Month: October 2015

all in the name of Lovelace

Picture taken by me. Copyright on LEGO Ada belongs to Stewart Cromar.

Ada Lovelace Day at University of Edinburgh was a great success this year. The LTW, USD and L&UC teams outdid themselves. We had a lifesize Lego Ada in the Main Library, and the complete Ada and Baggage Lego set in Hugh Robson Building.  We taught students and colleagues how to code music, edit wikipedia, build lego rasperry-pi cases, add metadata, colour-in and celebrate women in tech, all in the name of Lovelace.

Votes for Lego Women
Stewart Cromar’s on going campaign to get his Ada lego set on to the shelves of stores worldwide was embraced by #adalovelaceday enthusiasts.  LEGO Ada has now passed the 4.5K vote mark and is currently the #1 project on the Ideas homepage.

Open educational resources
In celebration of Ada and just because it’s a good thing to do we released several open educational resources for you to enjoy. These include the instructions for our workshops, how to make your own raspberry pi case and a super on-trend grown-up colouring in sheet designed by Jackie Aim.

Picture taken by me. Copyright on LEGO Ada belongs to Stewart Cromar

Social Media Reaction
Our Ada Lovelace Day website took over a 1K page views in the week, with the OER content being particularly popular. In addition to the many tweets from participants using the #ALD15eduni hashtag we had several official Tweets and RTs from both Raspberry Pi and Sonic Pi and messages of support from similar events at other universities.

On Tour

Stewart and I will both be giving papers in Oxford in December as part of the Ada Lovelace bicentennial celebrations hosted by the Bodleian and Somerville College.

the most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered) By James S. Davis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Quote usually attributed to Grace Hopper.

You may or may not be aware that ISG is pumping money into innovation projects designed to improve the services and offerings we make to the University.

We issued a call out to our staff for ideas- below are the winning projects I have funded from LTW.

All these projects are due to complete by August ’16, so if you see the name of an LTW person you know, or an idea you like, please do get in touch so that we can let you know what we are working on. The outputs of all these projects will be licenced CC-BY ( as far as practicable).

A comparative study between a low-cost capture agent and mobile devices -Marc Jennings
Augmented Reality and Learning (Microsoft Holo Lens) -Myles Blaney
Beacons of Knowledge: working with students to co-create geolocated virtual campus tours-Jo Spiller
Build a 3d Printer -Anne- Marie Scott
Developing student digital skills in the community -Amy Woodgate
Diversifying the curriculum with student-led remix and reuse OER- Jo Spiller
Drones: innovative media production -Amy Woodgate
Evaluating frameworks and toolkits for leading Learning Design Practice at University of Edinburgh -Fiona Hale
Exploring accessible Photogrammetry and 3D scanning -Stuart Nicol
Feedback on Feedback -Robert Chmeileswki
Learning Dashboards for professional development- Jenni Houston
Live Interactive Point of View Video -Euan Murray
Self-directed learning resources for spatial literacy -Gavin Inglis
Twitterbot – Pilot Service – Martin Morrey
Virtual Edinburgh Maker Platform Proof of Concept- Martin Morrey

media management
Female Faces, Lips and Dots. Hughes, Jennifer M. © The University of Edinburgh

We have invested in a new media asset management service for the University. Our vision is to enable the University to meet the full breadth of learning and teaching, assessment, research and engagement activities, by providing usable tools for making, editing, storing, sharing and disseminating video and audio files.

The new media asset management system will be delivered using the Kaltura video platform. Kaltura is a market leader in this space and the University has made a significant long-term investment in order to deliver our learning and teaching vision, and our strategies around distance education and research engagement. We will provide a central service to support the efficient use and management of media assets from all across the university. All staff and students will have access to the service.

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Supporting new uses of media

The new service will support a wide range of activities, and we will be developing a suite of training and awareness opportunities over the next 3 months to promote these. Some of the most popular activities include:

  • Flipping the classroom – desktop recording tools can be used to pre-record media for students to watch in advance of contact time.
  • Enhancing feedback – use the service to record personalised video feedback and share with students either individually or to a group. Ask students to record and share with their peers or tutors, or use commenting tools to crowdsource feedback.
  • Using Video for assessment: Stimulate our student’ creativity and develop digital skills by tasking students to record their own media and submit it for feedback or assessment through our VLEs.
  • Showcasing our best – a web based video portal with curated channels of content will allow us to share within our University community, or with the wider world.
  • Strengthening the link between research and teaching – find high quality outputs from research projects in the video portal and use web based editing tools to clip out the best bits for use in teaching and learning.
  • Best of breed editing tools – web-based editing tools will make it simple to reuse, adapt and update learning materials.
  • At your desk recording – built in desktop recording tools allow you to create and share media quickly and easily.
  • Multi-platform broadcast strategy – publish to appropriate audiences simply and quickly through our VLEs, the University website, and other platforms such as YouTube and iTunesU.
  • Support accessibility and inclusion – use recording tools to easily provide information in an alternative format, and use transcripts, subtitles to make our content as accessible as possible.
  • Create Open Educational Resources – using built in copyright and publishing workflows you can make open learning resources widely available online.
  • Gaining insight and understanding – analytics will allow us to understand exactly what media is engaging to our audiences and what impact it is having.
  • Be present elsewhere – stream a lecture or presentation to a remote location, for example a remote conference.
  • Student revision – holding a library of recorded lectures and other content that can be used for revision and ‘listen again’ will better support our students.


We plan to make the service available in late Semester 1 with a more limited set of features and training available, as an ‘early-adopters’ pilot phase. We will use Semester 2 to refine the service and continue training, awareness and community building activities ready for full scale launch in May 2016. This will allow us to check that our procedures, support and training are effective.

Please do sign up to our mailing list for regular updates on progress.

be our Wikimedian in Residence

IMG_2147 copyDo you have an eye for detail and a love of facts? Are you an experienced Wikimedian with experience working with the Wikimedia community? What would you do to engage our staff and students in editing, contributing and sharing open knowledge? We are recruiting a Wikimedian in Residence to work in Information Services alongside our learning technologists, archivists, librarians and information literacy teams. Following our first successful editathon events we now need your help to establish a network of Wikimedians on campus and to embed digital skills and open knowledge activities in learning and teaching across the University.

Media coverage:

The Student Newspaper

Edinburgh Evening News

The post is offered on a fixed-term (12 months), part-time basis (17.5 hours per week).

Closing date: Thursday 29 October 2015 at 5pm