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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.
One of the assignments that we have inside of our syllabi that the students have to do is they have to create a species account which is a paper that they are going to write. And it's going to include the identification of the organism, the organism's range, its natural history, and its phylogenetic relationship. It would be great if we had that document attached to the reference inside of the database. So to do this, make sure you are inside your database and click on the Fields tab. We are going to add a new field, so click the dropdown menu for Create a new field, and this time select File from the dropdown menu.
For the Field name we'll simply type in Species_Account. For the Field description, we'll simply type in Species Account. The Maximum upload size of the file is going to be dependent on your particular instillation of Moodle. If you are following along with the test server created on the Mac, your Maximum upload size should be 32. If you are following along with the Windows instillation, your Maximum upload size will be 16. If you are using the server for your own institution, your upload size may be different. We'll go ahead and leave this set to 32, and click the Add button.
Next, make sure you go to the Templates tab; we can see that a data type for the Species Account has been added to the bottom of our template. Go ahead and save the template by clicking the Save button at the bottom and then return to the list view. The next time that a student goes into add a new entry by simply clicking on the Add entry tab. Now they will not only have the ability to add the Species_Name, the Common_Name, but they will also be able to browse and attach a file that has their paper that they have written that has a full account of the species. This paper will then be available to all the other students via the database.
Let's go ahead and simply return back to our course by clicking on BIOL432. I hope this walk through of the database activity inside of Moodle will give you some idea as to how you can enhance your course with its functionality.
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