X Close

E-Learning Development Grants


It's all about sharing


Archive for September, 2013

Bridge to China summer update

Chris J Dillon20 September 2013

Img: Starbucks Beijing Dazhalan Branch

Starbucks Beijing Dazhalan Branch

The summer has been a busy time for Bridge to China, as it was necessary to presume that the two students working on the Mandarin conversations, Binqian Cai and Ting Zhang, would not be available after the end of October.

42 of the roughly 50 conversations are now online: Bridge to China conversations


The conversations follow Mr Smith’s trip to Beijing to attend a conference and also a short return visit to UCL of the Chinese people he meets at the conference. The story is loosely based on a trip to Beijing I made in April this year, but any resemblance to people living or dead …

The conversations are colloquial and natural, and so all fall into the intermediate and advanced levels (which is not yet indicated). I’m not aware of a similar free resource (or paid one, come to think of it).

So, what now?

  • There is grammar in the conversations which was not adequately covered in the earlier voluntary grammatical work. I intend to work with students to fill these holes (which currently are filled by notes in the vocab sections).
  • I intend to work with volunteers to proofread what has been done.
  • Once the texts are finalised, I aim to get them recorded by native speakers.
  • I’m currently considering what sort of exercises it would be good to add.
  • Recently there has been some interest in adding other types of content furthering UCL-Chinese relations.
  • Help on any of these aspects gratefully received!

Incidentally, the picture is the Beijing Dazhalan Branch of 星巴克 Xīngbākè (星 xīng = star; 巴克 bākè “the sound ba + conquer” is a go at “bucks”; one presumes it wasn’t clear what bucks meant!), where we can imagine Mr Smith having his coffee in: Ordering a coffee in a café

Changing behaviour ELDG blog – Post-it mapping

Matt Jenner10 September 2013

This post was originally written by Elena, Harveen and Caroline – the team who received the ELDG grant:


BCT Taxonomy student site logo







On Thursday 29th August, Caroline Wood and her student developers, Harveen Kaur and I (Elena Panagiotopoulou) met to start thinking about mapping out content for the site. From our previous discussions and from reading this helpful e-learning blog on Articulate.com, we knew we had to carefully plan the sequence of activities that our students would be led through. At the beginning of our meeting, we used the ‘Silent Post-it technique’ to brainstorm independently on ideas about the content and what would make the site more engaging. We used post-its to write downour ideas and we then discussed them thoroughly one by one. Using the post-its, we created a flowchart in order to put the content in order:

Using 'Silent Post-it technique'

Capturing ideas – using ‘Silent Post-it technique’

Putting Post-its in order

Caroline, Harveen and Elena putting Post-its in order

As we’re all behavioural scientists on this team, we automatically started discussing how we could structure content using different behavior change techniques (BCTs) to increase the amount of time that our students want to spend on the site:

Techniques used
Set out learning objectives and outcomes of the module Setting of goals
A ‘buddy’ or character to guide students through the resource Providing social support
Series of interactive quizzes Practicing skills
Option to access resources anytime through quick links Practicing skills
Certificate available for students who complete all quizzes Positive reward
Quizzes will gradually become more difficult Graded tasks
There will be lots of examples and feedback during and after tasks Providing feedback
Positive reinforcement given throughout the tasks Support and praise
Timing! Providing an estimate of how long each task will take Setting of goals
Make the task topics relevant for students Relevant and personally useful problem solving
Building your own intervention task – something which they could build on for their 3rd year research project. Action planning for future learning
Know that their input will continue to improve this resource for them and for future students Engagement and involvement
Share with the students our journey in making this resource for them Engagement and involvement

At the end of our meeting, we had a more clear idea about the content of the site. Our next step will be to each take a section of the content and be responsible for building on Moodle.