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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.
Now that we have our syllabus posted, the next thing we want to do is to be able to communicate directly to all the students inside of our class. And to do this, we are going to use the latest news block in the upper right-hand corner of our course. Now the nice thing about the latest news block is that anytime you add a new news topic, it's automatically going to be emailed out to all of the students in your class, giving a direct line of communication straight up to your students. So to do this simply click on the Add a new topic link in the Latest news block, and you are asked to provide a Subject for your message. In this case we want to tell of the students, they should make sure that they read Chapter 1 before coming to the first class.
The subject will say Read Chapter 1 before the first class. Now for the Message we'll go ahead and type in a little bit more description. You should already have read chapter 1 of the text before coming to the first class. Now we want to emphasize before, so we go ahead and Double-click before and we are going to click the Bold button, so that it's highlighted a little bit, so it really lets the students know that we are emphasizing this.
We'll go ahead and scroll down in the window, the format of this is going to be HTML; every one is subscribed to this forum. If we wanted to attach a document, we could do so right here by simply clicking the Browse and following the same steps that we did for posting the syllabi. I'll check the box it says Mail now and that will send an email out to all of the participants in the class, with this message, as well as posting it to the news forum. So let's go ahead and click the Post to forum button. This post will be emailed out to all subscribers and it automatically refreshes us back to the main course.
We can now see that in the latest news block, we have a new posting this listed here that says Read chapter 1 before the first class, there is a link for more that students can read more information. They can also get to this news forum, by simply clicking on the News forum link here, in the header block. We'll go ahead and click that link, so we can see what the News forum looks like. We can see that there is a discussion setup, what the topic was, this is a message of our post, we can see who it was started by. There is our icon that we posted inside of our profile picture. No one has replied. If students wanted to they could log in and they could post questions directly here into the forum.
We'll go into that in the Forum section, but for now just know that you are able to post information to the News forum, and have it go directly out to your students. Let's go ahead and return back to the course, by clicking on the BIOL432 link in the upper-left, and next we'll go in and learn how to manage the files and folders that are going to have a lot more content that's going to show up inside of our main course.
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