Learning Technology

Five minutes with … Clyde Davies

July 1st, 2015

What three words describe you?

Inquisitive, scientific, and impish.

What’s your job role?

I’m the Learning Systems Analyst.  I go out into the business and talk to people about how we can better make our learning systems fit their needs.  Then I take my findings and turn them into something we can deliver against.

Increasingly, I’ve found myself supporting projects outside LRLR, such as the MACCS replacement in the Medical School, and the Book Suggestions process for the Library.  I’m one of those odd techies who can not only code but actually talk to people to find out what they want.  I ask a lot of questions, sometimes very obvious ones.

Tell us something ‘unusual’ about yourself

I used to keep bees as a hobby.  After a couple of disastrous years I gave up but am looking to start again.  Perhaps the Estates Division will let me keep a couple of hives around the back of KMC?

What excites you most about learning technology?

I’ve been here just a year. My last stint working at the University was back in 1991.  Since then the way that technology has transformed teaching is incredible.  Platforms like Moodle have both enabled better teaching and helped to raise the bar.

Also, I sat through some appalling lectures both as an undergraduate and postgraduate, but now a well-delivered lecture, captured and presented on Moodle, is something for the University to take pride in.

Your top tip(s)?

Network, network, network!

Build good relationships with your colleagues and the other people you come into contact with, however fleetingly.

Don’t be afraid to volunteer your time and expertise, no matter how busy you are.

What goes around, comes around.

What do you think will be the most important thing in learning technology at the University of  Nottingham in 2015/16?

From my own point of view, it’s how e-Assessment evolves to take into account our future needs.  There’s a big exercise going on at the moment to find out exactly what e-Assessment means to the University.  My own focus is going to be on summative assessment, especially within Rogō.  Rogō is a remarkable achievement and one which demands that if we build upon it further, we do so solidly and strategically.

What have you learned recently?

I dusted off my programming skills and learned to program Web applications.  I have donkeys’ years of experience in writing software using C# and Visual Basic.NET but up to now had managed to treat Web development as an ‘area of strategic incompetence’.  That is, I was quite happy for someone else to do it.  I was quite surprised to learn how good it was.

This month in the blog: June

June 30th, 2015

Today we review of some of the posts published in June in previous years that might still be of interest:


  • Xerte Online Toolkits – some examples From the Xerte community a collection of examples of Xerte Toolkits and case studies. Lots of inspiration here, on Maths and Biology (one link has disappeared but the others are still useful)
  • Moodle Magic 2: An all-School community page  How the School of Economics uses an all-school Moodle module to disseminate  documents, policies, information, news and announcements about events and information of relevance to all students (and staff). Since this case study was published.


Full-screen toggle button contributed to Moodle community

June 29th, 2015

Another Moodle modification developed at Nottingham that has been accepted by the Moodle community is a full-screen toggle button. This allows any user to hide the side columns (blocks) and make the central column fill the screen.  This is especially useful when viewing embedded videos and SCORM packages, as well as large tables such as when reviewing assignment submissions.

The button was developed in response to users’ comments that it can be difficult to work in the central column as it’s not quite wide enough, even with all blocks docked. We have implemented a one-click solution. Click once to “pop-out” fullscreen, and click it again to return to the view with left and right columns.

All the Nottingham modifications are up and running and available in our own Moodle and have extensive user testing!

The plugin is maintained by Barry Oosthuizen, in the Learning Technology Section. Thanks to Barry for a useful little feature.


Moodle Outage 4th July & Mediaspace upgrade

June 26th, 2015

A day of outage for Moodle is planned for Saturday 4th July (9 am – 5 pm UK time).  The outage is for Information Services to undertake an upgrade on part of the Moodle infrastructure and this will require a day of outage (in Moodle).

An upgrade is also planned (8th July) to the cloud infrastructure behind Mediaspace & Moodle video (media resource) to provide further functionality and better integration with our newest version of Moodle. This may result in a brief period of unavailability for particular videos.

For questions about any of these, please contact learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk

Allocation Form Plugin accepted by Moodle community

June 24th, 2015

The Allocation Form plugin developed by the Moodle team here at Nottingham has been accepted into the Moodle community and is available for download and use by any Moodle installation.

While the Tutorial Booking plugin enables students to sign up for a single choice, the Allocation form can be used to provide more than one choice (e.g., “choose three workshops from the following selection”) and/or to have students allocated to their choices fairly based on the overall choices/preferences made by all students. Students make their choices, which can include a choice that they definitely don’t want and once all choices are made, the form is processed.

We at the University of Nottingham are delighted to be able to contribute back to the Moodle community in this way.  Originally developed by Neill Magill, the plugin was prepared for the community by Barry Oosthuizen. Well done to the team.

Moodle Bytes webinar on importing content: Thursday 25th June 9 am

June 22nd, 2015

Join us on Thursday 25 June for a webinar on how to move content from one Moodle module to another.

The webinar will be led by Learning Technology Consultant Angelique Bodart and may be useful for all editing teachers as well as any School staff with roles on more than one module (Category Manager and School Support).

In late June and July we will start creating the modules for the academic year 15-16 and will transfer material from current 14-15 modules on behalf of most people. If you want to know more about this rollover process, or if you want to selectively transfer material yourself, or to transfer material between any other modules, this is the webinar for you to find out more.

There will be plenty of time for any questions you may bring.

Importing Content webinar with Angelique Bodart

Date: Thursday 25th June

Time:  9-9.40 am (UK) /  4-4.40 pm (China/Malaysia)

More information about how to join in at http://workspace.nottingham.ac.uk/display/Moodlehelp/Moodle+Bytes+webinars. (Nottingham only)

Moodle Plus Showcase from the Faculty of Arts: Mon 22 June

June 19th, 2015

Cecilia Goria invites colleagues across the University to an event showcasing the use of Moodle beyond the Moodle Everywhere Mandate.

Location:  A21, Trent Building

Date: Monday 22nd June 2015

Time: 2-4 pm

Posters will show examples from the Faculty of Arts on a range of uses of Moodle including:

  • Design and layout of books
  • Use of the reading lists
  • Different kinds of assessment
  • Xerte toolkits
  • Echo360 lecture capture
  • Use of Moodle to provide pre-lecture or post-seminar activities
  • Wiki use

The posters are available throughout the exhibition period and there’s a drop-in Moodle Clinic too.

Tutorial Booking add-on (Moodle sign-up sheet) now available through Moodle community

June 17th, 2015

The Tutorial Booking tool – a sign-up sheet for students to choose timeslots – is now available to the whole Moodle community as an add-on plugin for Moodle installations all over the world.  The plugin allows students to self-select one choice from a selection. Numbers per selection can be limited and places are taken on a first come first served basis, although staff can adjust the selections afterwards if needed.

We at the University of Nottingham are delighted to be able to contribute back to the Moodle community in this way. This plugin is maintained by Neill Magill: congratulations to Neill on having his plugin accepted by the community.

Turnitin Paper View requests

June 15th, 2015

If, as an editing teacher in Moodle (or administrator with similar permissions), you are looking at an originality report for a paper or essay in a Turnitin assignment dropbox, you may find that there is a significant match between the paper or essay you are looking at and a paper or essay submitted by a student at this or another University.

For privacy and intellectual property reasons, you cannot see the text of the previously-submitted paper directly in Turnitin, but you can ask to view it via a request form from within the Turnitin Document View:

Clicking the button “send a request to view this paper” sends an email (that comes from a Turnitin email address) to the lecturer who set up the original assignment.  They simply need to respond to the email to include – in an email to you – the text of the essay that yours has matched with.

If the original essay was actually submitted to our own University of Nottingham, then the Learning Technology Section are able to access it directly. Nottingham staff can get in touch with learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk if you’d like us to try to find it for you and put you in touch with the other lecturer.

When responding to a request, a lecturer sending an essay can choose to delete any information that might identify the student, such as name or student ID number, so that privacy is maintained.

Sometimes you get no response, often because many lecturers don’t understand these emails and don’t reply. However, you can still use the Turnitin originality report to identify which parts of your student’s essay it matches. In many cases the content that matches will be text quoted, with attribution, from journals or books, and bibliographic content.   This may be enough information to discount the match.

If another lecturer at another University requests a view of a paper submitted by one of your students, you will receive an email as described below.  All you have to do is

  • Press reply to the email
  • Edit out any information that may identify the student
  • Press send to return the email to Turnitin for view by the requesting lecturer

The email comes from TurnitinUK No Reply noreply@turnitin.com

The subject is TurnitinUK Paper View Request

If you receive such an email, it’s a good idea to respond to it so that the requesting lecturer can sort out the match in their own module. Universities around the country, and the world, can support one another in tackling plagiarism in this way.

Turnitin webinar Thursday 4th June 12.30

June 4th, 2015

Join us today Thursday 4th June for a webinar all about Turnitin.

Learning Technology Consultant Alvaro Roberts will be demonstrating how to set up Turnitin assignments, avoid potential pitfalls, and carry out routine tasks.

There  will be lots of time  for questions.

More information about how to join in at http://workspace.nottingham.ac.uk/display/Moodlehelp/Moodle+Bytes. (Nottingham only)