TELT technologies & support

A range of learning technologies are available for you to design effective technology-enhanced learning activities. The information below explains what each technology is, how it can be used to support student learning, and where to find online support.

Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle)

To log into Moodle directly: http://moodle2.gla.ac.uk/

What it is

Moodle is the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is the main platform through which we support blended and online learning; however, it is also used to provide core programme and course information and resources to support face-to-face learning and teaching.

How it can support learning

Where possible, we advise staff not to use Moodle simply as a file repository, but to explore its various features to support a blended experience comprising various online activities. You can see examples of pedagogically effective use of Moodle in our Case studies section.

Moodle Guides and Information

Moodle User Guides

LEADS How To Moodle

Online support

For technical issues please contact the Help Desk


Class response (YACRS)

What it is

YACRS  is a new system designed to replace the previous 'clicker' systems for interactive lectures. The majority of students arrive at class with at least one internet connected device such as a smart phone, laptop or tablet computer, and YACRS allows the students to use these devices to respond to questions (e-voting or polling). Students can also respond using SMS messages if they only have a more basic phone available.

YACRS has been designed to be both flexible and very easy for the teacher to make use of during class, which has been shown to be an important factor for effective use of classroom voting (Nielsen et al, 2013). The teacher controls the system using a small application on the presentation computer, which floats over their presentation software.  When a the teacher starts a question, a screen-shot of the presentation computer is sent to the YACRS server, and the floating application shows a count of the student responses as they arrive. When the question is closed, the teacher can optionally display a bar chart of responses.

After the class, the teacher can download a spreadsheet containing the student responses from the YACRS web interface.

How it can support learning

YACRS can be used to enhanced interaction in the classroom between the teacher and students, by encouraging students to actively reflect on potential solutions to a particular question. While the teacher can get feedback to fuind out if the students have been understanding the material in the classroom, students also get immediate feedback and clarification on their answers. YACRS can also promote peer interaction in the classroom is used in the context of peer instruction. This is a technique developed and popularised by Eric Mazur.

For technical advice please contact the Help Desk

How-to guides and information

Opening YACRS

Click on the shortcut icon on the desktop to open YACRS

 YACRS desktop icon

Connecting to the YACRS server

Control conectinterface

Firstly you need to add the server URL. This is https://classresponse.gla.ac.uk/ and must be typed exactly as it is shown here.

(When you click on the username entry field the YACRS version will display if you have entered the correct URL).

Add your GUID username and password and click OK 

Setting up or choosing an existing session

If you have previously set up a session it will be listed in the left-hand session panel. We recommend that you only set up one session per class per year.

To create a new session click ‘New Session’ and complete the following information.

  • Title: Title to identify session
  • Course Identifier: Course code to register student cohort (only one can be used and it is case sensitive)
  • Allow guest: Tick to allow guest access and anonymous responses
  • Display on Users List: Students will see this as an available session when the login to YACRS (see separate student guide)
  • Default time limit: The time allowed for a question to be answered (in seconds)

Control session window 

Click Create.

Starting a session

Before you start a session select the default question type that you want to use. Also you will need to get you students to register for the session (see separate student guide).

 Choosing a question type drop down menu

MCQ = Multiple choice question and can have 4 – 7 answers.

MRQ = Multiple choice, multiple answer and can have 4 – 7 answers.

 

 Choosing a session

 

Select the session that you want to run in the session panel and click the ‘Start session’ button.

The session ID is the unique number that students require to register with the session (in this example it is 19). 

Asking a question

The question floating toolbar will appear. The toolbar can be moved about the screen by clicking and dragging it.

Box for teacher to start question

Clicking on the ? icon will start the question. 19 is the session ID. Active = active number of signed in users (in this case 0). Total = the total number of preregistered users on the session (although they may not be actively logged in).

Floating teaching box with question open

Clicking on the question mark icon will start the question. The toolbar will now change to display the question is active. The question number is displayed (Q7). A countdown timer is displayed and the number of participant responses is displayed (in this example there is one response). Clicking on the small square to the right of the red square (top left-hand corner) will increase the time whilst the question is running.

Clicking the red circle will stop the question.

Displaying the results

Once a question has been asked the results can be displayed by clicking on the graph icon on the toolbar.

A graph appears in a new window (this window can be moved and resized) and displays the results. The question number is also displayed. By using the arrows at the bottom left of the graph it is possible to move review results from previous questions.

response graph

Once you have finished your session click on the red box in the top left-hand of the toolbar. This will expand the toolbar out and allow you to exit the software.

Box for teacher to start question

Reviewing and exporting results.

To review the results of the session and to export data (CSV file) you will need to logon to https://classresponse.gla.ac.uk/ using your GUID.

Select your session that you wish to review (you need to be staff to do this).

 List of YACRS sessions via web interface

 

At the bottom of the session screen you can choose to export result data by choosing a range of questions. This exports as a CSV file.

 Export options for YACRS

The main part of the page displays session questions. For the purposes of this guide we are only interested in the ‘Responses’ column.

 List of questions within a session. Results and edits

 

Where a response has been made the number will be listed and it will also be a live hyperlink. Click on the question response that you want to view.

The resulting screen will show a screen grab image (useful if you are using PowerPoint or any other presentation software to ask the question), collated responses and responses for the individual question. Clicking on the number of responses at the top left of the page will detail what each participant voted for (unless you used guest/anonymous access). 

It is a good idea to get students to create a shortcut to the YACRS landing page on thier portable device. Adding a home screen shortcut to YACRS on your IOS or Android device.

For technical advice please contact the Help Desk


Similarity checking (Turnitin)

What it is

Turnitin is our recommended similarity checking software, and integrates with Moodle Assignment.

How it can support learning

Turnitin can be used formatively by students to improve their academic writing by allowing them to see where they may have inadvertently plagiarised through inappropriate or incomplete referencing.

All summative assignments submitted through Moodle can be set up to check for similarity. A similarity report can be generated for each piece of work. This will identify a percentage of similarity and show how the student’s work compares with other sources.

It is important to note that a decision about plagiarism cannot be made on the basis of the overall similarity score. Teachers must review the student’s work to make an academic judgement about whether plagiarism has actually occurred.

For more information on how to deal with an instance of plagiarism, visit the Senate Office Plagiarism Statement

How-to guide

We recommend that you set up two different submission areas: one for a final submission and one for draft versions. This will enable students to upload their final assignments to Turnitin for marking, but also to first receive feedback on their incorporation of sources. Using Turnitin in this developmental way will allow students to make improvements to their academic writing and improve their academic practice.

We recommend you familiarise yourself with the creation of a final submission area first, and then look at how to modify the settings for a draft submission area:

A draft submission area works by adding a final 'submit' button to the student's view of Turnitin. As long as students do not click this button, the Turnitin activity on Moodle will remain open to them and will function to generate similarity reports on multiple sucessive drafts. Students should then upload their final version to your final submission area, as described above.

The University has chosen institutional settings for the Turnitin Moodle plugin. These define how Turnitin works (for example, how quickly reports are generated and whether students can see their reports).

Online support

  • Technical guides from Turnitin
  • If you have any further questions about Turnitin please contact our IT Help Desk.
  • Students should contact their course convenor/administration (NOT the IT Helpdesk) for details of where to access Turnitin.

E-portfolio (Mahara)

What it is

Mahara is an e-portfolio tool that can assist in Personal Development Planning, in which material is accumulated in an individual portfolio.  The material in the portfolio is owned and managed by the individual and no-one else has access to any of it unless the individual concerned gives explicit permission to someone else to access a particular item.

How it can support learning

Students can either use Mahara individually to maintain a log of reflections, or build their own personal portfolio. Alternatively, they may use it collaboratively to produce a collaborative learning or assessment output. 

How-to guide

Mahara should be accessed via links from Moodle. It shares the login with Moodle and for students this is the same userid and password as they use to access computers at the University, their email and Moodle.  For staff it is the GUID userid and password. At any time, if you are already logged in to Moodle, you will not need to supply any further userid or password, but should seamlessly move between one and the other until you log out.


Peer review (Aropa)

Aropa

What is it

Aropa is a peer review system that enables students to review each other's submitted work.

How it can support learning

Peer-review can promote effective student learning, in the sense that it enables students to review and feedback on other students' work, as well as becoming more familiar with assessment criteria. It is often used within formative assessment, to enable students to get feedback from other learners, before refining their assignment for summative submission. This is also useful for the teacher in terms of providing additional opportunities for formative feedback in a time-efficient way.

Online support

You can access information about Aropa via the Aropa website which is maintained by Dr Helen Purchase in the School of Computing Science. Staff within LEADS will also be happy to talk to you about how you might use it in your own courses.


Virtual classroom (Zoom)

Zoom

What is it

 

UofG’s new virtual classroom tool is Zoom. A virtual classroom can be used to hold webinars (virtual seminars) or online meetings. Although not officially supported until early 2019, a version of Zoom is available for you to log into, using your GUID, for early evaluation purposes. This means that you can currently host a virtual meeting, and record your session, locally or in the cloud. Log in at: https://uofglasgow.zoom.us/.

How it can support learning

Virtual classroom technologies are typically used to support one-to-many dissemination events; however, they can also take place with one facilitator and a small group of students, to conduct a virtual small group teaching session, or even a one-to-one remote supervision meeting, although Skype for Business may be preferable for this purpose.

Virtual classroom tools typically allow a speaker to deliver a presentation to a remote audience, who can participate by asking questions or commenting in the associated chat window, either to the class as a whole, or individual participants. Audio input is enabled through an online or telephone connection. Students can also use Zoom to give a remote presentation of their own work.

You can also switch on transcription in the settings, which generates a transcript of the meeting after the recording. This can be useful for accessibility purposes, although for high-stakes content you may wish to check and correct the generated transcript.

How to guides and information

You can access the online support at any time from the Zoom Help Centre.

Online support

Help is available via the Help Desk.


Other learning technologies

Office 365

What is it

Office 365 is the web-based version of MS Office which allows interactivity and communication between users. 

How it can support learning

Office 365’s functionality goes beyond that of traditional office software in that some of its tools can be used to promote shared learning and collaborative outputs. For example:

  • Skype for Business enables students to participate in a synchronous online meeting, using audio and video, and it also enables presentation/desktop sharing. It may best be used to support 1:1 remote supervision meetings, rather than one-to-many or small group teaching, for which Zoom may be a better solution, given that recordings may be stored in the UofG Zoom cloud.
  • Sway is a presentation tool that allows users to create individual or collaborative presentations that can be interactive and animated. This can be an opportunity for students to develop their digital literacies and creativity at the same time as developing their subject knowledge; for example, through the creation of digital stories.
  • Microsoft Teams is gradually being introduced. Essentially a chat system, this may a useful centrally supported tool for those who previously used Slack for synchronous online chat sessions. It also includes a project management element and so may be helpful for students engaged in cooperative learning assignments.
  • Yammer allows students to engage in asynchronous discussions on a platform that is more consistent with web 2.0 social tools such as Facebook. It is very similar in appearance to Microsoft Teams but is used for asynchronous discussions.

Online support

Support for Office 365 is provided by IT Services. Information, support and user guides are available on their site.