Thursday, 13 December 2012

An excellent way to spend your coffee time ... JISC Inform 35

JISC, who support the technology enhanced learning in UK HE, have released their Inform newsletter. This is a really good heads up of what is happening across their services and how these are being used in UK HE.

The online resource is available from

The issue is divided into reading time. This edition contains the following:

If you have 5 minutes – browse our top tips and case studies

  • Top seven predictions for the future of research

  • Top five e-book readers

  • Blogs to follow on higher education

  • Top ten tips on how to make your open access research visible online

  • Interactive map of London in the Blitz

  • Virtual lab of the future

  • Catch up with Jisc events in your area or virtually

If you have 20 minutes – advice and guidance

  • Too busy to tweet? How you can automate your computer to network while you work

  • What’s real anymore? Augmented reality, give it a try

  • Making use of your analytics for student retention

  • Q&A on improving digital literacy

  • Transatlantic views on the future of scholarly discourse

  • World wide web of students: tech to support your international student offer

  • Stairway to the cloud – supporting you wherever you are on the ‘journey’

If you have 30 minutes – longer features

  • Bring your own device

  • Is your research information management ready for 2013?

  • Paralympic legacy – learners benefit from accessible technologies

  • Data driven infrastructure – make your IT systems easier to maintain, adapt and extend

  • Janet6: what does the future hold

  • A bright future for independent Jisc in 2013

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Good morning ... Swansea University: Desktop conferencing at UCS

Did you know you we have desktop conference software so you can present virtually to groups or invite others into your teaching session?

I think there offer significant learning opportunities from bringing external voices into the classroom. Imagine the benefits to your students of inviting an external expert into your teaching session to answer questions or share their experiences and ideas. This can be effectively achieved through the use of desktop conferencing tools, and you are supported through the process by the Elevate Team.

An recent example is Prof David Gill (School of Arts & Humanities) used the GoTo Meeting software in W407 to lecture to a 2nd year undergraduate course at the Swansea University. His presentation was based around a slide show and he was presenting to a lecture room at the University. A key challenge with this delivery was how to encourage student participation? The GoTo Meeting software allows microphones, so a person could act as the facilitator. However, this acts a potential barrier. We overcame this through including a text wall. Where any participant can submit a question to the presenter via a sms txt message, twitter or an online form. In our case David Gill simply read the questions as they appeared (see image).

If you'd like to talk through how you might use GoTo Meeting and Poll Everywhere to enhance your teaching, please email the Elevate Team (






Friday, 23 November 2012

Would you like to offer peer assessment on your course?

The following describes a pilot I ran of the Peer Assessment tool in LearnUCS on a lecture I provided for a Communication and Study Skills Module in School of Science, Technology & Health.

This was a single lecture, which included a formative assessment task. The task involved three short answer questions. In the past I have set the questions, collected the submissions, marked and feedback the work. However, I’ve always question the effectiveness of the learning activity and what do they do with the feedback. Especially, as this is a one-off piece of work, outside of their discipline context.

Therefore, this year I changed my approach and made this a peer assessed piece of work. The intention being if they marked other people’s work, they would (based on Race 2006)

  • practice softer skills, eg constructive criticism

  • learn from each other and place their own work

  • compare themselves with their peers

  • engage with the marking criteria

  • engage in deep learning eg evaluation

In the past I’d worried about the administrative workload aspect of peer assessment. However, with the Self & Peer Assessment Tool in LearnUCS, the administration has been reduced.

My observations of the process are;

  1. The technology is very straightforward.

  2. The system managed allowed me to enter the questions, publish the marking criteria for these questions, allow me to set the timings for the key stages (student submit their work, student marks peers work, student collects they marked work, grades are released through gradebook).

  3. At all stages I could check who had been doing what, I could access the submissions, the evaluations and the results

  4. students didn’t seem to have a problem completing the process. Although a proportion must have been strategic, observed it was purely formative and didn’t complete it.

The following describes the broad process.


Create the Peer Assessment submission using the Self and Peer Assessment Tool, which is available within the assessment area. When you create this you need to consider a number of options, for instance; the submission period, the evaluation period, the number of scripts a student will need to mark, and if you’d like the feedback to be anonymous. When you add the individual questions, you can include a model answer steer which will be made available during the evaluation period. For each question you can add a number of marking criteria.

Create time in the lecture plan to allow students to engage with the marking criteria. I released part of my lecture as a video and set this as a pre-requiste to attending. This allowed me to deliver the core knowledge which I would apply in the session. It also created time in the face to face session to set a group activity around the marking criteria and marking some scripts.

Post lecture

The submission point was available and students submitted their work. When the evaluation stage started I announced this on my LearnUCS module, and released a video of marking a number of scripts against the marking criteria.

At the end of the evaluation period, the evaluated copies became available to students. Given this was a formative exercise I read the submissions and scanned the comments. Based on their submissions I drew together some generic feedback.

I announced through LearnUCS and suggested they reflect on their assignment and feedback to answer the question “I have read the feedback provided on my assignment and I have identified areas I can improve. These include ...

The following video is a walk through of the area in the LearnUCS module, which gives you a sense of how I approached it.

If you have any questions about how you might use peer assessment using LearnUCS, please email the Elevate Team.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Looking for a topic for your School or Division Meeting? How about technology enabled assessment and feedback

Did you know the Elevate Team are available to come to your School, Division or Course Team meeting to discuss various themes around technology enhanced learning?

We've just run a 1 hour session for the School of Science, Technology and Health around technology enabled assessment and feedback. This session looked at around enhancing the current assessment and feedback pattern to enable more effective feedback, and even out the assessment load for staff and students. It used a number of technology based strategies, including the use of quiz, peer assessment and group work.

The slides are available from:

If you'd like the Elevate Team to run a session at your School, Division or Course Team Meetings, please email

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

LearnUCS - The Numbers - Part 2

This update is a little later than planned, due partly to last weeks Development Sprint.  It is interesting to see how the numbers add up now we are into the second month of LearnUCS.

LearnUCS Statistics for October 2012

Application Insight

(Course views are all pages within a course, non course page views are pages outside of courses, such as the LearnUCS home page, announcements page)

We can see below that compared to September's stats, usage has grown quickly.  Page Views in and out of courses has almost doubled as has the number of logins.  Although active courses has dropped, we will need to look at why this is.  Is it due to student logging in, see what is or is available and then not accessing that area again, or is it something else?

Total Monthly Logins47.438
Total Page Views2,090,875
Average Page Views Per DayNon course - 51,225
Course - 18,470
Most Active DateNon Course - 74,594 - 17 October 2012
Course - 31,287 - 17 October 2012
Total Number of Courses5987 (including historical courses form 10/11 and 11/12)
Total Number of Active Courses1660

 October Stats










Mobile LearnUCS Statistics for 13th October 2012 to 13th November 2012

The mobile app was only released on an end user licence basis in mid September, this allows students and staff to use the mobile app even though UCS doesn’t licence the service directly.  Users are now able to download and pay a small fee to use the application themselves.

Total unqiue logins for the period was 203.

The iOS platform is still the most use mobile operating system.

Mobile App Usage

Mobile App Usage

It will be very interesting to see how the numbers add up next month.

Learning Technology Taster Sessions

The Elevate team taster sessions on Learning Technology start today. The topics we are covering today (in no more than 15 minutes) are:

  • using the peer assessment in LearnUCS

  • using clickers in your teaching

The session plans are available from:

The topics we are covering on the 15th Nov are:

  • creating a talk over powerpoint (11.10 to 11.25) in W209

  • changing the look and feel of your LearnUCS module (15.10 to 15.30) in W417

For more information, email



Friday, 9 November 2012

LearnUCS Access Issues - This Morning - 9/11/12

We have been made aware of a number of access issues for students logging in to LearnUCS this morning, 9th November 2012.  We have identified the problem, which is an issue with the student data feed file that gets passed to LearnUCS each morning.

We have rolled back the feed file to the last known good file, which was the 7/11/12.  We have run the process to reenable the student accounts that had become disabled.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Learning technology heads up: What it can do for you

As part of the Elevate Team SARE we ran an online survey around how we can improve our services. A theme which came out of this survey was the need from staff for short (15 minutes) show and tells on different learning technologies and how they might be used within your (teaching) context.

The following is a number of short sessions we'll be running during November 2012 which will hopefully meet this need. If you have any questions or would like us to cover other topics, please email

These are drop-ins, therefore, you do not need to book, simply turn up.

  • Using the peer assessment tool in LearnUCS >>> 13th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T308

  • Using Clickers in your teaching >>> 13th Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Creating talk over powerpoint movies >>> 15th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in W209

  • Changing the look of your LearnUCS module >>> 15th Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in W417

  • Getting started with the Quiz tool in LearnUCS >>> 20th Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T208

  • Using iAnnotate and ExplainEverything (iPad Apps) to enhance Student Feedback >>> 20th Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Using the LearnUCS Wiki for Student Group Work >>> 20th Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in T303

  • What does Twitter offer your teaching? >>> 21st Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in H106

  • Bringing experts into your teaching using the GoTo Meeting Desktop Conference software >>> 22nd Nov at 11.10 to 11.25 in T308

  • Using the peer assessment tool in LearnUCS >>> 22nd Nov at 13.10 to 13.25 in T308

  • Using Clickers in your teaching >>> 22nd Nov at 15.10 to 15.25 in T308

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

UCS Learning Technologists are off developing software (5th to 9th Nov)

The question of the week is, where have the learning technologist gone? The answer is, they've gone on a software development sprint. So both David and Aaron will be working on achieving two key objectives over the week which should transfer across to learning, teaching and assessment at UCS.

The first is to finalise the location aware quiz engine (based around QR Code). This tool was developed last year as part of a previous software development sprint. We have had requests for a formative location aware quiz engine which students could access on their own devices. The aim of this sprint is to finalise the software, complete the documentation, so it can rolled out as a production service. The intention is to release this under a creative common style license to other institutions.

The second piece of work is to explore some new functionality which has been released within the Aurasma Augmented Reality software which we've been using for a while at UCS. This will allow augmented sequencing. This has great potential to enhance the level of interactivity within the augmented material. We are exploring the potential of being able to develop pathways through the learning material.

So, what happens with the support when they are out of the office? The answer is not much. The implication will be the level of phone support will be reduced as they'll not be at their desks. So, please email all questions to where they'll be picked up at certain times of the day.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Why don't flip your classroom to make more time for class activities?

Flipping the classroom is a new term for a well established educational process. The idea is to make time within face to face teaching to focus on developing the higher order skills of analysis and synthesis, as opposed to using this face to face teaching to deliver the lower order skills of knowledge and information. This division is acheived by providing the knowledge before the session in the form of videos and/or interactive tutorials, and enabling the face to face time to be focussed on active learning techniques and class discussion.

Given technology developments this is becoming much easier to achieve at UCS. The following describes why and how I flipped my classroom for a lecture and assessment I delivered on a Communication and Study Skills Module in School of Science, Technology and Health.

The learning design involved a formative assessment which was peer assessed. As identified by Race (2006) the expectation was the peer assessment process would facilitate the student practicing constructive criticism, learning from each other, engaging with the marking criteria and promoting deeper learning through evaluation.

My challenge was to deliver a significant amount of content which is time consuming while managing a class activity on peer assessment. To be effective this activity is time consuming as the students need to engage with the marking criteria. Therefore, to make time for the students to discuss the marking criteria and set up group marking exercises in class I needed to move the knowledge and information component outside the face to face session. In other words, flip my classroom.

A key requirement was to ensure there was a sense of continuation from the video (pre-session) to the face to face lecture

A few tricks I used included:

  1. make the video production simple. I used a talk over powerpoint

  2. in the video I included a task which they need to complete before the lecture

  3. in the video I concluded with an overview of “what we’ll cover in the lecture”.

  4. I used the announcement tool on Blackboard to communicate the video is available

  5. in the lecture I spent some time to answering the task set in the video

  6. in the lecture explicitly refer to the video to encourage them to re-visit the video after the session

What did I find?

The creation of the video (talk over powerpoint) was very simple. I uploaded it to the module area on LearnUCS. There was a need to communicate effectively with students to ensure they understand the need to watch the video before coming to the session. I was glad to see many of them had.

The resources are available below and illustrate how I tried to connect the learning activities


Race, P. (2006) The lecturer’s toolkit: A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching

Friday, 26 October 2012

Diigo Announcement

To all those who are currently using Diigo to share or group your bookmarks, Diigo's Domain has been breached and is redirecting users to various different sites. Please read the following Diigo announcement about the situation and how to bypass it until the issue is resolved.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

UCS Learning & Teaching Materials Repository

The latest development sprint from the Elevate Team was to look at OER (Open Educational Resources) Repositories.  A number of other institutions use OER Repositories to store learning & teaching materials, these repositories aim to have a user friendly web interface allowing other users to easily navigate and search for those materials.

Another driver for this development sprint was an encouraging chat with Chris Cobb, a Radiography lecturer within the School of Science, Technology and Health who was looking for somewhere to store his and his colleagues materials.  The Division of Health use Clinical Lecturers from Practice and finding ways for them to access additional materials was also key.

The development sprint took the specifications that were agreed and we set about building a repository.  We decided on using the Joomla content management system (CMS) as the base tool, this CMS allows for really fast agile developments, but also has a number of fantastic features.  On top of Joomla we used the Warp Framework for its tool set and feature rich theme development and the Zoo content application builder.

Using Joomla with the Warp frame work allows for a fully responsive system, meaning that the repository can be viewed on any size screen.  The responsive system will resize the content and move the columns under each others, so all are viewable.  This means that the look and feel of the repository is the same, whatever device you are using, previously you would need a "mobile theme", which potentially would look quite different.

Below are some examples of how the repository looks on different devices.

Screen Shot from a PC

oer screenshot

Screen Shot from a Tablet (landscape)

OER Screen Shot Tablet

Screen Shot from a Smart Phone (Portrait)

As you can see the responsive nature of the repository allows for the look and feel to have a consistency, which in turns allows the usability to stay the same.

We were very keen for the system to be very user friendly, both for the submitting of resources and for the searching and viewing.  We have made a number of routes for finding materials, again all these routes work from any device.  To find materials you can:

  • Browse by Subject

  • Browse by Alpha Index  (will display by Division Title, Subject Title, Material Title)

  • Free Text Search

  • By Highest Ranked Material

  • By Tag Cloud

  • By Comments

We believe this makes the repository very easy to find any available materials.

Below is an image showing the free text search in use on a tablet device.  As you can see the text search starts searching as you type.

Free Text Search - Tablet

Below is a view of the repository on a smart phone, you can see recent comments and the tag cloud, the larger the word in the cloud, the more materials have that keyword associated with it.  So, clicking on "nervous system" would display all materials that have a tag of "nervous system".

Comments and Tags - Smart Phone

As mentioned above we wanted to make adding materials as easy as possible too.  We have added the specification as a templated web form, requiring the user to simply fill in the boxes to submit to the repository.  Again, due to the responsive system, this can be done from any device, even a smart phone.

There are two ways of adding materials, they can either be linked to, if the materials/resource is stored elsewhere, or any files can be added directly to the repository.

Below is the screen showing the start of the submission process:

Screen Shot Adding Materials1

Below is a screen shot showing the second part of the form, this shows at the top of the screen an area for the resource URI to be typed/pasted or even to be embed (Video etc.).  Below that is where a document/resource can be uploaded, a teaser image (file type) can be selected from the next drop down box and any keyword tags can then be added.   A simple submit button allows the user to submit this to the repository.


Screen Shot Adding Materials

An email is then sent to the Elevate Team to notify that the submission has been made, this is then approved and is available in the repository.  It is also possible for user to comment on materials, something we hope will not be abused, also it is possible to rate materials, we will need to see how this progresses and revisit their effectiveness once the repository is being used more.

As a result of the sprint we have a working repository that we are now piloting with the Radiography Team, once we are all happy with the way the system works we will open it up to allow others to use.  All materials are being added using a Creative Commons license it will be interesting to see how other academic staff feel about making materials available via this type of license once we open the system to a wider audience.

We feel this is a very valuable tool and one we hope will grow quickly, the Elevate Team are all for being open and sharing resources, as we hope our academic friends will be.

If you have any questions, please email the Elevate Team (

Friday, 19 October 2012

Using your Ipad to record student presentations for formative feedback

A quick question for staff with iPads.

Do you want to record student presentations, group work etc., to provide formative feedback?

If the answer is yes, the following describes a simple way of achieving this with the technology in you pocket (ish).

The Elevate Team have tested the following in a couple of different scenarios, and it works really well.

  • Samson Meteor USB Microphone – £64.61 - href=""

  • Adjustable Tablet Tripod - £40.00-ish -"

  • Apple iPad Connection Kit - £22.00 -

The photo illustrates how it all connects (excluding the tripod, and a USB extension cable).

When testing we were seeking a system which had:

  • Minimal work for the person recording (so the lecturer could click the button and continue with the other things they needed to do).

  • The audio quality was good.

  • The presenter was not surrounded by technology, or had software running in the background which conflicted with what they wanted to use.

  • The recording could be quickly uploaded, edited and available to discuss with the student.

  • The technology meet these requirements, and we've had positive feedback from the staff we tested this on.

  • The workflow included using the camera app on the iPad so we can upload directly to our YouTube (unlisted) account. Meaning they could quickly edit using YouTube (if required) and provide the URLs on the individual recording.

From our perspective the upload and distribution is really important. This has been a big stumbling block with other workflows involving camcorders. Therefore, by empowering the staff to be able to do this in the room is a very important motivator.

So, what problems did we encounter? Well, firstly, storage on the iPad (you will need to clear some space for the files), and secondly a wi-fi problem meaning the upload to YouTube needed to be done when we where back in the office. So we'd suggest no significant problems.

Where next for us? We are looking at connecting a USB hub to allow more than one mic to be included, and will look for other software to see if we can reduce the size of the video file.

If you have any questions, please email the Elevate Team (

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gathering evidence in the Lab and uploading it into LearnUCS using Mobile LearnUCS

We (the Elevate team) are starting to author a number of FAQs around using Mobile LearnUCS (this is the mobile app supplied by Blackboard).

The following FAQ / Guide is tackling a request we have had from Staff who are using iPads in the Lab. A request is they occasionally collect evidence from lab sessions as photos or completed datasheets. Afterwards, these are made available in LearnUCS for all students to access. The question is, will the Mobile LearnUCS app reduce the workflow?

The answer is yes :-)

Mobile LearnUCS will allow you to add content from your Tablet. This can be as an item with an attachment. This can be a very useful tool. For instance, in the following example I have created a content area on my course (called iPad Examples) and within this area I created a content folder called Photo Evidence: Experiment 1. The intention is to upload all the photos for Experiment 1 into this folder.

The following screen shot illustrates the approach. I navigate to the correct folder (iPad Examples >> Photo Evidence: Experiment 1), and click Add Content.

A new window will open, which allows you to add the subject, the text, and (click on attachment) a photo (live capture of still image or video), a photo from the local collect, or an document from Dropbox.

Therefore, if you want to share experimental results / data or outcomes of class discussions you could create a spreadsheet or doc on the iPad, enter the data, upload to your Dropbox account, and then upload into LearnUCS using the Mobile LearnUCS app.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Mahara after student inductions.

Well, after the recent influx of new students and us showing Mahara as part of our student inductions, the visits by users to Mahara have risen quite dramatically after quite a lull in activity.

We have re-shifted some focus onto Mahara for reflective journalling at the beginning of our student inductions and give it as an option for students to select as an option to talk about later.

Also, we have had some communication from a couple of lecturers who have been approached by their students about the use of Mahara, not for their module but for more of the personal development aspects of having an e-portfolio.

I will keep an eye on the statistics and when things level out I will post and compare to last years stats.

Friday, 5 October 2012

LearnUCS - The Numbers

With the introduction of LearnUCS we will be publishing a set of monthly statistics, this is the first month, post the migration.  The numbers are relatively low as it is a new system and not all students are enrolled, so we hope to see a steady growth over the coming months.

LearnUCS Statistics for September 2012

Application Insight

(Course views are all pages within a course, non course page views are pages outside of courses, such as the LearnUCS home page, announcements page)

Total Monthly Logins7646
Total Page Views1,234,484
Average Page Views Per DayNon course - 32,365
Course - 10,203
Most Active DateNon Course - 51,280 - 18 September 2012
Course - 17,875 - 29 September 2012
Total Number of Courses5922 (including historical courses form 10/11 and 11/12)
Total Number of Active Courses2272

September Page Views

Mobile LearnUCS Statistics for 5th September 2012 to 5th October 2012

The mobile app was only released on an end user licence basis in mid September, this allows students and staff to use the mobile app even though UCS doesn’t licence the service directly.  Users are now able to download and pay a small fee to use the application themselves.

Total unqiue logins for the period was 131.

The iOS platform has had the most downloads, 111 compared to 20 for Android.

September Mobile Stats

September Mobile Stats 1

September Mobile Stats 2

It will be very interesting to see how the numbers add up next month.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How many of the 100 top tools for learning do you use?

The question is .... how many of the top 100 tools for learning do you use?

Jane Hart compiles an annual survey of the top 100 tools for learning. The list and the methodology is available from

Interestingly, the Elevate Team are supporting five out of the top ten, including, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs/Drive, Wordpress, and Dropbox.

If you'd like to discuss how you might use these in your learning and teaching, simply email us, to arrange a quick catch up.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Student Ambassador Digital Literacy Surgeries 4 Students: Observations

The technologies for learning surgeries to support the student induction have run their course. This is the first try at this type of support, and I think I'd give it 6 out of 10. We trained up 3 student ambassadors to get people started on using Twitter, Google Docs, Diigo and Mahara. We then provided a range of surgery times. These where promoted through the induction timetable, posters on the 1st floor, and reference during our induction sessions. The outcomes were:

  • three student ambassadors trained, and started to explore creating their own portfolios and uses of the technologies

  • two of the four sessions were busy, the other two had no visitors

Interestingly, the day's we had people dropping in was when the first year induction sessions ran. The days when we had no visitors was when we ran the returner sessions. A reason for this might be we run different inductions for the two groups. The first year's get a session which focussed very heavily on developing uses. Therefore, they may be more motivated to use the technology, and therefore, more likely to seek support. The returns is a very short session which focussed on changes to institutional systems during the summer. Therefore, there is no awareness of the tools and motivation to attend the surgeries.

In terms of where next, we'll be putting together a programme of drop in surgeries in various buildings across the campus which will be repeated until Christmas. At that stage we'll re-visit the popularity and effectiveness of this model. This will require am appropriate publicity campaign.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

When will the Elevate Team be based with you?

Building on the successes of last year, the Elevate Team will be basing itself in a number of buildings and floors across the Ipswich Campus for the next few months to bring the staff support model to you. The following will commence the week starting the 15th October, 2012.

The idea is to provide help at the point of need, ie., your desk. This help will be provided as 1-2-1's, course team support and running workshops around you achieving what you want to in terms of learning and teaching tasks.

We'll be in each week as follows:

  • Arts Building (room to be confirmed): MONDAY 10.00 to 2.00

  • James Hehir (Graduate School Area) TUESDAY 10.00 to 2.00

  • Waterfront Building (staff offices on 2nd and 3rd floor): THURSDAY 10.00 to 2.00

We'll be releasing a booking form for 1-2-1 elearning reviews, and reminders will be regularly sent.

During these times we will also be running a number of 15 minute workshops (show and tells) with the aim of discussing how to achieve learning and teaching tasks using supported tools. In other words, what can they do for you and your teaching.

The times and location will be published closer to the date. The tools covered will include;

  • LearnUCS: Top tips, using mashups, managing your menu, using the gradebook, wiki, blog and the quiz engine

  • Classroom technology: clickers, text walls and debut (session recordings)

  • Web 2.0: Twitter, Diigo and GoogleDocs

Taking lecture notes with your tablet using Mobile LearnUCS

We (the Elevate team) are starting to author a number of FAQs around using Mobile LearnUCS (this is the mobile app supplied by Blackboard). To start the process we've been looking at a potential workflow for a student wishing to take lecture notes (or annotating the powerpoint slides).

The following outlines the use on an iPad, however, the approach will be very similar for other devices but the apps will differ. It is based on the following assumptions; the lecture uploads a version of the powerpoint slides to their LearnUCS modules before the lecture, you have the app, you also have a stylus, have a Dropbox file storage and GoodNotes or a similar app for annotating docs and PDFs on your device.

The workflow I used was as follows;

In the lecture room I opened the Mobile Learn app, navigated to the appropriate course, clicked on the required powerpoint. The following window opened, and I clicked on the Powerpoint name. Do not select view in browser.

The powerpoint is displayed in the window. However, I clicked on the Open In ... icon and selected my GoodNotes app. I use this to annotated docs and PDFs.

This opened the app with the file in the GoodNotes app and I annotated using the stylus. To complete the process, at the end of the lecture I saved the annotated file to my Dropbox space as a PDF.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Learning Technology drop in surgeries for students

To help students wishing to use technology in their learning the Elevate Team have arranged a number of Drop in Surgeries during this week. These are intended to help students get started with the learning technologies we cover in our Student Induction Sessions. These technologies include;

  1. LearnUCS

  2. Mahara ePortfolio

  3. Twitter

  4. Diigo

  5. Google Docs

The sessions are all on the 1st Floor, Waterfront and intended as a drop in. The time slots are as follows;

  • Tuesday 25th 10.30 to 1.30

  • Wednesday 26th 11.00 to 11.30

  • Thursday 27th 1.00 to 5.00

  • Friday 28th 10.30 to 3.00

So if you'd like help in getting you started with these technologies for your learning, please drop in and see us.

The sort of tasks we'll cover include;

  • LearnUCS >> Editing your notifications and module list

  • Mahara >> Changing your profile, creating a Journal, creating a file space, adding a journal post, uploading files and creating a portfolio page

  • Twitter >> Creating an account, finding a person / organisation, starting to follow someone and stop following someone

  • Diigo >> Creating an account, and adding a bookmark

  • Google Docs >> Creating an account, creating a Doc, and sharing a Doc

We also provide online help through the FAQ engine

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mobile LearnUCS is available

As you may have seen after logging into LearnUCS, the mobile version is now available from various app stores.

The software is developed by Blackboard, and not UCS. Therefore, we don't have any control over the features and functionality. However, we'd suggest the mobile version is getting better over time, and hope to see many more improvements over the next 12 months.

If you install it, remember to edit your notifications when you log into LearnUCS on a computer. You will be able to control which notifications are sent to your mobile device, so you can always stay informed with new announcements, assessment dates etc.,

The Elevate Team will be rolling out a supporting video on setting up the application, and some of the functionality we think you might like. This is coming in due course. However, to get you started, when you install the application it will require you to search for your institution (we are listed as University Campus Suffolk) and enter you username and password. After which you will get to the paying stage.

If you have any questions, please email


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Text walls offer an interesting way of gathering student thoughts during face to face teaching

We are seeing an increasing interest in the use of Clickers to gather student thoughts during face to face teaching sessions. However, many staff don't realise the Elevate team support another interactive classroom technology to facilitate student feedback. We also support the use of, which allows you to create a web space where you can gather audience views via texting, twitter or using an online form. They submit their comments as free text and are anonymous.

This could be used in a number of ways, for instance, student Q&A at the end of each session, or to feedback group work during a session. The opportunities are very exciting.

A study by Bradley, Weiss, Dobson and Holley (2010) on the use of texting in the classroom at London Met University across three case study groups, concluded "as a tool incorporated into the blend of teaching strategies it can be an effective way of introducing fun, interaction and engagement in a different way into classes, and can provide higher levels of student-lecturer interaction, and opportunities for students lacking confidence to participate more within lectures."

There are a number of non-teaching examples of it being used at the moment at UCS, including within the Waterfront Foyer, and the Technology for Learning Student Induction Session.

If you'd like to discuss how you could use a text wall in your teaching please contact the Elevate Team (


Bradley, C., Weiss, M., Dobson, C. and Holley, D., 2010. A little less conversation, a little more texting please - a blended learning model of using mobiles in the classroom. Proceedings of the Fifth International Blended Learning Conference: Developing Blended Learning Communities, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, 16-17 June 2010, pp 1-11. ( accessed: 13th Sept, 2012)

Monday, 3 September 2012

SafeAssign for plagiarism checking is available

Blackboard have informed us we can now roll out the SafeAssign Plagiarism checking tool for student submissions. This coincides with the roll out of the new online submission process for UCS Ipswich where the lecturer needs to liaise with their Course Administrator to manage student submissions and plagiarism checking. The new process involves improving the student and lecturer experiences of online submission and return, with the administrative workload being managed by the Course Administrator.

If you are based at one of the Learning Network please contact the Elevate Team ( to discuss your local options around online submission and plagiarism checking.

The historic data from Safe Assign has not yet been migrated by Blackboard. Therefore, if you are based at UCS Ipswich you will need to contact your Course Administrator, if you are based across the Learning Network you should contact the Elevate Team.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

LearnUCS: Enrolments for 12/13 released

For your information, the enrolments for the 12/13 academic year have been released. As you are aware, these enrolments are driven by the student record system. Therefore, if you have any questions about enrolments, either students are on, or are not on the correct course, the best starting place is a quick chat with your Course Administrator.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Online submission, Safe Assign & LearnUCS

We have been in contact with Blackboard to discuss our SafeAssign issues. The current situation is they are working on the solution and we are waiting for a resolution. They have not been helpful in terms of giving us a timeframe. As mentioned in previous updates this is not just affecting on UCS.

The current situation is,

  • The SafeAssign tool is not available in LearnUCS.

  • All submission of assignments in LearnUCS will be managed (as previously planned) using the LearnUCS Assignment Tool

The first point to make is the work submitted to SafeAssign has not been deleted, and it can be retrieved.

So who should staff talk to about online submission at UCS?

  • If you are arranging a new student submission point or re-open a submission point you need to talk to your Course Administrator. Their role is changing to include the administration of online submission. They will set the submission point up, and discuss how to manage the process.

  • If you need to access student work submitted to SafeAssign in Wolsey, you need to talk to your Course Administrator. They (or a member of Academic Support) will be able to download the assignments, and forward to you for marking.

  • If your wish to upload student feedback files to LearnUCS for work students have submitted you need to talk to your course administrator who will support you through the creation of area in LearnUCS gradebook and uploading the files.

  • If you need to access previous plagiarism reports please contact your Course Administrator.

The Elevate Team are working closely with the Academic Support Team to standardise the processes and ensure the above works.

The shifting role of the Course Administrator for online submission, and the move away from using SafeAssign as a direct submission tool and towards using the Assignment Tool as the longer term solution has been agreed previously and been discussed at the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Group. The current situation with Safe Assign has meant we’ve accelerated this plan from September 2012 to August 2012.

If you do have any questions, although we have suggested you contact your Course Administrator, please do email the Elevate Team ( Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wednesday 15th SafeAssign Update

We are currently still waiting on contact from BlackBoard regarding the SafeAssign issue, the specific maintenance that is required was scheduled in Washington DC so we do have a slight timezone difference we have to work with. The Elevate Team will update further as soon as we have more information regarding a solution.

Monday, 13 August 2012

LearnUCS Monday 13th - Update

We are currently still waiting on BlackBoard to resolve this SafeAssign issue, we are hopeful this will be complete before Wednesday, at which point an announcement will go out confirming resolution. The new LearnUCS seems to be stable and the change over from Wolsey has gone very well with few bugs to iron out, which is handy.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

LearnUCS - Release of 2012/13 Modules

Just a quick update to the upgrade/migration of LearnUCS.

We have now released the 2012/13 modules, these are available for lecturers to request access to.  This can be done in the same way as previously, filling in the form located at the following link:

Request Module Enrolment

The form request is sent to your Course Administrator.

This year the modules are created as "Unavailable" meaning student won't access empty modules, once there are materials/content added you can make the module "Available", giving access to your students.










Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Important: Are you using Safe Assign to manage your student submissions?


Due to a scheduling problem from Blackboard Hosting they are unable to roll out the Safe Assign tool, with LearnUCS. Currently, Blackboard have given us a date for completion of the 14th August.

Therefore, we have had to disable the Safe Assign tool in LearnUCS until this work is completed. The following describes the process of managing the submission, marking, grading and return of assignments for those expecting to use the Safe Assign tool upto the 14th August.

What do academic staff need to do?

The starting point is contact your Course Administrator or Academic Support. They will be managing the submission points and can liaise with you about downloading work, returning grades etc.,

There are a number of factors which influence your choices about what to do.

  • are you using the Safe Assign submission route? If No (using Assignment Manager) nothing has changed. If yes, contact your course administrator

  • can you wait until after the 14th August? If yes, do nothing. If No, contact your Course Administrator

The following is for your information to make you aware of how we are managing the following scenarios. As mentioned previously, you should contact your Course Administrator.


  • Students submitting work to LearnUCS

  • Staff accessing work for marking

  • Staff uploading grades / feedback to gradebook

  • Access for external examiners

Students submitting work to LearnUCS

Submission will need to go through the Blackboard Assignment Manager. Therefore, all new submissions points will be created by the Course Administrator(s). Teaching staff will need to liaise with their Course Administrator.

If the SafeAssign point has been created (based on the list from Academic Support), the course administrator will create a new submission point for students. If student work has been submitted previously the Elevate Team will manually migrate this across.

The student experience will be very similar, the process of submitting is nearly identical.

Staff accessing work for marking

Staff who need access to material submitted to Safe Assign, will need to contact Elevate Team ( who will download the submissions. After which they will share with staff either via (1) email or (2) dropbox depending on the size.

Staff uploading grades / feedback to gradebook

The key determinant is can you wait until after the 14th August? If yes, wait. If not, you (academic staff) will need to forward the feedback files and unratified grades to the individual students. Once Safe Assign is back online then can upload grades and files.

If you have already uploaded the grades and feedback to Safe Assign, and you haven’t a local copy you need to contact your Course Administrator to arrange for them to be exported from Safe Assign.

Access for external examiners

The key determinant is can you wait until after the 14th August? If yes, wait. If not, you need to share a sample via (1) email or (2) dropbox. The best place is to contact your Course Administrator.

If you have any questions about the above, please email the Elevate Team (

Monday, 6 August 2012

LearnUCS live, but we are waiting for SafeAssign

The Elevate Team are happy to announce the migration and upgrade of the Virtual Learning Environment has nearly been completed. We have released the new version, which is available from

The previous version under the Wolsey brand is being redirected to LearnUCS. We would ask people to to start changing their Wolsey related bookmarks.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen problems at the Blackboard Hosting end, they have not been able to map our SafeAssign submissions to the new modules. Therefore, at the moment we have disabled the SafeAssign Tool. This means staff will need to create their submission points using the Blackboard Assignment Manager. If staff wish to access the work submitted by students last week (week commencing the 30th July), please contact the Elevate Team, and we’ll zip them up for you. Students will not be able to submit work in existing SafeAssign submission areas.

We are expecting progress by Blackboard on this issue, including a new timeline, within the next few hours. This has been escalated at their end. We do apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.

If you have any questions, please email the Elevate Team (

BUMP update ... slower than expected

Hi, this is just to inform you Blackboard in Amsterdam have been slower in the restore of the final set of courses we sent them this morning. Therefore, we've are waiting for these to be restored on the system before we can release it. Another issue is their Operations Team is having problems with the certificates, so at the moment when you go to you encounter a certificate warning. This should disappear this afternoon.

So all very frustrating, and we hope to have this sorted by later this afternoon.

Sorry for the inconvenience this is causing. If you have any questions, please email


Day 6 BUMP Update

Well, today is the day :-) We'll be making the switch over from Wolsey to LearnUCS. Therefore, both systems will be unavailable during the morning period. We are hoping to have the new system (LearnUCS) online by about 13.00 hours on the 6th August.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Day 5 BUMP Update ...

Well the week is nearly over, and we've been making good progress :-)

I'm glad to say we have signed off our stage 1 user testing. As mentioned in yesterday's update you may encounter problems with respect to the permanent links point to the previous system (Wolsey). So you might have some broken links to mend. Also, it appears a few embedded images have not come across. However, there is no obvious pattern to indicate a failure in the migration and restore process. When you next access your course areas on LearnUCS please contact us if anything appears missing.

We are in the final stages of testing and scheduling the integration with active directory, to upload students, staff, modules and enrollment. This is progressing well and should be signed off by mid afternoon.

The focus of today will be on finishing the student FAQs, and the final communications ready for Monday.

If you have any questions, please email

Thursday, 2 August 2012

LearnUCS (Wolsey) unavailable on Monday 6th August AM

As the final stage in the LearnUCS upgrade and migration project we will be switching to the new LearnUCS on Monday 6th August.

This will require the systems to be offline, while we (Elevate Team), UCS IT Services, and Blackboard make the final changes. The timings for the final stage are outlined below, however, the headline news is

Wolsey & LearnUCS will not be available between 6.00 AM and approximately 13.00 (1 PM) on Monday 6th August, 2012.
The downtime is due to us having to archive, migrate, restore and test about 30 modules which have been using Wolsey for online submission during the week starting 30th July. After this process has been completed, Blackboard are required to run two critical updates to re-map student submitted work to the Gradebook and SafeAssign.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes, but it is the best way to minimise the downtime given the need to coordinate work across three teams.

If you have any questions, please email us at

Implementation Plan: Monday 6th August

6.00 AM

  • Elevate: Remove login to Wolsey & LearnUCS

  • Elevate: Archive list of changed courses since 30th July

  • Elevate: Transfer to Blackboard

  • Blackboard: Start restoring

9.00 AM

  • ITS: Re-direct the tab in MyUCS to holding announcement / page

10.00 AM

  • ITS: roll out the URL redirect from to

By 12.00 (midday)

  • Blackboard: Complete restore

  • Elevate: Sign off

  • Elevate: Give go ahead to Blackboard runs scripts

12.00 (midday)

  • Blackboard: Run Gradebook Script

  • Blackboard: Start SafeAssign re-mapping

Day 4 BUMP Update ….

Yesterday we signed off stage one of the migration. All the modules (courses) we expected have migrated across and been restored. We have now started the UAT (user testing) of the content. We do this through a set of stages, which build on each other in complexity.

The first stage was fine, courses have been rebuilt under the correct naming conventions.

A couple of observations (which we expected) if you've have been using absolute links within courses, these will not work (as the urls have changed). The Learning Objects tools (wiki, blog and podcast) have been disabled for new activities, but if you have used them previously you'll be able to see, edit them.

Today, we'll be continuing the next stages of the user testing, and coordinating with Blackboard about the work on Monday 6th.

Please note, Monday 6th August, will involve some downtime, where LearnUCS & Wolsey will not be available. This is because we need to migrate and restore the courses which have changed since the 30th July, and Blackboard need to complete two really important tasks. These tasks will map the new system to student submitted work in SafeAssign and the Gradebook.

Blackboard are not sure how long this will take, therefore, we are expecting the system to be unavailable for the morning (up to 13.00). We'll be releasing a specific post on the systen availability soon.

If you have any questions, please email

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Day 3 BUMP Update

Day 3 BUMP Update ….

Yesterday was one of those frustrating days, with lots of waiting around on communications, updates from Blackboard. However, it now appears all the course material (content) has migrated across to the new system. Therefore, we'll be able to start testing to ensure it has all migrated across properly. This testing will start either today or Thursday.

The testing will depend on progress with the integration scripts with Active Directory and Student Records. This should be finished today, and passed across to the Elevate Team.

The login page has been finished and should be transferred today.

If you have any questions, please email

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Day 2 BUMP Update

Day 2 BUMP Update ....

Yesterday resulted in a some successes, especially around rss pulls into the login page, sorting out the various certificates and starting to upload the FAQs.

Today we will be re-allocating our resource towards focusing on the integration between Blackboard and the student record system. A little bit of slippage due to staff issues.

Any questions, please email

Monday, 30 July 2012

Day 1 BUMP Update

Day 1 BUMP Update ....

Well, it has started. We are progressing very well, in fact a little ahead of the original schedule :-) All the content has been moved to the the Blackboard managed service. Blackboard will be spending the next few days restoring the modules. So we'll be hoping to start the initial testing of the migration by Wednesday.

During today the Elevate Team will be working on the login page, working with Blackboard Project Manager on sorting through emerging issues, talking to UCS IT Services around integration scripts and updating our FAQs.

Any questions, please email

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Exploring UCS and Ipswich - An Interactive Campus Tour #Layar

During a previous Elevate Development Sprint we create a layer in the Augmented Reality "Layar" app.  The sprint was designed to allow us to test the technology and to find possibly uses for this application.

Since the sprint we have spoken with our Marketing & External Relations team to show them what we developed.  This seemed to fit very well with the work of the Student Recruitment Team, they wanted to create a more interactive campus tour, for open days and visits from prospective students.  The Student Recruitment Team had already starting gathering current students' favourite places around campus and around the town.  We were able to plot these locations on our layer, allowing them to be viewable once the user had downloaded the free "Layar" app, they can then view the "UCS" layer.

Below is a view of the places plotted on the map, this view is also available in a list, or the very visual camera view, where it overlays the locations on the phones screen in real time, so when you are looking at certain locations/buildings the screen will tell you what those are:

Locations on map

Not only do we show the locations that the students' chose, but we also display their comments about the locations, this also allows others to reply to those comments.  As well as being able to see the comments, open times, menu and other information is available.

Student Comments

The Student Recruitment Team produced a "Welcome to UCS Ipswich" brochure, which tells the reader about downloading the app.  This brochures also has embedded video content about locations around the campus, simply by downloading the UCS Connect app, readers can watch videos by holding their mobile device over the appropriate pages.

Welcome to UCS IpswichLayar App UCS Connect Embedded Video

We are now working with our Induction Planning Team to enhance the tour for new students arriving in September.

Couple of things we are playing with over the summer

Against the backdrop of the LearnUCS upgrade and migration project, a re-design of the support programme for Mahara, and a re-design of our Student Induction programme, we are looking to explore the following two requirements, for implementation within pilot studies in October 2012.

Development of a Learning Material Repository. This is based on a project requirement from Radiography. Where they wish to share learning materials (docs, powerpoints, videos and images) between themselves and others within the School. The expectation is to deploy a pilot service modelled around a number of Open Educational Resource Repositories (Jorum - & Ostrich -

Enhancing class based group work. With increasing use of iPads in teaching and learning, and students bring devices to University, this project explores the most effective way of integrating an Apple TV (connected via a VGA connector) to enable easy projecting of student work within a classroom setting. This will explore the requirements around the most efficient way of locking this down for ad hoc (unstructured groups).


Monday, 23 July 2012

LearnUCS Timetable of Work (BUMP No 7)

As part of our project dissemination for the LearnUCS upgrade and migration, we have released the calendar of work packages. This is available from  (we suggest you view this via the Agenda view).


We'll be adding tasks, descriptions and summary statements for the various work packages as we progress, so simply click on the item to find out more.

If you have any questions, please email

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Kurogo Mobile Project Plan: Elevate Team

Kurogo Icon As highlighted in the Projects & Pilots section, we will be undertaking a small pilot (proof of concept) project using the Kurogo Mobile Framework. The aim of this project is to build on our initial work in this area, and give us a focus to report back to various groups at UCS, to inform further and wider discussion.

The Elevate Team don't view Kurogo as a learning technology, therefore, it is not something we'd have an obvious ownership over. However, we are interested especially around the location based services as this offers potential interfaces with our existing augmented reality work using Layar and Aurasma.

The broad aims of the project are:

  1. install the Kurogo Mobile Framework on our test server and evaluate if there is a technical fit with UCS

  2. review how the Kurogo Mobile Framework has been deployed at other institutions (

  3. design and develop a number of mobile learning scenarios which are deployed using the Kurogo Mobile Framework

  4. disseminate the product and outcomes to other interested parties at UCS, including, Marketing, IT Services, Library and Recruitment

The proposed time plan is for the work packages to be undertaken as follows

October 2012

  • installation on test server, and discuss with IT Services about technical fit

  • review of how other institutions have been using the Kurogo mobile framework

November 2012

  • design a number of appropriate learning activities

  • development sprint to create these learning activities

  • document and evaluate

December 2012

  • dissemination event at UCS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wolsey - LearnUCS upgrade project: what you need to know

As most people are aware we will be undertaking the LearnUCS (Blackboard) upgrade and migration project during the week starting the 30th July, 2012.

This will involve taking a copy of the last two years worth of material on Wolsey, and moving it to the new hosting service provided by Blackboard. Once the material is moved across it will need to be restored and checked. Overall, we are expecting this to take about 4 to 5 days. Therefore, during the week commencing the 30th July, we would suggest you view Wolsey as read only servive. Given we will copy the material at the start of the week, and the expectation is for the new version to be released over the following weekend, any changes you make to your VLE courses from the 29th July will not automatically come across.

However, to re-assure those using Wolsey during this week, it will still be available for you and your students to complete their online learning activities. The process we have in place is for those who are using the service over the week is to inform us asap and we'll arrange to manually migrate your material at an agreed time. Therefore, you'll have some control over the process, and it will minimise disruptions to your teaching and learning.

From discussion with Academic Support we are aware and working with the Course Administrators for the following courses:

  • Pre Reg Nursing: submission of work during 30th July & 5th August

  • SCPHN– Community programmes and standalone modules: Re-submissions on 3rd August. 

  • Prep for Mentorship: Re-submissions on 1st August

The following steps will limit the likelihood of your material not being transferred to the new version.

  1. Ensure your courses are up to date by the 26th July.

  2. If you are using Wolsey during the week starting the 30th July for critical activities, such as student submission of work, entering student grades, online marking or comments from external examiners, you need to complete the following form to request we manually migrate your courses at the end of the week (

If you have any questions about the upgrade and migration project please email us at

The current timetable is available below (you might want to view using the Agenda option)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Ethnographic Practices of Listening - AR Poster

As part of our hub spoke model, we were approached to talk about the use of augmented reality posters. This came about after an informal chat over coffee about what's new in the technology world.

Allison Boggis was interested in utilising UCS' Connect app (Based on Aurasma's AR technology) to make a conference/lecture poster more interactive. When it was agreed the Elevate Team would support this as a case study to determine workflows and point to point turn around time, we sat down with Allison for a chat to begin the process. The chat covered aspects such as size, content and how many AR elements there would be on the poster, however, a large portion was talking about limitations of the technology, I'll rephrase that, talking about 'best practice' for using this technology. Size of the triggers had to be considered, how small can we go? The length of the content (In this case video). How much space dedicated to user instruction on the poster compared to the main content text etc..

  • A2 Poster

  • Trigger image height no higher than a PostIt note (easy reference)

  • 3 Short videos less than 1:30 in length.

We were happy we had a plan, an A2 poster with three AR elements which would be videos of Allison extending and reflecting on the content of the poster. A date was set when we could record the video. A simple HD camcorder and wireless lapel mic were used to capture the three videos in different settings. The next step was to design the poster, a free stock bokeh background was used. One thing we did want to do was to capture the first frame of each video and use that as our trigger image (The area scanned to view the video), this we feel helps bring the poster to life as as soon as the user scans the trigger the image starts to move, unlike having a different image which then suddenly changes when the video plays.

Once the review process had been completed with Allison for the poster design we moved onto adding the AR to the poster using Aurasma's developer studio, this was a quick process.

The overall process was completed over a two week period, totalling roughly 8 man hours on this project.

The result was a visually appealing poster integrated with augmented reality technology, this we feel is a great pre-cursor to stepping into the more student involved teaching and learning aspect of using this type of technology.

Here is a shot of the poster in action (albeit impossible to capture video in a still image).

Ethnograpic Practices of Listening AR Poster

If you would like know more or have a chat with the Elevate Team about this type of technology use the contact us option on this blog.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

What are we doing with Media Tablets in 2012/13?

We are drawing up the project plans for the next academic year. One area we'll be looking at is the use of media tablets (mainly iPads) in teaching, learning and assessment. The emerging plan is as follows. This is still under some discussion.



The following outlines the ideas for the iPad project plan for 2012/13. This is document is a work in progress and will be finalised by the start of September 2012.


During 2011/12 the Elevate Team have been supporting a number of staff on using iPads in their teaching, learning and assessment. This support has been through the long and short term loan of iPads (purchased by ILTS money). A recent Gartner Hype Cycle identified Media Tablets would have mainstream adoption in the next 5 years. Therefore, the broad questions we’d like answered are:

Broad questions

  • what do they offer teaching staff as a learning technology?

  • do they offer affordances over existing technology within teaching, learning and assessment?

Specific question

  • can the use of media tablets enhance the e-feedback process?

There have been a number of outcomes from the 2011/12 project. Including,

  1. Reflective blog comments on using the iPads (

  2. Report: An iPad in the hands of lecturer: An e-feedback pilot study at UCS (

  3. Aims of the project 2012/13: A community of practice

The broad focus for 2012/13 is to develop a community of practice for staff who are using media tablets within Teaching, Learning and Assessment. This community of practice will helo us better answer the broad questions outlined at the start.

In terms of the deployment of media tablets at an institutional level, there are a number of other drivers which have influenced our implementation. Firstly, the cost of supplying and supporting Media Tablets means we are not proposing a media tablet for every member of staff. Secondly, media tablets are personal devices, and the likely use will be influenced by other emerging practices, such as bring your own device policies. Thirdly, a number of Schools, Divisions and Learning Networks have already, or are purchasing Media tablets to share or for staff.

Given the above, our approach is to help facilitate a community of practice within UCS around their use in teaching, learning and assessment. The primary aim of the community is to allow staff to make connections and share experiences. This will feed into wider discussions around implementation.

Pilot methodology

The project methodology will focus on support either 1-2-1 initiatives and course team deployments.

Loan of devices

  • 5 iPad 3’s - Short term loans, including focus on e-feedback

  • 3 iPad 2’s  - Long term loans to individual teaching staff

  • 2 iPad 1’s - Long term loan to Student Union

We are supporting the iPad 3’s with high quality stylus / pens, and will be looking to support who use them within presentations with VGA connectors and Apple TV.

Support of your own device

The Elevate Team will be supplying iTunes Vouchers (£15), upto a maximum of £260 spend for 2012/13. Staff can request these on a first come, first served basis. The requirement will be they write a number of blog posts around their experiences and they use at least one of our supported iPad applications:

  • GoodNotes

  • Explain Everything

  • Keynote

  • iThoughts

  • Outcomes

The outcomes from the project will be shared via the Elevate Team blog, and we’ll arrange a dissemination event in the summer term 2013.


The emerging doc is available at the following location and will be updated to our projects page at the start of September 2012:


Thursday, 21 June 2012

What learning technologies are we supporting in 2012/13?

The Elevate Team have nearly completed the list of software we will be supporting during the 2012/13 academic year. This list has evolved over the last academic year. The list is available from the following link.

We feel group of tools will meet your key needs. If you have any questions, comments or requests with respect to learning technologies, please email us to discuss your needs (

We will also be supporting some specific hardware during the period which will be managed through the Hub & Spoke model on a short term, project basis. This includes: media tablets, microphones, and video creation / editing.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Kurogo - Mobile Framework Middleware

Due to some of the developments that the Elevate Team are working on, we were looking for a platform that would allow for easy, but fully functional creation of a mobile friendly system.  What we want to do is capture what device/system the end user is using to access the site/page, and then display the content in a friendly/relevant style.

If a user accesses a site from their mobile phone, they don't want to have to zoom in/out and scroll around a small screen trying to click on menus designed for full screen desktop browsers.  Equally, a desktop users doesn't want to access a mobile themed site from their desktop, as a content producer you wouldn't want to have to manually intervene and create multiple versions of the same content.

During a period of research, David came across the Kurogo Mobile Platform, Kurogo describes itself as:
Kurogo is open-source Mobile Optimized Middleware™ for developing content-rich mobile websites and iOS and Android apps. Created by Modo Labs, Kurogo emphasizes extensibility, clean integration, and exceptional UX. It powers the mobile presence of a broad range of institutions, from top universities to Fortune 500 companies.

As mentioned above, Kurogo is an open-source platform, we have downloaded the source code and are in the process of installing on a test server.  Modo Labs, the creators, do allow for a trial installation on their servers, allowing you to see the power and potential of the platform.  We set up a quick demo site to allow us to explore the system, and to also run a quick "heads-up" with other teams within UCS.

The platform is incredibly easy to author with, simply requiring RSS feeds to allow it to display news and events, as well as being able to link it to a Youtube account.  Below are two screen shots, one from an iPhone and one from an iPad, this is showing the system recognising the device and displaying a "different" view to each.

[caption id="attachment_78938" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="iPhone screenshot"]Kurogo iPhone Screenshot[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_78939" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="iPad screenshot"]Kurogo iPad Screenshot[/caption]

As you can see from the iPad screenshot we have "Top News", "Videos", "Today's Events" etc.   The top news item is pulled directly from our blog via RSS, the videos are pulled directly from Youtube via the account name.  This approach makes the platform very quick to author with, and means we can still use current systems that are fit for purpose and we are not required to change how we work.

Below is a screenshot of the Kurogo admin panel, showing the simple controls.

[caption id="attachment_78942" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Kurogo admin panel"]Kurogo admin panel[/caption]

The admin panel allows you to choose which built-in content types you want to enable, whether they are on the homescreen and whether you want them included in the federated search.

Once those options are set you simply add the appropraite RSS feeds and account to get Kurogo to populate your mobile site.  You are also able to set the desktop website URL and Kurogo will autofoward and access via a desktop browser to this site.

A very interesting feature is the ability to pull in web pages from existing websites, and to make these mobile friendly.  The feature allows you to add custom tags to websites that you own, so you can even pull out parts of pages, again, the ability to use existing systems and to pull our parts of those is very appealing.

Our initial thoughts on the platform are very promising, the ability to have a platform that aggregates information from existing fit-for-purpose systems means we can carry on as we are, no need to change systems to incorporate a new mobile friendly authoring tool, this allows us to be very agile and to customise our content to all users.  When we should the potential of the system to other UCS teams, there was lots of interest, especially from the Library, who, like us, use different systems for different tasks, they liked the ability to be able to pull all those sources together into a mobile friend site.

The next step for us is to complete the local test installation, to allow us to look deeper and to really test the platform, initially we will use it to aggregate our current services into one mobile friendly site.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Do you use wikis, blogs or podcasts in Wolsey? If yes, read this about LearnUCS (BUMP 5)

As you are aware we'll be upgrading to a new version of Blackboard (LearnUCS) at the start of August. As part of this upgrade we will be simplifying the way we provide and support Wikis, Blogs and Podcasts within your Blackboard courses. At the moment we support both the Blackboard and Learning Object tool sets. This is for historic reasons, including functionality.

However, given the improvements in the Blackboard wiki and blog tool set we will not be providing the Learning Object tools when we upgrade. This will reduce a potential confusion for users. The upgraded Blackboard wiki and blog tool sets will provide the ability to grade the work within the wiki and blog (as opposed to having to go into the gradebook), and we will be providing the paste from word feature. There are two pieces of functionality you will lose; the ability to push your posts out of the system via RSS feeds, the ability to use a blog or wiki outside of a course. However, if you need a personal reflective space, we would strongly recommend you contact the Elevate Team about using the Mahara e-Portfolio software.

So what should you do next? If you use these tools we suggest you contact the Elevate Team ( to arrange a 1-2-1 meeting to talk trough the opportunities the new version offers. We will be providing a number of video guides around the upgraded wiki and blog.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Limited Elevate Support - Friday 8th June

The Elevate Team will be running a limited support structure on Friday the 8th June, due to annual leave and visits to the Higher Education Academy workshop around managing the online assessment and feedback process from an institutional perspective, support will be limited to E-Mails only.

We will endeavour to pick up any urgent support requests on the day, however, this may roll over the weekend into Monday when the team are back in the office.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ever thought of using a text wall in your face to face teaching?

The Elevate Team have purchased a text wall service ( for those who would like to pilot the use of free text interaction in the classroom. The service will allow you to gather student free text response via them texting, completing an online form or using Twitter.

We used it to gather audience thoughts during a JISC RSC Eastern VLE Forum meeting which we hosted at UCS.

This technology has offers significant potential to allow you to design more active learning activities within your classroom teaching, and complements the increasing interest in clicker technology. So, why don't you come and talk to the Elevate Team to discuss the opportunity to use this technology in your teaching.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

So what did we cover in our JISC RSC Location Aware workshop?

A question we aren't being asked very often, however, a big thank you to JISC RSC Eastern who filmed the session and edited to the following. Note, it is one hour, ten minutes. So you may want to flip through some sections.

The video is available from:


Friday, 25 May 2012

LearnUCS: Staff webinar series to get you started (BUMP Announcement 4)

The Elevate Team will be running a number of short (20 minute) webinars for teaching staff at UCS designed to help them get started with the new software. These sessions will cover both the efficiency gains and the learning and teaching enhancements offered by the new system. We'll also cover an update on timings and what you need to do.

For instance, we'll illustrate how the new system offers efficiency gains for creating seminar sign up sheets which will automatically create groups with set tool functionality. Therefore, if you wanted students to work collaboratively in small groups on a presentation or report, where you want to see both the product and process of their work, the multiple sign up list would be good for you. The embedded video illustrates how simple it is to use.



  • The dates & times of the webinars are as follows:

    • 11th June 10.00 to 10.20

    • 13th June 2.00 to 2.30

    • 14th June 11.30 to 11.50

  • To sign up please email

  • You will need an internet web browser and headset

Monday, 21 May 2012

Screencasting from the iPad using Explain Everything

As some people know, the Elevate Team have been exploring with staff the use of tools to allow screencasting from the iPad. Aaron found the Explain Everything ( which was used to create the screencast below. The screencast is a powerpoint presentation given as part of the update on the Blackboard upgrade and migration project.

The reasons why I prefer this app over the ShowMe app, include;

  • easy upload of files (powerpoint and PDF) with multiple pages

  • inclusion of a web browser recording option

  • automatic upload to YouTube


I think this app has considerable potential, and we'll be demo'ing at the UCS Distance Learning & Technology Group on the 24th June for the session on Media tablets. If you'd like to find out more, please email


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Location Aware Workshop for JISC RSC Eastern

I'm just following up on the location aware learning activity workshop we (Elevate Team) at UCS ran with the JISC RSC Eastern on 9th May.

This all day workshop involved using low threshold applications, QR Codes and Augmented Reality (Aurasma) to develop a set of location aware learning activities. It was pitched at the begineer level, so included lots of activities around what is the technology and hands on exposure for participants to actually use it. This also involved using the Quickmark QR Code, Aurasma, & Comic Life apps on the iPads to do all the work (not a networked PC or laptop in site).

The workshop was over subscribed, and based on the twitter comments, seemed to be very well received:

9 May Tracey Tutt ‏@traceytutt: Brilliant day thanks to @andyramsden @iAaronBurrell @thedavidmullett #UCSAUG augmented reality at UCS today @rsceastern fantastic!
9 May Kerry Hine ‏@KerryHine1: Absolutely amazed - created a basic poster with 2 video links using Aurasma in 10 minutes #UCSAUG @daveghunt
9 May JISC RSC Eastern ‏@rsceastern - #UCSAUG some creative uses of Aurasma Augmented reality app for showcasing good and bad presentation skills. @rsceastern
9 May andyjb ‏@andyjb: arron of ucs has just put me onto @aurasma worth a look #ucsaug
9 May JISC RSC Eastern ‏@rsceastern: How to make a perfect cup of learning poster using QR codes and Comic Touch #UCSAUG @rsceastern

The material we used included:

The presentation:

Aurasma Examples

As a follow up to the workshop we'll be releasing our documentation around how we've deployed Aurasma Augmented Reality Visual Browser, and we'll hopefully being running the workshop with JISC RSC Eastern support at other HE/FE institutions within the region.