V-L-Easy! Day 10 – Weblearn Resources for Students

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We have come to the end of our fortnight of blog posts about simple tools or techniques for simplifying teaching and learning. Although we will not be continuing to blog each day about ways to make life easier for you and your students, there are still many other useful resources created by the Weblearn team and CPED that you can continue to use all through the year; these are the topic of our concluding post.
Today we look at a tool that can be used to record lectures, but also to generate rich media for sharing via Weblearn

 We appreciate that creating online resources can be time-consuming, and the outcome can be short-lived if the content goes out of date quickly.

That is why using a centrally managed resource can take the pressure off academics. It means you direct your students to it in the knowledge that you don’t need to verify, maintain or update the content. Weblearn plays host to a number of student resources which can be repurposed within your learning and teaching.

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Message from Turnitin CEO Chris Caren

Dear Customers,

Turnitin UK services experienced two recent outages on October 22, 2018 from 09:37 to 14:36 BST and on October 25, 2018 from 10:48 to 13:33 BST. The root cause of these issues was an exploited vulnerability on the login page used by our UK customers, and, during the time period, customers were not able to access their accounts. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to your institution, as we recognize that Turnitin is a mission-critical service that you rely upon for day to day operations.

The stability and security of our services are a top priority. The outages that occurred were not situations that we had encountered before and were unrelated to previous outages. As a result, it took our incident response team longer than usual to identify and fix the vulnerability. We have already made changes to prevent this from happening again and will also be adding the following safeguards to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future:

  • Additional monitoring and alerting that proactively warns for this unique type of situation.
  • Code updates in order to prevent a similar issue in the rest of the code base.

In regards to Turnitin’s overall 2018 service health, we would like to address a couple of points:

  • In comparing 2018 to 2017 service levels, Turnitin has had 56.2% less downtime but has had an increase of 64.8% in slow or degraded service;
  • Improving those degraded service numbers while keeping uptime availability as high as possible continue to be our highest priority and we will work with you to make sure that we minimize issues that result from service degradations.

Once again, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this service outage has caused. If you have additional questions about these outages, please feel free to respond to this message or reach out to your UK-based Account Managers, who are carefully monitoring service for our Turnitin UK customers and will be happy to provide additional information.

We value our relationship and look forward to a continued partnership together. Thank you for your time and for listening.

Sincerely,

Chris Caren,
CEO, Turnitin

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Weblearn Migration: date confirmed

From Thursday 21 June at 5pm there will be temporary disruption to the normal Weblearn service as we begin the move to managed hosting from our current self-hosted provision.

Managed hosting will give Weblearn the higher performance and reliability that is associated with powerful cloud computing. In addition, we will benefit from round-the-clock technical monitoring and support from Blackboard, and upgrades to Weblearn will subsequently occur immediately, resulting in minimal downtime for London Met users. The migration will coincide with an upgrade to the latest software version of Blackboard Learn.

All content and data will be transferred to the managed hosting version of Weblearn which will take a few days. During this time period Weblearn will become read only. This means that you will be able to view and access Weblearn content but if you make any changes during the ‘read only’ period all changes will be lost and will not be recoverable.

What can I do during ‘Read Only’ access?

Do: access existing content and feedback
Do not: make any changes to content or assessments and feedback because these changes will be lost

Arrangements for online submission

All assessments scheduled during the migration period have been moved or paper submission has been agreed.

Key dates to remember:

  • Thursday 21 June at 5pm: Weblearn will be completely unavailable as data is transferred.
  • Friday 22 June: Unavailable then read only access to Weblearn from approx 5pm
  • Monday 25 or 26 June: Weblearn will become unavailable for 3-4 hours for further configuration
  •  If the migration goes smoothly, Weblearn will be fully available after 5pm on 26 June. If the downtime period needs to be extended further announcements will be posted.
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Student Project: Product Review and Data Analysis

London Metropolitan University offers a wide range of work related learning opportunities, some of which are project oriented and based with professional service departments within the University. In October 2017 three placement students from the School of Business and Law undertook a product review and data analysis project with the Weblearn team in order to improve the Weblearn experience for students.

As a starting point the students produced a preliminary report based on their own experiences of using Weblearn by reviewing their current teaching modules and the Weblearn resources available to them. They then produced a questionnaire to elicit responses from a wider group of students.

After reviewing their initial findings and analysing the data gather from the questionnaire, the students produced a final report which made the following conclusions:

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