Moving to Moodle full-day workshop

December 2nd, 2010

Moving to Moodle (Keith Landa, Marie Sciangula; full day workshop)

Workshop description: The goal of this workshop is to get each faculty participant set up to use Moodle for one of their fall courses.  The morning session will focus on basic organization of your Moodle site, how to customize your site, managing your course files, providing resources (files, web pages, external web sites, image galleries) to your students, setting up the course calendar and schedule of events, and course communication tools.  The afternoon session will focus on the variety of student learning activities that you can incorporate into your Moodle course: discussion forums, map activities, online assignments, assignment dropboxes, wikis, glossaries and other databases, peer review, etc.  Faculty will work on Moodle environments that they can use for their fall courses; when registering for the workshop, please send the course name, course number and section number for at least one fall course that you plan to work on during the workshop.

Workshop outcomes: You’ll have a functioning course to augment your face-to-face classes or for hybrid/online teaching by the end of the day.

Workshop agenda

Morning

  • Introductions
    • LMS/ERes experience
    • Courses you’ll be working on
    • Personal goals for LMS use, what are you trying to accomplish for your courses
  • Moodle overview
    • Example courses: default shell, Mars Explorations, Moodle Faculty Lounge
    • Comparison to Blackboard and ERes
    • Levels of usage – as much or as little as makes sense for your instructional goals
  • Accessing your Moodle courses
  • Basic course settings
    • Summary
    • Format (weekly, topics, social); # weeks/topics
      • Relationship of course format to instructional goals
    • Theme/language
    • Access/enrollment key
    • Miscellaneous (role names, section display, etc)
  • Organize the core of your course
    • Instructional goal: providing a context for the learning activities and resources in your course; promoting student engagement
    • Topic/weekly summaries
      • Using the web-based editor
    • Label resources – short bits of Front Page text
      • Good for providing structure within your weeks or topics
      • How to arrange Labels (and other resources / activities) using the arrow icons
    • Adding Page resources – for more extended materials
  • Blocks
    • Instructional goals: adding additional functionality; providing context; tying your course to external Web 2.0 tools/sources
    • Standard blocks: Administration, Participants, Latest News, Upcoming Events (Calendar), Recent Activity, Activities
    • Adding blocks: Messages (Highly Recommended!!), Moodle Google (add-on), Remote RSS Feeds, Online Users, Calendar, Course Description, Random Glossary Entry, Blog Menu, HTML
    • Arranging your blocks
  • Calendar & Upcoming Events
    • Instructional goals: keep students on track, on task
    • Adding New Events (manual items as opposed to Activity dates which Moodle adds automatically)
    • Viewing the calendar
    • Exporting your course calendar
  • Working with Files
    • Instructional goals: providing content for your students to work with
    • Administration -> Files: your faculty file directory area
      • Folder organization
      • uploading individual files
      • uploading and extracting zip archives
      • file operations: moving, renaming, deleting files
      • hands-on practice: creating, zipping, uploading and organizing files in your course shells
    • Resource -> Display a directory
      • Steps for setting up a directory resource
      • How to create the equivalent of Blackboard’s Course Documents
      • Providing more context: pointing to specific directories at specific points in your course
      • Adding file descriptions and directions to the displayed directories
    • Resource -> Link to a file or web site
      • Ability to point to specific files from the front page of your course
      • Steps for linking to a file
      • Combining upload and display steps
      • Why linking to one of your files and linking to an external web site are really the same, logistically
    • Incorporating files into other resources and activities
      • Example: linking to files in Label and Web page resources (e.g., using a Label to list and link to readings for a given week/topic)
      • Looking ahead: linking to files in Discussion Forum questions
  • Lightbox Gallery (add-on module)
    • special display of directory of image files
    • steps to set up a Lightbox Gallery resource: point to directory of image files, description text to provide directions
    • behavior of a Lightbox Gallery resource
  • Course communications
    • Instructional goals: notifications to students about course events, their performance; building a sense of community among course members
    • News Forum / Latest News (2 views of the same item)
      • Latest News -> Add a New Topic…. (broadcast email to everyone in the class)
      • Message archive saved in the News Forum
      • News Forum -> Add a New Topic
    • People -> Participants
      • Roster listing: sort by name, last access (who’s not logging in?)
      • Sending messages to individual participants or groups of participants (instant messaging and email functions)
      • Keeping notes on individual students (new feature in this version of Moodle)
      • Logging in as a specific student
    • Messages block
      • Shows waiting messages
      • Messages window: settings
      • Messages window: contacts
      • Messages window: search
      • Messaging window – IM like editor, real-time messaging
      • Message history extends beyond the course, across courses

Afternoon

  • Administration -> Groups
    • Instructional uses of groups/teams
    • Creating Groups
    • Assigning students to Groups
  • Activities -> Assignments
    • Instructional goals: provide opportunities in class and in Moodle for students to demonstrate their understanding of course content, concepts
    • Online Text assignment
      • Example activities: reading responses, journal reflections
      • Assignment name and description
      • Setting point value (Grade) and Grade Category
      • Setting availability dates and policies on late submissions; automatic tie-in to course calendar
      • Resubmission and commenting options
      • Student view of assignment submission
      • Grading and providing feedback from the Submitted Assignments page: quick grading view; detailed grading view
      • Grading and providing feedback from the Grader View in the course Grades area (overrides grades/feedback from the submitted assignments page, disconnects student’s gradebook score from the submitted assignment)
      • Advantages over File Upload assignment – no need to deal with unsupported file formats
    • Upload a Single File assignment
      • Similar to Digital Dropbox in Blackboard, but you can have separate dropboxes for each assignment, as many as you want
      • Similar set-up to Online Text assignment
      • Student view of assignment submission
      • Grading and providing feedback from Submitted Assignments page similar to that for Online Text; how to access files submitted by students
      • Providing grades/feedback from Grader View
      • Advantages: students are used to thinking in terms of writing X pages for an assignment
      • Issues: how best to comment on students submitted files and return the feedback to the students
    • Advanced Uploading of Files assignment
      • Allows both upload of multiple files (as in the file upload assignment, but up to 20) and student online comments (as in the online text assignment)
      • Example activity: student course portfolio – students upload a number of artifacts and enter their reflection on the pieces that they’ve included
      • Assignment set-up, student submission, and grading submitted assignments views
      • Advanced Uploading assignment allows instructor to send back a response file -> a way to deal with the issue of how to return students’ commented papers in the Upload a Single File assignment mentioned above; set up an advanced uploading assignment where the number of files allowed is set to 1
    • Offline Activity assignment (no longer needed, grades for in-class activities can be entered directly in the Grader Report view as described above)
  • Activities -> Discussion Forums
    • Instructional goals: continuing discussion after the end of face-to-face sessions; jump-starting class discussions; reading response reflections; substituting for class discussions in hybrid or online courses; questions and answers about course logistics; student discussion area to build sense of community and engagement among students; etc
    • Four discussion forum types available in Moodle
      • Standard forum for general use – everyone can post topics and responses
      • Q & A forum – only the instructor posts topics, students don’t see each other’s responses UNTIL they have submitted their response
      • Single simple discussion – only one thread/topic, everyone posts as responses to the initial forum description
      • Each person posts one discussion – e.g.: site reflections for students in a co-op course
    • Setting up discussion forums
      • Name and introduction (description)
      • Subscription (recommend no) and read tracking (recommend yes) options
      • Grading options (ratings) for forum contributions; grade category
      • Group mode – can allow separate discussion spaces for each group
    • Posting topics and responses: instructor and student view
    • Viewing forum posts/replies: four options
  • Activities -> Wiki
    • Instructional goals: support collaborative writing and content creation by students
    • Wiki engine in current version of Moodle is adequate, not stellar; plans to upgrade wiki engine in future releases
    • Configuration options for wiki activities
      • Name and summary
      • Wiki Type and Group Mode -> 9 combinations
      • Allowing binary files
    • Editing wiki pages
      • Initial editing of the initial page
      • Working with attachments
    • Adding pages to your wiki
      • Notation for creating a page stub
      • Accessing the stub to begin editing it
    • Page history: viewing versions, comparing versions, restoring past versions
  • Getting feedback from your students
    • Activities -> Choice
    • Activities -> Feedback (add-on module)
    • Activities -> Questionnaire (add-on module)
  • Activities -> Chat
  • Activities -> Glossary
  • Activities -> Database
  • Activities -> Map (add-on module)
  • Activities -> Quiz
  • Activities -> Lesson
  • Activities -> Workshop
  • Gradebook (Administration -> Grades)
    • Instructional goals: feedback to students on their performance on in-class activities (e.g., quizzes, presentations, etc) and scores from Moodle activities
    • Administration -> Grades
    • Recommendation: start with Categories and Items to build the basic framework of your course gradebook
      • Overview of steps for setting up categories and items
      • Overview of available aggregation options
      • Scenario 1: weighted mean of grades
        • typical approach to major grade categories (20% reading responses, 35% research paper, 30% exams, 15% participation)
        • specifying aggregation option for overall course grade
        • creating grade categories and setting weights
        • arranging items in your gradebook, editing labels
      • Scenario 2: simple mean of grades
        • example: quizzes with different point values that all count the same toward the quiz grade
        • specifying aggregation option for Quizzes category
        • adding individual quizzes to the Quizzes category
      • Scenario 3: sum of grades
        • example: multiple participation items, different point values, item total points reflects contribution toward Participation category total
        • specifying aggregation option for Participation category
        • adding individual items to Participation category
      • Looking ahead: Moodle graded activities
      • hands-on practice: setting up categories and items
    • Setting up Scales
    • Setting up Letter grade conversions
    • Grader Report view
      • Showing/collapsing category items
      • Showing/hiding averages and ranges
      • Editing grades: quick editing -> Turn Editing On; enter grades and feedback; Update
      • Editing grades: click on the Edit icon to view detailed grading options for any individual grading cell (don’t forget to Update and quick editing grades or feedback first!!!)
      • Manual calculations: probably don’t need to deal with this, as the aggregation scenarios above can handle most course situations; you can manually enter calculation formulas to override standard aggregations
    • User Report view
      • Basic layout
      • Viewing individual student or all students
    • Exporting grades to Excel spreadsheets
    • Importing grades from Excel spreadsheets
      • Use of email field to match up grades
      • Recommendation: set up grade items in advance of importing grades
      • File format for uploading grades; steps to match up grades with grade items during the import process
  • Reports: finding out what your students are doing in the online class environment
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