This week has been an interesting week for DIVERSE. This week saw the DIVERSE team heading to Barcelona (Spain) to attend and present DIVERSE at the EDULEARN12 conference for Education and New Learning Technologies. EDULEARN12 had over 700 delegates from over 75 different countries and is an internationally recognised conference in the field of education and technology.
As part of this conference, an academic paper on the findings of DIVERSE was published and the abstract of this paper is available here: In addition, Max and I gave a presentation on DIVERSE as part of one of the conference sessions into technology enhanced learning.
Overall the presentation went very well and attracted a lot of positive feedback and interest from delegates attending the session. The presentation from this session is attached below:
So to sum up the EDULEARN12 conference was a great experience and allowed us to demonstrate DIVERSE at an international level.
Until next time.
As we draw to the end of this academic year the issue of what happens next needs to be looked at. The current plan is to utilise the DIVERSE in some capacity in classes run in the next academic year. Therefore, from a technical point of view this presents the issue of what to do with existing clouds that where created and used this year.
From feedback from students and lecturers one thing that was made clear is that both groups would like access to previous clouds. Consequently, the need for an archive system was needed for DIVERSE.
I am pleased to announce that such a system is now online and ready. The archiving system has added two key pages. Firstly, the archived cloud list page for each module; this page contains links to the archived clouds. Currently, these pages look like this:
An example of the archived cloud list page
This however will populate with all the current clouds on the 101 module in September when the new academic year begins.
The other aspect to this system is the archived view of the clouds themselves. This view is basically a stripped down version of the standard view, an example can be seen below:
The archive view of the "DIVERSE Introduction" cloud
As you can see the menus for adding and editing this cloud have been removed. In addition, the voting links have also been removed from each resource so this view is in effect a snapshot of the past cloud.
One of the other additions the introduction of this archiving system has added is cloud types. Cloud types are currently a simple measure for separating academic clouds from those which are more generic and may have a different purpose. The reason for creating this separation is that it means non-academic clouds are not archived at the end of the year. Therefore, it also can be useful for clouds which maybe built upon for longer than an academic year.
Until next time.
To help demonstrate DIVERSE to a wider audience we have taken the decision to add a guest account to DIVERSE. This guest account allows non UoL students to access and use DIVERSE; albeit in a limited way.
Guests are limited to accessing the public DIVERSE clouds, and are unable to make requests for new clouds like regular users can. The reason for this is to protect DIVERSE from spam and also to ensure academic clouds can be separated for statistics purposes.
As part of this update we have also introduced a new login screen which all users will be presented with when they next try to access DIVERSE.
DIVERSE login splash page
This splash page gives a visitor the option of logging in using their UoL account (the traditional login method), or they can use the guest login. There is also an option on this page for UoL students to hide this page for future convenience.
To access this new login system, simply visit the DIVERSE login page or if you want to use the new guest account simply go to the guest page.
Until next time.
One area we have looked into as part of the DIVERSE project, is the attitudes students have towards online learning. As such, we have recently carried out a survey amongst university students to learn more about their attitudes and perceptions towards online learning.
The results of this survey were in general positive, and demonstrate that students clearly value online learning as part of their studies. This is illustrated in the word cloud below that summarises student’s opinions on online learning tools.
A word cloud representing opinions of online learning tools
From this word cloud it is clear that students view online learning tools as an advantage to their studies. This is further reinforced when students were asked to rate their experiences with online learning tools. In this case, the mean rating for online learning tools was 7/10.
This survey also examined student usage of online learning tools and found that 93.11% of students surveyed reported using an online learning tool at least 2-3 times a week. However, this pales in comparison to social networking usage amongst students, as 86.21% of participants reported using a social networking site on a daily basis.
The overall conclusion from this survey suggests that online learning tools are perceived well by students.
One of the recent changes here at DIVERSE was the decision to offer the resource clouds out to wider spectrum of lecturers and students within the University of Lincoln. We wanted people to benefit from DIVERSE and with the exam period creeping up we’re giving all lecturers within the School of Computer Science the option to adopt DIVERSE to help aid their revision plans for students. Since the announcement we’ve noted a noticeable increase in the amount of lecturers logging in to DIVERSE; we’re hoping after seeing what we’ve created they’ll opt to take it to the next level and start using it within their lectures!
Keep posted to find out more
Here at DIVERSE we’re always looking for new ways to spread the word and get people involved with the work we’ve been carrying out. When the opportunity to take part in Dev8D (a developer conference focused around developing for HE) came up we thought it would be a great opportunity to spread the word about DIVERSE.
Myself, Ben and John took the trip down to London for the 3 day conference at the University of London Union. Whilst there we were not only able to network and learn about other interesting HE projects but we were also able to pitch DIVERSE in one of the ‘lightning talk’ sessions. This allowed us to reach out to other developers from around the country and give them an insight into the work we had been doing. The response was positive and we hope to spread the word even further by attending more conferences in the near future.
As always keep tuned for our lastest updates!