Learning Space Upgrade project update – 5-19 Feb

We have been busy over the last couple of weeks fine tuning permissions and settings on the new environment. We aim to ensure that when you login (and how you login) is as intuitive as it can be, and you see relevant information and links on the home page. 

Here are a few of the things we’ve been working on: 

  • Automatic module leader enrolment onto modules 

As part of the integration work between SITs and Learning Space, module leaders will be added to their modules automatically. This means that as a module leader you will see all relevant modules when you first login, and you will have the ability to add colleagues to those modules. 

  • Permissions 

To ensure that you are able to perform all the tasks that you are required to, and that you are not able to perform any tasks that will result in anything untoward, we have been setting up user roles. We have reduced the number of roles that exist compared to old Learning Space to tidy up procedures. This means that all staff will have the role of ‘Staff’ within course, resources and module areas regardless of job title, and all students will have the ‘Student’ role on their taught modules.  

  • Timescales for user testing 

We are working towards having the development environment to a point where we can start to implement user acceptance testing from March. This means that we will prepare the environment with some example content and liaise with a group of users to carry out a range of tasks to test real scenarios. 

  • Falmouth App 

We have set up the integration with the Falmouth App and authentication between the two is now up and running. Courses in Learning Space will be visible from within the app also. 

 

The story so far…

Welcome to the first of a series of posts to tell you about the Learning Space upgrade project. In these monthly newsletters we plan to keep you up to date on the project, how we’re doing, and any information that is relevant to you.  

We’ve been working hard on the new platform since November 2017. We have taken the decision to move away from an internally hosted system (through FXPlus) and into a cloud hosted solution provided by the University of London hosting service, Bloom. By moving to the cloud we will be able to provide you and your students with a more secure, faster environment, with an improved and more resilient infrastructure.  

We are holding information sessions at both campuses: 

  • 19th March, 3-4:30 in PL Lecture 3 (Penryn) 
  • 22nd March, 10:30-12 in Lecture theatre 1 (Falmouth) 

In these sessions we will give an overview of the new platform, timescales for testing and access for staff, and the support that will be available to you when it comes to adding your learning materials and activities. Keep an eye on your inboxes for calendar invitations to these sessions.  

So far, the new Learning Space is taking shape. We’ve spent a lot of time on it to get it to the point where we can release it to you, and we’ve still got a way to go. So far, we have spent quite a bit time on customising the terminology used across the system to be more relevant to Falmouth. We’re working with FX+ IT to set up authentication methods and integrate the student record system with Learning Space. This means that students and module leaders will automatically be added to their modules.  

We will be working more with FX+ IT in the future to make improvements to these integrations so more data can be automatically transferred between the two systems. 

We are currently working on getting plugins set up within new Learning Space. Activities like Turnitin and Talis Resource Lists are not part of the core product so are added and configured by us. 

All this means that we will be ready for User Acceptance Testing within the next month or two. 

New Learning Space

New Learning Space

A new project has begun to update the Learning Space. This post explains the project and how it will affect you.

Why?

Due to Falmouth’s ambitious expansion plans, Learning Space is being increasingly used to facilitate teaching and learning for campus based and distance students. This project will provide:

  • A better, more resilient and secure infrastructure
  • An improved student-centered environment that facilitates consistency across modules
  • A redesigned, mobile responsive and intuitive platform
  • Access to better online tools and integrated technologies

What will be delivered?

  • Learning Space will be updated to the latest version (3.4) enabling a host of new functionality
  • A new partnership with leading cloud hosting service Bloom
  • A structured and planned released cycle
  • New online enhancements and tools to support learning and teaching

When?

  • The new VLE will be released to students and staff in September 2018 and will replace the current Learning Space

How am I affected? 

  • Staff will use a new instance of module areas for each intake year.
  • Ed Tech will be supporting all schools to structure next year’s learning content through workshops focusing on pedagogy and best practice training (including tips, tricks and common pitfalls)
  • A monthly newsletter will be released updating staff and student with project progress, training videos and information.

If you have any questions, please contact the project team at etsupport@falmouth.ac.uk.

Journal, a shiny new thing

For a while now courses at Falmouth have been asking for a blogging/portfolio platform for students and staff to use for all sorts of reasons.

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EdTech have now implemented CampusPress and are running it as a pilot this year. It’s essentially a WordPress multisite set up, with some added extras provided by EduBlogs the company behind it all. It’s called ‘Journal’ and you can access it at: http://journal.falmouth.ac.uk using your usual login credentials.

The added extras are mostly around class/cohort management and are great for keeping track of your student’s blogs or having a collaborative space where students can post to a central area, reflect and comment on each other’s ideas.

There are a few courses officially piloting it for us and we’ll be reporting back on how they get on later in the year; there is an overview of how the BA(Hons) Business Entrepreneurship course is using it in the Falmouth in Focus post about the course. In the meantime though, if you’d like to use it on your course, or you’re a student that would like to create a space where you can record and reflect on your learning or extra curricular activities then login, take a look and get in touch if you need to.

Falmouth in Focus – Business Entrepreneurship

In this series of articles we’ll be casting our gaze over some examples of practice currently being undertaken at Falmouth University. We work extensively with a variety of subjects and often find that the learning experiences are as diverse as those teaching on the courses.

This month we’re focusing on Business Entrepreneurship within the Business School. ET caught up with Assistant Team Coach Emma Ojala to discuss how technology is used to enhance learning on the course and specifically in relation to points 1, 9 & 10 of the NUS Assessment and Feedback Benchmarking Tool.

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Image: Connected, Courageous, Creative, Capable, Confident
Source: BA (Hons) Business Entrepreneurship

The way we operate is heavily focused on an open environment where knowledge and experience is shared, and where reflection has a big part in every individual’s learning. We aim to treat our Teampreneurs (students) as adult learners who are responsible for their own learning.

The ultimate aim of the Business Entrepreneurship is to create graduates who are lifelong, autonomous learners. They do this by building up their confidence through repeating similar tasks, each time the expectations are raised along with their responsibility for their own learning.

Teampreneurs are given an end goal (six learning outcomes) and then given the tools to facilitate their planning, actions and reflections to achieve those goals.

One of the individual tasks we expect them to do throughout the 3 years of the course is a reflective learning journal; a tool we now recommend for this is the new Falmouth Journal platform (based on WordPress) which allows all the pedagogical benefits of a learning journal to be developed as well as supporting them in learning real working life skills by using the platform.

One of the elements that every teampreneur is required to do is knowledge reviews; an activity where individuals write a review of a resource they have engaged with and think about how they could apply the knowledge they have gained into their daily life, any business they are running, when leading a team they are in, or to put more context into their experiences.

Based on feedback from teampreneurs we have created a class blog, called Insights, where everyone on the course posts their reviews. They control the privacy of the posts so can decide whether they want their peers to be able to see them or not. For public posts we encourage them to comment on each other’s reviews. Every post, private or public, receives formative feedback from us (the tutors). The ultimate aim is that this encourages the free flow of sharing insights and having open discussions, and strengthens the physical culture we have.

From the second year teampreneurs are assessed through a portfolio which they put together to evidence that they have met the learning outcomes. They are free to create their portfolio in any format, however if they choose to do an online portfolio we now expect them to create it through the Falmouth Journal platform. This means that institutional policies and regulations can be met as they are attached to a class, and the teampreneurs will be unable to change them after the due date.

Overall, teampreneurs are invested in the quality of the course because it is so autonomous; its reputation is a reflection of their achievements within it. The current third years are the first group to undertake the course and they are acting as unofficial mentors for the new students to encourage the culture and behaviour that the course is aiming for. This is creating a cohesive course experience and identity that is being facilitated in the online environment with the tools that are now available and, as mentioned above, transcends the face to face environment.

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