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Improving Inclusivity – observations from the UCL Education Conference 2019

EliotHoving9 April 2019

I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 UCL Education Conference on Monday 1st April 2019. The conference was themed around:

  • Widening participation
  • BME (Black Minority Ethnic) Attainment
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Supporting student success
  • Digital education and innovations

Although it was April Fool’s day, and Brexit loomed large, the conference was full of sober analysis and creative initiatives.

The opening plenary by Anne-Marie Canning MBE challenged Universities to play a greater role in promoting inclusivity in their internal practices, and in the broader public sphere as powerful and influential institutions capable of bringing about change. A subsequent panel discussion raised plenty of questions over the structural and everyday challenges to inclusivity, including whether inclusivity was a process or an outcome. This set the tone for the workshop sessions for the remainder of the day. I attended three sessions, which were part of the Digital education and innovations stream of the conference. Each session demonstrated a creative and pragmatic way to improve inclusivity in the classroom.

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

Multisensory and personalised feedback

Maria Sibiryakova presented her approach to teaching writing in Russian. She highlighted the challenge of teaching to a diverse cohort where students can have different experiences of living in Russia and different interests in learning Russian. In the course, students complete seven mini-essays (500 words each) and Maria provides audio and written feedback to students, which combine to “feedforward” into the next assessment.

Maria presented some of the benefits of using audio feedback, including:

  • Multisensory feedback – hence more accessible,
  • Improves teaching presence – students hear you and your voice,
  • Conversational and personalised feedback, and
  • Often quicker to produce.

Maria used a tool called VoiceThread, which has some intriguing features. It’s also possible to deliver audio feedback using Turnitin Assignment.

Photo by Adi Chrisworo on Unsplash

Open in class discussion with Moodle Hot Questions

Rebecca Yerworth and one of her students, Xu Zhao, demonstrated how Moodle’s Hot Question activity can facilitate in-class discussions.

The Moodle Hot Question activity allows for students to submit questions and/or answers via Moodle on their phone or laptop. This facilitates class discussion by increasing the participation of students who otherwise wouldn’t speak up in class due to personal or cultural reasons. Rebecca moderates the discussion live in class, answers questions, and draws out connections between different student answers. She also finds the Hot Questions activity flexible to use as it can be enabled in Moodle and switched on with a click of a button when a new discussion is needed.

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Welcoming new Chemistry students through a Moodle module

Dr Stephen E. Potts presented on the development of a Moodle module for welcoming new Chemistry students.

The UCL Chemistry Undergraduate Welcome Page introduces students to the Department, their degree programme, a typical timetable, Lab safety, and even how to submit an assignment on Moodle. It also includes some fun stuff like how to join the UCL Chemical and Physical Society and a collection of molecules with silly names. The module is designed to be delivered completely online, so is Baseline+ compliant, and is released to students when they are registered but before they arrive on campus.

I found the module was a great example of making Moodle look good (yes, it’s possible!). It was visually enticing, clearly structured, and combined quiz activities, video, text and image to engage students. The course has received positive feedback so far, and Stephen plans to build on the module, possibly to include multi-lingual content. I was also really impressed by the virtual tour of the Department. Students click through main buildings and labs, in a similar manner to Google maps, and can also click on information points to view location specific information. The tour was created using a 360 camera and Google Poly.

These three presentations demonstrated some of the everyday ways that inclusivity can be improved through teaching practice and technology. They also showed that improving inclusivity can often be accomplished as part of improving student engagement overall. There was much more to the conference than can be summarised here, and you can read the conference Abstracts to find out more. A tremendous thank you to all the organisers and presenters!

Cloud services enable How to Change the World student programme to go global

Alan YSeatwo14 July 2017

For the last four years, the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) has been running a two-week programme called ‘How to Change the World’ (HtCtW) for undergraduate engineering students in the Faculty as part of the Integrated Engineering Programme. The aim of HtCtW is to enable students to work in multi-disciplinary teams and collaborate to create engineering solutions to an open-ended problem linked to a particular global challenge.

Due to the success of this format, the programme is being rolled out externally. It was piloted with members of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) in London in 2016, and now STEaPP is partnering with the RAEng and National Academy of Engineering to run a student programme for a cohort of 150 students (from China, UK and US) at the Global Grand Challenges Summit 2017 in Washington DC on 18–20 July.

Students will generate their own audio or video podcasts exploring how solving one or more of the Grand Challenges could impact real peoples’ lives for the better. These podcasts will be reviewed and a selection will be promoted across a range of professional networks and media channels, with career-enhancing benefits for participants.

Five members of STEaPP staff will travel to Washington DC and offer face-to-face facilitation at the Summit. In additional, the department is also offering online learning consultancy to the RAEng that enables us to develop, produce and release online learning materials to support the programme. Based on a ‘flipped classroom’ approach, we are use a combination of the Microsoft Office 365 tool and online cloud storage to set up a password-protected online portal where students can access information and reading materials to prepare for the programme. Using Dropbox’s “File Request” allows students at the Summit without an account to submit their deliverables.

We are also working with experts in media to give the students some unique insights into how best to communicate their message. Alok Jha (ITV News Science correspondent), Dr Kevin Fong (STEaPP Honorary Lecture and BBC science programme presenter) and Oliver Morton (the Economist) have been tasked with producing an online guide on how to produce a good podcast.

The use of a range of cloud services enable the partnership of UCL STEaPP, RAEng, British broadcast professionals and US-based organisations to work effectively together to design, develop and deliver this student programme. It is hoped that the experience of this collaborative work will help STEaPP to further develop our expertise in the use of learning technologies in both formal and informal learning curricula.

 

Alan Seatwo

Learning Technologist and E-Learning Champion at STEaPP

UCL students win Jisc Summer of Student Innovation Prize

JaninaDewitz9 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

 

Box of Broadcasts August upgrade

JessicaGramp3 August 2016

Box of Broadcasts TV

UCL staff and students have access to audio and video content from free-to-air TV and radio channels through UCL’s Box of Broadcasts subscription. Staff can also make clips and embed this media into their Moodle courses without worrying about infringing copyright. And unlike YouTube, the clip will remain indefinitely.

On 1 August 2016 the new Box of Broadcasts (BoB) went live with a fresh look, enhanced video quality and more powerful searching capabilities. The search now returns ordered results in a much easier to follow format.

From September, BoB will deliver a whole host of improvements:

  • A platform working across desktop, iOS and Android devices.
  • More powerful searching capabilities (using TRILT metadata).
  • Better programme coverage and a permanent archive of content from nine channels:
    • BBC1 London.
    • BBC2 .
    • BBC4.
    • ITV London.
    • Channel 4.
    • More4.
    • Channel 5.
    • BBC Radio 4.
    • BBC Radio 4 Extra.
  • Better thumbnail previews on search results.
  • Preview clips before saving.
  • Label your own clips.
  • Personalised email alerts when programmes are ready to view.
  • More detailed citation data.

Limited content and functionality during upgrade period

Throughout August some of BoB archive content and some functionality won’t be available during the upgrade period.

On 1 August you won’t be able to access your saved clips and playlists, but don’t worry these will be accessible again in September. Also, you may not be able to access some archive content broadcast before 1 July 2016. There will be some programmes in the archive available before this date but not everything.  The archive content and enhanced functionality will be restored in September, along with all the exciting new features. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during the upgrade period.

Find out more

You can now find Box of Broadcasts on their new Twitter handle @OnDemandBoB. All followers and previous tweets will stay attached to the new handle, so if you’re following us you don’t need to do anything. Just make sure you tag @OnDemandBoB in your BoB tweets, as the old handle will no longer be active.
To promote the BoB upgrade to staff and students here’s a short video highlighting all the exciting improvements.

Check out the new Box of Broadcasts

The new link to BoB is learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand.

However, bobnational.net  will redirect here so you can still use that.

Lecturecast Annual Archiving 2015

Domi CSinclair27 July 2015

Lecturecast annual archiving will be taking place between the 3rd and the 8th August 2015.  During this time the admin interface for Lecturecast will be unavailable, however any scheduled recordings will still take place.

What happens during archiving?

During the archiving process all recordings currently marked as either available or unavailable will be moved to the ‘archive’ category. Once they have been moved to this category they will be unavailable for viewing. If you would like any of these recording to remain available to students it is your responsibility to move them back from ‘archive’ to ‘available’. Instructions for un-archiving your content can be found at https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/4w1iAQ.

Why is this necessary?

To manage the storage requirements of Lecturecast it is important to delete any content that is no longer required. Any content that is in the ‘archive’ and is older than 2 years is deleted from Lecturecast during our deletion cycles. You can read more about our deletion cycles and the archive process in the Lecturecast Resource Centre wiki: https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/LecturecastResourceCentre/Retention%3A+Archiving+and+deletion+Policy

Any questions?

 If you have any questions after visiting the Lecturecast Resource Centre then please email ele@ucl.ac.uk or phone the ISD Service Desk (ext 25000).

 

Thank you for your co-operation.

 

Need to convert wav files to mp3?

JessicaGramp16 March 2015

How easy is this? Install LameDrop for Windows and you just drag and drop your wav files onto the LameDrop interface (see that tiny white square in the screenshot below – that’s it!) and it converts them instantly. No settings to worry about and the files appear in the same folder as the originals. Easy peasy! So now I can concentrate on pulling together media for use in my online courses.

LameDrop

You can download LameDrop from: http://rarewares.org/mp3-lamedrop.php

 

apple If you have a Mac you can use iTunes to convert your audio files using these instructions.