Category: Activities

Being more human online together

Many useful lists provide technical recommendations for optimising virtual meetings (here is one from the IT Services Team at ETH Zurich. In this short post, though, I will go one step further. In video conferencing we are, quite literally, “hosts”. This makes us responsible for managing the behaviour of others, especially if it is disruptive. In this context it is important to communicate our expectations clearly. This requires us to consider our own requirements and the needs and circumstances of those participating in our virtual sessions, and to find a balance between them.

Teaching involves relationships, firstly between lecturers and students, but also among students themselves. Therefore, effective facilitation addresses the needs inherent in human relationships and how we can respect these in the virtual environment.

Let’s look at some key aspects to be considered:

Eye contact

Eye contact conveys attention and interest. (Keep in mind here that some cultures prefer to avoid direct eye contact.) If you wish to transmit a sense of eye contact, you can do this by looking directly into the camera and not at the face of the person you are talking to, even if this means that you yourself lose eye-contact. One tip is to minimize the facial images and move them to the top of your screen, near your camera. Your gaze is then close to the camera, but focused on faces.

Names

Many video conferencing tools allow participants to change the name displayed alongside their image. Consider asking students to adjust this to their preferred name. “SmiJo” is a lot less personal than “John Smith” or even just “Johnny”.

Rapport

To build rapport, take the time to make people feel acknowledged and welcome at the beginning of a virtual session. Create space for “warming up” with smalltalk before launching into the reason for the session. Depending on the size of the group you may wish to greet individuals by name when they appear, even if they are late. If the group is large, you can still acknowledge latecomers en masse. Trusting that their reasons for being late are legitimate will help to create an atmosphere which is conducive to learning.

Sound

Think about how you want participants to manage sound. Is it important to minimise background noise? The more participants there are, the more distracting background noise can be. However, in smaller informal settings, ambient noise can help people feel connected – an important consideration the longer we are in physical isolation. Agree on how the mute button should be used.

Video

A common belief is that all participants should switch on their cameras when joining a Zoom meeting. However, this may be difficult for various reasons: attendees may not have a camera; there may be other people around; or their bandwidths may not be able to cope with video. Some people are also profoundly uncomfortable with displaying themselves on camera for long periods.

Lecturers should therefore consider why they want students to turn their cameras on. Then they should articulate their expectations, and consider equally acceptable alternatives. Do cameras really need to be switched on? If so, is that for the whole meeting? For example, if the meeting is long, but not particularly interactive, the lecturer might ask the students to turn their cameras on at the beginning to “establish contact”, but say that it’s OK to switch them off later. This might be especially relevant if everyone is viewing slides, for example. Using “hide self view” can also minimise the cognitive fatigue we are all experiencing due to the increased frequency of online meetings and length of time spend in video conferences.

Remember that not everyone thinks about how they appear on screen: it may be useful to give people feedback and guidance in this area. Their lighting may make their images too dark to see, or if the video is flickering it can be hard on the eye after a time.

Background

The background displayed on the screen can be both informative and distracting. Students may choose virtual backgrounds to obscure a messy room or one that reveals things they prefer to keep private (such as family photos or an extensive wine collection). If their choice of background is too distracting you should let them know. Conversely, you can use the virtual background function as a way to connect. Ask people to share a photo of a place meaningful to them, or an image that provides comic relief!

Movement

As the host, when you view a gallery of many faces your eye will naturally be drawn to movement. If people join via mobile phone or tablet, they are likely to be more mobile and may move around in their spaces. This is sometimes unavoidable, but it can be very distracting. Make participants aware of this and ask them to deactivate their screens if they change positions or if they are moving around a lot.

Chat

Think about the best way to use the chat function. Will you be monitoring it actively, or not at all? Would you like people to use the chat to announce their departure from the session? Most video conferencing tools offer multiple ways to communicate. Tell your students how you want them to use them.

The intention of this post was to encourage you to think broadly about how you run a virtual meeting or lecture as well as how you manage your own on-screen behaviour. Our available technology provides us with so many options, but these sometimes generate divergent behaviour. Here establishing fair expectations will go a long way towards facilitating a successful virtual event.

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First principles of teaching online

… and just like that, ETH Zurich has moved its teaching online. The buildings are empty, much like the streets outside. But teaching and learning continues, just in a very different way.

ETH Zürich, Zentrum, Hauptgebäude HG, Haupteingang, Rämistrasse

The response to the global pandemic has been swift. With very little time to prepare, an almost complete switch to online teaching and learning has taken place. At the time of writing, many lecturers and support staff are still working hard to put systems in place so that students can continue studying despite neither students nor lecturers having access to their lecture halls.

This is a challenging situation, and the transition has been demanding for students and lecturers alike. The technology has struggled with the sudden increase in traffic, and this has caused some downtimes or sudden changes to IT services on local, national and international levels. The new scenario has required flexibility on everyone’s part.

What follows is a list of key points to help you prioritise your decisions as you move your teaching online.

Check in with your students

They will be personally, financially and emotionally affected by this crisis. Attending your lectures remotely may no longer have the same priority it used to have. Communicate your care for them. Ask them what’s going on. Download the email list from eDoz so that if all else fails, you can stay in touch.

Find out if your students have accessibility issues. Do they have new obligations (such as childcare or care for elderly parents)? Do they have children at home now? What do they prefer: a recording of your lecture, or live streaming? Do you share the same time zone? What kind of internet access and bandwidth do they have? How can you optimise live attendance, recordings and other downloads for them? They may need subtitles on your recordings if they have hearing issues. Ask them. What suggestions can they offer?

Work backwards

Work backwards by first thinking about your course’s performance assessments. What is the minimum that students need to do to pass? Even if you do nothing else, make sure to communicate this minimum to them and tell them where to focus their efforts. Clarify the graded assignments and provide the necessary study material. Keep ETH regulations and policies in mind, but also expect more updates on them as the pandemic continues. You may need to develop additional creative ways for students to submit their work. For example, poster sessions may need to become homemade videos.

Prioritise your course’s learning objectives

What are the most important competences your students need to acquire? What skills should they practice? What knowledge do they need in order to pass? Focus on helping students achieve these goals and cull anything that is superfluous. Now is the time to become ruthlessly efficient. Help with writing learning objectives is available here.

Minimise your direct input

Resist the impulse to simply transpose your existing lecture materials to an online format. This is not just about moving what worked in a classroom to an online space. Watching a two-hour video of your lecture will be hard for students. Instead, create shorter sequences (think of TED talks!). Mix up your media, and complement your lecturer recordings with video conferencing, reading assignments, slide sharing and contributions from guest speakers. Follow up with an engaging task that makes your students think about and apply what they have just heard.

Build in interaction

Plan different ways for students to get active. Use discussion forums, online group activities, peer feedback or clicker questions and polls. Interaction can be synchronous (in real time, all together, for example via video conference or online chat) or asynchronous (at the students’ own pace, for example via a video recording of a lecture or participation in an online forum). Your course should deploy a mixture of both.

Talk to others

There are many different ways to share your experiences and the challenges you face. You are not alone! ETH offers the following platforms for you to communicate with others.

Different DIY scenarios for remote teaching are posted on the ETH website.

Many lecturers, both at ETH and globally, are using Twitter to exchange ideas. Use the hashtag #ETHZonline to share your experiences.

Which tools to use

Try to stick with standard ETH tools, because you can access support for them.

How to get help

ETH website – “Options for remote teaching”, especially do-it-yourself scenarios: https://ethz.ch/keepteaching

Online Teaching Forum. Post questions and upload resources you are willing to share.

Building an effective Moodle Course – Self-paced course for learning Moodle basics

Join the drop-in Zoom Sessions (e.g. the “Virtual Coffee Break” or “Refresh Teaching Special“).

If your department has an Educational Developer (find out), contact them for advice on both technology and didactics. Alternatively, contact LET Support by email or by phone between 8:00 and 18:00 on +41 44 632 06 65.

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How to Multiple Choice with Moodle

Multiple Choice (MC) questions are a popular but challenging to master item format for formative assessments and examinations. They facilitate probing students’ knowledge of facts and understanding of simple concepts and their relationships, particularly in large student cohorts.
MC items consist of a stem followed by a number of options. The stem always ends with a short and concise question. It should be possible to answer this question meaningfully without looking at the options (e.g. ‘which of the following options is true’ cannot be answered meaningfully, whereas ‘which animal species are mammals’ can be answered meaningfully). The question may be preceded by a case-study, central idea, or more elaborate problem statement. The options are short and concise and avoid negations.
MC items can be split into two families: The one-best-answer family and the true-false family. In the one-best-answer family, students have to select a single best answer from a set of options. Options that are not the single best answer we call distractors. In the ETH Moodle, this functionality is available through the SC(ETH) question type. In the true-false family, students have to evaluate each option whether it is true or false. In the ETH Moodle, this functionality is available through the MTF(ETH) and the Kprime(ETH) question type. We discourage using the standard Moodle Multiple Choice and the True/False question types, which are no longer needed.

SC(ETH): Single Choice, One-Best-Answer

Single choice (SC), one-best-answer question types are the most appropriate MC format in most occasions. Students need to select a single best answer from a set of options, usually three to five. Because students need to select the best answer from the options, the options by themselves do not need to be strictly true or strictly false. Instead, the best answer needs to be clearly better than all other options. This facilitates the design of much more nuanced questions than is possible with the true-false paradigm. As an alternative to selecting the best answer, students can cross out options they consider to be distractors. Crossing out distractors may either be just a help for students to find the best answer (scoring method SC 1/0) or be relevant for scoring (scoring method Aprime).


Scoring method SC 1/0 (recommended): Students receive full points if the single best option is selected and no points otherwise. Crossed out distractors are disregarded.


Scoring method Aprime: Students receive full points if the single best option is selected, half points if all distractors save one (and save the single best option) are crossed out, and zero points otherwise.

MTF(ETH): Multiple True-False

When a question or problem requires the evaluation of multiple aspects simultaneously, Multiple True-False (MTF) question types may be more appropriate than the SC format. Students need to evaluate every option from a set of one to many options individually as true or false. This implies that each option by itself needs to be clearly and unambiguously true or false. This is a considerable restriction on the kinds of options one can formulate and makes formulating good options much more difficult. Instead of ‘true’ and ‘false’ one can also choose any other two categories, e.g. ‘blue’ and ‘red’, ‘mammal’ and ‘bird’, etc. The MTF(ETH) question type offers two alternative scoring methods.


Scoring method Subpoints (recommended): Students receive subpoints for each correctly marked option.


Scoring method MTF 1/0: Students receive full points if they marked all options correctly, zero points otherwise. This scoring method is rather unpopular with students – the Kprime question type offers a better alternative (see below).

Kprime(ETH): A Popular Compromise

The Kprime question type is a special variant of the MTF question type. It has been popularized through its use in human medicine. The Kprime question type includes exactly four options and the following scoring method: Students receive full points if they mark all four options correctly, half points if they make one mistake, and zero points otherwise. To use this scoring method, select the Kprime scoring method in the Kprime(ETH) question type.

‘Multiple Choice’: No Longer Needed, Soon to be Retired

Please refrain from using the standard Moodle Multiple Choice question type. The scoring mechanics implemented in the standard Moodle Multiple Choice question type are problematic. Please use the SC(ETH), MFT(ETH), and Kprime(ETH) question types instead. We are preparing the migration of existing Multiple Choice items to the new ETH question types. Until this migration is successfully finished, the standard Multiple Choice question type will remain available.

If you are interested in further information on MC items and their design, we recommend the Didactica Course on Multiple Choice. Please refer to the current program https://www.didactica.ethz.ch/

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Weshalb Moodle?

Auf den Beitrag zum neuen Moodle-Design in diesem Blog im Januar diesen Jahres haben wir viel Feedback erhalten. Dafür möchten wir uns herzlich bedanken. Gerne möchten wir Ihnen im Nachgang mit diesem Blogbeitrag aufzeichnen, was eigentlich hinter Moodle steckt und weshalb sich die ETH Zürich für Moodle als strategische Lernplattform entschieden hat.

Seit rund 10 Jahren betreibt die ETH Zürich die zentrale Lernplattform Moodle. Anders als andere Plattformen (bspw. Blackboard) ist die Software Moodle ein Open-Source-Projekt. Vor über 20 Jahren hat ein Universitätsstudent aus Perth mit den Arbeiten an einer Software begonnen, um die Lehre über Distanz zu verbessern bzw. überhaupt erst zu ermöglichen. Martin Dougiamas hat dabei die Software von Beginn an offen gestaltet. So ist der komplette Source Code frei verfügbar, mehr noch: als Open-Source-Projekt fliessen immer wieder Ideen und Softwarecode in das Werkzeug ein.

Moodle bietet viele Schnittstellen, um individuelle Erweiterungen zu programmieren und andere Systeme anzubinden. Die Software ist modular aufgebaut, was es ermöglicht, neue Funktionen hinzuzufügen, ohne den Core-Code zu verändern.

Wer programmiert Moodle

Die Entwicklung des Core-Codes wird vom Headquarter vorantgetrieben, das Niederlassungen in Perth und Barcelona hat. Zur Zeit umfasst das Headquarter rund 75 Personen. Es gibt zusätzlich einige über die Welt verteilte Entwickler, die sich ebenfalls beteiligen. Meistens sind diese bei grossen Universitäten angestellt (auch an der ETH Zürich arbeiten zwei Entwickler für Moodle, dies vor allem im Bereich Onlineprüfungen). Zur Zeit hält Moodle weltweit einen Marktanteil von über 50% für Higher Education. Dies ist umso erstaunlicher, da es mit Blackboard, Brightspace und Instructure grosse Firmen gibt, die mit ihren Produkten an diesem Markt auftreten. Einige spannende Zahlen zu Moodle (Stand Mai 2019):

  • Registrierte Moodle-Installationen: über 100’000
  • Nutzerkonten: über 150 Millionen
  • Quizfragen: über 1.5 Milliarden

Entwicklungen in und für Moodle

Die ETH Zürich hat sich wie oben erwähnt, vor einigen Jahre für Moodle entschieden. Dies hatte verschiedene Gründe, dazu gehören: Die hohe Anpassbarkeit auf individuelle Bedürfnisse, eine sehr aktive und grosse Community, der Open-Source-Gedanke und einiges mehr.

Die ETH Zürich beteiligt sich in diversen Bereichen in der Moodle-Community. Speziell im Bereich Onlineprüfungen entwickeln wir didaktisch verbesserte Fragetypen (kPrime, Single Choice,…) und andere Erweiterungen (Ressilienz-Plugin bei Netzwerkstörungen) und stellen diese den anderen Nutzern – ganz im Open Source Gedanken – zur Verfügung (https://moodle.org/plugins/browse.php?list=contributor&id=91386 and https://github.com/ethz-let)

Das Moodle HQ hat einen klar definierten Entwicklungsplan und eine entsprechende Roadmap. Dies erlaubt es, frühzeitig eine stabile Serviceplanung zu machen. Die Roadmap ist öffentlich: https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Roadmap

Die zwei funktionellen Updates des Moodle-Cores pro Jahr werden an der ETH Zürich nach einigen Wochen installiert und damit auch die neuen und verbesserten Funktionen unseren Studierenden und Dozierenden zur Verfügung gestellt. Dieses Vorgehen ist auch aus Sicherheitsperspektive sinnvoll, da damit auch allfällige Bugs und security issues beseitigt werden.

«Lieber Support, ich habe einen Fehler entdeckt!»
«Lieber Support, ich habe eine tolle Idee!»

Vorteil einer Open-Source Software ist ihre Anpassbarkeit. Man kann grundsätzlich alles verändern. Da wir immer wieder die neueste Version des Core-Codes einspielen, verzichten wir darauf, diesen lokal bei uns zu verändern. In einer Community unterwegs zu sein, heisst aber eben auch, nicht direkten Einfluss auf die Entwicklung des Core-Codes zu haben. Wir sind sehr dankbar, von unseren Studierenden und Dozierenden immer wieder wertvolle Vorschläge zu erhalten. Sofern wir diese nicht direkt auf unserem System – ohne Veränderung des Core-Codes- umsetzen können, geben wir diese gerne in die Community weiter. Leider ist dieser Prozess allerdings nicht immer von Erfolg gekrönt.

Es gibt im Moodle Universum natürlich auch viele andere Entwicklerinnen, die Plugins ebenfalls Open-Source zur Verfügung stellen. Grundsätzlich lassen sich diese auf alle kompatiblen Moodle-Installationen installieren. Allerdings empfiehlt es sich hier, zurückhaltend zu sein. Einerseits weil jedes zusätzliche Modul die Software komplexer (und langsamer) macht. Andererseits muss sehr genau geklärt werden, wie häufig ein Plugin aktualisiert wird. Denn falls ein Plugin nicht mehr gewartet wird, was durchaus passieren kann, ist es irgendwann nicht mehr kompatibel. Dann muss man sich als Moodle-Anbieter entscheiden zwischen Plugin behalten und Moodle veralten lassen oder Plugin löschen und Moodle aktualisieren – beides eher suboptimal. Wir an der ETH haben einige Plugins im Einsatz, so beispielsweise Gruppenauswahl (Universität Lausanne)Scheduler (Universität of York), Open Cast (Universität Münster), evaluieren aber sehr genau, ob wir das Risiko des oben genannten Problems möglich klein halten können.

Fragen oder Kommentare? Wir freuen uns, mit Ihnen hier über darüber zu diskutieren!

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New topics for Refresh Teaching 2019 announced

Since 2015, the Educational Development and Technology unit (LET) at ETH has been running lunch-time seminars designed to provide short insights into innovative teaching at ETH.

These events feature ETH teaching staff speaking and sharing their own ideas and experiences with didactic initiatives. Each event includes an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and discuss ideas among themselves. After the discussion, an optional lunch is provided which creates more time for networking and exchange.

The topics for 2019 have now been announced and include many relevant topics such as “Assessment drives learning”, “Interactive videos” and “Data literacy”. Each year, the topics are crowdsourced both from attendees of previous events, Educational Developers in the departments, as well as LET staff who scan current trends in the higher education teaching world.

Following the individual events, the presentation materials are uploaded on the Refresh Teaching website along with additional relevant resources and photos to help document the event.

ETH staff interested in attending a Refresh Teaching event can check the website for the current presentation topics and are asked to register for catering purposes.

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Conference: What works in teaching and why

ETH will host this year’s Swiss Faculty Development Network’s (SFDN) annual conference on 22 February 2019. SFDN is the professional association of faculty developers in Switzerland. Its main objective is to “build up the teaching and learning capacity in higher education institutions in Switzerland.” LET, the ETH unit for Educational Development and Technology, has been a member for many years.

SFDN Logo. A red sillouette of Switzerland with a white cross where the words SFDN Swiss Faculty Development Network appear.

The SFDN annual conference is where people involved in higher education from all around the country meet, present examples of their practice and discuss their conclusions for student learning. The title of this year’s conference is “How research on learning contributes to university teaching practice” and is intended to stimulate discussion on how robust investigations are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching practices.

Prof. Dr. Springman, ETH Rector will welcome participants and Prof. Dr. Manu Kapur, Chair of Learning Sciences and Higher Education at ETH Zurich will present the keynote address on the topic of: “From the Science of Learning to the Design of Learning ”.

For a fuller description please see the conference website.

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Learning and Teaching Fair 2018

Dr. Oded Zilberberg and Dr. Dieter Wüest using a HoloLens

This year the first Learning and Teaching Fair took place at ETH Zurich on Wednesday, 14 November 2018. The Learning and Teaching Fair 2018 was the most comprehensive internal event on learning and teaching at ETH so far and the hard work and creative teaching of lecturers was placed firmly in the spotlight. By building on the previous successes of the annual Innovedum events, a wide community of around 180 engaged individuals were able to come together for discussion, feedback and inspiration on the topic of student learning.

Photo: Heidi Hostettler

Participants, presenters and exhibition stands

In total 25 different posters featuring innovative teaching and learning projects were exhibited. The topics of the posters were wide-ranging but all of them featured innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Some of the projects included a Hololens or Virtual Reality demonstration. Others focused on specific didactic techniques, such as flipped classroom and peer-review. (A full list of the posters can be found in the exhibition guide.) Many of the projects featured were made possible with grants made through the Innovedum fund, a special fund which the Rector, Dr. Sarah Springman, presides over. Prof. Andreas Vaterlaus, Vice-Rector for Curriculum Development, provided insight and advice into how teaching staff can access this funding for innovative projects.

The Proceedings of the Learning & Teaching Fair were published in the special edition and first issue of the ETH Learning & Teaching Journal. The Proceedings contain summaries of the projects exhibited at the Fair and for selected projects, details concerning their implementation at ETH and analyses in view of promoting student learning. The ETH Learning & Teaching journal is also available as an open online journal at www.learningteaching.ethz.ch. It will release two issues a year and extend calls for contributions to all persons involved in learning and teaching at ETH.

Photo: Heidi Hostettler

Food for thought

The guest keynote speaker, Prof. Jörn Loviscach, Professor of Technical Mathematics and Computer Engineering at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences provided a critical overview of the impact that digital technology can have in the classroom. He recommended staying flexible and introducing promising learning technology thoughtfully. Prof. Sarah Springman echoed this theme by reminding the audience of the importance to continuously adapt education. In a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, (what she referred to as the VUCA world) teaching staff need to be able to prepare students for the unknowable. Without ongoing innovation, education runs the risk of teaching outdated concepts using outdated methods.

Photo: Heidi Hostettler

Student powered innovation

A group of students were invited to present their own ideas for innovation related to teaching and learning. Their ideas were developed using a human-centered, rapid-prototyping method. A strong theme that emerged from their ideas, was the need not only to increase interdisciplinarity, but to make it easier to do so. (A summary of the students’ projects can be found on the Student Innovedum webpage.)

Photo: Heidi Hostettler

The purpose of the event was not only to present different approaches to learning and teaching, but also to provide an environment where reflection on the effectiveness of those approaches is most welcome. This attracted teaching staff, students and educational developers from all the departments at ETH. By bringing together people who are passionate about innovative and effective teaching, important conversations were sparked and the event organisers were able to feel proud of a job well done.

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Online-Unterrichtsbeurteilung im Hörsaal ist nun einfach möglich

Den Fragebogen kann man auch online im Hörsaal ausfüllen.

Studien zeigen, dass sich die Rücklaufquote zur Unterrichtsbeurteilung steigern lässt, wenn Dozierende die Studierenden zur Teilnahme an der UB motivieren und Zeit zum Ausfüllen der Umfrage im Unterricht zur Verfügung stellen.
Wir haben unser Evaluierungssystem EvaSys in diesem Jahr so weiterentwickelt, dass die Dozierenden in der Lage sind, das Startdatum der Umfrage zur Beurteilung ihrer Lerneinheit selber einzustellen. Dies ist insbesondere sinnvoll wenn die Online-Unterrichtsbeurteilung im zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt im Hörsaal durchgeführt werden soll.
Ein AAI-Login mit nethz-Zugangsdaten unter der URL
https://evasys-back1.let.ethz.ch/EUB/
genügt und die Dozierenden landen in der Ansicht “Meine Umfragen”.

Was ist in dieser Ansicht möglich?
Im aktuellen Semester:
Die Dozierenden sehen alle ihre Lerneinheiten des Semesters, zu denen eine Umfrage angelegt wurde. Sowohl Haupt- als auch Sekundärdozierende einer Lerneinheit können das Startdatum der Online-Umfrage durch Klicken auf das Bleistift-Symbol anpassen. Wenn die Befragung online im Hörsaal durchgeführt werden soll, startet sie/er die Umfrage idealerweise ca. 15 Minuten vor Beginn der Veranstaltung. Die Studierenden erhalten zum eingestellten Zeitpunkt via E-Mail einen personalisierten Link zur Umfrage und der/die Dozierende kann die Studierenden auffordern, die Umfrage im Hörsaal mit mobilen Geräten auszufüllen.

Für vergangene Semester:
Durch Wahl eines vergangenen Semesters können Dozierende die Resultate aus Lerneinheits- und Leistungskontrollbeurteilungen der letzten 7 Jahre einsehen, die Sie betreffen.

Wir hoffen, dass ab dem HS18 viele Dozierende die Möglichkeit einer Kursbeurteilung in Hörsaal nutzen und dadurch ein positiver Effekt auf die Rücklaufquote sichtbar wird.

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Online-Prüfungen direkt nach Semesterende: Raum mit 240 Plätzen steht neu zur Verfügung

Seit der Prüfungssession im Februar 2018 betreiben die Informatikdienste zusammen mit der Abteilung LET in der sogenannten Fokushalle im ONA-Gebäude an der Neunbrunnenstrasse in Oerlikon einen Prüfungsraum mit 240 Plätzen für Studierende. Die verfügbare Raumkapazität für Online-Prüfungen in den Prüfungssessionen konnte damit verdoppelt werden. Die Fokushalle ONA E7, in der während des Semesters Vorlesungen des D-ARCH stattfinden, wird jeweils für die Prüfungen um- und nach der Prüfungssession wieder rückgebaut.

Online-Prüfungen direkt nach dem Semesterende: Der Raum ONA E7 in Oerlikon mit 240 Prüfungsplätzen steht zur Verfügung. (Bild: ETH/Alessandro Della Bella)

Nun steht der nächste Quantensprung an: Das D-ARCH stellt die Fokushalle ab dem Herbstsemester 2018 früher für Prüfungen zur Verfügung. Die Informatikdienste und die Abteilung LET können daher diese grosse Halle schon nach dem Semesterende für Online-Prüfungen anbieten. Online-Prüfungen im ONA E7 sind in den kommenden Semestern immer ab dem ersten Montag nach Semesterende möglich. Die Kapazitäten für Online-Prüfungen in den Wochen nach dem Semesterende können dadurch fast verdreifacht werden.

Insbesondere für Dozierende, die ihre Semesterendprüfung oder benotete Semesterleistung nach Semesterende am Computer durchführen möchten, ist das eine sehr gute Nachricht. Bisher waren die Kapazitäten rund um das Semesterende ausgelastet und wir mussten diverse Anträge negativ beantworten. Die entstandene Warteliste können wir nun verkleinern. Online-Prüfungen mit vielen Studierenden und mit Verwendung von Drittapplikationen (z.B. Statistiksoftware) konnten nun bewilligt werden.

Die Abteilung LET dankt dem Departement ARCH für das grosszügige Entgegenkommen bei der Belegung der Fokushalle ONA E7. Die Verwendung der Fokushalle für Vorlesungen im Semester und für Online-Prüfungen zwischen den Semestern stellt für die ETH Zürich einen grossen Gewinn dar. Schon vorhandene Raumressourcen werden effektiv verwendet, ohne dass dadurch mehr Mietkosten entstehen.

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#moodleDACH18 – a success story

A month ago ETH hosted the Moodle DACHunconference and Devcamp (https://www.moodle-dach.eu/) which has a specific focus on using Moodle in the higher education context. About 140 Moodle administrators, power users and developers from all over the world, met in the Earth sciences building. During the entire event the hashtag #moodleDACH18 was used. View the twitter wall with impressions and thoughts at https://walls.io/moodledach18.

Unconference

The first part was organised as a BarCamp. This format focusses on interactive meetings with short inputs. The agenda is co-constructed with the participants on the first morning of the conference. This means there are no submissions, papers or presentations submitted ahead of time, which greatly minimises preparation and the organisational work required. The participants were invited to pitch ideas for a session within 30 seconds. Directly afterwards these ideas were added to an online programme (session plan BarCamp) and allocated to an available meeting room. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), learning analytics, the usability of Moodle and online exams were central topics and well visited.

Participants queuing to pitch their ideas for a session.

DevCamp

After a day and a half of BarCamp the DevCamp started. After another idea pitching phase, 12 development projects started. Their primary goal was to have working code after the DevCamp. It was impressive to see, how the projects grew and almost all succeeded in presenting a working result on the final day. You can find an overview of the projects here (DevCamp projects). All participants then voted for the best project and thanks to our sponsors, three projects («Essay question word/char count», «Notification API Message Output», «MCDS-Moodle content Delivery System Admin Tool») won a prize.


Closing image of the DevCamp with most of the participants.

Conclusion

#moodleDACH18 was a real success story. The BarCampmethod changes the way how a conference works entirely. Interactive, spontaneous, diverse, discursive and cross-linked –those are all the hallmarks of a BarCamp, and we believe, this is one way how conferences of the 21st century could look. It minimises the preparation time and allows for flexibility and emergent topics. Additionally, the BarCamps were completely digitised. By using Moodle, Twitter and Google Docs there wasn’t hardcopy of anything to be seen anywhere.

The Moodle team at LET benefited strongly by participating in this event. Firstly, there was benefit that comes from networking with others from different higher education institutions. Seeing how Moodle is implemented in other places helps to identify areas where ETH is on the cutting edge, such as online exams, or where we could learn from the experience of others. Secondly, it nourishes relationships and thirdly, it helps to drive strategy for the development of Moodle on an institutional level and more generally.

The next Moodle DACH will be in Vienna.

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