Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘elearning

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Office 365 and MoodleOur LRC Manager has started using Jing to create a short video on how to set up Office 365 on your Moodle account. Drat and double drat! The video was great but because it relies on Flash it doesn’t work on iPads! As a result she went back to Phil Bradley’s recommendation for Ice Cream Apps in CILIP Update November 2015 and used the screen recorder to make a Windows friendly version. She asked our IT Technician for advice on getting the format of the file compatible with Office 365 so she could load the video onto Office 365’s Video area and so thanks to him she’s converted it to an MP4 file using Zamzar and then uploaded onto the video area. It’s a free piece of kit. Since then she has created two more videos showing:

Having watched Alistair McNought’s two sessions on the CILIP blog post Supporting Library Users with Hidden Disabilities from the Conference of the same name at the University of Portsmouth she’s now created transcripts for the videos to help anyone with disabilities. The transcripts can be used with screen readers like Read&Write or NaturalReader.

'Internet es aburrido' by Daniel Lobo is licensed under CC-BY-2.0.

Internet es aburrido‘ by Daniel Lobo is licensed under CC-BY-2.0.

Ebooks, ejournals, eresources…what is this ‘e’ all about? You may know ‘e’ stands for electronic. 99% of the time that means something available on the internet. But as I hope I can convince you, e also means extra. Getting your hands on the pages of a book is not the be all and end all of learning. For example, books often have recommended web links to access more information online. As they are coming from expert authors these extra resources are bound to be quite good.

You can view the Oxford University Press’ YouTube playlists to find inspiring topics and academics in many fields such as psychology, science and history. They also feature authors of their Very Short Introduction series to get you hooked on a new subject. Don’t worry about information overload they are usually only 5 minutes long and can satisfy your curiosity or send you in a new direction. Bear in mind they want you to read their book, but you don’t have to. The same goes with TED talks which are engaging summaries and snippets from academics and experts. They will often have written lots of information on their subjects but a TED talk will be a good overview and introduction. Also lots of advice for learning online. This one by Eli Pariser (2011) talks about online ‘filter bubbles’.

So keep an eye out next time you open a book for extra resources you can access online. Tell us about your favourites.

The internet is boring…*No it’s not.

Using a Screen Reader on DawsoneraIt’s 20 years since the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 which gave those with disabilities citizenship rights. The act improved access at work and in society at large. Employers and public buildings like libraries made adjustments to their buildings, resources and equipment and services. These rights are now enshrined in the Equality Act 2010. There’s an exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester marking how these rights have been won up to 19 November.

Over the past two months we have been showing students how to use Read&Write 10 to read ebooks available on Dawsonera. We always recommend you use a free screen reader like Natural Reader when you are away from college. Using either of these helps you set the font colour, choose a background colour and get the reader to read the ebook out loud to you once you’ve downloaded the ebook. Otherwise you can use the toolbar to get it to read out loud as you view it online. There’s now a downloadable app for NaturalReader on the App Store and Google Play.

Our ebrary ebooks also give you the opportunity to use coloured highlighter pens on the ebooks when you read them online. You can download these in the same way.

Hello! We’re welcoming a new bunch of Hillcroftians this week as Access courses begin. Here’s a thought for when you’re new to a subject or want to build your knowledge base which I am sure everyone will be eager to do at this time of year 😉
Puzzled?

Testing your knowledge is fun if…you think you’re quite knowledgeable on a subject. It is not so fun when you feel intimated by a subject. A while ago I read an article about a national survey along the lines of ‘how musical is your brain’. They concluded that British people had a very high musical aptitude based on their high scores on many questions and activities. What I think was more likely was that people who volunteered to fill in the survey felt themselves to be musical. While those people who weren’t confident with music ignored the survey to avoid highlighting their lack of musical ability. Often methodologies can skew the data.

In an everyday scenario, when you really don’t want to check your bank balance (for fear that it is so low) is precisely the time when you should check your bank balance. i.e. don’t bury your head in the sand. If we apply my father’s advice to our knowledge in academic subjects or workplace, we should be checking our knowledge banks in order to gauge where we are and where we need to go, especially when we are starting out or falling behind.

I found this really good resource called Being Digital by the Open University. It’s for self-assessing study skills, particularly when using online tools. They are only 5-10 mins long and most importantly they have lots of tips and activities to get you on the right track. Go on and try the Assess your skills pathway especially if you are not confident with studying online. Let us know what you think.

iPad standingThis week we have our final weekend course Dyslexia/Dyspraxia and Creativity running and the last weekend for our level 3 course Diploma in Massage Therapy. Then our last course of the year will be the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Summer School near the end of July. College students usually think all staff at Hillcroft finish working and go straight off on holiday once they finish their courses. This is not the case!

We’re busy moving our eresources from OpenAthens to Shibboleth. Once Shibboleth is up and running we’ll be looking to use it as the gateway to integrating other college databases and software like Office 365 and BKSB (a learning and assessment tool) and our eILP (electronic Individual Learning Plan). The impact on students will be they only need one username and password to access any of the them instead of having multiple ones.

We’re also upgrading our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) from 2.6.1 to 2.9. Once this is done we’ll be giving it a summer clean with new photos for a fresh feel for the autumn and running more staff training.

In addition we’re looking at integrating our Management Information System (MIS) into our Heritage online library catalogue so we can automatically transfer student address details into it. At the same time we’re aiming to get more of our students rating our material on the catalogue and writing reviews to build their confidence in using digital resources and writing. Plus there’s nothing better than getting a recommendation from someone who has read the book or watched the DVD…

There are many more things we’re doing over the summer. Next week’s post will tell you a bit more about what we’re planning for our Academic Integrity Workshops where we teach information literacy skills.

Most students in higher education are now watching videos both in the lectures and as additional learning. Often this means going to Google or Youtube but libraries also give students access to film and other media.

To prepare for university-level learning, Hillcroft long course students have subscription access to eresources like BFI InView. This is a website with videos about British history. It includes Panorama TV documentary footage and archived party political broadcasts.

Why search the library’s eresources when Google seems so easy? Let’s have a look at features of streaming BFI Inview videos:

Advantages of BFI inview over YouTube:

  • Curated lists of videos under themes designed for students like documentaries with a range of perspectives (see different sides to history).
  • Short introductory essays to topics written by academics who have authority in their fields (impress your tutor with your references).
  • Rare footage not available on other video-sharing websites (information that you haven’t heard before).
  • Tells you how long each video is (manage your time effectively).
  • Less distraction from off-topic videos/no advertisements (manage your time effectively).

How to log in to OpenAthens:

Go though the Hillcroft VLE. Log in. Under the ‘Library and Learning Resources’ course page (enroll if this is your first time) go to  ‘LRC eresources’ and there are links to all the resources we are subscribed to under ‘Eresources Using OpenAthens’.

or

You could go directly to http://www.bfi.org.uk/inview/ and follow the button ‘log in via your institution’.