New residents in the BirdJon Birdbox

Earlier in the year we popped up a birdbox with a camera inside just outside the computing office in the hope of capturing some of our local Marjon residents.

A short while ago ‘Marge’ took up residence and over the last day chicks have begun to hatch inside the box. We have captured some footage below of the chicks and Mum & Dad.

Inside Marjon Birdbox from University of St Mark & St John on Vimeo.

Birds going into the birdbox from University of St Mark & St John on Vimeo.

To view the live feed please visit the below link.

http://svr-cleo/birdbox/jview.htm (This link will only work on our internal network and will work best in Internet Explorer, click through the options relating to Java – update later but run/allow etc…)

We will be keeping an eye on them over the next couple of weeks to hopefully see them fledge, and the team are working on some good names for our new additions to the Marjon family.

Do feel free to pop down and have a nosey, but please be wary of not disturbing the chicks and parents too much!

MeLT hot hint of the week: Organising your Edublog sites

MeLT hot hint logoThis blog post will help you to manage all your Edublog sites so that you can save time and save scrolling through lots of pages to find what you need.

 

Do you find it difficult to find your Edublog sites? 

Are you frustrated by having to scroll through pages and pages of sites until you find the one you need?

If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘yes’, then read on to find out how you can remove old sites from the drop-down list and also create separate lists to make it a bit easier to manage your sites.

Managing the sites that appear in the drop-down ‘My Sites’ list

1. Click directly on the ‘My Sites’ button and this should take you to all the sites you have.

My Sites button
My Sites rollover
(note: ignore the drop-down menu, instead click directly on the above My Sites button)

2. To remove the unwanted sites from the drop-down list, just tick the ‘Hide this blog in Admin Bar’ checkbox for each of the blog sites that you want removing from your My Sites drop-down list.

Organise my sites image
If you still have too many sites in your My Sites drop-down list after removing sites from the list, you can create separate lists to help manage your sites.  To do this follow the below steps.

1. Navigate to your ‘reader’ area
2. On the bottom right-hand side of the screen you should see ‘My Lists’

My lists
3. Click on ‘Create new list’ > add a title for the list
4. In the bottom box add the URL for any sites that you want including in the list, separated by a carriage return and click on ‘Create’

Create lists
Once the list has been created, you’ll need to visit the settings to be able to see all the sites attached to it.

5. Click on the little cog icon for the list > You can then visit any site, by clicking on the title of the site.

Manage sites

6. To add more sites, just copy and paste the URL into the ‘Add sites to this list’ box and click on ‘Add Sites’

You may like to then create a browser bookmark for your list page, so you can quickly access it.  In addition, you may like to create multiple lists for different areas.

MeLT hot hint of the week: Twitter tips

MeLT hot hint logo

This MeLT hot hint will help you to make better use of Twitter.

 

Do you find that your Twitter feed is constantly filled with content that’s updating all the time and it’s information overload?

Fortunately there are many ways that you can filter content to make your Twitter experience more manageable.

Twitter lists

Twitter lists are a really useful way of creating different lists for different topics or areas of interest – for example, if you created a list for ‘top researchers on speech & language therapy’ you can then add all the people to this list that tweet about this particular area.  Then rather than one huge wall of content, you can use lists to create mini walls for different things, which helps to filter content and make it more relevant.  Lists can also be added to social media aggregators, like TweetDeck to help manage your social media.

To create a list login to your Twitter account:

Create a list1. Go to your profile icon, Top right-hand side of the screen and click.  This should open up further options
2. Click on ‘lists’
3. There should be an option to ‘Create new list’ – click on this
4. Enter a list name and description if relevant and select whether you want the list public or private
5. Save list

Create a new list
To add content to your list, you’ll need to find and add the people to it by following these steps:

Add to a list
1. Visit the profile for the person that you want to add to your list and click on the three dotted user actions menu on their profile (next to ‘follow’ or ‘following’)
2. Select ‘Add or remove from lists’
3. Check the list that you want the person to be added to and they will automatically be added

Added to a list
You can also perform a generic search for people and add them to lists, for example if you conducted a search for ‘speech and language therapy’ you’ll see a list of ‘top’ tweets about this area and if you scroll down the list, you may find someone that you’d like to include in your list.  You can also search for hash tags if you want to target specific search terms directly.  (this means that people will have inserted the tag into their tweet, for example #speechandlanguagetherapy)

So within the results pulled up from your search, you can click on the account for anyone that you like and add them in the same way.

Helen Twitter pageThen to access your list, just go to your profile and select lists to view them.

Matt's listsTo edit your list, just visit the list page and you can edit it.  You also have three tabs to filter by ‘Tweets’, ‘List members’ and ‘List subscribers’.

View list details

Monitoring your Twitter lists and activity

If you find that monitoring your many lists is tricky, why not try TweetDeck?  This is linked into Twitter and will display by default your tweets, messages, activity and notifications. (you’ll need to be logged into Twitter) You can also add your lists and they’ll appear as columns.  This viewpoint may suit you better and you can also schedule Tweets through this program as well.

Twitter has support pages here on how to use TweetDeck.

TweetDeck

MeLT hot hint of the week: Panopto keyboard quick controls

MeLT hot hint logoAs you all know from the 29th of January Replay automatically captures scheduled content including Lectures, Practicals, Seminars and Workshops in teaching spaces equipped with automatic recording equipment.

Teaching rooms with Replay will have posters on the doors to remind staff and students, but you can also quickly control the recording by using the keyboard quick controls as shown below.  If you have any concerns about a recording, please get in touch with the MeLT team.

In addition please see the guides below for information on the editing options and the REPLAY system.

Editing a recording
How Panopto works
REPLAY/Panopto In Session Controls

Replay keyboard quick controls

Replay keyboard quick controls

MeLT hot hint of the week: How to reduce video size easily

MeLT hot hint logoHave you ever captured a video either on a video camera or on your smartphone, then tried to upload the video to Edublogs, only to be faced with the below message?

Failed video message
Whoops, you’ve exceeded the maximum upload limit… What now?

Fear not! Captain MeLT, eLearning superhero to the rescue!

To fix this problem, follow the below steps:

1. Visit the following website and download the Handbrake software.
2. Once downloaded, open the software and you’ll see a batch option and a single file option, select the single file option

Single file option in Handbrake

3. Open the large video file you want to reduce the file size for and the Handbrake editor will appear as below

Handbrake video editor

Browse button
4. Select the above ‘Browse’ button and select the location where you’d like the optimised video to be saved and enter a file name, for example ‘optimised video’ and hit save.

Optimised video
5. You can select the ‘video’ tab to further reduce video size, using some of the advanced settings if you find the video is still too large, but if you just click on the ‘Start Encode’ button, this will usually reduce the file size as required.  So just hit the ‘Start Encode’ button and Handbrake will process the video and when finished, your optimised video will be available to upload to Edublogs.

Encode button

Need further help?

If you’re still struggling, why not watch the below video tutorial, which also contains advanced settings to help you further reduce video size if required.

MeLT hot hint of the week – quickfire embedding with Edublogs

MeLT hot hint logoIn this quickfire hot hint of the week, we’re going to show you how to embed a YouTube/Vimeo video into an Edublogs page.

It’s very simple, but will save you a lot of time trying to find embed codes.

To embed a video into your Edublogs page, just find the video you want to include on YouTube, copy the URL, either from the browser or via the share link below the video.  Go to your Edublogs page or post edit screen and simply paste the URL into the page/post!

(Vimeo acts in exactly the same way, so just copy the URL and paste it!)

MeLT hot hint of the week – How to use Audacity to remove noise from an audio file

MeLT hot hint logoHave you ever recorded an interview or captured film and then found that in the editing process your audio file is distorted?  This MeLT hot hint will take you through some basic steps to help you clean up your distorted audio file.

The first point to make is that it’s always a good idea to firstly check all your recording equipment and microphone to ensure that they are setup correctly, so that clean audio is captured in the first place.

Sometimes it’s not that simple, you may be in a hurry or you may have forgotten to get a set of headphones to monitor the sound.

How to use Audacity to remove distortion

To try and make this easier, I will make available an audio file that I recorded with distortion that you can download yourself and have a play with to clean up.

(Please note that this isn’t perfect and the aim of this blog post is to provide a relatively quick and simple solution – if your audio file needs to sound professional, you’ll need to potentially re-record it)

  1. To begin with, please download the following audio file: http://bit.ly/2mudRAO (note the content is irrelevant, please ignore what I am talking about!)
  2. Open up Audacity, then go to File > Open > Select the downloaded audio from the location you saved it on your computer.
  3. You should see a small waveform, play it and just listen to the distortion in my voice.Bad audio wave
  4. You need to firstly zoom into the waveform a bit because we’re going to select a small sample of the waveform for analysis – so go to View > Zoom in. (you may wish to zoom in two or three times)
  5. Next click with the left mouse button and drag it over a small section of the waveform.
  6. With the selected section, go to Effect > Noise Reduction.  This will open the Noise Reduction pane and you then need to click on ‘Get Noise Profile’.
  7. It may appear that nothing happens, but that’s okay. Now this time, go to Edit > Select all.
  8. Go to Effect > Noise Reduction > At this point you’ll need to be wearing headphones so that you can listen to the audio previews.  Leave the standard settings in step 2 and click on Preview.Cleaned up audioAt this point you may think that it still doesn’t sound too good.  You’d be right!  The advice I can give is to play with the settings in step 2 and keep previewing your audio file.  It took me about three minutes to get the preview to sound acceptable and my settings can be seen below.Noise reduction settingsYou may well be able to further improve this track by tweaking the settings and previewing the sound. 

Have a go and when you’re happy click the OK button and it will process the changes.

A look back at TEL in 2017

Wishing you all a Happy New Year from the Marjon eLearning Team. Before we get stuck into what is already looking to be an exciting year of TEL, I wanted to take a quick look back at some of the things the team have worked on in 2017 to enhance the student experience across campus.

CheckIn

The biggest launch for our team across campus this year has been the CheckIn attendance system. This was rolled out in September 2017 across campus and we have worked hard between then and now to make the system as reliable as possible and to make the data useful for staff.

We have has some really useful feedback about the system and are working on regular updates to add new features. We are encouraging all staff to engage to ensure the data we receive is accurate and that it is useful for staff in monitoring attendance and retention.

For more information on the CheckIn system and access for staff to the data dashboard please follow this link.

Since the launch of CheckIn in September we have had 46,129 CheckIns across 90% of the students studying on our main campus. This is a great initial uptake of the system. Other Universities who have implemented similar systems have had as little as 10% uptake by students. This does, however, also highlight that there is 10% of students on campus not engaging, and staff should be encouraging students to CheckIn.

Blink Box

Recording indicator lights were successfully installed in teaching rooms across campus over the summer. These lights allow staff and students to see when a session is being recorded by our content capture system REPLAY. Staff are then able to pause or stop recordings from the teaching room computers. These lights have received really good feedback from staff and students.

We are really happy with the usage of REPLAY this year, and both student and staff engagement. Although we are still not recording all content on campus, which is something we would like to improve on to make our content more widely accessible, we did record and make available 45,000 hours of lecture content across 160 modules last year.

Continued support for staff and students using LearningSpace

In 2017 the Moodle activity logging system in LearningSpace recorded a total of one million two hundred and seventy two thousand one hundred and ten (1,272,110) student activity events.

This is a huge number but the system doesn’t keep these logs just in order for us to grab these numbers, their primary purpose is to feed data to the ‘Reports’ section of your course administration block. This means Module Leaders can assess how often and by which students, resources and activities on their module are being accessed. There was also 326,412 recorded events of other activity, such as tutor or administrator activity on course pages.

We are always keen to discuss with staff ways they might want to enhance their course pages, any questions or queries do get in touch.

Panopto Assignment Folders

There was a large update rolled out to the Panopto system last last year which has given us access to some exciting new features, we will be looking at rolling these out over the next month.

Over the last year we have had several staff members taking advantage of Panopto’s Assignment folder feature. This allows students to add their own recordings or videos to a folder specific to the module. Staff can then access these videos securely. This has got round issues previously found with trying to share large videos files from students to staff.

TELKit and updated Academic Skills Site

The TelKit was launched in September as a one-stop resource for tools and software which can be used by staff and students to enhance their learning and teaching. This site has been accessed 2000 times since September, which is a great initial number for a new resource. We are continually adding to it so do check back for new tools.

The Academic Skills site had a large overall overhaul the summer, with an updated look and feel and new content. This site is a great resource for students on academic skills matters with resources about referencing, academic writing and researching. Since the update the site has received over 12,000 page views. This has shown an increased level of traffic since the update was rolled out which suggests that the students are finding the resource useful. we are always looking to update the content available, if staff have any suggested content please get in touch with the team.

Expanded use of Edublogs

We had 25,932 visits to our Edublogs sites in 2017, this highlights the increased use of the network across the University. Including use by students as part of their modules and assessments and sites such as our TEL help site and the new Marjon community blog which will be officially launched later in the new year. If you would be interested in finding out more about using Edublogs within your teaching or in other ways at the University please get in touch.

ClickView

We have recently launched the new ClickView system for staff to use, ClickView is a cloud-based video learning platform created for educators, featuring HE-relevant video content to support lectures and assessments. It is available for all staff at the University to use.

 

ClickView

For more information of using ClickView, check out our guides available on the TEL Help site. 

Looking into ways to use 360 technology

We have been investigating various ways that we can use 360 video in learning and teaching and are hoping to expand this in the near year. The team have put together a quick video  below showing the transformation from the old lecture theatre set-up to the new flexible teaching space.

Changes to the team

We have also had some changes to the team this year, with Zac moving on, and Matt being brought in as our new eLearning Technologist. Matt brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his time working elsewhere, including working at JISC.

What is currently in the pipe line…

A few of the exciting upcoming projects the team are working on;

Recording more content on campus

We have received feedback from staff and students that they would like some sessions which aren’t lectures automatically captured by REPLAY. As a result we are in discussions to record content such as seminars and practicals. We are really pleased with the response from students this year showing how much they are engaging with the system.

Updates to Panopto – New Features

Following the update of Panopto mentioned above we will be launching some of the new features for staff, these include a new and improved editor, ability to download PowerPoint files from recordings and 360 videos. Keep an eye out for more information on this soon.

Student Feedback through the Marjon Mobile app

We are working with marketing, student support and the SU to roll out the ability for students to give quick feedback on particular areas of the University through the Marjon Mobile app. This will link into other projects being run across the campus to allow instant feedback in specific locations.

JamBoard

Finally we are investigating Google’s newest tool for collaboration. These interactive boards link into the google cloud services to allow for collaboration digitally in and out of the classroom. Have a look at the video below for a taster.

As ever, any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team we are always keen to discuss any ideas staff might have.

Have a great 2018!

MeLT hot hint of the week – flipped learning and cool apps for sports

MeLT hot hint logoTo start off this new blog blast for hot hints of the week, we want to focus on sport and feature mobile apps that may be of interest to coaches.

 

What apps are great for analysing sports technique and performance?

Football

  1. Coach’s Eye – allows players to be captured on video and motion can be slowed down.  Video can be annotated to track technique – videos can be contrasted side by side.  Including audio commentary and more. (Apple download) (Android download)
  2. Dartfish – Capture video or import from your device.  Video can be slowed, contrasted side by side with two videos.  Drawings and labels, angles with voice and text notes. (Apple download) (Android download)
  3. Soccer Coach – Team Sports Manager – Manage football teams, create coaching sessions.  Player profiles, practice and training, team management and statistics. (Apple download)
  4. Coach Tactic Board: Football – Create tactics and drills, training modules and exercises, drawing tools, create teams and players and more. (Apple download)

Gym and fitness

  1. MyFitnessPal – log your exercise, track steps, extensive food database, recipe importer, calorie counter, goal setting, diaries and more. (Apple download) (Android download)
  2. Ab & Core Workouts – video guides on core strengthening and back strength exercises. (Apple download) (Android download)
  3. Simply Yoga – video tutorials for different levels, audio instructions and routines. (Apple download) (Android download)
  4. Fitness: Workout for Gym-Home – provides workouts and routines and effective plans for power workouts, interval, crossfit and home. (Apple download)

Swimmer

Additional

  1. Ultimate Stopwatch – enables the use of multiple stopwatches in one place. (Apple download)
  2. Educreations – interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool – easy to annotate and narrate and save/record instructive videos.  A very versatile app and it’s free! (Apple download) (not available on Android)
  3. Visual Anatomy Lite – Interactive anatomy referencing app with images of every aspect of anatomy.  Features quizzes, highlighting tools and more. (Apple download) (Android download) (Windows)

The above apps are only a small selection that could enhance training & development as well as management.  What do you use, what’s your approach?

Mobile devices have often worked well with a flipped learning class and can provide an extensive range of options in terms of analysing performance and tracking health.

Flipped learning and its definition are described quite well by the Flipped Learning Network as:

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual  learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.