Learning Technology

Introduction to and resources about Xerte Toolkits

February 21st, 2017

We’ve had a few queries about how to get started using Xerte Toolkits. Xerte Toolkits is a simple way to create online learning materials. Based on the Xerte software developed here at the University of Nottingham, the template-driven nature of the Toolkits are designed to be an easy way for academics and non-technical staff to create interactive learning objects which are accessible to students. It’s as easy to learn as Powerpoint. Once you have the hang of the interface you can use over 70 page types within your learning objects.

Xerte Toolkits at University of Nottingham

Nottingham staff (and students) can access and use the tool at http://nottingham.ac.uk/toolkits: sign in using your University of Nottingham username and password. You will need to create a new project using one of the available templates (the default ‘Xerte Online Toolkit’ is a good place to start).

  •     Select a template
  •     Give it a name and click on Create Project.

A new Project Editor window will appear (on some browsers you will need to enable pop-ups) where you can start to add pages and content to your learning object.

  •     Start by naming your learning object in the field on the right and set the default text size to 14.
  •     Set display mode to full screen.
  •     Then you can start to build your learning object by using the green Insert button on the left and choosing relevant page types. Most of the page types give you a preview of what the page will look like once you add content.

Getting started resource

To help you get started with Xerte we recommend this resource: Learning Xerte

Good practice examples

Short course in Online Facilitation and Designing for Engagement in March

February 17th, 2017

Online Facilitation and Designing for Engagement

This short online course aims to provide those teaching or planning to teach an online or blended course with ideas, techniques and skills to design and facilitate learning online.

In this course held in Moodle you’ll learn how to design engaging activities that motivate students and promote learning in completely online courses or as part of a blended course. You will practice the essential skills of online facilitation: how to initiate and keep the discussion going with a minimum of intervention.

This entirely online course will take 5-6 hours spread (reasonably evenly) over two weeks. You will be expected to engage in online activities which develop and build practical skills.

Starts Wednesday 15th March until Tuesday 29th March 2017.

Contact helen.whitehead@nottingham.ac.uk for more information or book on the course.

Designing E-Learning For Health – a free open online course

January 24th, 2017

The University of Nottingham is again running a Health Open Online Course (HOOC) Designing E-Learning for Health.

Designing E-Learning for Health is a free 5 week course aimed at anyone inside and outside of the University who has an interest in designing e-learning resources. Colleagues in the School of Health Sciences will introduce their tried and tested methodology which can also be adapted to other areas of teaching, not just in healthcare education.

The course starts on 13th February 2017 and requires a time commitment of around 3 hours per week from participants. Designing eLearning for Health is open for sign up now via the FutureLearn platform. The course is free to access and anyone is welcome to sign up regardless of educational background or level of knowledge in the area.

Sign up to join in in February

More information

OER17: The Politics of Open 5-6 April 2017, London UK

January 23rd, 2017

OER17 presents an opportunity for open practitioners, activists, educators and policy makers to come together as a community to reflect on the Politics of Open Education. The conference will be chaired by social and educational technologist and Wikimedia UK Trustee Josie Fraser, and Alek Tarkowski, Director of Centrum Cyfrowe, co-founder and coordinator of Creative Commons Poland.

There are confirmed keynotes from:

  • Maha Bali, American University in Cairo, Egypt
  • Lucy Crompton-Reid, Wikimedia, UK
  • Diana Arce, Activist Artist and Researcher, Germany

This is the 8th Open Educational Resources Conference and like its predecessors the event is a great opportunity to connect with those developing, implementing and leading open educational practices.

Register now at: https://oer17.oerconf.org/registration/. Early bird registration is open until 31st Jan and costs £250 for both days (limited single day tickets are available).

A draft programme has been published at https://oer17.oerconf.org/programme/

New Moodle training dates winter/spring 2017

January 17th, 2017

New dates have been announced for the Key Moodle Basics training – a two-hour introduction to Moodle for beginners and those who want to beef up their usage.  It’s also suitable for those who are taking up roles where they need access to multiple modules (such as for assessment or to support a School).

The following dates are available to book (all University Park)

  • 10am-noon Thursday 9th February
  • 2-4 pm  Wednesday 8th March
  • 10am-noon Tuesday 4th April
  • 2-4 pm Thursday 4th May

Book the training courses here.

If you are administrative staff and think you will need access to several modules, more than about 6, then please let us know at learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk so we can ensure you get the right kind of training.

Moodle and Rogo: limited availability from 27-29 January 2017

January 13th, 2017

Rogo will be down from Friday 27 January 6 pm until Sunday 29 January 8 pm.

During this period, a version of Moodle for student revision purposes only will be available. [Amended to add] This version is NOT for submitting assignments or interacting with forums or other modes of engagement. Whilst students will be able to take some activities such as quizzes, nothing that they submit or change will be saved in this revision only version of Moodle, and anything they have changed or submitted will not be available once the full live version is restored. Staff should NOT make any changes to Moodle during this period or do any marking as those changes will not be saved and available on the live version when it becomes available again.

The version of Moodle for student revision purposes only will be available from 7pm on the 27January, which means there will no Moodle service at all from 6pm to 7pm on that day.

As an extra precaution, we would recommend that you download any resources that you may need during this period prior to 6pm on Friday 27 January.

Rogo logoThis is because The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus will be adopting additional Campus Solutions functionalities throughout January. Campus Solutions is the new software being implemented as part of Project Transform.

In order to implement these functionalities, both Moodle and Rogo need to come offline to allow for data migration. Since we operate one environment of these systems across all three campuses, this means that the systems will also be unavailable to staff and students in the UK and China during this period.

How to solve problems with Moodle – fast

January 4th, 2017

All technology gives you occasional moments of frustration and Moodle is just like the rest. Here are some strategies to get you over those difficult moments, especially when you’re short of time. Several of them work with websites that aren’t Moodle, too.

Refresh the page – empty the cache

To help Moodle work as quickly as possible for users, it keeps a cache, so if you go back to a page it will display the version on your computer. If you’ve just made changes , you may need to refresh the page, to call it up from the server, in order to see those changes. This often happens when returning to the front page of your module or course after adding or deleting an item.

Check the system status

(University of Nottingham only) Keep an eye on the banner on the My Home page in Moodle – where upcoming downtime is announced – on this blog and the University Information Services Status page

Try a different browser

There are various problems using different systems, third party plugins and websites with older browsers and with certain browsers such as Safari (which has issues, for example, with Echo360 and Turnitin). If you have a problem, first try a different browser.

Check you’re in the right mode

As an editing teacher you can view your Moodle page as if you are a student. Don’t forget to change back to your Normal view after doing that, or next time you visit the page you will still be unable to do editing tasks.

Look for a Next button

In many cases there are additional pages – in lists of modules, when looking at tables such as student assignments. One of the most common that people miss is on your My Home page where they may be other modules not visible. Check at the end of your list: if it says “You have X modules not shown”  you can click Show all modules to see the rest of them.

Keep your text clear of code

When you’re editing your module page in Moodle, and cutting and pasting particularly, into labels or descriptions, code from Word or elsewhere in moodle can be transferred over and cause issues of formatting.  Paste the text in, then select it all, and click the  Tx button – that will strip out code and leave you with most of the formatting you want to keep.

This problem can even cause your whole page formatting to go wrong – in which case, strip out everything you pasted in and start again.

The Help button

(University of Nottingham) At the top of every Moodle page is the Help button – this leads to the staff or student Moodle Help website. Use the search on the left hand side to find Help for lots of the tasks, features and issues in Moodle. Let us know if you have any suggestions about this site.

Google it

You can often find helpful information about Moodle elsewhere on the Web. Try our Help first  – and, if Googling, be aware that in places we at Nottingham use different nomenclature (we say Module, Moodle calls it course) and have customised Moodle with some of our own improvements.

Contact your Learning Technology Consultant

(University of Nottingham) This is not necessarily the last thing to do – it may be the first!  Get in touch with learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk – one of our Consultants will normally get back to you within a couple of hours (please be a bit more patient in very busy periods!). Or you may be able to phone us.  There’s a Learning Technology Consultant for each Faculty in the UK (and others in Malaysia and China).

Moodle Downtime

December 21st, 2016

We’d like to advise of some Moodle downtime on Thursday January 5th 17:30 to 19:00 UK time (Fri 6th Jan 01.30-03.00 MY/CN)

See http://status.nottingham.ac.uk/

Learner Experience Research MOOC starts Feb

December 19th, 2016

ELESIG are running a free Learner Experience Research (LER) MOOC is for HE and FE and Skills staff who are interested in undertaking action research into learners’ experiences of technologies within an educational setting. The MOOC starts on 27th February 2017, to register and for further information please visit: https://platform.europeanmoocs.eu/course_researching_learners_experienc

In this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), you will work on a small scale action research project in preparation to write and publish about student learner experience. You will consider why we need learner experience research and follow a series of activities to guide you through research methods to consider. You will plan to carry out a small scale action research project and develop a plan to write and publish. If you want to complete all the activities, you will need 3-4 hours per week. This MOOC has 6 lessons. Every lesson is divided into units, which have a recommended study time of approximately 1 hour each. You can do additional readings and activities to expand upon some of the topics.

The course has a series of digital badges to be awarded throughout the duration. The MOOC will be delivered through the EMMA platform and will be delivered by experts in learner experience research from the ELESIG community. It will make use of a range of digital tools including live webinars, podcasts, video and presentations.

Participants in this MOOC are able to join ELESIG, the international community of researchers and practitioners from higher and further education, the skills sector, work based learning and adult community learning;  who are involved in investigations of learners’ experiences and uses of technology in learning. Please visit us at http://elesig.net

Please share this invitation widely with any colleasgues who may be interested.

Our webinar today: Steering the bandwagon: coursework e-submission and e-marking

December 8th, 2016

Join us for our Webinar for the ALT Winter Online Conference today. Titled Steering the bandwagon: online coursework submission and marking across the institution

Today: Thursday Dec 8 2016, 12:15pm – 1:00pm

A number of drivers both practical and pedagogical have been moving our University towards electronic submission of coursework and online marking. Schools vary in how far they are along this path towards all online submission and marking.

Our Faculty and School Support Team, within Learning Technology, has five Learning Technology Consultants each of whom works with a Faculty. These drivers have been an opportunity for us to approach Schools and work with them on e-submission and online marking. They have made many staff more likely to engage (and sometimes the opposite). We support, train and influence staff who set up drop-boxes and manage the processes. We work with academic staff to develop standards and best practice for online marking and feedback, informed by research and surveys. We are also initiating some work with students to find out their views and design the best support mechanisms for them.

In this 30 minute webinar we will describe our approach to these changes, discuss some of the barriers and challenges we and the staff we work with have encountered in implementing e-submission and e-marking. We will briefly talk about the ways in which we have worked with staff so far and the most successful approaches for staff making the move.

Following these short contributions from Helen Whitehead, Alvaro Roberts and Claire Chambers we will elicit from the audience further approaches and practices that have worked for them and could inform our strategy going forward as well as being useful for application in other institutions.

Join us here (plus more info)