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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.
Let's go into the Administration block and click on the link for Settings to look at the other settings that we are able to control inside of our course. If we click on the link for Settings, we have already been to this page once before in an earlier movie. But let's quickly review the settings that we changed there and then look at other settings that are available to us. In the General section, the top part of this course, where it list out the Full name for our course, the Short name for our course and any Course ID. This section is almost always entered in for you already by your institution and should rarely be changed by the instructor. This information is going to be what is showing inside of the main listing of courses for your institution.
Many institutions locked this information from being edited by their instructors at all. In our case, the information is available to be edited but we are going to go ahead and leave it as it is. The next section is for Summary. The Summary is most often used as the course catalog description by your institution and should be either filled in for you or it's a place where you can simply copy and paste the course description that's listed for your course directly into this space. As we scroll down, we get several options that allow us to control the Format.
Earlier in this training we changed from a Topics format to a Weekly format. There are variety of other formats that you can choose from and if any of those formats are ones that work with your kind of layout of a course, you can feel free to select those. In our case, we want to make sure we'll leave this set to a Weekly format. The Weekly format is the most common format that's used by instructors using Moodle. You can then set the Number of weeks or topics that you want to have blocks of content for inside of your course. Because we are teaching a 15-week semester, we have chosen to have 16 weeks or topics that will include a week for the spring break session. We then set the Course start date. This is the first date of the first week of your semester and then any additional weeks will be calculated off of this date.
The next option for Hidden sections are completely invisible, allows us to control how we want hidden sections to be displayed. In previous movies, there is the button on the right hand side of each content block where you can hide all the other content blocks. The setting that we have got here set for Hidden sections are completely invisible, makes all the other sections completely disappear. If you select the top option, Hidden sections shown in collapsed format, you would see blanks listed for each week of your semester and then the week that you have highlighted would be left open. So students would see that additional information there but it wouldn't be displayed to them all the time. This is a personal choice and I encourage you to go in and explore this option. I prefer to have hidden sections completely invisible. That way I'm able to focus on the work for the week that I'm working on and then hide away all the other information.
News items to show, in the upper right hand corner of your course you have a news block. Or if you are coming from other learning management systems, you may know this section is Announcements. The number that you select here in this dropdown menu will control the number of announcements or news items that are showing inside of that content block. The next option allows you to control whether or not you want to have students to have access to the Grade Book inside of your course. Students would only see the grades for themselves and only see the grades that you have told them that they are able to see. Your Grade Book would have access to additional information where you can see all of the grades for all of your students. It's a good idea to allow your students to constantly have updated information to know their exact status inside of the course. To do this, go ahead and leave this option set to Yes.
The next option is for Show activity report. There is a course content block called Activity and if you set this option to Yes then anytime a student logs in to your course and does anything inside of your course or you go into your course and you post any content or materials inside of your course, the Course Activity block will show which user has done which activity. This is a great way for you to be able to monitor what's going on and it gives your students a way to look and see when you have posted new content to know exactly what that new content is.
However, this block can get a little confusing at times because of the information that's coming into it. I'll go ahead and leave this set to No. The next option for Maximum upload size is depended on your particular Moodle server configuration. The Default setting for the installation that we chose on the Mac install was 32MB. The Maximum upload size on a Windows install that we did was 16MB. Your institution may have a very different list of options that's available here for Maximum upload size. If the Maximum upload size is too small for the data that you need to be uploading inside of your course, you will need to contact your IT Department and find out about having the settings and the server adjusted in order to accomplish your learning objectives.
As we scroll down, the next block of content is for Enrolments and in most institutions you should not have to adjust the enrolments section of your course. This should be being managed for you by your institution, but in some situations enrolment is left to be managed by the instructors. If this is the case, you can control that here. The default setting for Enrolment plugins should almost always be left to Site Default, which is the Internal Enrolment. Rarely should you ever need to change this setting. The next option for Default role is the role that is assigned to new users when they enroll into your course. The default is almost always set to Student and it's a really good idea to leave this set to Student. You definitely want to set this option to whatever the lowest level of permissions that you want new users to be at. You can be more specific by simply selecting Student to make sure that if a setting is changed in the server, then any new users who get enrolled will still get enrolled as a Student.
If you are teaching a course where you want to have guest access, you can also set this option to Guest and then users can come in, they can see any material that you have turned on to be available to guest, but they are not able to go in and start working with the materials in your course which you have restricted to your students or higher level users. We'll go ahead and set this option to Student. So we are very specific as to what role new users will get. You can then control whether or not your course is enrollable at all or not. By default most courses are set to be not enrollable because enrolment is taken care of by the IT Department or through the registrar's office. Different institutions have different policies as to who handles enrolment. So this setting may be adjusted differently depending on your specific needs. One thing that you can do is you can always change this option temporarily to Yes to allow someone to enter into your course as a new student and then switch it back to No.
You can also control the Date ranges here by selecting this option and then changing what the Start and End dates of your open enrolment period are going to be, if you want to have students to automatically be able to self enroll into your course. We'll go ahead and leave this option for right now set to Yes with both of the check boxes for Disabled for our Start and End dates. You can also control the Enrolment duration, so that you can say that enrolment is only going to be open for say the next two days or five days.
We are going to go ahead and leave ours set to Unlimited because for this test course if we want to have anyone to just log in and see what our course is all about that is already set up for us now. As we scroll down, the next block of options is for Enrolment expiry notification. This controls what happens if you have users that are set up to have their enrolment to expire at a certain time period throughout your course. So if you are teaching an ongoing course, you may have users that are enrolled only for a specific range of days and then their enrolment gets terminated.
Here you can set whether or not, you want to be notified as the instructor when this is about to happen. You can also control whether or not you want to have a message go out to your students if they are about to be unenrolled from your course. And you can set the number of days in advance that this message will go out to both types of users. In most cases, you are not going to be using these settings. The next section is for Groups and this section here allows us to control whether or not we want to have groups as part of our course. Whether or not we want to have Separate groups where each group of students if we set an assignment to use groups and have materials separated then only members of that group will be able to see that information. The Visible groups means that all students in all groups would be able to read and see all the materials that are available only to the other groups as well. In our case, we are going to leave ours set to Separate groups, as we'll go into the groups in a later movie.
You can also control whether or not you want to Force groups to be enabled on your site. We'll go ahead and say No, because most of our site is set up to be used without groups. As we scroll down to the next section, the next block is for Availability. Here you can set whether or not you want your course to be available to students or not. This means that say you are building your course for the next semester but you don't want all of your students to be able to see the materials that you are building before the semester starts. It's a good idea then to come in and set this to 'This course is not available to students.' Your course will still show up on your listing, because you are the instructor. But it won't be available to any of your students until you log back into these settings and then change this to 'This course is available to students.' We'll go ahead and leave this course available to students so that any student that were to log in would see all the materials that we are working with.
The Enrolment key gives you a place where you can set a secret password that you can then give out to your users to allow them to enroll into your course. This is a nice little security feature that's used at some institutions, so that you can have students that need to come to see to instructor before they enroll into a course to get approval. This is a nice stopgap because when the student comes to see the instructor, you can give them the enrolment key and then they are able to access the online materials inside of the course.
You can also control Guest access for your course. Guest access is a great way for you to provide a kind of advertising for your course to other students at your institution. Other students would be able then log in as a guest to your course and see the material that you are making available to guest. You can control whether every single item inside of your course is available to guest or not. But that option only becomes available once you set up to have guest available. You can also choose whether or not you want to have guest available without any key, meaning anyone can simply come in and view your course as a guest or if you want to restrict access to users by providing this enrolment key to those users and then they are able to access the materials inside of your course. Their status would still be listed as a Guest, so they wouldn't be able to necessarily get in and work with all of the materials but they could get in and see the materials that you have made available to guests.
We'll go ahead and leave Do not allows guests in our course for right now. As we scroll down the next block allows us to control the Language settings for our course. Here the languages that are available on your server, that have been set up inside of your Moodle installation, should be available to you inside of this option. If you are teaching your course at an institution where you are using other languages, you may want to force your course into that particular language. This is incredibly helpful when you are teaching a foreign language course such as Spanish, French, German, Italian or so forth. In those instances you can set up a language that you want your materials to be displayed inside of your Moodle course. In our case, we are going to leave this set to Do not force.
The final section inside of the course settings administration is the renaming of roles. For the most part, you should leave this set alone unless there is a specific need where you want to change, say, instead of referring to your students as students, you are going to refer to them as learners or you want to change the designation of Teacher to something like Instructor. But for the most part, all of these settings should be left alone unless there is a very specific need for them. Go ahead and click the Save changes button and all of the settings changes that we have made will be made available immediately.
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