Tuesday 24 September 2013

Would you like to better understand how you can use technology to enhance your learning while at UCS?

If the answer is yes to the question above, the following two steps would be a great start.

Step 1: Complete a self assessment for your personalised profile

A version of the University of Exeter iTest is available from the Newham University. This can be accessed from:

If you have any problems access the above, a printed version is available from:

This self-assessment will reveal a personalised profile spanning six different genres. So how to do you score in terms of being a digital dodger, a career builder, a digital guru, media mogul, information junkie or online networker?

Step 2: Discuss your profile and further development at a Student Drop-in Session

The next step is to apply this profile to developing an small action plan for the effective use of technologies in your learning. To help achieve this step the Elevate Team provide a student drop-in service to discuss strategies to use technologies for learning at the UCS Ipswich Library on a Wednesday (2.30 to 3.30) and Thursday (2.00 to 3.00). It would be great to further discuss these ideas.

Monday 23 September 2013

Would you like to know more about Xerte?

As you might be aware, Xerte is an online tool to create linear, standalone learning activities which can be included within LearnUCS. This tool is available free to those people using a university email (.ac.uk) and the Elevate Team are happy to support UCS Staff on using the tool.

It can be accessed via: http://www.techdisplayxerte.info/

JISC TechDis who manage the software have announced their new online seminar series (13.00 to 13.45) - Xerte Friday (http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/multlinkres/detail/main_site/xertefridayprogramme1314). The first few sessions are:

  • 27th September, 2013 - The TechDis sandpit - purpose and progression
  • 25th October, 2013 - Xerte and accessibility
  • 29th November, 2013 - TechDis resources about Xerte
  • 31st January, 2014 - Xerte in the curriculum

You will need to register via the HE Academy, MyAcademy site (https://my.heacademy.ac.uk/login/)

Wednesday 18 September 2013

LearnUCS Inline Grading Tool Update

We have completed the installation of an update to the Inline Grading tool in LearnUCS.  One of the main drawbacks of the first release of the tool was the issue of screen realestate.  When opening the annotation window you were unable to minimise some of the menus, meaning the space you had to work in was too small to make the tool useful.

This new update allows you to make the annotation window the full width of the screen, hiding the menu whilst they are not required.  We hope this will make the annotation tool much more useable.

Below is a screencast showing the tool being used in full screen mode.

Please contact the Elevate Team if you have any queries regarding the use of the Inline Grading tool or any other feature 

Tuesday 10 September 2013

What has happened to the clicker (turningpoint) software? It looks different depending on the computer !!

As you might be aware IT Services have a project up upgrade to Windows 7. This means the look and feel of the software on those computers is different from those which have not yet to be upgraded. At the same time the Clicker (TurningPoint) software is being upgraded to the latest version. This new version makes authoring and managing interactive questions in Powerpoint much easier, and allows simpler inclusion of image questions. I'd suggest watching the following videos to as an induction (available from http://www.turningtechnologies.com/tutorials);

  • Before the presentation
  • During the presentation
  • After the presentation

However, in the short term (as the Window 7 upgrade is rolled out) you may need to use both versions depending on where you lecturer. The only anxiety is when you first open your Clicker based PowerPoint in the Windows 7 version it will state,

"This presentation was created using Turningpoint 2008 once converted, it will no longer work with the older program"

At this stage you can either continue to import it, or create a new copy using a different file name and open that version. From testing we have found the if you import into the latest version, and you've used the simplest functionality (generic and priority slides, with no correct answering scoring etc.,) you will be able to open and run the clickers also in the previous version.

If you'd like assistance on the new version, or saving multiple copies please email elevate@ucs.ac.uk.

Monitoring the Elevate Team initiatives mapped to UCS Learning and Teaching Strategy Priorities 2013-14

An action at a recent Learning, Teaching and Assessment Group meeting was to outline the monitoring framework for how the Elevate Team priorities and initiatives meet the broader UCS Learning and Teaching Strategy priorities for 2013-14.

The monitoring framework will involve;

  1. Annual reports of Elevate services and tools
  2. Ongoing evaluation through the collection and dissemination of staff stories

The mapping of the Elevate Team's priorities mapped to the UCS Learning & Teaching Strategy priorities for 2013/14 are as follows;

To expand the deployment of technology facilitated teaching and learning strategies across the institution (L&T Strategy Priority 1 for 2013)

  1. Closer work with course teams and others during the early stages of the validation process
  2. Provision of course team specific workshops and team based developmental activities

To promote staff engagement with CPD opportunities and the Professional Standards Framework, including the expansion and enhancement of the use of peer observation (L&T Strategy Priority 3 for 2013)

  1. Promote awareness of external workshops and courses provided face to face and online
  2. Encourage staff at UCS to complete the CMALT process

To encourage the development and deployment of innovative assessment and feedback strategies (L&T Strategy Priority 5 for 2013)

The staff development programme will offer a mixed model of tools, based on the principles of good feedback (Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick) and the Flipped Classroom

This will include the promotion of evidence based successful deployments of the following;

  1. Inline grading, peer assessment and discussion boards in LearnUCS
  2. Objective testing using the FormReturn OMR software
  3. Classroom based strategies using Clickers and Poll Everywhere
  4. Reflective learning using Mahara
  5. Tablet and mobile based technologies

Friday 6 September 2013

Enabling class interaction using the LearnUCS (Blackboard) Mobile App

As you maybe aware, Blackboard (who provide the LearnUCS software) have upgraded their Mobile App. The latest version is much slicker, and includes more functionality compared to the previous version.

This new version, combined with the improvements in the LearnUCS discussion board software encouraged the Elevate Team to re-think some of the possibilities for enhancing the level of classroom interaction. For instance, we are often asked how classroom based group work can be captured, shared and reflected upon, in particular, are there technologies which will make this process more efficient compared to a flip chart or write on walls?

We'd suggest these new developments will make this much easier. You will need to create a discussion board thread within your LearnUCS module, and ensure when you set up your classroom group activities that at least one person in each group has the Mobile app on their phone or tablet. Each group will be able to answer the question by typing in their response and they can attach photos, docs and other evidence.

After which you can share and respond to the group ideas in the classroom, and encourage groups to further reflect on each others responses. This will make the learning activity more powerful compared to the more traditional model of presenting flip charts.

If you'd like to discuss further how this might work in your teaching, please email the Elevate Team (elevate@ucs.ac.uk).

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Did you know? September 2013

Much of the literature around the education effectiveness of formative feedback draws on the work of Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick (2006) with their principles of good feedback practice. One of the tools often used to facilitate the efficient management of formative feedback is objective testing, such as multiple choice, and assertion-reasoning questions. Objective tests allow you to easily roll out small, high frequency formative feedback activities too large student numbers. Interestingly, staff often perceive a barrier is the tests are computer based, which is not easy to accommodate within teaching sessions. However, at UCS we also have the Optical Mark Reader software which will allow you to effectively deploy objective tests through a paper based solution in the classroom and get the results within days. For more information see, http://bit.ly/elevateomr

A question often asked of the Elevate Team is, “how are staff at UCS using technology in their teaching and assessment?” To help answer this question the Elevate Team have started to collect stories from lecturers on how they have been using various innovations. The “In discussion with” series are short (3 min) audio discussions. The topics covered include; enhancing feedback using clickers, providing video feedback and recording student group work for formative feedback. These and other stories are available from, http://bit.ly/elevateidw

For more ideas about how technology might enhance your teaching and assessment either email the Elevate Team (elevate@ucs.ac.uk).

The “Did you know?” series is a monthly posting of two points which you might not be aware about.