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 'Technology blogs' Category

    Turnitin service disruption 16 Sept 2014

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 16 September 2014

    Some users may have experienced problems with Turnitin between 01:55 and 02:55  on 16th September 2014. These issues have now successfully been resolved. We apologise for the inconvenience caused by these issues.

    Some users may have experienced some problems with Turnitin between 5:55PM and 6:55PM PST. System is normal now.

    — Turnitin Status (@TurnitinStatus) September 16, 2014

    Turnitin Unplanned Outage 27 August.

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 28 August 2014

    Some users may have experienced problems with Turnitin between 19:23 and 20:45  on 27th August 2014. These issues have now successfully been resolved. We apologise for the inconvenience caused by these issues, and thank you for your patience as we worked with Turnitin to correct them.

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

    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

    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)


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


    Lecturecast (central lecture recording system)


    (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