Random stuff from Simon Cotterill !

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hub5 problems on Mac – fixed

I recently got the new Hub5 router (WiFi 6) from Virgin Media. I found it had better Wifi range and performance compared to the router it replaced. My problem was that I had issues with my MacBook Pro. Outlook and Teams apps wouldn’t connect to the Exchange server and ssh connections made in Terminal wouldn’t work for some domains. There were workarounds for these problems – using the Web version of Outlook in office365 for example, but overall a real pain!

The fix was switching off Auto Proxy Discovery in System Preferences:

Mac System Prefernces - Network - Advanced - Prodxies - unticj Auto discovery

Do this by going to System Preferences – Network – Advanced Settings. Under the Proxies tab untick “Auto Proxy Discovery”, then save and Apply.

Now I’ll wait and see if this has any knock-on effects when using in other locations!


Job vacancy: Learning Technologies Developer

Thanks to Django Jobs Board, where we have submitted details of our job vacancy for a Learning Technologies Developer (closing date 12th Sept 2016). Further details of the job.

Checking out Tumult Hype

Just been checking out Tumult Hype as I’m interested in free or low cost tools for generating interactive content and animations in HTML5. Theres plenty of tools out there that let you convert powerpoint to Flash, ideally I was looking for something similar which converted to HTML5. There are tools that do this but they tend to be on the pricy side. Looking around I came across Hype. It is an editor, rather than a converter, but caught my eye with a good set of features and good examples in its customer gallery – and very reasonable £34 ($50) price tag. Its an application for Mac OS X.

Using the trial version of Hype I put together a brief tutorial over the weekend: Bones and Muscles of the Hands

Bones and Muscles of the hand

I was impressed with Hype and it was quick to get up and running, with good documentation and tutorial. Great for simple, but effective animations. I found myself doing image manipulations (cropping, rotating etc) in other tools, but that suits me fine. But then the recording/timeline feature in Hype is really good and not disimilar to some of the expensive high-end software out there. The export facility generates a html file plus a folder containing copies of all the images and resources used, ideal for rapid publishing.


I’ll be using Hype again; it is great if you want to make some hand-crafted interactive content. As a personal interest I’ve got some static content about Medical Terminology for Cancer which gets a reasonable amount of traffic – but really needs a revamp. Is Hype a tool for the masses (something an institution might provide for lecturers/teachers) ? not sure; but for those with a reasonable level of technical literacy producing simple animations without any coding is straightforward, if you are willing to invest a small amount of time learning how to use it. From a developer perspective Hype has great support for integrating javascript, which opens up a heap of possibilities.

Feel free to download (Zip 1.1 MB) and use the tutorial (CC-BY 3.0).

Open Access to Research – presentation from OER14

Here is my presentation from the OER14 conference at the Centre for Life, Newcastle.

MOOC Assignment

My shamefully rushed digital artefact for the eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC:


favOERites – OER bookmarking project

We have just completed our project for social bookmarking of Open Educational Resources.

Further details: favOERites


New Publication in IJOCS

We have a paper published in a special issue of the International Journal of Clinical Skills:

Cotterill S, Horner P, Teasdale D, Ellis J, Thomason JM, Vernazza C, Bradley PM, Peterson J, Skelly G, Ball S. Effective embedding and integration of ePortfolios in medical and dental curricula. IJOCS. 2011; (5): 18-23.

The paper identifies different ways in which ePortfolios can be embedded and integrated with the curriculum. This is important because embedding and integration can be a key factor in the level of engagement with portfolios. The paper draws on the wider literature and on specific case studies from undergraduate medicine and dentistry at Newcastle. It also included early evaluation of Dynamic Learning Maps, which provides a new approach for embedding portfolio learning within online curriculum maps.

Browne Review Omits Distance Learning

David Kernohan of JISC writes about online distance learning: “To me, one of the enormous surprises regarding the Browne review of Higher Education funding was the complete absence of any mention of online or blended delivery.”

To that I’d add; the experience in the Netherlands when student fees increased was a dramatic increase in applications to their Open University. This was driven by younger applicants, where previously distance learning had been predominantly mature students / work based learners.

It is fairly safe to predict that as UK student fees increase more young people will likewise opt for cheaper distance learning, rather than traditional campus-based HE. Even, the more surprising that distance learning isn’t addressed in the Browne report.

English students might find distance learning cheaper than studying in Scotland or Wales, and definitely England 😉