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UCL's E-Learning Strategy

E-learning strategy - for consultation

Digital Education UCL

on 26 February 2016

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Transcript of UCL's E-Learning Strategy

An e-learning vision for UCL
Connected students, academics, ideas
Opening education
within UCL

Preparing students and staff for the future
Learning spaces and places
Technology will increase opportunities for students to connect with each other and with academic staff, to learn about their work, and to foster collaboration across the institution and beyond. Technology will also help build links with communities and enable input from the public, alumni and employers.
Cambridge (among others) claims that students have individual contact with top academics: “All students freely interact with scholars of all levels, including those who are world leaders in their field, both formally and informally.” http://www.cam.ac.uk/univ/learning/
The potential for connectedness is valued by UCL students, as shown in interviews and digital story entries, and it was linked with being able to learn from really big names in your field:

"an ideal experience … lecturers that inspired you and connected with you, somebody that recognised you, even though they have a lot of other commitments, they are world-class researchers … if they showed an interest in you, so you got feedback from them as well"

"our future [...] is an all-encompassing education system that utilises technology effectively, considers greater inter-departmental exchange, and focuses on the relationship between staff and students"

"I chose to come to UCL because of the international community. The learning atmosphere is very different because your peers are teaching you, not just your teachers."
Student views
Student voice
Other universities
Academic view
Personal tutors and tutees should always be visible to one another in the VLE. They should be able to set up meetings with online tools.
'Students and staff will be supported in developing skills and literacies needed to thrive in new and evolving learning and work environments.'
Expert view
"… we need to create new learning environments that allow our students and ourselves as teachers and researchers to move beyond simply being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able (able to find, sort, analyse, criticise, create, and collaborate) in new media environments."
Michael Wesch
'The UCL campus will accommodate diversity in teaching and learning approaches, including traditional lecturing, facilitated group work, project activity, individual working and social spaces with integrated technologies and support for bring-your-own devices.'
Other universities
"Spread over one single fluid space of 20,000 sq metres, it provides a seamless network of services, libraries, information gathering, social spaces, spaces to study, restaurants, cafes and beautiful outdoor spaces... [It] exemplifies our university as a place where traditional boundaries between disciplines are broken down, where mathematicians and engineers meet with neuroscientists and microtechnicians to envision new technologies that improve lives."
Student views
"We need to integrate the management of virtual and physical spaces. [...] Data provides a consistent picture of student preferences for carefully integrated use of IT-based and face-to-face teaching methods."
Rob Ellis, Director of E-learning
& Learning Space
"... across campus you will find all sorts of study spaces to suit your different needs. Quiet spots for individual study in one of the libraries, group study rooms with smartboards and multimedia, open study areas for large groups, reserved desks and spaces for grad students, and the Redpath Library’s Cyberthèque – you have a lot of choice at McGill."
Seamless use of technology
Other universities
Student views
“All students freely interact with scholars of all levels, including those who are world leaders in their field, both formally and informally.”
'Students and staff will be able to use a seamless range of institutional technologies together with their own choice of devices and external services to create their own "personal learning/ working environment" for study, collaboration and communication.'
Expert view
We are moving “towards ubiquitous networks, ubiquitous computing, ubiquitous information, at unlimited speed, about everything, everywhere, from anywhere, on all kinds of devices”.

Michael Wesch (2010)
Raising UCL's profile as a global educational leader
Student voices
'Technology will make the voices and ideas of UCL experts available to a global audience, enhancing the digital identity of UCL as provider of both excellent research and education. Distance learning and CPD programmes will increase our global presence, highlight our unique expertise and connect to new audiences. Open educational resources will enhance our educational identity and profile.'
Free and open access?
Video: Hana Mori & Beatrice Maidman's digital story
'Online courses and resources will where possible be opened to students across the institution, supporting a more interdisciplinary experience and a stronger sense of UCL’s leading-edge research; technology is uniquely able to do this.'
Strategy for e-learning
Strategy for e-learning
Strategy for e-learning
Strategy for e-learning
Strategy for e-learning
Several high-profile universities have opened courses to the world through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These courses are free of charge and open to all; some have attracted hundreds of thousands of students and a great deal of media interest...
What's it like being a MOOC student? (A local perspective)
Royal Free Medical Simulation Centre
UCL Academic, 2011
Strategy for e-learning
Harvard i-Lab
The Harvard i-Lab is a space in which current students, staff, alumni and the community (geographical and digital) can collaborate. It combines learning and working spaces, technology and a policy of open borders to enable exchange of ideas and innovation.
Digital Harvard
Digital Harvard highlights a sample of the University's online academic resources. "Our goal: provide quick access for the Harvard community, alumni and general public to a variety of material including online courses, museum exhibits, and innovative instructional technology projects."
Student views
"I chose to come to UCL because of the international community. The learning atmosphere is very different because your peers are teaching you, not just your teachers."

"Increasing contact between students, academics and research staff would not only create a tighter community, but would also act as a source of continuing inspiration for students"

"Let's consider cross-disciplinary interaction. Greater emphasis on knowledge and skill-sharing with a focus on more lectures and workshops for students by students."
Video: Amy Wood and Alex Dutton's digital story
Image from a digital story by Amy Wood and Alex Dutton
"We'd like to see an expansion of UCL's public outreach. The well-established UCL Lunch Hour Lecture is already held twice a week and released online... More of this please... Let's educate everybody."
Image from Kaloyen Stoychev's digital story
McGill University
Video: Jessica Blakemore's Digital Story
Digital stories (stills and videos)
Jessica Blakemore
Alexander Dutton
Beatrice Maidman
Hana Mori
Kaloyan Stoychev
Amy Wood
Colleen McKenna
Jane Hughes
Fiona Strawbridge
Rolex Learning Center,
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
edX - [MIT & Harvard]
Coursera [ ]
Princeton, Stanford, Michigan,
Pennsylvania & Edinburgh
Dr Fiona Strawbridge
Head of E-Learning Environments
August 2012
UCL's Open Educational Resources (OERs)
The UCL Council White Paper and the Institutional Learning & Teaching Strategy commit to raising the profile of teaching and to investing in teaching innovation, ultimately establishing UCL as the hub of an international network of research-led institutions that foster excellence in teaching and learning.
"Design spaces for behaviours linked to effective learning... Furniture can be an impediment."
Peter Jamieson, Strategic Advisor on Learning Environments
University of Melbourne
"for our particular course … the research is, well, world-leading"
"it’s ranked as one of the best research universities in the world"
Watch "Why choose UCL" video:
OERs are for teachers, students and researchers. They may be recorded presentations, complete courses, reading lists, learning activities, assessment tasks and materials. UCL has a number of OER projects and activities including:
Digital Humanities OERs
Open Learning Environment for early modern Low Countries history
VERB - virtual education resource for the biosciences
"It's one approach to promote and develop tools for e-learning for people. They can pick them up or not. But the opposite approach would be to challenge people to justify why a standard spoken lecture + slides is the best way to convey this material. Perhaps asking people to reflect upon why they think that is the best method, given the considerable time it takes to make the slides and stand there delivering the monologue, and the amount of that material actually absorbed by the students. If people go through that justification, maybe they will think about other methods and tools that might be easier for them and better for the student."

"The early adopters [of learning technology] should be motivated to work as departmental mentors or champions and should receive specifically tailored training themselves. [...] [Academics ] do not by themselves decide to attend a lunch-hour workshop – they need resources 'locally' where they conduct their teaching."

"I think we have to look at technology as a very broad set of tools (new and old) that work together in complex ways in both our and our students’ work and lives [...] Technology is not only a tool but a way of organising learning situations (virtually and physically), that social networking tools can be low-tech, and are low-tech, thereby demystifying technology and emphasising the fact [academics] use technology in different ways and kinds and that we can all learn from each others’ practices."
UCL academics' views
"Some (if not all of us) have experienced standing in a classroom full of students and then the projector, TV, video, sound doesn’t work. [...] These experiences add to the folklore about the menace of technology in teaching."

"It comes as a great surprise and pleasure to find rooms in which everything works well – but this is what we must aspire to have everywhere, very soon."
Academic views
Academic views
"UCL students from other departments whose projects/essays/dissertations involve content [from other subjects] cannot access undergraduate material [from those subjects]."

"Academic staff cannot access other Moodle sites and therefore cannot identify duplication and overlap or cross-reference the material they teach to that taught by peers, leading to the idea of knowledge as intrinsically fragmented."
Students' views
"It would be great if it was 'all integrated'"

"Until you can merge all the systems so we can access everything (timetable, Moodle, portico, software, maps, training etc) at once, we could use a 'map' of all the different online systems you operate and what their function is."

"I use my computer for everything, always online, communicate with friends – but also research online. My whole life is documented on Facebook."

"[In the future], technology like Skype or Twitter will be integrated into the classroom. I will be able to tweet a question to my professor during his lecture or attend a class in Russia via a Skype classroom link to Moscow. We will be able to work collaboratively in new ways."
UCL student Bartosz Adamczyk created http://UCLCloud.com to make it easier to find key information
A student-led initiative
The draft strategy is online at:

Please take a look and send in your feedback.
Image from 'An original approach to learning' digital story by Hana Mori and Beatrice Maidman
Video - Kaloyan Stochyev's digital story
"All education happens in studios - not classrooms, not lecture halls. Visual and tactile thinking teaches new ways of problem-solving."
Prasad Boradkar
digital story
"Studying and research are individual activities conducted in silent libraries or lecture rooms [...] If the world is changing so rapidly why is education the same as it was 50 years ago?"
"Queues for computers are crazy silly at UCL come exam time and it's no secret that when they're queuing, students aren't working..."
Amy Wood & Alex Dutton - Digital story
"With technology we don't have to be restricted by space or time; in the future we will have the space in which to express our ideas and learn from each other, to have access to the technology [for] collaborative learning with students from UCL, from other universities, and from around the world."
Zita Csoka and Elizabeth Peck - Digital Story
Video: Zita Csoka & Elizabeth Peck's digital story
The Bloomsbury Masterplan
University of Sydney
UCL's strategy for e-learning development has been driven by the Council White Paper and Institutional Learning & Teaching strategy, but also by interviews with staff and students, a student 'digital story' competition to present the future of teaching and learning, reviews of what experts are saying, and research into what other institutions are doing.

This presentation outlines the vision for e-learning in six themes which emerged from this research. The links at the end take you to the full strategy document and a feedback form - we'd love to hear what you think.

You can simply follow the pathway through the presentation or - if you prefer - click on individual items to see more detail or watch the videos. Just press the 'play' button to rejoin the main pathway at any time.
Student view
Full transcript