20. WebLearn Updates

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20.1. WebLearn Survey Tool Available

The WebLearn Survey tool (released as a Beta version) can be used to design and manage electronic questionnaires to be delivered on-line. Surveys can be created to gather data for research purposes, general data gathering, or for course, lecturer or tutor evaluation, feedback and review.

Screen shot of part of WebLearn survey

Questionnaire templates can be created from scratch, or existing templates can be copied and modified. Various question types are available, such as Lickert scales, multiple choice with a single answer, multiple choice with multiple answers, and free text questions. Detailed settings control open and close dates, how participants access the survey, and who may view the results.

20.2. New Module Enrolment Tool

Michaelmas term 2010 saw the introduction of a brand new, locally written module registration tool known as SES (Student Enrolment System). The tool works in conjunction with a course or module database known as DAISY which is being developed by the Social Sciences Division with help from MPLS. DAISY currently contains over 300 Graduate training courses hosted by MPLS departments (as part of their Graduate Academic Programme or GAP); Social Sciences will be adding a selection of their Graduate training courses before Christmas (2010).

All available courses can be browsed via the SES tool within WebLearn and students are allowed to request a place on one or more courses. The request is passed along to the course administrator who can either reject the application or accept it in which case the student’s supervisor is contacted and asked to give their blessing. If a student is accepted then they will receive a confirmation email. DAISY will take care of interdepartmental billing but this facility is not operational this academic year.

The ‘student’ interface presents a hierarchy of divisions and departments and the courses that are offered (see screen-shot opposite). This can be browsed or all courses can be searched; both course title and description are searched. Students can also see a list of current, upcoming and past courses but as WebLearn does not collect attendance data, this list has no official status.

Screen shot of the sign up screen

20.3. Call for Participation – WebLearn Polls via m.ox (Mobile Oxford)

Have you ever wished your students could respond in class using personal voting systems (‘clickers’), but never quite got around to trying it? Well now you don’t need any special technology – the students can answer questions on their internet-enabled phones, and learn from each other while sharing phones, if necessary.

OUCS has launched Mobile Oxford (m.ox.ac.uk) (beta) which allows anyone with an internet-enabled mobile phone to access Oxford podcasts, certain WebLearn tools, or information on library holdings, bus times and the weather (amongst other things).

We are running a pilot project using the WebLearn Polls tool via the mobile platform, to enhance and support student learning.

Are you interested (or could you recommend any lecturers in your dept/division) in participating in our pilot project using the WebLearn Polls tool via student mobile phones during a lecture or small class? Please let us know if you would like to participate in the pilot project:

This will enable you to join the Mobile Polls Pilot site in WebLearn and keep up to date with developments.

A prize will be offered for the person who gets the most people to respond via a mobile phone to a single poll in Hilary term. We will collaborate with all participants in the pilot project to write up your case study for the OUCS collection of teaching and learning case studies, as well as for possible inclusion in the next JISC book of case studies documenting innovative practice.

There are interfaces for course administrators and supervisors, these show a list of course requests and the current status of the application. It is also possible to bulk register students - this facility is typically used by the host department to pre-register their own students before throwing the course open to others.

Social Sciences will require their students to register for specific courses in Hilary term 2011. The other divisions are well aware of the system and are carefully considering whether to use it in the future.

There is a small amount of overlap with HR Information System (HRIS), however, the focus of SES is on students whereas HRIS targets staff training.

Late news: funding has just been agreed for further development of the tool, facilities include a waiting list, automated reminders and enhanced interoperability.

MPLS Graduate Academic Programme enrolment site

HR Information Systems Programme

20.4. University Skills Group Online Skills Courses Hosted in WebLearn

Skills Courses montage

The WebLearn team has been working closely with the University Skills Group (USG – formerly the Graduate Skills Advisory Group) to move the former ‘Online courses’ (now called ‘Career Development Skills’) into new WebLearn. The courses were previously hosted within a different VLE service (provided by Continuing Education) which required a special username and password.

In addition to being moved to WebLearn which is protected by Oxford Single Sign On credentials, the courses have been updated to the latest versions. They now employ the WebLearn Tests tool for quizzes and the Survey tool for users to provide feedback. The conversion was a major piece of work which involved not only programming changes to Sakai tools, but also integration with the existing content packages.

There are 14 courses covering including Avoidance of Plagiarism, Career Planning, Conference Presentations and Networking, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Intellectual Property, Project Management, Publishing, and Managing Your Supervisor. Although the courses are aimed at graduate students and researchers, they are available to all Oxford users. Access them via the Skills Hub link on the WebLearn Welcome Page (then select Research Skills Toolkit), or go direct

20.5. Get Involved in the WebLearn User Group

Next meeting: Hilary Term Week 8: Wednesday 9 March 2011 Meeting: 2:00-4:00 pm, followed by cream tea.

When the new WebLearn system was in a beta stage, the group of early adopters participated in a WebLearn site for communication and announcements. This site has now been renamed as ‘WebLearn User Group’. Visit the site and click on the link to join the site. Being a member of the site means that you will receive email notifications, and it will appear under your My Active Sites tab for ease of navigation.

A face-to-face meeting of the WLUG takes place once a term. The cream tea after the meeting has become a popular tradition! Be sure to take note of the date each term, which is announced on the WLUG WebLearn site, and book a place at the meeting:

The face-to-face meetings enable WebLearn users to come together to share ideas and practices and to hear about recent and future developments in WebLearn. It is an opportunity for users to voice their ideas and suggestions in order to inform the ongoing development and support of the system.

Guest speakers give a short informal presentation about how WebLearn works for them. Presentations are recorded and will be available in due course on the WLUG site.

The speakers who will be presenting at the Hilary Term 2011 meeting are:

  • Dave Waters, University Lecturer in Metamorphic Petrology, Department of Earth Sciences
  • History of Art: a multiple site model. Presenters: Rachel Woodruff (Administrator) and Victoria Brown (Visual Resources Curator), Department of the History of Art.

Rachel and Victoria are joint winners of the OxTalent WebLearn award, and a 2010 Oxford University Teaching Award.

The date for Hilary Term 2011 and speaker topics will be announced on the WebLearn site.

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