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BLE CMALT scheme open to new applicants

Caroline Norris26 November 2020

Bloomsbury Learning Exchange logoCMALT logo

Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT)
Introductory webinar on Thursday 10 December 3 – 4.30pm

UCL is part of the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE) and staff at UCL are able to join the BLE cohort to gain CMALT accreditation.

CMALT is the professional accreditation scheme developed by ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) for anyone whose work involves the use of learning technology.

The scheme enables candidates to:
● have their experience and capabilities certified by peers;
● demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development.

What is involved?
Accreditation is achieved by successful submission of a reflective, online portfolio, which evidences skills and experience in learning technology across four core areas and a specialist area.

Who undertakes CMALT?
In the past five years, over 100 staff members from across the BLE partners have set off on their CMALT voyage – with many achieving their CMALT accreditation. Previous cohorts have comprised academics, teaching fellows, teaching administrators, librarians, learning technologists, careers advisers and other professional support staff who all have a strong interest in technology to support learning.

Further details about CMALT can be found in the prospectus.

Sign up
If you would like to attend the webinar to find out more, or register your interest in the programme then please complete this short booking form.

Moodle 3.9 Upgrade and New Features – Tuesday 10th November 2020 

Eliot Hoving and Jon-Luc Holmes6 November 2020

Digi-Ed is excited to announce that Moodle will be upgraded to Moodle 3.9 on Tuesday 10th November 2020. This upgrade will take place in the early morning (1am-2am) to minimise any disruption to staff or students. The upgrade delivers the following new features and improvements as well as performance enhancements and required bug and security fixes. 

Activity chooser 

A new activity chooser is available that makes it easier to locate, star and view recommended activities and resources for use within Moodle. 

Moodle Activity Chooser

Participants filter 

A new participants filter is available which provides more options for searching the list of enrolled users on your Moodle courses. This new filter allows you to search participants by the role they’re assigned on your course or filtering by group. 

Moodle Participants Filter

Whole forum grading 

Forums can now be awarded an overall discussion forum grade. This makes it easier for tutors to use Forums for assessment. Tutors and course administrators can set setup a forum to be graded while students can submit posts and view the grade they have received for their contributions. 

Moodle whole forum grading

Forum reporting 

A Forum summary report can now be generated by Tutors to show student forum engagement. 

Moodle Forum reporting

Activity completion 

A new activity completion criterion is available which allows access to an activity or resource to be restricted based on completion of the previous activity within the course. This allows for content to be moved around or added to your Moodle course without having to reconfigure access restrictions and completion tracking. 

Moodle activity completion

Emojis for Moodle messaging and Forums 

Emojis are now available in Moodle messaging. They can also be added to Forums and other Moodle content using the new emoji picker in the Atto text editor. 

Moodle emojis

Additional Changes 

Alongside the features listed above, the following improvements are also available on Moodle: 

  • You can now filter the Moodle calendar by day and month instead of just listing upcoming events 
  • The question bank now shows question ID numbers within the list of questions for each category 
  • Book resources now have clearer and easier navigation options to improve the user experience for moving between pages 

Full details of all changes between Moodle version 3.7 and 3.9 can be found on the Moodle 3.9 upgrade wiki page.

If you have any queries, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk 

Workshop series: designing and managing online learning- synchronously and asynchronously

Alexandra Mihai2 November 2020

To support faculty in designing and teaching their online courses in the next terms, learning designers Alexandra Mihai and Heather Serdar from the Online Education team are offering in the next months a series of four new workshops aimed at providing practical guidance for designing and managing learning activities using both synchronous and asynchronous modalities.

The workshops have been designed as stand-alone 90-minute sessions but attending all four of them provides a 360 degrees perspective on the online teaching experience- from design to delivery, including a curated selection of resources and customisable templates.

Synchronous online teaching

Orchestrating synchronous interactions in the virtual classroom needs to be more intentionally planned than in a face-to-face environment. Setting clear goals and understanding where live sessions can bring the most added value to the learning experience is an important starting point. A well-managed live online teaching session can create opportunities for engagement and conversation.

The session on Designing synchronous learning activities provides practical guidance on how to design synchronous online learning sessions, including creating a variety of learning activities to engage students throughout the session, deciding what interaction channels to use and setting up effective mechanism for moderation and time management.

To complement it, the session on Teaching synchronous classes focuses on creating a community of practice, setting learner expectations of synchronous learning and teaching and managing groups in synchronous sessions.

Asynchronous online teaching

The online space can provide a flexible learning environment, without space and time constraints. Learning takes place also beyond the virtual classroom. In order to make sure students are motivated and engaged, asynchronous learning activities have to be carefully designed and managed.

The session on Designing asynchronous learning activities offers practical guidance on designing and sequencing asynchronous learning activities. Participants will have the opportunity to zoom into the actual activity design process and discuss how to create different individual and group learning activities, how to communicate them clearly to students and how to embed them into the overall course.

Moving on to the more practical aspects, the fourth session of the series, Teaching with asynchronous learning activities provides the opportunity to discuss communities of learning, learn about different activities that are appropriate for various subject areas and identify functions in Moodle that support asynchronous learning.

Here is the schedule of the new workshops. You can register here.

Wednesday, 4 November

Wednesday, 9 December

12:00- 13:30 Designing synchronous learning activities
Tuesday, 10 November 13:00- 14:30 Teaching synchronous classes
Tuesday, 24 November 14:00- 15:30 Designing asynchronous learning activities
Wednesday, 2 December 12:00- 13:30 Teaching with asynchronous learning activities

In addition to the new workshops, Heather and Alexandra will still run two 60-minutes sessions of the Designing Connected Learning Lectures this year, on Wednesday, 18 November, 12:00 and Wednesday, 16 December, 12:00.

We look forward to welcoming you to the workshops and supporting you in designing and teaching your courses.

Lecturecast: what analytics should you use?

Samantha Ahern22 October 2020

There are two types of analytics available from within Lecturecast (Echo360), these are:

The course analytics will provide information about student use of the ALP tools, in addition to interactions with the inidividual media resources. The individual media analytics only provides analytics about the specific media item.

Which set of analytics you use, will depend on how you have added Lecturecast materials to your Moodle course.

If you have embedded recordings in your Moodle course using the Atto editor:

Atto editor toolbar highlighting Echo360 plugin

 

 

Then to obtain accurate viewing data for the recording you should use the Individual media analytics.

Please note that students will not have access to the addiitonal tools such as confusion flags and note taking if recordings are added in this way.

Whereas, if you have linked to recordings ore presentations via the Lecturecast activity in Moodle, you would use the Course and student analytics.

Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate gotchas – don’t get caught out!

Eliot Hoving21 October 2020

Using new technologies for the first time, or in a new way, can be challenging. Not everything goes right first time. This is certainly the case with using webinar tools such as Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate to teach online. There are numerous “gotchas” or unexpected outcomes caused by any number of often opaque settings, differing teminologies, varied scenarios and workflows, and half-way integrations. 

To assist staff in avoiding some of the common pitfalls, Faculty Learning Technologist Neil Roberts and Digital Education reached out to staff across UCL to find and share the common issues or “gotchas” that can emerge when using Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate.  We provide them below.  

If you have your own gotchas to add, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk. This guidance is subject to change as new gotchas, tips and features are discovered. For the latest guidance always check the relevant UCL staff guide, and when in doubt, contact zoomsupport@ucl.ac.uk for Zoom guidance or contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk  for Blackboard Collabaorate guidance.

 Zoom through Moodle gotchas: 

These gotchas refer to Zoom meetings created directly in Moodle using the Zoom meeting plugin. 

  • Only UCL Zoom account holders can be made alternative hosts through the Moodle plugin.  
  • You can only schedule a meeting on behalf of another user if you have obtained scheduling privileges from them. See the Zoom ‘scheduling privileges’ guide. 
  • You can only pre-assign breakout rooms and create polls in advance of a meeting if you are the host of the meeting. Whilst you can create your Zoom meeting in Moodle, to configure breakout rooms and polls you must edit your meeting in the Zoom web portal. These options are not currently available in the Zoom Moodle plugin. 
  • If you receive a ‘Zoom received a bad request: {$a} error message’ when creating a Zoom meeting on Moodle, it is likely your Zoom meeting password is not secure enough. Please enter a more secure password!   
  • Students don’t need the password to join a Zoom meeting created in Moodle. All students need to join a Zoom meeting, is to click the join meeting button on Moodle. 
  • When scheduling for a guest with a non UCL email address you must be in the meeting to hand over the host access.
  • Zoom recordings will be automatically transferred to the host’s personal library on Lecturecast. This process is usually quite quick but can take 72 hours for Zoom to prepare the recording, plus an additional 24 hours for the transfer to Lecturecast.

Zoom gotchas:

These gotchas refer to using Zoom directly, either via the Desktop app or web portal. 

  • Zoom join links include the password so don’t share them publicly 
  • There can only ever be one host in a meeting who has full control. Adding an alternative host won’t allow more than one person to fully control session. 
  • A host can only have 1 meeting running at one time. If you want to run multiple meetings beginning at the same time for different groups of students, you should create one meeting and use breakout rooms. If you definitely need seperate Zoom meetings, ensure there is a different host for each meeting. Note. having a different alternative host per meeting does not get around the restriction that a host can only have 1 meeting at one time. To schedule meetings on behalf of another user, see Zoom ‘scheduling privileges’ guide.
  • A UCL person needs to claim their Zoom account to be designated an alternative host. 
  • You can only pre-assign up to 200 people in breakout rooms 
  • If the host loses internet connection, and there is no co-host, a random participant will become the host. If the host rejoins, there may be some delay before host permissions are restored. 
  • If you have paid for a live transcription service, the ‘ api token’ required to transcribe a meeting can only be generated 24 hours before the meeting. There are many more accessibility tips for using Zoom.
  • It may take up to 72 hours for a Zoom video recording to be processed during busy times.  
  • Zoom recording file sizes can often be very large, and can therefore take a long time to download for you and your students. Consider stop-starting your Zoom recording to create multiple files of more manageable lengths and file sizes. 
  • Zoom may not show webcam input if Teams is running in background. When in doubt, turn off Teams. 
  • The chat view is limited as there is only one text box. It is hard to search through individual conversations. 

Blackboard Collaborate gotchas:

These gotchas refer to using Blackboard Collaborate. 

  • Convert to PDF before uploading slides. This will enable you to check fonts and formatting – if you are doing this on someone else’s behalf remember some fonts may not be supported and so wording may be illegible.  
  • Uploaded files are converted to pdf type format (actually Blackboard’s internal whiteboard format) so you can’t use animations/transitions in PowerPoint. 
  • Consider using the PPSpliT plugin to preserve text reveals (such as bulletpoints) when converting to PDF. Because the plugin alters the document, use it on a copied version of the document. 
  • Let one person be in charge of creating breakout rooms. Breakout configuration is not shared with others until rooms are enabled, so another organiser could create a competing set of rooms and overwrite yours. 
  • The stop breakout rooms buttons don’t have an ‘are you sure’ interlock – very easy to end a breakout session prematurely, which loses all the rooms’ contents and requires someone to manually rebuild the groups (if the groups were random, they may not be easily recreatable). 
  • Content created in breakout rooms is lost when they are stopped – it is possible to copy things out before that, otherwise have participants make screenshots. 
  • Anything draft/not activated isn’t saved if you are removed from a session – this could be text, a poll or breakout room configurations. 
  • As a moderator, don’t enter a Blackboard session from Moodle when you are in student view. This will pull you in to the session as if you were a student so you would only have a standard participant role and not be able to control session. 
  • Using Edge as your browser can cause problems with interface – recommendation use Chrome/Firefox/Safari only.  
  • Sharing a PowerPoint presentation full screen to make use of animations means you can’t see the chat. Workaround: Get around this by using ‘browsed by an individual view’ in PowerPoint and rearrange screen accordingly. This video from BBCU explains when to use Share files with pptx, and when and how to use PowerPoint on share screen in an individual window to be able to see the chat and session controls. 
  • Sharing a video application may not always broadcast the sound – check this before start of any session. 
  • The stop share buttons don’t have an ‘are you sure’ interlock – very easy to accidentally close an activity. 
  • Chat history is not available to new participants. If you leave session and rejoin the chat history is lost. 
  • If you use the eraser while using the Blackboard Collaborate whiteboard it erases everything on the whiteboard immediately.

Overleaf now available

anisa.patel20 October 2020

ISD has purchased a site licence for Overleaf, a collaborative online LaTeX editor that is designed to make the process of writing, editing and producing research papers and project reports much quicker for both you and your collaborators. This is now available for all UCL staff and students.

In addition to standard Overleaf features, the Professional account provides real-time track changes, unlimited collaborators, and full document history.

To access your Overleaf Professional account sign up here  (or sign in with an existing Overleaf account) and verify your UCL email address.

If you have any questions about the software, please use our contact form to help us direct it to the right ISD contact.