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Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'Digital Education' Category

Using the free Equatio Chrome Extension with Moodle

By Kerry, on 14 September 2023

You may have heard of texthelp‘s literacy support tool Read&Write but did you know that they also have an education tool called Equatio which helps support the creation of accessible mathematical content online?

Equatio can help you create maths expressions without having to use any code or programming languages. You can easily add formulas and equations to your content through keyboard input, handwriting recognition or voice recording. It is also compatible with LaTeX for more advanced users. In addition, it allows some graphing input.

The Premium version of Equatio with unlimited use for Google, Windows, Mac and LMS can now be installed on UCL machines. Advice and guidance on this will follow in due course but in the meantime, we have created a wiki mini guide on what it is possible to achieve in Moodle with the free version of the Equatio Chrome Extension. This guide will be useful for anyone who would like to dip their toe in to explore what Equatio can do before installing a full version! There is also further information for anyone who is keen to learn more.

Screenshot of using the Equatio chrome extension to insert speech you have recorded and converted to Math.

Using the Equatio chrome extension to insert speech, which you have recorded and converted to Math, into a Moodle Text and media area.



Getting Started with Moodle and Lecturecast (self-paced courses)

By i.niculescu, on 5 September 2023

The ‘Getting Started with Moodle’ course has been updated in light of the Moodle 4.2 upgrade*. Additionally, we are pleased to introduce the ‘Getting Started with Lecturecast (Echo360)’ course.

These two self-paced courses cover the basics of using Moodle and Lecturecast (Echo360). They are aimed at UCL staff who are new to Moodle and Lecturecast as well as those wishing to brush up on their knowledge.

The courses provide a series of video and written guides, links to further resources and interactive activities. As they complete the course, staff are encouraged to practice using a Moodle Test course.

*Please note, the ‘Getting Started with Moodle‘ course does not focus on the Moodle 4.2 upgrade, for guidance and updates about this, please use the Moving to Moodle 4.2 self-paced course https://42-training.preview-moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=15

Getting started with Moodle

The estimated completion time is up to 2 hours or 3 hours if the assessment is completed. The course covers how to:

  • Navigate: overview of how to navigate the Moodle homepage and course page
  • Build: learn how to add resources and activities
  • Access: give students and colleagues access to your course

The course can be accessed via the following link https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=24915

Please note this is a self-paced course which you can complete in your own time. You also have the option to receive a certificate at the end of the course.

After completing the course, staff can get further support by getting in touch via email or by booking a 15 min consultancy session.

Getting started with Lecturecast (Echo360)

The estimated completion time is 1:30 hours, and the course covers the following:

  • Lecturecast Overview
  • 3-step training guide for beginners
  • Advance training

The course can be accessed via the following link Course: Getting started with Lecturecast (Echo360) (ucl.ac.uk)

Lecturecast online live training

In anticipation of the year ahead, we are also offering online live training sessions to those engaged in preparation for next year’s Lecturecast content. Moreover, we’re committed to tailoring this training to address other pertinent needs within the Lecturecast (Echo360) platform.

If you’re interested or know colleagues who could benefit, kindly complete the form, and we’ll contact you shortly.

Lecturecast sections for 2023/24 courses are available and Zoom integration is changing

By Silvia Giannitrapani, on 1 August 2023

Lecturecast sections for the new 2023/24 academic year are now available. All Lecturecast activity links in Moodle are copied over from the previous year’s course during a rollover, but students will not be able to open the links and view these recordings until the new Moodle course has been linked to its Lecturecast section.

Before making a Moodle course available to students, course teams need to link their course to the new 2023/24 section as follows:

  • Go to your new Moodle course and select any existing Lecturecast links.

  • Once you click on the link, you will be prompted to choose the new Lecturecast section. Use the drop-down list(s) to select the term, course, and section you want to link to.

  • Then select ‘Link to the Section Home’ to link your new Moodle course directly to the section class list.

  • Click ‘LINK CONTENT’ to complete the configuration.
    • Once you link through, you are automatically enrolled as an instructor in the relevant Lecturecast section for next year.
    • All the Lecturecast links in the rolled-over Moodle course will now be linked to next year’s session in Lecturecast.

Please note that to reuse one or more recordings from the previous year, you still need to make a copy of the recording and then share the copy with next year’s section. Please follow the instructions available at Reuse recordings from previous years.

The Zoom/Lecturecast integration is changing…

As of Friday, August 4th 2023 the integration between Zoom and Lecturecast will be changing to an opt-in model. This means that by default your Zoom recordings will not be ingested automatically into your Lecturecast/Echo360 library unless you change your configuration settings.

What does this mean for you?
If you choose to opt-in, all your Zoom recordings will automatically be stored in Lecturecast for future reference and to be shared with your students (this is advisable only if the majority of your Zoom recordings are teaching related such as lectures or tutorials)
If you take no action, your recorded Zoom sessions will no longer be automatically stored in Lecturecast but you can still manually upload teaching related recordings by following the instructions in the ‘Zoom recordings in Lecturecast’ miniguide.

To opt-in, please visit the settings section of your Lecturecast account and enable the “Automatically copy Zoom recordings to Echo360” option. Please see the miniguide for detailed instructions.

Setting to Automatically copy Zoom recordings to Echo360
We understand that everyone has different preferences regarding the recording of lectures, and this change aims to provide you with more control over your Zoom recordings.

If you have any questions, concerns or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team at lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk

Countdown to Moodle 4: Ready, Set, Demo!

By Aurelie, Jason R Norton, Kerry and Eliot Hoving, on 30 May 2023

Welcome back to our fortnightly news update, spotlighting the eagerly awaited Moodle 4 upgrade. Each day brings us closer to this landmark development, and the anticipation continues to build. 

Sprint Update and Progress 

In the current sprint, we have made considerable progress on various elements of the new UCL Theme and its alignment with UCL’s design requirements. This means our theme will align with the UCL brand guidelines and design principles to make the UCL Moodle feel part of the UCL based web experience. 

Our technical team, including developers, analysts, and infrastructure experts, is diligently working on the Moodle software. They’re going through the code, running automated tests, resolving issues, and preparing our systems on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud-based platform we use for our digital resources, for future stress tests next month. In addition, they’re assisting other team members as they add new features and improvements to Moodle 4.2. They’re also ensuring that our current Moodle 3.11 system is running smoothly. 

Our team is particularly excited about the launch of the ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops, that will be kicking off today. This three-hour online workshop is designed to equip departmental trainers with the knowledge to navigate the upgraded Moodle 4.2 and pass that knowledge on to their teams. In addition to the live online workshop, participants will have access to an array of support resources to aid them through the transition. 

Demo.Preview Moodle Instance available!! 

Today’s big news: our Demo Preview is live as of the 30th of May! Tutors and course administrators can now explore the upgraded Moodle 4.2 interface, allowing them to preview how their courses will appear post-upgrade. We urge everyone to seize this opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new layout and features in preparation for the late-July upgrade of our production environment. 

Moodle dashboard

What is 4-demo.preview-moodle.ucl.ac.uk? 

This restricted-access instance of Moodle is a copy of our production environment that has been upgraded to Moodle 4.2 and has the new UCL Moodle theme applied (in development). 

This demo.preview instance of Moodle is to give you early access to:  

  1. Experience Moodle 4.2 and its new navigation. 
  2. Experiment the new features that we have highlighted in our previous blogs e.g., improved question bank. 
  3. See how your Moodle courses will look after the late-July upgrade. 
  4. Plan any changes that you may wish to make to your courses. 
  5. Provide feedback on the new UCL Theme via a dedicated form that can be accessed from the bottom banner which is displayed on every page. 

Important notes about 4-demo.preview-moodle.ucl.ac.uk 

While we have made this instance available for you to experience Moodle 4.2 and the new UCL theme, there are several important caveats that users need to be aware of. 

  1. The demo.preview instance will be Moodle 4.2: this will be the version of Moodle that goes live in the late-July upgrade 
  2. The demo.preview instance will be WIPED and UPDATED every fortnight. This means anything you do within the preceding two weeks will be lost. The demo.preview instance should be used for testing and learning only. It should not be used as a “live” environment in any way. The team will signpost this via a banner visible on every page. 
  3. As part of the fortnightly demo.preview WIPE, the Moodle teams will deploy code fixes to both Moodle and to the new UCL theme. 
  4. The new UCL theme is still in active beta development with an intended change freeze to occur from the 30th of June. Prior to that date, all elements of the theme (colour, layout, etc) should be considered as beta and subject to possible change. Our development partners are actively working on feedback already received and changes will deploy as of the fortnightly WIPE. 
  5. The demo.preview is running on a reduced infrastructure. We do not yet have a measure of how many users may access the site, so we will need to adjust the resources for demo.preview as we receive updated metrics. Because of this, you may experience an initial slowness to the site, but we will aim to increase resources as we monitor the load. The speed of this Moodle instance should not be used to compare to our production instance of Moodle which has significantly more resources available to it as well as auto-scaling. 

Moodle 4.2 Pre-release resource Wiki page 

The team have also created a Pre-release resource page, where you can find various resources, report issues and other relevant guidance. This resource and FAQs will grow over the next few months before transitioning to the new Moodle 4.2 resource centre. 

Self-paced course 

Moreover, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Moving to Moodle 4.2 training site today. This self-paced course is ideal for staff who may not be able to attend the trainer-led sessions in their respective departments. 

This course is designed to help you familiarise yourself with the new interface and features ahead of the official upgrade scheduled for the end of July. It provides the flexibility to set your own pace for learning and the convenience to revisit the materials as often as necessary.
Plus, you’ll receive a digital badge upon completion of the course as a recognition of your efforts! We believe this training will significantly improve your experience of the transition to Moodle 4.2. 

Moving to Moodle 4.2 course page

Getting in Touch 

Our Digital Education team is on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Digital Education team. 

Stay tuned for our next update in a fortnight, where we’ll share more exciting news and progress on the Moodle 4 upgrade. Until then, happy moodling! 

The Virtual Learning Environments Team  

New digital skills training sessions released for Term 3

By Louise Pollock, on 17 February 2023

What’s on offerImage of two badges on a blazer. One of them says Digital Skills

ISD Digital Skills Development Team has released new dates for Term 3. Most of our sessions will be offered remotely using Microsoft Teams with some also on campus only. Scroll down for more!

See our latest schedule and details of how to book below.

We are offering a wide range of courses covering data analyis with SPSS, RStudio and Stata; productivity with Microsoft apps; multimedia and graphics creation; and much more.

New highlights include the following:

  • DSD: Enhancing the Accessibility of your Moodle Courses
  • DSD: User access and multiple instruments in REDCap
  • DSD: Managing participants in REDCap
  • DSD: Qualtrics tips and tricks
  • DSD: Scripting Stata’s new Tables and Collections.

What’s New? Learn Along Fridays!

As part of our never ending quest to promote digital skills at UCL, Jim Tyson will be hosting two sessions on 5 May covering topics that fall outside of our usual Digital Skills Development programme:
Zotero: Citation Power Moves (10 am – 12 pm) and Starting up right with Git, GitHub and RStudio (1 – 3 pm).

The first of these will be an opportunity for users with some basic Zotero knowledge to share what they do know and to learn new stuff.  Jim will start by giving a quick introduction to the Citation Style Language (CSL) which is a standard for specifying citation and referencing styles and to support that a brief outline of XML – the standard text-based language for representing all kinds of structured information.  This will also be an opportunity to share how we are using Zotero, to get support with any issues we are facing and to talk about Zotero training needs.  We would be pleased to talk about using Zotero for annotation and reporting for example.

The second session is rather different.  Many R data analysts would like to use git and git-hub with R and RStudio, but even after following online videos and guides, actually setting up your repositories and linking them to your RStudio projects can be a bit daunting; you may encounter problems that no one else has documented or be unsure of the best set up for your use case.  In this session, we will step through – collectively – installing the software (a desktop git client for example), creating projects in RStudio and on git-hub and then setting up a simple and effective workflow.  So this is a practical session where you should end up ready to roll with version control for your RStudio projects.

We hope these sessions will be informal, interactive and above all practically useful, so see you there!

How to book our scheduled sessions

As a reminder, please note that most of our events are interactive training sessions and are not recorded. Therefore, we ask that you please ensure you are able to attend before booking and cancel your place if you are no longer able to attend. If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know by emailing the ISD Digital Skills Development mailbox in advance: isd-digiskills@ucl.ac.uk

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

Prizes to be won!

We have new monthly term-time prizes to be won by staff and students who attend and evaluate our courses.  All you have to do to be in the running to win £20 ‘Love to Shop’ Gift Voucher is complete one of our training sessions, and submit our course evaluation form. The evaluation form should take no more than 1 minute to complete. Good luck!

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 and on campus for those who would like individual support on a specific issue. The dates and times of the sessions are available on our ISD Digital Skills Development drop-in page.

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.


Latest schedule:


Start date Start time End time Booking Link Venue
02/05/2023 10:00 11:15 DSD: Basic image editing using free tools This session will take place via MS Teams
02/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Basic video editing using iMovie on a Mac This session will take place via MS Teams
02/05/2023 14:00 16:00 DSD: In a Nutshell: Excel functions we should all know Rescheduled This session will take place via MS Teams
03/05/2023 11:00 13:00 DSD: Software for success: Survey tools This session will take place via MS Teams
03/05/2023 15:00 16:00 DSD: Word tips and tricks This session will take place via MS Teams
04/05/2023 10:00 17:00 DSD: Introduction to Matlab (Campus based) (1 of 2)  (To be rescheduled) Campus-based session
04/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Introduction to Stop Motion Animation (Campus based) Campus-based session
05/05/2023 10:00 12:00 Zotero: Citation Power Moves (booking via Eventbrite) Campus-based session
05/05/2023 13:00 15:00 Starting up right with Git, GitHub and RStudio (booking via Eventbrite) Campus-based session
09/05/2023 11:00 13:00 DSD: Charting with Excel This session will take place via MS Teams
09/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Digital book making This session will take place via MS Teams
09/05/2023 10:00 11:00 DSD: Podcasting made easy – workshop This session will take place via MS Teams
10/05/2023 11:00 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills – WORKSHOP 1 (Campus based) Campus-based session
10/05/2023 12:00 13:00 DSD: Introduction to REDCap for research This session will take place via MS Teams
11/05/2023 14:00 15:15 DSD: Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations This session will take place via MS Teams
11/05/2023 10:00 17:00 DSD: Introduction to Matlab (Campus based) (2 of 2) (To be rescheduled) Campus-based session
25/04/2023 11:00 13:00 DSD: Pivot Tables in Excel – Workshop This session will take place via MS Teams
16/05/2023 12:00 13:00 DSD: PowerPoint for Researchers and Presenters: Words, Images and More This session will take place via MS Teams
16/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Filming advice for a short film This session will take place via MS Teams
18/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Creating Infographics using free web-based tools This session will take place via MS Teams
18/05/2023 12:00 13:00 DSD: Qualtrics tips and tricks This session will take place via MS Teams
23/05/2022 17:00 20:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Campus based) 1of 2 Campus-based session
23/05/2022 14:00 15:30 DSD: Creating accessible Word documents This session will take place via MS Teams
23/05/2023 14:00 15:30 DSD: Managing your digital profile and social media presence This session will take place via MS Teams
23/05/2023 10:00 11:00 DSD: Mentimeter for Continuous Module Dialogue (CMD) This session will take place via MS Teams
24/05/2023 11:00 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills – WORKSHOP 2 Campus-based session
24/05/2024 14:00 15:00 DSD: Online social interaction platforms – Cancelled, register interest here for the next one!
25/05/2023 17:00 20:00 DSD: An Introduction to R with Rstudio (Campus based) 2 of 2 Campus-based session
25/05/2023 14:00 16:00 DSD: Getting Started with SPSS (Campus based) P1 Campus-based session
25/05/2023 14:00 15:30 DSD: Make a short film using your iPhone This session will take place via MS Teams
DSD: Planning a short film Add your name to the waiting list for the next session.
30/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Design an impactful research poster using UCL templates This session will take place via MS Teams
30/05/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Excel tips and tricks This session will take place via MS Teams
DSD: Record a narration over your PowerPoint on a PC Add your name to the waiting list for the next session.
31/05/2023 12:00 13:00 DSD: Managing participants in REDCap This session will take place via MS Teams
31/05/2023 10:00 11:00 DSD: User access and multiple instruments in REDCap This session will take place via MS Teams
01/06/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: An introduction to free graphic design tools This session will take place via MS Teams
01/06/2023 14:00 16:00 DSD: Getting Started with SPSS (Campus based) P2 Campus-based session
01/06/2023 10:00 12:00 DSD: Scripting Stata Graphs This session will take place via MS Teams
06/06/2023 10:00 10:45 DSD: In a Nutshell: Git version control
06/06/2023 11:00 14:00 DSD: Dive into Git version control This session will take place via MS Teams
06/06/2023 10:00 12:00 DSD: In a Nutshell: Excel functions we should all know This session will take place via MS Teams
06/06/2023 15:00 16:00 DSD: Word tips and tricks This session will take place via MS Teams
07/06/2023 10:00 11:00 DSD: Best practice for video captions and transcripts This session will take place via MS Teams
07/06/2023 14:00 15:00 DSD: Explore the potential of UCL Mediacentral This session will take place via MS Teams
07/06/2023 11:00 12:00 DSD: Excel Essential Skills – WORKSHOP 3 Campus-based session
08/06/2023 10:00 12:00 DSD: Format your Thesis (Windows) This session will take place via MS Teams
08/06/2023 14:00 16:00 DSD: Scripting Stata’s new Tables and Collections (Campus based) Campus-based session
07/06/2023 12:00 14:00 DSD: VLookup in Excel – workshop This session will take place via MS Teams
12/06/2023 14:00 15:30 DSD: Enhancing the accessibility of your Moodle courses (Campus based) Campus-based session



Login to Lecturecast is Changing

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:

SSO and AAD diagram

Visit www.echo360.org.uk and you will be prompted with this page below and required to enter your UCL email address.

Lecturecast Login Page

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.

UCL Login

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 lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk.