How to… Set up your Moodle 2.X class.
1. You may have an administrator add your course for you. If you are doing admin yourself, you’ll login and in the Settings Block under Site Administration, you’ll click on Courses and then on Add new course. Each installation is different, and these steps are Moodle admin, so I won’t go into detail here. Your administrator will have created a userid for you as a teacher or course creator role so that you can create your class. Enter your class (if already created) and click on Turn Editing On (upper right). Then go to the Administration block (lower left). Click on Edit Settings. This is where you tell your course the basics about the organization of your course. Most things you will want to leave as defaults for now. You can always go back and change items later. Click on the ? to see more information for each item. Here are the basic settings for one of my courses.
Your administrator will have set the Category (I use the teacher’s name). The Full name is a few word description of your course. The Short name is especially important – this is what will show in the “breadcrumbs,” so make it meaningful to your students. The Summary shows in the school catalog, but doesn’t have to be long. Format is a very important decision. Most people either select Topics or Weekly, and then select the number of topics or weeks. You can always change the number later. Enrollment (not shown here) is very sitedependent, so you will probably have to ask your site administrator what settings you want to use. Enrollment in Moodle seems to have been set up for adults, but since many of us work with kids – and kids don’t always follow directions so well – it’s usually better to enroll students in bulk. This is where you set up the default for groups (but you can change this for individual activities). This is also where you set up availability (whether students have access to it yet) and guest access. If you want to provide Guest access, you set up a password and allow it here. Guests can see everything students can see, but can’t change anything. Be careful with Guest Access. Who has the right to see everything in your course? Consider the privacy of your students, particularly if there are minors. What is your school policy? Do the parents of child A have the right to see the work of child B? Guest
Access is nice to offer to your principal, who can see the course, but can’t alter it by mistake. A new feature is completion tracking, which you can turn on here. At the bottom, click on Save Changes and you’re set to go. Now you’re looking at your basic Moodle page. This will be a little different for each installation. 6. Concentrate on the center for now.
The top “topic” is always News. Unlike D2L and other LMS (Learning Management Systems)/CMS (Content Management Systems)/ VLE (Virtual Learning Environments), the “news” won’t show directly there. Students have th to click on the News Forum and then on the individual thread. My 8 graders never read what I post there, so I don’t use the News Forum. If you don’t want to use it, click on the Eye next to the News Forum and this will make the forum invisible to everybody but you. This is a good time to describe these icons, which are associated with each activity/resource, but only show if you have clicked on Turn Editing On. The right arrow means to indent the item. (Once it’s indented, you’ll have the choice to un-indent.) The 4-way arrows indicate that you want to move the item. Click and drag this to move the item it’s next to. This is a big change from Moodle 1.9. The Notepad/pencil icon means Edit. This allows you to change the name and the content of this particular activity/resource. The x2 means you can copy the activity – a new and very handy feature to use once you’ve got it just the way you want it. The red X means delete this item. You’ll be asked if you REALLY want to delete this. The eye open means this is an item that students can see. The eye closed means you can see it, but students cannot. This is a toggle. The figures give you a place to change the roles assigned to the activity – this is an advance feature to ignore for now. 7. Now, let’s create a unit of study. Use an empty topic (not the news topic, because you can’t move it). It looks like this.
The number indicates the topic number. The square in the top right corner, if clicked, will make all but the top topic disappear (usually this happens by accident – click it again and everything shows again. The eye shows
whether or not this topic is visible to students. The 4-pointed arrows allow you to move this topic among the rest of the topics – a big improvement. The light bulb is used to highlight the current topic for your users. 8. You can start with the Edit icon, next to the number (see screen shot above). Click on the Edit icon and you’ll see this (see screen shot below). This is essentially the main label for this topic – for the title and any associated picture. To give the section a name, uncheck “Use default section name.” When you’re done editing, you’ll see that the new section name replaces the number for this Editing topic. I strongly suggest that you icons use an image here. Moodle can be quite boring to look at without images. (Info on adding images coming up.)
The editing icons you see are similar to those you’re familiar with in programs like Word. But there are additions. If you want to copy in text from Word, you’re wise to use the W icon – it strips out most of the extra HTML Word adds – but I’ve found that items that were bullet points in Word still don’t all get copied (so get rid of bullets, import, and then add bullets again). You can also switch to HTML and back. 9. Adding images is more complex than you may be used to. You must either have the dedicated URL of the picture or have it already stored on your computer. Click on the picture icon (near the happy face). You’ll get this dialog:
Click on Find or upload an image… You’ll then have the opportunity to Browse on your own computer, or to find the image where you’ve already saved it in your external storage (Globalclassroom calls it Cloud Storage) – which reduces the amount of “stuff” stored in your Moodle). Another new feature. If you select Upload your file, you may see a new dialog (this seems to vary among hosts). Moodle wants to know whose image this is and what rights are associated with it – it will be asking your students this, too. Time to change those habits ;-P Once you’ve browsed to the file you want, click on Upload this file.
You’ll see the image listed (or find it in the list). Click on it and it will appear in the Image URL box (screen shot on previous page). Now, add an Image Description (this is the Alt Text for students using screen readers). But don’t stop yet. Click on the Appearance tab, so you can tell Moodle where in the topic you want the image to show (top, bottom, right, etc.) Select the Alignment you want. Then click on Update. Now you’ll see the picture, still in the Edit mode. Add any text, format as desired, and click on Save Changes. If you’re not happy, go back and modify. Hint: toggle full-screen mode to make it easier to deal with the image. Another hint: add title of topic and image inside a table for more consistent formatting. Note: you can shrink an image within Moodle, but it’s better to resize the image outside of Moodle, as Moodle will store all that data about the picture, and it will take longer to load. I use http://webresizer.com/. 10. Now you’re ready to add resources and activities. How you get to this may look different in different installations of Moodle. Also, each Moodle installation has slightly different offerings. (Remember, Editing must be on for you to be able to do this. The most used Resources in the beginning are Label (for headings and directions), Page (preferable to a Word doc) File (PDF, PowerPoint, Word doc, etc.) URL 11. Then there are Activities. Again, these will vary by Moodle installation. You can see that my installation has more Activities than can show without scrolling down. I’d suggest you pick just one or two to experiment with to begin with, like forum (discussion), and glossary. Hint: Some resources will have a “description;” be sure to put the content under content, not under the description. 12. Once you have added resources and activities, drag them around (using the 4-pointed arrows), and maybe add labels to help students understand your organization (see example right). 13. Now, test it. The best way to do this is to create a test student or two. Logout as a teacher and login as the test student. A shortcut is to Switch role to Student, which is under Settings. This is useful for discovering that you forgot to make the activity visible, but won’t show you everything you need to know ;) Especially when you’re working with something complex like discussions with groups, use a test student to try the activity out. This can help you keep from making embarrassing mistakes that also frustrate your students (voice of experience here).
14. Explore, practice, and see what works. If you can possibly have students start working with Moodle in school (say, in the computer lab, with a cart-full of netbooks/tablets, or with those 3 computers at the back of the classroom), you will build confidence for them (and for you), and help them try things out when you are around to help. Not every student is a technology whiz and some students don’t like technology all that much. With some practice ALL your students can fly. Other features to try: Assignment – a way to assign and collect homework in a variety of formats. Forum – discussions – Can be one thread to which everybody replies, or many-threaded, can require student to post their ideas before seeing others’ ideas… To be sure you receive an email for each post, after you’ve created the forum, subscribe to the forum – on the left under Settings/Forum Administration/Subscriptions. Try the bloglike forum, which shows not just the title of each student’s thread, but also what they wrote – with a place for other students to comment. Quiz – much easier to use than quiz in 1.9. Glossary – could be used for vocabulary, or be a compilation of student info, book reviews, favorite elements… Wiki – accessible by just one student or by all students – shared space to build information Lessons – a specific path through resources, activities, quizzes that students must follow Workshop – students can grade and comment on each others’ work Conditional activities – many activities can be set up to not show until another activity has been successfully completed. This is set up within the activities themselves.