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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'Special Interest Groups' Category

UCL lecturers on video

CliveYoung10 September 2015


Once confined to a few teaching enthusiasts and specific disciplines, over the last decade video, audio and interactive media have become an increasingly mainstream part of UCL’s academic repertoire.

Media has definitely become part of many of our students’ study processes.

Students consistently report that video content assists their learning, either as a revision tool or as a new way of engaging with material. Student demand for example has largely driven the growth of lecture capture. More broadly the success of Khan Academy video-based MOOCs and especially at UCL Lynda.com has helped digital video become recognised as a means to support high-quality academic learning. Key to this is integration with Moodle enabling any media to be enhanced by other online resources and support.

Media itself has become easier and cheaper to produce, edit, store and deliver, enabling both our academics and students to become producers with ‘media literacy’ is widely becoming identified as a valuable education and research asset.

Tony Slade and Clive Young from the ISD Learning, Teaching & Media Services team have been working on a project this year to develop a UCL Educational Media service. The research project investigates how and why lecturers use video and what their future video requirements are for successful student teaching. Interviews have been compiled with staff project examples to form case studies. An education producer, Mike Howarth was commissioned to produce the content for the research project

The team has have found widespread use of media to change the way we design programmes. Media seems to act as a catalyst enabling new blends of virtual learning and conventional delivery to create rich media and face-to-face learning experiences. ‘Flipping’ is also increasingly considered at UCL as a way to maximise the educational opportunity of face-to-face learning.

For examples of these ideas, follow the links below to six short video case studies on UCL’s T&L Portal.

As a bonus if you are asking yourself “Can using free online video tutorials through lynda.com enhance my teaching?” try this additional case study.

Thoughts from AAEEBL 2015

Domi CSinclair6 August 2015

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend and present at AAEEBL 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. You might be wondering what AAEEBL stands for and what this event was all about, especially if you have never heard of it before. The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning focuses on the usage of portfolios at their annual conference. In fact one of the key points to come out of the conference was a consensus that as a community we should stop referring to e-portflios (or eportfolios depending on your preference), which is distracting and in many cases superfluous. Instead it is time we just talk about portfolios and focus on the pedagogy. This conference was very much aimed at focusing on the pedagogy, and in most cases the tool used was almost irrelevant to the presentation. In education it is far too easy to get caught up in our own silos, whether that is a department based silo or a tool based silo. When we stop and look to the outside we can often find valuable input we would have otherwise missed.

Collaboration was also a key theme from the conference. To make a portfolio effective involves everyone working together. It involves tutors and students having a clear dialogue about what is expected in the portfolio. It also can benefit from peer-to-peer collaboration, whether that is academics helping one another out with creative ideas/support or students giving each other tips and feedback. Of course it can also require working with the E-Learning team, and here at UCL we are always happy to offer advice or support around any platform, including portfolios. Currently we use the Mahara platform at UCL, you might have heard of it as MyPortfolio which is the name we use for our installation. If you’d like to find out more about MyPortfolio then you can go directly to the platform at https://myportfolio.ucl.ac.uk or visit the MyPortfolio Resource Centre in the wiki – although please note this site is currently under maintenance and being updated.

The final key theme I’d like to highlight is badges. There were a number of presentations and a keynote on the use of badges with portfolios. This seems like a natural fit as portfolios are a great way of collecting evidence for a badge. A badge in turn is a nice way to recognise competencies or skills that might not otherwise be acknowledge by assessment criteria or formal credit. The McArthur Foundation have produced a video which explains the basics of what a badge is, if you are still unsure.

At UCL we have done some pilots with badges and we’d be happy to talk to anyone about this if they wish to get in touch.

If you’d like to get a wider overview of the conversations from AAEEBL then please see my Storify, collecting my tweets and all the best other tweets from the event.

You can also see my presentation on utilizing the (portfolio) community: https://youtu.be/wcFBsON_-6Q.

Should you have any questions then please contact the E-Learning Environments team.

Learn with Lynda

CliveYoung20 July 2015

ISD E-learning Environments are delighted to be hosting Laurie Burruss from lynda.com who will be running three exciting workshops for us on 3rd September 2015.

Laurie is the director of digital media at Pasadena City College, where she has also been design professor for the past 15 years. Laurie is a professional digital storyteller, and she has developed a rich curriculum in digital and new media. Laurie is also an Education Consultant to lynda.com and will share her expertise and experience with us. Lynda.com is a vast online library of video tutorials supporting learning in software, creative and business skills which is free to UCL staff and currently enrolled students.

These workshops are for anyone who is interested in incorporating video-based learning into their teaching and how to successfully adopt a blended or flipped approach to learning. There will be opportunities to share ideas, discuss different approaches and create your own lynda.com playlist. Laurie will be happy to discuss your programme requirements during any of the sessions.

You are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions, please book using the links below. Refreshments will be available throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to bring their own device and to install the lynda.com app where relevant.

Session 1: The Power of Video & the Moving Image 11:00 – 12:00

Book here

In the last three decades, teachers have moved from the four walls of the classroom to the infinite possibilities of the Internet. Online video resources are becoming fully integrated in the learning space and a matter of choice for the student. As well as this rapid adoption of this technology, witness what we have learned about how online video changes and enhances the way we learn. A great online video structures learning around meaning, presents the big picture of the subject matter, and supports it with granular details and steps. Learn “how we learn with video” and about the factors that affect our learning.

Session 2: Teaching and Learning with Lynda 12:30 – 13:30

Book here

Although many educators use lynda.com personally to “keep up” with technology, few explore the many ways to integrate lynda.com’s library into their course subject matter expertise. Effective technology communication skills paired with subject matter expertise and mastery prepare students for “real world” jobs and innovative learning pathways. In this session, Laurie demonstrates several effective solutions for using lynda.com to enhance and create curriculum. You will leave with a variety of templates and solutions for integrating lynda.com into the classroom at the institutional level, the course level and the project level.

Session 3: Beyond the Classroom Walls: Reinventing Yourself, Your Class, and Your Teaching Methods 14:00 – 15:00

Book here

Teaching and learning is changing from what students need to what students want to achieve personally, from textbooks to online aggregated resources, from classroom to cloud. Innovative changes free the teacher to rethink the “classroom.” In this session, Laurie shares her experiences in a spectrum from face-to-face to online learning opportunities, Discover the infinite possibilities in teaching and learning as you reinvent yourself as a teacher!

Now and next from E-Learning Environments Summer 2015

Domi CSinclair15 July 2015

The second edition of our new monthly vlog series, where we bring you all the most important news from UCL E-Learning Environments. This video focuses on the what ELE are doing over the summer period, as well as some future plans.

Useful link:

Moodle Snapshot: https://moodle-snapshot.ucl.ac.uk/

ELE Blog: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ucl_ele

Game SIG: https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=21489§ion=3

Games, gamification and games-based learning SIG

Domi CSinclair18 June 2015

Do you have an interest in games, gamification and games-based learning?

If so we would be really interested in hearing from you, we are looking to put together a special interest group at UCL around these areas. The aim of the SIG will be to encourage interaction and discussion on these topics and others, ranging from research on games and play to their implementation within teaching practice (plus hopefully have a bit of fun along the way).

Please join via our Moodle page if you are interested in taking part along and we will arrange an initial meeting of the group soon.

Assessment born digital – Sian Bayne at UCL

MiraVogel12 May 2015

Sian Bayne portraitSian Bayne is Professor of Digital Education in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. She convenes the Digital Cultures and Education research group and teaches on the MSc in Digital Education, a fully-online course. At an earlier ELE Assessment & Feedback Special Interest Group (link for UCL people), Tony McNeill from SELCS – a graduate of that MSc – recommended we invite Sian to talk about assessment in a digital age, she kindly accepted, and Anthony Smith (UCL’s Vice Provost Education & Student Affairs) chaired the event. The abstract:

“The study and production of text is a defining academic activity, yet the way in which texts are shaped and shared in internet spaces presents an intriguing set of challenges to teachers and learners. Pedagogic work with the new generation of web artefacts requires us to work within a textual domain which is unstable, multilinear, driven by a visual logic and informed by authorship practices which are multimodal, public and sometimes collective. How can we critically approach these new writing spaces, as learners, teachers and scholars? Drawing on experience of conducting such assessment within a large, online Masters programme, the talk will demonstrate how assignments born digital can be rich, critical and creative. It will also consider how as teachers we can manage, mark and organise for these assessment forms.”

Sian’s MSc students have a range of digital skills. As a fully-online course contact is crucial, so students are required to blog frequently for a term, privately by default but shared if preferred, receiving individual feedback in the form of comments on posts. This is necessarily labour intensive for the teaching team since it is intended to replicate the one-to-one tutorial within the blog space, as far as possible. To build students’ confidence and skills with multimodal presentation they’re set a number of formative tasks in advance of higher stakes assessment – for example to rework a passage from Plato’s Phaedrus.

For high stakes assessment students have a choice – they can submit work in established essay form but have the option to instead work on digital artefacts out on the Web. Where these are public they can bring new and exhilarating kinds of attention, sometimes from the thinkers whose work they are referencing. Increasing numbers of students are choosing this multimodal alternative (a side effect is that the public nature of the work also raises the profile of the MSc).

Proposals to assess beyond the essay often prompt questions about the appropriateness of other modes for academic communication – as one person asked during the discussion, don’t images and music fall within a cultural domain apart from academia, an emotional realm of implicit meaning and taste – isn’t it more art than scholarly communication? Sian emphasised that multimodal assessment shouldn’t be treated as a special case, and that the MSc assessment criteria are conventional and shared with other postgraduate courses in Edinburgh. Moreover the student work we saw was sophisticated. A student used a screen capture of his explorations in Google Earth and Google Streetview, rhetorical forms attuned to the content of his work on flaneurship. To pose questions about the meaning of originality in a copy-paste age, another fabricated a plagiarised essay with each section linked to its source, juxtaposed with an essay on the same subject which adhered to established norms of academic integrity.

There was a question about whether assessment criteria conceived with text in mind could adequately comprehend the sensuality and interpretive ambiguity of multimodal work. Sian observed that the MSc assessors were alive to their burden of responsibility to interpret the work. There is a single holistic mark rather than breaking down by criteria, and there is moderation and sometimes third marking. Trust between marker and student is important; students and tutors need to know each other because assessing this kind of work depends on building a relationship between tutor and students. Sian explained that students are asked to propose their own assessment criteria in addition to the regulated ones. There may be much to learn from assessment practices in visual arts when assessing multimodal work in humanities and social sciences. There was a discussion about the role of images – it was clear that they needed to be doing rhetorical work, and students who simply used them illustratively or ornamentally tended to be marked down.

On more than one occasion Sian observed that “text is not being toppled”. Digital modes aren’t taking over; it’s more a case of what exceeds, rather than what comes after, ‘the essay’. Programmes and institutions who are doing this now are the ones which are willing to experiment.

If you’re at UCL and want to experiment with multimodal assessment, E-Learning Environments looks forward to working with you. Contact your school’s E-Learning Facilitator to discuss – Jessica Gramp (BEAMS), Natasa Perovic (SLMS), and Mira Vogel (SLASH). At UCL there are plenty of precedents, including Making History (History Department), Internet Cultures (Institute of Education), Digital anthropology, the BEng, and an object-based learning module called Object Lessons (more on the latter to come). See also Laura Gibbs from the University of Oklahoma in a short conversation with Howard Rheingold about how her students retell old stories in new ways.