FAQ - Using the Site

Cloudworks is a new kind of open participatory and social site for discussing and sharing ideas and resources about teaching and learning. It is based around the idea of “social objects” surrounded by a social space for discussion. These social objects can be cumulatively and collectively improved. Cloudworks is being developed by the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University. It is part of the Open University Learning Design Initiative (OULDI) project and is funded by both the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and The Open University.

Joint Information Systems Committee              The Open University

What is the difference between a Cloud and a Cloudscape?

Clouds can be anything of relevance to learning and teaching, for example: a website; a description of a learning activity; a case study; a resource or tool; or a summary of a presentation. You can also use clouds to pose questions to the Cloudworks community.

A Cloudscape is simply a collection, or bundle, of related Clouds. You might set up a Cloudscape to group Clouds around a topic (i.e. assessment), an event (i.e. a conference or course), or set up a personal Cloudscape to group Clouds you are particularly interested in. One Cloud can belong to any number of Cloudscapes. For more guidance, see How to set up a Cloud or Cloudscape.

Clouds and Cloudscapes have different functionality.

Cloud: for discussion, sharing and debate

  1. Have a discussion
  2. Embed a video or image
  3. Add a link
  4. Add an academic reference
  5. Add extra content
  6. Add tags

Cloudscape: for collecting, linking and following Clouds

  1. Follow the Cloudscape
  2. RSS feed
  3. View Cloudstream
  4. Add tags
  5. Add Clouds
  6. Upload a picture
  7. Add a Twitter feed

I didn't receive my registration email - what should I do?

When you first register you will be send a confirmation e-mail automatically. This will usually happen immediately but in unusual cases may take longer. Sometimes the automatic e-mail will end up in a spam folder so please also check there. If you still haven't received an email after about an hour please contact the team cloudworks@open.ac.uk

I've lost my password - what should I do?

If you have lost or forgotten your password, the site can quickly send you a new one.

  1. Click on Log in
  2. Click on Forgotten Password
  3. Enter the e-mail address associated with your account and click send
  4. You will receive an email within a few minutes (if you don't, check your spam folder)
  5. Click on the link
  6. You will be sent another e-mail with your new 5 character password
  7. This new password should be changed as soon as possible. Log in and change your password by going to your profile page

How do I upload files?

Cloudworks is not a repository - this means that it is not possible to upload files onto the site. We have done this for a number of reasons, not least because we recognise the issues associated with uploading documents to multiple places (such as editing and managing permissions).

We have made it really easy to embed or link to papers, slideshows, videos, learning designs and pictures etc. For more information on how to do this see 'Sharing pictures, videos, case studies and ideas through links and embeds'

My Cloudscape picture is too big. How can I reduce its size?

It is possible to upload a picture to a Cloudscape (it is not yet possible to do this in a Cloud see 'Sharing pictures, videos, case studies and ideas through links and embeds') but the following restrictions apply:

  1. The image must be landscape not portrait.
  2. We will crop the picture to 256 × 192 pixels. If you want to control how the picture will be cropped, please upload an image of those dimensions.
  3. Maximum file-size of 500 KB. Maximum upload dimensions (in pixels): 1024 × 768.
  4. JPG, GIF, or PNG image formats

You may find that you have to reduce the size of the picture or compress the file to upload it:

It is worth noting that you can't do this in Microsoft Paint.

How do I add a Twitter stream?

You can add a Twitter stream to a Cloudscape but not to a Cloud. You can not add a Twitter stream to someone else's Cloudscape unless you have been given admin permission for the cloudscape by the Cloudscape owner. Please note that Tweets are only available from Twitter for 3 months so if you want to keep an enduring record of the discussion you will need to set up a Tweet archive (using a service like Twapper Keeper).

To add a Twitter stream to a Cloudscape go to the Cloudscape and click on edit. Add your (#) hash tag in the Twitter tag box. For more information about setting up a #tag and Twitter archive please see 'Using Twitter in Cloudworks'

Can I restrict access/ add editors to my Clouds and Cloudscapes?

The Cloudworks site is open, which means anyone can search for and view everything on the site. However, it is possible to manage permissions to Cloudscapes you have set up. By clicking on 'permissions'on the right hand side of your Cloudscape page you can:

  • Close your Cloudscape so that other people can't add Clouds to it
  • Add one or more users as a 'poster' - this means they can add Clouds to an otherwise closed Cloudscape
  • Give one or more users full admin rights of your Cloudscape

Why are my items being moderated?

It is really important to us that Cloudworks stays free of spam and we use an external spam filter on the site called Mollom which is 99.77% effective. From time to time, the filter will mistakenly identify a message as spam and put it forward for moderation. During working hours will quickly pick these up, check and clear them - although this might take longer at the weekends or in the evenings (GMT). This is likely to be a one-off occurrence.

If you are finding that your posts are constantly being sent for moderation then please contact us cloudworks@open.ac.uk.

Can I change my password or picture?

You can change all of these on your profile page:

  1. Log-in and click on the red tab with your name on.
  2. From the drop-down box choose 'Your Profile'
  3. Then either 'edit' to change your name and other details, 'edit picture' to change or add your picture, or 'change password' to change your password.

Can I have two accounts with the same password?

An email address can only be linked to one profile. If you want to set up another profile, for a group or course for example, you will have to choose a different address.

How can I change my email notifications?

You can switch off and on the following email preferences:

  1. Notify me when somebody follows me
  2. Notify me when someone comments on one of my Clouds
  3. Notify me when someone comments of a Cloud on which I have already commented
  4. Receive occasional e-mails from the Cloudworks team
  5. Display my e-mail address on my profile

You can do this by logging-in, clicking on the red tab with your name on, and choosing 'E-mail Preferences'.

Can I copy and paste content from Microsoft Word?

Yes you can copy and paste content from Microsoft Word into Clouds, Comments and Cloudscapes. However you need to paste the content using the 'Paste from Word' button on the righthand end of the editor with a Word icon on it.

How can I see all my clouds and cloudscapes?

You can see these on your profile page.

What does it mean when I see favourite(s) or recommend?

You can add Cloudscapes, Clouds and links that you have found useful or interesting as favourites. This facility serves a number of functions:

  • Lets you know what other people have found interesting
  • Acts as a way of marking things you have found interesting (things you have favourited will appear on your profile page)

You need to have at least a reputation of 1 on the site (see below) to be able to add items as favourites or to recommend links. To favourite a Cloud or Cloudscape just click on the star near the title. To recommend a link, click on the 'recommend' text next to the link itself.

You can see how many other people have favourited the Cloud/Cloudscape, or recommended a link, in the same places. To see who recommended or favourited, just click on the text.

How is 'favouriting' something different to 'following' it?

When you decide to follow a Cloud or Cloudscape you will receive cloudstream updates every time something new is added to ensure that you don't miss any new additions or activity. When you favourite a Cloud or Cloudscape you are indicating that you have found something interesting that you would like to flag up for others (and yourself). It is possible to both follow and favourite a Cloud or Cloudscape.

I've just noticed it says 'Reputation: 12' on someone's profile page. What does this mean?

When someone favourites a Cloud or Cloudscape you have set up or recommends a link that you have added, you receive a reputation point. People with a high reputation score may be worth following!

You can also search for people and institutions