Session "I want to share a solution"

Thursday, February 1, 2018, 09h30-11h00


In this session presenters will talk about a project or solution they have developed at their institution with reference to collaboration and networking. This session is focused more on presentation than on discussion. Participants will rotate after each round (3 x 25 minutes).


Room 2.A05: StudentQuiz – A collaborative and crowd-sourced approach to build up large question pools

Host: Frank Koch, HSR; chair: Patrick Jermann, EPFL

Students like preparatory questions for exams. However, it's hard to provide a large quantity of questions for all the self-assessments and exams. That's why the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil developed the Moodle plugin StudentQuiz. StudentQuiz enables students to collaboratively create their own question pools within Moodle. Even if an individual student contributes just a few questions, a large cohort could easily build up an extensive question pool.

In StudentQuiz, students can filter questions into quizzes, and they can rate and comment on questions while working through the quizzes. StudentQuiz collects usage data, and assigns points to students for creating questions and giving right answers. A personal learning assistant visualises the individual learning progress for each student. The created questions become part of the Moodle question bank and can be reused in other Moodle quizzes.

StudentQuiz fits the motto of the eduhub days 2018 because it fosters collaboration between students. StudentQuiz is also innovative because it puts students into the driver seat of Moodle content creation. The rather teacher-driven Moodle converts into a student-centric and collaborative crowd-experience.

The presentation introduces the Moodle Plugin StudentQuiz. Practical experiences are shared during the discussion.


Room 2.A07: Discipline-based Communities of Practice for Collaboration

Host: Rachel Plews, EHL; chair: Patrick Jermann, EPFL

In this session, we will explore the discipline-based communities of practice (CoP) model implemented for the faculty at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL) to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing. In place for over four years, this structure has provided space for faculty members to work together in their discipline groups from a "bottom up" management philosophy standpoint as opposed to a more traditional "top-down" structure. The communities self-manage and meet together to discuss common challenges, effective teaching practices, and common pedagogical and organisational interests. Communities across disciplines meet to share their work and to help infiltrate ideas across the institution.

The presentation will consist of an overview of the Communities of Practice framework by Etienne Wenger (1998), how the framework was implemented at EHL to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing, brief accounts of how it is working well, and some challenges we face with the structure. The discussion will focus on the practical examples and how these groups have become champions for the CoP framework and collaboration.


Room 2.A10: Towards a digital learning hub: upgrading University of St. Gallen's LMS "StudyNet"

Host: Felix Seyfarth, UNISG; chair: Patrick Jermann, EPFL

Institutions of higher education have a growing responsibility for individual learning outcomes and creating student success. They are looking to implement innovative forms of teaching/mentoring, learning and assessment - such as flipped classroom, peer review, personal training, standards mastery - that allow them to take a more active role than being mere providers of content and services. For these activities to have a strategic impact beyond one-off, bottom-up initiatives they require transparent teaching and assessment practices as well as empirical evidence for effective learning mechanisms. Digital technologies can contribute to effective quality assurance and learning analytics, if they scale across entire organisations.

To support new ways of teaching and learning, universities must invest strategically in technology-supported teaching and learning (TSL) in addition to digital infrastructure and services (IT). The University of St. Gallen is therefore planning to upgrade its LMS (“StudyNet”) into a central digital hub for teaching and learning across all organisational units. The current LMS has been in use for about nine years and encompasses functions and use cases typical for first-generation systems exemplified by the popular Blackboard and Moodle platforms. Requirements of the planned upgrade include native support for mobile devices, online collaboration, integrated video conferencing and various mentoring/feedback mechanisms, while maintaining highest standards for privacy and compliance.

While the migration process is complex due to the LMS integrations with multiple IT systems/services and its permanent active use by students, faculty and administration, the rapid pace of technological progress demands a short implementation road map so as to avoid the risk of obsolence. The upgrade project that has been led by the university's teaching innovation lab in the past 15 months has therefore foregrounded product ownership, the documentation of practice-based use cases during a pilot phase, overall ease-of-use and long-term strategy as criteria for identifying, procuring and implementing a new LMS.

The session proposes to discuss strengths and risks of this approach on the basis of the project road map and to share learnings from the process.


Room 2.A11: Collaboration in thesis writing, thesis supervision and its organisational management

Hosts: Christian Rapp, ZHAW; chair: Willi Bernhard, FFHS

One of the key artefacts of academic endeavour is text. For most students, the Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis or Doctoral dissertation is the most challenging text genre. A thesis or dissertation project requires extensive collaboration not only between student and supervisor, but also among student writers and, even more importantly, between the student and the disciplinary community to which the thesis is addressed. Each of the core issues of thesis writing – from finding a topic, narrowing it down to a researchable question, researching and representing the state of the art, identifying a gap, developing a methodology, collecting data to answer the research questions to presenting and discussing the findings – requires some form of collaboration. There are also problems connected to the meta-level of writing, such as the quality of the text, the appropriate target audience, mastering the thesis genre and creating an adequate voice, which all require considerable communication and collaboration with others.

There are three primary stakeholders involved in thesis writing: students, supervisors, and their institution. While students need a constructive and productive working relationship with their supervisor, the institution provides the framework for the writing of a thesis by managing the various procedures and regulations. Each level and each stage of the thesis project needs a special kind of coordination and cooperation between the three parties involved.

Thesis Writer TW, is a web-based learning environment developed to support academic writing instruction. It supports all the aforementioned stakeholders and helps in managing the various collaborative tasks. TW’s developers will outline the basic principles of this solution and demonstrate the features available to student writers. In addition, they will introduce an ongoing two-year project to further develop TW’s functionality (Expanding Technologies to Support Thesis Writing (SWETLANA), EU-Interreg V funded) which, it is aimed, will lead to discussions with the audience on the usefulness of the (potential) solutions.


Room 2.A13: Activating students through eCollaboration in higher education

Host: Melanie Walter, ETHZ; chair: Willi Bernhard, FFHS

Collaborative Learning has been shown as an effective way to develop both the range and depth of student competence. Participants who work together towards a common goal first need to develop a shared understanding of the task at hand and then negotiate an agreed approach. The ensuing social processes such as dialogue, discussion, debate and resolving differences of opinion have a positive effect on the overall learning process.

Most students are already using a whole host of independent digital tools that enable them to work more flexibly with materials. This includes, but is not limited to software like Dropbox, WhatsApp and others. Because these commercial software applications are familiar and ubiquitous, they enable students to share and respond to information quickly.

With the project eCollaboration, our goal is to enable students and staff to easily access, edit and manage information, as well as how it flows between people. For synchronous text editing in short documents we implement the open source office suite Collabora into the existing Polybox at ETH (similar to google docs and Dropbox). For mostly asynchronous collaboration scenarios needing longer and more structured documents with multimedia support we offer a Pressbooks based CMS which is integrated into our LMS (Moodle). This also allows publishing of lecture notes and similar documents. Additionally, we will offer online annotation, allowing students to annotate in Pressbooks and other web sites.

The resulting collaboration between students and between students and teaching staff should therefore become easier due to this access to reliable tools. Meanwhile, stringent expectations regarding data privacy are still met.

Experiences with a similar collaborative Tools called eSkript at the Department of Health Science and Technology have shown that collaborative scenarios can be implemented quite successfully into the learning landscape at higher education institutions. Therefore, we decided to offer this service to the whole of ETH additional features and integration into our existing LMS.

In this contribution, we will discuss the solution as well as several case examples of the current suite of tools and how they are implemented in actual lectures.


Room 2.A15: Collaboration in mixed realities

Host: Thomas Korner, ETHZ; chair: Willi Bernhard, FFHS

In mixed realities, users are immersed in a hybrid world that involves both virtual and physical elements. Virtual elements are anchored in the real world, making it possible to treat them as “real” objects. Devices like Microsoft's HoloLens lead us in this new world of collaborative learning. Students can work and interact together on a virtual object. This allows new inspiring experiences and could lead to new insights, which would not be made by interacting with computer-generated content on a screen. For this purpose, we at ETH started a project called “learning in mixed realities” where we enable projects to test these tools in realistic learning scenarios. We want to figure out in which educational context this new technology makes sense and facilitate better learning for students. Two projects were launched in the autumn term and more are to come. In this presentation, we will present the first results and discuss the opportunities for collaborative learning which are provided by mixed reality settings.


Room 2.A16: Promoting students' digital literacy: "Study smarter, not harder!" as a product of interdisciplinary collaboration

Hosts: Urban Lim, PHZG; Lisa Messenzehl & Fenja Talirz, ZHAW; chair: Willi Bernhard, FFHS

Promoting students' and employees' digital skills is a task that involves and challenges various players and units at a university. That is why the ZHAW's "media literacy coordination group" was founded in 2014. Headed by the Blended Learning Support Unit, who represents the perspective of the teaching staff, the interdisciplinary group has members from legal services, ICT, research & development and the university library. Regular meetings provide a shared platform for topics such as current needs and developments as well as suitable steps to promote digital literacy at the university. This cooperation initiated the online course "Study smarter, not harder!", which aims to encourage students across all disciplines to improve their skills in the following four areas: Self-management and learning strategies, digital tools for studying and organising, search strategies and source evaluation, as well as cybersecurity threats and safeguards.

Our eduhub session will provide insight into the ways of collaboration within the coordination group and introduce the online course "Study smarter, not harder!" in its current form, which we are hoping to transform into a MOOC format in the future.


Room 2.A26: Embeddable tools for rich collaborative learning

Host: Stian Haklev, EPFL; chair: Eva Seiler, UZH

We have traditionally been able to add learning tools to learning management systems using things like LTI integration, which lets us send students to an individual experience, and store the resulting grade. In this presentation, I would like to present a vision of much richer embeddable activities that can support new forms of collaborative and interactive learning.

Imagine a simple concept mapping tool, which students will use to connect ideas from their readings. You want students to be able to work together in the tool, thus it has to support groups and live collaboration. You want to be able to configure the functionality of the tool from within the LMS. You want to initiate the tool with a list of concepts that the students have extracted from their readings (for example using the web annotation plugin).

While students are working in the tool, you want live analytics feeding dashboards and awareness systems. The data reflect from these dashboards might prompt you to take action, for example by changing student groups, or pausing the activity to make an announcement. Finally, you want the resulting concept map to be accessible to your system in a format that other tools can use.

Thus, you want embeddable tools that

  • are configurable
  • accept input data
  • enable collaboration
  • stream learning analytics
  • are orchestrable (accepts teacher input while running)
  • produce output data

Our research group is building FROG, a platform for teachers to design and run complex collaborative learning scenarios. While we support these kinds of rich scenarios within FROG, we are currently experimenting with exposing FROG activities to other learning systems, as well as embedding external activities, such as H5P, in FROG. Which existing standards (such as xAPI, iFrame-to-parent window messaging, LTI deep linking, etc.) can support these rich embeds, and what are missing pieces that we as a community can define together?


Room 2.A46: A debate across the Atlantic Ocean

Host: Aviva Sugar Chmiel, UNIL; chair: Stefano Tardini, USI

This presentation will summarise and discuss a first experience of a transatlantic collaboration of Professors, students and pedagogical engineers on a course about debating competencies. Two professors of nursing sciences, after working together on an article defining leadership competency in nursing, have collaboratively created a leadership course on the Master of nursing sciences level. One took place as an optional course at the University of Sherbrooke (Professor Luc Mathieu), the other as a mandatory course at the University of Lausanne (Professor Anne-Sylvie Ramelet). One topic of the course was "leading a debate", with the objective of developing competencies in debating techniques, oral communication, and critical thinking.

The 10 Canadian and 23 Swiss students were registered on the University of Lausanne Moodle platform. Students worked in mixed Swiss-Canadian groups to prepare a debate following the Monash guide to debating. An online synchronous debate took place in March 2017. The debate took place three times to allow all students to participate.

Pedagogical engineers on both universities worked together to support the project. An online survey was sent to the students to gather their comments about this experience. Professors also answered a series of questions on their view.

This session will share the experience as well as evaluation results and discuss how the next debate in the spring semester 2018 will be implemented.