9. Weblearn

9.1. WebLearn Test Building Closing

As part of the migration to the new WebLearn, the Old WebLearn’s Test Building will close on 21 June 2010

All material in the Test Building will become inaccessible on 21 June 201, and it is your responsibility to move anything that you want to keep by this date. We would recommend that you either move the material elsewhere in old WebLearn or into new WebLearn. There is an ITLP training course outlining the process of moving material into new WebLearn, to book a place, visit: www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itlp/courses/detail/TOVC.

If you have any questions then please contact weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk

9.2. Help and Training

The approaching summer period is a good time to embark on the migration process. OUCS runs a hands- on course through the IT Learning Programme entitled: WebLearn: Migrating your content. In order to attend, please book a place online. Two courses are scheduled for Trinity Term 2010, and booking opens 30 days before each course:

Tuesday 25 May, 14:00 – 17:00 and Monday 28 June, 09:15 – 12:15

If you have already attended a Migration course then extra face-to-face help is available on Friday mornings (during term time) by booking a place for the WebLearn Drop-in Surgery at Computer8, or by appointment with the WebLearn team via weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk.

9.3. WebLearn: Migration of Materials from Old WebLearn

Important dates:

  • 21 June 2010: old WebLearn Test Building closes
  • June 2011: old WebLearn service becomes read only
  • July 2012: old service will be decommissioned

The old WebLearn service (Bodington) is being phased out and replaced by the new WebLearn service which is already in production. We would like to take this opportunity to remind users that it is up to individual departments or colleges to either archive their old WebLearn materials, or migrate them to the new system by the deadline of June 2011. We encourage departments and colleges to plan and complete the migration of their materials as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the end of the parallel service period.

Old WebLearn now includes ‘Export’ features to create ZIP files of all material, which can be downloaded, and then uploaded and unzipped in the new system. It is no longer possible to request an area in old WebLearn.

The Test Building will close on 21st June 2010, and from that date it will no longer be possible to access material stored there.

Our research has shown that the vast majority of users intend to review their material and reorganise it as part of the move. View the migration process as an opportunity to re-design, update, enhance, simplify (consolidate) and improve your resources currently in the old system. This will enable you not only to take advantage of the features in the new system, but also to re-think the pedagogical options to enhance the learning experience for students, and the organisational options for other audiences.

OUCS offers a consultation service to units before they begin migration; we would like to offer advice on best practice – the structure of material can be simplified in the new service and there should be far fewer ‘sites’ that there were ‘rooms’ in the old system. If you have a large amount of material to move, then contact the WebLearn team for a private consultation regarding the best way forward: weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk.

9.4. Proposal to Remove Blogger and Presentations Tools from WebLearn

The next release of Sakai (the software upon which new WebLearn is based) will not contain the Blogger and Presentation tools and for this reason we are proposing that they be phased out of WebLearn’s toolset.

Ideally we would not include them in the next major release (probably due at the start of HT 2011), however, if this would seriously inconvenience users then we will consider delaying this to the end of academic year 2010/11.

This is just an exploratory note to ask people who rely on these tools to contact us so we can discuss the impact of any changes. If this affects you then please send an email to weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk briefly explaining your use and giving the URLs of the sites where the tools are used.

9.5. Colleges: Supporting Students Before They Arrive with WebLearn

Now that students are supplied with their Oxford SSO credentials before they arrive at University they will be able to access WebLearn in advance of starting their studies. Reading lists and documents can be circulated and formative assessment carried out so that new students are able to ‘hit the ground running’ when they arrive.

A WebLearn site for pre-arrival students could contain the following:

  • links to other University systems including the libraries
  • an outline of basic skills that will be needed
  • an electronic welcome pack containing:
    • links to departmental resources
    • link to the Student Union
    • link to the Newcomer’s Club
    • links to relevant societies
    • things to do upon arrival
    • ‘catch up’ materials (for students who have taken a gap year)
    • a link to admissions
    • information about English language courses (often useful for graduate students)
    • reading lists
    • an electronic copy of the handbook
    • a link to the skills portal
    • information about tutorials
    • maps and information about accommodation
  • an area for new students to converse with their peers; (obviously suitable volunteers must be identified to act as mentors):
  • a discussion Forum to discuss worries
  • a wiki with useful info built up by existing students

If any colleges would like a face-to-face chat about using new WebLearn in this way then please send an email to weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk

9.6. How Do I Find Free Images for Use in WebLearn?

The Weblearn team has been using Flickr to find photographs with a Creative Commons licence to liven up Power Point presentations and WebLearn sites as well.

Flickr’s Advanced Search page has an option to only find photos with the Creative Commons (CC) licence – in general the CC licence will allow use within WebLearn.

You can also search for videos and screenshots. Remember to credit the source of the photo, it is usually required but even if it is not, it is courteous to add attribution.

Remember that you should always take a copy of the photo and save in the Resources tool. As attribution is generally required it may be a good idea to save the URL of the photo on the “Edit Details” page of the uploaded photo.


9.7. WebLearn Pilot of the Evaluations Tool

The Evaluations tool in WebLearn can be used to design, administer, deliver and manage electronic questionnaires for the purpose of course, lecturer or tutor evaluation, feedback and review. Although responses remain anonymous, the course administrator can track who has or has not completed the evaluation, and can elect to send reminders to those who have not. The tool can also be used to gather responses for other forms of research and analysis.

The tool is currently being piloted at Oxford University until the end of Trinity Term. The aim of the pilot project is to build up expertise in the use of the tool and to expand its use and support. If you would like to participate in the pilot then please email weblearn@ox.ac.uk.

Up: Contents Previous: 8. News from the IT Learning Programme Next: 10. News from the Nexus Team