The following are the outcomes from the SMS meeting with Geraldine & David. Guys, please add your comments.
A few key decisions were made. The back drop is the need to promote SMS in T&L at the University, and develop a model which sustainable, transparent and scales.
The broad model is as follows;
When Dept / Schools want to use SMS they purchase the texts and incoming number from BUCS (David Mullings). They can purchase various models, however, the financial commitment will be around £250 pounds. This might include, one incoming number and a 1000 sms texts. At the end of each year, BUCS (David Mullings) will contact the individuals to discuss future need, and the renewal of the incoming number (if appropriate). The method of payment will be discussed with David Mullings.
To help people get started before having to commit money, then e-learning (Geraldine Jones) will provide 100 texts and an incoming number (shared, using key words – academics UoB username). This will last until the end of the semester they are in, or the end of the texts whcih ever is sooner.
To provide the texts, we will contact those who originally showed interest and re-allocate their SMS messages, on the assumption that they’ll not be using them this academic year.
ACTION >> ANDY contact Sue etc.,
ACTION >> ANDY update SMS group
ACTION >> ANDY contact John Howell about SMS Guidelines
ACTION >> GERALDINE ensure a scaleable process is in place
ACTION >> DAVID confirm which in coming numbers have been used. We will need to re-allocate a number to support roll out
ACTION >> GERALDINE once conform re-allcoation of texts, then remove allocation from indivdiuals (Sue etc.,)
ACTION >> GERALDINE & DAVID streamline the account structure on EduTxt so that we standardise to naming conventions etc.,
Attended the Edutext training session arranged by David Mullings.
The software does look very simple to use. The e-learning team have a sub account (Bath_ELT) with the incoming number 07624804921. I have set up some sub users – these are university people who can access this e-learning account. It will mean that we each have our own log in. I have also set up to incoming rules that will allow people to subscribe/unsubscribe to SMS updates from the elearning team. These updates are for Moodle Service News and Upcoming Events – see https://andyramsden.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/using-sms-in-e-learning-text-alerts/
Overall, I’ll leave the technical discussion to John – however, there appears to be very good potential integration with SAMIS. While the sub account management, for Departments, and subsequent costs model is also very easy.
In terms of business continuity then easy to send to groups & sub groups. Also can export the report of who received the text (but doesn’t indicate who has opened it). all traffic is routed through Vodafone UK.
There were some quite interesting uses outlined by the presenter. In particular, they’d developed a real time graphical analysis tool for those who use it as Audience Response System in classes.
I have just developed two text subscription services for people wishing to receive sms text alerts from us.
- Moodle service alerts – this is for us updating people about planned and non-planned service downtimes. We would simply text a date/time for downtime, brief reason why and link to the Moodle Support Area. We would also text them when normal service resumes.
- e-learning events – this is for people who wish to be updated (2 days in advance) of an e-learning organised event, such as a workshop or lunchtime session. They would be texted the title of the event, the date, the time, and the room.
The system works as follows;
person texts “Moodle Alert” or “Events” to 07624804921 – the system then adds them to that particular group. It then pushed a text to Andy’s phone (monitoring purposes – this filter will be turned off later), and auto responds saying “thanks, and giving how to remove yourself from the list”.
If people wish to remove themselves from either list then they simply need to text the following to 07624804921;
- moodle alert stop
- events stop
• What are the alternatives to SMS? (JFH/AR)
In the sense of SMS being short text messages delivered to a handheld device then there are few current of future alternatives. From the perspective of the end user, then the delivery mechanism may change for some people, i.e., the growth of wi-fi connected spaces. However, in terms of coverage, and ease of use then SMS via the phone network is likely to be viable for a number of years.
• Are departments running projects involving SMS which are not being administered through the University’s systems? (ALL)
• How far SMS could be seen as an academic learning tool, rather than just a method for prompting (AR)
It can be viewed that there is significant potential as long as it is appropriately embedded within learning activities. For instance,
1. An e-assessment (formative) system. Where students are texted a multiple choice question, true/false, or open question which they needed to respond to (via SMS). This is then used to feed into the next face to face lecture or seminar. This method is superior to many other approaches because it requires little from the student (don’t need to find a computer). The results are collated electronically.
2. Asking questions in large lectures. Students can SMS questions during a lecture which the lecture can then review in the last 5 minutes of the lecture. They may select to answer a few then, or move these to a discussion board for future discussion and input from other students.
3. A reflective tool. For instance, an eportfolio system. Students can be on placement or other non-campus sites and recorded a short view or seed an idea which they can revisit later.
• The potential and limitations of SMS in an academic environment; what is the appropriate direction for its development? (AR/GE)
Firstly there are a few technical issues that need to be addressed in terms of;
• how it can be used within other e-learning tools (Moodle, Confluence, LMF etc.,) The focus on the technical aspect is that the it has to be made very easy to use for staff who will be managing the bulk emails. Also we need to ensure that the integration is two way, i.e., students can text back to discussion boards.
• people will need to be able to choose how to receive this information. For instance, some students might prefer to receive the text message as an email, or an rss infeed to their home page.
Then interms of the appropriate direction then at the moment it would be suggested that we should support the use of SMS within a “let a thousand flowers bloom” model. Therefore, after the guidance documentation has been released we might be able to coordinate a number of SMS initiatives. This approach does require that these need to be evaluated. We should also appreciate that this is a continuum for the individual. For instance, an academic might use it as an admin tool today, but then think about it’s application in for other uses in the future.