Is Moodle Causing Stagnation in Education?

A couple years ago I helped implement Moodle at my school in Chennai, India.  In 2012, they decided to transition from a god-awful Sharepoint site to Moodle for their LMS, Learning Management System.

This was a great decision back then and to implement the plan I had to dive into Moodle.  To teach myself this new system, I watched countless youtube movies and just clicked around until I was familiar with most of its many features.  The thing is that Moodle easily gets confusing because there is too much functionality.  When I gave my weekly Moodle PD sessions, the teachers would groan and roll their eyes… saying “God why do we have to learn this.”

Moodle has a big learning curve.  Most teachers just don’t have enough time to really discover its potential uses.  They are too busy coming up with creative lessons to spend hours editing their Moodle courses.  It’s clunky, it doesn’t always work perfectly and most school Moodle sites are pretty ugly.  And despite being such a versatile tool, I think it leads to stagnation of content and instruction.

To get teachers to use Moodle, it has to be a mandatory requirement.  Most teachers would not use Moodle if they had a choice.  It just takes too much time to learn and build courses.  But once a teacher builds a course, it’s there for years to come.  Teachers put so much effort into putting their material on Moodle and creating quizzes, that they rarely ever want to go back in a modify it.

I believe that successful teaching and learning needs to be dynamic.  For me it’s a continual work in progress as I tweak lessons, update material and personalize my course to the needs of my students.

When comparing Learning Management Systems, Google Classroom supports contemporary learning much better than Moodle.  You build your course as you go in Google Classroom, allowing a better opportunity to personalize your course.  You can reuse old posts from previous courses in Google Classroom, but just going through and choosing those old posts will help you decided what you should keep and what to change.

 

 

 

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Simple Steps to Setting Up the Moodle Gradebook

Make sure the Gradebook is enabled in the Course Settings by clicking Edit settings in the course administration menu on the side.

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Then scroll down until you see Show Gradebook to students and select YES and save changes

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Now Click on Grades on the Course Settings Menu

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Click on Categories and Items

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 Click on Add Category

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Enter a Unit of Study or a type of assessment (test, lab, assignment) into the Category name field. Keep simple weighted mean of grades for now.  You can experiment with other settings later.

Click on Save Changes

Keep adding all of your units this way.

 To add Assignments, get back to your course page and Turn on Editing.

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Add an assignment to a section by click on Add an Activity or Resource.

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Click Assignment under ACTIVITIES. Fill out the assignment details.  In the Grades section, select the Category the assignment falls under

For detailed directions on how to add an assignment check out the video below.

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If you put the assignment into Moodle, you can give feedback online to students. Students can also keep track of assignments they have turned in and ones they still need to complete.  Moodle sends automatic assignment reminders when new assignments are created.

The next blog post will talk about the AISC MS Grading Scale

“Doesn’t Meet Expectations, Beginning to Meet Expectations, Approaching Expectations, Meets Expectations”

Something that will take us one step closer to standards-based reporting.

Please follow or check back soon.


 

5 VERY GOOD REASONS TO START USING THE MOODLE GRADE BOOK

I know some of you don’t believe me, but Moodle can really help you when it comes to grading and keeping track of student assignments.  I see so many teachers still carrying around these paper grade books.   I am sure these grade books have been working well enough for you for ages; so why change?  Why should you use Moodle as your grade book?

Here are 5 very good reasons to Start Using the Moodle Grade Book

  1. Students can upload files, links or copy and paste in submissions.  It serves as a record of their learning.  It documents the exact time they turn it in.
  2. You can easily see who has submitted assignments and who has not.
  3. You can give grades and feedback to students right in the Moodle grade book.  Students can see this and keep track of their work better.  They even get notifications of assignments that are due!
  4. Students can use Poodl to complete activities that record their voice or use their webcam.  The teacher can use the Poodl feature to give verbal feedback.
  5. Moodle does the math.  You can set up your grade book so different items have different weights.  No more calculating manually.

Also, in Moodle, you can set up customized grading scales.  Our own Ryan Sager has come up with the MS grading scale (Meets Expectations, Approaching Expectations, Doesn’t Meet Expectation) which will help us transition to Standards Based grading next year.

My next post will be about how to set up the Moodle Gradebook.  So follow my blog so you don’t miss out!

The Middle School Moodle Page

Since adopting Moodle two years ago, our Moodle site has gone through many changes; however, I am still unsatified about the way it looks.  Though I can’t do anything with the layout or the resource icons, I can add graphics in the middle boxes and hopefully make it more user friendly.  One page that I am in charge of is the middle school main page.  It looks like this right now.

Why is Moodle so Ugly?

I enjoyed reading the article Understanding Visual Hiearchy in Web Design, and I am hoping to add elements of varied color, size, style and texture to make this page more interesting.  I used to do graphic design as a side job many years ago but I am not great at it.  Though I am okay at Photoshop, I wish I was better at Indesign and coding.  Maybe one day…

Some of the things I want to change on this page..

  • Make Attractive buttons for course links
  • Design a Button for Week Without Walls Link
  • Redo the BYOT Resources Block
  • Delete the outdated Photo Contest
  • Re-Design Library section

The first thing I usually do when I start designing something is look for examples online.  While I’m scouring the Internet, I would love some suggestions for re-designing this page.  Please post them in the comments.

2 days later…

I designed kid friendly navigation to the course pages; however, I can’t get the spaces to dissapear between the images in the html.  After working on this for way too long and it not looking the way I want it to, I’m almost frustrated enough to give up.  Can anyone give me some HTML pointers to make the spaces go away?

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I want it like this

 

 

 

 

Not like this