Sunday, 30 October 2011

Getting student work onto the IPad for annotation via iAnnotate

I'm continuing to have success with the use of iAnnotate for annotating students electronic work. However, the question needs to be asked, how do you upload the student work onto the iPad, and how do you share the annotated file with your student after you have annotated it?

The answers are very straightforward.


In terms of download, I have used a account. This includes a free iPad app. The process is, I get the students to submit to Blackboard using the Blackboard Assignment Tool. In the gradebook, I find the column associate with the assignment, click on the down arrow, and select Assignment Download File.

This will display a screen where all the submitted assignments can be downloaded in a zip file. After downloading the file I upload it to my file space and double click on the file name. This will unzip the files, and I can access them as individual files via wi-fi on my iPad.


Once I have annotated the files in IAnnotate, I save them back to my account. Then on a desktop computer, I again access the course gradebook and upload individual feedback (the save PDF) for each student.




Thursday, 27 October 2011

Using iAnnontate on the iPad to provide individual formative feedback

As part of a Foundation Degree Course in the School of Science I've presented a lecture on Technologies for Learning. This session included the option for students to submit a short reflective formative assignment around the effective use of a web 2.0 technology to enhance their learning.

The work flow is the student work is submitted to Blackboard. I download and upload them to my I access the file in on my iPad and open in iAnnotate PDF. After which I upload the annotated script back to, to be uploaded to the Gradebook in my Wolsey course.

After opening I annotate the document. For my first pilot I have used just the comment tool. This is where I click on the comment box, click on the assignment and type in my comments.

I must say, this all worked very well, and I managed to complete the process from a cafe ... not a desktop computer or bulky laptop in site. Adding typed comments was very straightforward. The only problem I had was hooking back into the UCS network to upload the annotated scripts. The final stage of mapping the feedback to the person will be completed on a desktop back in the office.

The outcome annotation is illustrated below


This option displays the comments in line with the text.

Overall, the process can be simplified with the use of the Course Admin to achieve economies of scale. The next stage will be to look at different feedback options, ie., free text, and audio.




Tuesday, 25 October 2011

University of Leeds Casebook: L&T - worth a coffee break

One of the activities in my "What can Wolsey do for my teaching" session I run as part of the e-Skills for e-Learning Course is to widen our horizons in terms of how people have been using VLEs in their teaching at other UK HEIs. To do this, I simply pick another UK HEIs case studies area and encourage staff to spend time reviewing the case studies. The one I used yesterday was the University of Leeds Casebook. This site covers case studies from two perspectives, the learning and teaching focus (Assessment, Evaluation, Supporting Students etc.,) and technology (VLE, Audio, Mobile, Quiz tools etc.,).

I'd suggest if you have time over a coffee, to kick back and browse through the case studies to give a heads up on potential uses, success and failures. See

If you'd like to discuss how these ideas might be included within your teaching, simply email us at We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Getting going with the iPad

I have had my own iPad for a while and mostly so far have been using it for personal organisation at work. This mostly involves using Gmail, Google calendar and syncing with the iPad over the wifi at UCS which works fine. For a ToDo list I used to use Evernote but have since migrated to Wunderlist which I now have on phone, home PC, macbook and iPad. Very simple interface and organises things well into categories. Also emails you each day with what is due to be finished that day (also free).

I usually try and use a textbook & pen/paper when doing anatomy and physiology tutorials with students, but thought I would give the iPad a go. I used the DK Human Body app (£9.99) which is a good app which covers the basics of all the systems (inclidea information and on each system). The students I used it with liked the visual nature of the app, but it was quite restrictive when you wanted to explore a particular area of physiology in more depth, as the options were limited. Nothing above a laptop except portability. However, we started to use the YouTube app to look at heart sounds and ascultation and together we found some great videos. The students were quite happy to pass the iPad around and search together with no tutorial from me. Very simple interface. Like the portability here. Certainly not going to replace the in depth nature of text books to answer questions, but good to bring aspects of physiology alive.

Used the Garageband to record audio for a podcast, but it has a limit on how long each audio section can be recorded for which I did not realise and lost most of the recording! However, have since downloaded a couple of audio apps to try and record podcasts. The garageband does allow you to edit podcasts pretty well, but does not output in mp3, so you do have to convert unless happy to upload in mp4 format.

Next on the list to try is the ShowMe App.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Elevate Development Sprint: October 2011

As the initial rush of the start of term starts to subside, it is time to unleash David and Aaron on another development sprint, for the week starting the 24th October.

This sprint will focus on further developing our QR Code Quiz Engine, with the hope of getting it in a position so we can share it with other institutions, and across the Learning Network. The main thrust is to enhance the end user functionality, so they can;

  • Create a Quiz

  • See Summary of Quiz

  • Edit the Quiz

  • Run The Quiz

  • See Results of Quiz

  • Create multiple quizzes (Bound to single unique userid)

  • Reset results per quiz

These requirements were collected from a number of sources, including a very successful workshop we ran at the recent ALT C conference at the University of Leeds.

If you have any questions about this development sprint please email us at As with all development sprints, David and Aaron will be off campus, so please ensure al communication comes through the Elevate Team email. We'll update you with the outcomes, the good and the bad :-)

Friday, 21 October 2011

iPad Update October 2011: Science, Technolgy and Health

Ironically, I couldn't post this using the iPad because it wouldn't allow me to select 'Your Stories' from the category list (wouldn't scroll the list).

Anyhow, so far the iPad has been used during timetabled sessions, with some great outcomes...

Session 1: The iPad was used during a formative practical assessment in the exercise physiology lab' in JHB. The session involved the students rehearsing key practical competencies (that are later part of a summative assessment). The iPad allowed for their rehearsals to be very easily filmed. The students were then able to watch their attempts immediately after completion, at which point feedback could be provided (including pausing, rewinding, etc. etc.). Doing this with a usual camcorder is much, much more awkward. We were saving the files and then playing them simultaneously to highlight improvements. Students liked this a lot!

Session 2: Another practical session, which involved continuous data collection, which is often difficult to record. Old fashioned pen/paper can get muddled (large data sets), and using a desktop (obviously) or even laptop can be cumbersome due to moving round the lab/area of data collection. So, we used the iPad to allow for complete freedom of movement whilst collecting data (both me and the students). We used Google Docs, which ALMOST worked well. Aaron has since helped with the problem, but it seems that Mobile Safari and Google Docs does not like converted MS Excel spreadsheets. We were attempting to add data as it became available, which would continuously update calculation cells and graphs associated with row/column ranges. However, it wouldn't allow us to save or share the document, which meant typing all the data cell-by-cell onto a desktop after session. Apparently it's a Mobile Safari thing, and using a 'form' - like the Elevate SARE questionnaire - associated with row entry in a spreadsheet is a better method of attack! Hope I've described that well enough Aaron. Still, at least the actual continuous data collection was made easier - just need to iron out the sharing process.

In the coming weeks, I am going full steam ahead and attempting to create some tutorial videos with ShowMe - like YouTube Education videos.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Smart Pen for iPad/iPhone #eFun

I've just seen this article and thought it might be of interest to our growing number of tablet users, specifically the iPad users.

Having spent some time with lecturers talking about how they can use these tablets to help with their teaching, a number have asked about the availability of a stylus and whether you can use them to write on the tablet.

With the technology that is used for the multi-touch devices - capacative technology - a normal stylus doesn't work due to the requirement of electrical properties from the human body for the screen to know where you are touching.  You can purchase a type of stylus that replicates this electrical property, but they are only as accurate as a finger with regard to writing.

The Engadget article states
Want to write on your tablet without all of the requisite finger grease? How about a stylus? Too pedestrian? What about a Smart Pen? Better yet, what about the aPen A5 Smart Pen? eFun's peripheral includes a stylus and a receiver that hooks into your iPad or iPhone's 30 pin connector, digitizing your handwriting or drawings via a number of compatible apps, including the company's own free Studio Basic Light. The A5 is set, broadly, for a release some time in 2012, and should run you around $99 whenever it actually hits the market.

This is a really interesting concept and may work well with our eFeedback & eAssessment iPad project.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Opportunities for your staff development: JISC Online Events

There are a couple of JISC online events coming up which you might find really useful.


JISC Webnar: Curriculum Design - changing the paradigm
2nd November, FREE

see >>>


JISC Online Conference: Learning in Transition
22nd to 25th November 2011, £50 Registration

See >>>

Keynote speakers include:

David Puttnam, Lord Puttnam of Queensgate
Bill Rammell Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Plymouth University
Mike Sharples, Professor of Educational Technology at the Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
Ewan McIntosh CEO, NoTosh and expert speaker on finding creative ways of using emerging technologies in education


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Out and About: Aaron at RSC Eastern eLearning Forum

I spent Friday 7th October at The Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge attending the JISC RSC Eastern eLearning Forum. I was really looking to the event as the programme looked really interesting, I was especially interested in the Focus on Augmented Reality (AR) by University of Exeter, as this is an area that we are working with at the moment.

Dale Potter gave a really enjoyable presentation around the work that the University of Exeter having been doing in the AR field, particularly their "Unlocking the Hidden Curriculum" work with Layar and the eco systems around their campus.  Dale started by talking about the types of AR, marker and location-based.  Dale demonstrated a really fun way of explaining what marker AR was, a member of the audience was brought to the front, a marker icon was placed on their chest and they were then stood in front of a webcam that was projected on to the screen.  When the webcam identified the marker it displayed all the major body organs overlaid on the projected image, so we were seeing the audience member in real time with an image of organs placed roughly in the correct positions.

From here we looked more at the project that has been run at Exeter and a demonstration video was played, shown below:



This was a really interesting session, it was nice to see what other institutions are up to in the same field as us, it was also really helpful to hear that Exeter have released some of the code from the project on their website, as well as making available an AR Resources Toolkit.

The next session was titled "The Virtual Dropdown Menu" and was run by Adam Blackwood of RSC South East.  This session was looking at new technologies and the way they can make gain accesses to resources quicker/simpler, the text below is from the programme:
Spatially-sensitive information will become increasingly more important over the next few years as the technologies become more ubiquitous on mobile devices. This short online session provides an outline of these technologies, giving participants a ‘heads up’ on what you might consider for further developments within your own organisations.

People are already becoming familiar with QR Codes to enhance hand-outs, objects and learning opportunities; some organisations are using Bluetooth; and some are just starting to look at Geo Fencing, Geo Tagging and Augmented Reality solutions. In addition, further newer technologies are appearing on the horizon. All these will be examined in this short time trip into the future of ‘The Virtual Drop-Down Menu’.

This again was an interesting sessions as it is also an area we have been working, with our QR Code Tour and Quiz Generator.

After a very nice lunch we resumed with a presentation from Geoff Stead, Head of Innovation at Tribal.  The presentation was entitled  "m-learning: aligning the present with the future", and was looking at the work that Tribal are doing with mLearning, we were shown a video of the work that Tribal have been doing for the US Government, looking at improving the communications of workers in distaster zones.

Below is one of the last slides from the presentation, showing tips for success with mLearning materials.



The event was really worthwhile attending, it is always good to see what others are up to and to hear their experiences as well as the thoughts of those other attendees.  It is also good to know that UCS isn't being left behind with its work in these areas.

What is the Future of Technology in Education?

Great question, no clear answer. However, you can find out more by watching the presentations at this years Future of Technology in Education event at ULCC. The recordings and other suff is available from:

A key message for us (the Elevate Team) is to

  1. work with others at UCS to ensure our learning technology software mix is appropriate and fit for purpose for the next few years

  2. ensure the support and development programmes are in place, including digital literacies

  3. work with others to understand and develop local models around how we can take advantage of the trend around internal and external hosted tools


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Issues with Wolsey and Internet Explorer 9

Recently Microsoft has released its latest version of Internet Explorer, IE9.  Unfortunately this latest release has compatibility issues with a number of websites, including Blackboard that powers Wolsey.

You may notice some of the following issues:

  • Drop down menus not working

  • Issues with Gradebook rows/coumns

  • Unable to reorder items

Not all users are experiencing all the problems, some experience none of the above.  We would recommend not upgrading to IE9 in the short term, if you already have upgraded or you are accessing Wolsey from a computer that you do not have control of, you will need to put IE in to "compatibility mode".


You can find more information about "Compatibility Mode" here.

For a more stable browsing experience we would recommend using a different browser, both Firefox and Chrome offer a much more pleasant experience and both are freely available.

Showme Ipad App: can now download videos as mp4

As we are rolling out a number of iPad projects around feedback, for which we are including the ShowMe App, I'm glad to say the ShowMe app (web interface) includes a download options. This downloads as an MP4 file. This file can then be uploaded to your YouTube channel. Why do you ask is this important? Well there are a number of reasons, including;

1.  it will allow better integration within Blackboard, compared to the iFrame model ShowMe offers. For instance, if you have created a short video which provides some generic feedback to students. Instead of adding the link to your Wolsey course, you can now embed the video within the course page. I'd suggest this means the student is more likely to watch it.

2. for reducing the risks of using web 2.0 services, especially new ones such as ShowMe, which aren't established. You can now get your creations out in a format which you can re-use in other web based services. This is very important, as it means I can get the the benefits of using ShowMe (which are many), in the knowledge if I have a back up process I'll not lose or be locked in with all my fabulous feedback videos.

If you'd like to know more on how to do the processes involved, please email