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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

MATLAB Online Courses LTI now available

By Eliot Hoving, on 13 May 2024

The Digital Learning Environment Team are pleased to announce a new MATLAB activity available on Moodle.

The MATLAB and Simulink Online Courses LTI 1.3 allows students to automatically track progress in self-paced training courses on MATLAB and Simulink. Students can move from Moodle into their MATLAB online course/s seamlessly. Courses include MATLAB for Data Processing and Visualisation, Deep Learning with MATLAB and plenty more.

You can add the activity onto any Moodle course from the activity chooser page, in the same way as you would add other activities.



Moodle course rollover for 2024/25

By Eliot Hoving, on 7 May 2024

Course administrators and tutors can now rollover Moodle courses for the 2024/25 academic year.

Please note that Lecturecast sections for the upcoming academic year 2024/25 will not to be available until the 1st of August 2024, after which the new academic year’s sections can be linked to the rolled over Moodle course. 

If you need to rollover a course for the current 2023/24 academic year, then please contact IT services.

Relevant guides: 

Moodle Exam guard

By Eliot Hoving, on 19 April 2024

UCL Moodle has been updated with a new feature called Exam guard.

What is it?

Exam guard will prevent users from editing their course from 10 minutes before the start of a Moodle quiz until 10 minutes after the quiz has finished. Exam guard does this by looking at the “open the quiz”/ “close the quiz”  setting when a Moodle quiz is created. The course editing freeze will only apply where the Moodle quiz is open for less than 5 hours as it is designed to target Moodle quizzes being used for controlled condition exams.

A banner will appear at the top of your course when Exam guard is in effect.

Exam guard banner on a course page

Why is this required?

In the past, when users have attempted to edit and save changes to a Moodle course while a quiz is underway, it has caused serious performance issues while Moodle tries to refresh caches and implement the changes. This issue is particularly bad where a large cohort (300+) are taking the quiz, and has caused exams to be disrupted.

What do I need to do?

Exam guard will work automatically and should have no impact on the majority of workflows. Staff can still post to forums, and mark submissions in other assignments. They can also add user overrides for late minute ECs and SORA students to a quiz.

Staff will not be able to edit course settings or create or edit activities in their course while the exam is running.

Staff will no longer be able to manually release a Moodle quiz by making the quiz visible at the exam start time. This workflow is not recommended or required. A better approach is for staff to set the Moodle “open the quiz” setting to the exam start date and time when creating the quiz. Students will see the quiz item on Moodle but aren’t able to access the questions or begin the quiz before the open date and time so there is no risk your exam is released early.

Important Notice: Moodle groups

By Kerry, on 12 April 2024

Groups with “Hidden” or “Only see own membership” visibility are designed by Moodle to be secure so as not to disclose sensitive information.

It recently came to our attention that as a result they cannot be used when filtering assignments for markers.

If you do require groups that are filterable for markers, you will need to create new groups with group visibility set to “visible” or “only visible to members” and avoid naming them anything that could disclose they are for SORA or another specific group of students. This is because students within such a group can see who else is a member.

Any questions, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

Initial release of Marks Transfer available on UCL Moodle!

By Kerry, on 18 March 2024

What is it?

A new UCL Moodle integration is now available to facilitate the transfer of marks from Moodle to Portico, aimed at improving the overall process. The marks transfer integration has been tested during two pilot phases and has received very positive feedback.

You can complete marks transfer for the following assessment scenarios:

  • One Moodle assessment activity is linked to one assessment component in Portico
  • One Moodle assessment activity is linked to multiple assessment components in Portico

Using the following Moodle assessment activity-types:

  • Moodle Assignment
  • Moodle Quiz
  • Turnitin Assignment (single submission)

In addition, the following conditions must be met:

  • A Portico enrolment block must be used to create a mapping with a Module Delivery to your Moodle course.​
  • An assessment component (or components) exists in Portico to map against.​
  • Assessment marks are numerical and 0-100.​
  • The assessment component(s) in Portico is compatible with SITS Marking Schemes and SITS Assessment Types.​
  • For exam assessments, the Portico assessment component is the exam room code EXAMMDLE. 

The flowchart below provides a visual overview of when you can use this initial release of Marks Transfer.

Flowchart indicating when you can use the initial release of Marks Tranfer.

How do I use it?

For guidance on how to use marks transfer, you can view our general overview, how to guide and FAQs.

There will also be demonstration and drop in support sessions: open to all to find out how to use the wizard / ask questions (note – you are welcome to “drop in” to these sessions with questions and do not need to stay for the whole duration). Please use the links below on the specified date / time to join the sessions (alternatively, if you would like to receive a calendar invitation to join one of these sessions, please email currentstudent@ucl.ac.uk specifying which session).

What should I do if I require support?

Please review our detailed FAQs, if you cannot find your answer there, please use one of the following contact points:

  • For any issues with using the marks transfer tool, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk
  • For any issues with Portico data eg. incorrect assessment or student information, contact lifecycle@ucl.ac.uk
  • Please provide any feedback about the Marks Transfer Wizard to your Faculty Champion.

What next?

Following this initial release, we will continue to develop the integration by adding further marking scenarios and functionality.

Current development priorities are:

  • Grade Book items and categories including external LTI resources
  • Handling of SoRAs, ECs and LSAs
  • Turnitin Multipart Assignments

This is a very exciting development for assessment administration at UCL. We hope you find the new Moodle Marks Transfer integration beneficial!

Many thanks,

Digital Learning Environments and the Student Records Team

UCL Moodle theme update – Thursday 14th March

By Eliot Hoving, on 8 March 2024

The Digital Learning Environment team have made a number of changes to the UCL Moodle theme to improve the functionality, speed and accessibility of UCL Moodle for students and staff.

The planned update is scheduled for Thursday 14th March between midnight and 4am. There will be a small outage of 15 minutes during this time. The period is a very low usage period so should have minimal impact on students and staff.

A highlight of the key improvements are outlined below.

Course search

Each course now includes a content search in the course index menu (left hand menu on course pages). Students and staff can search by content name or activity type.


Left hand activity menus

Book, Lesson and Quiz menus no longer show on the right side of page where they can easily be hidden by students and lost. Instead they now appear on the left hand side which should improve the readability of the navigation menu.

Footer search

The search for courses and for UCL Moodle content (known in Moodle terminology as Global search) has been moved to the footer and is now available on every page.

Course breadcrumb improvements

The course breadcrumb will now appear fixed on the top of course pages and includes the course icon for easier navigation.

Additional changes:

  • Course index menu (left hand menu on course pages) set to closed by default to avoid distracting students.
  • Notifications redesign with links to view source of notification, images, and persistence of notifications (i.e. not disappearing once read).
  • Messaging UI improvements.
  • Footer user menu.
  • Course section indentation on large screen to create visual hierarchy.
  • Colour changes to course section toggles, expand / collapse all sections button, to create better emphasis.
  • Back to top on all pages.
  • Large tables (e.g. grading) fill full available screen width.
  • Site admin links (those found most used in survey) moved to user menu.

Feedback or questions?

Please get in touch with the DLE team to provide feedback at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.