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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.
One of the activities that we are going to do with our students while we are on the field trip in Belize is a field identification quiz. And the organisms that are going to be on the quiz are ones that the students have identified and seen both in laboratory and then identified in the field. So we need a mechanism for collecting a list of all the organisms that the students have identified thus far throughout the course of the semester. And in the second week of the semester when we begin talking about Coral reef structure and diversity is a great place to add this activity for the students to begin building this list.
To create the list we are going to use a database. So let's scroll down to the second week in the semester, under the Assignments section and click the dropdown menu for Add an activity, and let's select a database. Now building a database inside of Moodle is a multi-step process and over the course of this chapter we are going to step through each of those different steps, so you can build your own custom database inside of your Moodle course. To begin, let's give the database a name of Identified Organisms. For the Introduction, let's simply note that we want the students to, List the Scientific and Common Names of all organisms identified in the Laboratory and in the Field.
We will scroll down in the list and we can set when we want the Availability of this database to be. We want the database to be available to the students all the time, so we'll leave all of these options set to Disabled. Next, we can set the number of required entries that each student is required to add into the database. So say for instance we wanted each student to identify five organisms. We could set that here and then every time the student added an entry into the database, the database would continue to remind them that they had 4 more, 3 more, 2 more, and so forth entries to make before they were finished with the assignment.
We want to leave this set to None, so that the students can add entries to this database as long as they need to. You have the ability to require a certain number of entries to be made before the learner can view the rest of the database. We want to leave this set to None as well, so that once an organism has been identified and added to the list, they don't get duplicated by another student. You can set the Maximum number of entries that a student can make. We want students to be able to add as many entries to this database as they need to, so we'll leave this set to None.
Comments, now it's a great idea to have comments added to every single entry. That way once an entry has been made, other students can come in and make additional notes on that entry. So for instance, in the example of the field or laboratory identification of organisms, additional students could come in and they could add comments about where they saw the animal, how many were there, and so forth. Require approval, if you want to control as the teacher whether or not you need to verify the entry before it's seen by the other students in the class, you can set this to Yes. We are going to go ahead and leave our set to No.
If you want to allow ratings to be made on the post, you can check the box here and select the grade rating scale that you want to have available for each rating. We are not going to grade this assignment and we don't want to have any rating set, so we'll go ahead and uncheck the Use ratings. The next section shows whether or not we want to have this available for separate groups or for all groups. And we want it available for everyone, so we'll go ahead and leave this set to No groups. We want the database available all the time, so we'll leave this set to Show. We are not going to use an ID number for this and the Grade category, since we are not going to be grading this assignment. We are going to leave that Uncategorized.
We will go ahead and click the button for Save and return to course. And if we scroll back down in the list, we can see that a database has been created for us. Go ahead and click on the link for that Identified Organisms database. And in the next movie, we'll begin setting up the database fields for this database.
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