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.