X Close

Digital Education team blog

Home

Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team

Menu

New Moodle training – Quiz, Question Bank and Gradebook

By i.niculescu, on 20 February 2024

The Digital Education team is launching new Moodle training packages for academic and professional services staff.

Who is this training for?

These training packages are aimed at staff who are comfortable navigating the Moodle interface and understand its basic functionalities.

What does the training cover?

Moodle Advanced Quiz and Question Bank

  • an overview of Moodle question types
  • building a Moodle Quiz that uses advanced features
  • accessible and inclusive quiz design considerations
  • advanced quiz settings such as feedback, question randomisation, and adaptive mode
  • an overview of the Question Bank interface
  • how teams can manage question banks
  • organising question banks clearly with categories and tag
  • analysing question usage and quiz results

Moodle Gradebook

  • an overview of the Gradebook interface
  • basic functionalities and how to access key features
  • advanced features such as grade calculations, scales, outcomes and customised reporting
  • considerations for regular checks and maintenance of gradebooks

How can I learn?

Self-paced online course, workshops, or a combination!

The same information is covered by both the self-paced online courses and the online synchronous workshops, the only difference is the delivery mode.

How do I access the self-paced courses or book a workshop?

Self-paced courses

The estimated completion time for each course is between 2-3 hours.

Online synchronous workshops (equivalent to self-paced courses)

You can register using MS Forms, this will automatically generate an Outlook calendar invite which includes all the necessary information for joining the workshop.

Each workshop is 90 minutes long and will take place online.

Advanced Quiz Management in Moodle

Question Bank & Question Analytics in Moodle

Moodle Gradebook

Depending on your role, existing knowledge and availability, you can choose the combination which best suits your needs e.g. one workshop for Question Bank and self-paced course for Advanced Quiz. After completing the online courses or workshops, staff can get further support by getting in touch by email to digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

The training packages will be further developed as we receive feedback and input from the UCL community. Course participants will be notified when new materials will be added to the courses.

If you missed one of our workshops, please use the ‘Registration of interest’ form and we will contact you as soon as it becomes available again.

Global Deactivation of Portico Mappings

By pauline.harding, on 20 February 2024

Portico mappings on Moodle pages will be globally deactivated on 22nd February 2024.

Enrolled students will retain access to their Moodle courses.

How will this impact students on my course?

  • Students who are already enrolled on a Moodle course WILL continue to have access to that Moodle course.
  • Students who join a Module on Portico WILL NOT be automatically enrolled onto the corresponding Moodle course.  Students can still be manually enrolled.
  • Students who leave the module on Portico WILL NOT be automatically unenrolled.

Moodle and Portico mappings

If Portico mappings are active on a Moodle course, student enrolments on that course are automatically updated overnight to mirror the student registrations in Portico.  Consequently, students who change courses or withdraw from their studies are automatically enrolled or unenrolled from the Moodle course when their Portico record is changed.  This is desirable when students change/drop modules within the first few weeks of term, however, if students are automatically unenrolled after they have been awarded grades, these grades become inaccessible, which can be very problematic.

Note: the ‘inaccessible’ grades, submissions and logged activity are not deleted.  These can be accessed again if the student is re-enrolled manually, however while a student is no longer enrolled on a course, there is no way to view their content.

Why deactivate Portico mappings?

To reduce the likelihood of this particular ‘inaccessible/missing grades’ problem occurring, Portico mappings have been deactivated on all Moodle courses.

For more information about Portico deactivation and why this is done, please see the wiki guide – Deactivating Portico enrolments.

Can I re-activate Portico mappings on my courses?

Doing so may unenrol existing students in error.  Before making any changes, please contact us at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

The Moodle Flexible course format is being phased out from July 19th.

By Eliot Hoving, on 14 February 2024

Why is this change being made?  

The Flexible format plugin has reached end of life and is no longer supported by its maintainer. The plugin has multiple usability and accessibility bugs. The planned upgrade to Moodle 4.4 over the summer will further impact both the function and look of the plugin making the format unusable. 

What do staff need to do? 

Staff using the Flexible format should manually change their course format by the 19th July so they can ensure their course is correctly updated and so they can communicate guidance or notice to students on the course.  

After the 19th July, Flexible format will no longer be available and courses in this format will be automatically converted to the Topics format to ensure that the course continues to function for students and staff. This includes course from the current academic year and those from previous years. 

You can view which course format you are using by going to your course page and clicking settings. 

Course page showing the settings option.

 

Under Course format you will see the format in use. 

Editing course format menu

Research by the Moodle UX team suggests many staff switched to the Flexible format for its visual appeal and to avoid accessibility issues in the Grid format. Recent updates to the Grid format have significantly improved its accessibility and in this respect it is now preferable to Flexible format.  Staff may be tempted to switch back to the Grid format. However, further research by the Moodle UX team shows that using images for each topic/week is not effective unless you take considerable time to design your images. In most cases, images take up space without providing meaningful information to students, or worse they are confusing to students. Staff can continue to use Grid format, however Moodle UX research shows using the Topics format is a better approach for academic courses. 

Before (Flexible format) 

Flexible course format

 

After (Topics format) 

Topics course format

 

 

Changing course format will remove any section images, so staff should save these images prior to changing formats if they wish to re-use them.  

Staff can experiment with how their course looks in another course format using the 4-demo environment. 

Questions?  

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the Digital Education team. 

Online Learning: Community of Practice

By Oliver Vas and Jo Stroud, on 13 February 2024

black smartphone and laptop near person

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Online Learning is a rapidly expanding area in higher education around the world. While it became a necessity during the pandemic, an increasing number of students and short course learners are choosing to study their degrees fully online. Currently UCL offers around 40 postgraduate programmes with a significant distance learning component, just over half of which are delivered fully remotely.

As such, we’re setting up an Online Learning Community of Practice (OLCoP; catchy, we know) to bring together staff who teach and support online programmes, modules, and short courses at UCL.

At this stage, OLCoP is an informal group, and we hope to use regular meetings and the Teams space to:

  • Share best practices in online teaching and learning
  • Build a communication hub between academic departments, central, and local services
  • Identify and recommend professional development opportunities
  • Disseminate new and changing information relating to policy, quality assurance, pedagogies, technology, and more
  • Ensure that issues relating to equity, diversity, and inclusion in online learning are properly represented
  • Gather actionable feedback from staff and students regarding online learning experiences.

If you are interested in joining, please complete this short form. This will also send you an invite to our Teams space.

We will be holding our first meeting of OLCoP on 13th March 2024 at 2:30pm.

This first meeting will take place as a hybrid event and act as an opportunity to get to know other staff teaching and developing online courses.

Those who wish to attend in person can join us at the training suite at the Anna Freud Centre, not too far from King’s Cross station, while those who prefer to join online can do so via Teams. We will have facilitators in both spaces.

You can register to attend using the form linked above.

We hope you can join us!

Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Pilot Update

By Kerry, on 9 February 2024

As some of you may be aware, a new Moodle integration is due to be released in the spring which has been designed and developed by the DLE Team to improve the process for transferring marks from Moodle to Portico. It is called the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Integration and we are currently trialing this with around 40 course administrators across the institution.

The pilot kicked off on 8 January and will run until 29 February 2024. The purpose of the pilot is to test the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Integration using the newly designed Marks Transfer Wizard and its marks transfer functionality that was developed following the Phase 1 Pilot, which took place with a very small group of course administrators at the end of last year. This wizard provides a more streamlined experience for end users by putting the core assessment component information at the centre of the tool which can then be mapped to a selection of Moodle assessments.

Pilot Phase 2 is the last pilot phase before an initial MVP (Minimal Viable Product) release into UCL Moodle Production in late March 2024. Currently, users can take advantage of the integration if the following criteria are met:

  1. They have used the Portico enrolment block to create a mapping with a Module Delivery on their Moodle course.
  2. Either of the following assessment scenarios is true:-
    1. Only one Moodle assessment activity is being linked to one assessment component in SITS.
    2. Only one Moodle assessment activity is being linked to multiple assessment components in SITS.
  3. An assessment component exists in SITS to map against.
  4. The Moodle assessment marks are numerical 0-100.
  5. The assessment component in SITS is compatible with SITS Marking Schemes and SITS Assessment Types.
  6. For exam assessments, the SITS assessment component is the exam room code EXAMMDLE.

The Marks Transfer Wizard currently supports the transfer of marks from one of the following summative assessment activities in Moodle:

  • Moodle Assignment
  • Moodle Quiz
  • Turnitin Assignment (NOT multipart)

We intend to collect feedback on the new Marks Transfer Wizard from pilot participants to improve the interface and workflow for a general UCL-wide release in late March 2024 and also to prioritise next step improvements and developments following the launch.

So far informal feedback has been very positive: users say the assessment wizard works well and will save them a lot of time. The pilot has also been useful for exploring where issues might arise with Portico records or Moodle course administration as well as for gathering frequently asked questions and advice on best practice which will feed into our guidance for wider rollout.

So what are the next steps? Well, we will continue to support our pilot participants until the end of February. In mid-February, the Marks Transfer Assessment Wizard will be updated with some interface improvements so participants will be able to feedback on these too. Towards the end of February, participants will be asked to complete a survey and some will take part in a focus group to help us evaluate the success of the MVP integration and to prioritise our plans for future developments. In addition, our Change Manager is working with us on a communications plan for wider release on UCL Moodle Production and is currently in the process of recruiting a network of champions to cascade guidance and best practice on Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer across UCL, as well as to help us to continue to gather feedback on the user experience. More information about this exciting new development will be available in the coming months!

#LearnHack 7 reflections

By Geraldine Foley, on 8 February 2024

On the weekend 26 – 28 January I helped to facilitate and took part in the seventh iteration of #LearnHack.

#LearnHack is a community hackathon organised by an interdisciplinary UCL team. The original event was held in November 2015 in collaboration with UCL Innovation and Enterprise at IDEALondon. The 2024 version was the first time it has been run as a hybrid event. It was held over the weekend of 26-28 January in the School of Management department at Canary Wharf in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering, Digital Education and UCL Changemakers. Participants came from 12 different UCL departments, alumni, and external guests from Jisc. Everyone was invited to submit project proposals for how to improve UCL based on pre-agreed themes. The themes this year were AI and Assessment with overlap between the two.

Being fairly new to UCL I had not come across this event before, but when I was told about the ethos behind it which is to empower a community of staff, students, researchers and alumni to tackle challenges collaboratively and creatively, it sounded right up my street. I am a big advocate of playful learning and creating a safe space for experimentation and failure. I also liked the interdisciplinary approach which encourages people from all backgrounds to work together and learn from each other.  Anyone with a valid UCL email address can submit a project proposal to be worked on over the weekend and anyone can run a learning session to share their skills or ideas with participants. Everyone is encouraged to attend welcome talks on the Friday evening to hear about the different projects and get to know each other and form teams. Participants have the weekend to work on their chosen project and also take part in learning sessions.

I’m always up for a challenge, so I not only put forward a project proposal and ran a learning session, but I also helped to facilitate the online attendees on the Friday evening and Saturday morning. This meant it was a packed weekend and I got to experience all the different elements of #LearnHack, including joining online on the second day. 

View from UCL School of Management at Canary Wharf.

View from UCL School of Management at Canary Wharf.

The venue was amazing, with great views of London, and the School of Management spaces were perfect for collaboration and hybrid events. The learning sessions were great, I particularly enjoyed learning how to use Lumi and GitHub to create and host H5P activities outside of Moodle so that they can be shared externally. I also found out about the game that ARC had devised for engineers and developers to learn about the issues associated with generative AI where players can help prevent or create an AI Fiasco.

My own session on making a playful AI chatbot was run online but many people joined from the room. The session encouraged people to experiment with different types of chat bots and have a go at creating their own. We managed to create some interesting applications in the short time we had including a bot that accurately answered questions on using Moodle, Zoom and Turnitin. We also explored how a bot’s personality can impact a user’s interactions and perceptions on the accuracy of its responses and had some interesting discussions on some of the ethical issues involved with users uploading material to datasets.

In-between games, food and learning sessions, teams worked on five different projects. I was impressed with all the project teams and the work they managed to produce in such a short space of time. The winning team stood out in particular, as they created a working prototype using ChatGPT. Their project aims to reduce the time that medical science students spend manually searching through articles looking for replicable research. This team now have Student ChangeMaker funding to create an optimiser to filter through biomedical research papers and extract quality quantitative methods. It is hoped that the ‘protocol optimiser’ will streamline workflows for researchers and students to find suitable lab work. I am looking forward to following the development of their project and hopefully they will report back at a changemaker event later in the year.

#LearnHack 7 Feedback on participants ‘best bits’ of the event.

Despite smaller numbers of attendees than hoped, feedback from participants was positive with calls to raise awareness amongst the student population with promotion in freshers’ week and from careers to encourage students to join. Personally, I had a great time, although next time I wouldn’t try to do quite so much and would either stick to being involved in a project or helping to facilitate and run sessions. The Faculty of Engineering has already given the go ahead for #LearnHack8 and we are currently exploring possibilities with running some mini #LearnHack events before then, so watch this space for more details and if you have an idea for a project then get in touch.