We have heard of some synchronisation issues with the Turnitin iPad app, particularly when large numbers of (or very large) student submissions are being handled. Joe Mills of LEAP at Hull helpfully identified that the problem can arise when an iPad ‘sleeps’ during synchronisation – this will prevent the process from completing, resulting in missing papers on your iPad. So, while marking with Turnitin, Joe recommends:
1. Go to Settings>General
2. Scroll down to Autolock
3. Turn Auto-lock to OFF (your iPad will not now go to sleep unless you press the power button)
4. Plug your iPad in to a charging source (you need to make sure your iPad does not run out of charge)
5. Open Turnitin App
6. Go to your class
7. Touch the ‘i’ icon top right to bring up the information about the class
8. Turn “Sync submissions” on
9. Press on screen to come out of the “i” panel
10. The submissions will now start to sync
11. This will take time…!
12. Do NOT switch to another app, open another app or generally do anything that puts the Turnitin app in to the background.
Joe also points out – rightly – that you will need enough space on your iPad to ensure that you can complete your downloads. Check ‘Settings’ / ‘General’ / ‘Usage’ to see your available storage. As a general rule of thumb, 1GB+ will probably be fine. You can use ‘Manage Storage’ to identify any apps that are using a lot of space.
The report for this year’s mobile survey has now been published where we look at the way that mobile devices, apps and interactions are used and carried out at Northampton. There were 322 respondents who took the opportunity to let us know their thoughts on the University’s mobile provision and any developments that they would like to see.
The report provides a brief summary of the main findings of the survey, including an overview of technology ownership among staff and students, trends in mobile use, facilities on campus (WiFi etc), and feedback on the iNorthampton app (which you can find in the App Store, Play Store and on the web).
You can read the report here: Mobile Survey report 2014/15 (PDF, 1024KB)
Monday saw the second iteration of the App Cafe – a new drop-in lunchtime session in the Tpod, run by the Learning Technology team and looking at how we can use apps in the learning and teaching context. This week’s starters included a second look using Dropbox for Cloud storage and some syncing issues, but the main course was a meaty demonstration of the new Turnitin app for iPad.
The most difficult thing that anyone will find with this app is the initial syncing of NILE modules to the iPad, but that is only because it involves an additional step in the SaGE workflow.
Syncing involves generating a class code which is possible using your desktop pc / laptop from within one of the Turnitin papers on the module you are marking. Simply click on the ‘new’ iPad icon at the bottom left of the screen and then Generate code. Once you have the 16-letter code you need to enter it into the app. You don’t need to login with your Turnitin username as most staff don’t have one of this (it isn’t your NILE login!) The code will link that module to your iPad and then you are ready to go.
If you are used to using an iPad then this app is very intuitive – so intuitive that we don’t think you need a help guide on it! Just have a go and see how you get on. The functionality is better than that on a pc as you can take full advantage of iPad features like touch screen technology to add or create a quick mark, Siri to enter the text both for existing and new Quick Marks, longer in-text comments or the full text comment at the end. Voice comments as found in the desktop version of Turnitin are still possible but obviously Siri makes using voice much quicker and easier in the standard QM/text comments as well. So even typing may be a thing of the past!
One other major advantage of the app is that once you have downloaded the papers you can mark offline. So no more paying for wi-fi so that you can do your marking when on holiday, or when abroad working as International Flying Faculty! Simply sync, download, mark and then re-sync when you next have a (free) signal.
Roshni Khatri, Senior Lecturer in Occupation Therapy, has been using the app for a while now and has this to say about it:
“The Turnitin App gives me the flexibility to mark where and when I want to without the need for a WIFI connection. The user friendly interface allows me to give feedback, use comments, rubrics and sync grades without any fuss. Makes marking easier but enables tutors to continue giving high quality feedback!”
The Turnitin iPad app is honestly the best thing since sliced bread – and you won’t find that on the menu at the App Cafe!
The App Cafe is on the 1st Monday of every month, from 1-2 in the TPod, Park Library. Next meeting: 6th January 2014. Bring your lunch and your mobile device (this isn’t just about iPads you know!) We will provide coffee and tea.
Providing Mobile Access to Learning and Teaching
The Learning Technology team are pleased to announce a new monthly lunchtime event for all staff at the University of Northampton.
With more and more people accessing the internet via mobile devices, The App Cafe provides an opportunity to look at the implications of mobile devices and apps in HE and how we can better use them in learning and teaching. This first App Cafe will look at the top five essentials for going mobile and consider some different apps that you can start to use easily in a learning and teaching context.
We want to hear from you. This is a participative ‘by you, for you’ event with an opportunity each month to share the apps you already use in the classroom with fellow staff across all disciplines.
With take-aways like ‘Your 5-a-month’ (top apps for learning and teaching), coffee and even cake, this is one lunchtime event in LLS you shouldn’t miss.
First Monday of the month, starting 4th November 2013 | 1-2pm | in the TPod, Park Library
Book your place by signing up today: https://theappcafe.eventbrite.co.uk
We hope to see you there!
This case study describes using Panopto and iPad for easy and mobile recording of student assessments.
The main aim was to record student assessments and upload immediately to our VLE, minimising editing and publishing while maximising availability for external moderation.
Case Study (case study, PDF 171.6 KB)
This blog posting has relevance for all iNorthampton users (Apple, Android and Blackberry)
iNorthampton has been updated on Apple devices to ensure that it is compatible with the iPhone 5 and IOS 6. This update has made a fundamental change to the way in which NILE is accessed through the app.
Following the update, when you click onto the springboard link for Bb NILE you will be directed to a second app called Blackboard Mobile Learn (if you do not already have this app then you will be prompted to download it). This is an updated version of the tool which was previously embedded in iNorthampton.
The benefits of using Blackboard Mobile Learn means that:
- NILE will format correctly on iPads
- There is an enhanced link to notifications and announcements on your device
- Ability for mobile formatted tests where appropriate
This change (in linking to Bb Mobile Learn) will be subsequently rolled out to Android users later in the year.
Changes to the way in which Blackberry users are supported
From April 30th, 2013 iNorthampton will cease to be supported as a Blackberry application. For more details on the reason for this – please see the Mobile Central Update. The advice for Blackberry users is to add a shortcut to iNorthampton from the home screen of your BlackBerry (add shortcut to home screen feature for Blackberry OS 6+). This will allow you to access Maps, Courses, News, Events, Library, Directory, Timetables and Get Help. In order to access NILE you should download Blackboard Mobile Learn for Blackberry
How do I add a shortcut to iNorthampton on BlackBerry?
- Visit m.northampton.ac.uk in your BlackBerry’s browser.
- From the BlackBerry Menu, select “Add to Homescreen”.
We are pleased to announce the latest release of iNorthampton which has been updated in response to staff and student feedback. This release builds on many of the requests which have been made, along with providing an excellent foundation for further development.
“Need to be able to personalise the app more”
We have included the ability to define your role when using the app from the first launch. This puts a framework in place to enable us to deliver more personalised information in the future.
You are now able to rearrange the tools on the springboard to move the ones you use most to the top – or just to a new page (currently only available on iOS).
Specific improvements to current tools:
The main campus maps have been updated and will continue to be updated as new maps are released.
We have made augmented reality functionality available for iNorthampton on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Users of these devices can now lay a map of key buildings on top of the picture they see on screen through their camera lens. This dynamically updates as the phone moves to reflect each building and its distance from the phone.
We are currently looking at a tour to be included in a later release.
You would like “to be able to check your library account and renew books”
The library website has become more ‘mobile friendly’ and you will be directed to this when you have conducted a search. You will see a link termed “View availability on Library Site” which will take you to the library site and allow you to login to check your account and renew books. We’re still looking into ways to bring these links into iNorthampton.
“There should be more content from the Students’ Union”
We have worked with the Students’ Union to add SU news, the SU Youtube channel and SU photo galleries. You will see these when viewing the ‘news’, ‘videos’ and ‘images’ links from the springboard whilst in either the ‘Current Student’ or ‘Prospective Student’ profiles.
“I want to get notifications/reminders from NILE”
This is now available as part of a separate download of Blackboard Mobile Learn rather than being part of the app at this stage – we hope to bring it into iNorthampton very soon. The separate Mobile Learn App is recommended for iPad users in any case as it has been optimised for this device.
The link to NILE within iNorthampton will still provide mobile access to all of your sites on NILE and has been used in a number of pilot projects in The School of Arts and also Science and Technology.
“Why can’t I get NILE on my Blackberry?”
You can – but you have to get the separate Blackboard Mobile Learn app. It’s not possible to build this into another app on the Blackberry platform as it stands. We’re hoping that upcoming changes to the Blackberry operating system will allow us to improve the iNorthampton experience for Blackberry users.
The iNorthampton link to timetables has been completely redesigned for Phase 2 and now allows:
- The ability to pick any date in the academic year
- Timetable location now links to Google Maps to assist with finding the building where room is located.
- Improved help and advise
“Can we have a tool to report faults in halls?”
A telephone number has been included in the “Get Help” section of iNorthampton , and we are still investigating a more detailed GPS-based solution for a future development (sorry, no dates for this yet).
Suggestions for new features
“Please add bus times / traffic information / parking information / car sharing site / taxi numbers to the app”
Northamptonshire County Council have their own app (called NCC) for Android and iPhone, which was developed by staff here at the University. This already has live bus timetables, so we’d recommend you use this if you can. They also supply a text service to send bus times to your mobile. Sadly this does mean that the NCC won’t let us use the timetable data, but we’re looking at including links to the timetables on the website, as well as to traffic information and the car sharing website.
At present we can’t collect the data for how many parking spaces are free at any one time on site, but we have asked Infrastructure Services to look into this for us.
The University does not have a recommended taxi company, so we won’t be supplying taxi numbers, sorry.
“The app should include email, and access to file storage”
We took the decision not to include email, as smartphones already include a tool to integrate this. File storage is a little more complex, as iOS devices in particular do not have an accessible folder structure where files are stored. There are a few web-based alternatives available though. Apart from files in NILE, you can also access documents stored on the web (or in cloud services like Google docs or Windows Live) through a mobile browser.
“It would be great to include links to other apps that are useful for learning”
We didn’t want to bulk out the app with these, as they may not all be relevant to all users. However when we find useful apps, we will be adding recommendations to our LearnTech blog. If you’d like to make a recommendation, or write a guest post, just let us know!
“Opening times and menus for the restaurants would be good, and links to offers from Greggs!”
We’re looking at adding ‘places of interest’ to the maps in phase 3, and this will include all the eating places, hopefully along with opening times and menus. If you want offers from Greggs, they will give them to you – but only in exchange for a like from your Facebook account.
“A tool which shows the nearest free PC would be good”
We are still awaiting further development in this area and will update iNorthampton when this becomes available.
We are also pleased to announce that Northampton’s experience with iNorthampton has also featured in an international Blackboard marketing campaign.
The app has been downloaded over 13,600 times during the past year.
If you have further suggestions to share, they are always welcome. Send them to the team at email@example.com.
Please note: this post is focused on iOS (Apple) devices, as the nature of this operating system can make transfer of files more difficult than it is on other platforms, e.g. Android. That’s not to say though that you couldn’t also use WebDAV with an Android device.
What is WebDAV?
WebDAV (or Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is a technology that allows you read and write access to a shared folder on a server. Basically, it means that you can download files, read them, change them and upload them again (although it can also do lots of other clever things with files too).
Using WebDAV with staff shared (Novell) drives
Ever wondered how you can get to the files on your shared drive via your iPad? Here’s how.
- Get the WebDAV Nav app. It’s free.
- In your iPad browser (probably Safari), go to http://www.northampton.ac.uk/netstorage. Log in.
- Tap on the little notepad icon, next to the logout (open door) button. The web address (URL) of the page you are viewing will change slightly.
- Select and copy the URL.
- Go into the WebDAV Nav app, and click the ‘plus’ icon at the top right of the screen.
- Give the location a name, e.g. ’School Shared Drive’, and paste in the URL in the Server URL field. Add in your username and password. On the next screen you should see your shared drive folders.
Ok, so you now you can get at the files you had stored there. But what if you want to upload something?
Well, lots of apps have a ‘Send to WebDAV’ option built in. In Pages, for example, when you have a document open you can go to ‘Share and Print’ in the settings (top right), and choose ‘Copy to WebDAV’. The iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) will transfer these files directly for you. The first time you do this, you will need to enter the server information, exactly as you did above. After that, this information will be stored for you (unless you choose to Sign Out each time).
Some other apps, like iAnnotate for PDF, will give you an ‘Open In’ option, but then don’t allow you to enter the server address within the app. In this case, the upload is a two part process. Choosing the WebDAV option from the sharing menu here will copy the file to local storage on the iPad.
You then need to go back to the WebDAV Nav app, navigate to the folder where you want to upload the file, and then click the hard drive icon at the bottom right of the screen to pick up the file and upload it.
Using WebDAV with NILE
It’s also possible to use WebDAV to upload files from your iPad into NILE. If you have the iNorthampton and/or Blackboard Mobile Learn apps, you will already know that you can add new text-based content items in to module sites (as long as you have instructor access). However, on Apple devices, the ‘Attachments’ button currently only allows you to pick up image files, from the camera or photo library. WebDAV will allow you to get different types of files in to NILE from your iPad, although you may still need to do some fine tuning on how you present these files to students, using a standard web browser (from a desktop or laptop computer). Here’s how.
In your module site on NILE, go to the Control Panel and click on the double right arrow button next to the ‘Files’ heading. You should see the file storage area for that site, where all of the attached files are kept. At the top right, click on the ‘Setup Web Folder’ button.
Copy the Web address that is highlighted on the next screen – you can use this as you did with the server address details in the steps above. Any files uploaded using this link will appear in the Files area of this course on NILE. Unfortunately this doesn’t let you display the files in a content area for the students to view, but it does mean that the file is transferred into NILE ready to be used. When you log in from your desktop or laptop, you can create an item, and choose the file from the course Files area.
Hints and tips for using WebDAV with NILE:
Each module will have its own URL. If you’re using the WebDAV Nav app to upload files, you might want to set up each of your NILE sites, so that you can add files into the right courses. However if the files you are uploading are mostly from iWork apps, which transfer files directly, then you may prefer to choose one module on NILE that you want to use as a storage point for uploads, to save you having to sign out and re-enter a different URL every time you want to upload something to a different course. Once the file is in NILE, you can create the content item or link in that course, and then use the ‘Move’ function (from the dropdown menu) to pick which module site you want to move it to.
Being able to add your own notes to PDF files can be really useful, whether they are lecture notes you want to add your own thoughts to, documents or journal articles you have downloaded for your own research, or student or collaborative papers that you need to feed back on. There are many different options available for this. Here are a few we found.
iOS (Apple) apps
neu.Annotate is a free app that will allow you to open a PDF file (e.g. from email, the web or a cloud storage service like Dropbox), and annotate it using typed text or freehand annotation in a range of colours, as well as adding shapes, stamps and images. You can even add whole new pages, and annotate those too. The annotations are saved as part of the PDF, which can then be sent out by email or saved back to Dropbox.
iAnnotate PDF is an advanced tool with lots of options, including the usual highlighting and annotation. It can be set up to sync with Dropbox, but also has it’s own sync tool, called Aji PDF service, that allows you to set up a live link to a folder directly on your PC or Mac. This allows you to batch download original files, and then batch upload your annotated versions.
There is also an iAnnotate Lite version of this app for Android.
GoodReader is an app that can handle many different types of files. It’s really a file management tool, that allows you to access PDFs, Office and iWork files, images, video and even archived web pages on your iOS device. It can collect together files from a range of sources, including Google docs, Dropbox and iCloud, and let you read, organise, annotate (PDF and txt only) and re-upload them. It’s pretty complicated, as apps go, but if your files are a bit all over the place, this might be a good one for you. The PDF annotation here is kind of a bonus.
Again, there are a number of options available. Features vary, but all of the following will allow you to mark up, type on and highlight PDFs, as well as fill in PDF forms. In order of price at time of writing:
- ezPDF Reader includes text-to-speech and the ability to view audio and video files if they are embedded in the PDF. It also has a plugin to integrate with Google docs.
- Repligo Reader allows you to annotate and send PDF files via email, Bluetooth, Dropbox and Evernote.
- qPDF also allows you to send files via Bluetooth and sync files in Dropbox.
A note on workflows
If you’re planning to annotate a number of files, it’s worth thinking through how you will transfer these to and from the device. Many of the apps listed above will allow you to download files from (and sometimes upload or sync them to) cloud storage services, like Dropbox or Google docs. This saves having to attach individual files to email, but these services also have their own limitations.
We recommend, particularly when working with documents relating to student assessment, that you transfer the files directly between your device and a University computer wherever possible, rather than using a third party cloud storage solution. You may be able to do this wirelessly, using WebDAV or FTP, otherwise you may need to connect your device to the computer. With an iOS device, you can transfer annotated files via the iTunes software for all of the apps mentioned above. If you have an Android device, you may be able to connect it via USB as you would a memory stick, and batch transfer your files.
If you’d like any help on the above, don’t forget you can always contact the LT team.
With thanks to Dr. James Xue, Lecturer in Computing, for the iAnnotate recommendation.
Disclaimer: these posts aim to recommend functionality, not particular products or services. The app world changes fast, and any third party app may not be available forever. Always make sure you have a back-up option.
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