Friday, 30 January 2015

LTAG Monitoring: January 2015

The following is an extract from the monitoring report we present to UCS's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Group

Strategic Priority: 1: To fully embed the use of technology enhanced learning (TEL) in teaching, learning and assessment practices

It is proposed that this will continue in three key ways:
  • At the course team level to work more proactively with course teams through team developments in order to explore and deploy technology enhanced learning opportunities within teaching, learning and assessment models. In particular, working closely with course team validation and approval processes
  • At the individual level, expand our offering to staff and students for just in time support and development around innovative uses of TEL. In particular, the expansion of the Elevate Team led UCS digital literacy programme
  • On media literacies to expand our offering of audio-visual services to staff wishing to effectively incorporate multimedia within their teaching activities/materials.
Progress Report

Institution Level
  • Elevate Team are now part of Learning Services.
  • Started the LearnUCS (VLE) Review
  • Implementation of recommendations from Electronic Management of Assessments
Department / Course Team Level

Attendance of e-Learning Developers at Course Committee Meetings

  • Project - Understanding Assessment Criteria
  • In curriculum - Flipped Model for Study Skills
Arts & Humanities

In curriculum study skills within Dance, Level 4, Semester 1 & 2

Applied Social Science
  • Social Work: Ning Social Network, Optical Mark Reader, In-curriculum (ICT Skills)
Individual Level

Provision of extended support for students from Learning Services
  • Workshops (students and staff)
  • Student tools for enhancing the reflective process
  • Designing effective posters
  • Designing effective presentations
  • Becoming a connected learner
Staff only (Technology Enhanced Learning) Offered
  • Flipping your teaching model: the how and the why
  • Getting more out of your LearnUCS module
  • Using social media to become a connected educator
  • How clickers can change the way you teach
  • Monitoring student engagement and performance in your LearnUCS Module (Learning Analytics)
  • Creating talk over powerpoints and similar videos
  • Designing a technology enhanced, group based learning activity
  • Getting started with objective testing (LearnUCS Quizzes and Optical Mark Readers)
Expanding our media literacies

Have captured and processed student presentations for formative and summative assessment including the following (over 100 videos in the last 4 months);
  • English
  • Computer Games Design
  • Early Years Studies
Plans in next three months priorities (Learning Services)
  • Development of in-curriculum study skills
  • Writing discussion paper series
  • Creation of study skills (badged) online course to support Maths, and ICT
  • Creation of skills (badged) online course for Course Administrators

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mahara Disruption. Today 28th Jan!

Due to the recent news about the GHOST security vulnerability in Linux GNU Library, ULCC, our Mahara service provider will be patching their servers today between 2-5PM GMT to secure this threat.

Any outage shouldn't take too long as it's just a rolling restart of servers.

Here is the further communication from our suppliers.


Yesterday a major security hole, GHOST (CVE-2015-0235) <> , in the Linux GNU C Library (glibc) was identified by researchers at cloud security company Qualys. This vulnerability enables hackers to remotely take control of systems without even knowing any system IDs or passwords.

Following analysis today by our Linux team we need to apply patches to all Linux servers to remove this vulnerability. Unfortunately as this patches glibc, the GNU C library, it requires a system restart to implement as the files are in use by numerous processes running on the systems. The patching process is likely to cause a service outage of up to five minutes while the system is restarted, meaning your site/service will be unavailable during this time.

The patching process will take place today, 28 January 2015, between 2-5pm. We apologise for the short notice, but feel urgent action is required considering the severity of the threat.


We will update with more information as we receive it.

Report: To review the effectiveness of the e-submission practice implemented during the 2012-13 academic year

The e-Learning Development Manager was actioned to report back on the following;

To review the effectiveness of the e-submission practice implemented during the 2012-13 academic year. The effectiveness of practices evaluated and reported to LTAG, with enhancements implemented to the process for 2014-15 where appropriate.

At the time of writing, the evaluation of e-submission practices has been reviewed at UCS Ipswich, by a task and finish group instigated by AMC. This task and finish group included representation from the Elevate Team, and Academic Services. The data collection period was May & June 2014, and involved a wide range of stakeholders, with 25 1-2-1 interviews across UCS Ispwich and Otley. 

The task and finish group reported back to AMC on the 9th October, 2014, with a set of recommendations. These were acknowledged, and AMC asked for future updates on the implementation during the Spring 2015.

The report is available from: 
The report focussed on how we could improve (enhance) the workflow, and how we could more effectively implement the new workflow. 

Progress against the recommendations are as follows:

Work Package
Owner (lead)
Creation of a dedicated EMA support area for Staff and Students within LearnUCS course for updates and available support routes
Sept 14
Provide student posters at key times w.r.t how to submit work and access feedback
Dec 14
Academic Services
 Expected Feb 15
Provide staff awareness posters w.r.t the workflow, contact points, and inline grading
Jan 15
 Expected Feb 15
Improve communication with new lectures, through 1-2-1 welcome meetings. Provided slimmed down staff awareness leaflet

Run Course Admin (Ipswich) training sessions: Jan 15, and March 15 - Q&As, tool uses
Academic Services
Waiting on dates from Academic Services
Raise awareness of H&S issues, and support routes to staff (blog post)
Dec 14
 Done in Jan 15
Dissemination Strategy: AMC, LTAG, Heads of Department

T&F Group Review Meeting
Feb 15
Set up regular meetings
Look at opportunities of e-grading & e-feedback dedicated workstations - monitors, browsers, support materials  T311
Dec 14
Done - suggestion use small meeting rooms with screens in Waterfront
Awareness of browsers issues
Oct 14
Explore the current situation w.r.t SITS and LearnUCS integration
Mar 15

Explore opportunities for submission email receipts
Dec 14
Done - information forward to Academic Services

As yet, the report has not been presented at LTAG.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Tips for marking online (inline grading)

The following tips are to help with the inline grading in LearnUCS, if you have any questions, please email or talk to your Course Administrator

Tip 1: The Room.

If you are planning to spend a period of time marking, we'd suggest you book a small meeting room (which contains a large screen), reserve a laptop and VGA cable from Waterfront Reception. You can plug the laptop into the large screen. This will also overcome the issues of trying to mark within an open planned office.

Tip 2: Maximize the space of the inline grading area.

When you look at the inline grading area, much of he screen is contains information you don't need at the time, including navigation areas. You can maximise the inline grading area as outlined in the video

If you have any questions, please email or talk to your Course Administrator

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Additional Getting Started Guides

Over the last week we have been working on adding a couple more Getting Started Guides to our collections. The topics we have covered in the two guides below are:
  • Google Slides for Presentations
  • Creating Flow Diagrams
You can access the two guides below.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Evaluation of online courses: Dec 2014


Learning Services released three online courses through the CourseSites platform at the end of December 2014. The courses where designed to provide an equivalent experience for the online learner as attending a getting started, one hour, face to face workshop.

The aim of this update is to start to draw a few reflections together, to allow us to re-visit the existing courses and enhance the design of the next wave due for release in March 2014. This self-reflection is a collaborative and transparent process.

I would like to thank the wider Learning Services Team for their work on these three courses, and the steps we have made.

For more information on how to enrol on the courses, see
For more background, see

Data Analysis (Did they come?)

In the first month, 29 people enrolled on the SOOC, of which 20 appeared to be UCS students, and 9 UCS staff. Of the UCS staff, 4 where members of Learning Services. Four people completed the courses and achieved their mozilla open badge. It didn’t appear we have any non-UCS registrations. An exploration of the gradebook suggested if people started a course (completed the first quiz), they tended to complete all quizzes on the course.


The criteria used by the Elevate Team for reflecting on an online course as the online learner are:

  • What are my motivation levels through the learning activity? Do I feel motivated to complete all the tasks? Do I feel engaged? Am I challenged as I complete the task? Is the language and content appropriate for the level (getting started, advanced)
Role of Feedback
  • How much feedback an I getting on the tasks? Do I feel I’m learning from the feedback I get? Does the feedback encourage me to complete more tasks?
Oncreen support and signposting
  • Do I know what to do? Are there clear, appropriate and time relevant instructions?
Screen design and layout
  • Is the screen design and layout consistent? Is it usable? Does the design hinder my chance of completing the tasks?
Interactivity and learning design
  • Am I simply reading and watching information or am I required to complete activities? Are the tasks and interactions the same type throughout the activity? What things are they making me do?
  • Is the content OK? Are there areas which are not clear, or contain typos? Do all the links work?
In addition, individuals within the curriculum development team where asked to feedback. To promote feedback, and triangulate with the e-Learning Developers, they were provided a small range of stimulus questions:
  • how might we improve the learning design / flow?
  • Is the resource engaging?
  • Is the look and feel appealing?
  • Is it a good and effective learning experience?


Role of feedback
  • The feedback is generic, irrespective of how you performed on the test / quiz. It would be good to use adaptive release to provided different feedback depending on performance.
  • There is a strong preference to multiple choice questions. So it would be useful to enhance authors awareness of the different question types available.
  • The feedback does not tend to be developmental, it is more, affirming the correct answer. It will be worth exploring with the course team the potential role of feedback.
Screen design and layout
  • The use of mark as reviewed, does create the issue of having to scroll more and more. Not sure if there is an obvious solution, but it is rather frustrating.
  • The use of embed screencasts are inconsistent, in terms of the size, and the presenter.
  • The embeded talking head videos lack engagement, they require text context on the screen, and could think through more effective use of props
  • The screen layout around Task 4 (Information searching), means it is difficult to complete the task.
  • There appears to be a number of typos within the text. We should enhance the content management and sign content sign off processes.
  • There was a high level of interactivity within the resources, with the use of video and quiz questions, and marking as reviewed meant the learner was active in the process.

Where next for Learning Services?

We are expected to develop a number of online workshops to be rolled out in March (with the design phase in February). We'll follow a similar design process, with a kick off sprint. However, the focus of the sprint will include the quiz engine, and the role of feedback. It would also be very good to explore the potential of the students submitting a piece of work or reflection which will need assessing by members of Learning Services. We will also start to pull together and standardise the screencasts, videos and slides. The design and development phase will be completed with a set of student user tests. Of which the feedback will need to be applied before the courses are released.

Many of these lessons and ideas are transferable to other online course designs. For more information on how you might uses these lessons, please contact the Elevate Team (

Friday, 9 January 2015

Getting Started Guides

The Elevate Team, within Learning Services have just released a number of Getting Started Guides which are intended to help you get started with some of our key software. These are designed to complement our face to face workshops, and focus on the practical aspect, ie., how to set up an account, and which buttons to push to complete the first tasks.

The current titles are:

  • Reaping the rewards of social media: Getting started with Twitter
  • Mindmaps for organisation and reflection: Getting started with MindMup
  • Using YouTube to manage your multimedia resources

Here are the current set of guides, more will be released in the coming weeks.

We have improved the way you borrow clickers: Now in the Library

For your information, we are changing where you collect and return the clickers you've booked. This has been driven by the previous process starting to creak a little given the higher demand for clickers by staff and students. This new model will allow better monitoring of returns, and ensure the packs are complete.

The new process is as follows:
  1. Book the clickers and support through the web form (as previously)
  2. Collect and Return the clickers and dongles at UCS Ipswich Library Reception. You scan your set out as you would a book.
Therefore, you can not collect the Clickers from the Infozone, Waterfront Building

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

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Would you like to know more around involving students in curriculum enhancement?

Would you like to know more around involving students in curriculum enhancement?

If the answer is yes, the JISC are launching a series of webinars to promote and share practice around student-staff partnership working and student engagement in curriculum enhancement and innovation in higher education and in FE and Skills.

The first webinar is on 27th January from 12:30-1:30 and will have two presentations, as well as time for questions and discussion. The presenters are;
  • Ellie Russell from the National Union of Students, who will outline the Principles of Student Engagement recently launched by The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP).
  • Jim Pettiward from London Metropolitan University will be sharing his experiences from the Clued Up! Project -discussing how students and staff can explore and develop their digital literacies together.
Registration is free and to register please use the link:

The webinar will be recorded and the recording will be made available from the Change Agents’ Network blog:

Monday, 5 January 2015

LearnUCS December 2014 Stats

Application Insight

Below you will find the monthly stats for December 2014.  December is always one of those months that sits towards the bottom of a trough with regard to the numbers.

December is a month where we hit the end of a semester as well as have a two week break for the festive season.  Having said that, this months statistics are the best for any December since we moved to a managed hosted system in 2012.

Total Page Views
Average Page Views Per Day
Non course - 24,665
Course - 11,084
Most Active Date
Non Course - 40,531- 12 December 2014
Course - 24,446 - 12 December 2014

Application Metrics

Total Monthly Logins
Total Number of Courses
Total Number of Active Courses

With regard to the large difference between total number of courses and total number of active courses, we still have a large number of legacy courses that were migrated across from our self-hosted system that need to be manually disabled and removed.

LearnUCS Mobile Statistics for 6 December 2014 to 5th January 2015

Total unique logins for the period was 348 with 1,531 logins by those 348 users.

iOS is still the most popular operating system for those devices by far with 301 of the 348 being on iOS, that is just over 86%.

This statistics post will become a regular feature on the blog, look out for January's numbers next month.