Changes to TurnItIn for next year

The Learn interface to TurnItIn is changing next year.  When the new edition of Learn is released on July 22nd, all TurnItIn assignments will need to be re-created for the new session.  This is no different from previous years, although the software will look slightly different (see: Changes to Turnitin ).

A six-slide PowerPoint presentation is available to show students how to submit coursework using the new TurnItIn assignment.  It may be added to a module as a standalone resource or incorporated into a lecture presentation.

  • If your module uses a TurnItIn assignment activity, a new instance of the activity will need to be created in the 2014-15 module, just as you should have created a new activity last year.
  • The new TurnItIn assignments will be created with a new version of the software, and work through a new TurnItIn account.
  • As usual, students involved in the SAP will use last year’s edition of Learn (which will be called Learn13) and the old 2013 TurnItIn assignments will still work.

Potential problem using TurnItIn's iPad App

Rob Howe from Northampton University reports a problem with the TurnItIn iPad app which results in loss of data.  The full description is in this blog posting

Essentially, if the iPad user changes their iPad profile during a marking session, they will lose the data already marked, because the iPad thinks it belongs to somebody else.  The data cannot be recovered.

Rob’s advice – to make sure you sync the data often, particularly at the start of a session – seems sound.


Forthcoming JISC Netskills Workshops

Introduction to Instructional Design for e-Learning
Date: 19th February & 27th March 2014
Location: Online

This practical workshop explains methodologies behind effective instructional design – often referred to as the “holy grail of e-learning”.

We will demonstrate how to use specific and appropriate development tools as well as provide strategies and techniques to support the iterative process of instructional design.

For full details: 19th Feb: & 27th March:

Podcasting – A Practical Guide
Date: 20th March 2014
Location: Online

Producing a podcast is simple but on this online workshop you will learn the tips and tricks of creating one that people will actually enjoy listening to. You will have the opportunity to evaluate a range of podcasts, as well as record, edit and publish your own.

For full details:

Dates: 3rd March 2014
Location: Online

Screencasts are an innovative method of communication and instruction based on broadcasting a recording of screen activity, often combined with narration and other visuals. This workshop covers different approaches from live-recording, to post production editing of mixed media.

For full details:

Changes to Jisc funding

[from Jisc press release 12/09/13]

Jisc, the UK charity which provides digital services for education and research, is today writing to UK universities to outline proposed refinements to the organisation’s funding model.

Since the publication of Sir Alan Wilson’s review of Jisc in February 2011 it has enhanced its integration with the sector to deliver products and services developed around its needs. With the balance of higher education funding moving from grants to subscriptions, Jisc funding needs to evolve similarly. The changes mean that Jisc’s existing subscription model for the Janet network will be refined, with the proposed change coming into effect from the start of the academic year 2014-15.

This will ensure that universities continue to benefit from a world class research and education network, negotiated rich and up-to-date online collections, best practice advice on many different areas and targeted research and development.

Explaining the changes, Martyn Harrow, Jisc chief executive said, “Jisc’s funding has decreased over the past few years and will continue to do so. We have made efficiency improvements meaning that Jisc will absorb the majority of these financial reductions without threatening any of the core services on which the sector depends.

“We are currently writing to all higher education institutions setting out details of these changes and the implications for their 2014-15 budgets. There should be minimal change in the further education and skills sectors, and we will be communicating in due course to clarify the position for this sector.”

Commenting on these changes Nicola Dandridge, chief executive, UUK said, “UUK recognises the importance and value of Jisc and the work it does across the higher education, further education and skills sectors to support the use of digital technologies. We are fully supportive of the new sector driven governance model for the organisation and the work that has been done to shape Jisc to be leaner, better value, and even more focused operationally and strategically on the true wants and needs of the sector.”

Each year Jisc saves the sectors it serves around £260m – three times its operating costs – in direct savings and cost avoidance, in effect saving each individual institution many times its own subscription. In addition to these efficiencies, Jisc will minimise the impact of the shift by creating the largest VAT cost sharing group in the UK meaning that institutions will not pay VAT on future Jisc subscriptions.  

“We know the financial pressure all our institutions are under, so we will continue to look at the way Jisc works and will constantly strive to improve our services. In his review Sir Alan Wilson described Jisc as a ‘national asset’, these changes will ensure that learners and researchers – both on and off campus – continue to have instant access to an unrivalled research and education network,  as well as vital collections and resources that are of immense benefit to them,” said Martyn.

Ultra High Definition video for healthcare education

uhdcardiff-cropToday researchers at UK universities will carry out 3D demonstrations on a ‘virtual patient’, showing how groundbreaking ultra high definition (UHD) technology is making a real difference to medical training and diagnosis.

Already used by trainee radiographers at Cardiff University, UHD technology, using the UK’s research and education high-speed data network Janet, has the potential to revolutionise the way medical training is conducted. It will not only free up treatment rooms for patients but also enable students to grow their competences in a virtual world before treating ‘actual’ patients. By sharing resources with other university sites significant savings could be made, as well as enabling shared expertise.

This showcase is the first of two run by the UK Ultra High Definition Consortium consisting of the universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Strathclyde, and Glasgow School of Art. Today’s demonstration shows radiographers at Cardiff’s Healthcare Studies undergoing training on a ‘virtual patient’ using 3D technology, bringing to life an area of the body in need of treatment. The streams, of 4-8K content (that’s 4 – 8 times the resolution of normal HD) will also be shared with other sites at Bristol and PSNC (The Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre in Poland). It will also show computational modelling on arterial cells – the results of collaboration with the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group based at the Wales Heart Research Institute in Cardiff.

Nick Avis, professor of interactive visualization and virtual environments at Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science & Informatics explains: “The great thing about UHD video is that it enables us to use high fidelity visuals to replicate the human body, which are critical for modern diagnostics. However, delivering this data-intensive digital media to remote users, whilst retaining high visual quality, requires high-speed networking and infrastructure.

“We are fortunate to be able to use Janet’s high capacity data network to collaborate with research partners and push the boundaries of this technology, not only in the UK but internationally too.”

Dimitra Simeonidou, professor of high performance networks at the University of Bristol explains: “For remote applications, such as real time medical training to thrive, the network infrastructure must become dynamic and readily consumable. A fundamentally new approach is required in the way we design today’s networks.

“The High Performance Networks group at Bristol develops ground-breaking technology which automates any network infrastructure, transforming it into a reflexive environment that instantaneously establishes network services at global scales. Today we demonstrate the benefits of such technologies using the medical training platform at Cardiff as exemplary application.”

The UK Ultra High Definition Consortium is the first of its kind in the country to build an integrated networked infrastructure for research into novel multimedia techniques and networking architectures. Through their work, the group aims to develop and deploy the next generation of networked UHD applications.

Emma Smith, video projects co-ordinator at Janet, member of the UK Ultra High Definition Consortium explains: “Ultra High Definition is the next generation of high fidelity digital media. Until now it has been most heavily associated with the entertainment industry and more recently large-screen coverage of the 2012 Olympics.

“This research will not only benefit research and education, but also has the potential to enable virtual museums/tourism, performing arts collaborations and many more. We are pleased to be able to support these types of collaborations through Janet.”

Already other research into UHD technology is taking shape as a direct result of this project. This includes a proposal for an EU/Brazil partnership to explore the infrastructure requirements to combine technical developments in cloud technology and the use of high definition content. It may yet be some years off, but as research in this area develops we may start to see its deployment across a wider range of disciplines and eventually across mainstream video.

A second showcase will take place later in the year at Glasgow School of Arts to further demonstrate the use of this technology.

[Adpated from a JISC press release published 19/04/13]

Know your learners

Wordle: accessibility

Did you know that there are approximately 200,000 students in HE who have a declared disability (DIUS,2009)? I was made aware of this in an online session about eLearning and accessibility.

As online content providers, it is our responsibility to ensure that we design resources which are as inclusive as possible. But how can we do this if we do not know much about the disabilities themselves? Here is a link to a site that contains a collection of simulations for various disabilities. It gives us a useful insight into the difficulties faced by these students.

Use of Social Software: Request

Having recently conducted an audit of all modules on Learn, we are aware that some modules really do push the boat out and try out new things. If you are one of those who specifically make use of social software for instance wikis or Facebook within your module then a new JISC-funded project is looking to develop a handbook to disseminate the effectiveness of social software initiatives.

If you would like to share your findings and contribute to the project, please contact Dr. Shailey Minocha,




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Are you making the most of social media to support your students?

[News release from JISC Announce 16.8.2012]

Celebrating 10,000 followers… and our resources to help engage students through social media

To celebrate our ten thousandth Twitter follower, we showcase some resources that can help you blog, tweet and interact your way to better student retention, marketing and teaching online.

1.            Listen to a podcast on developing your social media strategy with Steph Gray of Helpful Technology


2.            Read JISC CETIS’ ideas about using Twitter in the classroom


3.            Learn  how Cardiff (@cardiffio), Northumbria (@NUSSW) and Bristol (@UoBristol_Intl) universities use Twitter to support international students

4.            Reflect on how your PhD students are using social media and other new technologies to collaborate and stay up to date using the biggest ever survey of PhD students


5.            Read the London School of Economics’ guide to Tweeting for academics


6.            Compare your university to other universities.

Find out which social media networks others are using on the UK Web Focus blog post <>

7.            Read a case study on engaging students through blogging


 While you’re keeping up to date online, don’t forget to follow us @JISC on Twitter.

JISC News Release: Developing digital literacy – trial and error?

A JISC study has found that learners develop a variety of digital literacies often through a social trial-and-error process, without the direct support or advice of their educational institutions.

Ben Showers, JISC programme manager, said, “By understanding and recognising students’ hidden behaviours and motivations, JISC is in a position to help universities and colleges develop better digital services and resources, with the student experience significantly improved.”

To understand learners’ engagement with digital technologies, JISC is now funding the next phase of the project, which uses the concept of visitors and residents to describe their online journey.

The visitor sees the internet as a toolbox that they use for a specific task and then leave the web without leaving a footprint.  The resident partially lives out their life online; they see the web as somewhere they can express themselves.

It’s the next phase in a longitudinal study into US and UK learners at different stages of their education in a partnership between the University of Oxford and OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., in collaboration with the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

The study says that there is now a learning ‘black market’ where learners use non-traditional sources of information online, which may lack academic credibility. While these practices can be effective for their studies, students are often wary of citing such resources.

Gaining an understanding of these emerging practices will help ensure that projects and institutions provide effective advice and guidance in the ongoing development of digital skills.

Showers said, “It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the Visitors and Residents work.  It is not only challenging assumptions about how students use technology, but it is shedding light on those practices, attitudes and techniques students employ online.”

There are more intriguing findings from the study, including that LinkedIn becomes more important to people in the later stages of their education; that there is more skepticism in the US than the UK education system over students’ use of Wikipedia; and that students prefer email over instant messenger and other tools for ‘administrative’ tasks such as contacting a researcher.

“We are very excited to continue this work,” said co-principal investigator Lynn Silipigni Connaway. “We believe our preliminary findings will have a great impact on the development of services and systems for teaching and learning.”

“The project is discovering the extent to which the embedding of the web in both personal and institutional contexts is changing the way we learn, teach and research,” said co-principal investigator David White. “We are delighted to be able to explore this further and to have the opportunity to create resources that can be used to reflect on, and experiment with, new forms of professional practice.”

Find out more about the project


Read the latest report in PDF


Watch a video interview with the two leading project leads David White (University of Oxford) and Lynn Silipigni Connaway (OCLC Research) <>

JISC – Out with the old

This message has just been posted to the JISC Announce mailing list by Martyn Harrow, the new Chief Executive, and marks the end of an era for JISC, at least in terms of the way funding is distributed.

Below you will find one funding call, which represents the end of our funding programme for the 2011-2012 academic year. Given the significant changes now being geared up for JISC, I thought you would appreciate it if I set these final calls in context.

In the Wilson Review of JISC published in February 2011, our customers, communities and funders expressed their views very clearly about the kind of reshaped and impactful JISC they wanted us to become. Following that a Transition Group was set up with senior representatives from across the sectors we serve to produce a more developed blueprint for this new JISC.

I started as Executive Secretary on 1st February; and since that time we have been working very hard to mobilise all the necessary actions to make this transition to a ‘new JISC for new times’ happen in practice. This new JISC will have a more focused mandate, will be driven by the needs of those we serve and will work within a significantly tighter funding envelope. Among many other things, therefore, it will require a new ‘business/funding model’. Proposals for which, based on the recommendations accepted from the Wilson Review and Transition Group report, are being prepared for approval. Once finalised and agreed, I expect this to commence in the financial year 2013/14.

So a lot of work is in hand. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) below is therefore the last that will be undertaken in quite this way; and seeks to tie off existing commitments elegantly and obtain best value from the remaining funds allocated to JISC this year. For 2012/13 and beyond, it is my intention that increasingly the priorities for all JISC activity, including the allocation of any funds which can be made available for ‘pathfinding’ activity, will be arrived at in consultation with our customers, owners and funders – and agreed with our Board – in a more transparent and ‘co-invented’ process.

I hope the above is helpful. If I can provide any further information or clarification on these points specifically, please feel free to contact me at Otherwise, the contact details for the ITT are referenced below.

 With best regards,

 Martyn C Harrow

 JISC Executive Secretary


 JISC, the UK’s leading expert on the information and digital technologies for education and research invites tenders for work as part of its Learning and Teaching Portfolio.

 One tender is issued from the Learning and Teaching Portfolio:

  • Coursedata demonstrators: The projects will demonstrate the value to both institutions and students of aggregated, standardised course data using the xcri-cap 1.2 feeds produced by the JISC #coursedata programme. The aim is to provide compelling examples of how standardised course advertising data can be used to improve recruitment, retention and the student experience. Please click this link for further information .