Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Learning Environments

CoLRic Quality Impact Nov 2016This week our two articles for the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Quality Impact magazine are out in the November issue. You need to be a CoLRiC member to access the journal. We’ve scanned them for you to take a look.

They look back at our CoLRiC Best Practice Awards 2015 entries which gained second prize in the Information Literacy category and third prize in the Customer Service one.

We’ve updated the news on both so the referencing one discusses our championing of RefMe with our Access to Humanities and Social Sciences, Pre Access and Diploma in Massage Therapy learners. The app is freely available and makes compiling a reference list or bibliography a breeze. Our VLE redesign for dyslexia article looks at the integration we’ve made with Single Sign On over the eresources, library catalogue and Office 365 and the Management Information System (MIS).

 

 

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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.

Back in March our team submitted three entries for the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Awards 2015. This year there were three categories:

  1. customer service
  2. information literacy
  3. reader development.

We put in entries into each category and this week we heard that we’d got second place in the Information Literacy category for Copyright and Plagiarism Using Wordwall which is part of our information skills induction for learners on longer courses. We we use Wordwall with students on handheld devices answering questions on copyright and referencing using the Harvard reference system. We use the Wordwall kit to boost students digital literacy and as a fun activity which lets them get personal feedback on how they’ve done. Here’s one of our activities on referencing a book:

 

Referencing a Book on Wordwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got third prize in the Customer Service category for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Redesign and Dyslexia. For this project we worked with students, tutors and colleagues inside and outside our college to create a dyslexic-friendly look to our VLE, with a user-friendly course content template and accessibility plugins with read out loud and overlay features.

Here’s a view of the overlay accessibility feature in action:

Virtual Learning Environment with Green Overlay

 

 

 

 

 

Read CoLRiC’s press release to find out about other winners.  Many thanks to our students, staff and colleagues on working with us and inputting to our award wins.

 

Cite Them RightAt the beginning of this autumn term we are running two trials on Palgrave Macmillan study skills software to help our students study better. The first one is Cite Them Right Online – an online version of the Richard Pears and Graham Shields book which guides students and researchers on how to reference different materials using various referencing systems. Here we use Harvard and the book is great for describing how to reference everything from an ebook, to tutor/lecture notes to graffiti. The online version includes tips to help students work out how to reference, practice their skills and get tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

The second trial is for Skills4studycampus which helps students get back into studying, assess their skills and pick up areas where they need to put in effort. There are a number of modules covering everything from note taking to critical thinking, working in groups and time management. We’ve placed both on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) so students and staff can access it easily. It’s based on the best selling Stella Cottrell book The Study Skills Handbook

This week the Learning Resources team have been inducting Preaccess students on referencing and we’ve been promoting the handy app on Harvard referencing created by the University of Lincoln. It’s available as a pdf document and its free to download on Googleplay for android/tablets and the Appstore for iOS devices.

LLinoit Natural Remedies by Debbie Greenast week the Learning Resources team worked with tutors on the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Summer School. As well as signing up students to use the graded readers over their course the LRC Assistant used Linoit to get the students to research herbs and spices they might use in a recipe or as an alternative remedy as part of their course. As well as exploring words that described them they also discovered where and how they grew.

Linoit enables you to share photos and sticky notes for free. And you can download it onto a tablet, PC or smartphone.

Our LRC Assistant Debbie Green discovered Linoit at Martin Compton’s presentation Less Teaching and More Learning at Efactor 2014 It’s All About Learning and Teaching organised by RSC London. Having successfully used Blendspace with another one of courses Debbie decided to try out Linoit and linked it into the ESOL Summer School course page on the Virtual Learning Environment. Take a look at Debbie’s effort on her ESOL Natural Remedies 2 Linoit. You can see Debbie’s Blendspace one on our previous blogpost Through the Blender. The LRC team increasingly use etechnology and eresources to hone the Information Technology (IT) skills of students and staff.

For a taste of the graded readers the students borrowed during their Summer School view our catalogue search. You’ll find our graded readers begin at starter level and rise to level 6.

 

Screen with VLELast week we launched our new design for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle. Our designers at Overt created it using their Overt Quick Metro design.

The new look for the VLE was a collaboration between teaching and learning staff and students. Both the students and staff wanted a cleaner more modern feel that made it easy to navigate the site. Students wanted all the regular things they use to be easily accessible from one place.This includes their email, courses they are registered on, My Learning Space (MLS) their electronic Individual Learning Plan (eILP), BKSB and course feedback forms. These are now under the My Learning Room area.

We’ve incorporated a new accessibility toolbar as over 45% of our learners have a declared disability. The toolbar is a Moodle block which has readback features, allows them to change the font size, background colours and use overlays.

The LRC Manager has created a course template to make course creation easier and bring together essential course material that students wanted together eg aims and objectives, scheme of work, assessment and course handbook through consulting with colleagues Angela Rideau Elearning Coordinator from Barnet Southgate and Rod Kain LRC Manager at NewVic colleges via Kav Dev Senior Advisor at RSC London. She’s also created a guide to help students and staff understand the new design, get hints and tips on creating material eg sizing images to fit the new course grid blocks and a style guide.

This week the LRC team started revamping the LRC pages. It’s been a great chance to use the training we had from Dave Foord at A6 Training using Moodle Books and embedding videos.

 

BlendspaceLast week the LRC team was working with students on the Introduction to Careers in Fashion, Crafts and Retail. The team created content to help the students gather ideas for a project they were working on to design a necklace.

Once the team had found a collection of websites on fashion history and design in clothes, shoes and other accessories they supplemented websites with video clips. Enthused by a demonstration of Blendspace at Jisc RSC London’s E-factor 2014: It’s All About  Learning and Teaching the LRC Assistant added the material onto Blendspace for the students to access. She then linked it into the course page on Moodle our Virtual Learning Environment.

Blendspace was demonstrated at E-Factor 2014 by Martin Compton from Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College at his Less Teaching More Learning session. Martin recommended Blendspace for creating course material that students can use for self-directed learning.

Take a look at the Blendspace our LRC Assistant created on Researching for Innovation and Ideas in Fashion. And visit E-factor 2014: It’s All About  Learning and Teaching for more best practice and tips on creating interactive learning content.


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