Thinking about joining things up with ThingLink

I am always looking for simple ways to present or perhaps represent content, links and well “stuff” in general.   Over the last couple of months I’ve been having a play with Thinglink.

Thinglink is an web based application that allows users to enhance images and videos with hyperlinked content.  So you can take an image, and then “tag” it, to create hotspots which link to related resources/additional information. For example if you had a map you could tag specific buildings/parks and provide links to related resources and additional information like this.  In a similar vein, I can imagine an interactive guide to a lab/specialist equipment.

I have used it to enhanced a diagram illustrating the work of our department which is now part of our website.  More recently, I’ve used it to create a more visual, interactive guide to some support resources for the Collaborate Ultra web conferencing system.

There’s also the ability to tag videos and create 360 videos, but you have to pay for that level. Just now I am finding the free to use version more than adequate for my needs.  The subscription version also includes more sophisticated “education” specific functions, like setting up groups.  However, I don’t really have a need to do that just now.

The finished resources can be easily shared on line and also embedded in GCULearn.  So, another little tool to think  if you have an image that you would like to enhance or have a some related web links that you would like to contextualise. Or you might think about getting students to use it to create some digital artefacts.

If you have any thoughts or have used Thinglink,  we’d love to hear them in  the comments.



Collabo-break session 1 recording now available

Many thanks to Allan Thomson (SHLS)  for leading our first Collabo-break session today.  As well as giving a really useful overview of how to set up and use the system, Allan provided some great advice and ideas on based on his  very positive experiences of integrating it into his teaching.

You can view the session directly here, or download it from edShare.

Our next session will be in November – watch this space for more details.


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Join us for a “collabo-break”, 12 October

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We are delighted that Allan Thomson (Lecturer, Podiatry) is going to take the lead in our inaugural online “collabo-break”next Thursday (12 October) at 12.30pm. Alan will be sharing  how he is using the Collaborate Ultra web conferencing system with his on campus and distance students and when students are on placement.

These sessions are the successor to our face to face coffee club meetings and we will be using Collaborate Ultra, so you can join us from anywhere.  If you can’t make the session we’ll be sharing a recording very shortly afterwards via edShare.

This is the first of series of online sessions to share practice and also to provide an opportunity for staff to experience the Collaborate Ultra web conferencing system which is now fully integrated into GCULearn.

To join the session simply click on this link.

NB To get the best user experience of Collaborate Ultra, take a few minutes before the session starts to ensure that you have the most up to date version of either the Chrome or Firefox web browsers,  and that you have headphones/mic/speakers so you can hear and contribute to the session.  More information and guidance about using Collaborate Ultra is available here.


Quick Guides to setting up and using Collaborate Ultra in GCULearn

The Collaborate Ultra web conferencing system is now fully integrated into GCULearn. That means that all teaching staff attached to modules can easily set up  and run online web conferences within their modules.

To help get you started we’ve produced two new quick start guides which take you through the step up process in GCU Learn and give a quick overview of the main features and functions of the Collaborate Ultra Interface.

Click on the image below to access an interactive version with guidance.

Collated assessment and feedback policy and guidance

Following our last posts on collated resources and guidance for curriculum/module design and GCU Learn, we how have another collection of collated resources around assessment and feedback. This guide includes GCU policies, including our new Digital Assessment Policy, guides for Turnitin and GCULearn.

You can view the resource in full screen by clicking on the arrow  Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.17.53 icon at the top right hand side of the wall or by following this link.

Made with Padlet

Getting back into GCULearn

Have you forgotten everything where some things are in GCULearn over the summer?  Following our last post about curriculum design guides, we’ve also collated some basic guidance and getting started resources for GCULearn.  As ever if you have any suggestions that you would like added, then please let us know in the comments.

You can view in full screen by clicking on the arrow  Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.17.53 icon at the top right hand side of the wall or by following this link.

Made with Padlet

Collated Curriculum Design Resources

With the new semester fast approaching we know many colleagues are looking at refreshing and revising modules.   As you know Padlet is one of our favourite tools and over the summer we’ve been exploring some of the new layout features which give some really useful additional ways of sharing and curating resources.

We’ve also produced an overview Module Design Guide which covers all the basics from setting objectives, writing learning outcomes to constructive alignment.  This resource has been designed to be used either in a facilitated groups setting or individually.

We’ve collated this along with our other curriculum design related resources into the padlet wall below using the canvas template which allows you to make links between resources, kind of like a mind map.

You can view in full screen by clicking on the arrow  Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.17.53 icon at the top right hand side of the wall, or by using this link.

Made with Padlet

Turnitin Feedback Studio – now available in GCULearn

Turnitin has released a major product upgrade.  The new version of the service, called Turnitin Feedback Studio or TFS offers all the functionalities of Turnitin, but with a simplified, more intuitive interface.  This should improve the user experience of the service. TFS is now fully integrated into GCULearn.

The short video below gives an overview of  the old and new versions.


More information and guidance is available from the following links:

Update on our data extraction experiences #jiscanlytics

With the upcoming Jisc Learning Analytics Network meeting next week I though it would be useful to share a little bit of our experiences so far with extracting data from our student records system into the Jisc LRW (learning records warehouse).  Ken Fraser, Business Intelligence Analyst, in our IS department has been leading the work on this. He took 10 minutes out of his schedule to share with me how things have been working so far, in terms of getting set up and using Pentaho Kettle for data extraction and validation in the LRW.

GCU Data Extraction Update, April 2017 (MP3, 7.5 minutes)

We are still waiting for our VLE data extraction – hopefully that will be happening in May, and we can start to really explore the data and share some more of our findings.

Open voices, art, inclusion and the common good #oer17

This week I attended the #OER17 conference in London. It was an inspiring event with practitioners from across the globe sharing how they have been using and developing both open educational resources (OER) and open educational practice.

One key theme that ran throughout the conference from the keynotes to the paper presentations and panels was the need for clearer articulation of open education. There is still a lack of mainstream knowledge and understanding of open education and the benefits it can bring to both individuals and institutions.

I was struck, once again by how much some of our GCU strategies, practice and activities align with open education, but how we don’t actually use “open” to explicitly define and share them. e.g. our mission “for the common good” and the developing Common Good Curriculum. They are are fundamentally about working with, and for the benefit of the wider community, which aligns perfectly with open educational practice.   We already have some very good foundations in place with our OER guidance from the library and edShare.

The keynotes this year were all excellent. Maha Bali (Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo), highlighted the need and nuances of inclusion and diversity.  Artist/activist Diana Acre, reminded us of the power of social art, of creating art activism within communities to bring about change at a community level and to help us create meaningful interactions and understanding to and with our wider community. Lucy Compton-Reid (Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK) highlighted the powerful ways in which incorporating  wikimedia into the classroom can bring about  extension of knowledge, contributions to “real world problems”, internationalization, working for the common good, and develop crucial digital literacy skills.  I will be writing a longer reflection on the conference on my own blog, but in the meantime I would encourage you to watch the keynotes, and share any of your thoughts in the comments.