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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.
While it's perfectly fine to go ahead and just post all of the lecture slides--the materials that your students are going be using--within the particular week for your course, it's much nicer to them to be able to have a little bit of organization to that information and a little bit of context so that they know what information is where and what they're supposed to be doing, and that's what we are going to set up in this movie. To begin, let's go on the top of the Week 1 block, which is designated as 23 January - 29 January, and simply hit the hand with the pencil icon up here at the top that says Edit summary.
This will take us into the Summary section for this block, and every single block in the center section of your course has one of these summaries. So what I'd like to do is I come up here to the default section name and that is presenting the date that you have up here. I'd like to go ahead and uncheck that so it no longer shows the date, and I type in the week of the term because to me that's how I really tend to think about the content that's going on in my course. What's the first week of the term? It's the second week, so we are going to put that in here, Week 1. If you tend to keep track of your courses in terms of the specific dates that they're taking place in, then by all means, go ahead and leave the default section name checked so it shows the dates.
Inside of the Summary section, what I am going to do is I am going to type in the kind of overall theme for this particular week. So this is "Introduction to tropical marine ecosystems." And to make this look a little bit nicer, I am going to go ahead and select that text and come up here in my WYSIWYG Editor, the What You See Is What You Get-- t his is my HTML Editor--and I'll hit the dropdown menu for that and select Heading 1. That is going to apply the current Moodle theme's Heading 1 style, so it's going to be bolded.
It's going to be a little bit larger to see, but I'd like to customize it just a little bit further. I think the text, if I deselect it real quick, you can see the text is black and in order to match my header, I'd like to make it blue. So I am going to go ahead and select all this text again and in the second row, here you can see this icon that looks like a little A and there's a line underneath it. If I am going to hit--there's a small dropdown arrow just to the right of it. When we click that, we get a listing of all the different colors that are readily available to us. And I am going to come over here and select this nice blue color right here at the top.
The code for it is 000080. Go ahead and select that, and there we go; now our text, the Introduction to tropical marine ecosystems, is blue. Let's go ahead and hit Return on our keyboard. Now underneath of this section heading it would be great to let the students know exactly what that week's objective is. Let's use the "tell them what we are going to tell them and then tell them what we are telling them." It's a very simple line, but one of these during-this-week-you-will-learn statements really sets the learner up to know what it is that they're going to be learning.
That's all we're going to do inside of this section. We can go ahead and scroll on down and click the Save changes button, and now we have our Week 1 heading is right here in gray, and we have our little tagline for that week. And we can see the information is already starting to look a little bit easier to navigate. Now we are going to take this another step further and we are going to further organize the information that is going to be down here in the lower part of our content, and we are going to do that by using something called a label.
So if we come over here and we click on Add a resource and the Week 1 block and we select Label from the dropdown menu, we get a screen that looks very similar to what we were just working on, but this is a bit of content that is going to be displayed right on this front page of our course. And we could go ahead and use the same trick that we just did-- type in the text, use a dropdown menu to set it as a Heading 2 maybe and then format it as a different color--but we've gone ahead and we've created a graphic in a graphic design program.
So instead of going ahead and typing that in, we come up here and we find in the third row, the Insert image. It's an icon that looks a little bit like a tree, go ahead and click on that and it's going to bring up our Insert image tool. We can click the Find or upload an image, and we're inside of our Private files in the File picker and go into our BIOL432 folder, and it's going to show us just the icons that are images. So these are just the ones that are related to what we are doing, and what we're looking for is this middle image right here.
If we hover our mouse over it, we can see it's lectureMaterials. Now it makes it a little bit difficult to read because the icons are all kind of slammed together here. If you want, you can hit this View as list button and then when we open up our BIOL course, it makes it a little bit easier to see. So lectureMaterials is the one that we are looking for, .png. It's got that selected. We have our name. We are going to go ahead and select this file. LECTURE MATERIALS, it's in a nice font. We've gone ahead and spread out the text on this font a little bit, so it's a little easier to read on the eye, and put a little line to underscore it.
For the Image description, again, we want to make sure that our site is accessible, so we're going to go ahead and just type in "Lecture Materials" and click the Insert button. That image is going right in there, and we can simply hit the Save and return to course button, and now we have our LECTURE MATERIALS. Now if you'll look though, our lecture slides are up here and the lecture heading is below it. Well, that's very easy to remedy. All we have to do is when you're looking at any label or any bit of content that's here on your Moodle page, you'll notice all these little icons that are just to the right-hand side, or maybe they're showing up just underneath of that bit of content, and these icons allow you to control a lot of the functionality for this piece of material.
So in this case, we'll take the LECTURE MATERIALS, this little crosshairs at the very beginning, the first icon, we'll just click on that and drag it. And we are able to drag it just up above, and you can see a small gray line that appears. We get in the right spot. We'll go ahead and drop it right there, and now we have our major heading, and we have our little graphic heading that's showing up here, and we are going to do one more thing to make this even cleaner. And let's go ahead, just so you can see what the current effect is, I am going to go ahead and turn editing off very briefly, and you can see that right now, already the information is a little bit easier to read.
It's much smoother. The flow of information is better. But it would nice if it was even more emphasized by having these two slide presentations to be tabbed in, so that they show up indented. So this does look a little bit more like a heading. So let's go back here and click on Turn editing on one more time and scroll back down. Next to the PowerPoint file, you can see there's the crosshairs in order to move it, but the next icon is an arrow that's pointing to the right; it says Move right. Go ahead and click that one time and you'll see that the PowerPoint slide is just tabbed in, just a little bit.
We'll do the same thing to the PDF file, tab that one in. Now that we have all these files tabbed in, let's add one more heading, and we are going to do that by clicking the Add a resource menu and selecting Label again. And once again, we're just going to click into the label text, hit the Image icon, go to find or upload an image, just like we did before. We are here back in our Private files in the BIOL432, and this time we want to insert the readings.png files, so go ahead and select that and hit Select this file.
It puts the REQUIRED READINGS image right here and again, in order to make this image to be accessible, we are going to type in "Required Readings" into the Image description. So that will show as a tooltip if we need to, or be accessible to screen readers. Go ahead and hit the Insert button and hit Save and return to course. That is looking much better. To really emphasize this, I am going to go ahead and turn editing off for a second.
If you notice, we now have our Required Readings heading is showing up really close to this last PDF file, whereas the lecture materials has this nice open space above it. Well, the reason is is that in the end of this description that we've typed here in the header there is some HTML formatting that says that this is a paragraph, and a paragraph adds an extra blank line down below it, and it's forcing this image to go down below, where we are not having that same effect that is taking place down here.
So in order to remedy that, let's go ahead and turn editing back on, and we're going to scroll back down. And just underneath the required readings, here's our little set of icons, and now we are going to use the third icon which is the little hand with the pencil-- we are going to click on that. And what I would like you to do is just come right back up here, and just in front of where it that says REQUIRED READINGS, click your mouse right in that space that's in between the red of the REQUIRED READINGS and the left-hand edge here, and hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and hit Return.
And what that's going to do is it's going to insert a line break, and it's going to force it down just one line. Let's come on back down here and click Save and return to course now. And if we go ahead and we turn editing off, we can see the results, and that's looking much better. Now our information is very neatly organized. The headings are very easy to read, and it's real easy to go in and look at this information. Now we've done all of this work and more than likely, we're going to have lecture materials and readings for additional weeks throughout the term.
There is another button right here that's going to make that even easier. So let's turn it on, scroll down just a little bit, and underneath of LECTURE MATERIALS, there's a little x2, or duplicate, button. This is brand new in Moodle 2. It wasn't in previous versions. Go ahead and hit that option, and it's just going to say, "Are you sure you want to duplicate this 'Label'?" Yeah, I clicked that button, and that's what I meant to do, and hit the Continue button, and now it's asking us that it's duplicated. Do we want to edit the copy or simply return to the course? Let's go ahead and return to the course, and we can see now there're two copies of this LECTURE MATERIALS.
We'll want to come down to our little crosshairs so we can move this item, and we are just going to click and we are going to drag it down here into Week 2. Go ahead and drag and drop it right there in Week 2, and we'll do the same thing for REQUIRED READINGS. We'll go ahead and hit the x2 button there, and go ahead and say Continue and then go ahead and say, yeah, we want to return to the course, and scroll on down and the once again, grab the crosshairs, and just drag it right on down here. There we get our lines, so we know where we're dropping it. We'll drop it in place.
And if we come back up to our course, we'll turn editing off and scroll on down, and there you go. Now you have your headings that you can start creating throughout the rest of the course. It's not so nice to see these right here, so we'll make one final tweak. Turn Editing on, scroll down into Week 2 and to hide these items so that your students don't see them because it's not necessary, we are going to click the little i icon. that's in the little row of icons, and there we go.
You can still see them because you're the instructor, and you can see all the materials that are here, but your students won't see them if your students are looking at the course. So now the course content that you want your students to see is cleanly organized. You are able to go in and prep the rest of the material. What I would suggest before the next movie is to go ahead and continue duplicating these lecture materials and required readings, and you can go ahead and post those further down. There is also in the Personal files folder one more of these icons, and that is one for assignments.
So go ahead and add the Assignments heading, add it underneath of here, and then duplicate that out as well. And if you're really industrious, inside of the course syllabi, you can find the other course headings that you can add in here, and in the next movie I'll have all of those added in for you into this course so they're all ready to go.
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