Report: e-Learning Network Meeting – January 2017

We were delighted to welcome Professor Helen O’Sullivan, APVC Online Learning, as speaker at the first e-Learning Network meeting of 2017. Helen spoke to us about the University’s new Education Strategy, giving the network an overview of the structures, leadership teams and immediate priorities. The recording of that talk is linked-to below. Helen then led a discussion workshop on what an institutional Digital Education vision might look like (this part of the session is not recorded). We also managed to make time for a couple of extra items: a first look at Turnitin Feedback Studio, the new design for GradeMark we will be moving to in July; and an introduction to the Go Mobile user group that began meeting this academic year. A pretty busy lunchtime for the forty staff members who came together for this valued networking event.

Professor Helen O’Sullivan

So much is going on at the University at the moment it was a welcome opportunity to spend some time thinking through and discussing how current strategies relate to our own interest area and Helen did a great job of this, even in the sweltering conditions of our meeting room. The Education Strategy’s core values, ‘Liverpool Hallmarks’, of ‘research-connected teaching, active learning and authentic assessment’ are immediately appealing to anyone interested in learning and teaching, and learning technologies can play a critical role in these. I won’t go into micro-detail but what I found really useful was an update on the top priorities for the coming year, including the setting-up of a new Programmes Development Team, a media technical support team, continued work on the Electronic Management of Assessment project, and also hearing about less familiar things including the focus on the London Campus portfolio and degree apprenticeships. Click the image below for the (Stream Capture) recording, about 32 minutes long.

bloghelenimage
Click the image above to watch the recorded talk by Prof O’Sullivan (32 minutes)

 

We then moved to some group discussions to consider a Liverpool take on David White’s digital leadership framework which is designed to help high-level discussion and decision-making about all things digital, giving some coherence for thinking about the whole organisation and how decisions can affect all of these layers. The framework diagram below is taken from David’s blog post (click the diagram to read) and was the starting point for the activity. In my group we focussed quite a bit on the Digital Service layer, which possibly reflected the areas we work in but which we felt was the bedrock of an organisation’s culture and medium.

Turnitin Feedback Studio – Dan Roberts

There was also a bit of time for a couple of extra items. First up was a look at the new design for Turnitin GradeMark, called Turnitin Feedback Studio. This was an out-of-the-box walkthrough and we were only examining the feedback environment. Essentially the desktop version has been rebuilt and the design is very similar to the current iPad app version, but now you will be able to use it on any device. This video below maps the key differences between our current version of GradeMark and what we will see after this summer’s upgrade. You can also try out a live, online demo if you follow this link.

No horses seemed to be startled by this new look. From a design point of view I think it is a much-improved, cleaner system, tidying away a lot of the distracting array of menus and buttons we are used to, and instead putting the most commonly-used feedback tools directly in front of you whilst marking work; no more hunting around for different comment types for instance. The rebuild has also focussed on making GradeMark fully-accessible which is great. Asking about what kinds of things people would be interested to test in the lead-in time to the summer upgrade, long-standing functionality/workflow requirements such as double marking were top of the list. Looking through the release notes whilst writing this post I can see that there is a Beta version of the multiple markers facility for which Turnitin are looking for some testers, so we will organise this through the network and the e-submission/EMA project board. Get in touch directly if you want to be a part of this testing.

Go Mobile Usergroup – Alex Spiers

We rounded off chatting about the new user group for anyone interested in anything mobile that Alex  has set up and has met a couple of times already this academic year. It is as wide-ranging as that sounds, so we’ve looked at apps, devices like the iPad pro and pen, and the kinds of things staff and students from all parts of the University are doing with mobile technologies for learning and teaching. Look out for the next meeting which we hope will be this side of Easter and we’ll release details ASAP or keep up with #LIVUNIGO.

gomobilemarch
Next meeting – April 27th

Many thanks to Helen for the valuable and engaging insight into the strategic thinking and work going on for the University’s Education Strategy, and the role that Technology-Enhanced Learning has to play as it moves into its implementation phase. It was also a great opportunity to have a first say on some emergent ideas around a Digital Vision for the University of Liverpool. This is an ongoing process and Helen would welcome more comments and feedback on anything covered in the presentation or discussion.

The next e-Learning Network meeting is scheduled for Thursday 27th April 12:30 – 2pm. The network lunch is intended primarily as a sharing event so if you have an idea for one of our meetings or anything you want to share about something you have been doing with TEL and to get some feedback and discussion from the group then please let us know.

Dan

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Blackboard User Group – North of England meeting – 23rd May

The Blackboard regional user groups are hugely useful for learning technology staff to meet on a regular basis, find out what we are all up to, discuss common concerns, and to catch up on the latest developments with the range of Blackboard products. Attended by representatives from Blackboard (Dom Gore and John Usher at this session) the group also has the chance to have an open discussion with the company and to feed back ideas and enhancements to the future shape of the Blackboard range.

Our day, hosted by the University of Huddersfield, kicked off with a free group discussion the focus of which was, inevitably at this time of year, upgrades and testing of the new version. As many institutions present on the day are moving to the same service pack version this summer the group moved to try sharing our key findings from our individual testing efforts, a great idea and we’re looking forward to contributing to this.

Part of the event always includes a couple of presentations and this time we heard from Huddersfield and UCLAN about their experiences of implementing a set of standard expectations for modules in the VLE. Particularly interesting was how Huddersfield have linked this set of threshold standards with their staff digital literacies project which itself has been formalised through the annual appraisal process. Also interesting was a discussion following both presentations on the extent and desirability of measuring the reach of these standards. This was useful in the light of Liverpool’s current project developing and implementing the VITAL Baseline set of standard expectations for all VITAL modules. I was also able to talk with a number of other people from other institutions who have taken this journey and get their experiences and advice.

After lunch the Blackboard team highlighted the new features in the next releases of Blackboard, of which the workflows around anonymous and team marking of assignments look really appealing (and if we could top these with an assignment receipting system for the students this would be great!) and some of the work going on for the new ‘responsive design’ for Blackboard we should get a first sight of in the new academic year. It was reassuring to hear the message that Blackboard have taken seriously the feedback around the release of multiple service packs over the year and slowed this to return to a system of two service packs per year, focussing on the quality of the releases. It was also good news to hear just how much attention is now being paid to UK clients and our requirements for our teaching and learning activities.

Finally we usually end the day with a question and answers session with the Blackboard team and thanks to Dom and John for a very constructive conversation here. They had lots to take back to the office as did we!

All this and I came away with a University of Huddersfield mug and pen too!

Our next North England Usergroup meeting is pencilled in to take place in Manchester.

Dan

Summer School 2014: 11th-19th June

This year’s e-learning summer school is running from Wednesday 11th to Thursday 19th June. Mostly focussed on VITAL usage the sessions will include:

Wednesday 11th June (09:30 – 12:30) – An introduction to technology-enhanced learning using VITAL

Monday 16th June (09:30 – 12:30) – Wikis, blogs and journals

Tuesday 17th June (13:30 – 16:30) – Vital plus (tools, tips and ideas for taking your use of VITAL to the next level)

Wednesday 18th June (13:30 – 15:30) – Screencasting, podcasting and lecture capture

Thursday 19th June (09:30 – 11:30) – Running webinars and online classrooms with Adobe Connect

Thursday 19th June (13:30 – 15:30) – Turnitin GradeMark for creating and managing electronic feedback

Full details on each workshop and booking can be found at our booking site linked to here, look for sessions suffixed with ‘(e-learning summer school)’.

We will also be running our VITAL introduction for administrators session, bookable from the same page, on Wednesday 11th June in the afternoon.

The sessions will generally be a mix of hands-on practical work, application to your learning and teaching, and case studies of practice at the University. The introductory workshop is suitable for  staff who have not used VITAL or Blackboard at another institution at all – if you are already familiar with the system then this session will be too basic. The main pre-requisite for the other summer school sessions is that you are familiar with VITAL and using its main facilities, but please contact us if you want to discuss the suitability of any of the sessions. You are welcome to book on as many sessions as you wish, although we would ask that if you find yourself unable to attend to unenrol as soon as possible.

Dan

Augmented Reality

Imagine hovering your smartphone camera display over a poster on a wall and seeing a video appear on screen related to the content of the poster. Augmented reality (AR) works in this way. See the video below for an example. It merges content created virtually (videos, images, animations, graphics) with real world environments. This virtual content is layered over a real-life object, whether that is a picture, a person or even a building, the options are endless. Viewed through the camera display on a smartphone or tablet device, these AR ‘overlays’ can be triggered by a GPS location, a sound, or through the recognition of an image (usually a photograph, graphical display, painting or poster). This is dependent on the application used but if content is synchronised, using an AR app, then content can ‘overlay’ information, for example, onto a famous landmark, or help someone to navigate around an a city area.

Newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies have already made use of AR. I’ve seen one app used to animate logos and text displays in the headlines of newspapers. It is fun seeing an advertisement in a newspaper come to life as an animation, however, this use of AR appears, in my opinion, rather gimmicky and the ‘fun’ effect was one that quickly waned. In terms of using two forms of media together, I think that comes down to preference. Certainly in my own experience I’m unlikely to use my phone or tablet for AR purposes whilst simultaneously reading a newspaper. AR in the context of entertainment will inevitably face practical questions as to why audiences should use AR in conjunction with other firmly established forms of media. Will the technological development of AR echo the anticipated rise and now more recent fall of the 3D TV? I do believe AR has a place that, once identified, will integrate it into certain elements of everyday practice. My hope is that this practice includes education and the interactivity found in learning environments.

AR in Education

It’s hard to know where to start when choosing an app to work with AR. A brief search through the Google Play and online App stores reveals an explosion of AR apps all focusing on different types augmented experiences. This ranges from live virtual views of someone’s location, using map software, to producing music using a hand-drawn piano layout.

After trying a lot of different AR apps, I came across Aurasma. Aurasma is a smart device app that was demonstrated by Judy Bloxham at the e-Assessment Association hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University in November 2012. Judy’s involvement in an AR project, supported by JISC and their RSC Northwest Network, is powered by Aurasma and has utilised AR for the purposes of enhancing educational content. The project compiled a series of posters that aided formative assessment and became interactive when students used the Aurasma app alongside them. This helped students to engage in a reflective thinking process drawing upon some of the key principles they had covered in their learning of the subject. Using AR and interactive content like this can also provide an ideal entry point for a learning activity to begin – with options to break down content into a series of options that students can choose to follow.

A good example is outlined in the poster below (provided by Judy Bloxham), allowing the user has to use Aurasma to interact with a series of buttons and videos to see which is the correct shelf for storing raw meat in the fridge.

fridge[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

You can use Aurasma’s image recognition tool and see how this poster can trigger interactive learning content. This can be tested on a computer screen or using a printed version of one of the posters linked below. There are two ways to do this depending on the smart device that you are using. Some instructions are outlined below.

Android devices:

1. Visit the Google Play store to search and download Aurasma
2. Open Aurasma and press the ‘A’  icon at the bottom of the screen
3. This takes you to the Explore section. Press the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen to go to the Search page.
4. Type in RSC Northwest to find the RSC Northwest Channel. Click the image and then click the ‘Following’ button on the next screen.
5. Now press the bracket icon [ ] on the bottom line to return to the camera view. Then view over one of the posters below.

Apple devices:

1. You can download Aurasma in the same way as above (for the Android devices) and follow the options to connect to the RSC Northwest channel.
2. Alternatively, search RSC Northwest in the App Store and install it to your Apple device.
3. Use the camera view and hover one of the posters below. Make sure the whole of the poster is displayed on your smart device.

hazards-v2.1

[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

hearing

[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

These are examples of how an image can trigger an Aurasma ‘aura’. Open one of the PDF files to full screen and hover your smartphone device over the image. If the app has joined the channel correctly the image should trigger the interactive ‘aura’ content. Do let us know in the comment box below about your experiences using this app.

To read more about the use of AR used in education then visit the following sites below. These were recommended by Judy Bloxham, who I would like to thank on behalf of the eLearning Unit here at the University of Liverpool, for allowing us permission to make use of the above posters, demonstrating the use of Augmented Reality in education. Her work in raising awareness about the potential benefits of AR in education is ongoing and well worth following. Below are some further links related to the information above and to other AR projects, if you would like to delve further.

https://sites.google.com/a/jiscadvance.ac.uk/augmented-reality/home

Guardian Blog Post – http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2013/feb/11/augmented-reality-teaching-tool-trend

Scarlet Project – http://teamscarlet.wordpress.com/

cARe Project http://blogs.city.ac.uk/care/

Living Learning: Plumbing from Kendal College https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/living-learning/id549156508?mt=8

written by Phil Walker

An Eye on the Future

Orthoptics LabThe eLearning Unit have been working closely with the Directorate of Orthoptics and Vision Science within the School of Health Sciences over the last few months.

The overall aim of the collaboration is to enhance the student experience within the department with the effective use of technology. We hope this will have an impact on attracting new students to the Orthoptics course and produce a more stimulating and innovative teaching experience for existing undergraduates.

During an Orthoptics post application visit day event in February pen drives were distributed which Touchscreen Computerscontained a variety of files and resources highlighting the enhanced learning experience offered at Liverpool. Prospective students will be able to view a video advert, an eye test flash animation, a recent range of photographs taken in the Orthoptics lab (some of the images displayed in this post) and a presentation which contains interviews with current students and alumni from the course.

The interactive animations currently being developed will allow students to practise and simulate the range of tests performed to detect a wide variety of eye defects and conditions. Some of the conditions can be quite rare so a student may never have an opportunity for the real life testing experience during placements. The animations will assist a student in refining their core skills and becoming familiar with rarer conditions.

The animations have been designed in consultation with Dr Anna O’Connor who eye animation demoapproached the eLearning Unit for support after seeing a range of oncological surgery animations produced for a postgraduate module. A test version of the Orthoptics animation is available here. The resource is still under development but this version should give an indication of the range of interaction and functionality aimed for.

Future plans include potential extra funding to support the production of more advanced animations, 3D eye modelling creation and a NHS bid to fund the purchase of a suite of tablets which will help to enhance undergraduate student placements.

The resources produced could become commercially viable as theeye website planned functionality would be unique in the HE sector. At the moment there are only a few resources publically available such as this website which simulates eye motion and demonstrates the effects of disabling one or more of the eyes muscles and one or more of the cranial nerves that control eye motion. However, resources like this only highlight a few elements of the eye movement disorders and do not completely reflect a true clinical picture. Any online resources produced at Liverpool would be a welcome addition to the current material available supporting academic staff and undergraduate students.

If you are interested in further details about these developments or if you would like to share an idea, request support or ask a related question please get in touch with the eLearning Unit at elearning@liv.ac.uk.

Ophthalmoscope Digital Letter Chart 9 times moving light_7 big eyes

(Photographs by Phil Walker)

Here are some further images captured by the eLearning Unit, in the Orthoptics lab on the Liverpool campus, which will be used as the background for future interactive animations.

Paul Duvall

Delving Into the Archives

As part of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) project creating online learning resources with the Centre for Archive Studies Paul Duvall and Phil Walker, from the eLearning Unit, captured a series of archive images in a specially arranged photo shoot.

Access was granted to the Special Collections & Archives section of the Sydney Jones Library at the University of Liverpool. The collections include manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections. The Archive of the University includes administrative records, personal papers of former staff and students, photographs and objects relating to the history and function of the University of Liverpool. Some of the oldest manuscripts even date back to the 12th Century! Here is a highlights gallery illustrating some of the more unusual and colourful items in the collection.

The purpose of the photo shoot was to capture any relevant and appropriate images that could be used throughout the online CPD content. Showing the realistic conditions and environment of a current archive will hopefully provide a more stimulating educational experience for the CPD participants. Still images were taken in the Reading Room, which allows up to 18 readers to view materials on request, and the archive which is only accessible for certain staff.

The eLearning Unit capture high quality still images (and video) as part of CPD projects or as a stand alone request. If you would like to know more about eLearning Unit activities in this area or have any other enquiries related to producing online CPD please contact us at elearning@liv.ac.uk.

If you have any questions about the Special Collections and Archives please get in touch with the relevant member of staff from the library.

A selection of the photos taken on the day are presented below. Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version in a new window/tab.

Paul Duvall.