The Q&A forum type in Moodle is a good option for reading reflections or other activities where you want students to individually demonstrate their understanding of some material but also follow that up with class discussion. Topic threads within a Q&A forum are set up as separate questions. Anyone in the class can respond to any or all of the questions, but what makes this forum type unique is that students can’t see what other students have posted for answers to a question UNTIL they have posted their answer to the question. That way, everyone has a clean slate for each of the questions, and their answers aren’t influenced by what other students have posted to the questions. Each student has to ‘pay to play’; when they provide their answer it allows them into the conversation.
Unfortunately, the default setup for the Q&A forum is for anyone in the class to be able to start new discussion threads, including students. I often work with faculty on Q&A forums where a student in their class will read question #1, for example, and instead of posting their answer as a follow-up to the question, will post it as a new topic thread. This has two problems. Since the student still hasn’t posted an answer to question #1 (by replying to that topic), Moodle doesn’t know to allow them to review other students’ answers to question #1 and allow them to reply. Also, since their answer to question #1 is posted as a new topic, all students can view that answer before they have posted an answer to question #1. A more reasonable configuration for Q&A forums would be to not allow students to start new topic threads. You can do that by setting up a permission override for the Q&A forum where you want to prevent students from starting new topics.
Here are the steps:
- When you are editing the settings for the Q&A forum, either during the initial setup or later updates, click on the ‘Override permissions’ tab instead of the default ‘Settings’ tab.
- Click on the ‘Student’ role.
- Find the ‘Start new discussions’ permission.
- The default permission for students is ‘Allow’; click on the ‘Prevent’ radio button (third one from the left).
- Click the ‘Save changes’ button.
You will see on the Override permissions page for that forum that the Student role now has one override.
The SUNY Center for Professional Development invites you to attend:
Title: Making Better Word 2007 (2003) Documents
Date/Time: Thursday, August 19th – 10:00 – 11:30 am
Topic: Learn how using styles can make your Word documents look more professional, and be more searchable and accessible on the web. Using structure in your text creates better documents. Images and lists provide structure and make it easier to convert your Word documents into accessible PDF’s. This session for Microsoft Word users will demonstrate some easy techniques to make your documents better. Both Word 2003 and Word 2007 will be covered in this webinar.
Presenter: Cathy Kittle, Publications and Internet Director at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Audience: This webinar is for content providers or anyone who creates Word documents that are ultimately used on the web, particularly as PDFs. The presentation contains very useful and easy-to-follow tips guaranteed to make your life and the life of those visiting your website easier.
Mode of Delivery: Elluminate web conferencing. Visit the Elluminate “First Time User’s” page for more information. Watch individually or as a group. A personal computer and speakers are the only requirements. Text chat will be available for questions. This webinar will be recorded.
Questions: Contact Judy Marshall at the SUNY CPD at 315-233-3052 x-112.
SUNY Center for Professional Development
We did a minor upgrade to Moodle over the holiday break and changed some other configuration settings:
• The Gradebook has changes to some of its views that make it more obvious how grade items are organized into categories, and that also make it easier to set up weights for weighted means of grades. If you use the Moodle Gradebook, be sure to check out the changes. I’ll be developing some new online tutorial materials for the Gradebook and other Moodle functions soon.
• With the upgrade, you can now run a report to see which of your students haven’t accessed a specific resource or activity in your course Moodle, and if you want send them a message about it.
• Moodle pages (other than the secure login) are now displayed as regular web pages, which means you can now embed content from external sites such as YouTube without triggering security warnings from Internet Explorer and some other browsers.
• Other changes are mostly behind the scenes improvements.
I’ve scheduled a series of Moodle help/consultation sessions for the first week of the semester:
- Wed, Jan 20, 11:30-12:20 (before the School/Conservatory meetings)
- Thurs, Jan 21, 12:30-1:20
- Fri, Jan 22, 11:30-12:30
- Mon, Jan 25, 12:30-1:20
All sessions will be held in the Library 1004C computer lab. Feel free to drop in if you want help setting up any aspect of your course moodles, if you want help setting up your new gradebooks, or if you’d like to see how some of the new features we added last semester work:
• Book resource, which allows you to set up multi-page documents in your course Moodle
• Attendance activity and block, which provide a way for you to record attendance information into your course Moodle and present that information to each of your students
• Outcomes, which allow you to record student performance on course learning objectives within the Gradebook for your course Moodle
Also over the break, we moved Moodle to a new web server. Since the migration, we’ve been seeing sporadic internal server error messages (mostly 500 Internal Server Error messages at this point), which we are working on. If you do get a 500 Error message, try waiting a half-minute or so and reloading the page. But also send me an email about what your were trying to do when you got the error message and when, so we can better track down what the issue is. Thanks.
Moodle: Over the past month (Nov 8 through Dec 8, which includes Thanksgiving week), there were 36,057 unique visits to and 222,760 pages viewed on our Moodle system.
We are planning only a few changes to Moodle over break – adding more processor capacity on the Moodle server to speed up Moodle services, a minor upgrade from Moodle 1.9.3 to Moodle 1.9.7, and probably a change in the login procedure to support incorporation of external resources such as YouTube videos into our Moodle courses. Over the summer we will determine when we will upgrade to Moodle 2.0, which will bring in significant new functions to our courses, and will integrate our Moodle system with the new Mahara ePortfolio and networking application (see below).
Blackboard: Spring semester will be the last semester that Blackboard will be supported. Since there are a lot of old, unused courses on the Blackboard server, the TLTC will not automatically migrate all existing Blackboard courses over to Moodle. Please send an email to TLTC@purchase.edu listing any specific Blackboard course(s) that you would like migrated to Moodle. We will schedule another round of Moodle workshops before and at the start of next semester, to support faculty migration from Blackboard to Moodle. If you would like to schedule an individual consultation on course design, teaching & learning, or Moodle migration issues, please email email@example.com.
Mahara: CTS has recently implemented Mahara, an open-source ePortfolio and social networking application that many colleges use in conjunction with Moodle. Mahara allows students, faculty and staff to assemble collections of files, postings and other materials that can then be presented publicly or privately through an online ePortfolio interface. I am looking for faculty who are interested in piloting the use of Mahara for course-related student portfolios. If you have your students submit portfolios of work for your courses and would like to participate in this pilot looking at how Mahara can facilitate the use of portfolios in your courses, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that I can arrange an orientation to Mahara for you and plan support for your class use of Mahara (such as student training sessions, planning for portfolio submissions, etc). Thanks.
teaching, learning, and technology center
As a faculty member, you are encouraged to link directly to the Library’s subscription databases and online journals, just as you would link to any website or resource on the internet, from within your Moodle course pages.
In order to make resources from the Library’s subscription databases and online journals available to students who may be accessing Moodle from off-campus (remote user access), you must include the EZProxy prefix code in the item’s URL.
The EZProxy prefix code is:
This bit of code must be placed before the rest of the article’s URL in order to make it available from off-campus.
This can be done by following a few simple steps:
- locate the desired article in our online databases / journals
- look for the document’s persistent or durable URL, within the context of the item, not in your browsers address bar
- When using ProQuest, for example, click on “Copy Link” to copy the article’s durable URL and then add the EZProxy prefix code before the rest of the URL
- Copy and paste the EZProxy code into the URL field when adding a new resource “link to a file or website” in Moodle
- Copy and past the article’s URL so that it appears after the EZProxy code
To Display a document link on the front page of your Moodle course:
- From your Administration block, click on “Turn editing on.”
- In the section where you want the file to show up, click on the Resources pull-down menu and select the ‘Link to a file or web site’ option.
- Enter into the Name field the text you want to use to describe the link on the front page of your course.
- You can enter a description of the link if you want into the Summary field. This is optional.
- Under the “Link to a file or web site” heading, paste in the item’s URL. Remember to include the EZProxy prefix code if the item is from the Library’s subscription resources.
- Then click the ‘Save and return to course’
Moodle courses that have been created by the TLTC this summer are intentionally set as ‘unavailable’ to students, so as to reduce confusion. As the start of the Fall semester approaches, faculty can make their Moodle course pages ‘available’ to students by following the steps below.
To make your Moodle Course Available to Students:
- Login to Moodle and navigate to your course
- From your Administration block, click on ‘Settings’
- Under the ‘Availability’ section, click on the pull-down menu and select “This course is available to students“
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Save changes‘
Your course is now available to students.
To view your course the way students see it, click on the “Switch role to…” pull-down menu at the upper right side of your Moodle course page and select “Student” from list. (view screen cap image).
Moodle login directions for students and faculty can be found here: http://tltc.blogs.purchase.edu/applications/moodle/.
Please review our course reserves changes, which will go into effect for the Fall 2009 semester.
Your Moodle course is set up with your course’s ID number as the default “enrollment key” (password). You can change your course’s enrollment key to anything you’d like. The enrollment key is only required the first time your students access your course on Moodle.
To view/change your enrollment key:
- Login to Moodle and navigate to your course
- From your Administration block, click on ‘Settings‘
- Under the ‘Availability‘ section, you have the option to designate your own course enrollment key. Tip: Check the “Unmask” box to view your enrollment key to ensure accuracy; they are case-sensitive.
- Once you’ve made your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Save changes‘
- Don’t forget to tell your students the enrollment key.