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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.
Let's take a brief look at some of the general features that are common to most Moodle installations. When you first go to a Moodle site and you haven't logged in, you are generally presented with some basic information about the site, usually information about the university, maybe a listing of the courses. Many institutions will publish even some public calendar information that you're able to see. But you are generally limited in what you can access, until you log in. To log in, simply look for the Login link. In this case, it's in the upper right-hand corner.
This is a small link that says Login. Click that one time and you're taken to a generic login page. Now you can enter in your username and password, or you're able to Login as a guest on many systems, if it's allowed by the system administrator. In this case, we will go ahead and log in as our user account that we created for ourselves. So I will select the Username and type in Chris, and then for the Password I will type in 12345. I hit the Login link and now when the Moodle page reloads, we are presented with customized information that's relevant just to us.
Here we can see that we are a member of the Coral Reef Ecology course, and it even shows who the teacher is. That general description that we typed in earlier when we set up the course appears right here, so we know information about what this course is. One of the great new features of the Moodle 2 system is the ability to dock your blocks. Now on the left and right-hand column, you'll see a series of blocks that contain most of the major functions of Moodle. You have got a Navigation block, and My courses block, and My settings block.
In the upper right-hand corner, if you move your mouse over top of the icons that are there, you'll see a tooltip this that says, "Move this to the dock." It's a new feature of Moodle 2. Simply click that link and a new feature appears on the left-hand side. It's called the dock. And what happens is your blocks are able to be minimized out of the way and moved over here. As you move your mouse over top of the dock icon name, you're able to see all of the contents of that block right there, and you're able to access it without it cluttering up your screen.
So let's go ahead and dock all three of the blocks from the left-hand column, and those all appear over here on the left-hand side. This leaves the main portion of our screen for us to focus on the primary content that we are interested in. Usually this is our course. Now if you click on a dock icon for a block over on the right-hand side, those items also go into the one single dock that's usually located over on the left-hand side. Again, I can hover my mouse over top of Calendar, move my mouse over top of the day, and I can see that there are no events for today.
To move an item back out of your dock and back into the column where it was, you can simply move your mouse over top of the icon up here and click the Undock this item. The block then returns right back to the location where it was before. Now if you want to reset all of the blocks back to their original location, if you go down to the lower left-hand corner, down at the bottom of the dock there's a small icon that you can hit. It says Undock all. Click on that and your screen returns to normal.
So if you choose to use the dock or not, it's up to you, and that's how you do it. You just use those little minimize icons. Another great feature of Moodle that is available to you is this Online users section, and many Moodle installations use this, and what does is it shows you over the course of some set period of time limit, in this case 5 minutes, who else has been logged in. So it's a good chance that these people are still logged in. So you can click on the person's name. In this case I will go ahead and click on Admin, and there's not very many details here available to me on about the admin user. But what it does do is it opens up and it shows me this other feature of the navigation and that is the breadcrumbs up here at the top.
The breadcrumbs always show in this little bar right here, and they show you the path as to where you're currently at. So right now we are looking at a particular user's profile with no information. So to get back to the homepage, I can simply come up and I can click on the Home breadcrumb. That takes me right back to the main page. Now if I click on my name in the Online users section, I can see a more detailed view of the information related to this user. In the next movie, we will go in and we will customize this page.
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