roger

About Kris Roger

Educational Technologist at LSE. Follow me on Twitter @KrisEdTech

LSE Secret Spaces: Hive-Studio in OLD.B.25

Discover the OLD.B.25 Hive-Studio as part of our Secret Spaces competition to win an iPad. Collect a code from Hive.Studio and all of the other spaces featured and submit online to be in with a chance of winning an iPad. Alternatively, post photos of you in your favourite LSE ‘secret’ study spaces to win John Lewis vouchers. See below for details on how to enter.

A computer room located deep in the basement of a building, open until late but surrounded by workshops, lockers and anonymous corridors is not an enticing concept.  However, with the capacity to work on computers at a premium on campus, OLD B.25 was a high capacity, in demand space.  Informed by the intentions of departments to support media making and entrepreneurial collaboration, this room has been transformed.  The Hive studio, as it is now known, is a collaborative technology room, built on the principles of co-working spaces.

With group work supported by writable surfaces, innovative screen sharing capability, a problem solving/group work cell and cafe style high benches, the Hive Studio is the first ‘loud’ computer room at the LSE with discussion and engagement actively encouraged.  Building on the School’s growing use of media making, nearly half the computers have Final Cut Pro installed to allow students to edit and produce multimedia for assessment and course presentations.

See our interactive campus map for details of where you can find Hive-Studio and the other recently developed spaces.

Competition details

Each space has a code word – collect each one and enter them on our form by Wednesday 6th December for your chance to win a 128GB iPad.

Send us your selfies!

We will also be giving away prizes of £30 of John Lewis vouchers for students who send in the best photos of themselves in one of the spaces

1. Take a selfie in your favourite space (see interactive map below)

2.Tell us why you like the space

3.Share on Twitter or Instagram using #LSEspaces. Deadline is Wednesday 6th December

Please note that both competitions are only open to registered LSE students.

November 28th, 2017|Learning Spaces|0 Comments|

Secret spaces: Can you find LSE’s new student study spaces?

STUDENT COMPETITION – CAN YOU FIND LSE’S SECRET STUDY SPACES?

Find ALL of the secret spaces to win an iPad 9.7 128Gb

LTI have worked with Estates to refurbish some underused and unloved spaces around the campus and make them areas for students to chill, charge, collaborate and study.  See our interactive campus map for details of where you can find them.

Each space has a code word – collect each one and enter them on our form by Wednesday 6th December for your chance to win a 128GB iPad.

Send us your selfies!

We will also be giving away prizes of £30 of John Lewis vouchers for students who send in the best photos of themselves in one of the spaces

1. Take a selfie in your favourite space (see interactive map below)

2.Tell us why you like the space

3.Share on Twitter or Instagram using #LSEspaces. Deadline is Wednesday 6th December

Please note that both competitions are only open to registered LSE students.

 

Learning spaces consultancy work for LSE

LSE is seeking to engage a teaching and learning spaces consultant to develop an understanding of requirements for informal and formal learning and teaching spaces at LSE for the next 10 years. This work should take the form of an ambitious programme of renewal for teaching and learning spaces that is appropriate to the future requirements of the LSE curriculum.

The deadline for the return of formal expressions of interest is November 8.

In the first instance, please contact Peter Bryant (p.j.bryant@lse.ac.uk) or Kris Roger (k.roger@lse.ac.uk) with any questions and for further details including a full brief.

October 25th, 2017|Learning Spaces|0 Comments|

LSE Library launches access to BoB, an online TV recording service and archive of over 1 million programmes

Box of Broadcasts logoLSE students and staff now have access to BoB (Box of Broadcasts), a shared online TV and radio recording service for UK higher and further education institutions.

BoB enables viewers to choose and record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels, including BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

The recorded programmes are then kept indefinitely and added to BoB’s growing media archive of over 1 million programmes, with all content shared by users across subscribing institutions.

Programme clips can also be embedded into LSE Moodle courses. See this screencast for a ‘how to’:

The Library purchased its subscription for BoB after collaborating with CLT and following a consultation with the LSE academic community.

To sign up to BoB and start using the service, please use your LSE account to login.

Free Cloud LMS: Opportunity, Threat or Irrelevance?

Screengrab of Instructure Canvas user interfaceWith Blackboard’s announcement of the takeover of Moodlerooms and NetSpot last week the VLE/LMS market is clearly undergoing a fair amount of change after a few years of relative inactivity. I originally wrote this piece for a talk at a recent meeting of the M25LTG reflecting on new possibilities and opportunities for teachers to use free cloud-based course management systems instead of institutional VLEs/LMS.  I  also wanted to consider the non-financial costs and risks involved in this.

Cloud LMS?

A while back I joined Quora and one of the first questions I came across was “What are the major differences between Coursekit, Piazza and Instructure?”. I had only just come across Piazza, but my interest was grabbed by the descriptions of Coursekit and Instructure Canvas, so I decided to investigate.

I’ve used the term LMS (Learning Management System) in the more general sense as it might be used in the US – to cover both ‘teaching’ and ‘training’ related systems. While Blackboard is the leading paid-for LMS provider, there are already a few free LMS or VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) systems out there, e.g. Moodle, but the difference is that the new breed of free cloud LMS are hosted and completely free to the teacher – like any other free or ‘freemium’ cloud-based application such as Google Docs or WordPress.

A key difference, compared to established LMS solutions, is that an individual teacher can sign up and set up a course area in no time at all, as both are designed to be very quick and easy to use. Obviously, it still takes the same amount of time and effort to create your content and learning activities.

Both Coursekit and Instructure Canvas launched in 2011 and of the cloud-based education apps that I have seen they most clearly resemble an institutional VLE. According to at least one blog article written at the time both were in some way reactions to a distinct student dislike of using Blackboard. You only need to check the comments on these articles for confirmation that this dislike is still fairly commonplace.

“Canvas is awesome! I’m at a university where the official LMS is Blackboard (horrible!) but several of my professors have recently had us use Canvas. It’s vastly superior to Blackboard, I really like it.”

Comment by Joshua Lyman on “Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities“, Techcruch.com

“I’m a student and my university uses blackboard as its LMS. Let me tell you, it’s one of the worst platforms I have ever used…I also have a terrible time using it. It’s very counter intuitive and I usually end up spending more time finding the what I need for an assignment than the actual assignment itself…Remember, people don’t know what they want until you tell them what they want, and maybe it’s time to tell them to try something new.”

Comment by Allan Yu on “The Ingenious Business Model Behind Coursekit, A Tumblr For Higher Education“, Fastcompany.com

Why would a teacher use a free cloud LMS platform?

One of the key strengths of these systems is their simplicity. They are generally limited to providing file resources, a list of books/readings, assignments and calendar and a platform for internal course communication.

“We wanted to create a simple, elegant LMS that covers 95% of instructors’ needs… Blackboard covers 100%– that’s why it’s such a cluttered platform.”

Coursekit founder, Joseph Cohen.

Communication is primarily in the form of a message board more like a Facebook feed than a traditional Blackboard/Moodle style web discussion board. Although VLEs have always had communication at their core, there is definitely something attractive about the way that communication is presented in these examples of LMS – especially CourseKit. The creators have recognised the ubiquity of social media such as Twitter and Facebook and taken this to the heart of their product.

CourseKit stream screengrab

Opportunities

  • Teachers may have more of a perception of ownership if they are wholly responsible for the creation and updating of their course. They are possibly more likely to invest effort in making their online course work.
  • More social than most current VLE systems
  • Easy-To-Use
  • Independent teachers: anyone can set up courses independent of their institution.
  • We can take the best qualities of these platforms to improve our institutional systems.
  • Looking to the future: is it time to reassess the value of an institutional VLE?

Risks

Most of the risks are related to the possibility that teachers will vote with their feet and set up their own course areas independent of any institutional VLE. Many risks are common with the use of any cloud-based application:

  • Data protection issues – sensitive personal information shouldn’t be stored on such services.
  • Confidential information
  • Business continuity – what if CourseKit has an unplanned outage or simply goes bust?
  • Intellectual property owned by the institution or lecturer.
  • Loss of control – if you want something changed it may be more difficult to lobby for such changes. Also, changes can be imposed with little or no notice.

Source: LSE’s guide to using cloud-based services

Additionally, there is a risk of confusion for students who will potentially have to use different VLEs/LMS for different courses and the loss of the opportunity to link the core course delivery platform to other systems in an institution.

What happens when the single member of staff that is the owner of a course on one of these platforms leaves their institution or is unfortunate enough to not be in a state to hand over the course to somebody else?

How can they be free?

At the time of writing CourseKit have vague plans to start advertising – so this constitutes another risk as the teacher is unlikely to have control over the type of advertising, plus the advertising will only serve to distract the students from their learning!

Canvas operates a freemium model where individual teachers can use the platform at no cost and has a chargeable Premium option for institutions. They can only be hoping that enough teachers signup at any one institution to make this a viable option.

The future

Can we or should we as learning technologists dissuade or even prevent the use of these ‘additional VLE options? Especially, when in many cases we promote the use of other cloud apps for teaching and learning. Are teachers just likely to go ahead and use them anyway?

Some (e.g. Mark Stiles) have for quite a while been contemplating ‘the death of the VLE’ – contending that the core functions of the VLE will be in time just be another tool in the cloud combined with other more obvious cloud-based applications. Could this be an open source streamlined/slimmed down VLE where only the hosting is paid for i.e. a hosted ‘streamlined’ Moodle or something like OpenClass (by Pearson)? Is this a step in that direction? On the face of it Blackboard clearly see there is a business future in cloud hosted VLEs/LMS, but their view appears to still focus on the institutionally managed and operated environment.

Why LSE is sticking with Moodle 1.9

small Moodle logoA little while ago LSE decided that it would stick with Moodle 1.9 and not move to Moodle 2.0 for the academic year 2011-12. The LSE Centre for Learning Technology (CLT) started looking at Moodle 2.0 pretty much as soon as the first usable beta version was released. At that stage we decided on a number of criteria that needed to be met before we would make the decision to upgrade during summer 2011. We needed to make the decision at least by our Easter break so that we would have time to implement the upgrade and design and provide any training that might be required.

The decision not to upgrade was made after some criteria had not been met and CLT testing concluded that Moodle 2.0 wasn’t ready to go into enterprise level production at LSE. The main blocking factor was the lack of readiness of third-party modules that we use and rely on. Aside from waiting for them to be released we would have also needed to implement a testing programme for these before we would have felt confident in going ahead with the upgrade.

During testing we of course also discovered some of the significant changes that Moodle has undergone from 1.9 to 2.0. The main one that we felt would affect the user experience is that of file management. In light of these changes and the fact that we have chosen not to upgrade this year we can now look at other alternatives such as integrating a repository system with Moodle. It will also give us extra time to look at using the new web services in Moodle 2.x to integrate with our student management systems at LSE. We now hope to upgrade during the summer 2012 break. And no, this isn’t an April Fools’ day story.

Electronic voting systems (or PRS) workshop in Leicester

EVS Wordle image shared by AJC1 on FlickrYesterday, was definitely PRS day for me. CLT was running its first lecturer training session for use of PRS/EVS on the new LSE100 course, which I have been helping to prepare and was originally intending to facilitate along with my colleagues. Unfortunately it clashed with a workshop on EVS, co-ordinated by a special interest group called “ESTICT: Engaging Students Through In-Class Technology” which I had already booked a place at. I’m told the training session went very well, but I’m glad to say it was well worth going along to the ESTICT workshop in Leicester. As you can see, I still don’t know how to refer to this stuff. We’ve been calling it PRS (Personal Response Systems) but the accepted norm, at least to this group, seems to be EVS (Electronic Voting Systems). So I will try to refer to it as EVS from now on, at least to the world outside LSE.

CLT has moved to S169

At the end of last week CLT left its home of 9 years and moved all the way across the corridor to S169. The main office is a tiny bit bigger and more open plan (and a bit noisier), but we now have a dedicated demonstration/training/meeting room. Watch this space for news of an informal ‘housewarming’ sometime in the near future.

DIVERSE video and teaching conference 2009

Aberystwyth sunsetThis week I’m attending the 9th annual DIVERSE conference in Aberystwyth. DIVERSE stands for “Developing Innovative Visual Educational Resources for Students Everywhere” and the focus of the conference tends to be on video resources, although it is not entirely limited to that subject.

It has to be said, I was expecting to be subjected to a certain amount of wind and rain, so came prepared with umbrella and raincoat which of course haven’t been out of my bag as the weather has been fantastic (see photo).

Highlights so far include a talk by Mark Childs of Coventry on the subject of students developing a sense of virtual presence when using virtual worlds such as Second Life. Fundamentally, his message was that not a small amount of time needs to be invested in generating such a sense of presence. From his research he also found a correlation between those students that valued their Second Life activities as a learning experience and those that felt a sense of presence when using Second Life. Mark also came up with a couple of good words, my favourite being “cyberdisinhibition”. I don’t think I need to explain its meaning.

I also went to a session presented by Olaf Schulte who was talking about the Opencast project, which intends to develop a completely open source lecture capture system over the course of the next year. It certainly looks an interesting project and I’m keen to see what they come up with. He also mentioned a couple of other projects developing along similar lines that already exist, his own REPLAY project and also one called MediaMosa which I previously hadn’t heard of.

Today’s keynote speaker was Obadiah Greenberg from YouTube who talked a lot about his background setting up a lecture capture system at UC Berkeley and how they used as many distribution platforms as possible to widen the availability of Berkeley lectures. He certainly prompted me to think why aren’t any regular LSE lectures available through either iTunesU or YouTube.com/edu, which I guess was his intention. Finally, today’s most entertaining presentation was by Steve Hull from JISC Digital Media who gave a talk on the basics of producing good quality films using basic equipment, such as a Flip camera. Rather than try to describe the talk I can recommend watching when it becomes available. Which of course prompts me to mention that all of the sessions at this conference are being recorded by Echo 360, so if you aren’t at the conference you can just go to the conference schedule page and click on the link to each session and then find the Echo 360 link for the recording.

There are of course the now usual Twitter and Flickr feeds and I think this conference definitely has the highest ratio of iPhones per participant that I have been to so far. Maybe I’ve only noticed because I’ve just acquired one myself 🙂 but then given the subject of the conference there’s almost certainly a high concentration of Apple fans here I think.

It’s the conference dinner this evening, then a few sessions tomorrow morning and of course the 5 hour train journey back to London to enjoy.

Google Wave for e-learning

Something that’s come to my attention very recently is Google Wave – Google’s reinvention of e-mail/instant messaging/collaborative editing/blogging/discussion boards etc. into one combined platform. The name still sounds a bit ominous to me, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film “Die Welle” – I was initially concerned that Google would be trying to route all forms of conversation through its servers for advertising targeting purposes. However, my fears are tempered for now as it seems that Google Wave will be a completely open source platform that can be installed on any server. Apparently no messages need to go near a Google server, but I guess we are still at the early stages of its development and implementation.
Looking at the announcement video (embedded below or available from the Google Wave website), the concept does look very impressive and I can see all sorts of potential benefits for elearning and academic research. Especially, if the server side technology can be hosted in house. The first 30 minutes of the video are enough to get an idea of what it does and how it works. Alternatively, Wilbert at CETIS provides a more thorough description of the technology and its potential applications, advantages and disadvantages.