Archive for the ‘LUCie’ Category

Books on Academic Writing

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

This post has been sitting in my dashboard as a draft for a couple of weeks now. Won’t make a draft again - too dangerous to just forget posting it…

It has been a very interesting experience - as well as exhausting and at time frustrating. From what I have seen in the feedback forms so far, most of the participants seemed to have had a good experience. Some seem very keen to continue improving their academic writing skills.There are a lot of pointers in the links I posted during the last few weeks.

Some people were interested in books on the topic; here is a collection I know is available in the DCU library:

Lennart Bjoerk, Christine Raeisaenen (1996) Academic Writing - A University Writing Course

Rowena Murray (2007) Writing for Academic Journals

John M. Swales, Christine B. Feak (2009) Academic Writing for Graduate Students - Essential Tasks and Skills

Here is a book with the “principal requirements of plain English style” and it is available as a PDF online:

William Strunk, Jr.
The Elements of Style

For those who are interested in creating online courses yourself: there are loads of books around. The following are very hands on and I know they are definitely available in the DCU library:

Kathleen Iverson (2005) E-Learning Games - Interactive Learning Strategies for Digital Delivery

Gilly Salmon (2000) E-Moderating: the key to teaching and learning online

Gilly Salmon (2002) E-tivities: the key to active online learning

Gilly Salmon’s books are a bit, hm, matured; but they are still of good help to get started.

LUCie Unit 3 - Summary

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Unit 3 provides an introduction on the presentation and visualization of data. We also looked at the structure of paragraphs. The comments in this blog equal the attendance - I just provide the bare minimum.

Some of the Videos & Websites used:

The Academic Word List  (website)

Describing Bar Charts (website)

Four Types of Charts (video)

Parts of a paragraph (website)

Parts of a paragraph (video)

The transfer reports are killing me!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Most of the LUCie participants are postgraduate students, mostly PhD researchers.

Every PhD candidate at DCU eventually has to submit a transfer report and pass an interview by the end of the 2nd year to continue towards the PhD.

I wrote mine last summer, before I left for a 2 months  research visit in Warwick with Alexandra Cristea’s group. I remember it well; it is always a bit of a panic - there never seems to be enough time.

It seems though that my group of users has been completely taken by surprise. I lost at least 10 people, some thankfully only temporarily, to that process.

I wish everybody the best of luck for their transfer reports and interviews and hope to see more of you back before the end of the testing.

Feedback from the Learners Unit 1 & 2

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

After a total of 4 weeks testing the LUCie users or learners have given quite a bit of feedback.

A few lessons learned:

Although Moodle is used by many in their respective universities, the navigation in the system is a problem for many. That is understandable as it violates a few very basic usability rules; e.g. its completely different navigation in different parts of the system.

One of the most discussed issues was that there is so much writing to do. Some people raced through the pages, reading everything, skipping the exercises. That leaves me a bit clueless - how do you expect to improve your writing other than write? Oh, and then write a bit more.

Peer reviews do not work well. Collaboration was not popular. Participants want “the teacher” to correct their writing.

Many of the participants have not used a wiki before and found it very difficult. Everything new needs a good, simple introduction!

But the internet has a big impact on the way people learn after all: most people find it tiring to work their way through the lessons. They would rather just have activities; they browse, choose, complete and then pick something else.

I can understand that many found FreeMind a bit difficult to use, but everybody liked it in the end. It  requires to understand the concept of mind mapping AND getting to know a new tool at the same time.

I wonder about this Digital Natives hype; the testing so far shows once more that you cannot take anything for granted. Users still shy away from new tools. Most not only require some written introduction, but also ask for some face-to-face tutor support.

LUCie Unit 2 -Summary

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Unit 2 presents the different parts of an academic text and
a short revision on the use of articles.

The Academic Phrasebank provides vocabulary matching the parts of academic texts.
All the components of scientific texts parallel the experimental process. 
These stages can be summarized in a question, capturing the main idea that has to be
covered in that section.
The unit included a revision of how to use articles.

LUCie Unit 3

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Unit 3 starts Monday 12 July and will focus on:

  • process description
  • data description
  • more details on the sections of a text
  • writing exercises with feedback

Monday 12 July, 2-3pm

Wednesday 14 July, 2-3pm


Saturday 17 July, 10am-12pm


Monday 19 July, 2-3pm

Wednesday 21 July, 2-3pm


Saturday 24 July, 10am-12pm

LUCie Unit 1 - Summary

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

In LUCie Unit 1  we used a number of tools - Moodle-wiki, forum, Freemind.
The following tools are available (all links open in a new window):

Vocabulary Questions:

Luigi recommends:

Mind mapping
Some of you asked me about the mind mapping tool. It is open-source software and free.

You can download it here:

If you would like to go through a tutorial, find some links here:
FreeMind Tutorial

Some of you also asked me how to create loops in the map. That is not possible in a mindmap, but you could do that in a so-called concept map.

Here is one very good free example:
Concept Mapping Software

You can download it and use it as a desktop tool, but you can also install it on a server (if you have access) and make it accessible on the web and use it as a collaboration tool.

Vocabulary training

LUCie - Learner, User Customer in e-Learning

Saturday, June 26th, 2010


Learner, User, Customer
in e-Learning

FREE English Course

Intermediate to Advanced

Multimedia e-Learning

Pilot Study


Is an interactive multimedia and collaborative environment to
improve your English, web 2.0 style:

Computer-based sessions for non-native speakers of English, ( English Level = Intermediate to Advanced).

Focus on listening comprehension and academic writing skills.
Includes some grammar revision and vocabulary quizzes.

Units 1-5 cover topics such as

· Structure of English Academic Texts

· Interpreting Statistics, presenting data

· Beginning and ending, summarising

· Process description, interpreting data

· Referencing, Plagiarism

· Reading academic texts

· Quickly scanning for information on-line

· Understanding speakers with different accents

Who is it for?

Non-native speakers of English, ( English Level = Intermediate to Advanced).

Prospective international students, non-native speakers of English 

Current DCULS and DCU students

Postgraduates, who want to improve their academic writing skills

If any of the above describes you, this course is for you!

What are the Benefits?

· Free English course

· Use interactive multimedia environment

· Watch, listen, learn

· Get to grips with basics of English academic writing

· Improve listening comprehension


Unit Raffles:
Bi-weekly raffles for participants attending all 1-hr sessions/unit

LUCie Raffle:
In August, for participants attending all sessions of 3 or more units


Where and When

Engineering & Research Building
Dublin City University

1 hour sessions: Monday & Wednesday afternoon
2 hour sessions: Saturday morning

Optional: Additional sessions depending on demand

Dates (TBC):
Unit 1 Mon 31/05/10 - Sat 12/06/10
Unit 2 Mon 21/06/10 -Sat 03/07/10
Unit 3 Mon 12/07/10 - Sat 24/07/10
Unit 4 Wed 04/08/10 - Sat 14/08/10
Unit 5 Mon 23/08/10 - Sat 4/09/10

Sign up for Unit 1 until or before Friday 28 May

Sign up for all other units until the week before it starts.
Places are limited. First come, first served ;)


More Details

Pilot Course is free.
Participants are asked to sign up for 2-3 units
Each unit: two 1-hour sessions / week for 2 weeks


If you cannot make it to the pilot (June-August 2010):

Course will be available on-line from the end of the year (2010)
Check here or for details!

* free during pilot study*
10 donation for each unit (4 * 1 hr)
for one of our supported charities
(after end of pilot study August 2010 only)