Appraisee Online Training Module

appraisee_training

Freshly rolled out, our HR’s new online appraisee training module that I created for them in Storyline. We’re developing a good relationship with HR and more work of this kind is on the cards. Storyline is also picking up throughout the university, though Faculties are tending to purchase their own copies for one or two interested people to do the development themselves. The next big one I should be working on after we get through the new semester busy period is for HIV awareness.

Interface Symposium: Arts, Participation and Higher Education

artworks_mooc_taster

Attended a symposium for people working in participatory arts, organised by the university with attendees from ArtWorks-U, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, ArtWorks Alliance and many independent artists. It was an enlightening day and I met lots of interesting people, with discussions around challenges facing the arts and how participatory practice can interface with university research, and presentations on current good practice and reflections on the Asunder Project.

However, the main reason for my attendance was that I was facilitating one of the afternoon sessions: ‘New approaches to teaching resources’, a live demonstration of some of the content which is being developed in collaboration between the department and WaLTS for the ArtWorks MOOC. The MOOC platform will not be ready for some time yet, so what was demonstrated was a sample unit which I build out on SunSpace. This included a number of videos produced ourselves, some video and written case studies for discussion, a main presentation which I converted to Storyline, a couple of Google forms to get gather participant’s experience and reflections on the mini MOOC and a short sample assignment asking people to give their definition of participatory arts.

After some issues getting people logged on with the guest accounts, it went pretty smoothly. I deliberately kept the structure simple and the use of tools to a minimum to eliminate the need to give any kind of training on how to use SunSpace, and feedback was generally positive and useful.

The Legendary Anti-Bribery Act Online Training

It’s finished! The now legendary University of Sunderland Anti-Bribery Act 2010 Online Training module was finally, finally approved by all interested parties yesterday (finally), and the link has gone out to the first batch of people who need to complete it.

I have been working on this off and on for almost as long as I’ve been at Sunderland. The original scoping meeting happened in July 2014 with a due date of September. Delays and competing priorities in our very busy Legal, Governance and Business Assurance department meant that deadlines slipped, many times.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. My skills with Storyline have improved considerably over the past couple of years, and this is by far the richest content item I have created, including a very professional voiceover on every slide and, in the most recent enhancement, a PDF certificate generated on the fly upon successful completion of the quiz.

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: https://www.base64-image.de.

Where’ve You Been?

I say, it’s been a little quiet on here over the past few months, hasn’t it? It has been a frightfully busy time for me! At work the start of the new academic year brought with it the usual amount of chaos and mayhem, and outside of work I have been moving home while desperately trying to do something, anything, with my dissertation! I’ve just popped in some posts about things I’ve done recently, but there has been plenty more I could have written about.

Clearning was, alas, a bit of a bust in the end. The core team were just so good, and so efficient that they left me with very little to do, and so I ended up just spending the afternoon doing general enquiry chats. Still, it was a nice break and I’m good to go next year.

I did some good work for the newly rebranded School of Law using Storyline to record some introductory videos to smarten up some of their programme spaces, and got access to a professional recording studio to record voiceover for the Anti-Bribery Act training module I have been building, a project which is now back in the hands of our Legal and Governance department for approval. They initialled asked for this to be ready for October. 2014. It’s still ongoing.

In early September we, as a team, were able to elbow our way into a number of faculty and department conferences to provide a crash course on changes to SunSpace, i.e. the new template and the Turnitin LTI, which was extremely successful. In one session we probably hit more people than all of the Technology Bytes sessions we ran last year. Those aren’t happening again this year; instead of planned sessions we are holding generic drop-in surgeries with colleagues in Academic Development in the hope that those will be better attended. Other teaching I have delivered has included some sessions to front-line Library staff on new things in SunSpace and, just a couple of weeks ago, some sessions to students on creating posters in PowerPoint to display their research proposals at a showcase event taking place in early December.

Also at the start of the new year the University went live with a new electronic attendance monitoring system that required all students to be issued with a new ID card, a mammoth operation for which I volunteered a few shifts.

At the beginning of October we had a conference call with colleagues at Texas Christian University, something we have to do because we are the only university in the UK trying to use LearningStudio as a VLE, only to discover that they are now well along the road in migrating to a new VLE and ending their relationship with Pearson. I probably shouldn’t say any more on this topic, but I can slip in a cheeky link to this article and let you read between the lines about what it means…

End of October was appraisal season and as well as my own I was invited to sit in and contribute to the team’s appraisals as per last year. Any moment now I will start on my middle-managers training course, which was supposed to happen this year, but it has been completely re-written and is now a fully accredited PG Cert which works out really well for me. Also approved in principle is my doing the PG Cert in Education next year.

Finally, last week I attended a consultation event from our VC where she discussed the plans and the direction of travel she wants to set for the next five years and her thoughts on the recently published Green Paper. One of her big themes or ideas was on cultivating an ongoing relationship with students after graduation to keep their skills current.

WaLTS Highlights 2014/15

walts_highlights

For the University Library’s SMT meeting this morning I was asked to deliver a short 30 minute talk about the work and accomplishments of the team over the past year, and to look forward to what is coming for us next year. Notes and thoughts which I started putting together yesterday morning morphed into the presentation below which was very well received. Indeed, I ended up talking for around an hour thanks to a really good Q&A session. Many people at the meeting have asked to either disseminate this presentation to their colleagues or for me to attend other meetings to deliver this again. That’s a very satisfying feeling, a job well done. Following this reception I have gone on to publish the presentation on our website and on a ‘Show and Tell’ module on SunSpace that we use for this kind of thing.

http://solar.sunderland.ac.uk/solar/file/901ea087-0f89-40b5-95e4-b85d2168430a/1/story.html

Introduction to SunSpace Storyline

intro_to_sunspace

Created a video-based presentation for new students which runs through all of the key features of SunSpace and includes a short surprise MCQ at the end to try and help reinforce their learning. Initially this was at the request of an academic who wanted something like this for some non-standard modules he has starting now, but it has wider potential so I made it generic to all SunSpace modules and then integrated it into the new module template we’ve been building for academic year 2015/16. It’s probably not complete yet, a voiceover on each slide would be nice for example, but it’s now in a state that’s good to go!

http://solar.sunderland.ac.uk/solar/file/29f3d246-59aa-4f60-9543-6c8577171de1/1/story.html

Opportunities Online – Booking an Event

opps_online_booking

Further to my original video walkthrough of the Opportunities Online system I was asked to create a new version showing the events booking functionality. I split it into three sections and recycled the ‘Logging In’ scene from the earlier content item to save some work and time. I have also continued to work on the style and presentation of these to make them even better, making the image on the welcome slide full screen for a smoother appearance and increased visual impact for example.

http://solar.sunderland.ac.uk/solar/file/b0875316-0b0a-4a0c-b6fe-d1a9f7dcf5b4/1/story.html

The Terrible Itch That Can’t be Scratched

It’s been a while since my last post, first of the new year actually (so Happy New Year folks!) so I thought I would post something quickly on what I’ve been up to.

The reason for the lack of blogging is simply because I haven’t actually finished anything! I’ve done plenty of work, but for various reasons nothing is in a state where I can declare it to be done. Frightfully frustrating for someone with a little OCD.

One thing I did finish was a training event which I delivered for Careers, on Prezi, which I really enjoyed and I received some really nice feedback from them. I’ve also acquired a Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor to get the Oculus Rift hooked up to one of our Macs, but haven’t had time to get it set up yet. I have nearly completed two Storyline presentations, a very comprehensive learning unit on the Bribery Act which will be the largest and richest piece of learning material I will have produced to date, and another short video for Careers. Both of these are with their respective project owners at the moment for approval and feedback. Prep work for the second semester of Technology Bytes is well under way, but again not quite finished yet due to a room booking problem, and finally I have had a very productive meeting with an academic today about developing a progress bar widget to use in course sites, similar to what Future Learn have. It will be tricker for us to implement as it will need to be dynamic to accommodate changes to course materials as time goes on, but not an insurmountable challenge.

DLHE Survey Walk Through

dhle_walkthrough

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey has become a crucial part of university rankings and, with all surveys, there is a correlation between positive results and the numbers completing the survey. Analytics over the past few years at Sunderland have shown that we have a significant percentage of people who start the survey but don’t complete it. To help improve this our Careers and Employability Service asked me to create a video walk-through of the survey showing people what it looks like and how long it takes to complete. This was building on earlier work I’ve done for Careers using Storyline which has been very well received.

http://solar.sunderland.ac.uk/solar/file/5cffd91e-5555-4c59-8e01-e803b9e327a4/1/story.html