Moodle Blog

What can Moodle do for you?

Saturday, 25. April 2009 von admin

Click the image to watch a  video showing ways of using some of the standard items from the Add a resource/Add an activity drop down menus.

Moodle Blog 11: Marking in Moodle – Basic Gradebook

Monday, 11. February 2008 von admin

marking in moodleOk so you’ve taken the plunge – you’ve set up an assignment – the students have uploaded their work – now how do you mark it?

In an ideal Moodle world, all your sets will have been uploaded for you and enrolled on your course and you will just have to click on ‘view …submitted assignments‘ and a list of the students in your class will appear, alphabetically, waiting for you to mark their efforts.

Unfortunately in the real world, if there hasn’t been a school-wide policy, students will have enrolled themselves into your course – maybe coming from different classes – and they will all be lumped together on your gradebook page. Never mind – we can still mark their work, but next blog will show how better to organise your groups in order to filter through just the students you need.

Also in our Perfect Moodle world, the grade you would like to use for your assignment, be it a letter A-G, a level 4-7 or a comment – well done- unsatisfactory  etc – will have been set for you in advance. If not, Moodle will have decided for you that your work will be marked out of a hundred. If this isn’t what you would like, then the next blog will explain setting your own grades. Stay tuned!

So..we click on the assigment and click on View Submitted Assignments. This brings us to the gradebook page. Normally, you will have six columns – from left to right: the student’s name, space for your grade, your comment, the location and date of their work, a space to show the date you marked it, and a status column. This is what you click on to type in your appraisal of the student’s upload. If you tick the box at the bottom of the gradebook page ‘allow quick grading’ and save your preferences, you then have the option if you want of moving quickly down the list, choosing a grade and typing in a short comment.

 Here is a quick screencast of the very basics of Moodle Marking. click for movieIt’s done in Wink – ok, not as swish as Captivate – but it’s free! Click the image to have a look.

Moodle Blog 10: Basic Moodle – Assignments for Beginners

Saturday, 02. February 2008 von admin

where to find assignmentsIf Level 1 moodling is being able to upload worksheets and level 2 moodling is being able to type said sheet directly onto a webpage within moodle, then level 3 must be the ability to create an assignment – put simply, an online worksheet linked to the gradebook. Assignments can be located in the ‘add an activity’ section and there are four types – although one of them, the ‘offline assignment’ is something of a cheat because there is no task attached; it just offers an area to add marks for something done outside of Moodle. Of the others, the one most frequently used at Our Lady’s is the ‘upload a single file’.assignment example Pupils are presented with a page of instructions – this can be in the form of a webquest with hyperlinks to sites specially chosen by their teacher, or it can simply contain copies of tasks done in class. The student works his/her way through the activities and then produces a piece of work which they then upload via the box at the bottom of the screen. An excellent way of ensuring everyone has completed the work in time for the bell is to bring up the gradebook in the last five minutes of the lesson and watch the work arrive – students will ask you to refresh the page to prove they’ve sent theirs and are allowed to go! The third type of assignment is an online text. online textThis presents the student with a text box into which they type their work directly, rather than leaving Moodle to go to Word/PowerPoint and then returning later. This is quicker for a teacher to mark as it requires just one click to open up and view the text, rather than having to deal with uploaded documents – open? save?- time-consuming choice when there are 32 in a class! The fourth type of assignment, advanced uploading of files, allows for students to send in more than one piece of work – useful if they are doing GCSE coursework for instance, or any project requiring a number of items. Hint: learn how to use ‘groups’ ; it will make the marking far easier when you can filter the students to be left with your own class. How to mark in Moodle? That’s for another time…

Moodle Blog 8: Basic Moodle – getting the students to log in!

Monday, 21. January 2008 von admin

getting the buggers to..I was going to paraphrase Sue Cowley and call this ‘getting the buggers to Moodle’ but this would seem to suggest an inherent unwillingness on the part of students to use Moodle – and  I don’t believe this to be the case.  Moodle mirrors so many of their out of school experiences already –  they communicate via  IM or forums (chat); they will upload images to their Myspace/Bebo; they will send attachments in their email; they will do online quizzes for fun and get instant feedback… the challenge then, is to integrate Moodle into their online lives such that they access it, like MSN or Bebo, without a second thought. And they won’t do that if they think it’s just another means of making them do boring homeworks.  Some suggestions….

  • Appearance is All: when setting up a course page, add images; enlarge the font; give it snappy titles – even if is year 8 Algebra; the style has to appeal before they’ll want to access the content
  • Personalise your Pages: the course doesn’t have to stay static all year just because it was set up and finished in September – use the topic description at the top to add messages to students doing well; reminders of events. Many Moodle sites use their front page as a showcase/messageboard – but there’s no reason why a course page shouldn’t do that also, to a smaller (more select) audience.
  • Tease them in: add a competition or give them a task where the answer is only on Moodle and the first one to find it gets a reward
  • Invite Interaction – add a forum, preferably related to a topic currently studied but at worst,  merely to ask them what they feel should be included  it’s to draw them in..
  • Grant them Instant Gratification – that is, include where possible a Moodle quiz or Hot Potato activity that will give results as soon as they have done it, rather than leaving them wondering until the next time you mark their work. It is worth making the effort to learn how to customise HotPotatoes quizzes and Moodle quizzes so you can personalise your feedback to your school or even class…on which subject…
  • Give them Games! Mainly for KS3 but I have seen good examples of these used for A/As level students too. There is a wide variety of free or cheap educational flash games that will work on Moodle and that provide another way to segue from online games to on-Moodle games. Only these will test their learning at the same time. One that stands out is Content Generator wtpstudents love the Penalty shootout game; they relish in the sarky comments the teacher makes in Walk the Plank and the new En Guard allows for personalised comments to be included in the finished item. But more than this, their creator, Andrew Field is gradually making them all SCORM compliant  so the grades will show up in Moodle’s markbook like Hot Potatoes or Moodle’s own activities.
  • Allow for after-school access: a difficult one – we still can’t assume all students have the internet at home.  We try to offer as many opportunties as possible to give students the opportunity to go online. At Our Lady’s we are an extended school and have  computer rooms and an LRC open at break, lunchtimes and when the buses have left. 
  • Begin with the Basics – follow these Good Practice tips

Moodle Blog 6: Basic Moodle – Beginners’ Top Ten Tips

Sunday, 13. January 2008 von admin

Nothing complex or fancy – just ten suggestions for Good Practice when starting out in Moodle.

  1.  The  ‘Name‘ of  a new resource that you upload is the text students will see to click on – so give it something meaningful, such as Click here for homework Jan 13th rather than worksheet1.add resource
  2. 2. Before uploading resources , go to Admin>Files and make a folder with an appropriate name – teacher or topic. Then upload the documents to that particular folder. Won’t matter in the early stages when there isn’t much there but if several people are uploading resources and they all just ‘dump’ them in the files area, locating a document there will very quickly become extremely difficult.
  3. For each topic/week section, add a (small) image. It breaks up the text and makes the course a bit more attractive when first accessed. Use the label similarly to break up lists of resources.
  4. If you have many files to upload, put them all into one folder and’ zip’ them up. Right click on the folder>send to compressed(zipped) folder. Moodle will not accept ‘normal’ folders. Once it’s in the files area, click on the prompt to ‘unzip’ before linking to them
  5. To avoid long lists of worksheets one under the other (mum’s shopping list) – choose instead to ‘display directory‘ This will show a briefcase icon and when the student clicks on it, the files will be shown, rather than cluttering up the page.directory display
  6. 6. Always choose the option of opening the resource in a new window. That way, Moodle is still in the background and won’t vanish if by error the student clicks the X once they’re done with the file.
  7. If you’re planning a new simple worksheet for Moodle that you haven’t yet done in Word – don’t. Choose the ‘compose a webpage‘ option and type it straight into Moodle instead. That way, students can access it from one click, rather than having to endure the message ‘do you want to save or open this file?’ then having to make that decision… . then having to wait…. webpage …much quicker.
  8. Aim to add a Forum wherever possible on a page of worksheets/homeworks. It gives students the opportunity to question classmates or the teacher about the work and is a simple way in to Moodle’s interactivity.
  9.  Likewise, set up the Choice  activity to gauge how well students have understoood a task.
  10. Ask them what they want on Moodle – and try to do it! It will be more successful if it fits in with their needs rather than with what you think they should get.

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