Recap on Moodle Lunch

Yesterday we had a lunch discussion session about how faculty at Hampshire are using Moodle. About 18 faculty attended and I think we all learned something, myself included! Here are my notes on what we discussed.

Forums are often being used as before-and-after enhancements/additions to in-class discussion. Several faculty reported that they have students respond to readings or other material BEFORE it gets discussed in class, so the instructor can see which questions need to be addressed, which DON’T, and what the general trend of interest is. Most instructors required the students to complete their posts a couple days before the class, to give them a chance to review and prepare.
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People Block & Participants List

A lot of people really like the “Participants” list in Moodle- check it out if you haven’t already. It’s linked to in the “People” block.

You can see a list of your students (with pictures) so it’s handy for matching faces & names. You can also see what their home campus is, and when they logged in last.

Click the name of a student, and you can get even MORE information: their other courses, a condensed view of their forum posts, recent activity, etc.

A useful feature of this view is that you can leave notes within a student’s profile, with different options for privacy. Notes can be viewable by all teachers on Moodle (Site Note), all teachers in your COURSE (Course Note), or just by YOU (Personal Note). We recommend keeping these notes private by using only the Course or Personal notes.

These notes are a handy way to prepare for evaluations or record progress.

Here’s a video about using the features of the People block and participants list.


Keeping Tabs and Taking Names, Part II

Here are a couple other ways to keep your class and life organized.

Take Attendance with Moodle
Moodle  has an attendance-taking feature that we just added in this year. You set it up once, and then for the rest of the semster can just go in and quickly check off who’s here and who’s not! Some faculty pass around paper sign up sheet during class and have their TA record everything in Moodle afterwards. The advantage is you can get a quick report of attendance records for your students, and the students can see their OWN attendance record. Here’s how to set it up.

Set up Office Hours with Doodle
Yes, we know there isn’t yet a great solution for office-hours sign ups. BUT, here’s on option that is easy to use and works pretty well. It’s called Doodle and is a free web tool for setting up meetings. You just set it up once with all available office hours slots, set it so that only one person can sign up for each time slot, and give students the link. Here’s how it works:

Questions, comments, want help setting either of these up? Just get in touch!

Keeping Tabs and Taking Names, Part 1

Moodle has some built in features that can quickly make it your best friend when it comes to organizing students’ work and keeping track of who’s submitted what.

Here’s how it can work.

1. Create an “assignment” in your Moodle course.

2. When you’re creating the assignment, set the Grade menu to “Scale: Received”. This means that you’ll later be able to go in for each student and say whether the assignment was received or not.

3. “Grade” the assignments. Yes we know this sounds crazy, but what Moodle calls “grading” is just a way for you to record if something has been received or not.

What you’ll end up with is a nice list where you can see at a glance who’s turned in what.

Guess what- you can do this for forums too, if you want to make sure all students have posted to something. Just set the Grade menu to Scale: Received

Watch the video to see how it works!

Moodle: Time Saving Tips for Sharing Files

Are you using your Moodle course to share readings and other files (pdfs, images, Word, MP3, whatever) with your students? Did you know there’s more to Moodle than uploading and sharing files one at a time? Here are some options that may really help you out:

Upload a .zip File
Have a folder of 100 articles on your computer? Upload them all in one step. Not one at a time. Yes, we can! The process involves creating a “.zip” file on your computer and uploading it into Moodle, then placing those files into the section of your choice (or using one of the methods below instead).

Create a Directory
Have 20 articles of supplemental reading, a group of images, or an album’s worth of MP3 files? Link to them as a group in one step. Moodle calls this a “directory” but it’s basically linking to a folder from your Moodle course instead of just one file.

Lightbox Gallery
Have a group of images you want students to view and comment on? Moodle calls this a “Lightbox Gallery”. The set-up process is similar to the “Directory” above.

Instructions and examples for all of the above techniques are in the “Files” section of our how-to site here.

Hope they save you a little time! As always, get in touch if you need a hand.


Embedding: Why, What, Where, and How

If you have multi-media material or presentations to share with your class, a neat way to share them is to embed them into your Moodle page (or any other webpage, for that matter).  Embedding means the material appears right there on the page (like the video below), but is technically just a link so you’re not storing the actual material.

Why would I want to embed something?

  • It’s right there on your course page, immediately visible, and the students don’t have to click out of Moodle to see it/watch it.
  • You’re technically just linking to it, so there are no permission/copyright issues to worry about.
  • People can’t download it (or can’t download it easily) so it offers a certain level of protection.
  • No need to worry about file size- again, it’s just a link and lives somewhere else.
  • It’s “live”- if you embed, for example, a google presentation, you can make changes on the fly and they will immediately appear on the Moodle page. No need to delete and re-upload.

What would I embed?

Where would I embed something?
  • In your Moodle course
  • In RedDot
  • On any other webpage you are using!
How do I embed something?
  1. Copy the embed code from the website where the material lives- YouTube, Flikr, etc. Any site that gives you the embed code- go for it!
  2. Paste that embed code into the HTML of the webage where you want the embedded material to go. If you can access the HTML of the page- go for it!
  3. Watch the embedded video below to see how it works.

Need help? Get in touch.