ELDG Themes and inspiration

Set out below are some themes for this year's applications and some example suggestions for the kinds of projects that might be included. They are not an exhaustive list, representing just a few of the many possibilities of combining the e-learning tools available at UCL. As always, proposals will be judged on merit.

Theme 1: Enhanced use of Moodle

Innovative uses of Moodle at UCL, note that Moodle 2 will be introduced in June 2012 offering new functionality. Most departments are now achieving 'baseline' use but Moodle also offers a range of learning activities in which students are invited to participate. Our first theme for the 2012/13 ELDG awards invites proposals that take Moodle use beyond the baseline. 

  • Students identify and upload images with a commentary on their relevance or insight into the subject
  • Forums are used to prepare the ground for a face to face debate
  • Chat rooms are used to provide online office hours for distance learning students
  • An RSS feed provides news stories from an external source, and students are asked to review or comment on them
  • Use of new functionality within Moodle 2 e.g. conditional release of materials in the design of distance learning materials.

Theme 2: Livening up lectures

Contact time with staff is highly valued by our students, and much of it occurs in the lecture theatre.  E-learning tools can be used to enhance lecture-based learning for large groups, turning the emphasis from writing to thinking.

  • Electronic voting handsets can be used in class to check understanding, pose provocative questions, and promote debate and discussion.  
  • 'Heavy' content can  be pre-recorded and watched before the lecture, to allow more time for interaction during the face-to-face session
  • Lecture recording with Lecturecast allows students to review 'muddy spots' after the lecture to enhance their understanding of difficult topics.
  • Tablet PCs or electronic pens allows handwritten notes (such as mathematical equations or chemical formulae) to be projected on-screen and captured for replay.
  • For an inspiring but also practical take on use of lecture time see  Confessions of a Converted Lecturer: Eric Mazur Another interesting and more hard-hitting take on the place of the lecture in teaching from Donald Clark: "Don't lecture me"

Theme 3: Developing personal and professional skills

A recent workshop with UCL staff highlighted the development of personal and key skills for students as a key objective for future teaching. Preparation of our students for the world of work (broadly defined)

  • Students use e-portfolio tools to build, reflect and share examples of their work
  • Videoconferencing tools link in industry experts and guest speakers to discuss the world of work/volunteering/research etc
  • Students use Etherpad (a live collaborative writing tool) to prepare group documents and reports

Theme 4: Assessment and feedback

The provision of feedback is a key area regularly highlighted in the National Student Survey. This theme invites proposals on how we can make feedback to students more effective, rich and/or efficient.

  • Online marking with Turnitin within Moodle, using libraries of comments which can be quickly inserted into student papers
  • Provision of Moodle quizzes to act as reinforcement to lectures
  • Using electronic voting in lectures to provide rapid formative feedback
  • Using audio recording to provide verbal feedback on student assignments

Theme 5: Departmental approaches to teaching and learning

There are many champions within departments making excellent use of e-learning, but others who are yet to engage, creating a sometimes fragmented student experience. Proposals are invited for projects which encourage a departmental approach to aspects of teaching and learning. Here, the emphasis of funding might be on networking, coordination and dissemination rather than the building of resources.

  • Implementing plagiarism prevention with Turnitin and online marking across a programme or department
  • A departmental 'push' to bring all online learning to an 'enhanced' level
  • Encouraging reflection and portfolio building in student project work

Theme 6: Open content - taking and giving

The academic community provides a wide range of existing resources that can be re-used for free, and there are advocates within UCL of contributing back to community. We invite proposals that explore how useful and practical these options are.

  • Evaluating available content from resources such as Jorum and Merlot for use with in a discipline
  • Exploring issues of copyright, licensing and re-purposing in order to make UCL content publicly available
  • Making use of RSS news feeds from publishers and news gatherers as a source of inspiration and a focus for debate in your courses

However, please do not see these themes as exhaustive; we welcome all projects that have a contribution to make to our teaching and learning activities at UCL.