Great things await us in 2016, at least in the realm of Moodle! Here are some updates on new features you may want to put to use next semester.
Importing Course Materials: Yes, You Can
Faculty can now import materials from one course to another without getting an error message! Yeah! Here’s how. We’re still happy to do it for you, too, just let us know.
Home is Where the Hamp Is
Using our new “set default home” feature in the log in block will save you a few clicks each time you log in. Setting a default home makes Moodle remember that you are from Hampshire, and will take you right to the Hampshire log in screen instead of first having to choose Hampshire from a list. Just think of all the time you will save!
Where am I? What day is it? Now you can find out, thanks to Moodle!
In courses using the default class-by-date format, Moodle will now automatically highlight (in beige) the sections nearest to the current date. This way you can see at a glance where you are in the course and in the semester.
This particular feature was developed by our student web programmer, Andy Zito, and lays the ground work for further improvements to our Moodle formats! Thanks Andy!!!
Collapsed Topics: Give Your Moodle a Makeover
Is the “scroll-of-death” in Moodle driving you crazy? The new-ish collapsed topic format makes your course more navigable. You can even use it in combination with individual dates for each class meeting. Find out more about it here.
Many thanks to our new web programmer Kevin Williarty who joined us in 2015 and made many of these improvements possible. Also big thanks to our student web programmer Andy!!
In order to keep up with security updates, feature additions, and improvements, we’ve upgraded Hampshire Moodle installations to version 2.6. The highlights of the changes include:
A new, Hampshire-branded, responsive theme/design.
A new format that allows for collapsing and expanding sections in a course/site.
A new text editor.
Editing icons switched to a menu.
A new feature for annotating PDFs.
A new login block that shows help text and login link when logged out and a log out link when logged in.
Hampshire College uses Moodle for course websites, but we also have a separate installation called CWS (community websites) that is used for managing collaborative projects and committees. Up until now, CWS had been using a different version and theme for Moodle, but now it has the same version and design as Hampshire course websites.
A group of faculty met on September 20th, 2013 in the Center for Teaching and Learning to discuss Moodle. Natalie Arnold of IA and Jason Tor of NS showed their moodle sites and strategies with the group. Here are some highlights and tips from the discussion.
Useful Practices & General Tips
Moodle is helpful for keeping the class organized, especially when it comes to group projects and making sure each group knows what it is doing when.
Giving TA’s editing access to Moodle and letting them help set up the site can be great, as they are “less scared”.
Since the Moodle site can become very looong, Natalie puts information pertaining to the final project at the very top instead of the very bottom.
Readings can be assigned to groups within a class- either by just stating on the site “this article is for group x” or you can set Moodle to limit access to a resource to a group of students.
Natalie found that putting information “one click down”- ie on a sub-page or within an assignment- became problematic because students wouldn’t always click a link and were missing information. She started putting all important info right on the main page.
She found that lots of repetition was also important in making sure students didn’t miss important information, especially in tutorials.
Jason used the “Questionnaire” feature to poll the students at the beginning of the term about their current knowledge and interest levels, goals for the class, etc.
Questions & Clarifications
Quickmail versus News Forum: The News Forum is a one-way forum which the instructor can post to, and posts go out as emails to the whole class. Students cannot post or respond to the news forum.
The news forum no longer appears by default in new course websites, but it can be added in by adding in the “Latest News” block.
Quickmail basically does the same thing so IT recommends people just use that.
For those that don’t want or care about the Course Information block: you can click the little eyeball appearing to the top right of the block when editing is turned on. This hides it from everyone, including the students. Minimizing or docking the block only affects an individuals view.
Discussion of reports in Moodle. You can view a student’s activity report, but please bear in mind that it is not 100% accurate. Depending on how a resource is set up, Moodle may not know whether a student clicked it or not. Files, for example, default to “force download”- which is far better usability-wise but does prevent Moodle from registering if a student clicked a link.
That said, even if a student downloaded a reading that’s no guarantee that they read it!
General questions about tracking student work in assignments and forums. Both can be set up to use Moodle’s “grading” feature to allow the instructor to keep track of who’s submitted what.
Question of how to have students build portfolios from semester’s work and then submit on Moodle. There’s not a great automated way to do this but students can compile their work as a single PDF or similar and submit as assignment.
Moodle As most of you will know, this past fall was our first semester with all courses using Moodle. We had 194 classes using Moodle, which represents about 80% of all classes excluding OPRA and independent studies. Not too shabby! Continue reading “Tech for Teaching: Fall 2011 Recap”→