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UCL Connected Learning Baseline: template and exemplar course launched

20 May 2020

New exemplar course and Moodle template launched to support staff with meeting UCL's minimum expectations for connected learning for all taught programmes and modules.

Man working on laptop. Credit: Brian Jones/Unsplash

The UCL Connected Learning Baseline sets out the minimum expectations, or baseline, for connected learning for all taught programmes and modules at UCL. It's a comprehensive guide for staff on how best to structure and design online learning resources and activities in Moodle. UCL Digital Education have developed an exemplar course and new Moodle template modelled on the Baseline's guidance, to support staff with implementing the mimumum expectations for online or socially-distanced teaching of all taught programmes and modules. 

UCL Connected Learning

In advance of next academic session, we are now preparing for Connected Learning, our distinctive approach to online, socially distanced or blended teaching, learning support and assessment.

Connected Learning will move us beyond the largely successful emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the rapid move of teaching and assessment online as simply as possible, to a more sophisticated approach focusing more firmly on a quality learner experience.

Connected Learning can take place online and face-to-face and supports rich, active and effective modes of learning as well as addressing the wider aspects of the student experience. At its heart is the principle that students are active participants in the learning process rather than passive recipients of information.

The approach, which builds on UCL’s Connected Curriculum, provides a basis for a consistent digital pedagogy, where students connect with:

  • people (peers, teachers, postgraduate teaching assistants, and other online UCL communities);
  • knowledge and research (carefully curated resources);
  • the wider world.

    The Baseline

    Using the UCL Connected Learning Baseline will help to achieve the basic principles for every Connected Learning experience: 

    1. the context of the module underpins learning design;
    2. a positive student learning experience through clear and consistent course structure, participatory expectations, and indication of workload;
    3. a strong sense of community and regular and active engagement through clear communication of expectations
    4. students are active participants in their learning rather than passive recipients of information.
    5. assessment is linked to learning outcomes and activities: see our Assessment and feedback resources.

    The Baseline's ten sections cover the essentials of how to structure and present a course so that it’s easy to navigate, how to help students get the most out of it and how to manage communications, along with a digestible take on your legal obligations.

    Baseline exemplar and template course

    To ensure the Baseline is a practical tool to support you, UCL Digital Education has developed an exemplar course and a new template course in Moodle. 

    The Baseline is flexible and can be implemented in a variety of ways, and while there is no requirement to display information in a particular order or using a specific layout, the exemplar course shows what the application of the Baseline can look like in the context of a real course.

    The new template course contains a suggested structure, resource placeholders and sample text, which can serve as a starting point for those who are creating a brand new course (or rebuilding an existing one). This will now be the default template used when new courses are created, unless the person requesting the new course specifies that they require a pre-existing (e.g., departmental) template. The template can also simply be used, like the exemplar, as a guide when making changes to an existing course.

    Get the Connected Learning template

    All new blank Moodle course requests from 21 May 2020 will, by default, be structured with the new Connected Learning Baseline module template. This will be the default selection on the Moodle course request form. If you require either a blank Moodle course or use of a departmental template, this must be selected from the form options. You can still select the option to duplicate a course, if you wish to carry over your content from this academic year without applying the new template. If you choose to do this, you are still encouraged to review the structure and materials against the UCL Connected Learning Baseline. 

    If you have recently submitted a new blank Moodle course request via the form, a member of the Digital Education Core Services team will in contact to confirm whether the Connected Learning Baseline module template should be applied.

    After you have requested a new course area with the Baseline template applied, you may wish to import content from the previous academic year's Moodle course

    Moodle Snapshot and Late Summer Assessment 19/20 Moodle

    The Moodle summer snapshot will take place during the week commencing 13 July 2020. Courses can be worked on both prior and post to the snapshot being taken, exactly as has been done in previous years.

    The Late Summer Assessment Moodle (19/20 instance) will be available from Friday 18 July 2020.

    Additional communication on the Moodle Snapshot and how to use the LSA Moodle will be released over the next two weeks.

    UCL Connected Learning staff development course

    Redesigning courses for fully online delivery will involve new ways of thinking about learning, teaching and assessment. The Arena Centre, Digital Education, and the network of departmental or faculty teaching fellows and learning technologists are creating a staff development programme to support colleagues to prepare for online and socially-distanced teaching. The programme will focus on adaptation of existing modules for delivery in an alternative context and securing student engagement online.

    The programme will be available to staff from the end of May 2020 - see the full programme outline