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Author Archives: Annemaree Senior

Introduction to University Teaching

Every year the Higher Education Development Centre holds a day for staff new to University teaching (they may be new to the University, or just new to teaching).   If you’re a new staff member, welcome!

During the day eLearning will present an overview session on the services that we provide to support teaching.  As we now provide a growing list of services, it’s not practical to go through each in detail in the time we have available, so we hope to provide a jumping-off point.  A couple of key resources to refer to are the two “Toolboxes” – online resources which allow you to find out more information about teaching and research services:

In response to some questions during the session, here are a couple of additional resources:

Some of the services that I’ll mention in the session also have information on this blog – have a look in the menu to find an overview of our LMS (Blackboard), Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Lecture Recording, iPad Loans, and Unitube.

I’ll also be talking about something quite new – 3D Printing.  This hasn’t (yet) been included in the eLearning or eResearch Toolboxes.  However, you can explore the resources on this blog, or have a look at the following links which I may mention at the session:

3D Mapping

One of the small projects we’ve been working on over the last few weeks is printing out some 3D height maps (or terrain maps).  We’re working with the Department of Geography, who are interested in using these in their first-year labs next year.

You may be familiar with Thingiverse, a website containing thousands of 3D models that you can download and print on a 3D printer.  If you search for Dunedin, you’ll find a 3D elevation model created by Luke Easterbrook-Clark in the Geology Department.  This was one of our first prints on the Makerbot and it turned out pretty well in high quality using ABS plastic (it curled a bit in the corners, but that’s a post for another day).

3D Print of Dunedin City

3D Print of Dunedin City

The next step was creating our own custom maps, which will eventually be of various locations around the South Island.  First of all, you need a greyscale elevation map, where white is the highest elevation and black is the lowest, which you can extract from GIS software (such as ArcGIS); or by cropping an image from (for example) the Landcare Portal.  I found that an a png file about 600x600px is ideal for a print about 20cm wide.  Then, the image needs to be turned into an STL file – a 3D model.  To do this, I used the Heightmap to STL script available on Thingiverse. The last step before printing was to repair the file in Netfabb to make sure all the edges are joined and there are no holes.  I’ve glossed over a lot of the details here, so if you need any more information feel free to leave a comment.

Alexandra Heightmap

Alexandra Heightmap

As for the print itself, it prints out fairly well on the Makerbot, high quality, using ABS plastic.  However, our best results so far have been on the Up Box, using the fine quality setting, with PLA plastic.  It takes about 14 hours to print a map approximately 20cm wide, so we left this job printing overnight.  Below are the results.

3D print of Alexandra

3D print of Alexandra

If you’d like to talk to us about 3D printing, please get in touch.

Blackboard Unavailable, Saturday 3 September 10-11am

ITS Notice: Scheduled Blackboard Outage, 10am-11am, Saturday, 3 September 2011

Audience: This affects all staff and students using Blackboard

Time Frame: Saturday, 3 September 2011, 10am-11am

Description: The Blackboard database is being moved to a new server. Blackboard will be unavailable during the above timeframe. Staff and students will not be able to log in. Users of the Learning Objects Server (LOS) will also not be able to log in.

We apologize for any inconvenience this service interruption may cause. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact the ITS HelpDesk (details below).

ITS HelpDesk Reference Number: HD0404666
Date of Notice: 31 August 2011
URL of Notice: