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Online platforms and tools for Connected Learning

An overview of the teaching and learning technology recommended and supported by UCL.

UCL recommends a variety of platforms and tools for different types of education. On this page, we have identified the main, supported platforms and approaches recommended by UCL Digital Education for different teaching and learning activities: live, synchronous teaching; asynchronous teaching; and student-led creative and collaborative work.

Effective use of tools usually requires some review of your course design. Whilst our face-to-face ABC learning design workshops are suspended right now, this blog post on online ABC will help you to think more systematically about learning design. 

Whichever tools and platforms you choose to use, please remember the importance of ensuring that your materials and activities are accessible and inclusive for all.  Refer to our guidance on creating accessible content for more on this.

Key tools for live teaching

Visit Choosing the right platform for live online teaching for a detailed comparison of using Zoom, Lecturecast Live and MS Teams in your teaching. 

Virtual Teaching Cluster Rooms

Virtual teaching cluster rooms give direct access to cluster room PCs for computer-based classes, mirroring the physical cluster rooms. Instead of physically attending the room, students will use the Desktop@UCL Anywhere interface and click on the ‘Virtual Teaching Cluster Room’ icon to access the allocated computer.  Students will be signposted to the virtual cluster room via the course/module Moodle page. 

Departmental Timetablers can request a virtual teaching cluster room in the same way as they currently do (i.e. via the Estates Timetabling Team through CMIS).

See Virtual Teaching PCs for more information and staff FAQs on Virtual Teaching Cluster Rooms. 

Visualisers and graphics tablets

Visualisers and graphic tablets can help where writing or showing objects is an important part of teaching. 

Read more about options for writing and showing objects.

Mentimeter

Mentimeter is an online polling, questioning and voting tool that you can use in your classes or presentations, whether they are face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous. UCL has a site-wide license. 
Read a case study of Mentimeter in use at UCL: Engaging students asynchronously with Mentimeter.


Key tools for asynchronous teaching

Moodle

Moodle has many tools that can help keep your students engaged and learning in the absence of face-to-face sessions. UCL Case Study: Moodle tools to make your teaching more interactive. Popular tools:

  • Book displays pages in a sequential, easy-to-navigate and printable format, useful to reduce clutter and create sequential content. Include links, images, videos, etc and a Table of Contents.
  • Discussion Forums are often considered the key to online learning. News forums announce important information and ‘Learning forums’ can be used for asynchronous discussion (i.e. not ‘real time’) and learning activities. Both staff and students can post and reply. Q&A forums may be set up for questions about the course work or assessment processes. If you want to speak to students in ‘real time’, for example for virtual Office Hours, Moodle has an instant messaging style tool, Chat.
  • H5P is a simple-to-use tool now integrated into Moodle to create interactive content such as drag and drop, fill in the blanks, flashcards, image hotspots, slideshows, games and formative quizzes (the results are not stored) directly within Moodle. 
    UCL Case Study: Creating interactive video training guides in Moodle.
  • Hot Question used to create a list of popular questions or topics from a group. Participants may ‘rate’ others’ questions. The more votes, the hotter the question and the higher up the list it will appear.
  • Lessons are used to build structured pathways through learning materials and test knowledge as students make progress.
  • Quiz is quiz is a useful way to test or evaluate students’ knowledge and to keep them motivated by letting them see areas for improvement. Marking can be automated on some question types (such as multiple choice).Teachers can see a detailed breakdown of result. It can be used for both formative and summative (credit bearing) assessment, such as in class tests or examinations, but the latter is usually done in a ‘live’ classroom, so for online learning summative quizzes are more normal.

Lecturecast ALP

Lecturecast ALP is the platform used for sharing recordings with your classes via Moodle.

These can be recordings you have made via Lecturecast Universal Capture Personal (see below) which are automatically added to your Lecturecast library or recordings made using other tools that you have uploaded to the platform.

In addition to video and audio recordings you can also upload Powerpoint presentations.

The engagement tools available within the platform can be added to both presentations and embedded into recordings at specified time points.

In addition to the engagement tools, there additional tools for student such as contextual notetaking, bookmarking and the ability to flag confusing content.

Automatic transcript generation has been enabled on all Lecturecast courses. Once you publish a recording to a course, a transcript will be generated. This can be edited in the platform and can be applied to captions.

See the Lecturecast Resource Centre for guidance. 

Lecturecast Universal Capture Personal 

Lecturecast Universal Capture Personal (screen recording) is a stand-alone application used to create recordings (captures). Recordings can include slides (or whatever you choose to show on your computer screen), video of the presenter and audio. Recordings can include slides (or whatever you choose to show on your computer screen), video of the presenter and audio.

Mentimeter

Mentimeter can also be used for asynchronous learning.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning provides a vast range of video tutorials supporting learning in software, creative and business skills – all free to UCL staff and currently enrolled students. LinkedIn Learning allows you to create a group for your students, assign LinkedIn Learning content to them and track their progress in completing it. 

Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is Learning on Screen’s on demand TV and radio service for education. The academically focused system allows staff and students to record programmes from over 75 free-to-air channels, and search BoB’s extensive archive of over 2.2 million recordings. At present BoB is licensed for use across Europe, but it is expected to return to a UK only license in January 2021. BoB is not licensed for student access beyond Europe.

Reflect

Reflect is our version of WordPress, the industry-standard blogging and website-building tool. Blogs may be used to help students reflect on their experiences during study, build a portfolio of their work, collaborate on projects and create public-facing materials. 
UCL Case Study: Medical Science students use UCL Reflect to create scientific blogs for assessment.

Reading lists

ReadingLists@UCL is an online service that gives students easy access to materials on their reading lists, allowing academic staff to create and update their own reading lists.


Tools for student-led creation and collaboration

Many of the tools above can be used for student collaboration, discussion and production.

  • Lecturecast ALP engagement tools
  • Moodle e.g. Database, Forum, Glossary, H5P and Wiki
  • Reflect blogging

In addition to these:

MyPortfolio

MyPortfolio is a very flexible tool which can be used as a portfolio, for blogging, CV builder, social networking system, connecting UCL students and staff and creating online communities. MyPortfolio provides you with the tools to set up a personal learning environment and can also be used to support group work.

Office365

Office365​ is, of course, ubiquitous at UCL, but the educational possibilities are not always appreciated. LinkedIn Learning includes a useful overview ‘Office 365 for Educators’.[AS1] 


Additional discipline-specific software

Note: always check the UCL Software Database to see if software is already available to you. 

ISD has purchased licenses for a number of tools to support remote teaching – including to support lab and practical education.  

There are a limited number of licenses available for these tools.  Departments with specific software requirements have requested access from ISD via their Connected Learning Lead.  Please check with your Connected Learning Lead to find out if your department has agreed access to the following software: 

  • Labster –   a laboratory simulator, accessible through an interactive platform, which enables students to engage with scientific experiments using 3D animation
  • LT –  A more advanced laboratory simulator that allows you to create and customise your own content
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – a set of creative applications that covers a range of functions including graphic design, web editing, photography and video editing.
  • Otis -  virtual patient software for conducting hearing tests
  • Overleaf -  a collaborative cloud-based tool used for writing, editing and publishing scientific documents in an industry standard format.
  • Hypothes.is –  Software that allows collaborative group annotation of online documents and texts
  • Camtasia – video editing software
  • Talis Elevate  - Software that allows collaborative group annotation of online historic texts (E.g. handwriting and old type script)