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:
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:
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.
I am a massive fan of RStudio. Not just for R development and data analysis. I use RStudio a lot in writing learning materials, recently for R, but also for Pyton and Stata using literate programming techniques and the learnr package (yes, you can include Stata code in markdown documents with a little work!)
There are a whole bunch of (no doubt wonderful) things in this Preview release that I haven’t yet bothered to look at, but somethings have got my immediate attention.
The visual markdown editor
I have mixed feelings about this. I know that visual editing – that is, something partway towards WYSIWYG, a la Word – is appreciated by lots of people, but I loathe it. I took up LaTeX a long time ago to get away from Microsoft Word (and, not to boast, I am a very proficient Word user). But, even I found that 90 per cent of the time, LaTeX was too complicated for what I needed. Hoorah for Markdown.
RStudio actually provided my first introduction to Markdown and I revelled in it from the beginning, especially combined with Pandoc: one source many ouputs! At last the world was beginning to understand. Write in one simple lightweight format and get HTML, PDF, DOCX and other formats automatically. And of course it put literate programming within easy reach of all R programmers and learners. With the learnr package writing R study materials is a breeze.
But, still some people don’t like plain text editing. Well, the 1.4 Preview shows off the new visual editor. It’s not a complete WYSYWIG offer like Word, but it does show you a live close to end-result preview and has menus to formatting, layout, tables, images, citations. If you really don’t like typing text this may be just what you are looking for to push you that last step into literate data analysis with R and RMarkdown.
Inserting citations with Zotero
Yes, zotero users can now use the source editor to insert citations with point and click – just like Word users. There is no need to first export the references to a BibTeX file first – RStudio handles that for you. Using BibTeX is another thing that people have sometimes mentioned when talking about the difficulty of writing in Rmarkdown.
New Python functionality
And then, oh joy, the new python functionality. I find that very few people are aware that it’s a breeze to combine Python and R code using Rmarkdown documents, although it may take some effort to understand all the set-up requirements for python chunks at first: it took me 15 minutes the first time I tried to run import numpy as np!
Now, this new release adds tools for configuring python, conda and virtual environments. For me the real advance though is somewhat simpler: now you can see python data objects in the RStudio environment pane and view python dataframes in the normal way.
The last of the new features I know I will use is the introduction of ‘rainbow’ parentheses. Nothing to with Pride month apparently, just adding colour coded bracketing to help you balance your parentheses.
Time to give R (and Python) with RStudio another look
If the user interface has put you off moving to R and RStudio, then now is definitely a time to have another look. Especially for Stata users, complexity and ease of use really aren’t a reason to prefer Stata any more and the move to R coding really isn’t that difficult.
In the Filter by: area, choose Guided Projects from the Type menu.
Coursera is an online platform providing courses on a wide variety of subjects, created in partnership with universities around the world. During the Covid outbreak, Coursera is offering free access to some courses to universities for a limited period and Digital Education has set this up for UCL staff and students.
To take advantage of this limited time offer, go to UCL’s Coursera page and register using your UCL email address by 31 July 2020. You must complete your learning by 30 September 2020. It is possible that this offer might be extended beyond this but no further information is available at this stage.
This offer does not include ALL courses on Coursera, only about 90% of courses. If you choose to sign up for a course outside of the offer and there is a cost involved it is up to you to meet that cost.
UCL is not a formal partner of Coursera and does not currently offer courses on the platform.
Coursera is not available in Iran, Sudan, Crimea, Cuba, Syria, North Korea for legal reasons.
Click on Join for free and then switch to SIGN UP as shown below: Important:do not try to LOG IN if you are registering to use UCL’s Coursera for the first time.
This service isn’t linked to your UCL account in any way – you need to use your UCL email address to sign up but you are creating an independent account with its own password.
Submit the form by clicking Join for Free.
You will be asked to agree to terms and conditions and will be sent an email with a link to confirm your email address.
When you next log in you may see a banner message asking you to join the UCL program.
Click Join Program.
Accessing UCL’s Coursera program
When browsing courses, make sure you are always looking at UCL’s Coursera program. You may need to switch from seeing all of Coursera’s courses to the UCL program in the top left corner. You will see a small pink UCL logo next to the Coursera one if you are in the right place.
If you have followed the steps above and you still have queries then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to answer them.
Much has been written about the need to develop students’ graduate attributes and employability skills, in particular students’ digital capability.
In order for us to develop digitally capable students, we first need to be digital pedagogues. For us to be able to identify, use and select or de-select appropriate technologies that support and are truly a part of our pedagogy, we need first to develop our own digital capabilities as educators.
The European Union have done a lot of work on digital capability/competency frameworks, and have produced a framework specifically for educators – Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu). This is much more targeted than the Jisc Digital Capability framework.
In addition, a range of open access professional development materials have been produced for Higher Education directly linked to the DigCompEdu framework. In particular, FutureTeacher 3.0 and EduHack.
Future Teacher 3.0
This is an Erasmus+ funded project that had collaborators from the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. The project produced three main tools linked to the DigCompEdu framework predominantly aimed at developing the digital competencies of those delivering or supporting teacher and learning in the UK and Europe.
These tools are:
A self-assessment questionnaire
Analysis of current compentencies based upon Digital Thermometer responses and a recommended development pathway.
A series of 10 online modules for teachers who use little ICT in their lessons and 10 modules for already experienced teachers.
The online module content does not map directly to UCL specific technologies but still covers all the key content.
This is also an Erasmus+ project, it is run by Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja – UNIR (Spain), Coventry University (UK), Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) and ATiT (Belgium).
This project combines an online programme with EduHackathons where teaching professionals will learn how to produce digitally-supported learning experiences and will have the opportunity to experiment with creative models and approaches to teaching and learning, with a focus on fostering collaborative learning and student engagement.
Institutions are required to register to participate and in doing so run the EduHackathon event in the way prescribed.
However, you can access the EduHack online course without registering as an institution. You can register as an individual if you want to obtain a certificate of learning. The course has 4 main topic atreas, these are:
and Empowering Learners.
Like the Future Teacher 3.0 materials, these are based upon the DigCompEdu framework.
Digital Education and Digital Skills Development
In addition to the generic resources described above, a wide range of training is provided by Digital Education. This includes UCL specific training on the teaching and learning tools that we support such as Moodle, LectureCast and Reflect. A wide range of online guidance is also available via the E-learning wiki. Full details of the E-learning training available for staff are available on the ISD website.
1. Using multimedia for teaching and learning
2. Encouraging student collaboration
3. Formative assessment and feedback
However, if you are looking for ideas on how to move towards or increase the use of e-learning tools in your teaching you might wish to review the ABC learning design process. In particular, review the learning type cards as these suggest digital approaches to learning.
There are also a number of case studies on the Teaching and Learning portal that discuss how a range of tools have been used by colleagues across the institution. Examples include:
IMPORTANT: Please note that the UCL booking system closed on 15th January.
When the new training booking system (MyLearning) goes live in mid-February, you will be able to book onto sessions scheduled from 2nd March onwards. If you want to be informed about the opening of the new system, enrol on our Moodle course.
A full list of course dates for this term can be found at the end of this blog post.
ISD Digital Skills Development has released new dates for the first half of Term 2. As usual, we are offering a wide range of courses covering Excel, Photoshop, R, Stata, and more…
Software for Success sessions are aimed at those starting a new research project, thesis or dissertation and unsure what tools to use for writing up, citation, data analysis etc. These short, lunchtime sessions will help you answer these questions and determine the best way to get up and running. Book a place on a ‘Software for success’ presentation.
We have added new sessions for our highly popular Creating accessible documents course. Making documents accessible is important for everyone, whether or not they have a disability or impairment. In this session you will learn how to make your PowerPoint, Word, Excel and PDF files more accessible. To find out more about creating accessible content, please visit our dedicated web pages.
See below for our current schedule of courses and workshops.
More digital skills development opportunities…
Digital Skills Development at IOE offer training in a wide range of digital tools. Sessions are open to all UCL staff and students. Highlights this term include:
Creating Accessible PowerPoint presentations,
Presentation Translator – add live subtitles to your presentations,
Introduction to Stop Motion Studio animation (iPad app).
Other sessions include Microsoft tools such as OneNote, Sway, Teams and SharePoint. You can also learn more about EndNote, Pivot tables and VLookUp in Excel, mind mapping, infographics, video editing and much more.
Learn online with a vast range of high-quality video-based courses from LinkedIn Learning. This is the new platform on which we are now hosting Lynda.com content. These cover technical skills but also business, personal and creative skills as well. Visit the UCL LinkedIn Learning page to find out more.
LinkedIn Learning is a library of over 7000 courses covering study and research skills, personal effectiveness, technical training, leadership skills, and much more. All courses are delivered by experts and are of a consistently high quality. UCL offers LinkedIn Learning free to all staff and students; you just need to use your UCL user ID and password to log in and you are good to go.
LinkedIn are offering a series of webinars to help you get the most out of using the platform. Just choose any date and connect to the online session. Anyone can attend but they are aimed particularly at students.
The topics LinkedIn will be covering are:
benefits of LinkedIn Learning,
benefits of Connected Profiles,
deep dive into LinkedIn Learning Features and Functions.