All posts by john

Supporting and enabling BME Student Success through the Lifecycle.

In June 2019, with support from our PVC and colleagues in the CLT, I was able to organise a national event for University Alliance institutions at the University of Brighton. The event took a 'sandpit approach' to the issue of the Black and Ethnic Minority student 'attainment gap'. The website I set up for the event is available at UA Sandpit: Supporting and enabling BME Student Success through the Lifecycle. With help from our Learning technologists we were able to use Slack, before, during and after the event.

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Professor Tansy Jessop -At home everywhere and nowhere: the place of pedagogic research in higher education

Excellent lecture here from Tansy Jessop, Professor at Southampton Solent University. Makes important points about 'pedagogic research' being put into its own category and the 'own goal' of Boyer's Scholarship of Teaching of Learning.

Professor Tansy Jessop -At home everywhere and nowhere: the place of pedagogic research in higher education from Educational Development Unit on Vimeo.

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Checkout OneHE

I've put my profile up on OneHE a new organisation which describes itself as "a global network for educators who share a passion for learning and teaching in higher education". There already seem to be lot signed up. Membership privileges (from £3 per month) include access to small pots of funding and they are in the process of facilitating new 'global subject centres' which have their own areas on the site. OneHE is led by former senior staff from the Higher Education Academy and looks like it could be become a much-needed grassroots teaching and learning network for teachers from all disciplines.

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How to update the Ubuntu Touch operating system on a BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition when you can’t access the bootloader.

I recently made a what is probably best described as an ideological decision to purchase a Ubuntu Touch tablet. I’ve used Linux on my desktop for a while now and thought it was time to take the plunge with a tablet with an open source operating system. Ubuntu Touch has had a difficult development history. Canonical, who develop the Ubuntu desktop operating system withdrew support for the project and is is now maintained Ubports as a community project

This is not a review of the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet, but it will be become quickly evident from this post that this most definitely a not suitable device for anyone who wants to buy a tablet, charge it up, downloads some apps then get into using it. In fact I’ve had the tablet a few weeks now and have only just managed to work out the basics of updating the OS.

Buying the tablet

As far as I know it is not possible to buy one in the UK so I purchased mine directly from the manufacturers in Spain-- Apparently they can be bought in store Spain, Portugal and Austria and Germany.

The initial problem.

Although I’ve only just got the tablet is arrived preloaded with the Canonical version of Ubuntu Touch. Although you can use it to browse the internet, it is not possible to update it or install new apps as Canonical no longer support the OS and Ubuntu Touch store is now closed. So the first post-purchase task is to get the latest version of Ubuntu Touch from Ubports.

The ‘official’ solution which didn’t work directly. You will get no help from BQ on this. However, I recommend trying this first anyway.

1. Download and install the Ubports-installer https://github.com/ubports/ubports-installer to your desktop computer (not your tablet). Versions are available for Linux, Windows and Apple OS’s.

2. Put the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition into ‘developer mode’. Settings> about> developer mode. If you haven’t set up a password or passcode you will need to do so.

3. Connect your BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition device to your desktop using a usb cable and follow the onscreen instructions.

4. It will tell you to put the device into bootloader mode by pressing the volume up button and the power button.

5. Then the ubports installer will install the ubports version.

However, however hard I tried I could get into the bootloader mode. Other online suggestions included holding the power button and volume down, holding multiple buttons etc. Whatever I tried I could not access the bootloader and the device just started up as normal. Resetting the device from the tablet settings did not help either.

A solution.

I eventually obtained a solution from this forum-- clearly I was not the only one having this problem. The solution is a little bitty so I’ve written it out here. I accept no responsibility for how you use these instructions, but they may help you. Basically your treat the Ubuntu device as if you were trying to install Ubuntu Touch on an Android device.

Hardware/ OS Like the user on the forum I used a laptop running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. No usb devices were plugged in.

Software

You need to down, extract and install the following

All linked from ubports website

1. Ubports installer (as above)

2. Download the appropriate ROM image for the device (frieza in my case). Extract this.

3. The Linux flash tool from https://spflashtool.com/download/SP_Flash_Tool_v5.1744_Linux.zip

What I did.

1. Ensure the BQ tablet is charged to at least 40%. Turn off any password or passcode setting on the tablet. In addition make sure the tablet is NOT in developer mode.

2. Turn the tablet power off. Do not plug into the tablet into your computer.

3. Extract, download and install the flash tool

4. Run the tool as ‘root’. I went into nautilus through the terminal sudo nautilus then click on the ‘flash_tool’ icon to run the program.

5. When the tool opens select the ‘Download’ tab.

6. In the part labelled ‘scatter-loading file’ go to the download of the image (Frieza) and find the scatter file. The scatter file is a text file and in my case is called MT813_Android_scatter.txt

7. VERY IMPORTANT- Change the ‘Download only’ option to ‘Firmware upgrade.’ Apparently the default setting can brick your device.

8. Press ‘Download’ (Button with the green down arrow at the top).

9. Plug your BQ tablet into your usb 2.0 port and the new firmware will install (hopefully). Apparently it does not play well with usb 3.0. If it does not work try again trying different usb ports and different cable if necessary. It took my about four attempts before it worked.

Now you have Canonical’s version of the Ubuntu Touch OS which is supposed to be what was on the tablet to start with. The only difference now is that you have bootloader.

Now you can follow the instructions above, namely:

1. Download and install the Ubports-installer to your desktop computer (not your tablet). Versions are available for Linux, Windows and Apple OS’s.

2. Put the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition into ‘developer mode’. Settings> about> developer mode. If you haven’t set up a password or passcode you will need to do so.

3. Connect your BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition device to your desktop using a usb cable and follow the onscreen instructions.

4. It will tell you to put the device into bootloader mode by pressing the volume up button and the power button.

5. Then the ubports installer will install the ubports version.

6. When completed you can go through setting up the device with your preferences. You will now have access to the OpenStore can start to download apps.

Links

(Also linked at https://docs.ubports.com/en/latest/userguide/install.html )

Ubports-installer https://github.com/ubports/ubports-installer

Frieza https://storage.googleapis.com/otas/2015/Tablets/Freezer%20FHD/Ubuntu/OTA_15/frieza-image-stable-8.zip

Linux Flash tool https://spflashtool.com/download/SP_Flash_Tool_v5.1744_Linux.zip

Forum post which led me to the solution https://forums.ubports.com/topic/1487/cannot-install-ubuntu-touch-on-bq-m10-ubuntu-edition/67

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Summer jobs are only summer jobs for the privileged: What the Fonz taught me about summer jobs

'The Fonz'. He could be wise, but his use of the gents' toilet as his private office probably wasn't. The Fonz: ABC Public Domain (Wikipedia)

It’s summertime, that time of year when university and college students work for a few weeks to pay off some debt or get some extra money. There’s something of an annual ritual in journalism to write summer pieces reminiscing about the awfulness of summer jobs – the boring, the repetitive, the gross and the dangerous. I did many of these jobs and have a 20 year old scar from where I nudged my hand against a working industrial pillar drill.

As a teenager we watched Happy Days as a family – the episodes were at least 10 years old when I watched them so I was probably about 15 when I saw the episode ‘Richie’s job.’ Richie, on summer leave from college gets a job loading up newspapers at the Milwaukee Journal. He is frustrated that his brilliance and potential is not being recognised and he tries to take charge and increase efficiency, annoying his temporary work colleague in the process and messing the whole operation. I’m a bit sketchy on the details of the plot, but eventually Fonzie comes onto the scene. Richie wants Fonzie to take his ‘side’, but instead passes on some important wisdom. He reminds Richie that his colleague does this job all year long. This job supports him and his family. He does not have the opportunity to return to college at the end of the summer.

When I had a temporary job I always remembered that I was working with people who did this job, year in, year out. Summer jobs are only summer jobs for the privileged – for most they are a way of earning a living.

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New visual learning website

My colleague Pauline Ridley has launched a new Visual Learning website.

As well as the content itself, the thing I like best about this website is that it extends the life of materials Pauline and others developed at the Learn Higher Centre of Excellence in Teaching (CETL) funded in the late 2000s. Sadly, many of the great resources developed by these centres have disappeared entirely  from the internet, or are archived on websites not updated since their funding ended. Pauline has done (and is doing) a great job to reinvigorate this important work.

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