Technology Pilots

New learning technologies at UBC undergo a rigorous process of evaluation and preparation before rolling out to the wider community as an officially supported technology. These are a few of the innovative projects currently being developed and/or assessed.

Jump to tool: Course Spaces | Crowdmark | Mattermost | peerScholar


Course Spaces

New Platform

CTLT is working on a new WordPress-based learning platform to provide a course delivery option between the functionality of a full LMS (Learning Management System) and a course blog/website. Spaces will provide a good alternative to other tools in the learning technology ecosystem.

The primary goals with this new platform are:

  • Simplify the online learning experience without losing the requisite functionality
  • Make a consistent, fast, mobile-first interface that displays content in a highly accessible way
  • Fix many of the common problems experienced by students and instructors with existing tools
  • Make open content easy to manage and access

How does it work?

Similar to UBC Blogs, instructors will set up a course website (a “space”) and manage it from a user-friendly administrator interface, publishing content for students to interact with and viewing student work and interactions.

What’s next?

The development team has sought lots of input from faculty, staff, and students through informal conversations and presentations of the current design and concept. A beta prototype will be used to run a handful of pilots in fall 2017.


Crowdmark

New Application

The Crowdmark application interface

How marking works in the application

Crowdmark is an online grading and analytics platform. Crowdmark supports grading by managing online distribution of assessments or assignments to graders; facilitating online grading and feedback; automating assessment and assignment return to students; and providing grading analytics.

How does it work?

Information on the general workflow is available on Crowdmark’s website.

If you have additional questions about Crowdmark generally, you can email James Colliander directly.

What happens next?

The tool is currently being piloted in a number of courses. It is expected that an evaluation will be completed in summer 2017, with a decision regarding tool adoption announced around the start of the 2017/18 academic year.


Mattermost

New Application

The Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Learning Technology Hub, is currently piloting Mattermost, an open-source chat tool that facilitates communication and collaboration.

Mattermost, a chat and communications tool

A look at the Mattermost interface

Mattermost allows for the creation of course “teams”, making online spaces where classmates can share messages and files. Public channels, private groups, and 1-1 direct messages can be used to keep conversations relevant.

Real-time and asynchronous communication are combined, meaning quick flurries of messages and threaded discussions can coexist in an “anytime” communication environment. All messages are persistent and can be searched, so nobody misses out.

How does it work?

Mattermost can be accessed via the web, and there are desktop and mobile apps for most platforms. Email, desktop, and push notifications can be set up to personalize the experience.

The tool is open source and hosted at UBC. Access to a Mattermost team can be granted through the use of email invitations or an invitation URL.

What’s next?

Mattermost was selected as a chat tool after an environmental scan and evaluation that considered pedagogical, technological, usability, and accessibility requirements. It is currently being piloted in a number of courses, and an official pilot with run in the 2017/18 academic year.

If you think Mattermost could be effective in your course and would like to try it out, please contact the LT Hub to schedule a hands-on orientation. Your feedback is especially valuable as this tool is considered for wider use at UBC.


peerScholar

New Application

Pearson’s peerScholar application is a peer review and self-assessment tool for developing students’ critical- and creative-thinking skills. The tool’s review process has three phases:

peerScholar V3

The peerScholar V3 interface

  1. Creating: Students submit a written or multimedia response to an assignment and receive a grading rubric for the peer review.
  2. Assessing: Students see their submission alongside a set number of their peers’ (anonymous) submissions. In this context, students review their peers’ work as well as their own and give feedback based on the rubric provided.
  3. Reflecting: Students receive their peers’ feedback for their own submission and may revise and resubmit and/or submit a brief reflection statement, depending on instructor preferences.

How does it work?

The peerScholar website has more detailed information on the workflow, including demonstrations of both the instructor and student experiences.

What’s next?

Interested instructors can pilot peerScholar in the first term of 2017 free of charge. Please contact the LT Hub if you’re interested in trying out the tool. An evaluation will coincide with the pilots to help determine if an institutional license should be purchased going forward.