By Dr Jordan Phethean (Lecturer in Economic Geology/Metamorphic Geology)
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the switch to 100 % remote learning, lecturers and students alike found themselves faced with a simple, but fundamental, new problem – how to submit those hardcopy portfolios / survey maps / field notebooks / practical write-ups etc., which students had been conscientiously working on for months?
Fortunately, the Digital Media Producers and the wider TEL team were on hand with some great advice! After just a short consultation, TEL advised on a few potential solutions to this problem and after a quick trial the geoscientists opted to use the Microsoft Lens phone app to digitise work their written elements, ready for submission directly to Turnitin.
Not only can the Microsoft Lens app quickly digitise hardcopy documents into multipage .pdf format, but it also auto-crops and straightens the perspective of images. It can apply a variety of filters (e.g. black and white), and allows files to be saved directly to a student OneDrive account. This was ideal for our students, who could easily digitise their work and submit it straight into Turnitin.
To begin with, the Geoscience lecturers produced a short handout guide to help students use the app, but not long after TEL had arranged for the Digital Media Producers to create an accessible video tutorial to introduce our students to using the Microsoft Lens app, which has been easy to share and convenient for students to watch and understand the process.
One year on, I am still sharing this guidance with my students and they are still uploading digitised work, e.g. hand-written virtual “field” notebooks, to Turnitin. The app and the guidance to go with it has been invaluable over the last year and I intend to use this convenient piece of technology, alongside the supporting guidance material, with my students moving forwards too!