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.
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org – on my instance this would be email@example.com 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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- DSD: Software for Success: Winning with charts (27 October);
- DSD: Software for success: Working with Bibliography and Citation Apps (10 November);
- DSD: Software for success: Writing tools (24 November);
- DSD: Software for success: Data analysis & statistical tools (3 December).
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
Book via UCL Learning pages (this includes students and non-payroll staff, unless you’ve previously used MyLearning)
See you there!
By Jasmin E Mullings, on 4 October 2021
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.
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.
|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|
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.
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.
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