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test - 22 November 2011 - Mr Dean

UniServity upgrades - times that service not available - 22 September 2008 - Graham Dean

 As part of UniServity's ongoing development program for the Learning Platform, they will be making a number of hardware and configuration changes to   These changes will take place over the following 3 weekends and will mean the service will be unavailable for a period of time during the scheduled maintenance window as follows;


Friday 26th September  – 11pm to 6am Saturday 27th September

Friday 3rd October  – 11pm to 6am Saturday 4th October

Friday 10th October – 11pm to 6am Saturday 11th October


The changes being made include;: 

·         Improvements to data storage and additional capacity being provisioned

·         New Load-balancing hardware to enhance performance of the webservers

·         Re-configuration of the database architecture to increase resilience and performance


Typically UniServity would plan these upgrades during the October half-term, however due to a number of recent support incidents they have rescheduled to undertake this work earlier.

Managing SCORM resources in the LP - 19 September 2008 - Charlotte Hesketh

What is SCORM

The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning and defines how content may be packaged into a transferable ZIP file.

SCORM is becoming an increasingly popular method for delivering electronic educational content into the classroom.  One of the downsides of SCORM is the current trend for content providers to produce very large files, many well over 200MB with some as large as 7GB, which are not well suited to a web environment.


When evaluating SCORM content for use in a  web hosted solution, taking the size of SCORM files into consideration is important.  As a guideline we have observed that SCORM files much in excess of 100MB may encounter problems. The types of problems include:


         Slow upload times or even timeouts when adding the SCORM file to the platform.

         High school/LA network bandwidth utilisation which can lead to a general slowdown of the network.

         Slow download times when viewing the SCORM resource, particularly when many users are accessing the same content.



Using SCORM files with the cLc

The cLc fully supports the ability to upload and play SCORM files.  In line with the general guidelines provided above UniServity recommend not directly uploading SCORM files in excess of 100MB (see the rules below if your files are bigger than this).


To assist schools we have produced the following rules for managing your SCORM content depending on the size of the file:-


         1MB – 100MB: Upload files directly into the platform.  If you encounter any problems please fill in the SCORM Questionnaire below and send to UniServity for uploading

         101MB – 500MB: Send files to UniServity for uploading.  Files much larger than 100MB may encounter problems when uploading.  If this is the case UniServity are offering a free service to upload SCORM files on your behalf.  Simply complete the SCORM Questionnaire below and send it along with the content (electronically or in the post) for us to upload.

         500MB+:  Not recommended.  Although supported by UniServity, the download speeds and usage profiles of such packages make using very large SCORM files very difficult in a web environment.


Please note that these are limitations imposed by current Internet limitations over which UniServity have no control, but we are currently working with a number of content providers to determine the best way to work around these technology limitations in order that these problems are best resolved moving forward.


In addition to the issues described above, please be aware that loading large SCORM files into the cLc will use up large quantities of storage space available to schools within the cLc.  You will need to check your current contract to confirm the storage space available to your school (this may need to be provided by your Local Authority).


SCORM Questionnaire

In order that we can upload your file most effectively, please provide information for the following:-


1.       Contact details. Please provide the following details

         Nominated point of contact (name & contact details)

         School name and Local Authority

         cLc group ID (copying the URL from the address bar in your browser when logging into your cLc will also do)


2.       SCORM file details.  Please provide the following details in relation to your SCORM file

         File name


         File size

         Location of/path to media (including username and passwords if necessary)

         Location in the cLc you would like us to upload the file to


3.       If you have previously attempted to upload your SCORM file, please provide the following details;

         Location/device you attempted to upload the file to (e.g School LAN, the cLc)

         Issues encountered (e.g. timeout, error messages)



4.       Any other information

         Please provide any additional information you feel is relevant to assist us uploading your file.

Learning Platform Rollover & ePortfolios - School platform administrators - 27 August 2008 - Graham Dean

Moving pupils to their new year groups and transferring ePortfolios to new schools
UniServity have issued a leaflet giving brief instructions for these processes. As none of our schools have yet implemented SIMS integration, all schools should follow process 2 (where it says import the new Year 7, for schools with reception classes it would be the new year 0, and for junior schools it will be the new year 3).
It would have been useful if the advice about exporting ePortfolio work for those children who are moving schools had been available at the end of term, so that the pupils could have been aware of the process, and those transferring from KS 2 to KS3 could have probably managed the process themselves.
Download the advice leaflet.

Advice on pupil rollover - learning platform administrators - 14 July 2008 - Graham Dean

A simple sheet with advice for rollover can be found here.
UniServity''''s own documentation can be found by following the rollover links from this page.

Good practice guidance from the Home Office - 07 July 2008 - Graham Dean

KS3 and KS 4
internet users
Although the full title of this document (Good practice guidance for the providers of social networking and other user interactive services 2008) would imply that it doesn't have direct relevance for schools, some sections could be useful. Section 1 part 14 discusses the importance of "education and media literacy"  and the appendices contain some useful reference material.

Harnessing Technology - Senior Leadership - 07 July 2008 - Graham Dean

Senior leadership

"We are already one of the leading countries in the world for the use of technology in learning. But the pace of development in technology has been staggering over the last three years - in how it is used by young people, schools, communities and businesses.

"Becta's Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning Strategy published today reflects our huge ambitions for the country. We want every educational institution to harness technology's potential, every teacher and student to use it confidently. Children and young people must have access to high-quality technology to enhance their studies - be it at home or in school." Jum Knight (Schools Minister).

Becta's Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning Strategy sets out targets and  plans for the next 5 years under the headings:

  • system leadership
  • personalised learning
  • engaged and empowered laerners
  • strengthen the capacity of capability providers
  • a word-class, joined-up technology infrastructure.
Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning Strategy           

full document

press release

Boris - The Gaps and Misconceptions Tool - Maths KS 1 & 2 - 02 July 2008 - Graham Dean

A new tool to help deal with mathematical misconceptions at Key Stages 1 and 2

Boris is an interactive, web-based diagnostic tool to support teachers in dealing with children’s gaps and misconceptions in maths. It was written by Devon Education Services and is published on the Association of Teachers of Mathematics website.

Boris deals with three key areas that the QCA regularly reports are areas of weakness exhibited by KS1 and KS2 children in end of KS SATs and optional QCA tests: subtraction, division and FDPRP (fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion). Boris includes guidance papers on what makes these areas difficult to teach.

Boris links objectives related to the three areas to appropriate probing questions to support diagnosis of specific misconceptions or gaps. These, in turn, are linked to teaching images to address the difficulties that children are encountering.
Click here to visit the Boris homepage.

Xplora - Science resources - KS 2, 3 and 4 - 01 July 2008 - Graham Dean

Visit xplora - the European gateway for science education

Xplora is aimed at teachers, pupils, scientists, science communicators and science educators.
It contains science education news, ideas and links to digital resources. There is also guidance on free open source tools for science education
A resource which caught our eye was the chocolate challenge, which could be adapted for use with a wide age range, although most of the resources seem to be aimed at KS 4 and above.
Another of the interesting links is to the European pupils' magazine, which will shortly be asking for articles from students aged 14 - 19.

Action plan to implement Byron recommendations published - 30 June 2008 - Graham Dean

The Action Plan sets out detailed actions and milestones including:
  • how the new UK Council for Child Internet Safety will be set up
  • plans to raise awareness of e-safety issues among children, young people, parents and other adults through a public information and awareness campaign which will begin in summer 2008 as part of a £9m investment by Government in communications to the public about child safety;
  • the role of schools and other services for children and families that can help equip and empower children and their parents to stay safe online.

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    Whilst every care is taken to check the suitability of external links, Blackburn with Darwen Education Department is not responsible for the content of such sites and accepts no liability for material within them.
    The learning platform itself will always be "a work in progress" and as such content should not be taken as definitive statements of Blackburn with Darwen Education Department policy.