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Ensuring that Moodle spaces are up-to-date and meet the E-learning Baseline

Clive Young10 March 2020

As we focus on Teaching continuity it becomes increasingly important that our Moodle spaces are  up-to-date. 

Moodle is UCL’s main platform to access materials, to upload assignments and is the point of access for Lecturecast recordings and Blackboard collaborate. As the student experience moves more online, Moodle also becomes a key hub for communications and interactivity. It is therefore a priority to check courses against the the E-learning Baseline.

The Baseline encourages consistency in the student online experience and will help students navigate online learning activities. Attention is particularly drawn to the first five sections of the Baseline;

  1. Structure.
  2. Orientation.
  3. Communication.
  4. Assessment.
  5. Resources.

Surveys show these are the elements of Moodle our students notice most and are often most critical of. They are also the easiest to improve.

The other sections of the Baseline are also essential, particularly Accessibility, but usually take a little more time to address.

The Baseline+ provisions also addresses specific issues of Student Active Participation, namely,

  • Students can share learning resources either individually or collaboratively using online tools (such as wikis, glossaries, databases and discussion forums).
  • Students are required to interact with online activities, such as online self-assessments, contributing to discussions and completing interactive scenarios, in order to maintain student motivation and engage them actively in the learning process.

More guidance on enhancing online elements in courses will follow shortly.

ABC Learning Design Update

Clive Young19 December 2019

ABC is the effective approach to curriculum (re)design, developed at UCL four years ago and now used widely not only at UCL but across the HE sector. Well over a thousand colleagues have now had a chance to participate in an ABC workshop. For those still unfamiliar with this ‘sprint’ approach, programme and module teams take part in an engaging hands-on ‘design sprint’ workshop, usually facilitated by UCL Digital Education. In just 90 minutes using a game format, teams collaborate to create a visual ‘storyboard’ outlining the type and sequence of blended and online activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes. Assessment, cross-programme themes and institutional policies such as the Connected Curriculum can all be integrated according to the needs of the programme/module.

After running pilots in the 2014-15 academic year, ABC was launched as a service in 15-16 and has enjoyed steady growth in numbers of modules (re)designed per annum. As part of UCL’s 2016-21 Educational Strategy we committed to work with 250 modules by 2021. We have nearly reached this already, not counting workshops run by UCL academic colleagues.

Word of ABC soon spread beyond UCL especially as we provide workshop materials for free download. In 2016-18 we were funded by HEFCE Catalyst to both evaluate the ABC method and develop these materials onto a downloadable ABC Toolkit to help other institutions run their own workshops. We ran demos at several JISC Connect More events, ALT-C and international conferences and as a result ABC is now a familiar UCL ‘brand’ in the UK and beyond.

90% of ABC participants surveyed in the HEFCE project agreed their experience was positive and 71% that the workshop enabled them to enhance the curriculum. Many follow-up interviewees commented on the ‘buzz’ in the room and enjoyment of the workshops:

it’s just a fun workshop so it’s colourful, it’s paper based, you’re moving things around and you’re feeling things, people are excited, if there are tutors and there are many of those who actually have a fear of technology type things, well they don’t have to worry about it in a workshop like this, …  it’s alive, you can see it; people are talking and it’s great to see that….

In parallel we have run the workshops for 16 fellow-members of the League of European Research Universities, including at Edinburgh, Oxford, Imperial, Trinity College Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and the Sorbonne. This networking led to the current Erasmus + project ‘ABCtoVLE’ (2018-2020) investigating both how institutions localise ABC and link it to their online learning environments. This year the UCL Digital Education team have also run workshops by invitation in Warsaw, Zurich, Geneva, Reykjavik and even as far afield as Auckland and Sydney.

The global interest in UCL’s learning design method is wonderful but hard to keep up with, so next year we will focus more on building a sustainable network.

Educause – Key issues in T&L in 2019

Clive Young20 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

Innovating Pedagogy 2019

Clive Young4 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.

Free LERU online digital HE summit

Clive Young24 October 2018

 

Do you want to talk and learn about the latest ideas and practical solutions in digital education? To see how digital approaches have enhanced blended and online education in other research universities?

Sign up for the free online sessions at the Digital Higher Education Summit, a blended conference from LERU (League of European Research Universities), of which UCL is a member . The Online Conference will run from the 1st until the 29th of November 2018. 

The blended conference comprises a ‘virtual’ online pre-conference and a face-to-face event in Utrecht. The on-campus conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands is an invitation-only event. The online conference is open to everyone. Many on-campus events will continue the topics from the online activities. The Blended Conference starts online on November 1st, four weeks before (some of) the participants convene in Utrecht.

The LERU theme group on digital education is organising this first ever blended conference to disseminate knowledge of and experiences with digital teaching solutions in this group of leading universities. The blended approach will give a wide group of teachers and staff members the opportunity to build networks and hear about the latest developments from the different task groups.

Please sign up if you are interested in any of these topics:

  • Video and media
  • Academic development
  • E-assessment

… and many others

They will keep you updated on the schedule of activities around these topics. You can also sign up for the already scheduled online activities on the online community.

There are two ways to join the online conference:

  • As an active participant – actively joining the discussion, exchanging knowledge and experiences concerning specific topics
  • As an passive participant – hear about the latest developments from the different task groups and create new networks

The online conference can only accommodate a limited number of active participants, so register soon on this link, https://leru.educate-it.nl/

Video introductionLERU online digital HE summit 2018

 

ABC LD – the next steps

Natasa Perovic13 July 2018

UCL Digital Education has been awarded two year Erasmus+ funding to develop their well-known ABC learning design workshop with a 12 European universities. Since its inception at UCL only three years ago this unique ‘rapid-development’ approach to help academics develop high tech student-focused modules and programmes has had an unprecedented impact on the sector. Dr Clive Young, the originator of ABC alongside his Digital Education colleague Nataša Perović, gives the reasons for its success, “Most universities have aspirational strategies to develop future-looking digitally rich and blended courses, but few teachers have the skills, knowledge and time to redesign their programmes”. ABC is UCL’s response, a light touch team-based approach which co-creates a visual storyboard for a module in just 90 minutes. Over 75 workshops have been run at UCL with nearly 500 academics (and students) redesigning around 200 modules. The participant response has been overwhelmingly positive and ABC was soon picked up beyond UCL, and is now used at 20 other universities in the UK alone. The Erasmus project builds a strategic partnership between UCL, six other universities from the League of European Universities (Amsterdam, Helsinki, Leuven, Milan and the Sorbonne, with Oxford as an associate) and six innovative universities from Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland and Romania. The partnership will develop ABC as a downloadable toolkit that can be used globally by any institution in the sector.  More information…

Follow the project progress via twitter @ABCtoVLE @ABC_LD.