WebLearn and Turnitin Report: Oct 2012 – Jan 2013

Old WebLearn (aka Bodington) really is no more now: it was decommissioned on 18th September and finally turned off during the week of 14 January 2013.

There were over 17,000 separate logins to (new) WebLearn on the first day of term. Note, these are not all unique users.

(New) WebLearn was moved to v2.8-ox4 at the start of the new year, the highlights are

  • OXCAP work is nearing completion and much of the work has gone live. The SES tool now holds graduate training from most graduate training providers – there have been a few teething problems and we hope to rectify all of these by the end of Feb.
  • Brand new search back-end based on SOLR: site names, site descriptions and reading lists now indexed. Resources permitting, many more improvements could be made in the future.
  • Turnitin and OXAM bug fixes.
  • Performance issues that were evident during Michaelmas 2012 should now (hopefully) cease

The 3 pilots of Turnitin-related software services: Assignments 2 tool in WebLearn and PeerMark and GradeMark which are 2 tools available on the Turnitin website (submit.ac.uk) continue.

Training and Guidance

3 of the 4 new WebLearn “Bytes”  courses have now been run – blog posts have been made about each. A 5th (about the Tests tool) has been scheduled. Numbers were low and we will attempt to publicise more widely next time. All next term’s course dates have been published.

The new 3-hour course WebLearn: Assessment and Feedback is running as from HT 2013.

There have now been more that 300 “WebLearn Blog” posts .


The OXAM Migration project formally finished at Christmas – the software has passed user acceptance testing and is now live. The old OXAM service has been turned off. (The new WebLearn tool replicates and improves upon the incumbent OXAM service.)

Work on the Student Enrolment System (SES) III project will now start in mid-February. This project will further improve the SES tool within WebLearn in the areas of user interface, searching, course administration and mapping courses to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework.

OxCAP Phase II (started in January 2012) is nearing completion. This is a JISC funded initiative to expose data (as a public XML feed) about graduate training courses at Oxford and has the explicit backing of the PVC for Education and the Registrar. See above.

The SIPA project works with academic and administrative staff members across the university to investigate assessment and feedback practices and to invite user input. Since the pilot of Assignments2 tool began, iParadigms have started rewriting the Sakai – Turnitin integration code. This means the pilot is aiming at a moving target which somewhat complicates matters. There has not been much interest in PeerMark or GradeMark.

During 2011-12 the DIGE (Student Digital Experience) project was carried out at Oxford.  Staff and student feedback about WebLearn was captured including some suggestions for improvement in terms of usability, site design and maintenance, and access to learning materials. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the feedback, a WebLearn Student Experience (WLSE) project was conducted which focused on enhancing the Student WebLearn experience.  From September to December 2012, the project collected and prioritised student input and set out to address the following points in the Executive Summary of the DIGE Report.

  1. enhancing the user interface and user experience (ES5a);
  2. overhauling and redesigning their sites in the system (ES5b).

Although specific suggestions emerged about particular departmental WebLearn sites, the focus of the project was on generic suggestions to enhance WebLearn as a central service.  The following questions guided the empirical work:

  1. How is WebLearn perceived and experienced by students in terms of the layout of the user interface, structure of the sites, and navigation?
  2. What do students think of the way in which teachers use WebLearn to support their learning?
  3. How do students themselves use WebLearn in their learning?
  4. What improvements would students like to see in WebLearn?

Findings and recommendations will be released during Hilary 2013.


The WebLearn team have had 3 presentations accepted at the Euro Sakai conference in Paris. Jill Fresen and Fawei Geng have had their paper “Derivation of electronic course templates for use in higher education” published in the ALT Journal “Research In Learning Technology”. Isn’t that nice.


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