Pilot of new ‘Add Participants’ functionality

We have been working hard to deliver a much-requested feature when adding participants to a site – dynamic lookup. This functionality has undergone a degree of user acceptance testing but we are very keen to pilot the facility more widely and, as such, are asking for volunteers.

If you would like to be an early adopter of this streamlined functionality then please get in touch by sending an email to weblearn at ox.ac.uk – we can enable the facility on one or more or your sites – please let us know any relevant URL(s).

The new pages cover all existing functionality but have an improved workflow with less clicks than the incumbent.

The user interface has been simpilified with better on-screen feedback.

 

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Announcing OxTALENT 2108

From the OxTALENT organising committee:

Have you been impressed by a member of staff or a student who has used technology in an exciting way? Have you created a great app, or designed an eye-catching conference poster or data visualisation?

The University’s annual OxTALENT competition has launched to celebrate and reward the innovative use of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning, research, and outreach. The awards will be presented at a red carpet evening attended by Professor Martin Williams, Pro-VC (Education). The competition is open to all students and staff, and awards can be given either to individuals or to groups. You can submit an entry yourself or nominate a colleague who has impressed you with their use of technology. For more information, including a list of competition categories and guidelines on how to enter, please visit the Digital Education at Oxford website: https://www.digitaleducation.ox.ac.uk/oxtalent

If you spot any individual or team whom you think we should consider for an award, let us know at competitions@it.ox.ac.uk

Keep up to date on Twitter by following the hashtag #oxtalent2018.

OxTALENT closing date: Friday 27th April.

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WebLearn Improvements – Version 11-ox8.1, released w/c 4 December 2017

Ooops note / disclaimer! I just noticed that I had inadvertently forgotten to publish this blog post. Many apologies for the delay.

WebLearn was upgraded during the week of 4 December 2017 to version 11-ox8.1. There was no downtime associated with this release.

  • System emails now originate from a “black hole” address: weblearn-noreply@weblearn.ox.ac.uk
  • In the Lessons tool, the embedded “Forums widget” now correctly displays the name of the person who initiated the conversation (rather than the last person to read a post)
  • In the Lessons tool, the embedded ‘Calendar Widget’ now correctly displays the event icons
  • In the Lessons tool, the “Calendar widget” now changes to the correct colour when the colour scheme is modified
  • The “Recorded Lectures” dashboard is now available to all users in their home site (known as ‘My Home’), this dashboard is also available in the “Avatar Menu” (top right)

  • Joinable sites that are only available to Oxford SSO accounts now have a better description in the Site Info tool
  • External users now have access to a collated list of announcements on their home site
  • On new sites, the main panel on the ‘Overview’ page now has a more appropriate heading of ‘Welcome’
  • In the ‘Site Members’ (Roster) tool, site participants with the ‘maintain’ and ‘contribute’ roles now have permission to view site visits (prior to this fix, the permission to do this had to be set manually on each site)
  • The error message that one sees when attempting to complete a ‘single-attempt’ survey has been improved
  • “Access” (read-only) view of resources now uses Font Awesome icons

Anonymous Submission (AS) Sites / Assignment Tool

  • Students can now resubmit in an Anonymous Submission (AS) site
  • Participants with the “marker role” now have their own personal Drop Box (one use of this new functionality is for markers to exchange essays and marks with departmental administrators) – students will not see the drop box in the left-had side page menu
  • Participants with the ‘maintain’ and ‘contribute’ roles can now see and edit each other’s draft assignments
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“The Only Way Is Up” – the increasing use of WebLearn over the last few years

I was just preparing the monthly report for the WebLearn service and thought it may be interesting to look at the long term trend in WebLearn usage. WebLearn has been using Google Analytics since January 2015 so I plotted a graph showing how the “Number of Sessions per Month” has increased over the last 3 years – as you can see it’s a fairly steady increase.

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ATLAS (Teaching and Learning Awards) 2018 is now OPEN

NB Please get in touch with the WebLearn team if you are interested in entering. We will be very happy to help you with your entry. Oxford has supplied winners in the past. 

Posed on behalf of the ATLAS Committee

The ATLAS committee welcomes submissions from the Apereo open source education community. We invite applications that demonstrate innovative teaching and learning using Sakai (ie WebLearn), OAE, Karuta, Xerte and/or Opencast.

Based on merit, we hope to select up to six winners. Winners will be announced by the end of March 2018 and recognized at the Open Apereo Conference June 3-7, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Registration and travel expenses will be covered for award winners.

For further inquiries, please email ATLAS Chair Luisa Li (luisa.li@apereo.org).
For more information on ATLAS and previous winners, visit: https://www.apereo.org/communities/atlas.

There are two steps you need to consider to apply for this award:

Step 1: Download the application and rubric.

You will begin the process of applying for the award by completing a brief questionnaire that helps identify the best innovation rubric and application form for your entry.

Click here to start the brief filter questionnaire.

Step 2: Complete and submit the application form by February 26 2018.

You will need to fill out the application form that you have downloaded in Step 1, and save the file as a PDF with your name and the submission date in the file name, for example “ATLAS_cbrown_Feb05_2018.pdf”.  Use the link below to submit your application to the ATLAS awards committee.

Click here to submit your application.

*Notification on Supplementary Videos/Animations for Your Application:

New this year, we accept supplementary videos or animations to further demonstrate merits of your course/project or portfolio. Supplementary video/animations are NOT a requirement. Below are the guidelines for your videos:

  • Videos or animations should be produced to demonstrate innovative teaching and learning of an application and show a direct association with a criterion in the application. They should  not be a snippet of actual learning materials used in an instructional unit of your application.
  • Videos or animations supplement the screenshots you shall provide as the evidence to corroborate your rating for each criterion in the application. They do not replace the screenshots.
  • Videos or animations should be a MAXIMUM of 5 minutes. For example, you may provide one 5-min-long video or five 1-min-long videos.
  • We encourage you provide English captions in these videos or animations to meet accessibility standards and help peer reviewers understand your video content in case you use French or Spanish language in the video.
  • Any videos or animations provided should be independently created or you MUST provide information about support of the creation of the resource in the application.
  • Please upload videos to YouTube, Vimeo, or other video sharing platform and make them public. Then share the links to these videos in corresponding evidence section of each criterion in the application.

 

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WebLearn and Turnitin Courses and User Groups: Hilary Term 2018

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of WebLearn and the plagiarism awareness software Turnitin. Course books for the formal courses (3-hour sessions) can be downloaded for self study. Places are limited and bookings are required. All courses are free of charge.

Click on the links provided for further information and to book a place.

WebLearn 3-hour courses:

Byte-sized lunch time sessions:

These focus on particular tools with plenty of time for questions and discussion

Plagiarism awareness courses (Turnitin):

User Group meetings:

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Write your own tools and utilities using WebLearn’s Entity Broker REST interface

Entity Broker is a REST web service interface to Sakai. It is self-documenting, see https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/direct/describe, but as you will see, some of the documentation is somewhat lacking.

I stumbled across a blog post that Damion Young’s made about WebLearn (Sakai’s) Entity Broker, he has very kindly filled is some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw.

It is entirely possible to write useful utilities using a combination of JavaScript, HTML and calls to Entity Broker, indeed, this is how the original Mobile Oxford offered a mobile interface to WebLearn. (The current Mobile Oxford no longer offers such an interface.)

Some of the most recent WebLearn utilities / dashboards have been written in JavaScript, examples,

 

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New Student Dashboard: Collating All Recorded Lectures

At the start of December we added a new personalised dashboard that displays a personalised list of all your sites / courses containing ‘Recorded Lectures’.

To access your dashboard you must first login to WebLearn, click on your avatar at the top right of the screen and click on ‘Recorded Lectures’ – this is the same whether on a desktop, mobile or tablet. (You can set your avatar photo by clicking on Profile in this same menu.)

The next screen will display your dashboard – it may take a couple of seconds to load depending on how many sites you belong to.

The dashboard will show a list of site titles which, if clicked, will take you to the site’s Overview page. (Note that you must be a member of a site for it to display in the list.)

The dashboard may also show a direct link to the ‘Recorded Lectures’ within a site. Click on this link to display a list of all the recordings for your course. Note that this will open in a new browser tab.

Unfortunately it is not currently possible to highlight which of your sites contain newly uploaded videos. We realise that would be very useful but it is not currently technically possible.

We hope you will find it useful to be able to access all your existing recorded lectures via this dashboard.

 

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Using WebLearn to aid student induction

Lettitia Derrington (Department for Continuing Education) received a project grant to develop a WebLearn feature that could be made available across the University to support the online induction of postgraduate students. http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/adamweblearn/2015/11/university-teaching-awards-2015/

Lettitia built an ‘Induction Lessons Tool’, made entirely with the standard Lessons Tool in WebLearn. It was trialled within the CPD Centre, Department for Continuing Education in 2016-17 (with eight programme sites), offered to other teams within ContEd in 2017-18 (four additional sites) and is now in a format that could be rolled out to the wider University.

We asked Lettitia to describe how she customised WebLearn in this way to meet the needs of tutors and students in ContEd.

The aim was to create an induction area for postgraduate students as an alternative to, or to complement face-to-face induction activities. We wanted to provide a sense of progression through the various steps that students need to take and to make the information visually appealing and the content engaging. We also needed to ensure that we provided the essential information that departments have to provide for inductions as well as signposting useful information from the wider University.

I used the Lessons Tool to create a grid layout and to embed images and videos easily. It also allows me to embed generic files held on a central site, so that updating the information can be carried out in one location with the changes automatically updating all individual sites.

I hope that describing the different areas with a question – ‘Have you…..?’, emphasises the importance of the tasks, which is substantiated by quotes from previous students describing how important/useful it is.

I used colour on the main boxes as a differentiating factor, and I have carried the colour coding through to the subpages. I don’t think that it is very obvious to the students, but the subpages are divided into white and coloured boxes. The white information contains the essential information that departments have to provide, whilst the coloured boxes contain additional information to enhance the student experience.

Feedback from students has been good. The Induction section has been very useful as a resource to help them to do everything they need to be ready. All in all, it has had an immensely positive impact in supporting the delivery and administration of ContEd courses.

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Usage Satistics

Every year we traditionally present the number of unique logins in Week 1 of Trinity Term. This can be viewed as a rough measure of the growth of a service. As you can see, apart from one year, growth has been steadily increasing  year on year.

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