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Using Moodle

A Low-Tech Explanation
by

Joshua de Vries

on 3 July 2013

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Transcript of Using Moodle

A Low-Tech Intro to Moodle
by Joshua de Vries
The Moodle Coursepage is like an interactive calendar. Assignments, worksheets, forums, drop boxes, etc. will all be on one page. The various modules can correspond to specific weeks or to specific units (whichever you prefer)
First, login and select the course you want to view from the "My courses" menu
You can customize the main page however you want, adding pictures, files, and assignments.
This is how the page is laid out (this is what it looks like in weekly view).
Note the "Settings" box on the left. The ones you will use the most are "Edit Settings," "Users" (to see who's enrolled and to manually add students), and "Grades."
If you want to switch your layout to something other than weekly view, go to "edit settings" on the left hand side
When setting up a new drop box, everything is fairly self-explanatory. At the bottom of the page is a drop down menu where you can put an assignment in a category (more on that in a bit)
This is the standard gradebook layout. (Reminder: you get to this page by clicking on the little green and black square in the "settings" box on the main page. Once in the grade book, you click on the white squares above each of the categories to expand them out. You also must click "Turn editing on" in order to enter grades here.
This is the drop down menu on the upper left of the gradebook. There are many options, but the only two you will use often will be the two that are highlighted here.
"Full view" is how you add/manage assignments in the gradebook. It's also how you add assignments manually. If you check the extra credit box for an assignment, it will not count towards the overall total. "Simple Weighted Mean of Grades" is the standard default setting. It works fine.
Here, you can add new assignments (for the sole purpose of uploading point values) and also add categories such as "Daily Assignments" or "Participation" (for use in grade weighting). If you prefer to arrange your gradebook based on points (instead of weighted categories), then you don't need to create any.
This is the far right side of the Full View Gradebook
When you create an assignment manually via the "Full View" gradebook, this is what it looks like. The three highlighted items are really the only things you'll use on a regular basis.
Types of Forums
To grade submitted assignments that were created on the main page (the kind that allows extensive feedback), click on the drop box that you set up to open this page
Drop Boxes
Grades
and Assignments
them
There are quite a few things one can do with Moodle, but beneath all the bells and whistles, it is actually fairly simple to use. If there is a yellow question mark next to anything, you can click on that and it will explain what that item is. Also, at the bottom of every page is a yellow exclamation mark that will link you to the Moodle wiki which is like the user manual.
The drawing hand allows you to edit assignments and the X will delete the assignment. The black arrow moves the assignment over one space (like an indent)
You can also download all the submitted files as a zip folder, though I've found that sometimes, one or two assignments aren't included. So, if you do that, make sure you have all the essays that were submitted.
What I like about this gradebook is that, if you have an assignment that's done throughout the semester (like presentations), you can enter the grades for each presentation as they happen without the rest of the class getting a zero. If a box is left blank, it is not counted toward a student's overall average, so students can see what they got on a presentation much sooner than with OIS
Common Issues You May Encounter Overall
-A couple times, when I selected the "extra credit" box for an assignment, it weighted the assignment very strangely, giving the student an overall grade of over 200%. It didn't always do this, but keep an eye out for that. (On the gradebook, you can click a green and black square next to each student's name and see their gradebook as they see it, which will allow you to see if there are any issues).
-Another issue the TA's encountered was the gradebook not saving things. Be sure to hit the "save" or "update" button at the bottom of the gradebook every time you change anything (I would even suggest overusing this button) or it will not remember the changes. This is especially annoying after you insert everyone's grades and then go to add a new grade item...which deletes all the grades you just entered
Teaching Multiple Sections
If you are teaching multiple sections of the same course, you will need to set up one of the websites and link your other ones to it (that way you don't have to keep up with two or more websites). CSTL can help you do this. Be sure you make your other course websites (for the other sections) unavailable (which can be done via the course settings page).
Good luck!
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