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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'Teaching and Learning Events' Category

How is it for you? E-Learning Champions collaborative design workshop, 17 July

Clive Young6 June 2014

stephen_brownWhat does e-learning look like in UCL from your perspective? What is working really well? What isn’t happening? What frustrates you as an E-Learning Champion? What are you particularly proud of?

Following on from the recent UCL E-Learning Champions Summits and Horizons event, this session on the afternoon of Thursday 17 July is designed to capture the views and opinions of UCL E-Learning Champion in order to baseline where we are now and to generate insights into what the next phase of e-learning at UCL should look like.

The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Stephen Brown (above).  Stephen is professor of Learning Technologies at De Montfort University, a visiting fellow at the Centre for Distance Education at the University of London, International Programmes, a registered expert in Technology Enhanced Learning with the European Commission, former President of the Association for Learning Technology and a higher education consultant with over 35 years of experience.

The session is the first in a series of planned collaborative design activities that will ensure that key stakeholders are in the driving seat for the next phase of e-leaning futures at UCL.

This will be an activity based workshop in which participants will be invited and helped to draw a so called “rich picture” that depicts personal perspectives on the UCL e-learning scene. These rich pictures will expose inevitable differences in the way participants view things and the differences will be used to spark a debate about what needs to be done to take forward e-learning policy and practice.

No drawing skills are required to produce rich pictures and no preparation is needed for the workshop.  Just turn up and be prepared to share your thoughts with colleagues. We will formally invite Champions to participate next week.

This short Flash animation by The Open University provides an interesting Rich Picture about Rich Pictures.   (Click on Rich Picture in the top menu bar)


Bronte-Stewart, M. (1999) Regarding Rich Pictures as Tools for Communication in Information Systems DevelopmentComputing and Information Systems 6, 83-102

Bartholomew, P, and Freeman, R. (2010) The T-SPARC Stakeholder Engagement Model

UCL E-Learning Champions – one year on

Clive Young22 May 2014

Clive YoungThe UCL E-Learning Champions initiative is actually now a bit over a year old – we launched on Valentine’s Day in 2013. At the Summits & Horizons event on Monday we took the chance to review progress so far.

We have certainly grown over the last year, we now have over 130 members. Nearly all UCL departments and divisions are represented and although there is work to be done (not everyone knows who their Champion is!) in some areas the initiative seems remarkably well established.

I opened the session by reminding the sizeable audience that the Champions were key to our ambitious institutional target to develop departmental e-learning plans. Pairs of departmental E-Learning Champions – one academic and one teaching administrator (TA) – had been identified to help develop local e-learning statements articulating departments’ expectations and priorities, highlighting good practice, and identifying support needs.

Fourteen months into the implementation plan, this type of engagement with the champions has been excellent. Champions are well embedded in UCL’s learning technology strategic and support initiatives and are now beginning to be regarded as an important group of change agents, with the support of ELE.

This approach has already helped ELE benchmark e-learning activity, develop local plans across two of our schools and has led to the emergence of faculty-level e‑learning Champion groups. During the event our three E-Learning Facilitators, Jess Gramp (BEAMS), Natasa Perovic (SLMS) and Mira Vogel (SLASH) explained how the Champions had helped with a wide range of local initiatives and projects, in areas such as Turnitin, multimedia group work and enhancing Moodle provision.

The Champions’ role is also evolving. Mira reported that SLASH Joint Faculty Departmental Teaching Committee Chairs had been asked to ensure that their departmental E-Learning Champions were either members of the DTC or had a direct reporting link to it. SLASH has also convened an E-Learning Forum to discuss the issues of the day, identify support needs and plan future directions. Likewise in BEAMS there are now regular E-Learning Champions Faculty meetings in MAPS & Engineering. In SLMS Natasa has been meeting with meetings with all faculty tutors and now divisions. She reported the E-learning needs in SLMS  are also related to collaborative tools (for content delivery and learning activities), media rich interactive resources and ‘beyond the baseline’ Moodle activities.

We asked attendees if the Champions’ role should be more ‘formally ‘described but the audience was split. As one participant said, it was the informality of the group that made it successful.

We believe UCL is at the forefront of recognising that the complexity of e-learning provision in a modern university requires the development of a digitally literate community comprising a wide range of colleagues. We therefore discussed the personal development of Champions and Rosalind Duhs from CALT explained how the UCL Arena Fellowship programme could be an excellent route. Being a Champion and involvement in local projects would provide a sound basis for the development of portfolio case studies.

The session was concluded with an engaging presentation from Dr Adrien Desjardins who explained his role as a Champion in Medical Physics and Bioengineering. This was followed by further contributions from the audience and a lively discussion. We are planning a more formal review of the programme and this was a great start. Many thanks to all who contributed.

Etienne Wenger-Trayner @ UCL Storified!

Clive Young7 April 2014

Etienne Wenger-Trayner, the keynote speaker at UCL Teaching & Learning Conference last week inspired a very active on-line Twitter discussion that had #uclteach trending for a while. Here is some of the flavour of that discussion in about 75 tweets. I used the well-known social network service Storify to create the story and timeline below from the #uclteach hashtag on Twitter.

If you are interested in using Storify in education to collate and curate feeds from social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, try the following links.



MyPortfolio – outside of UCL

Domi C Sinclair1 April 2014

Although at UCL MyPortfolio is only just starting to pick up pace, externally the system (known as Mahara) already has an extensive user base that stretches all around the world. Yesterday saw the first User Group meeting based in Southern England, and you can read a full summary of the event posted on my personal blog (please note this blog is not connected to UCL and I’m linking to it to prevent a duplication of information). The User Group also included a summary from the recent Mahara Hui conference held in New Zealand. Despite the system originating there, it was the first Mahara conference to be held in New Zealand.

For those of us who were not lucky enough to secure flights for the Hui there will also be a Mahara UK conference taking place this summer down in (hopefully) sunny Brighton. The UK conference is a two day event, although one day ticket options will be available, over the 17th-18 July. The event will give individuals a chance to see examples of good practice, share pains and generally learn more about the e-portfolio system. The event welcomes IT professionals, academics, support staff and students – so why not consider attending? For those who are already using the system you can also submit a proposal and have the opportunity to take part in the conference and get feedback on your work.

If you have any questions about MyPortfolio in general please contact E-Learning Environments.

Digital Literacies special interest group (SIG) meeting – November 2013

Jessica Gramp28 November 2013

Digital Literacies at UCLFifteen academic and support staff from across UCL met for the first UCL Digital Literacies special interest group (SIG) on Wednesday 27th November.   Jessica Gramp, form E-Learning Environments, delivered a presentation prepared in collaboration with Hana Mori, giving the Jisc definition of digital literacies.

We’re not sure about the term – some find it demeaning.  A better term than Digital Literacies is clearly needed so that it doesn’t offend and imply a deficit. There’s also a need to differentiate between kinds of digital literacy. Some areas that have been used at other institutions include: digital identity, managing studies; working in team; using other people’s content responsibly and digitally enhancing job prospects. There was a general consensus that digital literacies need to be embedded, not tagged on as a separate thing to do.


“The Scientifically Substantiated Art of Teaching: Mind, Brain, and Education science” workshop by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa (4 July 2013)

Jessica Gramp30 May 2013

mind_brain_ed_sciOn 4 July 2013 Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa will be delivering a workshop at UCL on “The Scientifically Substantiated Art of Teaching: Mind, Brain, and Education science”.

This workshop introduces the new academic discipline of Mind Brain, and Education (MBE) science. MBE science is the new and improved brain-based learning known as  the scientifically substantiated art of teaching. It is the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, education, and psychology, and it is a paradigm shift in formal education.

Masters of Education programs around the world are slowly adapting this new model, starting in Harvard in 2001. Popular press information about “brain-based learning,” has been applied indiscreetly and inconsistently to classroom teaching practices for many years.

This workshop seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff (how do we know what is good information and what is just commercial?), and to convince (recruit? invite?) the audience to wear the MBE hat and embrace its shared goals of improving teaching by applying our improved understanding of how the brain learns.

This is a free UCL event, open to the public. Please register here: http://mindbraineduscience.eventbrite.co.uk


Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

Director of IDEA and a fulltime Professor of Education and Neuropsychology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Tracey has conducted conferences, workshops and research in 17 countries around the world (Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, Norway, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Thailand, and the USA). She has more than 20 years experience in teaching kindergarten through university, over a decade of experience in teacher training and is now primarily focused on educational research.

Tracey will be visiting UCL from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito between 24 June and 7 July. If you would like to speak with Tracey during her visit please contact her via her website: http://www.traceytokuhama.com