PG Cert AP – It’s a Pass!

Came home late last night after a lovely day out to find my certificate in the post. I am now the happy holder of a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, having passed the core module ‘Introduction to Academic Practice’ and the optional module ‘Assessment and Feedback for Learning’. I’ve known for a little while, but now it’s official. The programme was just pass or fail, but there were indicative marks given out for the core module so I know it was a good pass, in the ‘upper second’ region. Not quite as good as my other PG Cert, Leading from the Middle, where my final assignment got a clear first, but I enjoyed this programme a great deal and got a lot out of it. Definitely more where I want my career to go.

Participatory Arts MOOC Evaluation and Board

An Introduction to Participatory Arts – the first presentation of the university’s first MOOC came to a close today. For students it officially ended yesterday, and today the MOOC leader, the principle content developer, and myself met in what was effectively the exam board for the MOOC to assess students’ final submission and award certificates of participation to those who had passed. There were only seven students, out of the 160 or so who were registered, which is a higher than typical non-completion rate for MOOCs, but this was a tough course, MA level content, so we weren’t too displeased. We will be following up with some of the students about the level of content and discussing how we can improve things in future presentations.

For a discussion on non-completion rates on MOOCs, and the reasons why, see this paper from Warwick University (PDF, 473 KB).

PDF Certificate from Storyline

For the Bribery Act training module that I have been developing for our Legal, Governance and Business Assurance department, I was asked to find a solution whereby persons identified as being at high risk could prove that they had taken and passed the module. The module, which includes a presentation followed by a quiz, has been built in Storyline as they wanted something that could standalone and would look very slick.

We discussed the possibility of hosting the module in SunSpace and rewriting the quiz using SunSpace’s native Exam tool, but ruled this out as it adds unnecessary complexity and would result in an inferior experience for people taking the module.

We finally agreed that simply instructing the high risk individuals to save the results slide produced at the end of the quiz and emailing it back to Business Assurance would suffice. That’s fine as far as it goes, but actually introduces a lot of complexity and possibility for human error. People would have to either take a screenshot of the slide, different on every operating system, or save / print the slide as a PDF, different in every browser. I wanted a simple solution, a single button that all you had to do was click.

I found that solution through Articulate’s awesome E-Leaning Heroes community, in a post by Ryan Lowry which explained how to use pdfmake, a JavaScript library, to generate PDF documents on the fly, on the client side. After successfully integrating Ryan’s template into the Bribery Act module I then modified the code in pdfmake to produce a certificate that’s University of Sunderland branded and matches as closely as possible the certificates issued by HR upon completion of CPD courses. The only real issue I had with this was integrating an image for use in the footer. To get this working I had to convert the image to Base64 text and add it into the certificate.html document. To do that I found one of those fabulous little online niche tools: