Moodle is the world's leading e-learning technology platform, and InterComm's first choice for clients who are setting up a corporate e-learning or intranet-based training system.
Moodle expects that employees will be unused to the system, and provides a simple, intuitive interface. However when it comes to the administrative interface, Moodle expects that educators and trainers are educated, literate, and that they use the system daily. It is therefore built for productivity and speed of editing.
For the new Educator-level user, this minimalist interface might seem a little daunting. There are often several ways to do thing - how do you know which is suited for YOUR specific need - you don't want to find out later that one method is limiting and you will have to redo pages.
How is Moodle organised?
Moodle has a hierarchical structure. Activities or Resources belong to Topics, which belong to a course that is housed in a category. So think about how you want to organize your information so the hierarchy makes sense.
For example, a single page on Nelson Mandela's early life, might go in Book or Lesson on the Statesman Nelson Mandela, which is part of a Topic about Politics, which will in turn be part of a wider course, “South African History 101”. All similar courses will be housed in the category History.
Of course if you don’t need this hierarchy, you don’t have to use it. But a well-organized eLearning system makes sense to learners, and it is easier to manage! Setting up the right initial structure is one of the most important tasks during installation, and InterComm can assist you in defining a structure that is flexible and practical.
What is a Resource?
Moodle comes with an extensive array of options. You could choose to house your content in a book, file, folder (groups of files) or a page - these are all resources and they are not interactive. You can assess your learners through multiple-choice questions, assignments, feedback or quizzes. Lessons are unusual in that they are self-directed learning. Depending on the student's answer to a question on the page, they are redirected to a page/resource.
Resources are not active:
- A page is the basic form of learning content. It can display multimedia or photographs, and should be kept to a single screen length if possible. It is easy to create and manage.
- Books make sense if you have considerable number of pages that should be organized as a printable e-book. One great advantage of Book is that learners can print off the whole book in one go, unlike the lesson which must be printed by page.
- There are additional options such links to other websites, files and folders.
What is an Activity?
Activities provide for interaction between students, or between the student and the teacher. You can assess your learners through multiple-choice questions, assignments, feedback or quizzes.
- A lesson is a multi-page activity for self-directed learning. Depending on the student's answer to a question on the page, they are redirected to a page/resource so it is both a resource AND an activity. The Educator can define custom paths, embed question pages, and generally provide learner some choice with regard to their learning route.
- Assignments are uploaded files that have been created offline. Educators can grade assignments and give comments
- The Quiz activity module allows the teacher to design and build quizzes consisting of a large variety of Question types, including multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. These questions are kept in the Question bank and can be re-used in different quizzes.
- A Wiki is a collection of web pages that anyone (students or educators) can add to or edit
- A Workshop allows peer assessment. Students submit their work via an online text tool and attachments. There are two grades for a student: their own work and their peer assessments of other students' work.
- The glossary activity module allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary.
- The database activity module allows the teacher and/or students to build, display and search a "gallery" on a topic. The format and structure of these entries is flexible including images, files, URLs, numbers and text amongst other things. Items can be submitted, rated (by Educators or Students), commented on and graded.
Each format or activity has settings. Look for the small "gear" button on everything you create.
Different settings can result in significantly different user experiences. For example, quiz settings can provide adaptive questions, immediate feedback, certainty based marking and so on... How lessons appear, what does the user see, can they mark an activity complete, when does an activity become available- these are all options hidden in the settings. If you are new to Moodle, take the time and effort to play with it, so you learn the functions of each little option on the settings page.
How do I track my students' grades?
The following features have been designed for the use of educators and the administrator:
- Keep track of each individual user’s grade history as well as the tracking of specified markers as easy as a click or two of the mouse.
- The Single-view feature allows you to make changes to user information or other specifics efficiently - no clicking back and forth.
- The convenient Natural Weight Disbursement feature handles everything from day-to-day assignment grades to hidden and excluded grades to grades given for extra-credit assignments, bringing them all together into on convenient balancing method.
- The Gradebook and Grader Report features are easily accessible on all devices, navigable through the simple use of scrolling. You can conduct any editing you need to right on the device as well, and it can now be done without repetitive loading and re-loading.
Can I use an alternative language?
You can customize the language Moodle uses to interact with your users. The errors, the site messages like change passwords, etc. can all be customized to say exactly what you want to say. Even choose an alternate login page if you are up to it using the customizations!
How do students and educators interact?
Moodle’s Forum is a popular resource rich with information and support for distance learners. Educators and students are able to reply or comment on Moodle forum posts via email interface, and you can include attachments. Thread navigation makes it easy to find specific statements within threads. Students can subscribe to forums which are topic specific, enabling them to narrow their applicable focus appropriately.
Chat allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussions, but is often switched off as it can be a security risk if classes are large and registration is open.
Surveys and Feedback are similar in objective but different in format - and are usually not graded.
Reporting & Analytics
Keep track of upcoming events and appointments with detailed logging. These also make the grade tracking process incredible simple in many ways by organizing and averaging as specified. You can also take advantage of upcoming events by subscribing to new ones with this feature as well. No more missing out on those you really want to participate in.
There are plenty of capabilities Moodle offers that you can use to enrich your and your learners experience. Visit www.moodle.org for further information.