Resource Review workshop

As part of the design process for the new BSc (Hons) Rural Entrepreneurship & Enterprise, one of the new Catalyst programme courses, we were involved in a Resource Review workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Kate Lindsay, Damien Turner, Sue Lowe and Sandra Scalzavara from the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) who are supporting us with the development of the Catalyst programmes.

A team working on the marketing module

A team of academics working on the marketing module

During the workshop the academics were asked to consider resources (text, audio, video, image, hyperlink, interactive activities, artefacts etc.) that already exist and think about repurposing them for programme modules using some different techniques.

For example they were asked to consider:

  • Is the resource relevant?
  • Is the resource available?
  • Is the resource reliable?
  • Is the resource current?
  • Is the resource scaffolded?

img_2484.jpgThe programme academics broke into teams and worked on an individual module with a Learning Technologist from UCEM. They were asked to place their suggested resources on a chart and consider their relevance to the module learning outcomes.

After thinking about what resources already exist, the academics used the remaining time to fill in the gaps with resources that need to be found or developed.

Susan Baker, the RAU Library Operations Manager, also attended the workshop and provided an overview of the databases and e-library platforms that RAU has available for 2020. These include:

  • Business Source Premier (Ebsco)
  • Emerald Business & Management Journals
  • Science Direct
  • Other e-journal packages such as Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Sage
  • Marketline Advantage
  • Statista is a highly trustworthy source of data and statistics across a very broad range of industries. It also includes reports, dossiers, forecasts, infographics etc.

These resources can be searched via “Find It @ RAU” on the Library page on Gateway.

A team of academics working on the entrepreneurship module

A team of academics working on the entrepreneurship module

The session worked really well and by the end of the two hours we had a clear overview of what resources can be used in the to be developed modules. This overview of resources will be used in the oncoming Design Workshops to further develop these modules.

Creating 360˚ virtual tours

Using H5P, one of the tools available on Gateway (Moodle, our VLE), you can easily create 360˚ virtual tours: a collection of 360˚ photos, which you can add texts, videos, pictures, links and multiple choice questions to. A 360˚ photo is a photograph which allows you to look in each direction.

Virtual soil, air and water tour

virtual tour

An example 360˚ virtual tour, developed by Dr. Felicity Crotty and Chantal Schipper for Catalyst module “4410 Making a positive impact on the natural environment and rural economy”, can be tried out via the link below:

Creating a virtual tour is surprisingly easy to do. All you need is:

  • A smartphone with the free Google Streetview app installed
  • A tripod with smartphone grip (can be borrowed from ITS if needed)
  • The H5P virtual tour content builder, which is already available on Gateway (our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment – VLE)

Check out the steps below to learn how to create a virtual tour.

Step 1: Planning your virtual tour

Before you go out and take photos, take a moment to think about:

  • What do you want the students to learn from this?
  • What 360˚ photos will you need to take?
  • What information (text, images, videos or links) will you need to give students to be able to achieve the learning outcomes?
  • What questions could you ask to allow students to check their learning?

Check your diary to select a time when you want to take the photo(s) and ask a Learning Technologist if the kit is available. A Learning Technologist may also be able to take the photo(s) for you. If you’re taking photographs outside, check the weather beforehand so it’s not raining.

Step 2: Taking the photographs


Once you are on location to take your photo(s), set up the tripod with the smartphone rig and insert your smartphone. Note that your smartphone must be kept in portrait mode (upright) for it to work in H5P.

Open up the Google Streetview app and click on the Camera icon on the bottom-right. Follow the instructions on the screen – you will be asked to point the camera at a collection of dots on the screen. Make sure you do not move the tripod until the 360˚ photo is complete, as this may cause odd seams in your 360˚ view.

Once the icon at the bottom turns green, click on it to save your 360˚ photo to your smartphone. You will be able to check your 360˚ photo once it has finished processing. There is no need to upload the photo to Google Maps – just save it on your smartphone.

You are able to combine multiple 360˚ photos together to create a tour of an area.

A video tutorial on using Google Streetview to create 360˚ photos can be viewed below:

Step 3: Creating your tour with information and questions

Before opening up Gateway, hook up your phone to your computer to copy the 360˚ photo(s) from your phone’s photo album (most modern phones have a USB plug in the charger). Alternatively, you could email the photo(s) to yourself from the phone’s photo album, then save them on your computer.

Then, log in to Gateway and go to the module you want to add your virtual tour to. Click on “Turn editing on”, then “Add an Activity or Resource”. Select “Interactive content” (black H5P icon) and click “Add”.

From this step, you will be able to follow the instructions on the H5P Virtual tour tutorial available here:

Once you have finished creating your virtual tour, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Save and display”. Do a run-through of your virtual tour to check for any mistakes. If you need to edit your virtual tour, go to the Administration block on the right and select “H5P > Edit settings”,

For any support, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the RAU Learning Technologists (Chantal Schipper, Aurelie Soulier or Marieke Guy).

Catalyst show and tell day

Yesterday was a Catalyst show and tell day looking at our second batch of modules in development.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Catalyst project it involves the development of four innovative blended learning programmes for the University. You can see our previous blog posts on work so far.

During this all day session module leaders shared their work so far, giving us a virtual tour of module content and activities.

Learning Technologist Aurelie Soulier outlines the dissertation supervision plans for Catalyst

Learning Technologist Aurelie Soulier outlines the dissertation supervision plans for Catalyst

With modules ranging from ‘Improving your financial decision-making skills’ and ‘Making sense of a changing world’, to ‘Facing the global challenges in food and agriculture’ and ‘Managing your food and agri-business supply chains’ there was some really varied and exciting content.

Interactive time line of the history of agriculture in the UK

Interactive time line of the history of agriculture in the UK

We’ve made good use of tools like H5P, Answer Garden, Mahara, Padlet, Panopto and moodle activities to ensure that the end result is a highly interactive experience for the user.

Good things happening on the Catalyst project

It’s time to announce a few good things as we approach the start of the design and development work on the two new postgraduate programmes:

  • MBA Innovation in Sustainable Food and Agriculture
  • MSc Sustainable Food and Agriculture Policy.


Learning technologists

Two new Learning Technologists, Chantal Schipper and Aurelie Soulier, have now both started at the RAU. They will be supporting and guiding the academics working on the Catalyst programmes in designing and developing the online modules.


Catalyst project guidelines

The Learning Technology team have been working hard on developing the Catalyst Project intranet pages. Here you will find:

  •  information about the programmes in development
  • details about the roles and responsibilities of the Catalyst team
  • information about teaching in HE and at the RAU that relates to Catalyst
  • professional development related to distance teaching and learning
  • guidelines on module design, the ‘assessment first’ principle, accessibility, quality enhancement etc.
  • information about the development process and our 12-week development timeline
  • the forms and templates that the Catalyst team will use during development.

The Catalyst Project pages are on the RAU staff intranet (internal only)

Catalyst project intranet

More guidance will be written, so do keep an eye on our intranet site!


Office 365

The IT Services team is working hard on implementing Office 365 for RAU staff. It will initially be piloted within the ITS team and the Catalyst Project will be using “MS Teams” to collaborate with each other during the Catalyst project’s module design and development stages.

To find out more about Office 365 and how you can use it, have a look at Microsoft’s online training videos available here:

Office 365 training centre


What is happening now?

Currently, module leaders are speaking with their specialist contributors to generate ideas for student activities and assessments. On 8 November, the Catalyst team working on the postgraduate programmes will come together for a “Start-Up day”. Supported by the Learning Technologists, the team will shape up their ideas into module designs and will write action plans to develop six modules every twelve weeks.
Meanwhile, the Learning Technology team is working on implementing tools to support eBooks, webinars, e-portfolios, data and reporting and identifying specialists for media production.

The Learning Technology team first started working on Catalyst in spring 2018. At the first workshop, some of the people involved spoke about what was ahead and how that first workshop in July had gone. To watch these short videos, click on the names below.

If you have any questions related to the Catalyst project or learning technology, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Learning Technology team.

Introducing Chantal


I am Chantal Schipper and I am one of two new Learning Technologists joining the Royal Agricultural University to primarily support the Catalyst project. We will be supporting the development and delivery of four new innovative blended programmes. The tremendous experience and knowledge the RAU will gain from this project will also be used to further enhance current programs.

Before joining the RAU, I worked as the e-Learning coordinator at one of RAU’s partners Capel Manor College. My role at Capel mainly involved supporting and training lecturing staff in using technology to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, as well as researching, assessing and implementing new technologies. Part of my role at Capel involved working as a library assistant for an hour per day. In addition, I worked as an evening IT tutor at the Adult Learning Academy. Prior to working at Capel Manor College, I have also worked as an IT teacher at a University in the Netherlands.

I have a degree in Communication & multimedia design, with a focus on educational media. I interned for an e-Learning development & consultancy company. During my last year at University, I moved to the UK to write my thesis on the use of media technologies in promoting and facilitating life-long collaborative learning.

In my spare time I love to read, listen to music and to go out hiking. Having just moved from London to Gloucestershire, I am looking forward to exploring the Cotswolds! For the past year, I have also volunteered at a dog rescue centre in London, where I walk and provide basic care to German Shepherds and other Alsatians. As it’s now quite a drive from Gloucestershire to London, I am looking for new related volunteer work in the area.

If you would like to get in touch, please feel free to contact me via email: