Copyright seminar (and others)

The following lunchtime seminars may be of interest to WebLearn users:

Posted in e-learning, Sakai, WebLearn, WebLearn Bytes, WebLearn courses | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Learning Analytics workshop

SAHELA (South African Higher Education Learning Analytics) Workshop

(In cooperation with the Stanford Learning Analytics Summer Institute)

Pretoria, South Africa, 15 September 2014

Learning analytics (LA) is becoming an increasingly important area of investigation – to recognise students who are ‘at risk’, to address the risks, and ultimately to improve student retention. Institutions are moving towards interoperability and most VLEs now build in LA capability. At Oxford we are investigating the Sakai Open Academic Analytics Initiative (OAAI) and participating in online webinars with other Sakai institutions.

Educause provides a collection of useful documentation – the Analytic Research Centre (academic analytics in higher education); a questionnaire to assess an institution’s Analytics Maturity Index; and a presentation at the forthcoming Educause conference (30 Sept 2014) about building institutional capacity to implement LA.

Questions to consider are: ‘What data is flowing in an institution?’ and ‘How can we harness it to improve student success?’ Similar questions can be asked about an institution’s VLE in terms of data about teaching and learning.

Among others, the following two case studies were presented at the workshop:

  1. University of Pretoria: first year Molecular Biology students (1600- 1800 students with three lecturers) – they use Turning Point software with ‘clickers’ for formative assessment in class, providing instant feedback to students, and reporting the statistics automatically in the VLE (clickers are preferred to mobile phones, due to poor network connectivity – students are required to buy their own clickers; in future this cost will be incorporated in student fees;
  2. Medical University of South Africa: the Student Support Referral System – a coordinated process to identify and support students at risk (academically, psychologically, socially), in collaboration with their Centre for Academic Excellence – all forms and documentation previously maintained in Excel were converted to interactive forms using Sharepoint workflows.

International activities

  1. Signals project – Purdue University – traffic light signals for three risk groups:
  2. SOLAR – Society for LA Research:
  3. International Educational Data Mining Society:
  4. Learning Analytics Masters programme (LAMP): Open Learning Analytics (OLA) initiative – see blog post by George Siemens: and http://www.solaresearch.orgfor details.
  5. There are some MOOCs on LA.
  6. LACE (LA Community Exchange) – an EU project SOLAR Flare event, Oct 2014
Posted in WebLearn | Leave a comment

WebLearn Upgraded to v2.10-ox1.2

Release Notes – WebLearn – Version 2.10-ox1.2 – 30 September / 3 October 2014

WebLearn was upgraded between 30th September and 3rd October 2014 to version 2.10-ox1.2. For more detailed information and other minor changes, please looked at the detailed release notes.

If you would like to suggest further improvements then please do so by contributing to the WebLearn User Voice feedback service.

Bug Fixes / Improvements

  • The Home Tool once again displays its content in an iFrame
  • New Oxford users who cannot login to WebLearn because they aren’t yet found in LDAP should not be presented with the External Users login page
  • Researcher Training Tool: previous instances of a course are no longer displayed on the module information page
  • Roster is now correctly called Site Members and no longer fails if the site contains a subgroup
  • Contact Us tool has undergone a number of improvements
  • Announcements Tool:
    • Group-only announcements can now be accessed by participants with the ‘maintain’ and ‘contribute’ role
    • The message is now included in the email that is sent to site participants
  • HTML pages created in Resources without the ‘.html’ extension now work correctly
  • Lessons Tool:
    • The “Add comments Tool” link no longer causes the tool to freeze
    • All on screen text has been updated to UK English
  • TurnItIn is now working correctly
Posted in Sakai, WebLearn | Tagged | Leave a comment

Break in WebLearn service: 25th Sept at 22:00

WebLearn will be unavailable for a short period between 22:00 and 22:30 on Thursday 25th September 2014 whilst repairs are made to the faulty TurnItIn configuration: this should fix the problems that users are experiencing relating to the TurnItIn integration within the Assignments tool. We sincerely apologise as there will be no service to users during this period.

Note: TurnItIn-enabled assignments created before the move to WebLearn 10 will now have their backlog of Originality Reports processed, unfortunately TurnItIn-enabled assignments created after the move to WebLearn 10 will need to be recreated from scratch.

Please contact the WebLearn team if you have any questions or need help with this. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience that this mistake may have caused.

Posted in Downtime, WebLearn | Tagged | Leave a comment

The new WebLearn Lessons tool enables a better user experience

WebLearn 10 has brought with it the brand new Lessons Tool. This tool allows one to set up a step-by-step learning exercise which students can be asked to work through in a structured manner.

Consider this example: without leaving the page, you can ask your students to read instructions, take part in a discussion, watch a video clip and finally answer a few questions to assess how well they understand what they have just learnt.

In the past it was not easy to link a number of WebLearn tools on one page to create a smooth web experience.   The Lessons Tool has now solved this problem!


lessons-what-to-addLessons is a new tool that allows you (as a maintainer/contributor) to organise resources, activities, and media on a single page. Each Lessons page can be customised to suit your needs, including links to other WebLearn tools, conditional release of items and content, etc.

Content from a number of WebLearn tools can be added to a Lessons page including Assignments, Polls, Forums, etc. We will be adding support for Tests in the next few weeks.

The “Add content to the Lessons page” section (see blow) shows the full list of what you can have on a Lessons page.

How it works

If the Lessons tool is not in your site, you can easily add it via Site Info.  Go to Site Info, click Edit Tools, select the Lessons tool and follow the screen instructions.  As you can have more than one Lessons tool in a site, you are allowed to customise the name of the Lessons page.

Once Lessons is added to a site, it appears in the menu on the left hand side.


Develop a lesson

Click on the Lessons page link on the left hand side.  You can rename the lesson or add content to the lesson.


To rename a lesson you should click the ‘Settings’ icon.  Note that you can also configure other things here, for example, the time when the page is available.


Add content to the Lessons page

Go to a lessons page, clicking on “Add Content” allows you to add the flowing content.

  • Add text:  the HTML editor enables you to add text, links, images, video/audio etc. to the page
  • Add multimedia: embed an image, video, Flash file, web page, etc. on the page
  • Add Resource: upload a file or use an existing file in Resources tool and link to it, or enter a URL to another site
  • Add Assignment: link to a WebLearn assignment
  • Add Quiz: link to a WebLearn test – not yet implemented
  • Add Forum Topic: link to a WebLearn forum topic
  • Add Question: created embed multiple-choice or short answer question.  The site maintainers/contributors can view the results displayed using a bar chart
  • Add Comments tool: allow Access users to add comments to the page
  • Add Student Content: add a section where students can create their own pages
  • Add Subpage: add a child page on which you can create content, or links
  • Add Website: upload a ZIP file with web content
  • Add External Tool: add a tool using IMS Basic LTI

View a Lessons page as a Student

lessons-student view lessons-student-view2

Photos credit: the two Creative Commons licensed images are produced by Longsight company (!prettyPhoto).

Posted in e-learning, Sakai, WebLearn | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to move the Home Page text into Resources

If you want to move the text of your home page into the Resources tool then you can follow this ‘recipe’. (You may wish to do this if your home page contains JavaScript code or other page elements that are only available in Resources HTML pages.)

1 Go to your site and click on the ‘Edit’ icon (pencil and paper)


2 Within the editor panel, select all text with your mouse and press CTRL-C (or equivalent) to copy the text. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page to get all text. (You may find it easier to switch to “Source” view to do this.)


3 Click ‘Cancel’ then navigate to the Resources Tool.


4 Create a new HTML page. You may want to create a special folder for this.


5 Paste the copied text into a new HTML page in Resources by clicking in the editor panel and pressing CTRL-V (or equivalent) then save the page (click ‘Continue’).


6 Give the page a sensible name. It is good practice to keep the “.html” extension


7 Complete the Save process


8 copy the URL of this page


9 Edit the Home Tool again, paste the URL into the box marked “Site Info URL” (underneath the editor panel) then save by clicking “Update Options”


10 Your page should look the same as before but will behave better. Check that there is nothing missing and check that the links work. If anything is wrong then repeat the process.

11 If you are happy you may like to remove the original text from your Home page but this is purely optional.

Posted in Sakai, WebLearn | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Major New WebLearn release: WebLearn 10

We are pleased to announce that WebLearn has undergone significant face-lift with a move to WebLearn 10 (2.10-ox1). The upgrade was affected on Tuesday 16th September 2014, we apologise for the disruption that the extended downtime must have caused.


As well as a new look, this release brings a wealth of new features including:

  • Brand new modern, mobile-friendly navigation with the ‘Sites Drawer’ offering quick links to individual tools within a site
  • Peer marking in Assignments tool
  • Brand new Contact Us tool (as recommended by the WebLearn Student Experience study)
  • Sequencing of content and other activities with the new Lessons tool
  • Customisable branding for a department (available upon request, see below)
  • Drag-and-dropping of files into Resources through your web browser
  • Allowing students to submit group Assignments
  • A new Syllabus tool – edit in place, calendar integration, bulk changes
  • Updated Markbook: assign extra credit, new drop highest, drop lowest, and keep highest grade options, hide/show columns in All Grades page and PDF export
  • Add Mathematical notation to web pages
  • Improved Forums tool offering statistics and grading; an option to require users to post before they can read existing posts; word count for messages; and improved permission settings layout
  • New Web Content and Home tools (see below for important information)
  • Support for IMS Learning Tools Interoperability 2.0 – this allows data to be sent back to WebLearn from the 3rd party tool
  • The ability to locate and link to Forum posts and Assignments within the WYSIWYG editor (via Browse Server)
  • Language preference selectable at site level
  • Support for IMS Common Cartridge import (through the Lessons tool)
  • Brand new Site Members tool (aka Roster)
  • Improved Reading Lists: items can be reordered, list items can be files in Resources, fixed many problems with importing
  • Updated WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Users can record audio in Resources
  • Add movies to HTML pages in Resources
  • Broadcast files to all Drop Boxes
  • Tutorial for first -time users
  • Question pools copied during site duplication in Tests tool
  • Introduction of AntiSamy HTML code filtering to enhance security (on all tools except Resources) – you will see a warning if HTML is removed
  • Plus many many more enhancements

This new version has been subjected to months of testing but, as with other similarly complex systems, there are bound to be some teething problems – some issues that our testing did not reveal. Should you encounter any oddities then we would be very grateful if you could report them to the central team (using the new ‘Contact Us’ tool), ideally with screen-shots. We will attempt to address any outstanding issues over the next few weeks.

The next few sections outline some of the new features and present a handful of known issues that we simply didnt have time to address.

New Navigation

There is a new ‘breadcrumb trail’ and navigation to sites is now performed via the “Sites Drawer”.


To access the “Sites Drawer”, click on My Sites and then click on the symbol to the right of the target site to reveal and jump to individual tools present on the site.


New Web Content and Home tools

The Home and Web Content tools no longer use “iFrames”, this has resulted in a change in behaviour (see below) and have new icon for configuring the ‘properties’ of the tool, this used to be a button labelled ‘Options’. (This is the first step towards removing iFrames from the system.)


On the Home page, you may also see a red warning rectangle appearing at the top right of the screen explaining that some HTML tags have been removed from the page. This warning comes from AntiSamy which is a new library filtering out potentially dangerous HTML tags. AntiSamy filtering is not applied to files in Resources so the procedure detailed below will fix that issue as well.


Customisable Branding

It is now possible for departments to have their own top banner on all their pages.The following aspects can be configured:

  • ‘backgroundColour’ – colour of main banner (specified as #rrggbb colour, for example, #f133e6)
  • ‘backgroundImage’ – URL of the background image of the main banner (will tile) – store this in a public folder in the department’s administration site
  • ‘imageSource’ – URL of the image at the right end of the main banner – store this in a public folder in the department’s administration site. This should be of the appropriate size
  • ‘imageLink’ – URL of a website that the image at the right end of the banner links to
  • ‘message’ – the title which will be visible at the top of the page, if this is not set then it will always be the name of the current site
  • ‘fontColour’ – the colour of the font of the ‘message’ (specified as #rrggbb colour)

This customisation must be done by the central WebLearn team. If you require this service then please send an email listing the various values for the above attributes; ensure that you have stored any images in a public folder in your administration site and place the URLs in the email.

Examples of Custom Branding

The Said Business School: this has the ‘message and ‘imageSource’ attributes set


A site for ice cream lovers: this has the ‘message’, ’backgroundImage’ and ‘fontColour’ attributes set; the ‘imageSource’ attribute has been blanked out.


Known Issues – 24 Sept 2014

Unfortunately, as with any major release, there are a handful of known issues that we simply didn’t have time to address. We will attempt to address these issues over the next few weeks.

  • There seem to be a number of problems with Firefox 31.0, you should update to the latest version
  • Turnitin integration in the Assignments Tool is currently misconfigured so is not functional; we will repair this as a matter of urgency. New assignments set up since the upgrade (on 16th) will need to be redone, existing TurnItIn-enabled assignments will have their Originality Reports processed as soon as the problems are rectified. FIXED 26th September
  • No WYSIWYG editor in Surveys beta when using Internet Explorer
  • New HTML pages without the “.html” file extension are displayed incorrectly – they have the wrong MIME type, this can be corrected by changing the MIME type close to the bottom of the page’s Edit Details page. It should be changed from “text/plain” to “text/html”. FIXED in version 2.10-ox1.2 (30 Sept – 2 Oct)
  • Announcements made to internal subgroups appear to have vanished but actually they are still present but temporarily inaccessible. In order to see the missing announcements, you need to be in the group to which they were posted. FIXED in version 2.10-ox1.2 (30 Sept – 2 Oct)
  • The “Contact the Helpdesk / WebLearn team” pages in the new ‘Contact Us’ tool should not present a list of site maintainers. The solution is to use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page instead. FIXED in version 2.10-ox1.2 (30 Sept – 2 Oct)
  • The drop down list of contacts is empty when the site contains a maintainer or contributor who has now left the university. Such users are invisible to site owners but not to the WebLearn team. FIXED in version 2.10-ox1.2 (30 Sept – 2 Oct)
  • Email attachments are not indexed by ‘Search’
  • Some information is duplicated in the pop-up help
  • The Padlock “lock tool” facility is equivalent to the ‘light bulb’ feature, ie, it only hides the tool
  • The Site Members tool (mistakenly referred to as ‘Roster’ in Site Info) does not display members if a site contains one or more Participant Groups. FIXED in version 2.10-ox1.2 (30 Sept – 2 Oct)
  • The ‘Search Library Catalogue’ pop-up is blocked by most browsers and must be specifically allowed to open (there is nothing we can do about this).
  • The ‘Search Library Catalogue’ facility will not work in Internet Explorer 10 and higher.
  • The ‘Sakai Resource Picker’ within a reading list appears to go wrong with certain browsers but in actuality, the resource is added to the reading list just as it should be.


Posted in Sakai, WebLearn | Tagged | Leave a comment

WebLearn unavailable on Tuesday 16 September 2014 from Midnight – Noon

It is planned to upgrade WebLearn to version 2.10-ox1 on Tuesday 16 September 2014 from Midnight – Noon (note the extended outage). There will be no service during this period.

This release will bring major changes in both WebLearn and the supporting infrastructure:

  • New user interface
  • New ‘Lessons’ tool: content sequencing, embedding media, inserting assessments, prerequisites, student and group pages and more
  • New ‘Syllabus’ tool with in-line editing, start/end dates, table of contents view
  • New ‘Contact Us’ (feedback) tool
  • A new audio recording widget for the Sakai rich text editor
  • Drag-and-drop files uploads
  • Peer review and group submissions in the Assignment tool
  • ….. and much more

We apologise for any inconvenience that this essential work may cause.

Here’s a sneak-preview of the new front page.


Posted in Downtime, Sakai, WebLearn | Tagged | Leave a comment

WebLearn and Turnitin courses MT 2014

We have planned another full programme of ITLP courses for the new term. The majority of courses are aimed at staff members, but there is one for students on ‘Awareness and avoidance of plagiarism’, which has proved to be very popular.

The programmes for all courses during MT 2014 are provided below, with links to book on those that you might like to attend:

* WebLearn courses:
* Plagiarism (Turnitin) courses:

Remember also the WebLearn User Group meeting (Thursday 16 October, 2:00-4:00) and the Turnitin User Group meeting (Friday 10 October, 2:00–4:00).  (Bookings are required via the links provided.)

Hope to see you there.

Posted in WebLearn | Leave a comment

Highlights of ALT-C Conference

Here is a collection of the highlights from the ALT-C Conference held at the University of Warwick, 1-3 September 2014.

Keynote: Jeff Haywood

(Quote Jeff Haywood: “We JUST NEED a lot more leaning designers/technologists, and they must work as a team.”)

See “Learning technology and groundhog day” – Terry Mayes (1995) – hype of technologies and not much happens. Patience and persistence are important.

See Horizon Report 2014:

  • One year or less: Flipped classroom; learning analytics
  • Solvable challenges
    • Low digital fluency of faculty
    • Relative lack of rewards for teaching
  • Difficult challenges
    • Competition for new models of education

Keynote: Catherine Cronin

We can ask students – how do you work online, what tools do you use, what could we use together in this class, do we want to try a new tool together? E.g. Kahn Academy videos

Keynote: Audrey Watters

Google – Ngram viewer – shows use of a particular word over the years, e.g. ‘luddite’.

Working with academics in terms of learning design

Univ of South Wales: Wales OER strategy:  Champions networks – focus groups to get going

Univ of Manchester Library: Rapid development of e-learning resources. Search: My Learning Essentials (see example on proofreading etc.)


  • Getting the time of Subject Matter Experts
  • Appreciation for expertise
  • Avoiding an info dump
  • Managing feedback from Subject Matter Experts

Univ of Northampton (winners of team award for learning technologists of the year): streamlining design and structure of VLE courses:

  • Quality matters
  • Ed’burgh Napier’s framework

They employed a VLE administrator – liaison point. Copy material across for staff to new site. Admin side of supporting academic staff. What can we do to support you?

Foundation template (bronze)

  • Jan 2012: they came up minimum standards – quality checklist (double sided doc) – they will post it online
  • Rubric used in the creation of the new VLE sites
  • Contextual help for tutors
  • Positive feedback from students – “transparent, readable materials”
  • Less confusion for students
  • Accessibility benefits
  • They are mentors for staff, encouraging them to use the new template

Univ of Liverpool:

VLE minimum standards to avoid student dissatisfaction

Univ of Nottingham, School of Health Sciences:

Used Laurillard’s conversational framework.

Collaborative curriculum development: worksheets and cards – opens up a conversation, in a workshop. Used Ulster’s set of cards to facilitate workshop:

Dave White: School pupils are developing independent learning habits – find the quickest and easiest way to get their homework done. These are the seeds of the skills we want them to develop. They’re almost self-identifying themselves as digital natives – “we’re good at this; we can do this now”.

London Met: Create a group of digital ambassadors – create resources with us. Workshops with digital ambassadors – pay them something.

  • Conversation between staff and students (think about WebLearn ambassadors)
  • Use the students’ enthusiasm to attract lecturers into the dialogue and re-evaluate their practice.
  • Get students and staff into the partnerships. Create a focal point for dialogue… students are enthusiastic and they want to get involved. Want to talk to their lecturers.

How do you share good practice? See website: LondonMet e-learning matrix. (Staff point of view)

University of South Wales: Podcasts of learning technologists interviewing academic staff and providing hints and tips:

‘Electric Sheep’ – 16 episodes, one hour long. Big international audience. Engage with and learn from staff and students.

Two parts: team members each discussed a new website or tool; move on to an interview, discussion section with a new topic each week. How they use tech in their field, which tools they use, how they felt about the use of tech. Pick a particular task or problem that they wished tech could solve, then we came up with a tool to solve it. What they were using and why they were using it – go the participants re-engaged and re-excited.

Learner analytics (LA)

CETIS – Centre for Educ Tech and Interoperability Standards

  • See Cetis conference, June 2014 (good list of issues to consider)
  • Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE)
  • Greller, W. & Drachsler, H (2012). Translating learning into numbers: a generic framework for LA. Ed Tech & Soc 15(3), 42-57.

Lecture Capture and video

Set up a few recoding booths – for people to use themselves. Make sure the tools are what academics are used to working with – not something new they need to learn.


University of Southampton: MOOC on the new subject of Web Science. Done through Future Learn.

Who is behind a MOOC? Good team diagram: digital content producers, rights specialists, facilitators, educators, back end s/w developers, front end designers, CURATORS (learning designers) – overall view of it all.

University of Northampton: Open Northampton

Drivers and benefits

  • Belief in openness and sharing
  • Raise profile of the academic
  • Raise profile of the university
  • Improve quality of the material

Reflections on open practice:

  • Design material with openness in mind
  • Raised awareness of copyright
  • DL materials development
  • Reusability and transferability


  • Copyright – esp use of artwork, diagrams, tables
  • Time constraints
  • Concern over ‘losing control of my material’.
  • Concern over ‘is my material good enough’

Archiving policy

Glasgow Caledonian Univ: recommends working on digital strategy and archiving policy. Clear process for archiving modules and making space for ongoing creation of new ones.


WordPress-based system called Sensé

Online survey tool: Polldaddy

Posted in WebLearn | Leave a comment