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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


TechQual+ Survey at UCL

By Moira Wright, on 13 October 2017

In early 2016, ISD (Information Services Division) carried out the first Staff and Student IT Survey using TechQual+. Over 1,000 of you completed the survey, and over the past 16 months we have been working hard to improve our services in response to your comments.

Below are just a few examples of changes that have been made as a result of the feedback received from the TechQual+ survey run in 2016:

Wi-Fi                        Three speech bubbles

A substantial investment in replacing and upgrading our Wi-Fi technology infrastructure

Service Desk

We’ve invested in staffing, tools and training to speed up response times and improve quality.

We’ve partnered with an external organisation and altered shift patterns to provide additional out of hours’ support.


We’ve rolled out 170+ additional printers over the past 18 months, targeting the busiest areas. This takes the current total to 660 printers. In areas of high usage, we’ve introduced new high capacity printers.


We have invested in storage and now all staff and students can store 100GB for free.


We are continuing to invest in additional cluster PCs, and loan laptops where there isn’t space for desktops. We added a further 550 desktops and 60 laptops by September 2017.
We operate one of the largest laptop loan services across UK universities – 266 laptops across 12 locations – and this year a further 60 laptops were added.


We delivered 221 courses last academic year, that’s nearly 1000 hours of training with about 3000 people attending.  We are working hard to publicise the courses we offer.

Audio Visual

In 2016 ISD invested £2.5m into improving the technology in teaching facilities. Approximately 70 centrally bookable spaces had their facilities updated; this included bringing 43 spaces in 20 Bedford Way up to the standard spec including installation of Lecturecast in approx. 30 spaces.  Lecturecast was also installed at 22 Gordon Street and Canary Wharf (3 spaces each).  We also refreshed the Lecturecast hardware in 12 rooms.

Drawing of a tablet with 5 stars

Based on the findings of focus groups at participating institutions, the TechQual+ project has articulated a set of generalised IT service outcomes that are expected of IT organizations by faculty, students, and staff within higher education. The TechQual+ core survey contains 13 items designed to measure the performance of the following three core commitments: 1) Connectivity and Access, 2)Technology and Collaboration Services, and 3) Support and Training.

The TechQual+ survey will be run again at UCL in December 2017 and we’ll be asking for your help to advertise it to your students, encouraging them (and you!) to complete it. All respondents will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win some great prizes!

We’ll be providing more information and communications about the survey closer to the opening date.


Could you repeat that please? – Lecturecast at UCL

By Rod Digges, on 30 March 2011

Lecture_theatre - L. de Voltolina, 1350s (Wikimedia)

Two terms into the Lecturecast trials at UCL and we already have well over a two thousand hours of recorded lectures  available to students from a range of subject areas and disciplines including, Marketing, Genetics, Computer Science, Biosciences,Chemistry, Economics, Physics and Astronomy, Electronic Engineering and others.

A recent survey of students that included questions about the use of IT in teaching and learning gave Lecturecast an overwhelming ‘thumbs up’ with comments like –

“It would be useful to have all the lectures recorded as a matter of course.”

“The recording of lectures could be more widespread.”

“More videos of lectures should be uploaded to Moodle.”

“I would like to see more videos of lectures on Moodle, as this will be very useful come revision in March and April.”

Figures of 21,000 views for Biosciences alone suggest that these are not idle comments and a large number of students are actively engaging with Lecturecast recordings.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. Plans for upgrades to the system this year mean that users can  look forward to a host of improvements – look out for a new player coming to a browser near you in April.

You can find more general information about Lecturecast at UCL on this page: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lecturecast

If you want to see an example of a Lecturecast stream, click here – with the kind permission of Professor Steve Jones (UCL userID/pw required)


Video and pedagogy – what questions should we be asking now ?

By Clive Young, on 10 March 2011

The third ViTAL webinar on video in education took place on 9 March 2011, attracting 42 attendees and generating a lively discussion.

It was presented by Clive Young, LTSS and chaired by John Conway, Imperial.

The slides are here:

The Adobe Connect recording can be found at the following link

Video and pedagogy – what questions should we be asking now ?

The wonder of webinars

By Clive Young, on 15 February 2011

Last weekScreenshot of Webinar the LTSS team ran our first webinar as part of the ViTAL project, using the Adobe Connect sysyem. ViTAL is an academic community funded by ALT and HEA to address the growing interest in using digital video and media in tertiary education in the UK and beyond. It is led by UCL, Imperial College and Lancaster University. We are keen to establish an active community but in the current financial climate it is difficult to find funding for live seminars and workshops. ViTAL is therefore supported using the Ning social networking software and now, for the first time, webinars hosted by Lancaster University.

During  the one-hour session LTSS experts Rod Digges and Jason Norton intitially gave a short Powerpoint presentation on how UCL has rolled out the Echo 360 lecture capture system. Clive Young acted as the moderator, supported by Imperial College and Lancaster University colleagues.  The audience, some 30 individuals from all over the UK, asked questions using a chat window and also in the Q&A section by audio. Everything worked very well technically, the sound was clear and the chat window acted as an interesting ‘back channel’ to pick up the concerns of the audience.  We also had ‘snap polls’ throughout the session and the response was very positive.

The whole session was also recorded and can be found here. We felt this method would work very well for short seminars, presentations, distance learning and ad hoc training. It was easy to set up, very interactive and great fun to do!

Guardian Article on Lecture Capture

By Jason R Norton, on 18 January 2011

I saw this article “Will video kill the lecturing star?” by Jon Wolff about the use of Lecture recording in higher education. What makes this one different is that it isn’t about how good or bad lecture recording is, but is about how the academic experienced the system, his reaction to seeing himself in playback. What made this even more of an interest is that when I reached the end of the article I saw that he is a UCL academic. So as a follow up I have emailed him to find out if his experiences relate to Lecturecast or another system.

Will video kill the lecturing star?

Media and Learning 2010

By Clive Young, on 29 November 2010

I was at the Media and Learning conference in Brussels last week. The conference is a new spin off of the MEDEA Awards, a competition now in its third year that recognises and rewards excellence in video and media in education. The conference attracted over 250 delegates with a good representation from the UK. JISC Digital Media and JISC Legal were there talking about UK video collections and the legal aspects of lecture capture (known in the rest of Europe as ‘weblectures’).  Blogger Helen Keegan of the University of Salford gave an inspiring keynote on ‘learning ecosystems’, the transformation of ‘passive’ video into a medium for active communication and creation. This was certainly a theme of the conference and other keynotes including Ozge Karaoglu from Turkey (pictured) showcased some stunning work achieved by primary and secondary children across Europe. The main MEDEA award was fittingly won by BBC News for their BBC News School Report which gives 11-14 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience.