of tools comprising blogs, journals, wikis and podcasts that can be used to support students’ reflective, social learning and collaboration, as well as enabling tutors and students to record audio directly into Moodle.

    This unit will guide you through these new Moodle tools, and discuss ways of using them in your teaching.

    The unit will last two weeks, taking 1-2 hours of your time, culminating in an interactive webinar which will allow you to explore advanced features and take a look at what colleagues are already doing with the tools.

    UCL Arena Digital Unit 3 will run October 19th – 30th 2015.

    Live webinar Wednesday 28st October 2015 2 – 3 pm.

    Go to the course.


    UCL lecturers on video

    By Clive Young, on 10 September 2015


    Once confined to a few teaching enthusiasts and specific disciplines, over the last decade video, audio and interactive media have become an increasingly mainstream part of UCL’s academic repertoire.

    Media has definitely become part of many of our students’ study processes.

    Students consistently report that video content assists their learning, either as a revision tool or as a new way of engaging with material. Student demand for example has largely driven the growth of lecture capture. More broadly the success of Khan Academy video-based MOOCs and especially at UCL Lynda.com has helped digital video become recognised as a means to support high-quality academic learning. Key to this is integration with Moodle enabling any media to be enhanced by other online resources and support.

    Media itself has become easier and cheaper to produce, edit, store and deliver, enabling both our academics and students to become producers with ‘media literacy’ is widely becoming identified as a valuable education and research asset.

    Tony Slade and Clive Young from the ISD Learning, Teaching & Media Services team have been working on a project this year to develop a UCL Educational Media service. The research project investigates how and why lecturers use video and what their future video requirements are for successful student teaching. Interviews have been compiled with staff project examples to form case studies. An education producer, Mike Howarth was commissioned to produce the content for the research project

    The team has have found widespread use of media to change the way we design programmes. Media seems to act as a catalyst enabling new blends of virtual learning and conventional delivery to create rich media and face-to-face learning experiences. ‘Flipping’ is also increasingly considered at UCL as a way to maximise the educational opportunity of face-to-face learning.

    For examples of these ideas, follow the links below to six short video case studies on UCL’s T&L Portal.

    As a bonus if you are asking yourself “Can using free online video tutorials through lynda.com enhance my teaching?” try this additional case study.

    Turnitin outage – 19th September 2015

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 7 September 2015

    We have just received the following message from Turnitin:


    Service Announcement

    Scheduled Maintenance on September 19th

    Turnitin services will be mostly unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 15:00 to 19:00 UK time Time (see local time: tinyurl.com/p9jumkk).

    Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.


    ELE would echo this sentiment and kindly encourage all tutors and course administrators to ensure due dates are clear of this maintenance window if you are using the Turnitin system.

    If you have any questions please email ele@ucl.ac.uk 

    Moodle Snapshot Lockdown – 1st September 2015

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 27 August 2015

    Please note that from the 1st September 2015 the Moodle Snapshot for 2014-15 will become read-only for all users.

    Up until this point you will be able to make tweaks to courses that you have tutor or course administrator rights to.

    It is important to note any deletion or removals made within the Moodle Snapshot will be permanent and cannot be reversed.

    Should you have any questions please see the Snapshot page in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki or contact E-Learning Environments.


    Lecturecast archiving completed.

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 10 August 2015

    The Lecturecast archiving process has now been successfully completed. This means Lecturecast can be accessed again via https://lecturecast.ucl.ac.uk/

    During the archiving process all recordings were moved to the ‘archive’ category in Lecturecast and are now NOT available for viewing.

    If you want to make archived content available for students, then you will need to move it back into the available category. The Lecturecast Resource Centre wiki has instructions on how to make content available from the archive.

    Recordings will be kept in the archive category until 2 years after their creation date, at which point they will be deleted. This is an important part of managing the storage system for Lecturecast.

    You can read more about why we carry out this process then you find the retention and archiving policy in the Lecturecast Resource Centre wiki.