Friday, 9 November 2012

My time as the BLE Officer - by Clare Downes

Wednesday 25th July 2012 was undoubtedly one of the most important days of my life – graduating as a fully qualified vet and being granted the privilege to put those twelve all-important letters after my name was an incredible feeling. Graduation carries a mix of emotions for most people – relief at passing finals; sadness at leaving behind the familiarity of university, the proximity of so many friends and the wonders of student life and all it entails; and elation at having finally made it, celebrating surrounded by proud family and friends. But I found that underneath it all, there was the fear. The fear of all that graduation really represents: the beginning of “real life” and the transition into becoming a responsible grown-up who has well-thought-out real-life plans. The proud family and friends all have one question on their lips: “What next?”
For most newly qualified vets, the answer is blindingly obvious. But after five years of immersing myself in all things veterinary, I had convinced myself that I deserved a well-earned break. Three unconventional interviews later, I was gladly signing away five months of my life to live and work a winter season in an Austrian ski resort.  The only downside was the gaping hole left between Wednesday 25th July, and some yet-to-be-determined date in late November when a 20 hour coach journey is set to initiate me into the life of a seasonnaire.
So it was without hesitation that I replied to Nick Short’s email looking for new graduates to work with the RVC’s E-Media department for a couple of months over summer. In my initial meeting with Nick, we discussed WikiVet and student podcasts, and I provisionally agreed to take on one of these kinds of projects. However, a few months later I somehow found myself back at the Camden campus accepting a temporary position covering the BLE Officer role. I was delighted to have some purpose in life for that five-month gaping hole, despite the trepidation I felt in accepting a job which I didn’t really understand. I had spent five years using Blackboard at the RVC, completely ignorant of the concept of The Bloomsbury Colleges and without any need to learn to use Moodle, since my time as a student came to an end several months before Blackboard did.
I wasn’t left with much time to worry, since Sarah asked me to start as soon as possible, so I turned up in Camden the following week with absolutely no idea what to expect. After an invaluable, yet brief, crash-course from Yanna in all things Bloomsbury, Moodle and ULCC, the role of BLE Officer was handed over to me. I was soon finding my feet in my first ever office job: raising tickets, responding to emails and trying to find the sometimes delicate balance required to liaise between the colleges and ULCC. I’ve taken minutes at meetings, written reports and given tours to interviewees. And I’ve learned that it’s not essential to understand all the acronyms and technical terms, as long as you comprehend the gravity of any given situation - I may not always understand the emails I’m writing but I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of giving the impression that I do!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time covering the role of BLE Officer – I’ve managed to extend my time at the RVC for a little longer, worked in some of the colleges that I would otherwise never have set foot in and, best of all, worked with so many lovely people who I’m so grateful to for being wonderfully patient with me and my complete lack of technical knowledge!
Clare Downes BVetMed MRCVS ex-BLE Officer and soon-to-be Austrian Ski Seasonnaire

Friday, 21 September 2012

Moving to Moodle - 2012 Survey Report

During the summer, the BLE conducted a survey to gauge how our staff are reacting to the move to Moodle and how useful they found the BLE Moodle Showcase event.

Clare Downes, Acting BLE Officer, has pulled together this excellent report based on the responses, which might be of interest.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Series 3 of College updates LSHTM

  • Training @ LSHTM starts in June;
         - a basic intro to Moodle video has been produced and a series of further videos are being prepared. The videos will provide the initial taster to Moodle and will be followed by an introductory course with hands-on practice to enable courses to be created.
  • All the technical integration work has been done; the courses will be created internally through the LDAP integration and 13 new roles will be added.
  • Enrolments will be added in an automated fashion as and when they come in via the LDAP integration
  • Migration for DL is scheduled for 17-19th September.
  • Bb migration will be limited to some Bb Organisations.  This is because we do not copy over Bb Courses each year.
  • Testing will be a separate function from migration.  IT Services, DL & TSO will all have test courses, each containing their own roles.  This will allow each Department to fully test Roles and courses over the summer, prior to going live.
  • Only some minor tweaks are expected to be required.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

College Updates

Today the College update comes from the Institute of Education and they have shared with us where they are with:

 Moodle Setup:
    • LDAP now works for staff and students.
    • Creation of courses still pending.
    • Theme design work still pending.
Content Migration:
    • Helper applications received, appointments currently being processed.
    • Three different courses now running regularly (Moodle 101, Basic Course Design, Advanced Course Design).
    • About 150 staff have been trained so far (plus 8 with SysAdmin roles)

Monday, 11 June 2012

College Updates

News from Birkbeck at the end of May.

  • SITS integration
Following the initial feed-files upload into Moodle on 14th April, ULCC manually uploaded our second set of data on 8th May after switching off the course template functionality. The format of courses‟ feed-file in this second upload was changed to include only three fields of courseID, course-name and course-category as we decided to use the courseIDs for the course-short names.  This second set of data included 50 Organisational Psychology modules that did not require course templates. In addition 90 new modules were also created in this upload. The course templates were applied to these new modules manually.  Similarly course templates are applied to new modules manually after each course feed file upload and the creation of new modules. Since the second data upload, the courses and enrolments feed files have been regularly uploaded into our SFTP  server and processed automatically.  Before uploading these files to SFTP area, they are checked for possible errors and data inconsistencies and on several occasions the SQL script had to be modified to correct the detected problems before uploading them into the SFTP server.  

  • Moodle Training:
The daily training sessions have been running for more than a month. While attendance was good in the beginning. We have seen a dip in attendance lately to the extent we have cancelled a few training sessions. Generally, although we reserve the right to cancel if we have fewer than 5 participants, we have run more of these than we have cancelled. Three different sessions have been offered:
·  Introduction to Moodle: This session is designed for staff, who either are new to Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) or do NOT need to migrate materials from Blackboard to Moodle.
·  Migration to Moodle: This session is designed for staff, who need to migrate a significant amount of content from Blackboard to Moodle. This will include a basic introduction to using Moodle.
We also started offering Moodle for Administrators which includes:
·  Batch backup of Blackboard Assignments  
·  Backup of Turnitin Assignments
·  Backup of student records (grade centre)
·  Backup of Blackboard course materials
·  Creating groups and groupings
·  Overview of assignments in Moodle  
We are intending to offer the same extensive training through July and scale back for August – only offering a limited number of sessions as we anticipate demand will be low. However we will provide training at the request of departments if they organise a session and feel enough staff will attend.  Interest in a bespoke introductory session has been expressed by the Library and External Relations. Staff from both are going to attend the standard Introduction to Moodle training and then we will work with them to tailor something suitable for their needs.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Moving to Moodle: Video case studies

Since the Bloomsbury Colleges are amongst the first HE institutions to be migrating from Blackboard to Moodle, we have developed some video case studies (in conjunction with ULCC) to share our experiences so far. Contributing to the videos are some academics and course administrators, who were early adopters in our migration year. Also, some managers and learning technologists from the Colleges describe the process that was undertaken.

Moving to Moodle: Why

Moving to Moodle: Getting Started

Moving to Moodle: The Advantages

Moving to Moodle: The Challenges

Moving to Moodle: Top Tips and Lessons Learned

Moodle is officially Launched in Bloomsbury

VideoTo mark the launch of Moodle in Bloomsbury, staff in the Bloomsbury Colleges were invited to attend an Academic Showcase, which took place on Thursday 7th June.

Click here for recording of the event.

The event was divided three parts.
Access each presentation by clicking on the speaker's name:


1. Moodle for Distance Learning

Ayona Silva-Fletcher, RVC

James Abdey, LSE

Richard Campanaro, LSE

Richard Campanaro
Isobel Bowditch, IOE 

Isobel Bowditch
Peter Leffek, OU

Peter Leffek
Julie Voce, OU

Julie Voce

2. Moodle to support campus-based learning

 Pat Costall, Birkbeck

Pat Costall
Wendy Hein, Birkbeck

Wendy Hein
Karita Razzell, SOAS

Karita Razzell
 Olivia Fox, City University

Olivia Fox

3. Launch Reception

Opened by Keith Harrison, Secretary of Birkbeck and chair of the BLE Migration Programme Board