Associated with the QR code project - http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/qrcode
Created by andyramsden on 14/10/2008
Last updated: 12/03/10 at 10:17
Tags: eatbath qrcode
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The following is a workflow for using QR Codes to record physical submissions of assignments. For more information see the link on the QR Codes Projects.
The aim of the project is to reduce the amount of adminstrator time involved in collecting the assignments, providing a confirmation to the student, complete the monitoring report and bundling it all of to the academic for marking.
A previous post outlined the creation of the coversheet part of the project. This post focuses on the overall workflow.
Step 1: Administator
Ensures the data is accurate on SAMIS for the appropriate assignments. Including a due date etc.,
Step 2: Student
Log into SAMIS on the Web, select the assignments tab, review available assignments and select the appropriate assignment and click on print coversheet.
Note: Only assignments which are due are listed, those completed or have already been scanned will not be listed.
Step 3: Student
Prints the coversheet, complete any parts not already pre-populated and sign. Attach to assignment and hands in to Faculty / Department Desk.
Note: The coversheet is dynamically created. It includes an email based QR Code which is created using the University of Bath QR Code Generator. The coversheet also includes pre-populated information, such as Student Name, Student number, unit code, assignment description, acaedemic year etc., This has been derived from pulling further information from the SAMIS database.
Step 4: Administrator
The administrator checks the assignment and student details, scans the code and clicks on submit (email)
Note: The QR Code is decoded using the QuickMark QR Code Reader, and the information is submitted by a secure email to a specific mailbox. When it is delivered to the mailbox a number of actions occur. Firstly, the student is emailed a confirmation of reciept of the submission (if it did not submit becuase of a problem with the connection to SAMIS database they recieve a slightly different email). Secondly, on reciept of the email the application updates the appropriate table in SAMIS.
Step 5: Administrator
After the submission desk is closed, the Adiministrator runs the Business Objects report against the appropriate table in SAMIS. They print off the report, bundle with the assignments and hand across for marking. The Business Object Report indicates who submitted, who has extensions and who is now late.
Note: They can email the late students to ask why … however, this is not currently part of the software.
Just a quick update of what we’ve being doing at Bath with QR Codes over the last few weeks.
The aim is to pilot the use QR Codes to enable the recording of assignments. The following describes the process;
The student will login into SAMIS on the Web (SITS), and select the assignment tab. The next page displays any due assignments. Next to each assignment is a link to the coversheet.
The student clicks on a link to coversheet. This passes key information to another page where the coversheet is built (see image).
The student signs the coversheet, attaches it to the work and submits it.
The member of staff at the hand-in station, confirms it is the right person and scans the code using a free QR Code reader (quickmark) and a web cam. Once decoded the details are submitted (emailed) to a service.
The service sends an email confirmation to the student, and pushes the submission date and time for the individual submission into the appropriate table and fields in SAMIS (SITS).
The handin office, run a business objects report against the table in SAMIS to print off who has submitted, which submissions are late and who has extensions. This report is forwarded to the appropriate people. The work is sorted and passed on for marking.
The process will result in a significant efficiency gain for the administration team and improvements in the speed of reporting and monitoring.
Future enhancements will include the accommodating anonymous submissions based on the flags within SAMIS, and the integration with Moodle gradebook. This will enable people to provide feedback and marks effectively and efficiently in an electronic format.
If you’d like more information then please contact me. I’d also like to thank the contributions of people in the SAMIS team (Anne, Martin and Ann), members of e-learning (James), external developer (Matt), and members of the Engineering Faculty (Lucie).
I’ll update the outcomes of the pilot (first run is on Friday 26th Feb), next week.
As the project starts to draw to a close I’m starting to take ideas forward to where next. Two things have struck me from the discussion of potential uses. Firstly, many people make reference to the use of QR Codes for virtual tours / treasure hunts. Secondly, the use of QR Codes within an integrated solution to record and monitor the submission (physical hand-in) of assignments.
The second piece of work we are starting to work up at the University of Bath. This will involve the passing of information from and to our student record system (SITS).
The first piece is relatively straightforward given the they can be created manually. However, a recent comment on 2d Code – http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-application-scripts/ – thanks They note …” Blazej Zieba alerted me about two php scripts he has written. “Mobile Virtual Guide” is a web application which allows you to create a virtual tour and generate QR Codes to mark locations and “Mobile 2d Code Hunt” is a web application which allows you to create urban games. Both applications are free …” See http://code.google.com/p/konektocom/. This looks a very interesting development to enhance the functionality and ease of authoring of guides and hunts. If anyone has positive and/or negative experiences of using the software I’d love to hear it. I’ll be arranging the installation in the near future.
I was invited to talk at a Museums Computer Group event in London on the 2nd Dec. During this event I saw a really interesting application developed by Mike Ellis (Eduserve). This was the inclusion of QR Codes on conference badges (yawn, yawn you say, … however this was a different take). For more details see
I think this is a really useful application for a number of reasons (compared to scanning text based QR Codes). Firstly, the whole process feels much quicker than decoding a text based qr code. This is probably due to text based QR Codes being quick difficult to scan when they contain a lot of detail. In addition, being a link it is easier to save and revisit later than trying to get the info into your contacts list on your device, while talking to someone and joining the coffee queue.
It is also more inclusive to people who don’t manage (sync) contacts between their device and a computer, but use an alternative means of managing contacts. So this approach is flexible enough so people aren’t forced into a certain way of working. This is also evident with the use of the unique IDs on our badges / delegates lists. You don’t actually need to have access to a QR Code Reader on your phone. It would be easier, however, you can use your phone’s web browser (or even a laptop!).
Where next with this? Read Mike’s thoughts at; http://electronicmuseum.org.uk/2009/12/07/uk-museums-on-the-web-2009-qr-in-the-wild/
This post is trying to apply the constructivist theory (http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/constructivism.htm, accessed 22nd Nov, 2009) to an emerging use of QR Codes in Museums.
The scenario is based on a learner visiting a museum. In many museums the learning material for an exhibit is provided via guides, and multimedia displays. The learner engages with this material, and may have the chance to engage with others (peers) and the tour guide. The majority of the self paced material is pre-structured, linear and has no explicit feedback loops.
Social Constructivism implies the learner is much more actively involved in a joint enterprise with the lecturer (teacher), their peers and others within their personal learning environment for the creation (constructing) of new meanings. The development of ideas requires the individual to be stretched to articulate new ideas and understandings. For this to work the person needs to communicate ideas and gather feedback.
So how might we change the emphasis in the previous scenario to accommodate a social constructivist learning model? How might we facilitate the learner stretching themselves, and where does QR Codes fit into this discussion?
The first part is relatively straightforward (admittedly I’m no expert, so I’d suggest following up with those who implement these approaches in museums). You need facilitate the learner accessing information created by others around the exhibit (links to wikipedia, encourage people to use a tag convention to help people find learner created content), you need to ask questions and challenge their ideas, through exposing them to ideas and interpretations (links to supporting discussion spaces and blogs). So the emphasis is assisting (scaffolding) the connecting to people and ideas, then simply providing these ideas.
I’ve included a few technologies which are commonly used to support this approach. However, the potential barrier is linking a physical learning space with an electronic. This is a particular issue with museums where the learner is often engaging with the material on their own or in small groups. To overcome this … we could use a set of QR Codes. The key is to use the technology in the individuals pocket, i.e., their phones. So, providing a QR Code which links to the discussion space (in the example above a blog), and this resource includes links to other user generated content, i.e. wikipedia, as well as RSS feeds of the agreed tag will help with the discovery process. The individual will be able to engage with others, and material to create new meanings around the exhibit.
The role of QR Codes is to provide a very easy and accessible means for people to access this material. The use of linking to one online resource, and this acts as a gateway means you don’t need to provide lots of QR Codes, and you can develop the material without having to keep replacing the QR Codes.
A note of warning, this focuses on asynchronous routes. Social constructivism requires the creation of meaning through conversation, often synchronous conversation. So, perhaps include a link to an organised chatroom ….
Museum people … would this work? is this happening already?
The following survey is being carried out by a number of educational institutions across the UK to act as a snap shot to identify student awareness of QR Codes, what experience people have of using them and the type of technology they have in their pockets.
This piece of research is very important as it will give us a much better appreciation of how we might use QR Codes and similar technologies in teaching and learning. People are becoming increasingly interested in the potential of using QR Codes to connect physical and electronic learning spaces. This is being investigated in a JISC LTIG Project run by the University of Bath (http://blogs.bath.ac.uk)
The survey is available from http://www.survey.bath.ac.uk/qrcode1109
The survey should take you only a few minutes, and you will be able to enter for a prize draw to win an iPod Touch or a Nintendo DS Lite. There is an iPod Touch and a Nintendo DS Lite available for each of the seven institutions involved in the JISC LTIG Project (Gloucestershire College, Manchester Met University, University of Bath, University of East Anglia, University of Gloucestershire, University of Leicester and University of Sheffield)
The survey is available from http://www.survey.bath.ac.uk/qrcode1109
The closing date is 6th December, 2009
I recently invited to ran a workshop on QR Codes at the ALT / BECTA “Successful deployment: networked handheld devices for learning and teaching” at the National College for Leadership for Schools and Children’s Services in Nottingham. Slides available on slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/andyramsden/qr-codes-fad-or-fab-at-alt-becta-successful-deployment-workshop
At the end of the session I asked 2 questions and requested they texted me the answers.
Q1: in three years time do you think QR codes would have been fab for L&T or simply a fad?
Q2: at this stage would you strongly support the prioritisation of resources to create and support the implementation on QR Codes related activities within your institution?
The group was 20 people from across the different educational sectors. The answers where;
15 people thought QR Codes would be viewed as fab in 3 years time (5 thought they’d be seen as a fad)
10 people where willing to strongly support the prioritisation of QR Codes at their institution (10 said they would not).
Interestingly, in the final summing up of the event (http://etherpad.com/altgoodpractice) two people mentioned they’d taken QR Codes as the key insight from the event (very pleasing )
The following link is to a screencast of a summary of the presentation I made at ALT C 2009. I’ve created and uploaded it using Panopto (a lecture capture tool which is about to be rolled out at the University). It is 16 minutes, and should be accessible via your web browser.
Just a quick nudge for an article which recently appeared on http://2d-code.co.uk/diy-qr-code-ticketing-anyone/
There was the question why given we have the technology in our pockets? Well, the answer appears to be robustness. The application in our field? handing in assignments. This normally causes significant amounts of resource for administrators in offices. However, an approach I’m really interested in progressing is the following;
student accesses their profile on institutional website and visits their assignment area. This displays what assignments are due to be handed in, and when. They print of the assignment cover sheet. This automatically includes lots of details, including a QR Code. The QR Code contains the unique ID (student number), unit and assignment number.
when they hand in the assignment they include the coversheet (as they have to anyway)
the assignment is scanned using something like http://2d-code.co.uk/diy-qr-code-ticketing-anyone/
the details are logged. This enables staff to run various reports, and cross reference with extensions etc., they can also identify who hasn’t submitted and contact them if required.
Not exactly new, it has been raised by lots of people when I’ve presented on QR Codes in education, and offers significant time savings for people / courses who aren’t / can’t adopt on online submission route.
We’ve discussed some important points to consider when designing the QR Code, and the learning activity. The following post on 2-d code sums up these ideas as three rules. I think they are really important and the concepts transfer very easily to educational QR Codes.
This post is entended to capture people’s thought after they’ve attended the two sessions I’m running at Alt C.
The discussion question which runs through both sessions is … how do you think QR Codes (or tags) could be used in learning and teaching?
Please submit your ideas using the comments box below.
The links to the presentation and the poster will be available soon …
For me, this is a very important question, and I keep revisiting it with more data and stories. All this interesting stuff we are rolling out in terms of QR Codes in education is not going to embed if students can decode them. Therefore, I have tended to break this down into two (proxy) questions;
are people aware of QR Codes?
do they own phones which can run a QR Code Reader?
The latest evidence is suggesting very positive responses to these questions. For instance a recent survey in “What Japan Thinks” (http://whatjapanthinks.com/2009/07/05/qr-code-reading-phones-held-by-almost-four-in-five-japanese/, see also http://whatjapanthinks.com/2005/09/26/qr-codes-extremely-popular/), indicated 78% knew they had a QR Code Reader on their phone (sample = 300), while 84% had used their phone to read a QR Code (sample = 235). This translates to 4 in 5 people (in the survey) had accessed a QR Code. I’d imagine, this level of engagement would transfer to UK Culture in a relatively short time. So very good news.
Another piece of interesting evidence to suggest there is a high potential was from a recent press release by Semapedia (http://blog.semapedia.org/wordpress/?p=182). This service monitors accesses to web sites, and “ran a query over the most used devices worldwide and crossed that with the QR Code capabilites”. They found 63% of Phones can install a QR Code Reader Application !!! They also provide a really neat service to enable people to easily identify a QR Code Reader for their phones … http://www.tigtags.com/getqr
Overall, this doesn’t give a definitive answer, yes they can. However, it is a good indication of change. It is becoming clear that in some cultures “scan and go” is becoming much better embed, while access to QR Code Readers is becoming more accessible.
It does answer the next wave of questions, just because they can, doesn’t mean they will !
The aim of the session was to work up some potential uses for QR Codes, present these back and finally vote (anonymous) if you agree or disagree that “QR Codes add significant value for the mobile user”. At the end of the workshop, the vote was;
Agree – 5 people
Disagree – 3 people
I’ll let you decide just how statistically significant these results are, and how you might implement this within your institution.
What did I take from it? The topics within the group presentations were very varied. One focussed on using QR Codes as part of the introduction for international students. I was particularly interested in the way they planned to introduce students to QR Codes and QR Code Readers through localised web sites before they travelled to the UK. The second presentation focussed on printing a QR Code on student ID cards which liked to their personal profiles / web space at the institution. This means people could simply scan the code to access the url. The third presentation focussed around using QR Codes within a museum. They’d taken an interesting approach (which opened up a group discussion) around trying to submit personal information (register phone number, language preferences) before scanning the QR Codes on specific exhibits.
I thought these all offered some really interesting and innovative approaches. The aim was not to analyse each approach but more to generate and share ideas.
We also discussed the factors which might inhibit adoption or our implementation. I’ve uploaded the photo to Flickr (link coming soon). Many of the same issues came through. Interestingly, there was some discussion around the limitations of the QR Code, i.e., interms of only one task per QR Code, and limited characters.
Something I have taken away is to investigate the potential of using Google Analytics to track the people who have clicked through from the QR Code. This would be interesting for a number of reasons, one of which would be to see if people actually access the QR Code. I can see a good application at Bath, where the Library are looking to include QR Codes on the back of their Library Card holders.
Finally, I was very pleased to see the access to a QR Code Reader exercise worked. I asked people to point their mobile device web browser to http://www.tigtags.com/getqr. This service then provided a list of available QR Code Readers for their specific phone (if available).
The slides from the session are available from Slideshare, using the eatbath-present tag (http://www.slideshare.net/andyramsden/qr-codes-fad-or-add-to-mobile-user).
It would be great to hear thoughts from those who attended … please add comments.
I’m glad to announce the QR Codes web site is being re-vamped during the summer (http://www.bath.ac.uk/barcodes). This service aims to act as the primary support gateway for staff and students to create QR codes, access details on how to install the appropriate software on their phone and gather information about how QR Codes are being used at the University of Bath.
The enhancements are being made through a number of steps. The first step, based on feedback from people during the year, is to improve the design. The second step involves improving the QR Code Generator to include more user control over the size of the QR Code and error corrections. The second step should be rolled out by the end of July, 2009.
If you’d like to discuss how QR Codes could be used in your teaching and/or learning then please email email@example.com
I’ve mentioned this idea in the past. Displaying a bookmark on your online material so the mobile learning can relatively easily bookmark resources on their phones and then transfer them to their bookmarks or share with friends. This has always been possible, however, I’ve never felt it was that easy to accomplish given it tended to involve lots of cut and pasting between applications. However, a few recent developments have changed my mind. Firstly, enhancements in the latest breed of QR Code Readers. For instance, Quickmark QR Code Reader includes a one click option to add a scanned url to your favourites, or share via your Twitter account. Therefore, if you bookmark the site and add it your favourites, when you sync the device to the computer it will be added to your bookmarks. This coincides with another development which is the promotion of sites such as Dashwire for mobile users. This site allows you to wireless backup bookmarks, photos, calendars etc., to their online service. Therfore, enabling you to bookmark, store and share the resource with your community.
Overall, these two developments are sign posting the likely future for mobile users, ie., better integration of scan based applications with other online services and a shift to online sync services and less reliance on desktop connections. Therefore, as a content provider I should be supporting this development by providing more information in barcode format.
The following information has been supplied by people at Sheffield University as a case study of use of QR Codes in Teaching and Learning.
Contact Roger Doonan, University of Sheffield (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An observation as the CONTACT project progressed the parallel networks in the real and virtual world were not integrating smoothly with the result that students tended to focus on the either the real or the virtual. To address this, the team at Sheffield University (Archaeological Materials-metals) introduced QR codes to better integrating the real and the virtual. Where each object in the assemblage studied was tagged with a QR code. These tags were physically attached to the object and encoded the web address to the object in the parallel virtual environment. Critically the student could now use the real object as an entry point to the virtual world and be provided with data directly to there mobile phone.
Observations of the practical sessions before and after the introduction of QR codes noted that the students working methods had changed dramatically. Prior to the introduction of QR codes students would congregate around the objects and inspect them then queue up at Laptops and terminals to visit the website to find out information. Whilst some students would return to the real assemblage many would then remain online and progress through the rest of the assemblage purely in the virtual environment. Such practices meant that key learning objectives were not being reached. The introduction of QR codes changed this dramatically. Students no longer moved physically around the laboratory tacking from real material to virtual material. Instead real material was examined and explored and then the attached QR TAG was used as a portal to the virtual world. Critically, once a piece in the assemblage had been analysed students tended to move to the next member of the real assemblage and again repeat the process. It was noted that students were much less prone to dwelling in the virtual world instead choosing to explore the real and use this as their point of entry to the virtual.
Overall, it was felt that QR coding offers real advantages to learning situations were students may be moving between virtual and real environments with the potential for students to remain in one or the other for various reasons (i.e. personal preference resourcing etc). Whilst QR codes were effective we did find issues with compatibility across different phones and aspects of the website did not function i.e. QTVR.
The QR Code library hunt is over. So it is time to report back on what happened and lessons learnt.
The first observation is the viral marketing approach did not delivery significant benefits in the very short period of time. By the end of the fortnight around 30 chocolates had been claimed. There will be a number of related factors for this, however, some key ones must be needed to support viral marketing with other promotional activities.
As a follow on activity we supported a QR Code helpdesk in the library foyer. This was available for two mornings during week three. The aim of this was to try to observe the barriers to students reading QR Codes on their phones. Some interesting observations came from this, of which none is new interms of implementing e-learning technologies.
A positive outcome was a large number of students recognised QR Codes. Many of them liked the concept of being able to scan something to access web material or complete a task.
Although previous desk research had suggested many students would be able to use a reader on their phone it became evident it is very difficult to get a reader installed (while in the field), and if installed many simply didn’t work. So infact, a much smaller number of people than originally thought would be able to scan QR codes using their phones.
The issue of easy, free data transfer was also a perceived issue with some students. The installation of the reader requires them downloading software direct to their phone. A barrier to this was cost on their data tariff. Very few of the students accessed the University’s wireless network via their phone.
After re-visiting our current QR Code support page (http://www.bath.ac.uk/barcodes) it is clear this site needs significant work to enable to act as a “one stop shop”. It doesn’t seem to help students through the process of getting a reader installed, and addressing the pitfalls of getting the software to work. It makes me wonder about the need to enhance the opportunities for students to help each other online and offline (SORTED).
Where next? Lessons learnt?
I take a lot of positives from this approach (as well as a lot of chocolate). We will continue to roll out the use of QR Codes for web site bookmarking on the LTEO web site etc., over the next 4 months. There is a need to re-visit the QR Code support area and make that more of a micro web site than a single page. I think we might need to think about how we coordinate this with other student IT support routes at the University.
My thanks to Nitin and Dom for supporting the help desk and feeding back on the student voice.
The e-learning team, the Library, and Student Union have joined forces to run a QR Code promotion campaign over the next two weeks at the University of Bath. The aim over the next two weeks is to reward students with the chance to win a QR Code chocolate, and discounted coffee at the University. This requires them to read a QR Code and present the decoded message on their phone to library staff or staff working behind the Student Union Cafe and Bar. The aim for me, is to encourage students to try to install the software on their mobile phone, get people talking about and seeing QR Codes and finally, pulling the winners together for a pizza and drink focus group.
I’ll be reporting back on it as we progress through the next fornight. The key questions I’ll be interested in answering is, are all the chocolates claimed? did the students download the reader or did they have a pre-installed reader? based on this experience, how do they think it might be used to support their learning?
Click here to view the embedded video.
A number of people from the e-learning Team at the University of Bath are involved in delivering papers and workshops at the Plymouth e-learning Conference (23-24th April, 09).
Many are thinking or actually implementing QR Codes within their sessions (I didn’t force them … honest). Therefore, I thought it would be really useful when they were in their planning phase to tease out some of their ideas. The following is a summary of how they are thinking of using QR Codes in their presentations, and what barriers exist for there us.
The people on the seats were; Lindsay Jordan, Nitin Parmar and Alan Hayes (admittedly not part of the e-learning team but thinking of using QR Codes)
In terms of how they might be used, then this clustered around;
More efficient access to the material you are talking about …
Using QR codes in printed material: Making links available as a QR Code as well as a text. This would allow people to scan the code and not manually enter text. This might be quite important when slides are changing fast. The specific uses included; a link from the first slide to a download of the presentation, links to specific articles and video papers referred to in the presentation, and to contact details.
Using QR codes on handouts: One of the presenters is thinking they might supply some handouts within their session. Within this they would include QR Codes to make the connection with online material.
Easier participation in presentation activities …
A couple of the presenters are including information gathering activities in their sessions. The use of the QR Code will allow the audience to easily complete these activities on their mobile devices. For instance, one presenter will be encouraging the audience to leave comments on a Blog, while another is asking the audience to text responses to questions. So instead on entering the text number, and then the message, they simply scan and send.
The next question was around the issue of what barriers might exist people participating in these activities.
The discussion tended to cluster around;
It was suggested that people will not be aware so they’d not have the software to decode the QR Code on their device, or the broader application on their device. For instance, if they did have a QR Code reader, would they have a PDF reader (if QR Code linked to PDF article).
Can they complete the task on their small screen device. For instance, how does the Blog render on a small screen? When we looked at the specific example the number of comments meant the user had to scroll significantly to get to the submit options.
Data access and costs of participation was raised as a potential hurdle. For instance, if wi-fi is not available for their device or in the room then the costs of participation will be high, while the speed of interaction (downloading data onto the phone) might be slow and not worth the effort.
So where does that leave us? Well, I’d suggest just because we can include a QR code doesn’t mean we should on all slides. For instance, in my 30 minute presentation there are 9 qr codes in 14 slides. Of which, 6 link to a web resource being discussed, 2 involve direct audience interaction / tasks, and 1 is purely cosmetic. Is this to many? Will people use them? I’ll feedback after the event.
The Library at the University of Bath have included a QR Code within the results of a catalogue search. This code is automatically displayed when you click on the item detail. The QR Code is a text code, which summaries the key information, the resource title, the author, and the shelf location. This is created automatically (dynamically) through using the api of the Google QR Code Generator.
I think this is wonderful, it is a really obvious efficiency saving for individuals. So instead of searching the catalogue and writing the info on scraps of paper. I simply find the resource I want, scan the code and save it on my phone. I can then use this to find the item on the shelf. Infact, I can save this on my phone (I’d probably take a little more time and cut and paste into a mobile word document) and start to build up my own reference collection.
So, you are probably interested in seeing what it looks like? I’ve searched for author keyword Sloman
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25246864@N08/3380460794/ - full screen shot
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25246864@N08/3379643565/ - focus on smaller area
If you are a member of the University of Bath, then try it out
I’ll encourage the Library team to write up a short description (case study) of what they did and why.
We conducted the meeting using Megameeting. There were attendees from
University of East Anglia
University of Bath
Manchester Met University
University of Leicester
The broad outcomes where as follows;
1. need to collectively develop a number of support resources. Stop us re-inventing the wheel. Collate and share the info we alreday have / us. (ACTION: ALL, & Work up at Face to Face Meeting)
2. Set up a google environment to support this (ACTION ANDY)
3. Start using the agreed tag (jiscqr) in blogs, twitter, flickr, delicious etc., (ACTION: ALL)
4. arrange dates for the face to face event (ACTION ANDY)
5. People start documenting (if not already) their expereinces and observations.
6. Student survey in October 2009 about awareness to QR Codes etc., (ACTION ANDY share Uni of Bath survey)
The Educase Learning Initiative recently published a two page pdf on 7 things you should know about QR codes. This is a digestible document that is an excellent heads up for those new to this emerging topic. It also makes reference to the the Ideas Factory sessions we been running as part of the JISC Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant at the University of Bath. You can get more outcomes from those sessions from the links on this page.
The Educase PDF is available from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7046.pdf
The meeting will start at 11.00. You should have received your invite via email to access MegaMeeting.
The aganda for the meeting is as follows;
1. Welcome & Introductions
2. Updates on where we are with QR Codes
3. Connecting: Google
4a. Ongoing evaluation: capturing the stories
4b. Cross institutional survey
6. Next Meetings
6a. online: May
6b. face to face: start of June? Birmingham?
I’ve juts uploaded a new case study on using QR Codes to support the University of Bath’s Innovations Week in Teaching and Learning. See >> http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/casestudies/2009/03/18/using-qr-codes-during-innovations-week/
I recently caught up with Brian Kelly (UKOLN) and discussed the idea of using QR Codes in the International Web Management Workshop 2009. The following is a summary of the discussion.
The USP of QR codes is that they connect a physical space / object to an electronic task / action in a very effective and efficient manner for someone using a mobile device. This would suit a conference or event, which is hosted in a physical location but has lots of information and activities online.
So before we get started it is worth remembering a few key points to ensure that the use is effective. These are in no particular order;
Usability – remember that QR Codes have no clear sign about the task you are likely to complete. Therefore, it is good practice to include some visual indicator of what will happen when you scan the code. For instance, in a TXT, SMS or URL on the code
Linking – A large proportion of the tasks that people complete using QR Codes involve linking to web sites. You need to ensure that the web resources are actually usable on the small screen device.
Equity – not everyone will have an appropriate mobile device or a reader on their phone. Therefore, you will need to provide an alternative (where possible)so people can complete your task.
Access to readers – the reader software may not be pre-loaded on their devices. Therefore, users will need some degree of support on getting them installed. Be prepared to support people before, and during the event to get the readers installed.
An example of some of these points is available through a mock (powerpoint) for inclusion on equipment that we support (http://www.bath.ac.uk/lmf/download/28320)
So what scenarios are some potential scenarios for the IWMW?
A few that spring to mind our;
Providing them on all conference material (including pre-conference) material with links to conference web site. An outcome might be that the person simply bookmarks pages through their mobile device.
Support promotions through the conference. For instance, at the recent Innovations in Learning and Teaching Week at the Uni of Bath we swamped campus with fortune cookies. Inside each was a key question which people could comment on through the conference blog. We used short (tiny) urls for this. However, it would have been even easier if we included the appropriate QR Code.
Facilitating comments on posters. During our Innovations Week there were a number of poster sessions. The problems with posters (as we are all aware) is that it is difficult to leave comments / feedback, and read other peoples comments. Therefore, to make things easier we created post on the event blog and encouraged people to leave comments / read others. To make the process easier we included smaller posters on how to leave comments. This included via a QR Code, as well as via a SMS text.
Sign up sheets. We have used QR Codes to allow people to easily sign up for SMS alerts. This could be applied to any news alert service during the conference. For instance, subscribe to an RSS feed from Twitter or a Blog. This will allow people to use their RSS Aggregators on their phones to get regular updates. The QR Code contains the complex RSS information.
Conference induction event or augmented reality game. A common theme at many conferences is many people might not get the opportunity in a low risk approach to meet and connect with others. Therefore, running a group induction event, or a group game would encourage people to connect / communicate as they sort clues and answers to complete the tasks. As part of this, then QR Codes could be used – to either contain the clue (text QR Codes) or be part of the solution.
Just in time info during presentations / workshops. Include QR codes for links, more info etc., on slides / material during sessions. So people can scan, read or bookmark.
A recent discussion with the AV Unit at the University of Bath highlighted a lot of interest in using QR Codes to connect their physical equipment and the appropriate online support material. The discussion also highlighted the need to coordinate the support mechanism via our QR Codes Information Hub (http://www.bath.ac.uk/barcodes).
So, what about these signs / stickers for the equipment? The following link is to a powerpoint slide that mocks up the approach that e-learning will be taking when supporting our Audience Response System. We just need to finalise the video.
You can see there are three objectives from the insert.
direct people to where they can get more information about how to use the software in their study
emergency / just in time assistance linking to a 30 second video about setting up the equipment
a lnk back to the QR Code Info Hub where they can get readers etc.,
I think the link to the video illustrates the efficiency gain from using the QR Code. That is a really long url which is a pain to type in. It works really nicely on a windows mobile device. It is streamed from our windows streamer, it opens in the windows media player on the device, click display full screen and you are away In terms of the actual roll out, then the video will link to a page on the blog which allows them to select the streamed format.
After the training, the AV Unit will be rolling this out on their equipment. I’ll work up their use as a case study.
A big thank you to Web Services at the University of Bath for installing the PDA / IPhone plug-in for the word press blogs. This plug-in will enable people to use their mobile devices to read our blogs as it displays the material to suit small screens. This even works on my Nintendo DS using the wireless access and opera mobile browser - it was a wonderful experience ! So the outcome is that it is much easier for mobile learners to read and comment on our blogs.
So what will this mean for QR Codes at the University of Bath? Well, a use that is emerging at Bath is to use QR Codes on the posters during Innovation Week. These would allow people to access contact details of the author(s) (a text QR Code), link to the supporting web material, and link to the Innovations Week blog to leave comments, ask questions and read other peoples views. The idea is that they can complete these tasks while standing in front of the poster. The only draw back was that this task would not be feasible because of the poor way that the material displays on a small screen. However, now that problem has been overcome.
I recently ran an Ideas Factory Workshop at Gloucesterhsire College - thanks to James Clay for organising it all.
It was a small group, plus many of their thoughts had been captured in previous groups sessions so I didn’t work through the mind maps as I have with other groups. However, a couple of interesting points came through. Firstly, they had some quite well established ideas about how they might use them within the Library space. In particular, to link the physical collection to the electronic, providing contact numbers and opening hours as a text based QR Code, and quick linking to the online contact forms.
It was really interesting the way the discussion shifted to thinking about how they might be used with webcam based technologies. In other words, how they might be used with slightly larger screen technologies, such as the ASUS EEE PC. This struck a cord with me, as the University of Bath is thinking about this type of technology for its first year students. So if a QR Code Reader was available on linux then this would open up a number of possibilities within just in time delivery of information in teaching sessions, or connecting to elearning tools to complete activities.
So plenty to come away with …
I presented a parallel session at the JISC Emerge Users and Innovation Programme Meeting in York (29th Jan). I took advantage of having a captive audience to run a slimmed down QR Codes Ideas Factory.
The outcomes of the session are available in two mind maps;
How might you use QR Codes? (png file)
What are the barriers to the use of QR Codes? (png file)
I ran the QR Codes Ideas Factory at the University of Gloucestershire on the 27th January . A thank you to Phil Gravestock for organising it. There was a nice QR Code on the door of the room which included text of the about the event.
The outcomes of the session are available in two mind maps;
How might you use QR Codes? (png file)
What are the barriers to the use of QR Codes? (png file)
A couple of things that I took from this session that hadn’t been raised or discussed in as much detail at other Ideas Factory Workshops was the of using QR codes to link to additional information for student posters and student art exhibits. The slight twist was not only would they link to more information, but in particular, information about on the lessons that the student learnt from the activity, and what they were trying to achieve. This slightly morphed into the that there should also be a mechanism where the audience could leave their comments for both the student and for each other. In other words, simply linking to a blog post. There was further discussion about the practicalities of this, for instance, providing devices for people to walk around the exhibit, poster session. These could be low spec PDAs, with a camera and wi-fi access. So people could quickly access the information, and leave comments thoughts. The discussion quickly spun into the of why not leave audio messages.
The other point which had been raised at any other institution (to date) was how QR Code technology might / should be woven into the course content of modules / units that focussed on communication, marketing, advertising and graphics. Some thoughts about a “heads up” for the people running those modules.
I ran the QR Codes Ideas Factory at UEA on the 26th January . The attendance was really good from across the institution. Thanks to Jo Badge for organising it. There were QR codes all over the building. The one on the meeting room enabled a link to the supporting documentation on a Blog. I quite liked this It meant as I entered the room I could scan the link, get a handle of the workshop aims, leave comments etc., (link to image).
The outcomes of the session are available in two mind maps;
How might you use QR Codes? (png file)
What are the barriers to the use of QR Codes? (png file)
A couple of things struck me from the session. I was particularly interested the underlying theme … “using QR codes to enable people to access the required information as efficiently and effectively as possible. However, this quickly becomes a pointless activity because on many occasions we might direct them to resources and activities that are not appropriate for small screen devices. Such as web sites that do not render, or documents / pdfs which can not be read. Therefore, if the implementation of QR Codes is to be effective then we need to ensure that our material is accessible and usable on small screen devices”.
There was some discussion about student generation of QR codes and sharing these with each other. An interesting thing to observe was the sharing of QR codes in the session. Quite a few people had iPhones, and one individual captured as a photo a QR code included in my presentation. The person they where sitting next to then read the QR code from the iPhone and not my slide. This made me re-visit the scenario of collecting and managing QR codes from presentations. If I can’t scan the image (for what ever reason) then perhaps I should photo the slide (this is something that I regularly undertake during presentations) then upload them to Flickr, and later read them on my computer screen.
In terms of improving the support material, there were a number of questions raised. Firstly, the issue of size and the need to accommodate error handling, and secondly, the use of different colour QR codes.
I ran the QR Codes Ideas Factory at UEA on the 16th January . The attendance was really good (15 people) from across the institution. Thanks to Andy Mee for organising it. I was particularly impressed with the QR Code behind the reception desk (link to image).
The outcomes of the session are available in two mind maps;
How might you use QR Codes? (png file)
What are the barriers to the use of QR Codes? (png file)
Overall I thought the session went very well. People seemed to be very engaged with the topic. A lot of the use focussed on the potential with administration and marketing. There was a lot of similar thoughts to the session at Manchester Met. For instance, induction, sending feedback, and sign up sheets.
We also spent some time discussing the barriers to the use of QR codes. There was considerable discussion around the issue of equitable access, costs for the end user, concerns about standardisation in terms of readers being able to access the information, and the thought that campuses will be covered in QR codes. Some of these points should fall out as the case studies continue. For instance, people should be very confident about access to QR codes using any reader if they focus on using the four key functions (text, url link, SMS message and phone number). The initial investigation (URL to my blog) indicates these are accessible on a number of different browsers. While, other issues should be addressed as part of the evaluation. I’d be particularly interested to address the issue of costs on student participation.
In this session I included an activity where people created a QR Code, and then included the code within either a powerpoint or a document. This supported my view about how easy it was to generate and use them. A very positive response from one lecturer was that they’d use them that afternoon – given they were so easy to create and include in their lecture material. He planned to use a QR Code which transferred a web link.
The discussion continued over lunch and there was an interesting emerging around the topic of patients using them to transfer information back to their doctors. For instance, a person at home might have to take a number of data recordings (blood sugar levels etc.,) and submit these for monitoring. It appears that there are a number of issues with the current method, including it being quite a complicated process which is prone to human error when collating the information. So could a person take their readings and transfer this to their doctor. The was to complete the process on a mobile device, create a QR Code (text) which contains the information, and then send it as an MMS message to phone number. We weren’t sure whether this was possible (although the QuickMark QR Code Creator offered an encrypted option, which could be created using a web browser on a mobile) or the best solution. However, it did start to the discussion about encrypted information within a bar code, and user generated content. Food for thought
In terms of evidencing the slow spread of QR Codes into everyday life, then a really interesting starting point is the Flickr Group - QR Codes in the wild. They are simply popping up everywhere
Alternatively, see the slideshow at http://www.flickr.com/groups/qrcodes/pool/show/
7 people attended, mostly from the CeLT group.
There were a number of positives to take from the session. We worked up a number of potential uses. We then developed two in more detail. One of these focused on the use of QR Codes in a Library Induction. There was a number of aims, I particularly liked the of using this not only to introduce them to the library, but also to act as a learning opportunityw.r.t qr codes. The learning activity involved them using a number of the key QR code functionality, including linking to the web, accessing text and sending a SMS message. Some perceived positives of this approach included it could be made available for a long time, so extending the initial induction period. Students complete it whenever they like, and re-visit it in the future. The designers also included the of having multiple entry points, so it wasn’t a rigid linear design.
The second worked up use focussed on the use of QR codes to allow people to quickly book appointments with learning support and student support services. This would work as a SMS message. The QR codes could be placed in appropriate locations. In a sense it would act as an equivalent to the “tear of strip” on a notice. People were very positive about the of immediacy and anonymity. However, there were concerns with respect to costs for students.
Other interesting points from the session was, what is the killer app? An emerging theme was that QR codes would save you writing stuff down (efficiency and effectiveness gain). Also, the killer app would need to weave in the of mobility. So mobility interms of accessing information or facilitating communication.
There was significant time spent mulling over the use of QR codes to store RSS information, and enable subscribers to use their mobile devices. Also, looking at the Quickmark generator, the of creating and transferring GPS coordinates in a QR code gained a lot of interest. We discussed the of transferring these coordinates to Google Maps on your mobile, and then doing something with it. For instance, the next clue in an activity, or compare / contrast with point x. This sounded quite exciting but we then thought about this would require students to have significantly greater mobile device skills then they currently have. So support might go through the roof …
So you ask, what else came out of the session? Discussed the of student having their own unique QR code to attach to their work as part of more efficient work hand-ins, anonymous marking (if encrypted). Also, in of the person marking the assignment having QR codes that point to certain resources, such as generic feedback (perhaps an audio file), or online support material (how to reference). Then they could attach these at the appropriate part of the assignment. This would improve the speed and accuracy of feedback, especially when marking a large number of scripts.
Another potential use that I particularly liked (and thought would work at the University of Bath) was a QR Code outside each room. This QR Code would re-direct people to the room within the online booking system to see, if the room was free, when it was free and how to book it. There would also be a second QR Code (text) that contained the details of the room (name, size, equipment). This would allow people to scan and save the room details to book later.
I was invited to attend the Subject Librarian’s meeting this morning at the University of Bath, to start a discussion around what are QR Codes and how might they be used within the context of the Library.
I thought the session went reasonably well. There was some interesting thrown up, for instance, book details being stored in a code, sign up sheets to events (combined with the eduTxt software that Geraldine was discussing), and linking to existing information about how to use technology (hardware or software).
Some comments were raised in terms of accessibility and equity of access to information. For instance, if a QR Code is made available that links to an online video on how to use the technology, then students can access just in time information, efficiently and effectively through their mobile phone. However, to ensure an equitable access the sticker (with the QR Code) should also include the URL.
There was some discussion about logging the number of referrals that come through the QR Code. I was wondering, seeing they use the go.bath.ac.uk then this might be logged. I’ll need to talk to Andy Male about this.
It sounds like there are lots of exciting opportunities to explore with QR codes in the Library.
There have been a number of requests to find out more about how we included the QR codes in the Moodle printout. There will be more coming on this topic, however, for starters the following link takes you to the developers blog where he outlines the approach.
The e-learning team have just released a 2 minute movie which demonstrates how to create a QR Code using the University of Bath’s QR Generator (http://www.bath.ac.uk/barcodes) and then insert this into a powerpoint slide. The movie is available from http://www.bath.ac.uk/lmf/download/25102
I’m really pleased to announce that the e-learning team have recently released an enhancement to Moodle which appends a QR Code to the bottom of Moodle print outs. The announcement was made on the Moodle Blog -http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/moodle.
“We have just released an enhancement for Moodle users who want to access material on their mobile device. Many pages printed from moodle now include a QR Code (a bar code) at the bottom. You will only see these on your print outs or if you view the page in print preview mode through your browser.
You will need a bar code reader on your Mobile camera phone to read this bar code. The bar code contains the url of the page. So once accessed it will deep link to that particular page on that particular moodle course. This will make it much more efficient for people accessing Moodle using mobile devices as you as you can simply scan the bar code … no more typing in long urls using big thumbs on small keyboards
“I use this as follows, when looking through my Moodle courses, when I find a page I want to revisit later, such as a forum. I click on file >> print preview in the browser on my computer. Then I scroll to the bottom of the page, take out my mobile phone and scan the bar code. I then add this as a favourite on the web browser on my phone. So I can access it whenever I like” - Andy Ramsden, Head of e-Learning.”
Andy Ramsden recently presented on the potential of QR codes in Education at the mLearn Conference (2008) in Ironbridge.
This included some examples of use for e-admin and e-learning. There was also a description of the work we’ve been undertaking at the University of Bath to roll out QR codes.