By Tom Walters, on 22 December 2022
The Opinio system operates using a limited number of user licences. We would like to ensure effective allocation of these licences by checking that registered accounts are being used.
To help us identify and release licences that are no longer needed, we ask that all Opinio users complete a short 1-minute Opinio Usage Survey (just two questions). Invitations to the survey are being sent by email, and this survey will be open for six weeks until Wednesday 1st February 2023. If we do not receive a response, then your Opinio licence will be withdrawn, for allocation to another user.
By Caroline Norris, on 17 January 2023
Do you want to try something new in your teaching or assessment? Are you concerned that your materials aren’t as accessible and inclusive as you would like them to be? Why not come along to one of our short online* training sessions to learn a new skill, improve your teaching materials or explore new assessment methods?
Add more interaction to your course by using polling software like Mentimeter for Continuous Module Dialogue or to engage students either during class or asynchronously between sessions. You could also Use online whiteboards to encourage student interaction or ask students to collaborate on projects using Microsoft Teams: get a Beyond Basics Overview or learn about Document Management and Collaboration.
Digital Accessibility is a vital part of making your course inclusive and we have courses on Enhancing the Accessibility of your Moodle Courses, Creating accessible PowerPoint Presentations and Creating accessible Word documents. You might also want to ensure you are following Best practice for video captions and transcripts when sharing multimedia.
Liven up your course with more multimedia content by learning how to do Basic video editing using iMovie on a Mac or Record a narration over your PowerPoint on a PC to convert your presentation to video. You could also come on our Podcasting made easy workshop or our series of workshops for making a film using your iPhone (Planning, Filming advice and Make a short film) and pass these skills on to your students so they can create multimedia content as part of their course.
If graphical content is a challenge, our beginners courses in Basic image editing using free tools can get you started with existing content while An introduction to free graphic design tools and Creating Infographics using free web-based tools are a great way to start creating more original content without having to buy expensive software.
Finally, if you’ve never done Digital book-making, it can be great for digital storytelling and Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool is another interesting option for presenting your material in new ways. These can also open up new possibilities for your students and the ways in which they present their coursework.
We’ve cherry picked a few courses below that might be of particular interest, but for our full schedule of upcoming courses visit Digital Skills Development News on the Digital Education blog. If you subscribe to the blog you’ll get regular updates from us and our other Digital Education teams. Click on the link(s) below to book a place or add yourself to the interest list to be informed about upcoming dates. More details about how to book, how to join sessions etc. can be found on our Practical Course Information page. If you aren’t sure what training you need and would like individual support and advice we also have a regular drop in during term time.
*All sessions are online via Microsoft Teams unless otherwise indicated.
Add more interaction and collaboration
|01/02/2023||10:00||11:00||DSD: Mentimeter for Continuous Module Dialogue (CMD) THIS SESSION IS NOW CANCELLED|
|08/02/2023||10:00||11:00||DSD: Use online whiteboards to encourage student interaction|
|02/02/2023||10:00||11:30||DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 1: Beyond Basics Overview|
|08/03/2023||10:00||11:30||DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 3 – Document Management and Collaboration|
Make your content more accessible
|24/01/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Creating accessible PowerPoint Presentations|
|02/03/2023||10:00||11:30||DSD: Creating accessible PowerPoint Presentations|
|24/01/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Best practice for video captions and transcripts|
|31/01/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Creating accessible Word documents|
|09/03/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Creating accessible Word documents|
|02/02/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Enhancing the Accessibility of your Moodle Courses|
|23/03/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Enhancing the Accessibility of your Moodle Course
Note that this session will take place on the Bloomsbury campus.
Use more audio-visual content
|25/01/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Basic video editing using iMovie on a Mac|
|25/01/2023||10:00||11:00||DSD: Record a narration over your PowerPoint on a PC|
|02/02/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Podcasting made easy – workshop|
|07/02/2023||10:00||11:00||DSD: Planning a short film|
|07/02/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Filming advice for a short film|
|14/02/2023||10:00||11:00||DSD: Make a short film using your iPhone|
Create and edit graphical content
|31/01/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Creating Infographics using free web-based tools|
|15/02/2023||10:00||11:15||DSD: Basic image editing using free tools (Demo)|
|21/02/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: An introduction to free graphic design tools|
Present material in new ways
|08/02/2023||14:00||15:00||DSD: Digital book-making|
|25/01/2023||10:00||11:30||DSD: Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool – Workshop|
|21/02/2023||14:00||15:30||DSD: Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool – Workshop|
Please note that the above dates and times were correct at time of publication but are subject to change. Follow the links provided or check our latest schedule for the definitive current schedule.
By Jason R Norton, on 5 January 2023
The next release in our Course Lifecyle toolset is now ready for deployment and will appear in our Production Moodle site shortly.
This is our first release of our course context freezing or “Read Only” Moodle block.
The Lifecycle block will be available in Moodle from 9th January 2023 to allow individual courses to be made Read-Only, and thus prevent the accidental update or deletion of content.
Previously each year we would take a Snapshot Moodle, which we would automatically make it Read-Only at the end of November.
This period would have given teams on average three months to complete the Late Summer Assessment period, and to make any adjustments or hide courses before they become part of our Moodle course archive in line with UCL’s data retention policy.
As we now have one Moodle, we need to provide the Read-Only function at the individual course level and not the entire site, (you can think of it as a course level snapshot).
NOTE: The block will display only the year category and the course’s start and end date, prior to the course end date being reached. Once the course end date is reached the additional functionality and automatic Read-Only date will be displayed.
The new Lifecycle block has several functions:
- Provides an automatic default read only mechanism.
- Provide a mechanism for course administrators to override the suggested default date and to choose a custom date.
- Display the year category (Moodle 2021/22, Moodle 2022/23)
- Display the course start and end date.
Once the Read-Only date is reached, the Moodle page will be automatically queued for processing overnight, and will become Read-Only to staff and students the following day.
Automated Read-Only Process
The automated Read-only date will be based either on the course end date, or the end of the Late Summer Assessment period (whichever is later), plus eleven weeks. This should provide enough time any final marking or updates to the course. Once the automatic suggested date is reached the course will become Read-Only.
If you take no further action, the Moodle page will become Read-Only to staff and students at the end of this date.
NOTE: For modules which follow the standard academic calendar, Automatic Read-Only will occur normally at the end of November each year (eleven weeks after LSA’s have bene completed). However, as this is the first time the Lifecycle block will be used, the default Read-Only date will be artificially moved forward to the end of February 2023 to allow course teams time to review the use of the new block and seek guidance as needed.
Local Course Override Process
The automation aspect of the Read Only Tool we hope will satisfy most of our course administration teams requirements. However, we are aware that some course teams may require to make their courses read-only later than the automatic function. At the initial release of the tool, you will not be able to make a course read-only prior to the automated date suggested.
The Digital Education Services Team, do have an override function that they can employ to make a course Read-Only upon request at any time. We will review the number of these requests and feedback to see if we need to build that functionality into the tool for end users.
We have created several override settings which will allow course teams to either disable the course read-only setting or to set a specific date for the course to be made read-only.
Making a Read-Only course editable again
In the same manner as the existing Moodle Snapshots, teaching teams cannot reactivate a Moodle course once it has been made Read-Only.
If you do require edit access to a Read-Only course this will need to be requested by contacting the Digital Education Support team at: email@example.com
Further details for using the Lifecycle Block are available in our Moodle Mini guide M30i
NOTE:- we will develop and alter the user interface and experience based off of feedback we receive from our users regarding this tool. All updates will be documented within the Moodle Mini Guide M30i.
Head of Virtual Leaning Environments
By Kolil Ullah, on 4 January 2023
On Tuesday 17th January 2023, the direct login to Lecturecast will change. If you access Lecturecast via Moodle, this will not affect you.
This change is part of wider ISD ongoing improvements to login, authentication and security across all of UCL’s platforms. Please note, minor service interruption is expected starting from 22:00 – midnight (GMT) on 16th January 2023.
Direct Lecturecast Login
Direct login via www.echo360.org.uk or Universal Capture with your UCL userID and password will now change to the following:
Visit www.echo360.org.uk and you will be prompted with this page below and required to enter your UCL email address.
When you enter your UCL email address, you will be taken to the login screen shown below that you will have encountered on other UCL systems. Once again you may be prompted to enter your UCL email and password, this will log you into Lecturecast as normal.
The important difference to take note of here is that you are now required to input your userID@ucl.ac.uk and not just userID.
For any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By pauline.harding, on 23 December 2022
Some staff are currently unable to add new Lecturecast activities to a Moodle course.
Our technical teams are investigating as a matter of urgency, and will provide updates as soon possible.
In the interim, if you need to create a new Lecturecast activity you can duplicate an existing activity, so that you can rename and reuse it.
(To duplicate a Lecturecast Activity, Turn editing on, select Edit next to the existing activity and select Duplicate).
Alternatively, if you do not have an existing Lecturecast activity on your current Moodle course you can import a Lecturecast activity from another Moodle course.
The following wiki link provides instructions to import an activity from one Moodle course to another:
(Please ensure you only select the Lecturecast activity that you wish to import).
If you require assistance with creating a new Lecturecast activity, please email email@example.com from your UCL email account with the Moodle course title and URL.
By Tom Walters, on 6 December 2022
Update 12/12/2022 – Issue Resolved. We shall continue to monitor Moodle Zoom integration. Please report further issues to firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to an authentication issue, some staff are currently unable to create new Zoom activities from within Moodle. Staff and students should be able to join existing meetings as normal.
Our technical teams are investigating as a matter of urgency, and will provide updates as soon as they know more. In the interim, if you urgently need to create a new Zoom meeting in the next few days, please contact:
from your UCL email account.