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

  • Archive for the 'Technology blogs' 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.

    Creative Commons on YouTube

    By Jessica Gramp, on 13 October 2014

    YouTubeYouTube uses the Creative Commons BY (CC BY) license. The CC BY License allows:

    • adaptations of your work to be shared; and
    • commercial uses of your work

    “By marking your original video with a Creative Commons licence, you are granting the entire YouTube community the right to reuse and edit that video.”


    Is your account in good standing?
    In order to mark videos you upload to YouTube with a Creative Commons license your account needs to be in good standing. Check your account is in good standing by logging in to YouTube and going to: https://www.youtube.com/features. Under Account status check it says “Good standing”.

    Moodle Upgrade: 14 October 2014

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 10 October 2014

    Moodle will be unavailable on 14 October from 08:00 to 10:00 whilst we carry out a routine upgrade.

    On 14 October we will upgrade Moodle to version 2.6.5. There are many benefits to this upgrade, including a new plugin to create test student accounts, a new enhanced CBM plugin for quizzes and Turnitin version 2.

    Automation of creation of test accounts – this will be a link in the Settings block that allows you to create up to 15 test accounts.

    Enhanced CBM plugin – allows you to more effectively evaluate questions based on CBM results.

    Turnitin version 2 – this is the updated version of the Moodle plugin for Turnitin. It has a simpler interface and grants access to the PeerMark feature.

    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

    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/

    Lynda.com is now available at UCL

    By Jessica Gramp, on 7 October 2014

    Want to learn how to edit video on your iPhone or iPad, use excel to analyse your research data, or find a job online?

    UCL is currently trialling Lynda.com for 12 months and depending on the uptake this may be extended.

    Lynda.com contains online resources to help you improve your software, technology, business and creative skills. It can be used for staff development, or to help students learn new skills that are useful for university and the workplace.

    UCL has a premium subscription, which means you can download content to watch offline on your mobile device and you can also download any files required to complete the exercises.

    To access Lynda go to Lynda.com and in the top right hand corner click “log in“, then go to the “Log in through your organisation or school” box on the right hand side and enter “www.ucl.ac.uk” This takes you to the UCL Single sign on page where you have to enter your UCL credentials, once successful you are returned to Lynda.com.

    The direct link to the UCL login is here bit.ly/ucl_lynda

    ISD will be developing web pages and information for users over the next week. Please note that there may be some brief technical outages initially while the system is configured specifically for UCL, however, we do not expect this to stop people using the service overall.

    Take a look at the following ‘Moodle Essential Training’ to get an idea of what Lynda.com offers:



    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