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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.
A major component of this course is going to be the field research experience that the students have when we go to Belize, over spring break and conduct our field research. Since, we are going to be out on an island for an extended period of time, we need to know about any dietary restrictions that the students may have so that we can make sure that we have the correct food for them while we are on the island. And a great way to collect this information is by using an activity called a Choice. So during the first week of the semester we want to collect this data from the students so we can communicate to the cooks that are going to be on the island, what type of meals they need to prepare for everyone. So we scroll down to the bottom of the first week of the semester, we'll go ahead and click on the dropdown menu for Add an activity, and we'll select Choice from the list of options.
Now the Choice name is going to be Diet Preferences. And for the Choice text, we'll simply say, Please select the type of diet that you normally consume. Scroll on down in the list now and the option here for Limit the number of responses allowed, we are going to go ahead and leave that set to Disabled.
Because we want to make sure that the students are able to go in and select every single choice independently. Then we'll come down here to the first choice and we fill out what the descriptor for this choice will be. And so the first descriptor, we'll simply say Carnivore - I'm on a low carb diet and only eat meat. The next choice we'll set will be, Herbivore. And we'll say, I'm a vegetarian and only eat plants.
The next choice we'll set is Omnivore and say, I eat everything. And the last choice we'll make is Other and we'll simply say, I have other diet restrictions. So we can go ahead and scroll on down now in the list. If we need to add additional choices, we could click the button here to Add 3 more form fields and then we'll get the ability to add as many form fields as we need to by continuing to add three at a time.
We can scroll down a little bit further and if we wanted to Restrict the answering period to a specific time period we could do that right here but we want this to be available to our students all the time. Then our Miscellaneous Settings. The Display Mode, we can choose how we want the responses to be displayed. They can be displayed either horizontally or vertically and I really prefer to have the responses listed vertically, but this is a just a simple preference. Then Publish results, we can choose whether or not we want to have the results made public to the students. And because we are collecting private information, there is no need for the students to know what the dietary restrictions of their fellow classmates are. So we are going to leave this set to Do not publish results to students.
If this was a question that was useful for the other students to be able to gauge how the other students in the class are responding, then we have the ability to make it so that we can show all of those responses back out to the students by selecting one of these other choices. We'll go ahead and leave that set as it is though. Privacy of results, if we had chosen to publish the results, we can choose to have Moodle strip out the user data off of the results so that the data appears to the other students as purely informational data.
Allow choice to be updated, we'll go ahead and leave that set to No. The student should be able to come in here and answer this question just one time and be finished with it. Show column for unanswered, and we'll say No because every student has to eat something, so there should be no blank here for none of the above. For Group mode, we'll go ahead and set the Group mode to No groups because we want every student to answer this question. For Visibility, we'll leave that set to Show so that this choice is available to all the students. And we don't need to set an ID number for this choice.
We will go ahead and click the Save and return to course button now. And if we scroll on down in the window we can see that we now have under our Assignments section for week one, a question that is Diet Preferences. We'll go ahead and click on that. And we are given the question, Please select the type of diet that you normally consume. And I personally, I'm an Omnivore and then click the Save my choice. It goes ahead and says that my selection is Omnivore and there are no results currently to view. But as the teacher on this course, if I come up here at the upper right hand side now, I can view one response because I just took the survey. We'll go ahead and click on that and we can see that it's giving us a column for each of the different possible responses. And it's going to fill in a picture with our name as to how we answered that question.
So when the rest of the students come in and answer this choice question, we'll have an instant table of results that will have all of the different dietary restrictions that we need to communicate back out to the cooks on the island. We'll even have a listing for other to know which students we need to contact to find out about specific dietary restrictions that they may have. We can download these data in the Open Document Format, in Excel format, or as a plain text file that is delimited. And that's all there is for Choice. We'll go ahead and return back to our course now, BIOL432 in the upper left hand corner.
There are lots of ways that you can use the Choice here. You can even set it up so that every single week when you come into the class, there is a choice. There is some kind of a question, a quick little survey that you want the students to complete so that you can use as a kind of thermometer to see how the students are getting the information that you are conveying in class. And it's a great little tool. You can use it in a lot of different ways. This is just one example as to how you may be able to use it.
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