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Hybrid meetings – how to do them successfully

By Caroline Norris, on 19 October 2021

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so (well ok, lockdowns did feel a bit like that sometimes) you probably know what a ‘hybrid’ meeting is. Just in case, though, it’s a meeting where some of the participants are in the room and some are joining via a digital platform like Teams or Zoom and are therefore ‘remote’.   

One school of thought is that you should avoid hybrid completely, but realistically it’s going to happen, especially now we are gradually going back into the office and most of the people attending a meeting may well be in the same physical location.  In this case it would be absurd for them all to join remotely from their separate desks when they could be sat in a room together.   

So how do you ‘do hybrid’ well, so that everyone feels included? 

Disclaimer: Note that this guidance is focused on meetings rather than teaching, which is covered in Steve Rowett’s very comprehensive blog post on Basic hybrid teaching in UCL spaces.

Meeting preparation 

Wherever possible, share resources such as presentations or documents beforehand.  This is good practice for meetings anyway and makes them more inclusive and accessible for everyone.  Make use of collaborative platforms such as Teams to start a discussion and get input prior to the meeting.  

aerial view of laptops and mobile devices on a table with people sitting around themTechnology 

Getting the technology right is key.  For the richest experience, everyone in the room should join via Teams or Zoom, not just the remote participants, so that everyone can be seen on camera.  However, it is vital that there is only one microphone and one set of speakers in use to avoid the dreaded feedback cacophony!  If the number of people in the room is small and you are quite close together, you can usually just use the audio equipment on one person’s laptop, the obvious person being the chair of the meeting.  If the meeting is bigger or people are very far apart, you can use a conference speaker, such as those made by Jabra (other brands are available).  Practise the setup in advance of the meeting and check people can be heard at the furthest distance from the microphone.   Some UCL meeting rooms also have room cameras, microphones and speakers which can be used and some are even ‘Teams enabled’ so the room itself can join the Teams meeting.

It probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to share your screen for remote participants.  It’s easy to forget this, especially if you are using a large monitor or projection to share your screen in the room. If you want to share ideas using a whiteboard or post-its then opt for a digital interactive whiteboard for everyone to use.

Starting the meeting 

  • Set clear expectations of what is expected from people at the start of the meeting.  How should people indicate they wish to speak? Are you using the chat and if so, for what?  If everyone is on a device you can ask everyone to use the raise hand feature in Teams/Zoom.  Another option is for people to actually raise their hand or use both, particularly if not all remote participants are visible on camera.  Make sure that the people in the room know to speak loudly and clearly. 
  • Do introductions if it is a first meeting of the group or membership has changed.  This can help everyone to feel included in the meeting. 
  • Encourage everyone to participate and to let you know straight away if there is something they can’t see, hear or understand due to being remote. 

four people sitting in a booth looking at a laptopIncluding remote participants 

It’s important to make a special effort to make remote participants feel included.  Depending on the size and nature of the meeting and the balance of remote and in room participants, you may find the following helpful: 

  • Have a ‘co-pilot’ who can read out any questions or feedback in the chat and alert the chair to anyone who wishes to speak or if anyone is unable to hear something being said. 
  • Call on remote participants by name to check if there is anything they wish to add to the conversation, especially if the matter being discussed is particularly relevant to them.  You may want to ask them first, so they don’t feel like an afterthought. 
  • Describe what is happening in the room if remote participants won’t be able to see it.  You may also need to repeat some of what is said in the room or say who is speaking if they are not on camera.  Even things that are irrelevant to the main business of the meeting (like someone fumbling around with cables to connect to the projector) should be explained so that remote participants don’t feel left out.   
  • Be aware of what remote participants see. Even if everyone in the room is on camera, remote participants can’t see where people are in relation to each other or other objects in the room. Non-verbal interactions between people or pointing to something in the room probably won’t make sense to remote participants.  Make a point of looking at the web cam especially when you are speaking to help make remote participants feel connected. 
  • Set aside a bit of social time, either at the beginning or the end of the meeting, for participants to chat to each other.  Traditional meetings where all the participants are in the room usually have a few minutes where people are arriving and can say hello to each other before the meeting begins so find ways to incorporate this into your hybrid meeting too.  Starting meeting a few minutes after the hour can give people time to have a comfort break, move between rooms etc. but also allow for this social element to happen. 

Most importantly, be ready to adapt and change as you go along and find what works best for you.  Expect a few hiccups to begin with, but in the long run hybrid meetings can give you the best of both worlds so it’s worth persevering!

MS Teams for teaching – some considerations

By Samantha Ahern, on 12 October 2021

If you are planning on using MS Teams as part of your students’ teaching and learning experience there are a few things that you should be aware of, and some things that you can do to create a more cohesive experience.

Firstly, MS Teams is not integrated with Lecturecast, Moodle or Portico. This means that there is no automatic mechanism for adding students to a team, nor an ability to create MS Teams meetings from within Moodle or for the recordings to automatically be added to Lecturecast.

However, we can use Office 365 tools to bulk add members (students) to MS Teams teams, and there are some things we can do in Moodle to create a more cohesive experience for our students.

Bulk enrolment to a MS Teams team

If you have the names and email addresses of those you want to add to a team, you can do so via a .csv file and Power Automate. Power Automate is available via Office 365.

Email addresses need to be in the form username@ucl.ac.uk – on my instance this would be cceasah@ucl.ac.uk or the process will fail.

Step-by-step details can be found via the following external blog post: Adding bulk users from a .csv or Excel file to a Microsoft Teams team with Power Automate

You will create a flow that looks like this:

A four stage flow: Manually trigger a flow, List rows present in a table, Apply to each, Apply to each 2

Alternatively, you can make use of the Team link and ask students to add themselves as Team members. For more information see: Create a link or a code for joining a team

Adding a scheduled Teams meeting to Moodle

Screen shot showing how to add a Team channel to a meeting

Invite a channel to a meeting

Teams meetings can only be created in MS Teams. You can create a meeting for your Team, however, anyone outside of the team that joins the meeting will not be able to view the chat. This is not ideal if you plan on having guests. Or, you can create an event and either invite a mailing list, if you have one, or invite yourself.

For more information see: Schedule a meeting in Teams

Scheduled meetings can be added to a Moodle course via the URL resource. This should be added in the corresponding section for that week’s learning and labelled in a meaningful way. See the Connected Learning Baseline for guidance.

This will then enable your students to view the events in the context of the rest of their learning and ensure all activities can be accessed from one place.

Adding a Teams meeting to the Calendar and Upcoming Events block

Unlike Zoom activities, these Teams meetings will not show automatically in the Calendar and Upcoming Events block. If Activity Completion is enabled, we can set an Expect completed on date and time for the URL resource. This will then show in the Upcoming Events block. It can also be viewed in the calendar alongside other activities.

Enable setting of an expected complete date and time, this should correspond to the meeting date and timeURL activity expected completion date and time shown in Upcoming Events block

 

 

 

 

 

 

By adding the activity to the Upcoming events block it increases the visibility of the event to students and helps them plan and manage their time.

Making Teams meetings recordings available to students

The recommended platform for making recordings available to students is Lecturecast(Echo360). As there is no integration between Teams and Echo360, recordings need to be downloaded from MS Stream and then uploaded to your library on the Echo360 platform before sharing to Moodle. It is generally recommended not to share MS Stream links directly with students.

Other considerations

If you intend to share files in Channels or during Teams meetings think carefully about where these files will go and how they will be organised. Files can very easily get lost if they are not well named or stored in a meaningful structure. It should be noted that files cannot be moved between Channels within the Teams interface, this can only be done via Sharepoint. Learn more about working with files in MS Teams.

When using multiple platforms it’s very important to clarify which platforms will be used when, and for what. It is also important to set boundaries. Where possible Moodle should be the main hub for teaching and learning.

Get in quick: demos and workshops for the new session

By Jim R Tyson, on 12 October 2021

As well as our popular training courses in this new session, we are also offering some short demonstration sessions that are geared not towards teaching you to use software apps, but to understand a task associated with learning or research, to know what software is available and how to choose the right app for your work.  These are:

These are all around an hour long with some time for questions.

We are also offering:

DSD: In a Nutshell: Starting an Nvivo Project (10 December)

which will cover starting a new project, essential memoing, importing data documents, basic coding and simple queries.

And finally a longer workshop which will which will introduce Zotero for collecting and organising bibliographical references and pdfs, and also using Zotero extensions to annotate papers and generate reports on your reading:

DSD: Kick-starting your literature review (15 December).

These sessions are very valuable before you start out on a research project and can help you understand not only what software you may end up using, but what support and training you can expect at UCL.

Further information and booking links

If you have never booked a course with use before we recommend you go to full details of how to book and other practical information about our courses.

For staff on payroll and those who have previously booked on MyLearning:
Book via MyLearning

Everyone else:
Book via UCL Learning pages (this includes students and non-payroll staff, unless you’ve previously used MyLearning)

See you there!

Brand new courses released to develop your digital skills this term

By Jasmin E Mullings, on 4 October 2021

Bowl of soup digital skillsHow to book

Please ensure you are using Desktop@UCL or the UCL VPN when booking.

What’s on offer

ISD Digital Skills Development has released new dates for Term 1. Most of our sessions will be offered remotely using Blackboard Collaborate and Microsoft Teams, however, this term there are a couple which will take place on campus. These are marked in the schedule as ‘campus based’. See our latest schedule below.

We are offering a wide range of courses covering R, Stata, Microsoft Tools (including Teams, OneNote and Sway) and much more. In addition, we are excited to announce the following brand new courses to our programme this term:

  • Software for Success: Winning with Charts
  • Basic Image Editing using free tools
  • Planning a short film
  • Filming advice for a short film
  • Video editing with iMovie
  • Managing your digital profile and social media presence

Find out more

For more information on how to book and join a session on the day, please visit our Practical Course Information page.

Drop-ins

We are also hosting our usual weekly drop-in sessions remotely via Blackboard Collaborate for those who would like individual support on a specific issue. The dates and times of the sessions, along with the direct Blackboard Collaborate link, are available in our ISD Digital Skills Development Moodle course.

More digital skills development opportunities…

Learn online with a vast range of high-quality video-based courses from LinkedIn Learning.  These cover technical skills but also business, personal and creative skills as well.  Visit the UCL LinkedIn Learning page to find out more.

DigiLearn Online is a new library of online videos which covers UCL IT essentials. Topics include remote connectivity, data storage essentials, Microsoft Office 365 applications, and much more. Visit the DigiLearn Online webpage to access the video guides.

Latest schedule

Date Start End Class title Delivery mode
12/10/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 1) Remote classroom
19/10/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 2) Remote classroom
26/10/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 3) Remote classroom
02/11/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 4) Remote classroom
13/10/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Word tips and tricks Remote classroom
14/10/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Pivot Tables in Excel – Demo Remote classroom
15/10/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Getting started with Stata (Part 1) Remote classroom
22/10/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Getting started with Stata (Part 2) Remote classroom
29/10/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Getting started with Stata (Part 3) Remote classroom
05/11/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Getting started with Stata (Part 4) Remote classroom
19/10/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Planning a short film Remote classroom
19/10/2021 14:45 16:00 DSD: Excel tips and tricks Remote classroom
20/10/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Creating accessible PowerPoint Presentations Remote classroom
21/10/2021 09:45 10:30 DSD: Excel Essential Skills programme (self-paced) – Orientation Remote classroom
21/10/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 1 – Beyond Basics overview Remote classroom
26/10/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 2 – Managing and Participating in Meetings Remote classroom
26/10/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Filming advice for a short film Remote classroom
26/10/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool – Demo Remote classroom
26/10/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Video editing with iMovie Remote classroom
27/10/2021 11:45 13:00 DSD: Software for success: Winning with charts Remote classroom
28/10/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Blogging with Reflect (WordPress-based) – Workshop Remote classroom
29/10/2021 09:45 11:45 DSD: Pivot Tables in Excel – Workshop Remote classroom
02/11/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Online whiteboards to encourage student interaction Remote classroom
02/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Creating Infographics using free web based tools Remote classroom
02/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Mentimeter: Encourage online student interaction Remote classroom
03/11/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 3 – Document Management and Collaboration Remote classroom
03/11/2021 10:45 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills programme – Worksheet 1 Review session Remote classroom
04/11/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Managing Long Documents in Word 2016 Remote classroom
04/11/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: XMind mind mapping tool – workshop Remote classroom
04/11/2021 13:45 15:30 DSD: Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool – workshop Remote classroom
09/11/2021 10:00 17:00 DSD: Introduction to Matlab (Part 1) Campus based
11/11/2021 10:00 17:00 DSD: Introduction to Matlab (Part 2) Campus based
09/11/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Vlookup workshop Remote classroom
09/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Microsoft Forms demo Remote classroom
09/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Podcasting made Easy Remote classroom
10/11/2021 11:45 13:00 Software for success: Working with Bibliography and Citation Apps Remote classroom
11/11/2021 13:45 15:45 DSD: Charting with Excel 2016 Remote classroom
15/11/2021 17:00 20:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 1) Campus based
17/11/2021 17:00 20:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Part 2) Campus based
16/11/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Data Visualization in R with ggplot2 Remote classroom
16/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Microsoft Teams Introduction (Prerequisite Course for Advanced Workshops) Remote classroom
16/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Online social interaction environments Remote classroom
17/11/2021 10:45 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills programme – Worksheet 2 Review session Remote classroom
17/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Pivot Tables in Excel – Demo Remote classroom
18/11/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: OneDrive for sharing files Remote classroom
18/11/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Getting Started with SPSS (Part 1) Remote classroom
25/11/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Getting Started with SPSS (Part 2) Remote classroom
18/11/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Word tips and tricks Remote classroom
23/11/2021 09:45 11:45 DSD: OneNote 2016 – workshop Remote classroom
23/11/2021 13:45 15:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 1 – Beyond Basics overview Remote classroom
24/11/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Blogging with Reflect (WordPress-based) – Workshop Remote classroom
24/11/2021 11:45 13:00 Software for success: Writing tools Remote classroom
25/11/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Excel tips and tricks Remote classroom
26/11/2021 09:45 13:00 DSD: A Quick Introduction to UNIX Remote classroom
30/11/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Intermediate Statistics with Excel 2016 Remote classroom
30/11/2021 13:45 15:45 DSD: Pivot Tables in Excel – Workshop Remote classroom
01/12/2021 10:45 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills programme – Worksheet 3 Review session Remote classroom
01/12/2021 13:45 15:30 DSD: Vlookup workshop Remote classroom
02/12/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 2 – Managing and Participating in Meetings Remote classroom
03/12/2021 09:45 11:00 DSD: Basic Image Editing using free tools Remote classroom
03/12/2021 11:45 13:00 DSD: Software for success: Data analysis & statistical tools Remote classroom
07/12/2021 09:45 11:45 DSD: Charting with Excel 2016 Remote classroom
08/12/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 3 – Document Management and Collaboration Remote classroom
09/12/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations Remote classroom
09/12/2021 13:45 15:00 DSD: Creating Infographics using free web based tools Remote classroom
10/12/2021 11:45 13:00 DSD: In a Nutshell: Starting an Nvivo Project Remote classroom
13/12/2021 14:00 15:30 DSD: Managing your digital profile and social media presence Remote classroom
14/12/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Creating accessible Word documents Remote classroom
14/12/2021 13:45 15:30 DSD: Sway, Microsoft’s modern presentation tool – workshop Remote classroom
15/12/2021 13:45 16:00 DSD: Kick-starting your literature review Remote classroom
16/12/2021 09:45 12:00 DSD: Data Manipulation in R with Rstudio Remote classroom
16/12/2021 09:45 11:30 DSD: Microsoft Teams Workshop 4 – Forms Polling in Channels, Chats and Meetings Remote classroom

Moodle Boards – a virtual post-it note activity added to Moodle

By Rod Digges, on 16 September 2021

Moodle Boards have been added to the variety of activity options available in Moodle courses. A Board allows students and staff to add post-its to a virtual board where they may be organised and optionally ranked. Post-its may include plain text, images, links and YouTube videos.

On the Board, Students can:

  • Add a new post with any of the following:
    • A heading.
    • Some text.
    • A link.
    • An uploaded image.
    • An embedded YouTube video.
  • Edit or Delete one of their posts.

They can also do the following depending on the board’s settings:

  • Move their notes among columns *see caveat below.
  • Star (vote up) someone else’s post.

The teacher can set up the activity with the following options:

  • A closing date for submissions.
  • How the posts are ordered in a column, by date or star count.
  • Whether posts can be starred – by students, teachers, or neither.

On the board a teacher can:

  • Move any of the posts from one column to another.
  • Download a copy of the board contents.
  • Download a spreadsheet of submissions of the students.

*Please note that the currently installed version of Board does not allow students to move their post-its between columns – the ability to do this will be added shortly. This version has been released primarily to give teaching staff an opportunity to preview the tool.

A Moodle mini-guide for the tool is also available.

Updated Turnitin plugin in Moodle

By Aurelie, on 15 September 2021

On Thursday, 16th September 2021, our Moodle site will be upgraded to version 3.9.10 and the latest version of the Turnitin plugin will be released. Moodle will be in maintenance mode from 1:00am to 2:00am and you won’t be able to access Moodle or Turnitin during this time.

Here is a short summary of the changes and bug fixes you might notice when using the new Turnitin plugin:

Turnitin classes now expiring along with a Moodle course

Turnitin now synchronises dates in Moodle with the Turnitin database. When your Moodle course end date is over a year old, those classes also expire in Turnitin. This will free up the active student count for those classes.
Important: Turnitin classes older than one year expire and cannot be edited unless they are re-activated. 

Draft submissions will not stick in pending status 

A bug had caused some draft submissions to stick in ‘pending’ status and not generate a Similarity Report. This bug has now been fixed and draft submissions will generate Similarity Reports if enabled. 

Change in default activity tracking Moodle setting 

A bug had prevented users from being able to alter the default activity tracking setting within Moodle when Turnitin was also enabled. This bug has now been fixed, and you can use this feature alongside Turnitin without error. 

Submit button no longer visible after the due date 

The submit button will no longer be shown to students who have already submitted to the assignment when the due date has passed. The current functionality will remain for users who have not already submitted. 

Deleting parts without errors  

The option to delete a part will now only show after there is more than one part used. When there is only one part, we’ll no longer show the deletion option to prevent the assignment from potentially breaking. 

Creating or accessing Moodle assignments when Turnitin is disabled 

If Turnitin is disabled for an assignment and Turnitin is unavailable by having the wrong configuration options or being under maintenance, then an error message would be shown. This bug has been fixed, and Turnitin being unreachable will no longer impact your ability to create or access your content. 

Moodle Course name sync 

Changes to the Moodle course name will be reflected everywhere in Turnitin. When a Moodle course title is changed, this will now be updated in Turnitin too. This will include the digital receipts students receive when they submit their paper. 

Grades removal 

When a grade is removed from Turnitin, this removal will also be reflected within Moodle as the submission being ungraded. 

Turnitin icon display in Moodle assignment

In Moodle assignment, the Turnitin similarity report now has an updated Turnitin icon. Turnitin icon display on Moodle assignment