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H5P News

Janina Dewitz12 June 2020

Good news for anyone who is looking to make their Moodle courses even more interactive: as of today, several previously unavailable activities are now ready for you to try out.

All new modules are now available under “Interactive Content” in the list of available Moodle activities. Let’s dive in and see what’s available!

Among the new activities we have added are the beta version of the Branching Scenario, the Questionnaire tool and the 360 Virtual Tour module. The latter allows you, for example, to create an interactive walk-through of your lab or department right inside your Moodle course. All you need to get started are static images or, even better, 360 photo spheres of a location. Add information cards, navigation and even audio to make the experience even more immersive.

If you are looking for icebreaker tasks, you might like to try out the Personality Quiz maker. It allows you to create a series of multiple choice questions where each answer option corresponds to one or more predefined “personality types”/profiles/categories. Head over to the H5P example page to see the Personality Quiz in action. Or find out what kind of Moodler you are in our own lighthearted personality quiz (login required).

The Word Search and the Memory game may seem like frivolous additions to the toolbox, but used creatively, the memory game, for example, can be adapted to serve as a “Flashcard race against the time” to aid revision of terminology. Here’s one I made earlier to illustrate the point:

We would love to hear how you are using these activities in your courses – what will you create? Share your ideas and links to your creations in the comments below.

For more information about all the H5P activities we have in our UCL Moodle, please refer to our set of Mini Guides.

Late Summer Assessments in Moodle – Summer 19/20

Jason R Norton10 June 2020

This summer (19/20) sees a repeat of the processes introduced last year with regards to the running of Late Summer Assessments.

A snapshot of Moodle 19/20 will be taken on 13th July 2020, 9pm-11pm. Moodle will be unavailable during this period.

Two live instances of Moodle will then be available:

  • Moodle LSA(snapshot) 19/20 – to be used ONLY for Late Summer Assessments. This will remain live until 30th November 2020.
  • Moodle 20/21.

Moodle use and Late Summer Assessments

To facilitate the combination of required end of year tasks and the running of Late Summer Assessments, all Late Summer Assessments should take place within the 19/20 Moodle Snapshot (called Moodle LSA 19/20).  This will be created on 13th July 2020 and made available no later than 15th July 2020.

Why are we asking you to follow this guidance?

  • All associated course content and student/cohort data will remain consistent and associated with the correct Moodle snapshot, in this case Moodle 19/20.
  • Completing Late Summer Assessments within the 19/20 snapshot allows all the “live” Moodle courses to be reset and normal end of year course activities to take place from 15th July 2020. Course teams will therefore be able to begin preparing courses for the 20/21 academic year.
  • Additional Moodle course creation is kept to a minimum within the Moodle 20/21 instance and aids in Moodle housekeeping activities (reducing dead/unwanted courses, improving long term database performance).

What are we doing to facilitate this change?

  • The Moodle 19/20 Snapshot will remain read/write until the 30th November 2020.
  • Digital Education will make a landing screen/hub available as we did last year with a two Moodle selection page to direct students to snapshot Moodle for Late Summer Assessments.
  • Digital Education will create a global banner within “live” Moodle directing students to the snapshot for the duration of the Late Summer Assessment period.
  • Digital Education will place other redirection adverts/links within “live” Moodle to highlight to students that Late Summer Assessment activities can be found within the 19/20 snapshot.

How can you prepare for Late Summer Assessments?

If you have Late Summer Assessments taking place and you wish to prepare assessment material/submission points in advance of the Moodle snapshot being taken on 13th July 2020, we recommend the following:

  • Within any course where Late Summer Assessments will be taking place, create a hidden section and place any material or submission points within that section. This can be done in Moodle 19/20 up until the 10th July 2020. Alternatively, it can be done within the 19/20 snapshot, which will be available by 15th July 2020.
  • When you are ready to make Late Summer Assessment material/submission points available, simply unhide the section within the course on the 19/20 snapshot.

Details on how to create and hide sections within Moodle can be found in the  miniguide – Moodle Course Structure .

A list of commonly asked questions about Late Summer Assessments is also available.

For any questions regarding Moodle and Late Summer Assessments please email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

Moodle 19/20 Summer Snapshot

Jason R Norton10 June 2020

An annual snapshot of Moodle will be taken on 13th July 2020, 9pm-11pm (BST).  Moodle will be unavailable during the period.

The snapshot is a ‘point-in-time’ copy of UCL Moodle (http://moodle.ucl.ac.uk) taken for reference purposes. All records present on this date will be included in the snapshot.

Date  What is happening  Impact 
13th July 2020, 9pm-11pm (BST)
  • A snapshot of Moodle 19/20 will be taken 
  • Moodle will be unavailable from 9pm-11pm
  • Staff should limit any editing on courses that have ended for the 19/20 academic period until the snapshot is restored.  
15th July 2020 
  • Moodle Snapshot 19/20 will become available no later than 15th July 2020. 
  • Moodle will have a new landing page.
  • The Reset option will be enabled in Moodle 20/21. 
  • Moodle snapshot 19/20 will become available.  All late summer assessments for the academic year 19/20 should be completed here. 
  • Users logging into Moodle will be presented with a new landing page and will be able to select Moodle 19/20 (LSA) or Moodle 20/21. 
  • Staff will be able to start resetting their Moodle courses in preparation for the 20/21 academic year 
30th November 2020 
  • Moodle Snapshot 19/20 will become read only. 
  • No more edits on Moodle 19/20 can take place. 

Two Moodles over summer

This year will be the second year running that we have implemented and maintained two live instances of Moodle over the summer period. This is done to ensure the completion of Late Summer Assessments within the correct cohorts and courses and to enable course resets to take place. 

Once the Moodle Snapshot is made available, users visiting moodle.ucl.ac.uk  will be presented with a landing page and will be able to choose to log into either Moodle 19/20 (LSA Moodle) or Moodle 20/21. This landing page will only be active until 30th November 2020 when the snapshot will be come read only and be made available alongside other Moodle Snapshots. 

For full details on the use of these two Moodles and Late Summer Assessments please see Digital Education Late Summer Assessment Blog

Course resets and getting ready for the new academic year (available from 15th July 2020)

Once the 19/20 Snapshot of Moodle is made available (no later than 15th July 2020). The Moodle course Reset option will be enabled for all staff. Staff will be able to start resetting courses that have completed and are no longer in use This would not apply to Modules such as postgraduate, medical and other non-standard timetabled courses which do not conform to the normal academic cycle. 

The Moodle Course reset process changed slightly in summer 19/20.  For guidance and detailed steps, please see the wiki guide – Reset your Moodle course 

Once you have completed your course resets, please see the Moodle start or term checklist to ensure you are ready for the new academic year.

Note that the UCL e-Learning baseline has been updated.  Reference should now be made to the UCL Connected Learning Baseline when preparing courses for the 20/21 academic year. 

Staff should also refer to the Preparing for Connected Learning in 2020-21 web page. 

If you have any questions or require pedagogic or technical support in the use of Moodle in the support your of teaching and learning activities, please contact the Digital Education team via email at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

Video assignments in Moodle

Janice Kiugu4 May 2020

To support alternative assessments and in particular the use of Video assignments, a new Moodle plugin that allows for the submission of video/media files is now available. The plugin is accessed within a Moodle assignment and the key additional step in ensuring students can upload video files is to select the option to submit ‘online text’ when setting up an assignment.

In the short term (May until late summer) the Lecturecast (Echo360) video submission plugin will be installed. Following on from that, the aim prior to the start of the 20/21 academic year will be to deploy the Mediacentral video plugin, which will replace the Lecturecast plugin and provide a fuller, richer integration with the UCL media platform – Mediacentral.

The reason the Lecturecast/Echo360 plugin is being installed first is that the Mediacentral plugin is more complex in its integration with Moodle. It requires significantly more testing than the Echo360 plugin and cannot be deployed in time to support the forthcoming assessment period.

A key feature of the Echo360 plugin is that it facilitates the use of the Echo360 mobile application which can be used to:

  • record and upload material from portable devices such as tablets and mobile phones.
  • view Lecture materials, but only if a user has first accessed the course and recordings via their Moodle course page.

Note: The Echo360 mobile application can only be used by UCL registered email addresses.

Support documentation and guidance is available for staff and students

Video assignment guides

Echo 360 Mobile app guides

Case study and additional resources

UCLeXtend platform migration

Jo Stroud25 October 2019

In recent months staff from Digital Education have been engaged in a project to migrate the public-facing short courses platform, UCLeXtend, to a new hosting provider. As part of this process the platform will be upgraded to a version of Moodle that offers several GDPR compliant features in addition to an updated interface.

A change of theme

As part of the migration we are also taking the opportunity to refresh the platform’s aesthetic, or ‘theme’, which in recent years has required continued investment to remain functional. This change will mean that the platform’s existing courses look different, although underlying functionality will remain the same and the content and activities present will not be changed. Course layouts will bear greater similarity to the internal UCL Moodle platform and course teams will have more choice over how their courses are structured and presented. 

The new site theme’s primary differences are as follows.

At site level

  • The UCLeXtend homepage will be refreshed with a change in colours and imagery, in addition to separate buttons for UCL and non-UCL logins (see work-in-progress screenshot below); 
  • Upon login, learners and staff will be presented with a dashboard of their courses. This dashboard can be controlled by individual users, giving the opportunity to highlight recently visited courses and ‘favourite’ or hide courses.

Screenshot of updated UCLeXtend homepage, with photograph of UCL Portico in background and log in buttons visible

At course level

  • Section navigation will move from the top of the page to the left-hand side. The left-hand navigation panel can be expanded or collapsed by the user; 
  • There will be greater control over the layout of each course with course formats; 
  • Courses can feature an illustrative image that is presented on both the course dashboard and as a background upon entry (see work-in-progress screenshot below).

Screenshot of new course layout with expanded and collapsed navigation bar shown

Key information

The migration is anticipated to be completed in the week commencing 18th November 2019 (updated: 13/11). A notice will be applied to the front page of the platform as to the precise date and time and it should be unavailable for a few hours at most. Teams with live courses during this period will be contacted separately with further information about how to manage the transition.

If you have any questions please get in touch with the Digital Education team at extend@ucl.ac.uk.

Improving Inclusivity – observations from the UCL Education Conference 2019

Eliot Hoving9 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!