Digital Education team blog
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    Here you'll find updates on institutional developments, projects we're involved in, updates on educational technology, events, case studies and personal experiences (or views!).

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    Padagogy workshop at UCL – Friday 13 July 2012

    By Jessica Gramp, on 28 June 2012

    Find out how iPads can be used in education by attending the “Padagogy Workshop” at UCL. Dr Ian Green and Allan Carrington, from Adelaide University, will demonstrate how iPads can be used to enhance the student learning experience. If you have an iPad (or other mobile device) please bring it along with you.

    iPadIan and Allan are Apple Distinguished Educators who run PADAGOGY events across Australia and beyond. Allan is a Learning Designer with the Centre for Learning and Professional Development (CLPD) and Ian is responsible for Researcher education. They have run PADAGOGY seminars to over 600 people.

     

    Padagogy workshop
    Friday 13 July 2012 11am-1pm
    Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2 (B404)
    Cruciform Building, Gower Street WC1E 6BT 
    University College London (UCL) (see map)
     

    Please register here* for this event

    *Non-UCL staff and students can register as external candidates on the login page.

    Marking assignments using the Amazon Kindle

    By Jessica Gramp, on 16 April 2012

    Kindle with keyboard

    Kindle with keyboard

    So I thought I’d give  some feedback to my colleague today on a document he is preparing and although it’s a little different it still gave me a good idea about how practical it would be to marking assignments on a Kindle.

    Many people don’t like to read long documents online (me included) and I also don’t like wasting paper by printing everything out, so this seemed like a nice alternative. I should mention I was using the Kindle with Keyboard – although when it arrives I would like to try this again using the Kindle Touch. I find the Keyboard on the Kindle a bit clunky and slow to type with. I also miss the ease of navigating by touch that I get on my smart phone.

     

    Ok, so here’s what I did…

    First of all I had to adjust my Amazon Kindle settings to allow documents to be forwarded from my UCL email account. See this sending personal documents to Kindle help article. Alternatively, you can transfer files from a computer using a USB cable.

    It took me a while to find the document on the Kindle, but once I’d located it I started to read and add my comments.

    To add feedback to the document I highlighted the word or sentence and typed either a comment or the wording I would prefer to see.

    I was then planning to transfer the file back to the PC using a USB and send it back to my colleague with the notes attached, expecting that he would be able to read them using the Kindle for PC software that is freely available. Unfortunately this functionality doesn’t seem to be available yet, so my only option is to hand the device over for him to read directly or ask him to view it on his smart device (Android and iPhone are currently supported, as well as iPads).

    If the Kindle software can sort out sending the document and its notes back to the PC for review I think this system would definitely be a good way to mark student assignments. It would suit those who are comfortable with new technologies, but don’t want to sit in front of a computer marking assignments for hours.

     

    Benefits:

    • High contrasting text doesn’t strain my eyes like a computer does
    • Easy to read in sunlight (yes, it happened to be sunny so I tried it outside)
    • Easy to send documents via email to the device (using username@kindle.com)
    • Using Send to Kindle for PC I can easily send one or more documents to the Kindle from my Windows computer (a Mac version is coming soon). Once installed the software lets me right click on the document’s name in Windows Explorer and send it to my Kindle or smartphone
    • I can mark anywhere without requiring Internet access and send the document back when I am re-connected
    • My typed comments are legible to others

    Disadvantages:

    • Adding feedback is slower than hand-writing or typing on a standard keyboard, which might limit the amount of feedback provided (I’m hoping this is faster on the Kindle Touch)
    • Words can’t be crossed out or inserted, you can only add notes to highlighted pieces of text
    • Limited options for the author to read the feedback after its been provided – Kindle, iPad and smartphones only
    • How to manage large numbers of assignments would require consideration – bulk downloading them from a VLE and syncing them to the device would work, but how would they be delivered back to each student?

    I was using a Word 2010 document (docx), but the Kindle accepts the following types of files:

    • PDF documents
    • Word documents: doc /docx
    • Text documents: rtf, txt
    • HTML webpage files
    • Images: jpeg, gif, png, bmp
    • Zip archives containing the above file types

    Another feature I noticed today was the dictionary automatically pops up a definition when I point the cursor alongside a word. This could be useful for learning languages and for students studying with English as a second language. I’ll write separately on this at a later stage.

     


    Picture sourced from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wjlonien/6031032246/in/set-72157625188064373

    Using files in Moodle 2

    By Jessica Gramp, on 27 March 2012

     

    How has file management changed in Moodle 2?folders

    • You only upload files as you need to link to them.
    • You must choose a license every time you upload a document.
    • A copy is made every time you link to a file.
    • This means you can’t currently link to one file from more than one place.
      Note: The ability to link to the same file from more than one place is in development.
    • You can not view files outside of the linking to a file / folder / image areas.
      I.e. there is no ‘files’ link in the Administration block.
    • The files in Moodle 2 are more secure.

     

    Why has this changed?

    Moodle is not a file repository. Only files being used in your course are retained in Moodle 2. Files not being used will be automatically removed, unless they have migrated over from the existing UCL Moodle – in this case they will be available in the Legacy course files area in the Administration block.

    Tips

    • You can easily find current files using the Recent files area in the new file manager.
    • You can use your private files area to store files that only you can see – until you are ready to use them in a course.

    “But I like the old Moodle file manager!”

    There is a workaround – speak to the LTSS if you would like to know how to continue to share your old files amongst staff or follow these instructions:

    1. Go to the Legacy course files area in the Administration block and [Download all files].
    2. Create a hidden staff only area in the last topic of your course homepage – click the eye so it is closed and everything inside the topic will be hidden from students – be careful all course editors know never to make this area unhidden area, otherwise students will be able to see the files.
    3. Add a folder to this area (you can hide this too to make doubly sure students can’t see it)
    4. Upload the zipped folder (must be smaller than 160MB) and unzip.
    5. Delete the zip file.
    6. You can now share files between staff in a similar way to before.


     

    Introducing improved quizzes in Moodle 2

    By Jessica Gramp, on 2 February 2012

    The quiz engine in Moodle 2 offers several improvements over the one in Moodle 1.9, including the ability to flag questions to return to later and an overview screen before submission showing a student if they have failed to answer any questions. More information is available about the Moodle 2 quiz engine here: http://docs.moodle.org/20/en/Quiz_module

     

     

    Already available in Moodle 1.9

    Moodle quizzes have the ability to show the percentage of students who get the answer correct, incorrect and also whether the question adequately  distinguishes proficient from weak learners, by showing a discrimination coefficient and a discrimination index for every question. If either of these show a number below 0 (excluding  -999) this means that the question favours weaker learners and needs to be reworked or removed from future tests.

    Moodle 2 Quizzes

    By Jessica Gramp, on 5 October 2011

    Moodle 2 is on its way (planned for release at UCL in 2011/12) and its quiz engine is being updated! Read more about it here.

    (more…)

    Peer Assessment at the University of Bergen

    By Jessica Gramp, on 9 August 2011

    University of Bergen

    University of Bergen

    Peer assessment of essay papers is a technique widely used at the University of Bergen within the Humanities faculties as well as others.

    A web-based system, called Kark, was launched in 1994 and is now used to facilitate the peer assessment process in many classes.

    Among the students using the system are those who study completely online, using web conferencing systems to “meet” with group members, as well as those who use the peer assessment technology to supplement their face to face tutorial time.

     

    (more…)