Monday 29 September 2014

Staff development TEL Workshops: October 2014

We'd just like to disseminate the details of the technology enhanced learning sessions we are running during October, as part of the wider Learning Services development provision.

The following workshops are intended for staff (both lecturers and support teams), the details are below, and the online booking form is available from:
Flipping your teaching model: the how and the why (21st October: 12:00 to 13:00)

The flipped classroom is a teaching model which integrates the use of online and face to face teaching spaces to maximise the learning experience. The broad approach is to use the online for pre and post session activities, to enable the face to face teaching to be more active and problem based. This workshop will discuss what it is, and provide hands-on experience at developing a flipped classroom approach.

Getting more out of your LearnUCS module (21st October: 13:00 to 14:00)

This workshop is intended as a question and answer session, around how you might get more out of your use of LearnUCS. The session will weave actual uses by lecturers at UCS around effective uses of video, collaborative tools, reflective tools, and assessment tools.

Using social media to become a connected educator (22nd October: 11:00 to 12:00)

Social media is becoming increasingly important as a means of sharing ideas and work. This workshop will explore ways you can harness social media to enhance your own personal learning environment. The session will focus on the application of Twitter and YouTube to discover material and resources.

How clickers can change the way you teach (22nd October: 12:00 to 13:00)

Clickers (audience response systems) offer the lecturer a simple, non threatening way to enhance the effectiveness of student participation within a teaching session, and open up opportunities to improve formative feedback mechanism. This session will introduce clickers, question writing and work through deployment strategies.

Monitoring student engagement and performance in your LearnUCS Course (22nd October: 13.00 to 14.00)

With the inclusion of more interactive tools and learning designs within LearnUCS lecturers are able to make use of the Retention Centre. This new feature allows lecturers to check on student progress within their course according to criteria of their choice. Students' participation and engagement are visually displayed, alerting the lecturer to any potential risk and students who are excelling.

Creating talk over powerpoints and similar videos (22nd October: 14.00 to 15.00)

A popular request from staff is, how can they create short talk over powerpoints / presentations which they can share with their students? This session will cover the rationale, what do you want to create and how is this embedded within your learning model, and providing the hands-on experience of creating the video and embedding within LearnUCS.

Designing a group based learning activity (23rd October: 12:00 to 13:00)

This workshop will discuss the opportunities for enhancing learning through group based learning activities, and how technologies might more effectively facilitate this learning model. The technology enhanced, group based learning activities will focus on the group tools within LearnUCS, and the social media. We’ll be exploring activities where they will create and share content.

Getting started with the LearnUCS Quiz engine in your teaching and assessment models (23rd October: 13:00 to 14:00)

Objective testing in LearnUCS (the quiz engine) is probably one of the most under utilised tools with the VLE, and it tends to be viewed as only useful for lower order learning skills. This session aims to challenge this perception as it is argued the tool offers significant benefits as a formative and summative assessment feedback tool, and we'll ensure you have the technical skills to design and develop an objective test using LearnUCS.

We hope to see you at one of these sessions. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email

Friday 19 September 2014

Online Mind Mapping Software: Getting going with Mind Mapping Software

We have had a few requests about straight forward mind mapping software for individuals or groups. One we've started to use within the Elevate Team is MindMup ( This tool offers a few exciting features. Although it is not A "Mind Map Enterprise Solution".

The features I like, include:

  1. Very simple to use, no learning curve
  2. Creation of unlimited private Mind Maps
  3. Free, it is an extension in Google Chrome
  4. Integrates with Google Drive, to allow storage and sharing
  5. Some very nice collaboration tools, It looks like very exciting opportunities for online, real time collaboration, which can be enhanced with Google Hangouts

This suits my workflow, as I log into Google Chrome for a number of extensions (screencastify, chromecast, and Diigo). So including with the extensions is really useful. It also works fine on our UCS Domain Machines.

It does open up an obvious classroom based learning opportunity for small groups and tutorials. The lecturer will be able to easily collect ideas through the Mind Map from the group, and post session include a link to the map within their LearnUCS Module.

So, if you are interested in exploring the potential of mindmaps, and you have a Google Account ... MindMups might be perfect for you :-)

If you have any questions, please email

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Some uses of Twitter in Teaching and Learning: Example from PGCAP

The following outlines how the PGCAP course team are encouraging students to use Twitter within their teaching and learning.

The expected models of use of social media within the PGCAP context, are;
  1. developing your (informal) personal learning network - keeping up with the latest news and views from the authors and organisations on your indicative reading list
  2. developing your (informal) social learning - support the dissemination of resources across the cohort and within your learning sets.
  3. Professional use of Social Media at UCS
Be aware, social media can be a double edged sword. Read the awareness, support materials and toolkits on My UCS ( Any further questions with respect to effectively managing your online presence, please contact Learning Services (

In class tasks
  1. Create a Twitter Account (assuming you do not already have one) -
  2. Follow the following people / organisations (based on your Indicative Reading from the PGCAP Handbook)
    • Beetham, Helen
    • Salmon, Gilly
    • Goodyear, Peter
    • Higher Education Academy
    • Elevate at UCS
    • JISC
  3. Find an online resource or case study (including YouTube) which explains or applies the Flipped Classroom Teaching Model. Tweet the link to this resource, and use the hashtag: #ucspgcap
The student induction and support material included a set of short how to videos, and advise on creating you account. The intention is to include the hashtag search within the course area, and make reference in the face to face sessions.

Friday 12 September 2014

External Examiners: Briefing Statement

After a conversation with Quality and Enhancement Team, we thought it would be useful to update UCS External Examiners about the changes in LearnUCS, post our Summer 2014 upgrade.

The summer upgrade has introduced a number of enhancements to the system. However, these enhancements do not impact on how you access the system, or review the grade centre or access student submitted work. Any changes to the delivery by the course team due to these enhancements will be communicated with you by the Module Leader and/or Course Administrator.

The support for External Examiners on LearnUCS is not changing. Any questions you have concerning accessing the system, finding what you need, and support on the system need to be directed to the appropriate Course Administrator. The Module Leader will know the contact details for the Course Administrator.

The support package will be enhanced from previous years, including training sessions within the External Examiners Forum Meeting, and online materials.

If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate Course Administrator.

Monday 8 September 2014

Available support and development sessions: Learning Services

The Learning Services Team at UCS was created on the 1st August, 2014 with the aim of enhancing the way members of UCS are supported to develop appropriate skills and strategies to enable them to become a more effective learners.

This is achieved through various routes, including the provision of workshops. These workshops are designed around active and collaborative learning principles. The October 2014 workshop programme is outlined below, and you can register your place via the Learning Services Workshop Sessions area:

If you would like to discuss how one of more of these sessions might be useful for you, please email

13th: Enhancing your learning with social media
13th: Assignment planning
13th: Reading Journal Articles
14th: Dissertation planning
14th: Electronic is the new Black: Navigating ebooks at UCS
14th: Harvard Referencing
15th: Keeping your references organised with RefWorks
15th: "Too descriptive. Not enough critical analysis" An introduction to critical writing
15th: Enhancing your employability through managing your online presence
16th: Ways to design and develop effective presentations
16th: Literature Searching
17th: Developing your reflective practice
17th: How to get the most out of Learning Services
17th: Technologies to facilitate reflection

Staff Only: Technology Enhanced Learning

21st: Flipping your teaching model: the how and the why
21st: Getting more out of your LearnUCS module 22nd: (Staff) Using social media to become a connected educator
22nd: How clickers can change the way you teach
22nd: Monitoring student engagement and performance in your LearnUCS module
22nd: Creating talk over powerpoints and similar videos
23rd: Designing a group based learning activity
23rd: Getting started with objective testing (LearnUCS tests and MCQs in the optical mark reader)

Image Source - with thanks:

Friday 5 September 2014

Staff Welcome Back: LearnUCS Surgeries

As many of you are aware we upgraded LearnUCS during July 2014. As part of this project we are rolling out a number of What are the new features in LearnUCS surgeries (30 minutes).

So if you'd like to know more about what is new and improved within LearnUCS, and how you might use this in your teaching and assessment, why not drop into one of the following short sessions (no booking required).

The sessions will be primarily looking at:
Times and location of surgeries:

  • Thursday 18th September 2014
    • 13.30 - 14.00
    • W415
  • Tuesday 23rd September 2014
    • 14.00 - 14.30
    • W415
  • Wednesday 1st October 2014
    • 15.00 - 15.30
    • W417
  • Friday 10th October 2014
    • 10.00 - 10.30
    • W418
If you have any questions about these sessions, or would like more information please email the Elevate Team in Learning Services (