What do we mean?
Moodle is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used for both synchronous (live) and asynchronous activity such as discussion forums, learning activities (e.g. quizzes), learning materials, lecture notes and presentations, and pre-recorded audio and video.
Top tips for making the most of Moodle
Whilst Moodle is commonly used to provide students with access to content, one of its greatest strengths is the ease with which it can support a more active approach to learning. We advise that Moodle is the main platform used for blended learning, with other systems such as Re:View used alongside it. Our top tips will help you make the most of Moodle for your course.
Top tips for using Moodle
1. Getting ready for a new semester
Complete the new Essential Unit Information block to inform students and set expectations.
Refresh content, removing anything that is out of date. Remember you can always visit the Moodle Archive to retrieve past content. Reset any activities you want to reuse (e.g. forums or quizzes). Check enrolments, via the SAMIS integration block to ensure your students are present. Remember the Unit Convenor must be set in SAMIS for students to be auto-enrolled in Moodle.
2. Build a structure your students can follow
You can use topics and labels to organize you course material into a clear sequence. Clearly label topic headings (by week or subject theme) and use labels to create sub-headings and/or instructions. This helps develop a consistent approach that students will appreciate.
3. Build in communication methods
You can use the Announcements forum to send students regular messages (in Moodle and via email notification) such as reminders (‘don’t forget your assignment is due’) or calls to action (‘make your group choice by Wednesday’s live session’). For ‘urgent’ messages continue to use direct email. Encourage students to ask/answer questions in a Q&A forum and have a presence there to show its importance. Build discussion into learning activities to encourage dialogue (‘read chapter 4 and post your view, did you agree or disagree with the author’?). Set your forum preferences to control the frequency of email notifications.
4. Build in formative assessment
You can help students judge their progress by providing activities for them to check their understanding. Quizzes can include a range of questions types, and you can review a summary to identify tricky topics. You can use Feedback or Forum activities for reflection. The Workshop or Group Peer Review tool facilitates peer review. Don’t forget to tag your assessments so they appear in the Essentials Unit Information block under the Assessment tab.
5. Build in summative assessment
You can add submission points for written work (of varying types, such as essay, report, reflection, article, presentation, etc.) where you can record marks and provide feedback. You can make the assessment information available, without allowing the students to submit, so they can plan-ahead and work towards its completion throughout the unit. Don’t forget to tag your assessments so they appear in the Essentials Unit Information block under the Assessment tab.
6. Build in accessibility and inclusivity
The Blackboard Ally tool will provide information about how accessible your content is and provide tips on how to solve any issues. When adding images to Moodle always include an alternative text description. Use colour sparingly, and always make sure the text colour contrasts clearly with the background colour. Remind students that they can access alternative formats directly in Moodle.
7. Including pre-recorded video resources
Record or save your video resources to the Re:View (Panopto) folder linked to your Moodle course. Everyone enrolled in your Moodle course (staff and students) will be able to access the links via the Re:View (Panopto) block in the Course Toolkits area of your course. You can also embed the videos in Moodle Pages or Labels using the embed code provided in the Share tab of your Panopto video.
8. Schedule Zoom sessions for Live Online Interactive Learning
You can create Zoom meetings so that students can access them directly from their Moodle course page. For regular meetings position them in the General, or Orientation & Communication, topic area for easy access. Include an ‘alternative host’ in case you can’t make the meeting.
9. Add a Reading (Library) List
You can create a Library List with all the core readings you want to share with students and add this to your Moodle course. Once added, it will also be displayed in the Essential Unit Information block for easy access for your students. Library staff can review your lists to check that the relevant resources are available.
10. Make your course visible
A simple step to forget, but make sure your course settings are set to ‘show’ when you want students to access your content. Many staff ‘hide’ the course while it’s being prepared and then ‘show’ it when ready. In the ‘new’ Moodle theme the ‘Edit settings’ option is found from the settings cog on the top right of the page.