OUCS services to help with current travel problems

With the recent problems halting air travel to the UK, many faculties and departments have expressed concern about the start of term and assisting those students and staff who may not be able to make it back in time. To this end OUCS would like to draw your attention to the following services that may be of help:

1. Using WebLearn
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WebLearn offers many facilities which will be useful if students are not able to return to attend lectures. WebLearn can be used host to learning materials (e.g. handouts, slides, recorded lectures) and access can be controlled. It is easy to set up a site with all members of a course or tutorial group listed as participants. The Sign-up tool could be used to arrange a series of online tutorials in much the same way as it can be used to organise face-to-face tutorials and /or the site Schedule (calendar) can be used to indicate when a tutor will be present in the Chat-room to answer student questions.

If lectures have been recorded then they can be housed in WebLearn via the internal ‘Podcasts’ tool – this tool allows a sequence of recordings to be made available via a single URL (an RSS feed). This feed can optionally be protected behind Oxford SSO authentication.

There are step-by-step guides here: http://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/info. If you cannot find what you are looking for then please contact weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk and ask for help.

2. Recording lectures
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Some lecturers have expressed an interest in recording their talks in order to make them available to those that can’t attend. If you are considering this, we have clear guides to help you with this process and to place the digital material on WebLearn. Recording a lecture can be as straightforward as using a portable mp3 recorder or smartphone with microphone. You may have equipment and support available in your department. The OUCS podcasting team has a limited number of digital audio recorders which we can offer on a short term loan. There is also advice and regular training available for the free editing Audacity software available for both Mac and PC.
For further support and advice contact podcasts@oucs.ox.ac.uk or http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/podcasts/

3. Video Conferencing at your desk
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OUCS offers a desktop video-conferencing service – Webex – that can easily be used for meetings or tutorials. From one to 200 attendees can be invited into one Webex session, and participants just need a computer (to view material) and a phone or a computer headset (to hear the audio). You can share a presentation, an application (Word, Excel etc), a whiteboard or your entire desktop with the attendees. You can control who talks (useful in larger meetings) and give control of the whiteboard, application, etc, to specific participants to enable them to demonstrate skills or illustrate points of view. The University is currently running a free trial of this service. There are how-to guides here: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/webex/Howto.xml. Please contact webex@ox.ac.uk to ask about an account or to request a demo.

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