A webinar demonstration of The University of Nottingham’s eAssessment solution, Rogō, created in-house and published under the GPL open source license. Rogō was developed in response to their dissatisfaction with commercial quiz tools and has evolved into a mature and comprehensive solution with support for over a dozen question types and different kinds of presentation, including self-assessment, summative and survey.
We were all pretty impressed with Rogō and, pending the outcome of our VLE review, it is something that we will look at again if we find ourselves in need of a separate quiz tool.
Being open source software, anyone who is interested can download Rogō from Nottingham’s dedicated website and install it onto their own LAMP server.
A quick webinar / conference call with a ThingLink representative in the US to explain the benefits of verified account status, a new service they are offering for educational institutions. Obtaining this status is free and results in the creation of a single institutional group which can be easily controlled and administered. Students and other tutors are added to the group by means of an invitation code which automatically gives them the additional features of an educational account, though of course anyone can get this if they have a .ac or .edu email address.
I have a small concern that it could be a bit of a double-edged sword. With centralisation of control comes a possible issue with students seeing it as a University controlled space like the VLE, whereas I think it would be better if they saw it as something for themselves and which they had ownership over.
The big benefit that I can see is in terms of driving adoption. Once we have gone down this route, and we did decide to go for it, ThingLink will move into the realms of an officially sanctioned and supported tool, one we will be actively publicising and pushing in the new year.
Attended a live demonstration of a fully interactive system from Immersive Interactive which our Faculty of Applied Sciences could be interested in purchasing. The system is designed to simulate as closely as possible any given scenario in a safe place. One of the examples they demonstrated was for paramedic training and included scenes set at accidents, inside an ambulance and then in a hospital. Our Faculty is interested in using it to simulate a pharmacy and other health related scenarios.
It works by using a combination of projectors, touch screens, Kinect sensor bars for motion control and voice recognition, surround sound speakers and a smoke / smell machine. It all runs off a fairly standard PC and a tablet for control. Anything can be projected onto the screens but 3600 video footage generates the best results and the system includes a 3600 camera made up of 6 GoPros for recording and creating your own scenarios. The pop-up demonstration here was limited to three three metre screens but when permanently installed in a room it can project onto all four walls and the floor, and can even be set up as rear-projection for a better effect, though this of course requires a lot of additional space.
I was fairly impressed by it, I can see a lot of potential in systems like this and, of course, the ultimate goal is a proper holodeck! It has the advantage over virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift in that multiple people can be present in the room and it isn’t blocking out external reality completely (though that could be seen as a plus). In the short to medium term I think both approaches have their strengths and are worthy of development. Of course, none of the hardware used here is special and one of my colleagues thinks we could put something like this together ourselves, but getting it all to work together smoothly is the difficult bit and that is what Immersive Interactive provides – service and software. But it’s not cheap, and they are only just expanding into FE and HE now. Only six FE/HE institutions have purchased the system to date, with the oldest being installed around four months ago. So, no research yet into the impact and effectiveness which is what is really needed before making such a big commitment.