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.


DIVERSE: Moving forward

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:

Archived cloud list view

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 "Another Test" cloud

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.

DIVERSE: Guest Access

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

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.


Attitudes towards online learning

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.

Online learning tools wordcloud

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.


HLSS Talk: 01.02.12

As part of the roll out of DIVERSE, myself and Max liaise with departments which have volunteered to use DIVERSE (HLSS and B&L). This role includes giving support and helping establish DIVERSE in modules through the use of workshops and talks etc. Today myself and Max gave a talk to a group of students studying a module in HLSS.

This talk gave us an opportunity to introduce the DIVERSE project to students and also allowed us to provide a demonstration on how to use the tool. Hopefully this talk has raised awareness amongst students, and will further help student engagment with the DIVERSE tool.

Until next time.

DIVERSE Update: 31.01.12

Apologies for the delay in updates over the last month, we have been very busy sorting out  the roll out of DIVERSE. The good news however, is that DIVERSE is now being used by Business & Law and HLSS, alongside it’s current usage within the School of Computer Science.

As part of this we are also conducting a survey about attitudes towards online learning. This survey can be found here.

From a technical standpoint, we have incorporated most of the features suggested by users. Based on feedback we received from our second workshop these changes seem to be well received. In terms of stability so far DIVERSE seems to be doing quite well; the real test however will be in the next few weeks when DIVERSE is being used regularly.

Part of the technical upgrades we have carried out also includes the addition of a statistics hub for DIVERSE. This hub is a serious of pages which produces data from how users are using DIVERSE; this data can then be used as part of our research.

In addition, this collection of statistics also allows us to work on future upgrades to DIVERSE, one such example is using these statistics to become part of an incentive program (e.g. user badges etc.) . These ideas will be covered in the future.

Until next time.