To experience this website in full, please enable JavaScript or upgrade your browser.

Tag Archives: bloom

Double Blind Marking in Moodle


A requirement for UK Higher Education for some time in Moodle has been to facilitate double blind marking and moderation.

This can be seen in the recent research work that is being undertaken by Jisc sector wide:

We have been working with a number of university partners to develop a tool, including University of Plymouth, Royal Veterinary College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a few others (so thank you for funding).

Current double blind marking features include:

  • Integration with Turnitin
  • Use of Moodle’s core grading methods
  • Blind Marking (Instructors do not know who they are marking)
  • Blind Feedback (Students do not know who marked their submission)
  • Bulk download of submissions
  • Bulk upload of annotated files
  • Bulk submission of grades through a grading worksheet
  • Support for up to 3 markers
  • Control over who sees feedback and grades at each stage
  • Automatic marker allocation rules
  • Group submissions

A video showing the workflow and allocation in the Coursework activity is shown below:

We hope to make an open source release available in the coming months but in the mean time, if you would like to know more please contact us.

[Edit: We have made an open source first release which is available here]


Into the unknown: can we predict the future with Bloom Thrive?

thrive learner analytics

With the development of learning analytics and predictive technology has come an opportunity, or the sense of an opportunity, to predict the behaviour of individuals – be that potential criminals, the habits of shoppers or, indeed, students.

First Steps With Bloom Thrive

As discussed in the previous post on the subject, the University of London International Programmes is engaging with ULCC to pilot Bloom Thrive, a learning analytics system to try to understand our students’ progression through their courses better. We are getting ready to go live with the system this month, but as part of the project’s development we faced a particular challenge that I’d like to address in this blog – namely, how do we know whether the system will work?

In our distance learning environment where students are not on a campus, the nature of student progression and retention is such that we don’t necessarily know whether our students are continuing until they re-register for the following year. Judging the success, or otherwise, of a system that tries to predict how students may progress therefore involves playing the long game – making an educated guess using your analytic system in September may not be borne out as true or false until the following autumn.

UoLIA student locations

University of London International Programmes – Fingertips Facts


Old Data To The Rescue

Our own attempts to test the effectiveness of Bloom Thrive involved taking snapshots of student data from three points in 2014 (October, November and December – up to 40,000 students), running it through  the system and testing the outputs against the actual progression for these students in the following academic year. The advantage of this test was that we knew which students progressed. The disadvantage was that the results lacked the live analytical elements that Thrive includes, such as an indication of student ‘wellness’ or whether they are using their VLE.

The results themselves – three reports of 200 students considered at risk of disengagement – identified, consistently, a slightly higher rate of student attrition than our general level. A positive result for the test, but only slightly. In and of themselves these results are not convincing evidence of the effectiveness of the Bloom Thrive, however there are positive signs and it is hoped that the live elements of the system will add more depth and sophistication to the predictions made. And in time we will be able to test the live system to find this out.

Beyond The Data

However there is a paradoxical element to the search for quantified proof that a system such as this will work – successfully identifying and engaging with a student at risk of leaving their studies may mean they continue to study. Unless you quantify that successful reaction the student could be added to the data proving the system wrong.

Institutions may need to take a wider view – judgements of success could factor in an overall reduction in attrition year-on-year, or increases in how students rate institutional student support. Also, as improved student understanding and support is the benefit, a qualitative methodology may be an equally appropriate way to gauge success.

Bloom Thrive at UoLIA

At the recent ULCC Summer Moodle User Group meeting Tom Inkelaar, Head of Management Information at UoLIP gave a brief overview of the learning analytics pilot he is conducting in collaboration with ULCC and Altis.

In 1858, the University of London established the University of London International Programmes to make its degrees accessible to students across the world. Its past students include many people who have shaped the world we live in, including seven Nobel Prizes winners, among them Nelson Mandela and British economist Ronald Coase.

I sat down with Tom to find out more about the learner analytics pilot, the drivers behind it and the longer term plans for learning analytics at UoLIP

Read more

Altis logo

ULCCMUG Preview: Altis & Bloom Thrive

Some of you will have noticed a guest presentation from Peter Hopwood, UK Country Manager at Altis Consulting on the agenda of our upcoming Moodle User Group. You’ll probably wonder who he is and what Altis does, so I thought it would be useful to sit down with Peter and recap the ULCC/Altis relationship, project persistence [internal working title] and what it means for you, our customers.

Read more

Change image

(Re)defining our Moodle service – Part II (What is Bloom?)

Over the past eight years ULCC has grown as an e-learning service provider from a handful of institutions, to over 150 across the educational sector. Traditionally we have provided bespoke solutions to each customer, leading to sometimes competing service needs, and a lack of direction from ULCC as a service provider. We are now re-defining our e-learning service under the product and service name of Bloom (working title). This allows a community led platform to be in place, from an in-sector provider, giving you the ability to shape its direction whilst having a reliable and sustainable service.

Our aim is for continuous development of new features to be funded as part of the service, allowing for sustainable new features – that are not provided in core Moodle – to be developed according to the ULCC Moodle community needs without one institution having to take the full funding risk of sustainability.

The Bloom product and service take the best that Moodle has to offer and combine it with the best community, third-party and ULCC-developed plugins to create a beneficial e-learning environment. Bloom is complemented by a range of additional services for those institutions that wish to use a Moodle-based VLE with the added assurances of enterprise-class service levels. The Bloom range of services supports institutions that wish to take Moodle and Bloom in a unique direction that differentiates their institution whilst still retaining the benefits of a service hosted and supported by an experienced service provider.


•    Hosted in a UK data centre.
•    Implemented by qualified project managers.
•    Support facilitated by experienced Moodle administrators.
•    Integrates with student record systems.
•    Incorporates the best community, supplier and ULCC plugins.
•    Contains user configurable themes.
•    Facilitates personalised learning through Individual learning plans.
•    Includes an administration toolbox to make system tasks easier.
•    Advanced reporting included for monitoring use and progress.
•    Regular Bloom releases to keep you up to date.
•    No Bandwidth Cap.

More information, including the plugins expected to be available as part of the product, can be found in the attached draft Bloom Production Definition.