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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.
Now that we have content going into our course, before we start adding any activities that are going to be graded or just simply enter grades into our Moodle site, so that we can distribute those grades straight out to our students, we need to set up some information inside of our Grade Book. To know what information we are going to be setting up though, let's go ahead and open by course syllabi and scroll down to the section on Grades. This will give us a good overview as to what information that we are going to need to set up. We know we are going to have some Exams, some Assignments, some Research Projects, and within Research Projects we are going to have Group Evaluations and we are going to have Individual Evaluations. So let's go ahead and set up those categories inside of Moodle.
It's a good idea, if you have access to the Exercise Files, to go ahead and print this file out, so you have it handy, otherwise you can jump back and forth between the windows. If you don't have access to the Exercise Files, we have it up here on screen, so you are able to go ahead and see it. So let's go ahead and jump back to Moodle and in the Administration block on the left-hand side, click on the link for Grades. You can see that the Grade Book is already been set up so that it has all of the students that have been enrolled inside of your course already listed here for you. What we want to do next is we want to set up the different categories that we have listed in our syllabi.
To do that, go up to the upper left corner and click the dropdown menu for Choose an action. Come down in the list until you find Categories and items. Select Categories and items and next we'll go in and start adding categories. Click on the button for Add category and we'll type in the first category name of Exams. We have an option to say what type of aggregation of the grades, how do we want the different grades that are going to be added in here to be computed. Select the dropdown menu and when we look at the syllabi, we can see that we are going to do a simple sum of the different exams that the students are going to take. So we'll select the option of Sum of grades.
We can click the Show Advanced button in the upper right-hand corner to see some of the other options that are available to us inside of the Grade categories. We'll go into these in more detail later but for now just know that they are there available to you. We'll go and click the button for Save Changes and the Exam category has been created for us. Notice that the same icons for editing content, out of the main page, have been reproduced down here inside of these categories. So if we ever need to go in and edit one of these categories, we know which buttons to click because we have already seen them elsewhere throughout the Moodle site. So let's continue adding the different categories.
The next category to add is Assignments. Again, we are going to do a simple Sum of the grades. The grade category is still going to be in the Coral Reef Ecology course. Because we created the category of exams, we now have a new parent category option that allows us to choose where we want the assignments to be listed under. We want them to be listed in the main Coral Reef Ecology class so we'll leave that selected. We'll come down to the bottom and click the button for Save Changes.
We'll next add the Research Projects category. So add another category, give the category a name, Research Projects. Again, we are going to do is simple sum of the grades. The category is correct Coral Reef Ecology and we'll click the Save changes button. Now we just want to create the subcategories for group evaluation and individual evaluation. Click Add category. For the Category name, we'll call it Group Evaluation. Again, we are going to use sum of grades, and for the Grade category now, we are going to click the dropdown menu and this time choose Research Projects. This will make a subcategory of Research Projects for Group Evaluation. Click Save changes and now you can see that the folder for Group Evaluation is now listed underneath of the folder for Research Projects.
We will make one more category for Individual Evaluation. Aggregation method is going to be sum of grades; and again for the Grade categories we are going to set it to Research Projects. Click the Save button and we now have our Grade Book set up appropriately for us. If we go up to the upper left and click the Choose an action dropdown menu and under the View section select Grader report, we are taken back to the main Grade Book and here we can see all of our students that have been created and the categories have been set up including a Research Projects category that has both of the two subcategories that we created, a Category total and then an overall Course total, which will give us the final grade.
As we are creating different assignments throughout the rest of this training, we'll be able to tell that assignment which category we want the grades to go into and they will be automatically filled in as additional columns under the appropriate categories for us. Let's return back to the course by clicking on the BIOL432 link in the upper left. The next step in getting started with building our course is to show you how to send a direct email out to all of your students and we'll do that in the next movie.
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