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In this course, author Chris Mattia helps educators create online courses that complement classroom-based instruction and foster student interaction using the free learning management system Moodle. The course details the basics of setting up a test environment, disseminating course information, creating forums, and assessing student progress. Tutorials on building course materials with Moodle's built-in HTML editor, preparing and posting various types of media, uploading assignments, and evaluating tests automatically are also included.
Now let's go ahead and look at some of the various different course setting options that are available to you within your course. The first thing you want to do is go ahead and click on the name of your course. That should be listed right here in the middle, in the My courses section. I'm going to me ahead and click on Coral Reef Ecology and that will take me into my course. Now what you see and what your students see is pretty much exactly the same, although you do get a few more options over here on the left-hand column in Settings, and you have this magical button up here in the upper right, the Turn editing on button. We are going to be using that one quite a bit throughout the training.
But what we want to go to is we want to go directly into the Settings block on the left-hand side and click on the link for Edit settings. We saw a similar page to this when we were setting up this course in the administrative movie, but let's go through now in a little bit more detail and fine-tune some of these settings specifically for how we want to work. So we are just going to start here at the top. The first item is Category, and a lot of times this is going to be chosen for you by your institution if your institution has set up their Moodle server, so that they've got categories that break down either by department or by term or by year. And a lot of that will be already be set for you, as well as the course full name and short name; both of these items are required.
As we mentioned earlier, the Course ID is oftentimes used as a reference number that will link your course into your campus information system. So this top part is generally not used by the teachers quite so much. If we scroll down just a little bit though, we get here to the Course summary. In the Course summary we just filled in a general course on Coral Reef Ecology in an earlier movie, this is normally the place where you can post exactly what it is that your course is going to be teaching, so that when a student first goes on to their Moodle server and they see your course listed they can find a more detailed description as to what your course is.
If I quickly jump down into my doc, I can go over to Microsoft Word where I have a copy of the course syllabi. Right here at the top of file I've got the Objectives for the course, and this is a pretty good overview as to what we are going to be doing inside of this course. So rather than retyping all of this, I am going to go ahead and just select it and copy it, using Command+C or Ctrl+C on my keyboard. Then I will go ahead and minimize this out of the way. Come on back over here into Moodle. I am just going to go ahead and select "A general course on coral reef ecology," and paste using Command+V or Ctrl+V. If I wanted to, I could go in and apply some formatting.
In this case, I don't really need to. So let's scroll down a little bit further, and let's look at the next section here. The very next option here is Format and when we click on this menu, there are a couple of different options for you. There is a SCORM and a Social format. Now these are generally not used for full classes that are being taught. The two options that are generally used by teachers for their classes more than likely are going to be Topics format or Weekly format. The Topics format takes the center section of your course and breaks it down as a series of topics that you will be covering, or units that you are going to be covering, throughout your course.
The Weekly format is pretty much exactly that. It takes and looks at the start date of your course and then calculates out the number of weeks in the term and gives you one block of content for each week of the term. This is the preferred way that many faculty choose to organize their courses, because it keeps the students all together on the amount of information that is being presented as the course unfolds throughout the semester. So we are going to go ahead and make sure we are set to Weekly format. Then we want to know how many weeks of the term that our course is going to run for and when we looked at our syllabi, we can see that our course is going to run for 15 weeks, so we have got that set here. And that's going to create 15 open blocks for us to be able to post our content in.
We can then set up the Course start date, and I have gone ahead already and set this to the 23rd of January 2012. Then we are going to go on here in Hidden sections. Hidden sections are completely invisible, or you can have them show as a collapsed view. Now I like to go ahead and leave these completely invisible, so that when your students start are working through your course material, you can hide specific weeks or specific sections of your course content and the students don't even see it, so they're not tempted to try and look in and see what's wrong with this, why can't I see what's in here? It allows you to have a little bit more control to keep the entire class moving forward at a steady pace.
If you are setting your course up so that you want to have it so that the students come in and they work entirely at their own pace and are able to work through all of the content, you may want to go ahead and leave this set so that hidden sections are shown in the collapsed form, so the students know where they're trying to get to. They can see that there's more stuff for them to go and do in the future. The News items to show, I like to leave this at a fairly small value. I usually leave this at about 3 or 5. So let's go ahead and set this down to 3. And what this is going to do is in the upper right-hand corner of our course, we have had a latest news section for you to post announcements and updates as to information that's going to go on in your class, and this is only going to show the current last three items that have been posted by you in that section.
They can still access all of the latest news items from the News forum that's always by default up in the top block of your course. The next option, Show Gradebook to students, this is up to you; it's a personal preference. If you want your students to be able to monitor their grades as you're going along through the course, this will get you out of the hassle of having students constantly ask you, how am I doing in this course, what's my grade? If you leave this set on, and you're keeping your grades inside of your Gradebook in Moodle, then your students don't ever have to go and ask you that again; they can just click and look for themselves.
So we are going to leave at set to Yes. Show activity report, I like to leave this set to No. What this means is that as students are coming in and they're working through the course material within your course, Moodle will keep track of every single thing that they do; every time they hand in an assignment, every time they log in, when they click on a resource to be able watch it, it's going to keep track of all of that. And if you have the activity report shown, they can they can see what Moodle has been keeping track of for them. That may not be the kind of thing that you want your students to constantly be seeing.
That information is always available to you, and we'll look at that in the Reports section in a later movie for the teacher. But for students, I would go ahead and leave this set to No. The Maximum upload size, generally I like to set this value to the highest value that has been made available to me by my IT department who is managing the Moodle server. So in this case I will go ahead and set this to 128 MB here. That way later on inside of the course when I am creating an assignment, or I am creating a forum, and I want to set up the students to be able to upload a file, I have the maximum amount of flexibility in how large or how small I want to make the files that the students upload.
Here we will set that to the high value. Scroll down a little bit further. The next area is for guest access. If you want other members of your campus community to be able to access your course, go ahead and set this to Yes, and that means anyone, regardless of whether or not they're enrolled in your course or not, is able to get access to it. Now you can also set this to Yes, and anyone can get in here, or you can come down here to where it says Password, and with it set to Yes, you can add a password, such as 12345.
I'll go ahead and unmask that, so we can see what we typed in there. You can add a password in here, and then you have opened up your course to anyone, but you are requiring them to type in a password that you give them. It's a way of opening up your course to people who are not necessarily enrolled, but you are not opening it up to everyone. In general, for the training purposes here, I am going to go ahead and leave this set with no password and set to No. Let's scroll down a little bit. Moodle has the ability to set up and manage groups within your course.
So later on in this course we are going to come back in at a later time and turn these features on, but for right now we're going to go ahead and leave Group mode off, to simplify some of the earlier set up in the earlier content that we are going to go through. Let's go on down here to the next section, which is Availability. By default, this one is turned on, so it says, "This course is available to students." If this option is set to This course is not available to students, then any student, whether or not they are enrolled in your course, is not able to get into your course. So before the term starts if you're still building content and you are building material, but you don't want other students to be able to log in and see what's there, go ahead and leave this option set to the course is not available.
But as soon as your course starts, you want to make sure that you come in here to the Settings and you select this option and set This course is available to students. The course will then show up right on their Moodle homepage. They will be able to click on it and go in and access all of the material and information within your course. If you want to force the language to a specific target language, then you're able to do that here. Now the additional language packages would need to be installed on your server to have them to be available to you, and you could contact your IT department to have them install those for you.
And this may be a very useful thing, for instance, if you're teaching a language course and you want all of the material to be in the target language that you are teaching, say Spanish or French or Chinese or German. For now we are going to leave it as Do not force. And the final section down here, Role renaming, in an earlier movie we showed some of the various different system roles that are available, and these are the actual names of those roles: Manager, Teacher, Non-editing teacher, and Student. A Non-editing teacher technically is the teaching assistant usually.
What we did is we typed in TA. This way throughout Moodle anytime the role name of Non-editing teacher within our course would show up it will actually display as TA. Now you would not enter in the name of your TA. So, in this case if I had Sally as my TA, that wouldn't make any sense at all. What it really just wants to know is, what do we want to call that role? So we are going to change it back to TA. We will go and hit the Save changes link down here at the bottom. It will set up those settings that we've made in all of our preferences, and that's all we need to look at for editing our course settings.
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