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    Archive for the 'Web 2.0' Category

    Now and next from E-Learning Environments Summer 2015

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 15 July 2015

    The second edition of our new monthly vlog series, where we bring you all the most important news from UCL E-Learning Environments. This video focuses on the what ELE are doing over the summer period, as well as some future plans.

    Useful link:

    Moodle Snapshot:

    ELE Blog:

    Game SIG:§ion=3

    Introducing the ELE vlog

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 22 June 2015

    In E-Learning Environments (ELE) we have lots of useful and important information we need to communicate with staff (and students) who use our systems. We have various different ways of communicating with everyone who uses our systems (like Moodle, Lecturecast and MyPortfolio) including email, Twitter, Moodle News and this blog. However we also recognise that these are all text based mediums, and sometimes read chunks of information isn’t preferential. To try and make this easier, and offer an alternative way of communicating we are pleased to introduce the ELE vlog.

    We are launching this new vlog (or video blog) on our YouTube channel and hope to post a new video every month informing viewers of the most interesting or important things happening within ELE and our systems. If we get a good response, or have requests, then we may increase the frequency of videos, or make videos explaining particular topics. If you have any ideas of videos you’d like to see from ELE then please comment on this blog post or send us an email to

    So, without further adieu, please enjoy our first vlog embedded below (and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more educational and hopefully entertaining content!)

    ELE Communication Channels

    Moodle News:



    When UCL students edit Wikipedia

    By Mira Vogel, on 15 April 2015

    A presentation by Rocío Baños Pinero (Deputy Director, Centre for Translation Studies), Raya Sharbain (Year 2 undergraduate, Management Science and Innovation) and  Mira Vogel (E-Learning Environments) for the UCL Teaching and Learning Conference, 2015. Here’s the abstract, presentation graphics embedded below and in case you can’t see that, a PDF version of those.

    See also the UCL Women’s Health Translatathon write-up.

    The internet is for being social (and for cats).

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 5 March 2015

    The power of the internet, and people’s desire to interact socially have been demonstrated time and time again, and I recently wrote a post for this blog about the power of the crowd. Another example that struck me, and that I wanted to share was that of the Kickstarter project, Exploding Kittens.

    Exploding Kittens is a card game, that received a large amount of funding ($8,782,571) via it’s Kickstarter campaign. The amount of money they received was vastly over their initial $10,000 goal and so money is really not a problem for this project. Within the mechanics of Kickstarter many campaigns offer what are known as stretch goals. These are additional benefits offered to backers if the campaign exceeds certain goals. They are usually designed to encourage funding and will start once the project has exceeded its initial funding target. The Exploding Kittens project had initially refused to do any stretch-goals, however due to pressure from backers they agreed to set up a series of extras that could be achieved by reaching certain targets. As I mentioned before this project received a gigantic amount of funding, and the project team did not want or need any more money. Instead they decided to set a number of social challenges, to get backers engaging in the project and community, as well as to get them interacting with one another and working towards a shared good. These social goals ranged from things such as reaching a specific number of Facebook followers for the project to 100 people in a room having a picture taken with cat ears on. Yet again the backers showed their power and managed to meet even some of the weirder targets to unlock the stretch goals.

    You might not think Exploding Kittens has much to do with education, but it shows the potential for getting people to work together for a shared goal through a series of social targets. One of the projects social goals was to create a Wikipedia page for the Exploding Kittens project. This could be translated into education by setting students the goal of creating a wiki page, on UCL’s very own wiki and then everyone contributing to unlock extra tutorial slots, or more mock exam questions. The difficult part with education is ensuring the goals are tempting enough for students to want to unlock them, without being so important that denying them to students would be unethical. Some of the other challenges that could be used in an educational context include the various photo challenges. You might set a selfie challenge for students to take pictures with certain museum artefacts, or outside buildings of specific historic significance. Perhaps they could then be asked to write a report about why that object or building is so important or their experiences there, or they might have to pick someone else’s selfie to write about. Maybe you could set a group challenge where at least 5 students have to take a picture in a certain location – which would involve them communicating with one another to make arrangements and might help with group dynamics for later project work. These of course are only ideas, and subject experts are much more likely to know what they wish to get out of students. It might just help to think of how we can utilise other popular elements of the internet for an educational purpose and get everyone working together, for the greater good.


    By Domi C Sinclair, on 26 February 2015

    About a year ago, a colleague in E-Learning Environment showed me this online image tool, GigaPan. I enjoyed looking at this tool, and scrolling deeper and deeper into some stunning, extremely high quality panoramic shots. Recently I noticed that same colleague showing the tool to someone else and decided it was time I shared it with the wider community.

    At its basic level it is a great tool for displaying large images and will embed nicely into MyPortfolio, UCL’s e-portfolio system.

    GigaPan has a tagging feature, that allows you to tag details in the image that might be hidden when viewing the full image, and only become apparent when you zoom into the right location. This might be people going about their business somewhere on a busy city shot, or flora and fauna in a wild landscape. I started thinking about how this might be used in an educational context. It could be used to scan for details in a subject related shot, or perhaps as an induction activity. It could be used to find certain items in a picture,  that has been taken by the person setting the task, like a digital scavenger hunt. The aim in this would be to tag specific items, and each of these could be connected to a goal. Perhaps the person who finds the most items gets a Mozilla Open Badge or an invite to an exclusive event. It might be you are only allowed to tag one item, and once you have you are required to produce a report or presentation about it’s relevance to your subject.

    There are many possibilities and I think GigaPan presents an opportunity to get creative in how you might set tasks for students, and have some fun.

    You can explore the site yourself and generate your own ideas by visiting

    The power of the crowd

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 12 February 2015

    A strong operating principal for the internet is faith in people power. This is not just for organising activism or anything world changing, but for doing everything from crowd-funding projects (Kickstarter, Indiegogo) to crowd-sourcing the webs best posts and news (Reddit). Now there is a new use for crowd power, Forekast, the crowd-sourced calendar.

    This online calendar works on the basis of users submitting dates to the calendar and then voting for ones they think are interesting. This way you can see what big events are happening both on and offline. Forekast is broken into a number of subcategories, including technology, education and science. The technology category includes funding deadlines for Kickstarter projects, conferences and the known dates for important technology related policy decisions.  The science section includes a lot of the same things as the technology section, but with the addition of things such as dates for live-streamed talks from NASA and natural events (such as meteor shows and eclipses).

    When you find an event you are interested in you can choose to up-vote it and receive an emailed reminder before it happens. You can also elect to get reminders on certain social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Google+). There is the option to localise your events to many global locations, including the United Kingdom, although this doesn’t make much of a difference as most of the events are listed as global, normally because they are taking place online or on a certain day and are not geographically sensitive.

    Regardless of whether you find this specific tool useful or not, the online world certainly seems to be embracing the old adage, ‘two heads are better than one’. With the massive reach of the internet it seems that a few million heads are better than one at finding out what is hot and what is not.

    List of websites mentioned in this post: