Learning Technology

Learning & Teaching Seminar: Helm’s Deep… Into E-Learning (Health Sciences share their experiences)

December 10th, 2014

Helm’s Deep… Into E-Learning

Our first TTP Lunchtime Seminar (Formerly Elearning Community) of 2015 takes place on January 7th. It features the Health E-Learning and Media (HELM) team who work across all areas of the School of Health Sciences to deliver high quality e-learning to underpin learning and teaching and improve the student experience.

The School has recently introduced 50% blended learning for its Nursing programme, School-wide e-portfolio provision, student-facing Curriculum Mapping and some major curriculum re-developments. HELM has led these projects as well as maintaining and developing a repository of over 200 RLOs [Reusable Learning Objects] to support the curriculum and wider audiences.

This seminar will showcase HELM’s work, discuss the underpinning pedagogy and explore how the team’s structure of “Curriculum, Research, Open and Community” has enabled the School to deliver its ambitious e-learning projects.

Date: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Time: 12.30 p.m. with hot drinks from 12.15 p.m.

Location: A48, Sir Clive Granger Building, University Park

To be sure we have enough tea and coffee, please e-mail molly.fleischer@nottingham.ac.uk if you intend to be present.

Friday pointers: links to useful tools, research and advice

December 5th, 2014

Links this week cover preparing video resources and learning styles. Some older resources, some newer; dip into what interests you!

Video resources

Issues in creating and using video resources in language teaching. A recording of Teresa Mackinnon’s presentation from the ALT joint SIG on Open Education (27 Nov 14) (video)

How Video Production Affects Student Engagement:  An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos (Guo, Kim & Rubin, L@S 2014, March 4–5, 2014, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. ACM) (PDF)

This is a large-scale study that makes the following recommendations about creating online educational video content:

  1. Shorter videos are much more engaging. Engagement drops sharply after 6 minutes. Recommendation: Invest heavily in pre-production lesson planning to segment videos into chunks shorter than 6 minutes.
  2. Videos that intersperse an instructor’s talking head with PowerPoint slides are more engaging than showing only slides. Recommendation: Invest in post-production editing to display the instructor’s head at opportune times in the video. But don’t go overboard because sudden transitions can be jarring. Picture-in-picture might also work well.
  3. Videos produced with a more personal feel could be more engaging than high-fidelity studio recordings. Recommendation: Try filming in an informal setting such as an office to emulate a one-on-one office hours experience. It might not be necessary to invest in big-budget studio productions.
  4. Khan-style tablet drawing tutorials are more engaging than PowerPoint slides or code screencasts. Recommendation: Introduce motion and continuous visual flow into tutorials, along with extemporaneous speaking so that students can follow along with the instructor’s thought process.
  5. Even high-quality prerecorded classroom lectures are not as engaging when chopped up into short segments for a MOOC. Recommendation: If instructors insist on recording traditional classroom lectures, they should still plan lectures with the MOOC format in mind and work closely with instructional designers who have experience in online education.
  6. Videos where instructors speak fairly fast and with high enthusiasm are more engaging. Recommendation: Coach instructors to bring out their enthusiasm and reassure them that they do not need to purposely slow down. Students can always pause the video if they want a break.
  7. Students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos. Recommendation: For lectures, focus more on the first-time watching experience. For tutorials, add more support for re-watching and skimming, such as inserting sub-goal labels in large fonts throughout the video.

Learning styles

Find out your learning style using the VARK definitions (Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information) – one of the best known of the learning styles inventories. [Accessed 5 Dec 2014]

But are learning styles really relevant at all? In Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: A systematic and critical review  Coffield and colleagues (2004) examined 13 different learning style models and concluded that they are very different, used in different ways and give different results in their impact on learning and that there is no consistent discrimination of factors that affect success of learning.

Lecture Capture mini conference at Loughborough University, 17th December 2014

1 December 3rd, 2014

On Wednesday December 17th the Centre for Academic Practice at Loughborough University is holding its second lecture capture mini-conference, open to both Loughborough staff and external delegates. Further details and booking instructions are here.

Entitled Lecture Capture: Building the Evidence Base, the workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to engage in conversation around the evidence base for the value of lecture capture, stimulated by informal presentations by practitioners from across HE.

The event is to be hosted in the Brockington Extension from 10am – 4pm.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The format will be based on short presentations with ample opportunity for discussion.

Presenters include:

  • Dr Richard Walker, University of York
  • Al Holloway, University of Northampton
  • Jim Turner, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Stuart Phillipson, University of Manchester
  • Dr Jill Fresen, Oxford University
  • Dr Janette Matthews, Loughborough University

The event is intended for academics, learning technologists, quality enhancement staff, and educational researchers – and anyone else with an interest in making effective use of lecture capture (LC).

As many institutions are scaling up the use of LC, it remains a contentious area, with many academic staff still questioning whether the resources now being invested are justified. Learning technologists are being challenged to produce evidence that the introduction of lecture capture has a positive impact on learning outcomes. We would particularly welcome delegates who have concerns or who are sceptical as to the value of LC.

This event provides an opportunity for who have been undertaking monitoring and evaluation projects to share their findings so far. Presentations will cover both institution-wide and small-scale studies.

Please e-mail c.f.g.shields@lboro.ac.uk for further information.

Cost: £50.00 for external delegates.

Turnitin – What’s New?

November 27th, 2014

Turnitin have a section on their website covering new features and news. Some of this year’s posts include:

Evaluate Excel

Excel files can now be submitted to Turnitin and the service will generate an Originality Report based on the document’s text. A version of the document will be displayed in the document viewer for viewing the Originality Report as well as marking, grading, and peer review. Turnitin will display the Excel file in the Document Viewer as it would look if the file was printed or saved as a PDF.

Import Rubrics from Excel

A rubric can now be created using Turnitin’s Excel rubric template. You can add in your criteria and scales, save it, and upload it in the Turnitin Rubric/Form Manager. Finally, you can add your rubric scoring values and it’s ready to use with any of your assignments.

Mark-Criterion Association

Mark-criterion association is the ability to associate marks (bubble comments and QuickMark comments) on the document with criteria in the scoring rubric or grading form in Turnitin. The association will appear both on the mark and on the criterion in the rubric or grading form. Linking on-paper marks to rubric criteria helps connect the dots between what the student actually did and how that directly impacted a grade.

Check out Turnitin What’s New. Note that some of the features are in core Turnitin or other Turnitin products, not necessarily part of the integration with Moodle.

Moving Forward with Learning Technology: T&L Seminar / Elearning Community Wed 3 Dec

November 26th, 2014

The December session will be held on Wednesday, December 3rd in Room A2, School of Chemistry, University Park, on theme of Moving Forward with Learning Technology and will have three speakers.

Xerte Online Toolkits has been accepted for incubation into Apereo, a foundation for open-source projects. Julian Tenney will explain more about this very exciting opportunity for the Xerte Project.

The new Moodle Assignment has been available since we upgraded to Moodle 2.6 at the end of August.  It has an increased range of options and is a sophisticated tool for assessment, with the abilities to send files through Turnitin and to annotate PDFs being just two of the new features.  Helen Whitehead will talk about how Schools are implementing the new Moodle Assignment, optimum settings choices,  and how to avoid common pitfalls.

The NOOC Sustainable and Responsible Business has just finished its first run.  With about 300 of the 550 starters completing the module, it’s been extremely effective.  Paul Caulfield will be back next year to talk about his full analysis of the NOOC and how it worked. Today he’ll talk about the interesting tools he’s used to create learning materials, and the design of the NOOC inside and outside Moodle.

Date: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Time: 12.30 p.m. with hot drinks from 12.15 p.m.

Location: A2, School of Chemistry, University Park

To be sure we have enough tea and coffee, please e-mail molly.fleischer@nottingham.ac.uk if you intend to be present.

The first talk of 2015 (Wednesday, January 7th) will be Helm’s Deep… Into E-Learning (the learning technology team in Health Sciences – HELM – will share their experiences).

Moodle Newsletter (November 2014)

November 25th, 2014

The University of Nottingham


The University of Nottingham

This newsletter updates you on the latest features on moodle. Nottingham.

For general Moodle tips, go to the Moodle help site.  For more advice and ways to improve your Moodle module, email Learning Technologies.

NUSearch: linking the whole digital library to Moodle

NUsearch screenshot demonstrates the search engine link within Moodle

You can now navigate directly from Moodle to the library web pages to search for all digital library resources through the NUSearch link. Once in NUSearch you can refine your search or by using links on the right hand side, you can find subject specific databases, reading lists and UNLOC, the classic library catalogue.

Improved Moodle Assignment

Screenshot of the assignment tab in Moodle

Moodle Assignment now offers more flexible features. You can now

Please contact us for advice in choosing the settings for you.

Enabling popups to use Turnitin

Turnitin’s End User Licence Agreement have changed. All staff and students now have to agree to Turnitin’s conditions before their submission can be accepted. These may appear as a pop-up window. If you have problems, make sure popups are enabled on both University computers and your own machines. We advise that students use Chrome (or Firefox) to submit to Turnitin. You can find more information on allowing popups on the Learning Technology blog.

Please encourage students to use this checklist to make sure their submissions go smoothly.

Making material visible to just one group of students

When creating forums, wikis and databases to engage students in groups, you can now make these visible to just one group or even a single student. Find out more about groupings on Workspace.

Dates for your diary

Teaching and Learning seminars (aka Elearning Community)

Seminars take place on the first Wednesday of each month, 12.30-2pm.

Teaching and Learning Seminars dates and locations
3 December Chemistry Building, A2 Moving forwards with learning technology
7 January Sir Clive Granger, A48 Helm’s Deep… Into E-Learning (Health Sciences share their experiences)
4 February Medical School A3 (LT3) Assessment (provisional topic)

Moodle Bytes webinars

4 December, 1-1.40pm: The Moodle Assignment (Turnitin submission included)
New features including submission without needing separate assignments

9 January, 12 noon-12.40pm: Making more use of Moodle Forums
How can you get students talking to one another?

Attend the webinar through the University’s Adobe Connect System. Login as Guest and give your full name. The webinar will be live from 10 minutes beforehand for those who wish to test their connection.

Key Moodle Basics: an introduction to Moodle

Moodle introduction sessions dates and locations
5 December, 10am-12pm Hallward, 101
8 January, 2-4pm KMC, A174
3 February, 2-4pm Hallward, 101

Book online for Key Moodle basics.

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Recommended good practice in naming your files

November 21st, 2014

Filenames are very important in giving information about the content of the file. If they are to be uploaded to the Web, and particularly as an assignment submitted to Moodle (and/or Turnitin), then they need to conform to certain guidelines or they may not be accepted by the web-based systems.

If you name all your files in the same kind of way, using a naming convention, then you will find it much easier to store and retrieve files.  However, it may be that different modules and assignments have different requirements (for example, some require your student number in the title, and some specifically want it avoided).

Recommendations for good practice for naming files include:

  • Keep both filenames and folder names short (and definitely less than 40 characters)
  • Always ensure the filename is unique, to avoid confusing duplicates (“ShortEssayT14111201410” rather than “Essay 1”)
  • Avoid the following characters which often cause problems: & , . ( ) % # ‘ “ / \ – { } [ ] < > : ; @
  • Avoid spaces
  • When using dates, use YYYMMDD as that will order correctly.
  • CamelCase can be helpful- it does not have spaces, but each word is capitalised to make it easier for a human to read (e.g., ShortEssayProteinFolding)

BUFVC E-learning event 28 November: Across space and time: online education

November 18th, 2014

Across Space and Time: Delivering and Accessing Online Education
Venue: The Geological Society, Piccadilly, London
Date: Friday 28 November 2014, 11am-3pm (BUFVC AGM 3pm – 4pm) (Small cost)

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn, the first UK-led provider of Moocs (massive online open courses), will be speaking about the 650,000 learners his organisation has signed up to online courses ranging from dentistry to Shakespeare.

Jake Berger, Programme Manager for Digital Public Space at the BBC, will be speaking on the Research and Education Space, a joint digital project from Jisc, the BBC and the BUFVC.

Helena Gillespie from the University of East Anglia will be speaking about meeting student needs, and Andrew Yeates, General Counsel of the Educational Recording Agency, will provide an update on copyright legislation.

More information and booking British Universities Film & Video Council

Moodle Bytes Webinars

November 13th, 2014

Join us from your desk to find out more about key Moodle features and activities. Our Moodle Bytes series of online webinars is starting again: the first three webinars are as follows:

Wednesday 19th November 12 noon – 12.40 pm    Introduction to Groups and Groupings in Moodle

  • How to make items in Moodle available only to a particular group of students

Thursday 4th December 1- 1.40 pm      The new Moodle Assignment

  • The new Moodle Assignment has lots of great features and also allows you to submit student work to Turnitin without needing a separate assignment

Friday 9th January 12 noon -12.40 pm       Making more use of Moodle Forums -

  • How can you get students talking to one another?

All you need is a headset or speakers – optionally if you’d like to join in, a headset with microphone.

Details of how to join in (University of Nottingham staff only) can be found on the Moodle Bytes workspace page (login required).

Green Gown award for Sustainability MOOC

November 7th, 2014

This week the University’s MOOCs and NOOCs team, led by Sarah Speight, were in Manchester, delighted to receive a “Highly Commended” at this year’s Green Gown Awards. The award, in the category of Courses and Learning, was for the “Sustainability, Society and You” MOOC which has run twice through Futurelearn.

Sarah Speight explained: “With our course ‘Sustainability, Society and You’, we have supported nearly 9,000 people to learn about, for and through sustainability in an interactive mix of practical activities and challenging debate.

“Our course was about sustainability. It was taught through sustainable means, by repurposing existing open educational resources and using online and mobile delivery formats. It encouraged learning for sustainability by using formative and peer assessment, and a combination of theory and practice. We sought to develop our learners’ holistic understanding of the values and principles associated with sustainability and to equip them to make sustainable decisions in their personal and professional lives.

“The project team comprised academics and postgraduates from  geography, engineering, philosophy, archaeology, sociology, nursing, mental health, politics, chemistry, education, modern languages and  economics, working with learning technologists. The Vice-Chancellor led an online seminar for the pilot and both the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning participated in the MOOC.

“8,727 learners enrolled for the January version of the MOOC, with 4,365 enrolling for the June run. 1,500 students and staff enrolled on the Nottingham pilot.”

The Green Gown Awards, administered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), “recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK”.

Anyone in the University can take the internal – NOOC – version of this course. It is currently running in its 4th week – still time to have a peek or catch up!