Tuesday 26 March 2013

Empowering lecturers to become multimedia producers

The Elevate Team have been exploring the use of iPads (tablets) to encourage lecturers to create more multimedia content for use in their teaching, learning and assessment models.

Multimedia (video or audio) offer a rich teaching medium, however, there has always been a barrier for staff to be able to quickly create multimedia content, when and where they wish to. A key constraint has been the need to use large and bulky equipment or book specialist rooms and support staff. However, these barriers are being removed through the use of Tablets (iPad or Andriod).

A means of overcoming many of these barriers has been to loan out iPad (tablet) technologies to lecturers on a weekly (short term basis) loan. With support provided to overcome digital literacy issues at various stages of the process.

Our general technology bundle includes:


  • iPad

  • Samson Meteor USB Mic

  • JotIt Stylus


  • Explain Everything

  • Voice Recording HD

  • Inbuilt Camera


We support the member of staff in teams of using the technology (buttons to push), design principles and migrating the content from the iPad to their VLE module or other destination. On many occasions this will involve the Elevate Team's YouTube channel.

Our recent loans have included:

  • creating a talk over powerpoint / presentation

  • creating a video answer for seminar problem sets

  • recording interviews and focus groups

Interestingly, staff have had few problems in using the loaned equipment, they've found the creation process straight forward and we've been able to help migrate the content off the device to be used in their teaching, learning and assessment.

A really nice example is Leigh Parratt using the Explain Everything app to create a model answer video for a range of problem sets. This is available below or from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w34yl2DIhgk.


If you have any questions or request using this technology, please email elevate@ucs.ac.uk


Monday 25 March 2013

LearnUCS System Downtime - Sunday 31st March

Subject: Upcoming System Maintenance (Service Interruption)

Date: Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Time: 01:00 am to 06:00 am GMT

Work Type: Deployment of Security Patch

Services: LearnUCS

Engineers will perform system maintenance on the site between the hours of 01:00 am to 05:00 am GMT on Sunday, March 31st, 2013.

Please take note that this is a service impacting maintenance occurring on a Sunday when we deploy Security Patch. It comprises of critical product patches which enhance the security and stability of the hosted environment.

A glimpse of a future learning technology & how to effectively design of your online seminars

It's alway difficult guessing future learning technologies. However, one which is gathering interest across the sector is augmented reality. As a learning technology it offers significantly more than QR Codes. Its importance is evident as it has quickly entered Gartner's trough of disillusionment (http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/10/gartner-hype-cycle-2012/), after which technologies will broaden in appeal, mature and embed.

The Elevate Team (with others across the Eastern Region) ran a UK webinar which overviewed the possibilities of Augmented Reality as a Learning Technology. The session recording is available from:

If you are thinking about running an online (webinar) event, what might you learn from our session?

The feedback from the session was very good. The evaluation identified 70% (n=13) responded the overall event was excellent. While 54% and 46% thought the style of the presentation was excellent or good respectively.

So, given the positive response how did we run the session?

We based the session design of trying to minimise the amount of didactic delivery and encourage people to share. While we gave ownership to the didactic delivery component. For instance;

  1. we used a number of short videos to illustrate our discussion as opposed to talking over static slides

  2. we included a number of short questions where people responded through the chat box

Both these approaches where designed to make the participant do things, so our session became "information light, action heavy".

The approach is evident from reviewing our session slides

The feedback indicated this approach worked, but it does need fine tuning. In particular, ensuring we give time to complete the task and use the ideas being contributed within our discussions. In other words, we need to better facilitate this approach if we want it to maximise the effectiveness and impact.

If you'd like to discuss how you might use these ideas in your online seminars, please contact the Elevate Team (elevate@ucs.ac.uk)


Tuesday 12 March 2013

Using Mahara for dissertation support and supervision

I ran the Getting started with Mahara workshop this morning. The slides are available from:

Some interesting applications were discussed around use for reflective practitioners. In particular, the need for a private reflective space for dissertations which can be shared with a persons supervisor. If you need such a reflective space, where you can keep web links, documents, link in videos and audio, set tasks and keep notes, simply email elevate@ucs.ac.uk or see our online Mahara support available from http://faq.ucs.ac.uk/index.php?action=show&cat=32


Monday 11 March 2013

e-Learning Teams in HE Regional Meeting: A great success

We hosted the first meeting between the e-Learning Teams at University of Essex, University of East Anglia and UCS on Friday 8th March.

The intention was to start sharing experiences, approaches and ideas across the e-learning teams within the region to allow us all to learn from each other and transfer ideas back to our institutions.

The first meeting was successful at identifying the different roles and structures of the e-Learning Teams within the institutions. We are all slightly different in terms of who we report to, and our remits. However, it was refreshing to hear we all faced very similar challenges and opportunities so there is much we can learn from each other interms of implementing effective use of technology. The main focus of the first meeting was to build mutual understanding of what we do.

We (UCS) did agree to share out Technology Landscape Model

Based on the success of this, we'll been meeting up in late May around an agreed agenda of

  1. implementing lecture capture services

  2. models and pilots of e-feedback and e-return

  3. heads up on augmented (reality) learning

I'll update on the tangible outcomes of this meeting in due course.


Wednesday 6 March 2013

Prize draw ... how have you been using technology in your teaching, learning and assessment?

Are you a lecturer at University Campus Suffolk and would you like to win a £50 voucher (iTunes, Amazon)?

The Elevate Team are collecting stories from lecturers at UCS on how they have been using technology to enhance their teaching, learning and assessment. The linked form will allow us to collect your stories. We'll disseminate the stories through our Elevate Team Blog.

Your story can be as long or short as you like, as long as it is innovative to you and your teaching.

The online form is available from: http://bit.ly/XOKJR5

You'll need to enter the following information:

  • Name & UCS e-number

  • What technology have you been using in the last 12 months?

  • How have you been using it?

  • What impact has it had on you and/or your students?

There will also be a prize draw, for UCS lecturer, will be drawn to receive a £50 Amazon or iTunes Voucher when the survey completes on the 5th April, 2013 at 12.00 noon.

I would like to acknowledge the influence of the JISC RSC Eastern on the design of this survey, which is based on their Technology Feature Survey.

Monday 4 March 2013

Mahara in numbers - February

The stats for Mahara has picked up slightly over the month of February, mainly because it is introduced to students during February inductions. Currently working on ways to sustain the interest of students after they have initially investigated the Mahara service.

After reading the Jisc - Crossing the Threshold document supplementing the info kit, we've started to move forward with raising the awareness of the service and its effective use as a reflective learning tool. Hopefully when this area comes to fruition over the next few months I'm hopeful we will see the numbers normalise a bit more between our induction period peaks. I also keen to investigate what it would take to use LearnUCS' rubrics system to facilitate the Graduate Head Start programme.

Next months Mahara In Numbers will take a deeper look at what is going on behind the numbers, what bit's are being used in Mahara.