X Close

Digital Education team blog

Home

Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team

Menu

Archive for the 'Students as ChangeMakers' Category

Assessment hackathon event – Collaboratively exploring the digital assessment challenge  

Anisa Patel28 March 2022

“In a digital era, how can we design assessments differently and better?” 

This is the question that a group of more than 35 key partners in UCL’s teaching and assessment community gathered to consider last week. Hosted jointly by ARENA and Digital Education, the group comprised academics, students, the Digital Assessment team, Faculty Learning Technologists, professional services staff and representatives from UNIwise (suppliers of our digital assessment platform, AssessmentUCL).  

Attendees were split into teams of mixed disciplines to share their experience of assessment at UCL and bring forward ideas and recommendations on how digital assessments could look in the future. 

The breadth of representation made for a rich and varied discussion and enabled each partner to express their principle areas of focus: 

  • From our student representatives we heard a genuine desire both for continued improvement enabled through assessment feedback not just marks and for assessments to test modern-day marketplace skills (e.g. distilling information, writing reports).   
  • Our academic representatives expressed their overarching concern to do the right thing by our students: seeking to understand and share methods and tools for designing assessments to help students in future life.
  • Our Digital Assessment team focussed on ways to build and share capabilities within faculties enabling us to connect academics, students and technologists and ways to understand and share how technology can support innovative assessment design both now and in the future.  
  • Like our students, our Faculty Learning Technologists focussed on the importance of feedback (or “feedforward”) which is easily accessible, timely and meaningful: enabling students to act upon it.  
  • Our Professional Services representatives focused on how to connect people to ensure that fantastic work around assessment design is shared widely and to ensure that academics and faculty teams are all aware of the tools and supporting resources available to them. 
  • Our UNIwise representatives were interested in all points raised: keen to consider how future enhancements to the AssessmentUCL platform might facilitate the continued evolvement of digital assessment. 

Group discussions were wide ranging and often raised more questions than answers but surfaced a clear desire to continue the conversations about the issues raised and to focus on how we share knowledge to maximise the depth of expertise in assessment design across departments. 

Next steps 

As a result of the discussion, Arena and the Digital Assessment team will focus their attention on the following key themes over the coming months:  

  1. Enabling assessment design knowledge sharing: Helping academics and others involved in assessment design to understand what is possible and how to achieve it. Ensuring clear information channels and networks are established to enable academics and others involved in assessment design to share experience and learn from the experience of others as well as raising awareness of existing resources and support.  
  2. Continuing to improve the markers journey: Exploring how to enable flexibility in marking where one may allocate all work to all markers and each takes one off the top of the pile and can go to the next unmarked (or not yet started to mark script), to ensure that there is no loss of marks when marking allocations change pre/post marking. 
  3. Continuing the conversation: Building on the foundations and links established during this event, we plan to set up a learning lab through which staff and students can continue the discussion around how we can design digital assessments differently and better using existing mechanisms like the Chart tool, as well as rethinking how assessments are delivered currently to make them more applicable to real-world situtations and careers.
  4. Working collaboratively with suppliers and academic colleagues to shape enhancements / design solutions to particular issues: We hope to connect key members in Departments with our suppliers Uniwise to workshop and work through desirability and current system functionalities.

If you would like to join events like this in the future, please let us know by contacting assessments@ucl.ac.uk.

UCL students win Jisc Summer of Student Innovation Prize

Janina Dewitz9 September 2016

Know It Wall has been announced as a Summer of Student Innovation winner, bagging £10,000 in funds to further develop their idea in collaboration with Jisc.

On 23 August, seven of the 15 Summer of Student Innovation ‘Student Ideas’ first round winners beat the competition to secure further funding and support from Jisc to develop their ideas into real products ready for market. Following a four day Jisc run ‘design sprint’ in Birmingham, the student teams went head to head to persuade the judges in a Dragon’s Den style pitch, and we are proud to announce that Know It Wall came out on top!

Know It Wall aims to make current academic research accessible to the intellectually curious public through the use of text and high quality audio-visual content. So far the team have produced 18 episodes on topics ranging from human memory to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Team Know It Wall is planning to spend the prize money on producing video content and the development of additional features to the website.

Feeling curious? Dip right in at http://knowitwall.com !

Find out more about the project…

 


The Summer of Student Innovation is in its fourth year and is managed by Jisc. More information is available at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/student-innovation.

“The competition really does show that students are best placed to address education sector issues, and their innovative ideas are perfect for supporting learning, teaching or research”
– Andy McGregor, Deputy Chief Innovations Officer, Jisc

Have you got students with an innovative edtech idea? Digital Education Futures can provide support and mentorship.

Contact Janina Dewitz, Innovations Officer, j.dewitz@ucl.ac.uk

 

Developing projects with disabled students

Moira Wright9 May 2016

In 2014 Michele Farmer (Disability IT Support Analyst – ISD) came up with the idea for developing some projects and put in a bid with help from Steve Rowett (Digital Education Developments Team Leader) and was allocated some money to run a project for disabled students.

The idea was to give students a chance to develop resources that they felt would be useful to disabled and non-disabled users whilst gaining new skills, work experience and a bit of pocket money.

We recruited four students who worked on a variety of outputs and ideas. Mark Shaw worked on a film that compared different referencing tools which is helpful to all students. Two others, Richard Kendall and Lewis Hopper, worked on a series of informational films that told users about the various support systems available to disabled users as well as a short film on Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) from a personal perspective. James Prime worked on resources for blind users.

We are extremely impressed with the students’ efforts. Check out the links below to view the films they produced.

These projects were delivered with support from Digital Education Developments who helped to access some additional funding through the UCL ChangeMaker Digital Literacy programme.

Mark Shaw – comparison and demos of reference programs.

Overview of Reference Manager software

Richard Kendall and Lewis Hopper – students’ views on support and services for disabled users at UCL.

Initial experiences of UCL

How has UCL responded to your needs both academically and outside university?

What facilities are made available at UCL and do these met the needs of students?

What advice would you give to a prospective student with a disability starting at UCL?

Some courses offered by UCL include physically demanding activities. How have these been dealt with?

Are you aware of the places round campus where you can access confidential support?

Did you feel there was any difference in treatment between you and other students during your time at UCL?

Richard Kendall and Lewis Hopperadvice on prevention and care of workstation related injuries.

Dealing with Repetitive Strain injury (RSI) and related nerve damage

James Prime – Guide to using JAWS with Excel for blind users and for trainers.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/how-to/accessibility-disabilityit/jaws-and-excel-commands

 

Sharing data, sharing experiences

Steve Rowett26 April 2016

The thing we love most in Digital Education is working with our students, hearing their ideas and seeing what they can achieve.

The UCLU Technology Society recently approached us about an API for accessing information at UCL – what is available now and what more could be made available in the future. It’s a difficult question, as we don’t own most of the data we process and don’t have the right to just make it available. But with the UK topping the Open Data Barometer, it’s such to be a question we will have to face.

The leaders in this field in the UK are Southampton and Oxford. Four members of TechSoc and myself recently visited Ash Smith and Chris Gutteridge at Southampton, who have done tons of work in opening up university data – everything from buildings to catering.

The TechSoc have written up the visit as a blog post, so I’ll do no more other than link to their report of the visit.

Introducing the ‘UCL Student Blog’

Moira Wright6 October 2015

bloggingE-Learning Environments (ELE)  is launching a pilot that gives students the opportunity to write short review blog posts and get them published on a UCL blog page. We’d like to hear from any students and staff interested in taking part.

The idea is that students review clips or programmes of online resources that are relevant to their studies. These might be TV or radio programmes from BoB (Box of Broadcasts), Lynda.com courses, TED Talks, Khan Academy resources, YouTube videos or any other online resource that may be of interest to others at UCL.

Staff might even use these resources in class and link to them from their Moodle courses. Staff can also help to tag the posts with keywords relevant to the topics they are teaching.

Don’t worry if you have never written a blog before. ELE will provide you technical support and training on how to write for the web will be provided via Lynda.com and the ‘Writing for the Web’ course.

We’d also like to include student reviews of apps to form the ‘My Favourite Apps’ pages.  We think with so many apps around it would be really good to share what people at UCL are using, and why and how they are being used.

By answering some simple questions, you can write a (really) short review of an app you are using and tell us why you are using it – maybe it has improved your life, helped your learning or saved you money. People can vote and winners of ‘My Favourite App’ will have their review posted on a digital postcard on the front page of UCL Moodle.

Students can be recognised for this work with HEAR (Higher Education Academic Report) for your blogging (you’ll need to meet the criteria). The HEAR is an electronic transcript of verified academic and non-degree related achievements attached to students record. See the UCL HEAR Information for Students.

Students could also use this work to form a project for gaining a Jisc ‘Institutional Change Leader’ (ICL) award, accredited by the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

If you are interested in being involved, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Examples of similar programmes being run at other universities and colleges are available in Jess Gramp’s blog posts ‘On the Box‘ and ‘GC Student innovators‘.

The first post is up and was written by 3rd year UCL Department of English student Ellie Pearce. In the blog called ‘Bentham Returns’ Ellie imagines Jeremy Bentham waking up in the middle of the festival ‘to celebrate all things digital’ UCL digifest which took place in Nov 2014. She has really captured the spirit of JB and we’re sure you’ll be inspired to get working on your own first review and hunting down clips, programmes and library resources. We’re aiming to build a rich archive of film, programme and clip resources in which can be accessed used and added to, over time.

 

On the box

Jessica Gramp6 October 2015

At the University of Leicester students are helping to find TV and radio clips that help students learn.
Those involved in this programme review clips or entire episodes available via Box of Broadcasts.
Box of Broadcasts TVThe Box of Broadcasts (BoB) service is available to UCL staff and students and allows them to view shows recorded from  free to air channels, including everything broadcast on the BBC (TV and radio) since 2007 (800,000+ programmes). Programmes aired in the last 30 days can be recorded by an user and then remain available to anyone else who wants to access them.
At the University of Leicester students are helping integrate these resources into their modules, by blogging reviews for others to read and comment on. There are also plans to develop viewing lists of useful programmes for particular subjects. Each blog post is tagged with relevant keywords to make it easier for others to find relevant resources. Staff involved in the pilot also link to the blog from their online course pages.
Students at Leicester received training and support in writing for the web and were also paid for their contributions once they blogged a minimum of 5 posts.
One limitation these students encountered with Box of Broadcasts is that the search is difficult to use. University of Leicester students have begun using a service called TRILT to search and set alerts for deeper/future searches: http://bufvc.ac.uk/tvandradio/trilt/
You can see some examples of these blogs here:

The first example above (Biology on the Box) was run with tutors amending the tags on the 50 posts to fit with their teaching. Subsequently, these are better tagged than the posts in the English on the Box, where students led the entire process, including tagging. For ‘English on the Box’, 4 students contributed 35 posts and half of these were radio programmes. These students explained that they found it difficult to tag the posts with accurate keywords that were relevant to their modules, therefore it is important to involve the module tutors in this process. 

There were may positive outcomes for this project, including:
  • Students who participated improved their written communication skills and developed their digital footprint, which will help them to demonstrate their skills to future employers.
  • Students used knowledge obtained from these media clips within their exam answers, so it had a positive impact on their learning.
  • Academic staff could easily incorporate rich media into their modules.
This project was presented at the recent ALT-C conference in Manchester, UK.

UCL is developing a similar, student-led project and is calling for both staff and students to take part.
  • We need students to volunteer to become bloggers and approach their tutors to incorporate their blog posts into their Moodle courses – E-Learning Environments can help with the technicalities.
  • We need tutors to volunteer to promote this to their student;  incorporate the ‘viewing lists’ into their Moodle courses and help with tagging.

Find out more and sign up here…