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Moodle is an online tool that allows educators to interact with students outside the classroom and manage a course from anywhere. In Moodle Essential Training for Teachers, Chris Mattia shows how this program works for teachers on three levels: disseminating information, creating a forum where ideas are exchanged, and assessing the progress of students. Chris shows how to build course materials with Moodle's HTML editor, post assignments, and save time by using Moodle's grade book to evaluate tests automatically and organize scores. Exercise files accompany the course.
According to our course syllabi, on Monday, May 5th we want to have our students hand in their final research paper and as part of doing that final research paper, we are going to have an Instructions to Authors for them to be able to read through and we want them to post the final paper as a Microsoft Word document and then we want to have them submit all of their tables and figures, because we want to pull all of the student papers together into a larger format to publish a pseudo journal for the class that will contain all the different research papers for this course. So the correct assignment for us to post for the students to hand in all of those materials is the Advanced uploading of files.
So, if you scroll down to the week of May 4th to May 10th and select the Assignment type of Advanced uploading of files. We'll go ahead and give this an Assignment name of Final Research Paper and in the instructions; we'll tell the students what we want them to do. We'll let them know that we want them to upload your final paper in Microsoft Word format. Please submit all tables and figures as separate documents. Be sure to follow the Instructions to Authors.
We want to provide them with that Instructions to Authors link right here. So we'll go ahead and select Instructions to Authors and we'll click the Insert a web link button and we are going to go ahead and upload a file that's going to have those instructions. We'll click the Browse button. We will go inside of the Documents folder and then we'll come down here to Browse. Click the Browse button and if you are following along with the Exercise Files, I'm in Chapter 6 and there is a Microsoft Word document in there called Instructions to Author.doc. We'll go and select that document and click Open. Then we'll click the button for Upload and that will upload the Instructions to Authors and we can simply click on that document. It will add the URL to it and we'll give a Title of Instructions to Authors. Go ahead and click OK. So now the students when they are reading instructions, not only do they the exact instructions is to what it is that we want them to do, but there is also an additional resource that we can use because we have this ability to put HTML code directly inside of our Assignments.
We will look at our course syllabi; we know that the final paper is going to be worth 100 points. So we'll go ahead and leave the Grade set to 100 points. For the Availability dates, we want the students to be able to upload their files at any time. So we'll check the box for Disable for Available from. So this assignment will appear immediately on everyone's course. We also want to set the Due date to be our specific date and time. We don't want to have any late submissions, so we can set the specific date that this assignment is due as the 5th May, 2009 and then we can set the specific time that we want this assignment to be handed in and this time is set in 24 hour time. So be sure to make the necessary adjustment. We'll say we want this paper to be handed in by 5 o'clock pm, which would be 1700 hours and at that point, as soon as 1701 occurs, this assignment would no longer be available to students to be able to hand in. Since you will likely be watching this training series after this date, I'm going to go ahead and disable the Due date as well. I just want you to be able to see how to go ahead and set that.
We can prevent late submissions if we want. If we were to set this option to Yes, the students would no longer be able to submit the assignment after the specific due date time. We are going to go ahead and leave this as No for right now for this training video. We'll go and scroll down a little bit in the window. Now Advanced uploading of files, the maximum size, this is the maximum number of all of the different files that the student will be able to upload and because the test environment that we have set up here on the Mac, the Maximum upload size is 32 MB, if you are using Windows, the Maximum upload size would be 16 megabytes and those are just the default configuration, if you are using your own server, these are going to be configured depending on what your local server has allowed you to use.
You can decide if you want to allow the students to be able to delete files once they have uploaded them or if you want it as a one-way dropbox. Students can just upload files to you and they can't take them back down, in which case you would answer No to this question. If you leave it set to Allow deleting Yes, then students can upload files, they can delete them and then upload them again. You can set the Maximum number of uploaded files that you want your students to use and so in this case, we'll go ahead and set that up to 10 because there is likely going to be several different tables and figures that each student is going to need to upload.
You can set to Allow notes and notes would allow the students to add additional notes and information to you as part of the upload process. So we'll go ahead and say Yes for this option. Hide the description before available date. No, we don't want to hide the description. We want to go ahead and leave the description out there for the students to see, so that they are well aware long before the assignment is due, as to what the assignment is and what is expected of them. So we'll go ahead and leave that set to No. Email alerts to teachers, this is a great tool. If you go ahead and say Yes, then every time a student submits their assignments, you are going to get an email directly in your Inbox and it's going to let you know that a student has handed something in and there is something for you to go onto Moodle and grade.
So this is a great little tool. But if you do have a lot of students and you are just going to wait until after the Due date and go up and check all the files at one time, you don't want to have your Inbox filled up with emails every time the student posts a file, you may want to go ahead and leave this set to NO. Enable Send for marking, this will allow students to check a box that will let you know that the file is available for you to begin grading and we can go ahead and leave that set to Yes. The bottom section here would be for if we are going to have students hand in their papers as a group or as individuals.
So for Group mode, you want to go ahead and leave this one set to Separate groups. What that's going to do is because we have in the syllabi that we want the students to hand in their papers as a group, all of the students in that group will get one single grade. We want them to be able to submit their papers as a group, but we don't want to have the other groups to be able to see the files that are being posted. So we want to make sure that they are listed as separate groups. The next option here is for Visible and for Visible, what we want to do is we want to make sure that is set to Show. This will make sure that as soon as we save this assignment, it's going to be available for a student. If we were to select Hide, then the assignment would appear inside of our Moodle course as the teacher, but it wouldn't be available to the students until we come in here and we change this value back to Show, so we'll leave it as Show. The ID number would be if we want to set a specific number that can be associated with this assignment for use inside of our Grade Book. We are going to go ahead and leave that blank and the Grade category, if we go ahead and click the dropdown menu here, these are the categories that we established inside of our Grade Book in a previous exercise. Because the final paper is going to be incorporated as part of the Group Evaluation. We'll come down and select Group Evaluation and then click the button for Save and return to course.
We now have the final paper assignment. It is listed here inside of the correct week of the semester. We can go ahead and click on the assignment to see what it looks like. Here is our instructions to the students as to what is it that we want them to do. Here is a link to the Microsoft Word document. If we go ahead and click on that link, we can see that Moodle is going to attempt to download that Word document to our hard drive and we can go ahead and then cancel, if we don't need to open that right now and we'll also see in the upper right hand corner that currently no attempts have been made on this assignment.
As soon as students begin uploading papers, we'll have a listing here that will tell us how many papers have been submitted. There is also a button here to Update this assignment if we need to go in and make any adjustments or modifications to the set up of this assignment. So we'll go ahead and return back to our course now. Now let's go ahead and look and see what the student would see when they go to complete this assignment. So to do this, simply go over to the upper right hand corner of your screen, click the dropdown menu for Switch role to... and then select Student. This is what the student would see when they are on this, week of the semester, and we can click on the Final Research Paper assignment and you can see that we have the instructions as we had shown earlier and there is a place for the Submission draft, no files have yet been submitted. There is a blank for them to browse and upload file. So that we simply come over here, click on the Browse button to get a standard File Browser and find the file that they want to upload and then click the Open button that file would then show up in the listing here and they can click the button to Upload this file.
They also have a place to edit any Notes. Currently there is no notes that have been added. They can click the button here for Edit and add additional notes to provide you with additional information before submitting their assignment. So that's what it looks like for a student to work with this assignment. We'll go back up here to our course to BIOL432, be sure to return to your Normal role and Turn editing back on, so that you are ready to continue building the next assignment.
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