Introduction to Moodle

Software Requirements To use the online discussion program that is Moodle, you need to have: •

A reliable connection to the Internet. A recommended web browser with cookies enabled (see the Moodle Browser Test page for confirmation or help with this).

The following web browsers are recommended for use with Moodle. For PCs: • • • Internet Explorer: versions 6.0, 7.0 Mozilla Firefox: version 2.0 Netscape: versions 7.0, 7.1, 8.0 and 8.1

For Macs: • • • Mozilla Firefox: version 2.0 Safari: version 2.0 Netscape: versions 6.2.x (OS 9.x and OS X), 7.0, 7.1, 8.0 and 8.1 (OS X)

If you are not certain what version of web browser you are using, open your browser and: • • Click on HELP in your browser menu bar Find and select text that says (for example) "About Internet Explorer". Your browser will show you a page describing what version you are using.

Moodle Browser Test To see if your computer and internet browser are configured to use Moodle properly visit the Moodle Browser Test at: http://distance.uvic.ca/onlinehelp/tutorials/moodle/browser.htm

Logging in to Moodle
When Can I Log In? The date you can log into your Moodle Course Website is listed in the access letter you received from the Program Area delivering your course. It is typically noon of the Friday preceding the first week of your course. Where Do I Log In? Your access letter will direct you to the appropriate page to use in accessing your Moodle Course Website, but you can navigate to any distance education course supported by Distance Education Services (DES) from the DES website found at: http://distance.uvic.ca • • • From this page select ‘Course Login’ under the ‘For Students’ tab. From the list select your program area. Select your course.

Alternatively you can proceed directly to: http://moodle.uvcs.uvic.ca Your Username and Password The username and password you will use with your Moodle Course Website will be sent to you by your Program Area. If you have difficulty accessing Moodle please contact the Onlinehelp Desk at

onlinehelp@uvcs.uvic.ca (250) 721-8476 http://distance.uvic.ca/onlinehelp/


Once you are at the Moodle main page you will find a login section in the upper left corner.

Once you log in you will see the courses that you have access to in the central section of the page under ‘Available Courses’. Select the course title to proceed to your Moodle Course Website.

Using Moodle
Navigation
You can navigate within your Moodle Course Website using links that are grouped by unit or module, or by using links that are grouped by type of resource or activity. On the home page you will see the units or modules of your course grouped into sections in the central part of the page. Each unit or module on this page (as shown in the example below) includes links to relevant text resources, forum (discussion) tools and assignments.

Most courses will also include a block of navigation links on the left margin (as shown in the example to the right) that lead directly to each of the major items for each unit or module. This navigation block will be available on most pages on the Moodle Course Website. The text resources, forums and assignments available within each unit or module can also be accessed through the ‘Activities’ block, typically found in the left margin. Select ‘Assignments’, ‘Forums’ or ‘Resources’ within this block to present a list of all the items matching that category. Your Moodle Course Website includes a series of ‘breadcrumbs’ that move from left to right across the top of your page, each item representing an entity in which the next is nested. For example the breadcrumb: DES > HPEO 404 > Readings > Unit 2 | Readings indicates that the current page is the readings page for Unit 2. The links in

the breadcrumb will lead to: all readings (Readings); the HPEO 404 home page (HPEO 404); and the main login page (DES). Moodle supports the use of the back and forward buttons on your internet browser. You should be aware that, as detailed below, if you are composing a message in Moodle and you navigate away from the composition page without posting your message, your work will be lost.

Moodle Help
Automated contextual help is available for most activities and resources inMoodle. These are indicated by an icon next to a text box, button or some other Moodle feature. If you select the icon a new window will open with brief instructions about the relevant item. Comprehensive documents on certain tools and functions in Moodle are available where you see the icon . This will open the Moodle document in a new window.

Moodle Activities | Forums
Forum activities in Moodle are used for class or group online discussions and for sharing files with other members of the class. In many ways, a forum resembles regular e-mail. You can Post messages and Reply to messages posted by other members of your class, but you do not need to be online at the same time as the other members of your class to do so. Most courses will provide a direct link to each Forum activity within the unit or module groupings on the home page. Some will also have a detailed navigation block in the left margin. Forums can also be accessed through the Forums link in the Activities block found in the left or right margin. Forums use a distinctive icon and appear like this: Topic #1 Discussion Forum Tool Layout • To enter a specific Forum activity, select the Forum link within the appropriate unit or module block, or from the list of Forums found under the Forum link in the Activities block.

The image below shows what a Forum activity page looks like. From here you can start a new discussion topic or select an existing post to read.

Each discussion topic is listed under ‘Discussion’ along with the corresponding author, number of replies, and date of the last post.

View a post by selecting the title link under the ‘Discussion’ heading.

The post along with indented replies is displayed, by default, in what is called a ‘nested’ layout. From a drop-down box just above the top post you can select from four layouts for the display of posts. Display replies flat, with oldest first Display replies flat, with newest first Display replies in threaded form All posts are displayed without indentation. The posts are ordered from oldest at the top to newest at the bottom. All posts are displayed without indentation. The posts are ordered from newest at the top to oldest at the bottom.

Display replies in nested form

The post currently being viewed is displayed in full and links to any replies are displayed, indented by the degree to which they are removed from the currently viewed post. Multiple reply posts at the same level are displayed with the newest at the top. All posts are displayed in full, with each reply indented beneath the post to which it is a reply. Multiple reply posts at the same level are displayed with the newest at the top.

Return to the Forum activity page by selecting the Forum activity title in the breadcrumb navigation at the top of the page, or by using your browser back button. Start a new topic by selecting the ‘Add a new discussion topic’ button. Note that you can only start a new topic at the initial forum page. If you are viewing a post you can only reply to that post.

The new page contains composition boxes for a topic subject and message. There are formatting tools for use within the message body and attachments can be added if allowed in the Forum. Remember that if you navigate away from this window while composing a message, or if your browser or internet service falters while composing a message, you will lose anything you have typed. For long posts it is always better to compose your message off-line in a word processor and then copy and paste it into the Moodle post composition box.

Enter a topic subject and some message text. Then, if you wish, select ‘Browse’ to attach a file.

A window will open to allow you to navigate to the file on your computer that you wish to upload. Once you have selected a file the window will close and the path to the file will appear in the ‘Attachment’ line.

See more about attaching files in the ‘Attaching Files’ section. • Select ‘Post to forum’ to complete your post.

Reply to a Message To reply to a message you must first be viewing the message to which you wish to reply. • Select ‘Reply’ in the lower right corner of the post you are viewing.

The new page contains composition boxes for a topic subject and message. The ‘Subject’ line will already contain the subject of the message to which you are replying, but you can alter it if you wish. The message to which you are replying is shown at the top of the page. There are formatting tools for use within the message body and attachments can be added if allowed in the Forum. • Enter a topic subject and some message text. Then, if you wish, select ‘Browse’ to attach a file.

A window will open to allow you to navigate to the file on your computer that you wish to upload. Once you have selected a file the window will close and the path to the file will appear in the ‘Attachment’ line. • • Select ‘Post to forum’ to complete your post. A window will open to allow you to navigate to the file on your computer that you wish to upload. Once you have selected a file the window will close and the path to the file will appear in the ‘Attachment’ line. Select ‘Post to forum’ to complete your post.

Search Forums You can search the subject line, text and author of the posts within the forums for you course. You can find the ‘Search forums’ box within the forum tool at the upper right hand corner of each page, or on the course home page in a block on the left or right margin. The ‘Search forums’ block on the course home page also includes an ‘Advanced search’ option.

Keyword Search • Enter a suitable keyword in the text box beside ‘Search forums’ at the upper right corner of your page and select ‘Search forums’.

Posts that contain that term in their subject or text will appear, with the keyword highlighted. • Select ‘See this post in context’ to view the post placed appropriately within its forum.

If no results were found for your search you will be forwarded to the ‘Advanced search’ page. Advanced Search The advanced search allows you to apply more criteria to your search, including author name and date range. • From the course home page select ‘Advanced search’ in the ‘Forum search’ block found on the left or right margin. Enter appropriate search criteria (fields left blank will be ignored) and select ‘Search forums’.

Posts that contain the search term(s) within the criteria provided will appear, with the search term(s) highlighted. • Select ‘See this post in context’ to view the post placed appropriately within its forum.

If no results were found for your search you will return to the ‘Advanced search’ page.

Moodle Activities | Assignments
The Moodle Course Website includes tools that allow you to complete quizzes online or submit assignments directly to your instructor. Always be careful to read the assignment instructions – some instructor may still require you to submit assignments using external e-mail. This instruction details how to use the File Upload Assignment. There are other types of assignments, all of

them use a distinctive icon and look like this: Assignment 4 Upload a File to Complete an Assignment An assignment page in Moodle can, in addition to the assignment instructions, include an upload tool to send a file directly to the Moodle system where it will be accessible only to the instructor and the onlinehelp desk. This portion of the assignment page only becomes visible during a period of time specified by the instructor. If you cannot see an upload function on your assignment page it may be that your are either too early or too late – check with your instructor. • • To upload an assignment navigate to the appropriate assignment page. If enabled, add any explanatory text required in the field called ‘Notes’.

• • •

Select ‘Browse’ in the ‘Upload a file’ section. In the window that appears navigate to the file you wish to upload and select it. Once the path to the file appears in the ‘Upload a file’ section, select ‘Upload this file’.

You can now either send this file for marking, retrieve it for editing, delete it, upload another file (if allowed), or edit the notes associated with your assignment submission.

• • • •

To download the file select the file name listed under ‘Submission draft’. To delete your file select the ‘x’ to the right of the file name. A window will appear confirming your decision – select ‘Yes’. To upload another file (if allowed) select ‘Browse’ and follow the instructions listed above. To edit the notes associated with your assignment submission select ‘Edit’ below the box for the ‘Notes’ section.

Use the Gradebook If used by your instructor, the ‘Grades’ tool within the ‘Administration’ block in the left or right margin will display your marks for the course assignments. For items like an essay you will have to wait for the instructor to mark the essays and then enter the grades in the Moodle grade-book. For online quizzes your score may appear immediately after completing the quiz or on a date set by the instructor to release the marks. • To view your grades select ‘Grades’ under the ‘Administration’ block.

Copy/Paste Text into Moodle from Another Source
Compose/Save Offline For many reasons, it is a good idea to compose long messages offline (e.g. in Word or WordPerfect) rather than composing them directly in a Moodle message. • Composing messages offline will protect you from any Internet connection "blips" that might interrupt your Blackboard connection, causing you to lose the message you've worked so hard on. Composing messages offline will also allow you to save a local copy of your message (which is a particularly good back-up to have in the case of assignments).

Copy/Paste into Moodle Once you have composed your message offline, you can "copy and paste" it into a new Moodle message. The following instructions will help you if you aren't sure how to copy and paste text from one program into another. • • Compose your message in a word-processing program like Word, WordPerfect, WordPad, etc. Save it as you go. Once you have finished your message and are satisfied that it's ready, save it again. Now click on EDIT at the top of your word-processing program and then click on SELECT ALL. You will see that all of your text is now highlighted. Again, click on EDIT in your word-processing program. This time, click on COPY.

• • •

Now open your Internet browser and login to your Moodle course. Open a new forum post. (Use the instructions provided in the "Moodle Activities | Forums" section of this Startup Kit for more details on this process.) Click your mouse in the composition box of your new message and use one of the following options to paste your text: o Use the right button on your mouse (i.e. the one you don't use all the time. If you have configured your mouse for left-handed use, then this will probably be your left button.). Clicking on the rightbutton here will bring up a small, pop-up menu. Select PASTE and your text should appear in the message box. OR o On your keyboard, press the CTRL and V keys at the same time. This is the keyboard shortcut for paste. (Mac users: press the APPLE and V keys.) Your text should now appear in the message box. Your text should now appear in the message box. Your text will now appear in the message body of your message. Learn more about using shortcut keys for common tasks at: http://distance.uvic.ca/onlinehelp/tutorials/keybrd.htm

Attaching Files
Attach a File to a Forum Post • Start a new topic by selecting the ‘Add a new discussion topic’ button or select ‘Reply’ on an existing Forum post.

Enter a topic subject and some message text. Then select ‘Browse’ to attach a file.

A window will open to allow you to navigate to the file on your computer that you wish to upload. Once you have selected a file the window will close and the path to the file will appear in the ‘Attachment’ line.

Select ‘Post to forum’ to complete your post. Open Attachments To open an attached file open the post that contains the file and select the linked file name found between the post subject heading and the post text. You should save the file to your computer (to allow it to be scanned for viruses) before opening it with an appropriate program. Should I Attach Files to my Moodle Messages? The short answer to this question is "No", but there is nothing to prevent you from sending an attachment if you wish. You should only use the attachment function in Moodle Forums if you have been required to submit an assignment/activity as an attachment. (And, if you do submit an attachment, ALWAYS make sure you have included your name on the document; if you don't, your instructor will not be easily able to identify whose assignment they are marking. See Naming Convention for Attachment Files for help with this.) If you aren't required to submit an assignment as an attachment, just enter your message into the body of the Forum message. This will avoid attachment access-problems completely (e.g. for classmates/instructors who have problems opening your attached file). Also, if you attach a file to a Moodle message, your classmates and instructor will have to download the file before they can open and read it. If a classmate or your instructor returns to review your message a second or third time, they will have to download your attachment each time they want to re-read it. Embedding your text within a message means that anybody can read the text just by opening the message. Finally, if you embed your text in a message rather than posting it as an attachment, your classmates and instructor won't need to feel as worried about getting viruses from the electronic files.

Preferred File Format for Attachments To prevent the problems that can result from software incompatibilities (e.g. between Macs and PCs, or between Office 2003 and Office 2007), please save and send all of your e-mail and Moodle attachments for the course in Rich Text Format (.rtf). Any word-processing program can read this file format and most formatting options are supported. Saving in RTF (see also the graphic below): • • • In your word-processing menu, select FILE and choose SAVE AS. In the SAVE AS… pop-up box that appears, type in the name of your document (eg. LSmith_nurs325_assign1) in the File Name box. Click on the down-arrow at the far right of the "Save as Type" box. This will bring up the menu of different file types. Scroll down to the Rich Text Format option. Click on Save. The steps are essentially the same in Office 2003 Word, Office 2007 Word, and in Word Perfect, although some of the wording in the steps may differ slightly.

Naming Convention for Attachment Files Before you send anyone a file attachment, check to make sure that your filename meets the following criteria. If it does not, please resave/rename your file according to these criteria. Incorrect file names may prevent you from being able to post your file and other users from being able to open your attachment. Does your file name include: • any "illegal" characters? Your filename should not contain any non-alphanumeric characters (e.g. ! @ # $ % &) The only acceptable non-alphanumeric character is an underscore ( _ ) . • any spaces? Filenames should not contain any spaces. For example "Progress Report.rtf" is wrong; "Progress_Report.rtf" or "ProgressReport.rtf" are correct. • enough information to make sense to a recipient once the file has been downloaded to his/her computer? Try to keep your filenames short but meaningful, and ideally, include your name. For example, "LSmith_nurs325_assign1.rtf" would help the recipient to quickly identify that this file had been created by "L. Smith" and probably had something to do with "Assignment #1" for the course "NURS325". This is particularly important for files you are submitting for your instructor. Remember, you will not be the only one submitting (required) files to your instructor and clear filenames will help your instructor to keep track of everyone's submissions.

Logging Out of Moodle
On most Moodle Course Website pages you will see a message reading ‘You are logged in as (your name) (Log out)’. This will be in the upper right corner on most resource pages and in the middle toward the bottom on activity pages. • To log out of Moodle select the linked text ‘Log out’.