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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.
The next type of resource that I'd like to explore with you is the URL type. Now, a URL is just a universal resource locator, or a web address. You can use this type of resource to simply provide a link to your students out to some web site that you want them to be able to go to. Now, in this movie, we are going to go ahead and we are going to create a link out to Google Scholar, and we are going to do a custom search in Google Scholar, so that the students always have the latest information about what papers are available for a particular topic. Now, the topic of our first week is Introduction to tropical marine ecosystems, and our overall course is about Coral Reef Ecology.
So let's go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the first week's block, click the dropdown menu for Add a resource, and let's go ahead and add a URL resource. Let's go ahead right here into the Name section, and we're going to type in a name, and this will be what the students are actually going to click on. So we will type in "Coral Reef Ecology Current 2011 Papers." In the Description field type in "This web site will display the current research papers on Coral Reef Ecology." Go ahead and scroll down on the page until you find the Content section.
This is the place where you'll go ahead and enter in your external URL. Now, if you know the URL, you can just go ahead and type it right into here. You can also choose a link, but in this case, what we are going to do is we are going to go ahead and open a new tab in your browser by pressing Command+T, or Ctrl+T, on your keyboard, and then go to scholar.google.com. Google scholar is a fantastic tool and if you've never used this, this is just a really great tool for any type of research that you're doing within your course. In order to use Google Scholar, all you do is come down here into the Search field and type in the search query that you want to use.
So in this case I am just going to type in "Coral Reef Ecology." Now, what will happen when we search is this is going to search only for articles that are specifically related to this particular topic. Before we hit the Search button though, go ahead and uncheck the box for include patents. Now, there probably are not very many patents related to Coral Reef Ecology, but it may be the case that the particular subject matter that you're searching for may have patents included, and that's not going to be something that's necessarily going to be appropriate for your students, although if that is something that you're searching for, go ahead and leave it checked.
So with this set up, we will simply go ahead and hit the Search button and now what we get back in the search results is a listing of all papers and resources in Google Scholar related to this particular search field, Coral Reef Ecology. Now, you'll notice if we look over here on the right-hand side, we are only displaying results 1 of 10 of 101,000 results. That's probably a bit much for students to have to pore through. So let's go ahead and narrow our results down a little bit. We can come over here in the dropdown menus for Google Scholar and now we can select just a particular time period.
So if we want all the papers since, say, 2009, we can select that, and we see now there is only 11,500 results. Well, let's go ahead and narrow it down a little bit further, and we will say since 2011. Now, as of the recording of this movie, there are currently 2,260 articles that have been published about Coral Reef Ecology and that are noted inside of Google Scholar. You'll notice as you look through some of these links, some of them are PDF files. So if you click on the link, you can download a reprint of this article and be able to read it immediately.
This is a fantastic resource for students. Not every article that's listed here in the results will have a full text of the article, but many of them will be able to at least display an abstract of the article. We could spend an entire day exploring Google Scholar, bur for right now what we want to do is we want to just get this particular search results to our students, so that anytime they click on the link, they're going to get the results for any paper that's published that has Coral Reef Ecology in it, and it's going to be since 2011. All we need to do is take the URL that's at the top of our URL field, select that URL, copy it to our clipboard by pressing Command+C or Ctrl+C on our keyboard.
Then go back to the editing URL tab, come down here to where it says External URL, click inside of that field, and press Command+V, or Ctrl+V, to paste the URL in. All of these extra characters that are here inside of the link is the actual search query for that Google Scholar search. To be sure that this is what's happening, go ahead and close the Google Scholar tab. Now, go ahead and scroll down to the next section here. Under Options, we can choose to display--right now it's set to Automatic.
We can have this link work in a variety of different ways. We can have it Automatic, which more than likely is just going to refresh our main page; that would take our students out of our Moodle course and take them to some new site. What I like to do when I set an external link is to set it to open in a pop-up. If we come over and we click the Show Advanced button, now we can control the size of that pop-up window. By default, it is showing up here on mine as 1020x750. Well, that's a little bit of an odd size, so I will go ahead and set 1024x768.
Since we've chosen to open this in a pop-up window, our options to be able to display the URL name or the URL description are grayed out from us. Some of the other options would allow us to select these options but wouldn't allow us to select the dimensions of the pop-up window. Go ahead and scroll down a little bit further. Here you have some options for parameters. Now if you wanted to, you could go ahead and form your own parameters to have other content to be displayed. We are not going to go ahead and set any of those. Let's go ahead and come down to the bottom section where we have the Common module settings.
Here, it works just as we've seen before. The Show and Hide allows us to make this content visible to our students, by saying Show or Hide allows us to still see it as the faculty member, but the students would not see the content anymore. So we will go ahead and leave this set to Show, so that the students can still see the file. We are not going to worry about the ID number, and simply click Save and return to course. When our page refreshes, we are taken back to our Week 1 block. So go ahead and scroll down to the bottom where that link has been posted. It's right here. This is something that we would like the students to be able to read, so let's go ahead and add it up to the Required Readings section.
So we will simply grab the Move tool and drag it up into the Required Readings section, and we will use the Move Right tool to tab that in one link. Now, let's see what happens. Notice we don't have any other tabs opened in our browser. We don't have any other browser windows opened, so we will go ahead and click the link. A new browser window opens, we are taken to Google Scholar, our search parameter has been entered in for us, and we are still getting the options for since 2011. We have the same number of papers that we had earlier. It's exactly what we wanted to have happen.
Now we can close this window and we are still inside of our course. Being able to add a URL link to any web resource really opens your course up to have access to any bit of information that's available out on the world wide web.
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