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Learn Moodle MOOC

14/12/2017 Leave a comment

As the year comes close to it’s end it seems like a good time to think of some development goals for 2018. Learn Moodle 3.4 Basics MOOC is a free, four week course that you can sign up for here.

For those who work in education there are many reasons why you might want to consider signing up for the next Learn Moodle MOOC starting 8 January 2018.

Here is a quick list, if you tick a box or two then think about signing up:

  • never seen an LMS or never seen Moodle
  • not used Moodle in ages and want a refresher of latest features and current practice
  • want to experience being a student to better understand their needs
  • interested course design and experience an approach used for big groups
  • get some inspiration for your teaching practice by seeing some activities in action
  • network with some other Moodle users, hear and share stories, make some friends – you can also join the conversation on twitter using #learnmoodle and engage with other participants in the forum
  • give yourself license to reflect on your own practice by comparing with what you see and experience during the MOOC
  • get some help on some challenges you are facing through doing the activities and learning more about Moodle and through conversations with other participants
  • get free professional development
  • you want a badge! you can use this MOOC as a way to collect a badge, useful particularly if you have started talking about badges at your learning institute but not figured out what it is all about yet and are ready to explore

Note that you can start introducing yourself and familiarising yourself with the course on 1 January 2018, so don’t feel like you have to wait until the 8th to get started.

That link again – https://learn.moodle.net/

Share the love and inspire other teachers by spreading the word to educators you know.

 

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Letting the outside world into your classroom

04/12/2017 Leave a comment

One of the many lessons I have learned over my years of working in education, is to remember to bring the outside into the classroom.

There are lots of ways to do that, whether it be guest speakers, excursions, work experience, getting students to bring things in, all sorts! But an easy starting point is RSS feeds into your online classroom space.

I remember reading about RSS being old technology that was going out the window, but I have to say that news feeds are still incredibly powerful at helping connect what students are learning about with the real world.  They invite conversations that link theory with practice, and all too often give real examples of what can go wrong.

If you are using Moodle, it is very easy to add an RSS feed to your course (turn editing on, add a block, remote RSS feeds).

If you haven’t done it before but have a relevant news provider for the industry relevant to your teaching, you are looking for and you need to get the URL for the feed.

The URL (that is the web address) for the RSS feed will start with “http://” and usually ends with “.xml”.

Blogs often have RSS output, and there might be an RSS feed on one of your favourite industry websites, so go looking and bring the outside world into your classroom.

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Communicating in Moodle

01/12/2017 Leave a comment

Today I’m highlighting some ways of communicating in Moodle. Read more…

Monitoring in Moodle

30/11/2017 Leave a comment

Today I want to share a few ideas around monitoring in Moodle: Setting up your Moodle courses to reduce the teacher management workload, effectively monitor student progress, and empower students with the autonomy to self manage as they progress through their studies.

So often teachers talk of the high workload in managing online components of the their courses; checking which students have completed what tasks, looking for forum contributions and checking what needs marking.

This post will show tracking options and reports available to teachers and students. I will focus on core tools that are available in a modern Moodle standard install. There are excellent modules and plugins available, however they’re not much use if you don’t have admin rights, so here’s what tools you will have.

Reports

Course administration block - reports

There are different types of reports available in Moodle through the administration block or through the user profile page.

Logs and live logs

You can generate logs of course activity by selecting any combination: participants, days, activities, actions or events. Then click on “Get these logs”.

Use the ? icon to get more information. The logs give you active links enabling you to access the student’s profile page or the particular page they were viewing. IP address gives an estimate of the student’s location.choose which logs you want to see

Teachers and students both have access to logs but they get different information. See the user reports below for student views.

Course reports > Activity reports

Teachers can assess the usage of each activity and resource within their course using the activity report. It shows the count of clicks and the number of unique users who clicked. This can assist in having conversations with learners about why some activities and resources have more clicks than others, but the data in isolation should not be used to make assumptions.

A question that helps teachers understand this:

You read the Course > Activity report and find one resource has 200 clicks, another has 20 clicks. Discuss which resource is the most useful to your students and why? What is the data telling you?

activity report

Ask teachers to discuss the possible causes of clicks:

  • “It was really useful so I referred to it often.”
  • “It was confusing and I read it over and over but still don’t understand.”
  • “I didn’t click on it because the name of it made me think I didn’t need to open that.”
  • “I didn’t open it because I already knew about it.”

Course reports > Course participation

Teachers can generate a participation report on a particular activity. For example: forum view or forum posts. A useful feature of the participation report is the option to send a message to all students who have or have not completed an action.

Course reports > Activity completion

If the Moodle site has activity completion enabled this can drastically improve course management and a huge time saver for both the teacher and the student. Setting up activity completion is discussed later in this blog post, so keep reading!activity completion report

The reports above are largely teacher focused. Next, let’s look at the reports and tools primarily for students.

User reports > Profile page

user profile page

User reports > Today’s logs and all logs

Students can use the logs to show their submissions were sent on time. They can also see what days of the week they are more active.user profile todays logs

User reports > Outline report

This is a brief outline of the learner’s course participation. For more detailed information they can look at the complete report. This report is useful for a brief overview and to check if they have missed anything.user profile outline report

User reports > Complete report

The learner can use the complete report to get a detailed record of their course contributions. Depending on the course design, the learner can print their complete report and use it as a study guide. Teachers who would like to encourage this approach should get their students to write question and answers in forum posts, and ensure the layout of activities like database show the questions in the students responses so the questions appear in the complete report.

I have used this approach in a course that has an elearning pre-requisite to a face-to-face workshop. The learner prints their complete report and brings it to the workshop, instead of printing a large workbook.

user profile complete report

Using the reports

When I teach people how to use the reports and logs I give them scenarios to consider in groups.

  • A student says that they have submitted an assignment before the due date, but it is showing as late. Which reports can you look into to see exactly when the student accessed and submitted the assignment? Discuss in a group and submit your chosen answer in this choice activity.
  • The teacher wants to check the students are all keeping up with the course work. They should have done the first three topics.  Which reports can you look into to see exactly where the students are at? Discuss in a group and submit your chosen answer in this choice activity.
  • One of the students has asked to meet with you about their course work. They are struggling with the course work but they say they have been trying to do all the course required activities. What report would you look at to prepare to meet with them? Discuss in a group and submit your chosen answer in this choice activity.

 

Completion settings

Earlier we showed you the Activity completion report. To use the report above, you need to set up activity completion at site level course level, and in each activity and resource.

It is helpful to refer to Moodle Docs > Activity completion settings to learn about this feature, but the brief is that you can use activity completion settings in Moodle to track and display activities and resources as “complete” for students based on criteria set by the teacher for each resource or activity, dependent on viewing, submitting, receiving a grade, or posting or replying conditions being met.activity completion icons

When I teach this I show how to setup activity completion settings on existing activities such as forum, glossary, page, quiz, and assignment. I discuss with teachers self marked quizzes that show as complete immediately on submission, versus teacher marked assignments which can show as complete on submission or complete when a grade has been received. When the “completion” happens on grade received there is a delay.

Another consideration is that this tracking does not assess quality of contributions. For example, forum conditions can’t assess quality of posts, only quantity. Viewing a resource does not equal reading/understanding/processing etc.

Restrict Access settings

This feature allows you to restrict students from accessing a resource or activity based on criteria set by the teacher (roles are blurry, so I am simplifying here).add restriction pop up

There is useful documentation at Moodle Docs > Restrict access settings for you to find out more.

Examples we use in our practice include:

  • Restrict access until another resource or activity is marked as complete – e.g. certificate not available until assignments are marked complete.
  • Restrict access until after a grade over 90% achieved in another graded activity.
  • Restrict access to a group or grouping – we use this to manage monthly new intakes and classes.
  • Restrict access until after a date – this could restrict the learner from viewing a resource or activity until after a presentation or a field trip.
  • Restrict access so only visible to people who have match a profile field – e.g. city equal to Auckland, this would allow you to show a label with a face to face event for learners in that city.

You can use restrictions to stop learners from viewing the certificate module until after feedback activity is marked complete, and they have a grade of 100% on the assessment activity.  This ensures instructional designers are always getting feedback on their development, and the learner has met the assessment standards agreed with the SME.

Note that when you have two restrictions there is the option to require the student to have met “all” or “any” of the requirements. With “all” you see “and” but with “any” you see “or” between the conditions.

The “Restriction set” is best left for teachers with some experience setting the other restriction types first.

Course completion criteria

When I teach course completion criteria, I demonstrate how to set this up and then encourage them to give it a go. Documentation for setting up course completion is here – Moodle Docs > Course completion – and you should totally read it.

This is a task list for workshop participants:

  • Turn on and off course completion tracking in course settings in practice course.
  • Add course completion block.
  • Set course completion criteria via the administration block
  • Discuss the risks of unlocking the criteria after a course has started (note the option to unlock without affecting current completions – how does this impact future participants?).
  • Discuss what happens if you want to add an activity, track it in course completion, after students have started? We promote pre-planning, but there is an option to retain some of the data if you do need to make adjustments after the course start date. We recommend reading https://docs.moodle.org/31/en/Course_completion_FAQ

Grader report

Moodle includes a grader report that is automatically populated by graded activities in your course. The documentation Moodle Docs > Grader report will give you the steps to using grader report.

During workshops with teachers:

  • Look at what is automatically put into the grader report, and what you can manually add, show how to set up categories and grade items, how to use groups for filtering and set grade visibility, type (real/percentage/letter), and weighting.
  • Get the workshop participants into groups and give them an existing course that is not currently used by students. Ask the groups to organise the grader report in a way that makes sense to their group, add categories and grade items as necessary, and decide on the weighting of activities.

What I want teachers to think about are the benefits to the students for having the grade structure organised, as well as themselves and moderators and auditors of courses.

I ask workshop participants to share examples and discuss ways they can use these features in their courses.

Feedback on these workshops is overwhelmingly positive. Participants are keen to spend more time on familiarising themselves with these features.

Some feedback received from participants:

  • “I have learnt more in the last 2 hours than in the last day… you have my creative juices flowing now.”
  • “This session is how I envisioned the whole day to be. It was great!”
  • “Impressed by the combination of solid development and “on the fly” flexibility.”
  • “I am very keen to add more activities to my courses. Our current pages are flat, unorganized and definitely have the scroll of death!”
  • “I’ve got a lot of information now to try and get more out of Moodle which is currently being hugely underutilized.”
  • “Really useful to discuss the ways the reports can be used and interpreted, using the as a start point for discussion!”

 

And despite each workshop being three hours long, when asked “Tell us one thing you would change or improve” received responses are like these:

  • “Too short! Could spend a whole day using this type of thing.”
  • “Restricted time limit.”
  • “It would be great to have a bit more time to go over how to create these things.”
  • “More time!”

I hope this blog post helps you monitor your students or provided you ideas for your courses.

Moodle Moot NZ 2016

12/09/2016 Leave a comment

I am excited to write about the upcoming Moodle Moot NZX being hosted by HRDNZ and Northtec.

Join us for Moodle Moot NZX 5th-7th October in the ‘Winterless North”

It’s a special year, as HRDNZ celebrate 10 years of being a Moodle Partner (wow!) and we would love you to join us for the best Moodle Moot ever !

New Zealand Moodle Moots are regarded as one of the best in the world. They are always well organised with excellent speakers and workshops, but what sets them apart from other conferences is the friendly atmosphere and support, the feeling of belonging to a community, and high level of participation and sharing by attendees.

This year the Moodle Moot is a celebration of HRDNZ being a Moodle Partner for ten years. To recognise this milestone, everyone attending the event this year will also be entitled to 10% off any of the HRDNZ MoodleBites courses – yay!

This year the Moodle Moot is structured to begin with a community day, followed by two workshop days.

The first community conference day is a great opportunity to meet people and get yourself focused and energised ready for the workshops. Keynote speakers are Scott Hunley talking about The Internet of Things, Justin Hunt (creator of PoodLL) speaking on the Life of a Moodle Developer, and Hazel Owen on Creating meaningful assessment in Moodle. Stuart Mealor will reflect on Moodle over the last ten years, and we’ll also hear from some other great voices across New Zealand.

There will be four workshop streams: teaching, administration, management and developers. This is ensuring there is “something for everyone”. I am contributing a couple of workshops this year so hope to see and hear some of you there. You can switch between streams, and you’ll find me in the teacher and management streams.

 

So a big thank you in advance to NorthTec for hosting venue and all that goes along with that role, and thanks to the HRDNZ team. Do take the opportunity to say a big thank you to our hosts and make some new friends over the three days. I find Moodle friends become friends for life!

Register here.

Learn Moodle MOOC starting

10/08/2015 1 comment

Today I am excited to be starting week one of the learn.moodle.net MOOC. As an experienced Moodler, I still get a lot out of attending a beginner Moodle MOOC. Here are some of my thoughts on what I think experienced Moodlers will get out of the next four weeks:

  • Examples of different ways Moodle courses can be set up and different ways to setup activities.
  • The opportunity to see how you can run a course with a lot of participants. Not many of us run MOOCs but as they have become more common it is good to participate in them to keep current of this trends pros and cons.
  • A reminder of the kinds of questions beginners think of (outside of your own work context).
  • An opportunity to help beginners with their questions and give back to the Moodle community.
  • The experience of using things you might not have enabled in your own Moodle environment, like badges. This will help you think about how they might be used in your own context.

Having started the first week activities, I am already seeing hundreds of participants rolling up their sleeves and digging in. The course uses completion tracking to help you manage your tasks and progress as a learner in the course. There are clear tasks to complete and an indication of what kind of assessment will be carried out in the course. There are also badges used as one form of motivation.

Anyway, enough of reading my notes; if you want to join go to learn.moodle.net to sign up and get started today.

Learn Moodle MOOC

06/08/2015 Leave a comment

Did anyone notice how quick 9 August 2015 snuck up on us? If you haven’t already set yourself up on the Learn Moodle MOOC now is the time to do so as the introductions have been flowing in from all around the world. What a great opportunity to network, share your experiences and learn from others.

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