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The latest Digital Education and RITS collaboration is ready for launch – almost

SamanthaAhern8 March 2019

Space shuttle on launchpad

Digital Education and Research IT Services have been collaborating on the production of online self-paced training courses based on popular RITS face-to-face courses.

To date two courses have been formally launched, and we are making final preparations to launch our latest course.

If you would like to know more about why and how we developed these courses you can view our presentation from the OER18 Conference.

However, we need your help with a few final checks.

We would like your assistance in undertaking some final quality assurance tasks  – as like other work it’s difficult for us to spot our own errors or spelling mistakes.

We would particularly like assistance in identifying:

  • Spelling errors
  • Formatting issues
  • Missing images
  • Broken links
  • Correct Jupyter notebooks reference

Any assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated, however we do ask for any feedback to be submitted by Monday 25th March. Please email feedback to: s.ahern@ucl.ac.uk

We have produced some guidance and a feedback  template for reviewing our courses – Research Software Engineering with Python and Introduction to Research Programming with Python.

 

Educause – Key issues in T&L in 2019

20 February 2019

A US focus to the infographic of course, but an interesting insight nonetheless.

Follow-up notes and “7 things” briefing papers at https://www.educause.edu/eli/initiatives/key-issues-in-teaching-and-learning

Turnitin and Moodle Assignment training

7 February 2019

The Digital Education team is running two new training courses, Hands on with Turnitin Assignment, and Hands on with Moodle Assignment. Each session is practical, from a staff and student perspective you will experience the process of submitting, marking, returning marks, engaging with feedback and managing records. Both courses are applicable to Tutors and Course Administrators new to online marking or needing to refresh their knowledge.

Register through the HR Single Training Booking System or follow the links below:
Hands on with Turnitin
Hands on with Moodle Assignment

Email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk for more information or to inquire about specific training for your Department.

Windows 7 Colour and Font Modifications Missing from Windows 10

MicheleFarmer7 January 2019

The issue is that in previous versions of Windows, you were able to get into the settings to change the colour of the window background, so that when you opened a Microsoft Word or Excel file, the background colour on your screen was your chosen shade.

The window option allowed a colour chart to open up, where you could move the cursor around to find the exact shade you were looking for (alla Win 98, 2000, XP, 2007, etc.). In Microsoft 10, there is no simple option.

The current accessibility options provided by MS for Win 10 are pretty awful.

I have been in touch with Microsoft and they say that due to complaints that they will be bringing this facility back, but we do not know when.

This window is no longer available

Screenshot of Windows 7 colour and appearance options

In the meantime UCL users can access a ‘Screenmasking’ option from a networked piece of software called TextHelp Read and Write. This software is either found on the Desktop@UCL, or from the Software Centre or Database.

Screen-masking Option Menu in TextHelp Read and Write

Innovating Pedagogy 2019

4 January 2019

The latest Innovating Pedagogy report from The Open University explores ten innovative trends in teaching, learning and assessment in eduction.

Aimed to inform ‘teachers and policy makers’, the annual report – this is the seventh – is free to download from www.open.ac.uk/innovating

The 2019 report was written in collaboration with the Centre for the Science of Learning and Technology (SLATE) in Bergen, Norway and sketches ten trends ‘in currency’ that they think have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice at all levels. These are listed below “in approximate order of immediacy and timescale to widespread implementation”. Digital education features of course, “technology can help us to do new things, rooted in our understanding of how teaching and learning take place”.

  • Playful learning Evoke creativity, imagination and happiness
  • Learning with robots Use software assistants and robots as partners for conversation
  • Decolonising learning Recognise, understand, and challenge the ways in which our world is shaped by colonialism
  • Drone-based learning Develop new skills, including planning routes and interpreting visual clues in the landscape
  • Learning through wonder Spark curiosity, investigation, and discovery
  • Action learning Team-based professional development that addresses real and immediate problems
  • Virtual studios Hubs of activity where learners develop creative processes together
  • Place-based learning Look for learning opportunities within a local community and using the natural environment
  • Making thinking visible Help students visualise their thinking and progress
  • Roots of empathy Develop children’s social and emotional understanding

Some of these ideas will be familiar, others more novel so the short sketches provide a useful overview and update, with links to further exploration.

Ethics education in taught courses – not just a STEM issue?

SamanthaAhern18 December 2018

On the 12th December I visited Central St Martins for the UAL Teaching Platform event Ethics in Arts, Design and Media Education. Much of the discourse at present is focused on ethics education in STEM discplines such as Computer Science and Data Science, or more predominantly the lack of meaningful education.  Much of this has been driven by growing concerns around the algorithms deployed in social media applications and seemingly rapid growth of AI based applications. The House of Lords AI report explicitly talks about the need for ethics education in compulsory education if society and not just the UK economy is to benefit.

I was intrigued by a potentially alternative viewpoint.

The role of the arts is to push the boundaries, but are there limits to artisitic expression?

Are rebellion and social responsibility mutually exclusive?

UAL seem to think not.

The focus of the day was ethics in the context of what students make and do, in postgraduate and undergraduate taught course contexts. UAL aim to entwine ethics into the creative process, developing ethics as lived practice.

One approach to this has been the development of the Bigger Picture unit which requires groups of students to undertake both collaborative practice and participatory design projects. Some of these projects required students to work with vulnerable members of society e.g. the homeless. How do we ensure that the participants equally benefit and not exploited? Throughout the unit students were encouraged to work collaboratively with these participants respectfully, honestly and with integrity. To enable this, explicit sections on ethical considerations were added to the unit handbook and project brief.

Additionally, UAL has been working on the development of an Educational Ethics Code and establishing an educational ethics committee.

The code has 3 main themes, these are:

  • Respect for persons
    • Respecting the autonomy of others
  • Justice
    • Does everybody benefit?
    • Are there privilege and power differences?
    • What social good will the project do?
  • Beneficence
    • The art of doing good and no harm

There was a general acknowledgement amongst the attendees that many of the ethical decisions we make are situation specific and timebound,with key consideration to be given to who is part of the conversation and who has got the power? Privilege and power are important considerations, especially when it comes to consent models, regardless of discpline.

It was also acknowledged that there is a fineline between support (e.g. timely guidance) and imposition (e.g. lengthy formal ethical review processes).

Attending this event made me wonder: is this just one part of a much wider debate around compassion and social responsibility? To my mind it is.

Event related readings: