Digital Learning Platforms 2020-21
This summer will see improvements and additions to UAL’s digital learning platforms. The changes are part of an ongoing process of development overseen by the UAL Digital Learning Platforms Advisory Group.
The underlying infrastructure for Moodle is being invested in to support a higher level of concurrent activity. This development should also allow the maximum file size to be increased beyond 100MB where needed. The approach for file size is still to be finalised. Moodle will be upgraded in July 2020.
The core functionality of Moodle will not change but the implementation of a new integration with Collaborate Ultra is included in the plans.
MyBlog is a WordPress blogging and website platform. The university is investing in the infrastructure that supports MyBlog this summer to improve its performance. It is likely to involve a small amount of downtime which is yet to be scheduled.
New for 2020-21?
There will be at least one new platform this summer, maybe two, possibly three!
Panopto is UAL’s new video platform. It was piloted at CSM this term and it will be available to everyone in August. See Early access to Panopto for further details about the platform and to request early access.
Blackboard Ally is a digital accessibility tool for Moodle. It provides staff with built-in feedback on how to improve the accessibility of Moodle resources so that they can be accessed by all students. It also generates additional formats of uploaded resources. Ally will be available to some colleagues during 2020-21 but the scale of implementation is yet to be decided.
Padlet, a non-UAL digital platform, is gaining popularity across UAL for use in teaching and learning. It’s potential uses with students are currently limited by data protection and other considerations (see below). However, the possibility of adopting the premium version is currently being explored which would enable wider pedagogical uses.
Using non-UAL digital platforms
Giving students experience of a wide range of digital tools is important but the use of non-UAL tools in teaching and learning must take into account issues such as data protection and what support is available for using the tools.
There is a university guide (pdf) covering when it’s appropraite to use non-UAL digital platforms and when they must be avoided.
Developing the platforms
UAL’s suite of Digital Learning platforms have been developed and added to over many years. Since 2019 there are been a central group overseeing the future development of these platforms, the Digital Learning Platforms Advisory Group (DLPAG).
The group includes a representative from each college (me for LCC) alongside colleagues from UAL Digital Learning, IT Services, Online Short Courses & Academic Registry. Each year the group prioritises work for the following year. If you would like to feed into this process don’t hesitate to contact me.