User:Vtaylor/Technology Supported Learning/Moodle reference

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Moodle Reference

While any instructor is welcome to participate in this workshop, it will be most beneficial (and least frustrating) for faculty who have some familiarity with Moodle or other course management systems such as Etudes, WebCT or Blackboard.

Introduction to Moodle

This is a quick overview for getting started with the Moodle learning management system.

Moodle - an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment

Moodle is a free software/open source e-learning platform (also known as a Learning Management System (LMS), Course Management System (CMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE))

Moodle functions include:

  • Resources - information pages, primarily used to provide information and instructions about activities associated with the topic modules. Modules match the chapters in the text and are used to guide weekly assignments.
  • Assignments - individual assignments are submitted using Assignments. These are graded and the instructor may provide feedback with the assignment grade.
  • Forums - discussions are grouped within the Forums. Usually there are multiple discussion topics within a Forum. In general, there is one Forum and multiple topic discussions for each lesson module.
  • Quizzes - Quizzes are used for grading submitted materials. Usually there are multiple sections or questions within a quiz. Please be sure to complete all questions and submit the finished quiz for grading.
  • Choices - one question surveys. Choices are also used to forming groups for projects.
  • Messages - similar to email, but only students and instructors can send and receive messages with Message function.
  • Chats - similar to Instant Messaging, but only students and instructors can participate in chats with the course Chat function.
  • Surveys - the usual student feedback questions to help the instructor and the administration monitor and improve courses.
  • Wikis - collaborative writing space for students - individually, in groups or as a whole class.
  • Profile - provides control over aspects of student environment - outside communication, subscription to discussion posts, text editor presentation for assignment submission and discussion posts

Explore the options to see what combination work best for you.

More information about Moodle

More about Forums and Discussion Participation

  • Have the setting for displaying unread posting on - this helps a lot. You will see a note on the front page and check marks on the discussion page indicating that new messages have been posted and where. You can organize the post displays to show new posts first and they will have a heavy box around them. This will make finding unread posts easier.
  • You can subscribe and set your profile to digest - you will get one email per day maximum if people post to the old discussion.
  • Explore the options to see what combinations work best for you. Personally, I have the tracking on and I usually have discussions display with the newest posts first. But you may find that you like some combination of options better. Try different things until you find what works for YOU.
  • Others will likely contribute to discussions as due date approaches - there will always be students who leave everything until the last minute, but you will know who they are.
  • Post your Introduction, even if you are late joining the class, because it is so important to have some introduction information about all students. It is also important to ensure that all students have figured out the basics of online learning and Catalyst functions.
  • There is a Questions? forum in the introduction area at the top of the main course page. Use this to ask questions that can be viewed and answered by anyone in the course. Please share ideas for reading and tracking forum discussions.

Instructor "presence"

Occasionally, I get feedback from students asking me to be more involved in these discussions. Please be assured that I read all the discussion posts. I will "jump in" if there are problems, if the discussion goes off track or if it stalls. Often, as soon as I post, student discussion stops. Student-only discussions are usually more interesting. Often students provide arguments and links that go beyond material that is general knowledge because they have personal information or work experience in the discussion topic area.

However, as there are no "right" answers, I don't post much if the discussions are going well. I expect students to assume responsibility for their learning. I provide an environment with assignments, quizzes, feedback and discussion forums. It is up to you to make the most of this learning experience.

Comments, Suggestions and Questions

A key component of online learning is taking responsibility for your own learning. I appreciate your comments and suggestions. As the "guide on the side" I am always available to respond to your questions throughout the course.