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    Archive for the 'Technology blogs' Category

    New Moodle Update- September 2018

    By Janice Kiugu, on 31 August 2018

    As you may have seen, for a number of reasons outlined previously, a new Moodle Platform has been rolled out for the 2018/19 academic year,  This has been a substantial undertaking, but ‘New’ 18-19 Moodle is now up, with migrated courses and student enrolments available ready for the start of term!

    While there are still some ongoing issues and small updates to be made, we would like to share the progress made so far, and thank everyone for their patience and involvement in getting to this point.

    What has changed?

    While New Moodle has a new look and feel and some new functionality, it is still Moodle – so much of it will be familiar. Here are some highlights:

    • New landing page:  Allowing access to either Legacy or New Moodle 2018/19
    • New Course Overview: Upon login, you’ll see courses you’re enrolled on listed under In progress, Future and Past. Courses appear under each of these tabs based on the start and end dates within settings for each course in Moodle, so do check under each of these.
    • Layout and view options: Hide blocks (temporarily) or switch to ‘Full screen’ view so you can focus on the main content area.
    • Navigation: There are now new menu tabs – such as ‘My courses’ and ‘This course’ – at the top of each Moodle page, which give you quick link access to your other active courses, or Participants, grades and activities for the course you’re in.

    You can find out more about New Moodle Features and some of the Known issues we are working to resolve as soon as possible.

    Content migration and Courses

    The Project team have liaised with Departmental Moodle Migration Coordinators (MMCs) to map courses from Legacy Moodle to New Moodle, with a Student migration team working through requests to complete the actual migration of content.  Over 6400 courses have now been migrated from Legacy to New Moodle, but if you think something has not been migrated, please confirm with your MMC in the first instance. See the list of MMCs here to find who this is for your department (UCL login required).

    Courses should now be available to update, and we’ve created a New Moodle Checklist of key things to do/check to ensure that your course works well in the New Moodle and is ready for the start of term.

    Portico and Category level enrolments

    Student enrolments via Portico are now available. The new Portico enrolment block was released on 30th August. Staff will now be able to use the tool to enrol students on their Moodle courses at Department, Route and Module Delivery levels.  The process of mapping modules and enrolling students using the block is much the same as before and guidance is available.

    Staff category level enrolments have now mostly been carried across from Legacy to New Moodle, based on confirmation from MMCs. If you had access to all courses in a category in Legacy Moodle, you should have similar access in New Moodle, though the listing of categories may be slightly different due to changes in SITS. Note that you may need to search for a course and enrol yourself on it for it to show in your Course Overview when you log in.

    Training, support and guidance

    New Moodle demo and drop sessions will continue to be run by Digital Education until the end of September, so please do attend to find out more and ensure your Moodle courses are ready for the start of teaching.

    Thank you to everyone who’s attended sessions so far and fed back to us – we’ve tried to add your questions to the FAQs page. We’ll be communicating further plans for updates as we continue to enhance and refine New Moodle, but we do hope you’ll find the new system improved for the coming academic year.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please see the New Moodle Information pages or email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

    A New Moodle Platform for the New Academic Year

    By Janice Kiugu, on 18 June 2018

    You have probably heard the news but if not, a new Moodle is on its way…

    Digital Education and the Moodle Improvement Project team have been working hard over the past few months to get a new and improved Moodle ready for the academic year 2018-2019. We know that Moodle is a key part of teaching and learning at UCL and we hope that the New Moodle will provide an improved experience for everyone when it is launched in July.

    There are several reasons a new platform is being implemented, the key one is the work done by the Academic Model Project that has meant that all modules will have new codes, making the module code data currently held on Moodle out of date.  To ensure a smooth set up of Moodle courses for 2018-2019, it is pertinent that we have a new instance of Moodle to host the new module codes and ‘new’ courses.

    The rollout of a new Moodle has also presented us with the opportunity to try to address some of the current issues that users have raised relating to usability, and to ensure the platform can support its increasing usage. Moodle 18/19 will be more accessible, including features allowing users to ‘dock’ blocks and view content in ‘full screen’ mode, as well as adjusted colours and screen contrast to enhance readability.

    The new Moodle has been built on a more robust infrastructure to cater for increased usage now and in the future. The new Moodle will also help us meet GDPR requirements that were introduced in May.  We also hope that staff will take the opportunity of having a new platform to review content on their Moodle courses to ensure that they meet the E-Learning Baseline, which is now policy.

    From early July, new Moodle will be available but will not yet have content. The current (17/18) Moodle will still be accessible with all the same content to support late summer assessments and courses which run through until the autumn term. You will be able to choose between Moodle 17/18, the ‘legacy’ version of Moodle and the new (18/19) platform via a simple landing page.  The Moodle Improvement Project team and Digital Education will be coordinating with department teams to map and migrate content from the current platform of Moodle to the new instance.

    Detailed information about the new platform, data migration and what staff will need to do to prepare for the next academic year is contained on our New Moodle Information page.

    We understand there will doubtless be concerns and queries relating to the new Moodle, so you may want to consult the growing list of FAQs. If you have any comments, questions or concerns about Moodle18/19, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Moodle Improvement Project Team.  Email: moodleproject@ucl.ac.uk

    We have summarised key dates below:

    Key dates

    • June 2018: Briefing for E-Learning Champions and department Moodle Migration Coordinators.
    • July 2018: New Moodle is available (with content still to be migrated)
    • July 2018 – August 2018: Migration of content from current Moodle to Moodle 2018-2019. The Moodle Improvement Project Team will be working with department Moodle Migration Coordinators to map and migrate content from current Moodle to the new instance of Moodle. The focus will be on all taught Moodle courses and programme sites first, with Professional Services courses etc. coming thereafter
    • July – August: Information and demo sessions will be held for all staff. More details on exact event dates can be found on our information pages.

    Useful resources

    Lecturecast recording lights trial

    By Fiona C Harkin, on 18 May 2018

    As part of the wider Lecturecast project, ISD are trialling lecture recording indicator lights in the following seven centrally bookable rooms across campus:

    1. Christopher Ingold XLG1 LT x
    2. 1-19 Torrington Place, room 113 (note: this is a cluster room)
    3. Roberts Building 106
    4. 14-16 Taviton Street, room 433
    5. Chandler House G10
    6. IOE – 20 Bedford Way – Elvin Hall room 104
    7. Medawar Building G02 Watson LT room G02

    In each space, an indicator light will be mounted on the podium desk.  It will indicate the status of the Lecturecast recording.

    What do the colours mean?


     

     

    Green– The Lecturecast unit is idle and ready to begin recording

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Solid red– The Lecturecast unit is recording

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Flashing Yellow– The recording has been paused

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Flashing red– The Lecturecast unit faulty/disconnected

     

     

     

     

     

    Functionality

     

    In addition to indicating the status of the recording, the lights can be used to pause and resume a recording during a lecture.  Many Lecturecast users need to edit their recordings to remove conversations had during breaks so having these lights may remove the need to do this.  The how-to-guide will be installed in the seven teaching spaces listed above.

    Refer to the in theatre How-To-Guide for instructions on how to do this.

    If there is a problem with the recording, the light will flash red.  In such cases, it allows staff to contact ISD to remedy the problem as it happens, potentially reducing the risk of a lecture not being recorded.

    During this trial, if you have any feedback or comments, please complete our survey:

    https://opinio.ucl.ac.uk/s?s=55326

    Depending on the outcome of the pilot, recording lights may be rolled out to other Lecturecast enabled rooms at UCL.

    We expect the installations to be completed by the end of the week beginning 21st May.

    Please email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions.

    BLE/UoL User Experience Conference 2018

    By Jessica Gramp, on 12 May 2018

    Thurs 28th – Fri 29th June

    Hosted by Birkbeck, University of London

    Following the University of London’s successful conference Demystifying User Experience Design & Testing last year, the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) in partnership with the University of London (UoL) is holding a free, two-day event for staff based at UoL member institutions on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June.

    On these two days, we are offering three distinct workshops, which are each focused on different applications of UX. Come along to all three or select those that interest you. Places are limited, so don’t delay registering your place!

    Day 1: Thursday 28th June

    am: User Research: focus groups, user testing and user feedback
    pm: User Centred Content

     

    Thursday 28th June: Morning workshop

    User Research: focus groups, user testing, surveys and user feedback

    A practical session with guest speakers sharing their insights into user research and associated applications.
    Led by Naomi Bain, Web Officer (Training and User Experience) – Birkbeck, University of London

    0930 Coffee & Registration
    • Introduction (Naomi Bain)
    • Keynote: conducting f2f user testing (Jane Lessiter, Goldsmiths)
    • Case studies: sharing experiences of user research
    • Practical session: how to conduct a web user testing session. This session will include tips, discussion, sharing experiences, questions and trying out the roles of tester and testee (Naomi)
    End by 1300

    Thursday 28th June: Afternoon workshop

    User Centred Content

    An overview of the online tools available to help you to plan and review your own content. Mapping users against online content – bring along a piece of your own content to review! Finishing with a panel Q&A discussion around content strategy and governance.
    Led by Melanie Read, Head of Digital – University of London

    1345 Registration, with a prompt start at 1400
    • Welcome, Introductions and icebreaker
    • Content planning – what tools do you use for planning content.
    • Content mapping – against the difference users types and then creating content suitable to that user.
    • Content strategy and governance
    • Panel discussion: how to manage governance
    End by 1630

    Day 2: Friday 29th June

    am: Moodle and Accessibility

     

    Friday 29th June: Morning workshop

    Moodle and Accessibility

    This workshop will focus specifically on Moodle and the considerations and requirements to ensure courses are accessible to all users.
    Led by Sarah Sherman, Service Manager – Bloomsbury Learning Environment

    0930 Coffee and registration
    • Welcome & Introductions (Sarah Sherman, BLE)
    • Presentation 1: Birkbeck For All (Leo Havemann, Birkbeck)
    • Presentation 2: Policy for Accessibility (Nic Charlton, University of London)
    • Presentation 3: Working with Moodle (Nic Christodoulou, SOAS)
    • Presentation 4: Accessibility initiatives at UCL (Jess Gramp & Paul Thompson, UCL)
    • Presentation 5: Checking for accessibility in Moodle (Herve Didiot-Cook, Blackboard)
    • Panel discussion
    • Workshop activity: developing Moodle accessibility guidelines for practitioners
    End by 1300

    Book your place now.

     

    For further details about the event, please contact Sarah Sherman or Melanie Read

    Introducing StepShot Manuals

    By Jim R Tyson, on 8 February 2018

    For a while now, I have been quietly promoting StepShot Manuals (StepShot for short) to my colleagues in ISD. StepShot is a rapid documentation development tool. Which is not nearly as bad as it sounds. StepShot allows you to record an on-screen process – for example, formatting a table in Word or filling out an expenses form – taking screenshots, adding callouts and annotations and writing explanations as you go.

    Some key uses for StepShot include

    • rapid development of training materials and technical documentation
    • developing test scripts for UAT
    • recording test results or bugs
    • creating knowledgebase articles
    • recording process for business analysis and process review

    If you have ever done these jobs, then you might have combined several tools, for example

    a screenshot tool (Windows has one built in), Word, an image editor (Paint or Photoshop), with a workflow like this: take all your screenshots, insert them into word editing, cropping etc as you go, adding explanatory text.

    Stepshot brings all this together in one tool. You set it up to record the activity and select to create a screenshot for mouse clicks or keyboard actions or to use a specific hot key combination for screenshots. As you go through the activity recording images you can also give each a descriptive title and a comment. When you stop recording StepShot opens its editing tool. This latter looks a bit like PowerPoint: your images are listed vertically down the left while the main window allows you to edit an image and add text.

    Click to see the animation!

    This is already a vast improvement on hacking documents together with separate applications, none of them specifically designed for the job, but wait there’s more! StepShot can export your document when you have finished, as Word, PDF, HTML, XML or DITA and can publish directly to Confluence, SharePoint or WordPress. (If they add a PowerPoint option I’ll throw a party). There are simple built in templates for output and with a little effort you can create a customised or branded template.

    So, currently about a dozen people at UCL have taken up a license (UCL staff members can contact ISD Training Administration for licensing information. To use StepShot you do need admin rights on your Windows or Mac PC.). It has been used to create training materials for lecturecast (published on Confluence), it has been used in UAT creating test scripts, it has been used by software testers to record bugs and communicate them to developers. No one currently using it has had more than a two minute informal introduction to the product but people seem to pick up its basic use very quickly. Users report that they enjoy using it as well. The most commone response using it for the first time has been about the immense time savings you can achieve and next about the simplicity of use. One or two people have commented that they don’t really like the look of the output, but this is largely because they haven’t learned how to customise output. I have offered a short workshop on customisation and hope to run it again.

    I have created a Microsoft Team site and I will be keeping in touch with people using it since I have been asked to feedback our experience to the developers.

    Improvements to the Lecturecast Service

    By Janice Kiugu, on 7 December 2017

    The Lecturecast service was upgraded over the summer and we have seen many more lectures being scheduled for recording so far this year – not just due to an increase in the number of rooms where Lecturecast is available, but also in the proportion of events being recorded. As we now draw towards the end of the year and to Christmas, we are glad to be able to share some of the improvements that have been made since the system first went live.

    Lecturecast Moodle Connector block
    The Lecturecast Connector block provides a new way to seamlessly link recordings held under a module code (or multiple module codes) in Lecturecast to a Moodle course.

    Since the block went live, we have continued to try and improve its integration with Moodle and the Lecturecast system. On Thursday 7th December these changes will go live in Moodle, including:

    • The Lecturecast Connector block will no longer overwrite the Moodle course short name. Previously, though it could be changed back, mapping to a Lecturecast section in your course would update the short name to match the section name.
    • The block now displays all Lecturecast sections you have mapped to your Moodle course, which is particularly useful if you have lectures recorded under different module codes.
    • If staff un-link a Lecturecast section from their Moodle course, the Connector block will update within 24hrs to no longer show this as a mapped section.
    • Adding a Lecturecast activity no longer adds an item to the course Gradebook. (14/12/2017)

    Our Lecturecast Connector block user guides have also been updated to include these changes.

    Lecturecast Scheduler
    The Lecturecast Scheduler ties in to existing CMIS timetabled events, reducing the need for duplication of information, and has allowed staff more direct ability to manage the scheduling of their recordings. Based on staff feedback, a number of changes have been made to both the functionality and the interface the tool offers.

    These include improvements such as:

    • Email notifications enabled when there is a change to event location or title in CMIS.
    • More descriptive error messages with hover-over help text so staff know what to do next.
    • A ‘Captured Events’ tab has been added with filter and sort options.
    • Better filtering – based on event start times and the option to clear all filters.
    • The ability to change capture options (recording and availability options) on the ‘Events’ tab, as well as on the ‘Scheduled Events’ tab.
    • Addition of a ‘Version Information’ link in the Scheduler to allow greater transparency of improvements and changes.

    You can find out how to make the most of these improvements using our updated Lecturecast Scheduler user guides

    If you have any questions about the changes, please feel free to email lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk. We hope you’ll find that these changes make the service easier to use, but look forward to working to improving the service further in the coming months.