Snapshot: Here is a list of the most common questions asked, both about using the site, and about elearning issues in general.
This area is for Frequently Asked Questions and is divided into the most common topics. In due course it will be searchable, as well as offer an A-Z menu, but currently we have the first FAQ sections developed, so browse to see if what you need is here. If not, please contact us using the form on the contact page.
These questions are about using this site. All the core aspects are explained, plus some simple troubleshooting. We hope this helps in getting the best out of our resources but if you're still stuck, contact us using the form.
Channels are the top three main areas of knowledge - Expertise, Tutorials and Weblearn. Inside each of these we have specific categories which are associated with these channels. For example Weblearn has Learning Design, Communication etc, Tutorials has Beginner, Intermediate etc. Expertise is the third main channel, and is concerned with how to attain pedagogically sound (and formally accredited) expertise in relation to e-learning academic practice.
In each of the channels has 4 main categories. Each of these has its own description, and an article to give a clear overview of what the category focus is.
Each channel has content which is published under that 'umbrella channel' but sometimes the content can be categorised across multiple channels, if it's appropriate. For example, a tutorial which is at beginner level, and concerned with basic document preparation for online, would be in Tutorials/Beginner, but may also be in Weblearn/Learning Design as it's appropriate to that topic.
Other categories exist outside of the main channels, for ease of browsing, so we also have Media, Pedagogy and Resources categories.
The Expertise Channel is where all content is relevant to pedagogical approaches to e-learning. Learning pathways are provided which you can either study freely in your own time, or on payment of an accreditation fee to London Met, gain official certification through SEDA as a practitioner of e-learning.
The Media Categories sort entries (if applicable) into the type of media they are concerned with.
For example, this doesn't mean that every entry which references or uses a YouTube video is categorised in 'video', but it does mean that every entry which discusses some aspect of using video in learning, teaching, assessment or research would be categorised in 'video'. Media categories include video, audio, text, images, and web 2.0 (usually meaning any interactive app or resource available online).
Tags are another way of finding content, quickly and easily. Unlike categories, which are set up by the website and are more general, tags are made up by the author, to reflect most accurately what their article is about. So looking at the 'Tag Cloud' a user can see a selection of words which reflect the content of the articles. For example, the tag 'Facebook' would link to a list of all articles about Facebook, the tag 'copyright' would link to a list of all articles about copyright.
The footer of the site contains Tag Clouds which are channel specific when in different channels. E.g. if you're in the Weblearn channel, the Tag Cloud in that footer contains just the tags used in that channel. 'View All tags' allows you to see all the tags used throughout all the site content.
Other categories exist outside of the main channels, for ease of browsing, so we also have Media, Pedagogy and Resources categories. These offer another way of finding the same content, but looking via another route. So, instead of browsing the Weblearn channel to find information on using audio for feedback, you might just browse media/audio.
The best way is to use the Suggest an Entry form. We can create articles on very specific topics, so don't hold back just because you think not enough people will be interested. One of the purposes of the Ematrix is to help people find each others ideas. You can never tell if what you're doing can be useful to someone else who teaches in a completely different discipline.
Disqus is a very popular and easy to use commenting platform, used throughout the Internet on many websites. You may have seen it on websites such as the Telegraph, Wired, RollingStone or CNN. (The other main commenting platform is LiveFyre.) We use Disqus because it's easy, fast and secure. Once you have a Disqus account, you can keep track of all the comments you leave on different sites, which can be useful if people reply to you. You don't need an account with Disqus though, you can use your Google, Facebook or Twitter Id to leave comments.
The Print/PDF icon at the top of every entry page (right next to the social sharing icons) allows you to either print a good copy using a PDF (Portable Document Format) file of the article, or download the PDF for reading offline. You'll get the full article including images, but without any embedded videos. All the links to downloadable files will work as normal.
Google Apps is covered by various articles in the site. There are many other resources on the web and these questions are just a starting point for someone wanting to get to grips with Google Apps. Check these main FAQ below for where to go for help or ideas. Remember that on any device, Google apps work seamlessly with all your devices (smartphones, tablets, desktops (Mac or PC).
Gmail is a very powerful tool and used with full functional benefit, can be immensely effective at managing your email. If you're overwhelmed by your email, start using gmail labels and filters, and get familiar with their new inboxing system, which can pre-sort into sections like 'primary', 'social', 'promotions'. Following conversation threads (which you can turn off if you'd prefer), automatically indicating email importance, strong spam control, and unlimited email account management are all available for free. A free storage capacity of 15GB is also unbeatable!
See here for more from the Google help directory: https://support.google.com/mail/?hl=en#
Google Docs offers numerous easy and very convenient ways to work online. Both for staff and students at London Met, it's a great suite of tools. Multi-user collaboration (in real time), document versioning, document commenting as well as the embed function which allows you to share a document elsewhere on the web and it be automatically updated whenever you make changes all offer huge beneift to the educational community.
NB To access particular apps not offered 'out of the box' at London Met, send a request to the IT folks.
Google Docs help: http://learn.googleapps.com/docs
Official Docs forum: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/docs
Google Drive is what is known as 'cloud storage'. It's very similar to Dropbox, but has more document functionality because of Google Docs. Using it means you can access any of your files on any device. You can also run an 'app' so that you can access files locally on any device. All your devices 'synch' so that they are always up to date.
For more on Drive visit the link below:
Google Communities make group work online really easy, especially if you work in conjunction with 'Hangouts' for live virtual meetings and 'Drive' for file storage. Setting up a community is very straightforward, so try it out, and experiment with what you like and find useful. You need to have a Google + account to use communities.
Google Communities help: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/communities/
NB Google communities are NOT the same as Google groups, which are more like forums.
Google + is growing in popularity and is a great addition to the social networking landscape. It's especially useful for networking and staying in touch with different knowledge areas or experts. By being part of Google + you also help Google to build more efficient and useful search results becasue of what Google + associates together for subjects or topics.
Google + help:
Mashable also have a good up to date article on Google +