V-L-Easy! Day 1 – Student Preview

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As part of the countdown to the festive season, the Weblearn team and CPED are sharing ideas for simple tools or techniques that can make life easier for lecturers and their students.
Each day for the next two weeks, we are posting a blog entry with some brief tips for lecturers, with links to further information including video guides or web-based resources.
Today we remind lecturers of the ‘Student Preview’ feature of Weblearn, which can be enabled by clicking on the icon at the top-right area of the Weblearn Page, and show how browser tools can also emulate the student view of Weblearn.

Student Preview

Weblearn appears differently to staff and students. You will appreciate this if you are a lecturer who has published some timely content or prompt feedback on Weblearn, only for students to report that they can’t find it.

However, there are a couple of ways in which you can verify that your Weblearn Module is appearing to students as desired, and that content can be accessed.

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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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Help to raise student awareness of contract cheating

poster by turnitin promoting International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating 2018Turnitin are sponsoring a competition in a bid to raise student awareness of contract cheating. Please tell your students that they have until Friday 2nd November for the chance to win £1,000. To receive the money they need to submit the most creative way of making students aware of the risks / inacceptable nature of contract cheating.

Contract cheating occurs when one person completes academic work (e.g. assignment, exam, test, quiz, exam) on behalf of another person who then submits it for academic credit. This behaviour undermines the quality and integrity of the degree, and it undermines the entire education system.

with the message I don't contract cheat because I'm smarter than that!

A whiteboard declaration ahead of the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating.

The competition is Turnitin’s support for the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating that takes place on Wednesday 17th October. You can take part in the day of action by

 

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Nureva Span: using the collaboration software with students

Psychology lecturers from London Met made use of Nureva Span, London Met’s new collaboration software, in their first lecture with new students.

First year students took part in a ‘Treasure Hunt’ that exploited the real-time, media-rich, collaborative nature of the software’s collaborative canvases. To orientate themselves to the campus, the student teams were tasked with locating their scheduled teaching rooms, and capturing photographic evidence. Each Nureva Span canvas has a ‘Quick-share’ feature which allows participants to easily send a note or photo from their phones. On locating each room, the teams used QuickShare to post their selfies immediately to the shared canvas.

Photo of students taking group selfies across campus

This team share their photos using the Quick-share feature of Nureva Span.

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Learning Technologies Summer Forum

Last Tuesday, the Learning Technologies summer forum took place in London with 20 conference sessions and 36 free L&D seminars. 

Designed to further develop the key themes from the autumn Learning Technologies conference, this event had something to offer for every individual that works in the Higher Education sector. The event was split in two main parts, a jam-packed exhibition that included more than 30 free seminars and the annual Learning Technologies Summer Forum Conference that forms part of a wider community of TELT professionals.

From an in-depth approach into the current issue of using Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality for educational purposes, to content creation strategies, design methodologies and developing a Learning Culture and Agility, this conference had something for everyone. If you didn’t get the chance to visit the conference, don’t worry because all of the seminar recordings can be found on YouTube.

 

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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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Weblearn Migration

Photo of laptop showing Weblearn

This summer, Weblearn will migrate to a managed hosting arrangement with Blackboard, the company who provide the VLE software.This means that Weblearn will no longer run from our local servers, but instead will run directly from Blackboard’s servers. 

When will the migration take place?

The migration will take place from 22nd – 29th of June, 2018.

What are the benefits of managed hosting?

Managed hosting will give us 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.

How will the migration affect me?

The switch from a self-hosted VLE to a managed-hosted VLE will inevitably mean a temporary suspension of normal Weblearn service. From Friday 22nd June 2018, Weblearn will be completely unavailable for a day-or-two as data is transferred. Weblearn will return in a read-only state for the remainder of the week; during this time, no new content can be uploaded, and user data is not recorded, but users can view and download existing Weblearn content as normal.  Weblearn will return to full access from Friday 29th June 2018. 

There may be occasional down-time prior to the migration to test the transfer will run smoothly. Keep an eye on the Weblearn homepage for news about the migration project.

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Discover your digital capabilities!

The Digital Discovery Tool

The digital discovery tool is an online resource developed by Jisc, the body responsible for the Joint Academic Network. The tool enables you to explore the different elements we call ‘digital capabilities’ and find out more about your own digital practice.

digital capabilities framework

The digital capabilities framework

Through a series of reflective questions, the digital discovery tool gives you an opportunity to reflect on your own confidence and ability in each element of the Jisc Digital Capability Framework (see diagram). There are three kinds of question relating to each element:

  1. Confidence questions – you rate your confidence with a digital practice or skill
  2. Depth questions – you select the one statement  that best describes your approach to a digital task.
  3. Breadth questions – you select all the digital activities that you engage in.
Once you’ve signed up, you will find the discovery tool on your dashboard. If you’ve created an academic profile, you will also have an additional reflective survey about specialisms relevant to your role.
Your personal report
A rose diagram being a summary of your digital capabilities

A rose diagram summarizing your digital capabilities. Each wedge is a percentage score for that element.

When you have answered all questions, you will receive a personal report. For each element of the framework, you will see:
  • A visual summary of your overall capabilities (see diagram)
  • A capability level. corresponding to one of three available levels: developing, capable or proficient.
  • Advice about ‘next steps’ to consider if you want to develop further
  • Links to relevant resources to help improve, consolidate, or gain recognition for your skills in this area.

You can download a copy of your report to review in your own time – we hope it will encourage and inspire you! You might want to share your report with others, for example during appraisals and as part of your professional development process. This is your choice.

Your individual test data is private, and will not be made available to anyone else. Jisc provides London Met with anonymised information about the number of people who have used the discovery tool, and their aggregate capability levels.

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Student Project: Learning Technology videos.

Photo of students performing and filming in the Learning Centre.

Behind the scenes of the instructional video shoot.

As well as providing insights in the student experience of Weblearn (as detailed in this post), London Met placement students on work-related learning modules have also been engaged in creating instructional videos for their peers in liaison with ITS staff.

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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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