Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: staff training

Recap of available support for teaching in a blended learning context

Over the past few weeks TEL and the Academic Development Team have been super busy developing and collating lots of resources to support our colleagues across the University in preparation to teach in a blended learning context.

It is crazy to reflect on the amount of work that has gone on in the last few months – so I just wanted to highlight some key resources and communication channels that we have developed – new and old –  that can support and inform you in the coming weeks ahead as we plan for TB1.

Preparing for teaching in a blended learning context website

Banner for the homepage a lady at a desk looking at her laptop

Information on this site includes:

Learning Well resources to support student wellbeing and inclusion.

elearning tools website

The elearning tool banner which is a photo of part of a laptop, part of a pen and notebook and part of a cup and saucer

This website was set up in the immediate week after Covid-19 lockdown began but is pretty much updated daily with new resources. 

The site covers:

  • teaching remotely guidance on lectures, seminars, assessments etc.
  • elearning tools and how to use them in the correct context.
  • a huge resource bank of relevant articles and other media. 
  • links to upcoming internal and external events to support you in teaching in a blended learning context.

TEL Tales Blended Learning Festival

The TEL Tales Blended Learning Festival banner, which is a big wheel, some festival tents and shapes of people along the bottom

The TEL Tales Blended Learning Festival may well have finished but you can still visit this website and engage with the recorded sessions from this super successful week-long event. 

Training events calendar

We have a wide-range of virtual training sessions covering teaching in a blending learning context and the functionality of tools within Moodle and beyond.

A screen shot of the TEL Training programme with training information, dates, times etc.

Digital Learning Portsmouth

Visit our YouTube channel – dedicated to providing support for Moodle, Turnitin and other interesting technologies that can be used in teaching.

Screen Shot of the banner which is different coloured icons

The TEL Team

Of course, if any of the above doesn’t have the support that you require – please do not hesitate to contact us ( We are a lovely bunch who will do our best to help at all times!

Cartoon images of the TEL Team standing in a row

Our Social Media

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to keep up-to-date with our posts, sharing information about upcoming events and resources.

TEL's Instagram header including numbers of followers and us following


TEL's Twitter Image including number details of Followers and Following


TEL Training Workshops and Bespoke Sessions

For the next few weeks, the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Training Team have put together a schedule of workshops, incorporating some of your old favourites, sprinkled with some online interaction, a dollop of digital technology and stirred in with a jugful of pedagogy resulting in some great revamped, updated and brand new workshops. During the last few months of virtual workshops, we’ve taken on board your comments and suggestions, which we’ve received through the feedback you’ve given us. The topics you really want sessions on and recommendations on breaking some workshops down further into bite-sized chunks. In addition, we’ve collaborated with the Academic Development (AcDev) section of the Department of Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE) to develop a new familiarisation programme to help colleagues find out more about using digital technologies to complement and enhance their teaching and interactions with students.

How do I book on a session and find more information on TEL Training Workshops?

You’ll find our calendar with all our new times and description on the sessions by going to the Department of Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE) website and clicking on the TEL Training Calendar.  For alerts on up and coming training sessions from ourselves and the Academic Development (AcDev) workshops, follow us on our social media platforms:

Who are your training sessions for?

Primarily, the workshops are for lecturers and PHD Students, but they can be adapted for professional service members of staff too. 

Bespoke sessions

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 or a group session for you and your colleagues. Topics for bespoke sessions can be based around our programme, or we can tailor the session to answer any specific questions or needs that you have. Please complete a Bespoke Training Request form and simply tick the box next to the session you would like training on. If you tick ‘Other’ please give a brief explanation of the topic you wished to be covered in the session. Complete with the date on which you would like your virtual training session to take place, along with your preferred time then click ‘SUBMIT’.

Please click on the link below for the Bespoke Training Request form:

Bespoke Training Request Form

We look forward to welcoming you at a TEL Training Session in the near future.


Credit Image: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Bespoke TEL Training Sessions

TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) will be offering bespoke training sessions over the summer period, timetabled TEL training sessions will resume in September.

Informal 1-2-1 bespoke sessions can be held at your desk, or if there are several of you interested in a session we have a room available where you can request a more structured group session. Topics for bespoke sessions can be based around our traditional TEL programme, or we can tailor the session to answer any specific questions or needs that you require.

Please complete a Bespoke Training Request form (see below) and simply tick the box next to the session you would like training on. If you tick ‘Other’ please give a brief explanation of the topic you wished to be covered in the session. Complete with the date on which you would like your training session to take place, along with your preferred time and finish it by clicking ‘SUBMIT’.

Please click on the link below for the Bespoke Training Request form:

Bespoke Training Request Form

Once we receive your form, a member of  the TEL team will contact you to confirm your training arrangements.

NB: Bespoke TEL training sessions can also be arranged throughout the year.

Credit image: Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Guest Blogger: Adrian Sharkey – Goodbye Lynda, hello LinkedIn Learning

Two years ago the University implemented, an online library containing over 14,000 courses on business, technical and creative skills. Over 7,500 staff and students have taken advantage of around 19,000 hours of learning and nearly 280,000 individual videos. Sadly, however, from August Lynda is no more.

Fortunately, none of the great content accessed by staff and students is going. It is simply being moved to a new platform – LinkedIn Learning. This has a lot of new features and advantages, which will be outlined in further communication. Before seeing LinkedIn Learning though, it is worth having a look at some of Lynda’s greatest hits.

Top Courses

For the whole University, Excel Essentials comes out on top of the most viewed courses. This is followed by programming courses, which make up a few in the top 10. The trend in the most-used courses is for programming and understanding data, although it’s good to see skills like Critical Thinking and Project Management featuring. The skills that are in demand mirror the skills that universities should be developing in students and staff around Digital Capability. For more information on the Jisc Digital Capability Framework, and to help students or staff get a tailored report on their own strengths and weaknesses, check out the Digital Capability Discovery Tool.

Use By Faculty

All Faculties have adopted the use of Lynda, but usage is highest where the content relates directly to taught courses. 

In Technology and CCI many courses relate to specialist software such as AutoCAD, design, animation or programming – skills directly related to the type of courses taught.

Lynda contains a big section of courses on Business skills, so Business and Law can take advantage of the range of Marketing courses. 

Usage in Humanities is quite a bit less, but students are using the courses for applications such as G-suite and SPSS. One way to encourage usage would be to tailor playlists around the kind of skills students need for study and employability, link them to course Moodle pages so they’re readily available. This is something the IT Training team can help with.

Total number of courses taken per faculty


Excel 2016 Essential Training

Advanced Grammar

Creating and Giving Business Presentations


3DS Max 2018 Essential Training

Cert Prep: Adobe Certified

Associate – Photoshop (2017) Learning Design Research


Google Drive/Docs/Slides

Word 2016 Essential Training

SPSS for Academic Research


AutoCAD 2019 Essential Training

ArcGIS Pro Essential Training

Programming Foundations:Fundamentals


Synchro Essential Training

Xcode9 Essential Training

ArchiCAD Essential Training

Mini Case Studies

Nadim Bhakshov, Teaching Fellow, School of Computing

Nadim has, for some time, looked at alternatives to the classic textbook. A well written textbook – as we all know – is a huge benefit to teaching complex material. For a few years now Nadim has been experimenting with Lynda. He has offered students the occasional supplementary video from Lynda to support his teaching. This year, however, he decided to find some learning paths and courses on Lynda and provide parallel material for students.The idea was to use Lynda as a supplement to provide another perspective to what was being taught in lectures and practicals. 

After spending more time looking at Lynda, listening to student feedback and looking to establish better integration, Nadim is now working on the ‘alternative to a textbook’ approach more seriously. Next year, he hopes to replace the classic textbook with learning paths and courses from Lynda and use Lynda in his own teaching. 

Lee Woods, Associate Dean (Students), Faculty of Technology

In the Faculty of Technology, Lynda links have been embedded in Moodle for student induction and the U/F students. In the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, all courses have AutoCAD and technical drawing resources embedded into the appropriate Moodle Units.

Lee has used Lynda videos directly in the teaching of his units, International Built Environment Fieldwork (IBEF) and Transportation Engineering. There are a series of videos on Lynda around urban planning. Lee has played sections of these in lectures as a teaching aid. Part of the IBEF unit is a field trip to Copenhagen, and there is a video in Lynda, part of the Urbanised course that directly relates to the trip.

Sarah Harris and Emily Parry, Business & Law and Technology Placement Offices

Sarah used Lynda to point students in the right direction for resources to help with skills for placement interviews and assessment centres. Lynda was also used throughout the year to help students build confidence in their abilities. Emily embedded links to Lynda on their Moodle page emphasising employability and soft skills generally. Specific links were added for GDPR, Excel, communication skills and email communication.

The Lynda resources were also used to support and consolidate learning from the Excel trainer led sessions that Sarah and Emily arranged for their students.

Images of a computer screen, a tablet and two different sizes of mobile phones

LinkedIn Learning Upgrade

The upgrade to LinkedIn Learning from Lynda is planned to take place on August 1st. The content is the same as Lynda but it offers a new interface and range of new features, making learning more personalised and relevant to your study or work. There will be an option to connect a personal LinkedIn account with LinkedIn Learning – this means that learning history acquired at the University can be kept on the personal account, even when students or staff leave. Another advantage would be the more personalised recommendations based on the skills from the LinkedIn account. The only information the University will see from a personal LinkedIn account will be the profile picture. The alternative is just to choose not to connect and use LinkedIn Learning in exactly the same way as Lynda has been used up until now.

There will be more communications on LinkedIn Learning and all its features. In the meantime, keep an eye on and the Myport article to stay up to date.

Image Credit: supplied by LinkedIn

New Modules for Moodle 2019-20

As one academic year comes to an end, it’s time to start planning ahead. Do you have approval for any new 2019/20 modules?  Would you like to start creating them now?

Take the following simple steps to setup your new Moodle modules.

Step 1

Complete the New Moodle Module Request form on the Service Desk Landing Portal, click on the Log a service request icon.

Three icons each with a different title 1. Report a Fault. 2. Log a service request. 3. My Authorisations

This will bring you to the My Services page, firstly make sure that you are on the All My Services tab, then select the Moodle link.

This screens shows you the All My Service page with the different icons for different services in the university

Step 2

On  the Moodle service page, click on blue Moodle Request on the lower half of the screen.

Three boxes the last one saying Moodle Request

Step 3

From  the Moodle Request page, click on the drop-down arrow alongside What would you like to do? Select Request a new module to be created on Moodle, then click Next. Use the page that appears to input the details of your module. Please make sure that all mandatory fields (denoted by a red asterisk) are completed.

A form to request a new modules to be created in Moodle

Step 4

When you’re happy with the information you have supplied click Finish. Once the form has been submitted you’ll receive an email confirming your request and a reference number.

We’ll get to work creating your site for you and then we’ll send you an email to confirm when it’s ready for you to create. Don’t forget to ask for help from your faculty Online Course Developers, should you need it.

You’ll notice that Moodle modules look a little different this year, as we’ve incorporated a Moodle Baseline template. The Moodle Baseline template features five tabs: welcome, module overview, learning outcomes, reading lists and assessment.  For more information about the Moodle Baseline there is a dedicated website for guidance and help.  Or you can attend one of our TEL Training Moodle Baseline workshops, see our full schedule here.

Credit Image: Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

TEL Training Sessions – Update

Can’t spare 2 hours (let alone 3 hours) to attend TEL Training sessions, but would like to . . . . . well you can now!  

We’ve reviewed our sessions and have been able to reduce the running times of our longest sessions to make them easier to fit into the already busy working day. We’d like as many of you as possible to be able to attend our sessions, so in reducing the running times (in some cases by 50%) by keeping content relevant but concise, we hope more of you will be able to join our sessions in the future.

How do I find more information on TEL Training Sessions?

You’ll find our calendar with all our new times and full description on the sessions we run by going to the Department of Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE) website and clicking on the TEL Training Calendar.

Where else can I book onto the sessions?

The calendar on our blog pages also indicates the training sessions with a dot underneath the date, just click on the dot and the session information will appear. You can also book yourself onto a session here; just click the button at the bottom. Feel free to switch through the months to see what training sessions are coming up.

Who are your training sessions for?

Primarily, the workshops are for lecturers and PHD Students, but they can be adapted for professional service members of staff too. 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.  We have a meeting room here in Mercantile House, but we can always come to you. To arrange these bespoke sessions, firstly complete the Bespoke Training Request form, click here give 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.


Guest Blogger: James Brand – Erasmus+ Staff Training: Visiting the FernUniversität in Hagen (Part 4)

This is the final blog post about about an Erasmus+ Staff Training experience to the FernUniversität in Hagen which took place in June 2018. In this post I will summarise the keynote presentation that concluded the training week and reflect on my experience of attending an Erasmus+ Staff Training experience.

Keynote: The Future of Distance Education: Mind the Gaps – Professor Mark Brown

One of the highlights of the week was the inspiring keynote presentation from Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University. Professor Brown discussed the future of distance learning and the work being done at DCU.

Professor Brown also highlighted the importance of having a philosophy for delivering distance learning and explained some of the key principles that constitute a DCU programme and a DCU student. At DCU distance learners are referred to as being part of DCU Connected or as “connected learners” and this is part of the student experience that they have envisioned for their learners. They also refer to their learning technologies as part of a suite known as “the loop”. The loop includes Moodle and various other learning technologies and personal tools that a student may use and that might connect learners in the course of their studies. However, DCU avoids referring to systems as Moodle or their students as distance or online students, as this is just the mode of delivery. This is also linked with the negative view of technical determinism, that we should not be rushing to follow technological innovations, instead, we should be considering what is best for education. The quote featured in the presentation, “The future is not something we enter, the future is something we create” is something that resonated in this session and something that we should consider as a University.

A number of different aspects on the future of digital learning were also discussed in this presentation including MOOCs and the global Higher Education market. Professor Brown’s presentation can be found on Slideshare.


The Erasmus+ staff training week I attended was a fantastic opportunity to visit a University which specialises in distance education. I was able to learn from the Fernuniversität through workshops and by visiting their resources. I was able to network with colleagues from the institution and also with attendees from across Europe. The training week provided an opportunity to gain knowledge of HE practices from other European institutions, discuss and share ideas with fellow participants and also take part in the of the cultural exchange of visiting another country.

I would highly recommend the Erasmus+ staff training weeks to staff as personal and career development opportunity. I have made new networks and now have an understanding of HE in a global market. If you would like to know more about Erasmus+ staff training activities please see the Erasmus intranet website.

Image credits: Photographs by James Brand

Guest Blogger: James Brand – Erasmus+ Staff Training: Visiting the FernUniversität in Hagen (Part 3)

This is the third of four related blog posts about about an Erasmus+ Staff Training experience to the FernUniversität in Hagen which took place in June 2018. In this post I will be discussing initiatives that the FernUniversität  has implemented to ensure the quality of distance learning being delivered at the University. I also mention the instructional design approach and educational theory that underpins e-learning at the University.

E-teaching Certificate

One of the benefits that the FernUniversität offers to staff is a recognised qualification in e-learning for practitioners at the University in the form of an E-Teaching Certificate. This is an internal training programme available to teaching staff at the University, the course takes on average 1.53 years to be completed. The course is made up of a number of fundamental workshops including Introduction to didactics, Overview of FernUni-Tools, E-Learning and Law, Evaluation, E-Assessment, Documentation, and reflexion (individual), Peer observation of teaching (kick-off workshop). There are also a number of electives which can be taken as part of the programme and concludes with an e-teaching project which involves the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a project with a peer overview observation element. This training is delivered as a mixture of online and blended learning. This programme has proved to be very popular and is in high-demand from staff. There were several requests as to whether the University offer the course externally but unfortunately they are not able to!

Instructional Design

Instructional design and didactics were topics that raised throughout the training week. Dr. Ada Pellert, President of the FernUniversität, in her welcome to attendees of the training week said that previously there had been an absence in the expertise of instructional design at the University. This is something that they are trying to improve by working with academic staff and the introduction of the E-Teaching Certificate.

A session from Dr. Theo Bastiaens, Vice-President for Digitalisation and International Affairs, on Instructional Design was informative and discussed many aspects of delivering education. This included discussion of the psychology of learning and major learning theories. The importance of having a learning philosophy was also emphasised during the session. Dr Bastiaens also explained the use of learning patterns, the framework for high-quality distance learning, that the University encourages staff to follow.  One important statement on the use of technological innovations in learning was that “Technology is not a solution – it is a tool to make education easier. This is why instructional design theory is important. It’s all about your approach to teaching and learning.”

Like the University of Portsmouth, the FernUniversität also uses Moodle as its Learning Management System (LMS). A number of presentations during the week highlighted how support staff at the FernUniversität had worked with academic staff to develop their courses on the LMS into high-quality template designs to improve the student experience. A number of courses had been relaunched with a face-lift and with new approaches to maximise learning. Presentations from a number of academic staff highlighted the course design of the online and blended elements. In the Faculty of Law, all courses featured an introductory video from a lecturer. I could see many elements of best practice in the work of colleagues at the University of Portsmouth. The University is also using H5P to develop learning materials on Moodle.

One of the things highlighted was the need to be aware of different academic cultures and allowing academic freedom is important when considering course design and the use of the LMS. For example, the Faculty of Mathematics had a very different approach to the Faculty of Law.  This is something that I’ve been aware of for a long time at the University of Portsmouth but it had not really resonated until hearing it at a different University.

In my final post post I will be reflecting on my experience of undertaking an Erasmus+ Staff Training week and I will also summarise the keynote presentation that concluded the training week.

Image credits: Photographs by James Brand

Guest Blogger: James Brand – Erasmus+ Staff Training: Visiting the FernUniversität in Hagen (Part 2)

This is the second of four related blog posts about about an Erasmus+ Staff Training experience to the FernUniversität in Hagen which took place in June 2018. In this post I will be discuss the learning technologies being used at the FernUniversität and some of the innovative projects that they are undertaking.

Learning Technologies and Innovations at the University


A presentation of E-assessment at the FernUniversität was very interesting and eye-opening. The FernUniversität has a number of issues unique to the institution in terms of conducting e-assessments. As the number of students is so high, it is difficult to conduct online exams. For example, one of their most popular courses has several thousand students. As a member of teaching staff highlighted, the exams cannot take place at a study center as they could not ensure that all students could attend. German data and privacy laws also mean that a lot of technical solutions could not be implemented. The University, therefore, does not conduct computer-based examinations.

Hybrid Lectures

One of the elements of teaching that I was most interested in was the use of hybrid lectures. These are delivered in a lecture hall but possible only to a handful of students. The rest of the students will be watching the lecture which is recorded and streamed online and will participate remotely using Adobe Connect software. A facilitator will then help with reading out student questions and to ensure that the session runs smoothly. One of our major challenges in the Graduate School is dealing with capacity issues of workshops and ensuring adequate provision to distance learners so the hybrid lecture looks to be a possible solution.

FEU login

One major project at the University is the introduction of implementing a single sign-on through a system being called ‘FEU login’. This will involve students signing in through a single portal to give them access to a number of online services including:

  • Classroom modules (on Moodle)
  • Student email
  • Student Calendar
  • A personal area for course and personal information
  • Library services
  • Regional Study Centre information and events
  • Learning Group Finder app

Learning Group Finder App

One interesting innovation at the FernUniversität is the development of the LernGruppen Finder, (Learning Group Finder) app. This app is designed to help the distance learning students to find others to study within their region or that are studying the same subject. This app has been introduced to support students studying and to help minimise isolation that students may experience from studying as distance learners.

Other examples of digital learning innovations at the University can be found on their E-Koo blog (German language only).

Study books

One of the most surprising revelations during the week for attendees was that paper is not dead at the FernUniversität. During a visiting to their Logistics Center, the printing, and production facility just outside of Hagen, we saw the scale of their use of non-digital learning materials. Students are provided with study books to accompany their courses. These have proved to be popular with students who like to receive something tangible to go with their studies so there are no plans to discontinue this method of producing course materials. The printing facility was very impressive on its own, with all aspects of print and design, provided in-house on large production line type setup. They also handle the production of other media including CDs with teaching material, newsletters, and stationery. 

Video Studio

One of my favourite parts of the training week was the visit to the facilities of the video studio. The media production team are responsible for the production of a range of audio-visual teaching materials including talking-head videos, video lectures, podcasts, and animated videos to name a few. They are also responsible for ensuring the accessibility of materials for all learners. The media production center features professional recording studio, with green-screen, lighting and cameras all of a professional quality. This studio was comparable to studios that might be used in news or television broadcasting. The facility had clearly had quite significant investment behind it and there was acceptance among attendees that this was needed to produce high-quality distance learning. To quote a delegate, “everyone wants distance learning until they have to pay for it!”.

In my next blog post I will be discussing some of the practices being implemented at the FernUniversität to ensure the quality of distance learning provision at University. I will also discuss instructional design and the educational theory that underpins e-learning at the FernUniversität.


Image credits: Photographs by James Brand

Guest Blogger: James Brand – Erasmus+ Staff Training: Visiting the FernUniversität in Hagen (Part 1)

This is the first of four related blog posts about about an Erasmus+ Staff Training experience to the FernUniversität in Hagen which took place in June 2018.


I was recently able to take part in an Erasmus+ Staff Training week to the FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany. Hagen is a city located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany and the FernUniversität (fern meaning remote in German), is the largest distance learning University in Germany with 80,000 students.

The staff training week was a unique experience to learn from a leading distance learning University, understand the German Higher Education system and to also a fantastic cultural exchange experience. The training week was well attended by delegates from various European Universities, including a number from distance learning Universities. The training week featured a number of workshops, presentations and discussions as well as opportunities to visit the facilities of the University. There were also a number cultural events arranged including a visit to a castle and an excursion to the nearby city of Dortmund.

The following is a summary of some of the things I learned during the week from attending presentations, visiting facilities and speaking to staff at the University:

About the University

The FernUniversität is the only German teaching distance learning University in the world. As expected, most of their students are based in Germany and the bordering countries where German may also be spoken. However, it was interesting to see that they also have students as far afield as America, Canada, and South America. The University was founded in 1974, following a similar model to that established by the UK Open University. Further information on the structure and course offerings of the FernUniversität can be found on their English language website. The FernUniversität has a range of students, however, typically students at the University will already have a first degree or they will be people studying later in life for the first time.

Study Centers

Interestingly, for a distance learning University, not all of the teaching is conducted remotely. The University has opened 60 regional study centers, the majority of which are located in Germany, however,  they have opened up a number of study centers abroad. The study centers allow an opportunity for the distance learning students to receive face-to-face teaching and advice on all areas of their studies. If there is a high concentration of students they will open a center to allow face-to-face teaching. If a student cannot attend one of these study centers they will try to provide a digital alternative, although from seeing the map of study centers it looks like it would be fairly easy for most German students to at least attend one.

In my next blog post I will be discussing how distance learning is delivered at the FernUniversität, including some of the learning technologies and innovative projects that they are undertaking. More to come next time…

Image of: Dortmunder U Art Gallery

Image credits: Photographs by James Brand

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