Tel Tales

Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: development

TEL Training Sessions

Mandy Harcup

Some of you may have noticed that the way TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) training sessions are advertised has changed, you no longer receive a weekly email from Staff Essentials on a Friday afternoon. Our training sessions can now be found at the bottom of the Monday’s Staff News Update email. To see our sessions you’ll need to scroll down to ‘More news’ and look under the section ‘Staff Development’.

We’ve been amalgamated under the Learning and Teaching heading, but there’s nothing there to differentiate our sessions, we can only advertised three  sessions per week in this format.

To see more of our sessions you’ll need to scroll down and click on the banner which says More Staff Development, this takes you to the Staff Development page.  Published on this page are the sessions on the Staff News along with a few more training sessions from across the University, but again there is nothing to distinguish which ones are our training sessions.

Where to find our training sessions

We have added our training sessions to the calendar, here on our blog page.  Training sessions are indicated with a dot underneath the date, just click on the dot and the session information will appear. You can book yourself onto the session here, just click the button at the bottom. Feel free to switch through the months to see what training sessions are coming up.  During August 2017 we’ll be without our training room, but please contact us to arrange a 1-2-1 sessions or group training session tailored to your needs in your place of work.

Another place to find our training information is to go to the Department of Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE) website and click on the TEL Training Calendar here you’ll find our calendar with dates, times and full description on the sessions we run in this department.

Who are the training sessions for

Primarily, the workshops are for lecturers, but they can be adapted for professionally service members of staff. If you’re not available at the times of our training events, or if the programme does not cover a specific area you’re interested in, we can offer a 1-2-1 session tailored to your needs. In addition, if there’s a group of people in your department who would like a session to update their knowledge in a certain area, we can also arrange that too.  We have a meetings room here in Mercantile House, but we can always come to you.  To arrange these bespoke sessions, firstly contact elearn on either extension: 3355 or elearn@port.ac.uk, giving us a brief outline into which areas you’d like the training to cover and for how many people, someone will then contact you to discuss your requirements. So if you’ll looking to embark on a project involving technology, or if you would simply like some support or advice on how to use the various elearning tools available at the University, the TEL team are here to help.

We look forward to welcoming you at one of our training events in the near future.

 

MoodleMoot 2017

Tom Langston

MoodleMoot UK & Ireland is held each year; it is the main Moodle conference in the UK which focuses on collaboration and sharing best practice. This year MoodleMoot ran for three days between the 10th and the 12th April, I attended the two days that make up the main conference and missed the “hackfest” on the first day which is typically more developer-led.

The choice of sessions available to attend were diverse and interesting. I was able to visit a number of sessions that have some great ideas, which I can hopefully introduce to the team.

I’ll will try to highlight some of the most relevant or interesting information from the sessions that I attended. However I would recommend searching Twitter for the hashtag #MootIEUK17 as many people were tweeting notes, comments and observations from each session. It really enhanced the first day of the conference for me (until my phone with the Twitter account died, but that’s another story!).

The first session I saw was from the University of London. They reviewed Moodle from both staff and student perspectives, specifically looking at navigation and how to improve the user experience. An example they used was how it’s difficult getting feedback to the student when the gradebook only displays a grade and no indication of feedback. From the academic point of view they discussed how it wasn’t clear if work was marked, or whether the student could or couldn’t see it. They reviewed the new themes being developed at Moodle and the problems they may face rolling them out before they were ready.

Janice Button from Plymouth University implemented the grid format which is a Moodle plugin that hides all the topics and creates a grid view of icons. When they are clicked the relevant section of content is then displayed.

The next session I attended was presented by Lewis Carr. He demonstrated how well developed badges increase engagement, creating more gamified interactions, this was interesting at Portsmouth we have looked at creating badges within Moodle and a few in academics within the University are using them. Properly thought out achievements and goals can also improve how the student progresses through a course. It was pointed out by Janice Button that from entry courses to level 5 (second year courses) the amount of content increased dramatically, this made the progress bar more daunting and the revisiting of quizzes and similar interactions dropped off as the amount of work to be done increased. Lewis also highlighted the need of social interaction and engaging the students before, during and after the course to develop and build the learning experience.

The morning sessions were interesting and informative and gave us plenty to discuss over lunch. After we’d eaten, there were pico presentations (short and snappy when compared the the morning talks) which opened the afternoon sessions and were a great way to continue. Two sessions stood out: our own Mike Wilson spoke about Assessment Enhancement and the customisations that have been developed for our Moodle installation, and Rebecca Barrington put the “oo” back into Moodle by looking at how to keep academics on-board with the development of sites, explaining how embedding resources within Moodle is a great way to enhance and develop what you already have.

My turn to present was nearing, now, I am not normally a nervous presenter but the thought of presenting on a stage with the glare of lights and a massive screen behind me contributed to the nerves this time around! Whilst I got through it with positive feedback and managed to handle a few questions reasonably well, I felt I could have been better and should I be lucky enough to do another talk will endeavour to get those nerves in check and slow down!

Looking back, there certainly wasn’t a need to be nervous, the whole day was incredibly relaxed and just a creative hub for people who are keen educators, all looking at how we can approach our teaching, training and Moodle usage in a interesting way.

A panel discussion on getting rid of the desktop and turning to only a mobile solution ended the day. This was a very open discussion with questions from the audience and a range of views. A point that resonated with me, was the idea that we should always look at what we do for those end users on a mobile as the number of active mobile users is rising. The other side of this argument however, is that development from a mobile is not really practical. Whatever we develop should allow us to be flexible though, ensuring that our end users having the easiest and most simple experience of Moodle. The new themes and tools that are being added to the newer versions of Moodle show that this is also a concern for the ‘core’ Moodle team.

Day two of the conference saw my phone die, which meant that tweeting from the @TelPortsmouth account was curbed! The sessions I would like to draw on from the second day happened just before lunch as the second day was more sedate due to the evening festivities of the reception dinner the night before.

Mary Cooch, who is known amongst the Moodle community as the ‘Moodle Fairy’, did two sessions and I attended one entitled “10 user experience improvements since Moodle 3.1” of which I had heard of most updates. It was useful to see but essentially if you go through a versions release notes they will be highlighted there (I am sure many people don’t!)

The second session and my pick of the second day was “Competency based education a look at the features in Moodle 3.1 / 3.2”. This session was interesting, informative and above all confusing! Competencies are used to “describe the level of understanding or proficiency of a learner in certain subject-related skills”. Competencies are a new and growing feature of Moodle. TEL are researching Competencies so that members of staff in the University can possibly make use of them in the future.

MoodleMoot is a fantastic event that I would suggest to anyone involved with any aspect of Moodle. It was engaging, with a great range of subjects and everything from back end/admin level sessions to those designed to be understandable for the average user. It was also a great place to ask anyone a question, everyone was approachable and for the reception dinner, a great place to hijack the Moodle stage display and use it for photos!