Educational Technologies

  Moodle

What is Moodle?

Moodle is the online Virtual Learning Environment used at City University.

It enables staff to provide students with access to online course materials, resources, interactive activities, assessment and communication tools.


  Adobe Connect

What is Adobe Connect?

Adobe Connect is an online collaboration tool where users interact with audio, video and chat, and can share files and screen activities.


  City Blogs

What are City Blogs?

City Blogs is the blogging system for staff and students and is accessed via blogs.city.ac.uk.


  Clickers

What are Clickers/Electronic Voting Handsets?

Clickers provide a fun way to encourage active participation from your audience, gather feedback and easily gauge group-wide understanding.

Participants respond to questions posed during a PowerPoint presentation by pressing a button on their clicker. Responses are instantly displayed within the PowerPoint presentation.


  iTunes U

What is iTunes U?

iTunes U is City University London's public resource for Videos.


  Lecture Capture

What is Lecture Capture?

Lecture capture allows you to record teaching sessions and publish the recordings via Moodle. Lecture capture typically records the computer screen and your voice, with an optional small video recording of the front of the room.


  Podium Technology (Pods)

What is Podium Technology (Pods)?

The Podiums are the technology supplied at the front of lecture and seminar rooms.

The AV podium, or 'pod', is a purpose-built unit that houses various lecture room technology including a Windows PC, Sympodium (PC screen/interactive pen display), visualiser, cables for laptop connection, DVD/VHS player and audio cassette deck.


  Turnitin

What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is most commonly used to assist in the detection of academic misconduct (such as plagiarism or collusion) in an assignment after it's been submitted. Turnitin can also be used formatively to help students learn about the importance of good academic practices and good referencing.

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  • Tools to Support Group Work
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One of the best aspects of learning and studying at City is the opportunity to collaborate on interesting projects with other students. Balancing work, study, and personal commitments can make it challenging to arrange meetings on campus, and communicating exclusively via email is not always ideal for complex projects. Fortunately, there are a variety of collaboration tools freely available online, making it easier than ever to manage group work. 

Not all of the following applications are officially supported by City, meaning we are not able to guarantee their reliability or assist you with password resets or data management. However, these tools can be an excellent resource to facilitate collaboration that would traditionally be completed face-to-face. Most of the options listed below can be used on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices – and are often web-based, meaning there is no need to download special software to your computer. Because accounts can be created for free, try experimenting with the services that might work best for you. 

Helpful Tips

  • Share your City email address with group members before starting a project. This is an excellent back-up method for communication if you encounter a problem. 
  • Agree on the best tools for each project early. You may want to discuss which services are already being used by group members before signing up for something new.
  • Get organised early. If you have the opportunity to meet with your group members face-to-face at the beginning of a project, take a few moments to connect your new accounts, and review how your chosen application can be used. 
  • Take advantage of apps and notifications. Most of these tools will have optional mobile apps, which can notify you when others are working on documents or hosting a meeting. 
  • Quickly organise group meetings. Use tools like Doodle Poll or your City calendar to view availability and find the best dates and times for your group to meet.
  • Take the lead! Nominate someone in the group to track progress, organise tasks, and host online meetings. 
Group Video Conferencing
 Skype for Business

Skype for Business (SfB – formally Microsoft Lync) is the real-time communication tool for Office 356 customers. Because City staff and students have access to Office 365, you can take advantage of this ‘enterprise’ version of Skype. While there are some notable differences between SfB and the ‘consumer’ version of Skype, the key collaboration features will be similar. You can host large group meetings, sharing your audio, video, documents, and screen over the internet. There is a chat feature, allowing you to send messages to the group from a mobile device, and participate in meetings even if you do not have access to a microphone or camera. You can also share your desktop with the group, discuss documents, and use the virtual whiteboard to annotate documents or brainstorm ideas. You must have SfB installed on your computer to host a call, although you can invite participants who do not have an account by sharing a private URL. This will allow others to join the session using only a web browser. Download the Skype for Business application by visiting portal.office.com and logging in with your City email address and password (Mac client not yet available for download – use MS Lync 2011).

Key Features

  • Linked to your existing City email account
  • Group conferencing for up to 250 participants
  • Share high-quality audio, video, documents, and your desktop
  • Virtual ‘whiteboard’ for annotation and brainstorming
  • Available to participants without the Skype application (modern web browser required) and who do not have a City/Skype account (via private link)
  • Broadcast a webinar-style session for up to 10,000 participants
  • Record sessions for later review

Limitations

  • Unlike Skype Consumer (below) some features may be controlled and managed by the university
  • Mac client not publically available 
  • Unable to host meetings from the web app
  • No document collaboration – just sharing and viewing 

Learn More: https://products.office.com/en-gb/skype-for-business/online-meeting-solutions

 Skype (Consumer)

Skype, not to be confused with Skype for Business, is a commonly used online conferencing tool, which has added several key collaboration features over the last few years. Most of the features in Skype are available free of charge, and can be used with a Skype account or a free Microsoft Outlook account. It has some limitations when compared to Skype for Business, but can be accessed on the web without the need to install any software (web.skype.com), and can be easily accessed with mobile apps. Collaborate on projects by sharing audio, video, documents, and your computer’s desktop. You can also use Skype instant messaging to keep in touch with colleagues outside of scheduled meetings. There is no virtual whiteboard, and video calls are limited to 25 participants, but it’s a simple application that can get you working online quickly and easily. 

Key Features

  • No longer relies on Skype accounts – Microsoft accounts can be used to connect
  • Easily create groups and invite others to join a meeting
  • Mobile apps on all major platforms
  • Connect from the web without installing Skype

Limitations

  • Maximum of 25 participants in group video sessions
  • No virtual whiteboard
  • No support for recording meetings or calls (Possible with plugins) 
  • No document collaboration – only screen sharing 

Learn More: https://www.skype.com/en/

 Google Hangouts

Hangouts is Google’s messaging and collaboration product, which is freely available to anyone with a Google account (this includes existing YouTube and Gmail users). It is used for instant messaging, group video conferencing, and screen sharing. Online meetings can be shared with other Google users, or you can generate a private URL to invite others to a session. Hangouts is easily accessible using a web browser, and does not require the installation of software on your computer (although, some features will require a browser plugin). There are also mobile apps on all major platforms. You can capture and share recordings from your meetings on YouTube, and broadcast calls live using Hangouts ‘On Air’ (YouTube and Google+ must be active on your account). 

Key Features

  • Free to use with any Google account
  • Browser-based application – no need to install software
  • Hangouts can be used for text chat, group conferencing, screen sharing, and dialing land-line phone numbers
  • Broadcast live to YouTube using Hangouts On Air – archive sessions for later review or publishing on YouTube
  • Mobile apps on all major platforms
  • Invite participants to meetings via private link

Limitations

  • Group calls limited to 10 participants
  • No virtual whiteboard
  • No document collaboration – only screen sharing

Learn More: https://hangouts.google.com/ 

 Zoom

Zoom is an online conferencing application designed for education and enterprise clients. While most of the advanced features are only available to subscribing institutions, there is a free plan that allows individuals to take advantage of group calling, screen sharing, online text chat, virtual whiteboards, and session recording. Group video calls can host up to 50 participants, but there is a limit of 40 minutes per session. One-to-one audio or video calls do not have a time limit. Zoom is useful for managing large sessions, giving the host control over participants and guests who join a call. Hosts can also manage ‘breakout rooms’, allowing you to group participants together for separate discussions, recalling them back to the main room at any time.

Key Features

  • Free accounts with the ability to invite guests
  • Up to 50 participants in group video calls
  • Virtual whiteboard and annotations tools
  • Mobile apps on all major platforms
  • Easily record meetings
  • Control over guest/participant sharing options
  • Breakout rooms

Limitations

  • Group calls limited to 40 minutes with free account
  • No online hosting for session recordings
  • Software installation required

Learn More: https://www.zoom.us/

Document Collaboration

Video conferencing solutions are excellent for hosting discussions, brainstorming sessions, and adding basic annotations to documents. However, it is worth investigating collaborative editing tools if your team needs to make significant changes to a document online. Some of the options can be accessed for free with the same account used for video conferencing. Here are a few options you might want to consider:

 Microsoft Office 365

You can access Office 365 with your City account, allowing you to collaboratively edit Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), host and share files using OneDrive, and organise projects using OneNote. This works well if you want to use your City account for email, calendar sharing, conferencing (Skype for Business), and online document editing. Those without a City account can still access basic features with a free Microsoft Outlook account. (Read more about Office 365)

 Google Docs

Creating a Google account will give you free access to a host of online productivity tools. This single account will give you a Gmail address, YouTube video storage, Hangouts for online chatting and video conferencing, Google Drive for file storage and sharing, and Google Docs for collaborative document creation. Easily create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the web, without installing any software. You can edit using mobile apps on iOS and Android devices, chat with others while editing files, and easily track updates and changes. (Read more about Google Docs)

 Padlet and Realtime Board

If you are looking for something simple for sharing resources, documents, and ideas, you might want to try using these virtual whiteboard tools. Both Padlet and Realtime board have free accounts, allowing you to post ideas, share links from around the web, and chat with group members. Both of these tools are ideal for project planning and brainstorming. It’s easy to contribute to boards on the web or using a mobile device. (Read more about Padlet and Realtime Board)

Group Chat

If your group is unable to schedule live meetings, you might want to look at one of the many group chat apps available for free. Chat apps allow you to communicate with your team at any time, on any device, and could work well in conjunction with one of the collaborative document tools listed above. Slack is a popular chat application for teams and small businesses, allowing you to organise your conversations into topics or ‘channels’. Slack allows you to add ‘service integrations’, like Google Drive, Skype, to-do lists, and more (learn more here). You may also want to consider creating a group using mainstream chat apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. These are useful tools for group work, as many people are already using these apps to chat with friends and family. If your group members are already using one of these services, consider creating a project group for quick and easy communication.

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