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Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course
Development
A complete guide to successful learning using Moodle
William Rice
BIRMINGHAM - MUMBAI
Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course Development
Copyright © 2011 Packt Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written
permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in
critical articles or reviews.
Every effort has been made in the preparation of this book to ensure the accuracy
of the information presented. However, the information contained in this book is
sold without warranty, either express or implied. Neither the author, nor Packt
Publishing, and its dealers and distributors will be held liable for any damages
caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this book.
Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark information about all of the
companies and products mentioned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals.
However, Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.
First published: August 2011
Production Reference: 1180811
Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.
Livery Place
35 Livery Street
Birmingham B3 2PB, UK.
ISBN 978-1-849515-26-9
www.packtpub.com
Cover Image by Filippo ([email protected])
Credits
Author
William Rice
Reviewers
Mary Cooch
Project Coordinator
Srimoyee Ghoshal
Proofreader
Dirk Manuel
Ângelo Marcos Rigo
Indexer
Acquisition Editor
Hemangini Bari
Sarah Cullington
Production Coordinator
Development Editor
Shantanu Zagade
Neha Mallik
Cover Work
Technical Editors
Kavita Iyer
Pallavi Kachare
Shantanu Zagade
About the Author
William Rice is a training manager who lives, works, and plays in New York City.
He has written several books for Packt on Moodle. He has a special interest in rapid
e-learning development.
William's indoor hobbies include writing books, spending way too much time
reading sites like slashdot and mashable, and chasing after his sons. His outdoor
hobbies include practicing archery within sight of JFK airport, foraging for edible
wild plants in New York City parks, and chasing after his sons.
William is fascinated by the relationship between technology and society: how we
create our tools, and how our tools in turn shape us. He is married to an incredible
woman who encourages his writing pursuits, and has two amazing sons.
William can be reached through his blog at williamriceinc.blogspot.com, and his
LinkedIn profile at linkedin.com/in/williamrice4.
About the Reviewers
Mary Cooch (known online as @moodlefairy) is a teacher and VLE trainer based
in the United Kingdom. She is the author of Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 Year Olds and
Moodle 2.0 First Look, both also published by Packt. She blogs at www.moodleblog.
net and can be contacted for consultation on [email protected] Mary will
go anywhere to help you with Moodle!
Ângelo Marcos Rigo is a 35 years-old senior web developer who has enjoyed
creating systems, performing customizations, and fixing many web systems
since the launch of the Internet in Brasil in 1995. Some of the Ângelo's work
can be found at www.u4w.com.br and he can be contacted for consultation on
[email protected]
He has worked in the past for companies in the field of telecoms, and for Primary
Education and State Departments, and currently works in the PUCRS faculty for
the CEAD Department of Distance Learning
I would like to thank my wife Janaína and my daughter Lorena
for their support, and for understanding how reviewing a book
is fascinating.
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For Gavin Bradford. You bring curiosity, joy,
and boundless energy into our home!
Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 1: A Guided Tour of Moodle
Step-by-step: Using each chapter
Step 1: Learn About the Moodle experience (Chapter 1)
Step 2: Install Moodle (Chapter 2)
Step 3: Configure your site (Chapter 3)
Step 4: Create the framework for your learning site (Chapter 4)
Step 5: Add basic course material (Chapter 5)
Step 6: Make your courses interactive (Chapter 6)
Step 7: Create tools to evaluate your students (Chapter 7)
Step 8: Make your course social (Chapter 8)
Step 9: Add functionality by using blocks (Chapter 9)
Step 10: Take the pulse of your course (Chapter 10)
The Moodle philosophy
The Moodle experience
The Moodle Front Page
Arriving at the site
Anonymous, guest, and registered access
The Main menu
Blocks
Site Description
Available courses
Inside a course
Breadcrumbs
Blocks
Navigation Block
Topics
Joining a discussion
Completing a workshop
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Table of Contents
Editing mode
24
Resources and Activities
26
Normal versus editing mode
The Editing icon
The Delete icon
The Hidden/Shown icons
The Group icons
24
24
25
25
25
Adding Resources and Activities
26
The Settings menu
And much more
The Moodle architecture
The Moodle application directory
The Moodle data directory
The Moodle database
Summary
28
29
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31
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32
Chapter 2: Installing Moodle
Installation Step 1: The web server
What level of hosting service do you need?
Disk space
Bandwidth
Memory
33
34
34
34
35
35
Ensuring minimum prerequisites
Installation Step 2: Subdomain or subdirectory?
Installation Step 3: Getting and unpacking Moodle
Which Version?
The quick way: Upload and unzip
36
37
38
39
39
Installation Step 4: The Moodle Data Directory
Installation Step 5: Creating the Moodle database and user
Creating the database
Creating the database user
Installation Step 6: The installer script
Configuration settings and config.php
Database tables
Step 6a: Run install.php
Step 6b: Specify the web address and directories
Step 6c: Specify the database settings
Step 6d: Copyright
Step 6e: Check server
Step 6f: Database tables created by install.php
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Upload and decompress the ZIP file on the server
The long way: Decompress the ZIP file locally and upload files
[ ii ]
39
41
Table of Contents
Installation Step 7: Create the administrative user
Installation Step 8: Front page settings
Installation Step 9: Success!
Summary
58
59
60
61
Chapter 3: Configuring Your Site
63
Create test accounts for your site
64
Prepare to experiment
Creating test accounts for teacher and students
Installing several browsers
Exploring the site administration menu
Configuring authentication methods
Manual accounts and no login methods
Enabling e-mail-based self-registration
Authenticating against an external source
63
64
67
67
69
70
71
72
Granting access to courses with enrolment choices
77
Language
97
Guest access
Self enrolment
Cohort sync
Creating a Cohort
To enrol a Cohort in a course
Category enrolments
Flat file
IMS Enterprise File
Paypal
Mnet Remote Enrolments (formerly Moodle Networking)
About the language files
Installing and enabling additional languages
Offering courses in multiple languages
84
86
87
87
87
88
88
92
95
96
98
100
102
Security settings
103
Filters
Configuring the Front Page
111
114
IP blocker: Limiting access from specific locations
Site policies
Allow EMBED and OBJECT tags
HTTP Security
How to use this section
Front Page Settings Page
103
103
108
109
114
115
Seting up the Cron Job
Summary
Chapter 4: Creating Categories and Courses
Using course categories and the user experience
Displaying courses and categories on your front page
Choosing the best option for your front page
[ iii ]
119
120
121
121
122
124
Table of Contents
Putting a course into several categories
Creating courses
Creating a new, blank course
Enrolling teachers and students
Assign teachers
127
128
129
138
138
Summary
143
Assigning a teacher to a course
How to set enrolment methods
Chapter 5: Adding Static Course Material
Kinds of static course material that can be added
Adding links
Adding pages
Moodle's HTML editor
Pasting text into a Moodle page
Adding images to a page
Composing in an HTML editor and uploading to Moodle
Learn more about HTML
Adding files for your students to download
What happens when a student selects a file from the course?
Adding media (video and audio)
Organizing your course
Name your Topics
Rearrange (move) items on the course home page
Provide directions and organization through labels
Restricting access by date or score (restrict availability setting)
Summary
Chapter 6: Adding Interaction with Lessons and Assignments
Adding assignments
Adding different types of assignments
Uploading a single file
Advanced uploading of files
Creating an online text assignment
Offline activity
Creating an assignment
Printer-friendly directions
Making it clear that assignments are mandatory
Lesson
What is a lesson?
Configuring lesson settings
General settings
Grade options
Flow control
[ iv ]
139
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145
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149
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Table of Contents
Flow control: Advanced settings
Popup to file or web page
183
183
Adding the first question page
Creating the question pages
Page Title
Page contents
Answers
Responses
Jumps
Creating pages and then assigning jumps
The flow of pages
Question pages without questions
Editing the lesson
Rearranging pages
Editing pages
Adding pages
Content pages
Summary
Chapter 7: Evaluating Students with Quizzes, Choices,
and Feedback
Creating quizzes
Question Banks
Configuring quiz settings
General
Layout
Question behavior
Review options
Display
Extra restrictions on attempts
Grades
Students may review
Security
Overall feedback
Common Module settings
184
188
189
190
190
190
190
192
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192
193
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198
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202
202
204
204
205
206
206
206
208
Adding questions to a quiz
208
Assembling the quiz
222
The Question Bank
Creating a question
Question types
Adding feedback to a question
209
211
215
217
The Editing quiz tabbed page
The Order and paging tabbed page
Preventing Glossary auto linking in quiz questions
Preventing an open-book quiz
Feedback
Feedback isn't just for students
222
226
228
228
228
229
[]
Table of Contents
Creating a Feedback activity
Question types
229
232
Viewing feedback
236
Adding a page break
Avoiding bots with captcha
Inserting information
Adding a Label Creating a text box for a longer text answer
Displaying multiple choice questions
Creating a multiple choice (rated) question
Numeric answer
Short text answer
See individual responses
Analyzing responses with the Analysis tab
Choices
Summary
Chapter 8: Adding Social Activities to Your Course
Chat
The Chat settings page
Name
Introduction text
Next chat time and Repeat sessions
Save past sessions and Everyone can view past sessions
Chat security
232
232
232
232
233
233
234
235
235
236
237
238
240
241
241
243
244
244
244
244
244
Forum
Discussion equals topic
Using the News Forum to send mass emails
Multiple forums
Forum settings
245
246
247
247
247
Glossary
Enable glossaries for your site
Adding glossary entries
Global versus local glossary
Main and secondary glossaries
Ratings
Wiki
Using the wiki type and group mode to determine who can edit a wiki
Default format
First page name
251
252
252
255
256
257
259
260
261
261
General settings
Post threshold for blocking Settings
Ratings
[ vi ]
247
249
250
Table of Contents
Workshop
Workshop strategies
Peer assessment of assignments
Timing of submissions and assessments
The four questions
The Edit Settings page
Name and introduction
Workshop Features
Grading settings
Grading strategy
Submission settings
Assessment settings
Access control
261
261
261
262
262
263
263
264
264
265
267
267
269
The Edit assessment form page
Add an example to the workshop
Students submit their work
Allocating submissions
Assessment phase
Grading evaluation phase
Closed phase
Summary
269
271
274
276
276
276
276
277
Chapter 9: Blocks
Configuring where a block appears
Types of blocks
Activities block
Blog menu block
Blog tags block
Calendar block
Comments block
Course completion block
Courses block
Course/site description
HTML block
Latest news block
Login block
Main menu block
Messages block
Online Users block
Quiz results block
Random Glossary Entry block
Recent activity block
[ vii ]
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287
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290
Table of Contents
Remote RSS Feeds block
Search forums block
Topics block
Upcoming Events block
Summary
Chapter 10: Features for Teachers
Logs and reports
View course logs
Viewing Activity reports
Participation report
Statistics
How to enable site statistics:
290
290
291
292
293
295
295
296
298
299
300
301
Using scales for feedback, rating, and grading
How to create a custom scale
301
302
Grades
Viewing grades
Categorizing grades
304
304
305
Using extra credit
308
How to apply a scale to an activity
Viewing grade categories
Creating grade categories
303
306
306
Weighing a category
Compensating for a difficult category by adding points
The Teacher forum
How to make a forum (or any activity or resource)
available to Teachers only
Summary
Index
[ viii ]
308
309
311
311
312
313
Preface
Moodle is the leading open source learning management system. Using Moodle,
teachers can easily construct richly-textured web-based courses. A course can consist
of a number of lessons, with each lesson including reading materials; activities
such as quizzes, tests, surveys, and projects; and social elements that encourage
interaction and group work between students.
Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course Development shows you how to use Moodle as a tool to
enhance your teaching. It will help you to analyze your students' requirements, and
come to an understanding of what Moodle can do for them. After that, you'll see
how to use every feature of Moodle to meet your course goals. Moodle is relatively
easy to install and use, but the real challenge lies in developing a learning process
that leverages its power and maps effectively onto the established learning situation.
This book guides you through meeting that challenge.
Whether you are the site creator or a course creator, you can use this book as you
would a project plan. As you work your way through each chapter, the book
provides guidance on making decisions that meet your goals for your learning site.
This helps you to create the kind of learning experience that you want for your
teachers (if you're the site creator) or students (if you're the teacher). You can also
use this book as a traditional reference manual, but its main advantages are its
step-by-step, project-oriented approach, and the guidance it gives you on creating
an interactive learning experience.
Moodle is designed to be intuitive to use, and its online help is well written. It does a
good job of telling you how to use each of its features. What Moodle's help files don't
tell you is, when and why to use each feature, and what effect the feature will have
on the students' experience. That is what this book provides.
Preface
This book shows you how to add static learning material, interactive activities, and
social features to your courses, so that students can reach their full learning potential.
This book is a complete guide to successful teaching using Moodle, focused on
course development and delivery, and using the best educational practices.
What this book covers
Chapter 1, A Guided Tour of Moodle: In this chapter, you will learn what Moodle can
do and what kind of user experiences you can create for your students and teachers.
You will also learn how the Moodle philosophy shapes the user experience.
This helps you to decide how to make the best use of Moodle, and to plan your
learning site.
Chapter 2, Installing Moodle: This chapter guides you through the installation of
Moodle on your Web server.
Chapter 3, Configuring Your Site: This chapter helps you to configure your site so that
it behaves in the way that you envision, and helps to create the user experience that
you want. If someone manages your Moodle site for you, you can use this chapter to
learn about configuration options that will make the creation and teaching of courses
easier for you and your teachers.
Chapter 4, Creating Categories and Courses: This chapter shows you how to create
course categories and new courses. It covers course settings that affect the behavior
of the course. It also shows you how to enroll teachers and students in a course.
Chapter 5, Adding Static Course Material: Static course materials are resources that
students view or listen to, but don't interact with. This chapter shows you how to
add web pages, graphics, Adobe Acrobat documents, and media to a course.
Chapter 6, Adding Interaction with Lessons and Assignments: Lessons and Assignments
are Moodle activities that allow the student to interact with Moodle, and with the
teacher. This chapter shows you how to create and use those activities.
Chapter 7, Evaluating Students with Quizzes, Choices, and Feedback: This chapter shows
you how to evaluate your students' knowledge and attitudes to your course.
Chapter 8, Adding Social Activities to Your Course: Moodle excels at peer interaction.
This chapter shows you several tools for making student-to-student interaction an
integral part of your course.
[]
Preface
Chapter 9, Blocks: Every block adds functionality to your site or your course. This
chapter describes many of Moodle's blocks, helps you decide which ones will meet
your goals, and tells you how to implement them.
Chapter 10, Features for Teachers: This chapter shows you how to use Moodle's
gradebook and logs to track student activity.
What you need for this book
This book is designed for people who are creating and delivering courses in Moodle.
To make the best use of this book, you will need to have the role of Teacher on a
Moodle site. That is, you will need the ability to edit a course on a Moodle site.
This book also contains some information for the Administrator of a Moodle site.
Even if you're not the Site Administrator, you can use this information to work with
your Administrator to configure the site and use logs and reports.
Who this book is for
This book is for anyone who wants to make the most of Moodle's features to produce
an interactive online learning experience. If you're an educator, corporate trainer,
or just someone with something to teach, this book can guide you through the
installation, configuration, creation, and management of a Moodle site. It is suitable
for people who perform the task of creating and setting up the learning site, and
for those who create and deliver courses on the site. That is, this book is for Site
Administrators, Course Creators, and Teachers.
Conventions
In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between
different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an
explanation of their meaning.
Code words in text are shown as follows: "The PHP installed on your server uses a
file called php.ini to store its settings."
[]
Preface
A block of code is set as follows:
$CFG->dbtype
$CFG->dbhost
$CFG->dbname
$CFG->dbuser
$CFG->dbpass
$CFG->dbpersist
$CFG->prefix
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
'mysql';
'localhost';
'info-overload';
'info-overload';
'badpassword';
false;
'mdl20_';
When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the
relevant lines or items are set in bold:
<meta name="description" content="
Welcome to the Wilderness Skills site
title>Wilderness Skills</title>
<meta name="keywords" content="moodle, Wilderness Skills " />
New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the
screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Go to
the Download Moodle page and select the version and format that you need".
Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.
Tips and tricks appear like this.
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this book—what you liked or may have disliked. Reader feedback is important for
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[]
Preface
If there is a topic that you have expertise in and you are interested in either writing
or contributing to a book, see our author guide on www.packtpub.com/authors.
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[]
Preface
Questions
You can contact us at [email protected] if you are having a problem with
any aspect of the book, and we will do our best to address it.
[]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Moodle is a free learning management system that allows you to create powerful,
flexible, and engaging online learning experiences. I use the phrase "online
learning experiences" instead of "online courses" deliberately. The phrase "online
course" often connotes a sequential series of web pages, some images, maybe a few
animations, and a quiz, provided online. There might also be some email or bulletin
board communication among the teacher and students. However, online learning
can be much more engaging than that.
Moodle's name gives you insight into its approach to e-learning. From the official
Moodle documentation:
The word Moodle was originally an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented
Dynamic Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and
education theorists. It's also a verb that describes the process of lazily meandering
through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable
tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. As such it applies both to the
way Moodle was developed, and to the way a student or teacher might approach
studying or teaching an online course. Anyone who uses Moodle is a Moodler.
The phrase "online learning experience" connotes a more active, engaging role for
the students and teachers. It connotes web pages that can be explored in any order,
courses with live chats among students and teachers, forums where users can rate
messages on their relevance or insight, online workshops that enable students to
evaluate each other's work, impromptu polls that let the teacher evaluate what
students think of a course's progress, and directories set aside for teachers to upload
and share their files. All of these features create an active learning environment, full
of different kinds of student-to-student and student-to-teacher interaction. This is the
kind of user experience that Moodle excels at, and the kind that this book will help
you to create.
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Step-by-step: Using each chapter
When you create a Moodle learning site, you usually follow a defined series of steps.
This book is arranged to support that process. Each chapter shows you how to get
the most from each step. Each step is listed below, with a brief description of the
chapter that supports that step.
As you work your way through each chapter, your learning site will grow in scope
and sophistication. By the time you finish this book, you should have a complete,
interactive learning site. As you learn more about what Moodle can do, and see your
courses taking shape, you may want to change some of the things that you did in
previous chapters. Moodle offers you this flexibility. And, this book helps you to
determine how those changes will cascade throughout your site.
Step 1: Learn About the Moodle experience
(Chapter 1)
Every Learning Management System (LMS) has a paradigm, or approach, that
shapes the user experience and encourages a certain kind of usage. An LMS might
encourage very sequential learning by offering features that enforce a given order
for each course. It might discourage student-to-student interaction by offering
few features that support it, while encouraging solo learning by offering many
opportunities for the student to interact with the course material. In this chapter,
you will learn what Moodle can do and what kind of user experience your students
and teachers will have when they use Moodle. You will also learn about the Moodle
philosophy, and how it shapes the user experience. With this information, you'll be
ready to decide how to make the best use of Moodle's many features, and to plan
your online learning site.
Step 2: Install Moodle (Chapter 2)
This chapter guides you through installing Moodle on your web server. It will help
you to estimate the amount of disk space, bandwidth, and memory that you will
need for Moodle. This can help you to decide upon the right hosting service for
your needs.
[]
Chapter 1
Step 3: Configure your site (Chapter 3)
Most of the decisions that you make when installing and configuring Moodle will
affect the user experience. Not just students and teachers, but also course creators
and site administrators are affected by these decisions. Although Moodle's online
help does a good job of telling you how to install and configure the software, it
doesn't tell you how the settings you choose affect the user experience. Chapter 3
covers the implications of these decisions, and helps you to configure the site so
that it behaves in the way that you envision.
Step 4: Create the framework for your
learning site (Chapter 4)
In Moodle, every course belongs to a category. Chapter 4 takes you through the
creation of course categories, and the creation of courses. Just as you chose sitewide
settings during installation and configuration, you choose course-wide settings when
creating each course. This chapter tells you the implications of the various course
settings, so that you can create the experience that you want for each course. It also
shows you how to add teachers and students to courses.
Step 5: Add basic course material (Chapter 5)
In most online courses, the core material consists of web pages that the students
view. These pages can contain text, graphics, movies, sound files, games, and
exercises: anything that can appear on the World Wide Web can appear on a Moodle
web page. Chapter 5 covers how to add web pages to Moodle courses, and also how
to add other kinds of static course material: links to other websites, media files,
labels, and directories of files. This chapter also helps you to decide when to use
each of these types of material.
Step 6: Make your courses interactive
(Chapter 6)
In this context, "interactive" means interaction between the student and teacher, or
the student and an active web page. Student-to-student interaction is covered in the
next step. This chapter covers activities that involve interaction between the student
and an active web page, or between the student and the teacher. Interactive course
material includes lessons that guide students through a defined path based upon
their answers to review questions, and assignments that are uploaded by the student
and then graded by the teacher. Chapter 6 tells you how to create these interactions,
and how each of them affects the student and teacher experience.
[]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Step 7: Create tools to evaluate your students
(Chapter 7)
In Chapter 7, Evaluating Students with Quizzes, Choices, and Feedback, you'll learn how
to evaluate students' knowledge with a Quiz. You will also learn how to to evaluate
their attitude towards the class by using the Feedback activity. Finally, you'll learn
how to evaluate students' opinions by using the Choice activity.
Step 8: Make your course social (Chapter 8)
Social course material enables student-to-student interaction. Moodle allows you
to add chats, forums, and Wikis to your courses. These types of interactions will
be familiar to many students. You can also create glossaries that are site-wide and
ones that are specific to a single course. Students can also add to the glossaries.
Finally, Moodle offers a powerful workshop tool, which enables students to view
and evaluate each others, work. Each of these interactions makes the course more
interesting, but also makes it more complicated for the teacher to manage. Chapter 8
helps you to make the best use of Moodle's social features. The result is a course that
encourages students to contribute, share, and engage.
Step 9: Add functionality by using blocks
(Chapter 9)
Every block adds functionality to your site or your course. You can use blocks to
display calendars, enable commenting, enable tagging, show navigation features,
and much more. This chapter describes many of Moodle's blocks, helps you decide
which ones will meet your goals, and tells you how to implement them.
Step 10: Take the pulse of your course
(Chapter 10)
Moodle offers several tools to help teachers administer and deliver courses. It
keeps detailed access logs that enable teachers to see exactly what content students
accessed, and when they did so. It also allows teachers to establish custom grading
scales, which are available site-wide or for a single course. Student grades can be
accessed online and also downloaded to a spreadsheet program. Finally, teachers
can collaborate in special forums (bulletin boards) reserved just for them.
[ 10 ]
Chapter 1
The Moodle philosophy
Moodle is designed to support a style of learning called Social Constructionism.
This style of learning is interactive. The social constructionist philosophy believes
that people learn best when they interact with the learning material, construct
new material for others, and interact with other students about the material. The
difference between a traditional class and a class following the social constructionist
philosophy is the difference between a lecture and a discussion.
Moodle does not require you to use the social constructionist method for your
courses. However, it best supports this method. For example, Moodle allows you
to add several kinds of static course material. This is course material that a student
reads, but does not interact with:
•
Web pages
•
Links to anything on the Web (including material on your Moodle site)
•
A directory of files
•
A label that displays any text or image
However, Moodle also allows you to add interactive course material. This is course
material that a student interacts with, by answering questions, entering text, or
uploading files:
•
Assignment (uploading files to be reviewed by the teacher)
•
Choice (a single question)
•
Lesson (a conditional, branching activity)
•
Quiz (an online test)
Moodle also offers activities where students interact with each other. These are used
to create social course material:
•
Chat (live online chat between students)
•
Forum (you can have zero or more online bulletin boards for each course)
•
Glossary (students and/or teachers can contribute terms to site-wide
glossaries)
•
Wiki (this is a familiar tool for collaboration to most younger students and
many older students)
•
Workshop (this supports the peer review and feedback of assignments that
students upload)
[ 11 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
In addition, some of Moodle's add-on modules add even more types of interaction.
For example, one add-on module enables students and teachers to schedule
appointments with each other.
The Moodle experience
Because Moodle encourages interaction and exploration, your students' learning
experience will often be non-linear. Moodle can be used to enforce a specific order
upon a course, using something called conditional activities. Conditional activities
can be arranged in a sequence. Your course can contain a mix of conditional
and non-linear activities.
In this section, I'll take you on a tour of a Moodle learning site. You will see
the student's experience from the time that the student arrives at the site, through
entering a course, to working through some material in the course. You will also
see some student-to-student interaction, and some functions used by the teacher to
manage the course. Along the way, I'll point out many of the features that you will
learn to implement in this book, and see how the demo site is using those features.
The Moodle Front Page
The Front Page of your site is the first thing that most visitors will see. This section
takes you on a tour of the Front Page of my demonstration site.
Probably the best Moodle demo sites are http://demo.moodle.net/
and http://school.demo.moodle.net/.
Arriving at the site
When a visitor arrives at a learning site, the visitor sees the Front Page. You can
require the visitor to register and log in before seeing any part of your site, or you
can allow an anonymous visitor to see a lot of information about the site on the Front
Page, which is what I have done:
[ 12 ]
Chapter 1
One of the first things that a visitor will notice is the announcement at the top and
centre of the page, Moodle 2.0 Book Almost Ready!. Below the announcement are
two activities: a quiz, Win a Prize: Test Your Knowledge of E-mail History, and a
chat room, Global Chat Room. Selecting either of these activities will require to the
visitor to register with the site, as shown in the following screenshot:
[ 13 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Anonymous, guest, and registered access
Notice the line Some courses may allow guest access at the middle of the page.
You can set three levels of access for your site, and for individual courses:
•
Anonymous access allows anyone to see the contents of your site's Front
Page. Notice that there is no Anonymous access for courses. Even if a course
is open to Guests, the visitor must either manually log in as the user Guest, or
you must configure the site to automatically log in a visitor as Guest.
•
Guest access requires the user to login as Guest. This allows you to track
usage, by looking at the statistics for the user Guest. However, as everyone is
logged in as the user Guest, you can't track individual users.
•
Registered access requires the user to register on your site. You can allow
people to register with or without e-mail confirmation, require a special code
for enrolment, manually create their accounts yourself, import accounts from
another system, or use an outside system (like an LDAP server) for your
accounts. There's more on this in Chapter 2.
The Main menu
Returning to the Front Page, notice the Main menu in the upper-left corner. This
menu consists of two documents that tell the user what the site is about, and
how to use it.
In Moodle, icons tell the user what kind of resource will be accessed by a link. In
this case, the icon tells the user that the first resource is a PDF (Adobe Acrobat)
document, and the second is a web page. Course materials that students observe
or read, such as web or text pages, hyperlinks, and multimedia files are called
Resources. In Chapter 5, Adding Static Course Material, you will learn how to add
Resources to a course.
Blocks
In the side bars of the page, you will find Blocks. For example, the Main menu,
Calendar, and Tags blocks. You can choose to add Blocks to the Front Page and
to each course, individually.
[ 14 ]
Chapter 1
Other Blocks display a summary of the current course, a list of courses available on
the site, the latest news, a list of the people who are online, and other information. In
the lower-right corner of the Front Page you will see the Login Block. Chapter 9 tells
you how to use these Blocks.
Your site's Front Page is a course!
You can add Blocks to the Front Page of your site because the Front Page
is essentially a course. Anything that you can add to a course—such as
Resources or Blocks, can be added to the Front Page.
Site Description
On the rightmost side of the Front Page you can see a Site Description. This
is optional. If this were a course, you could choose to display the Course
Description here.
The Site or Course Description can contain anything that you can put on a web page.
It is essentially a block of HTML code that is put onto the Front Page.
Available courses
You can choose to display available courses on the Front Page of your site. In the
demonstration site, I've created a category for Free Courses and another for Wild
Plants. Free Courses allow Guest users to enter. Courses in other categories require
users to register.
Clicking on the Information icon next to a course displays the Course
Description. Clicking on a course name takes you to the course. If the course allows
anonymous access, you are taken directly into the course. If the course allows guest
access, or requires registration, you are taken to the Login screen.
[ 15 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Inside a course
Now let us take a look inside a course.
Breadcrumbs
In the preceding screenshot, the user has logged in as student1 and entered the Basic
Botany course. We know this from the breadcrumbs trail in the upper-left corner
of the screen, which tells us the name of the site and the name of the course. In the
upper-right corner of the screen, we see a confirmation that the user has logged in.
Blocks
Like the Front Page, this course uses various Blocks. The most prominent is the
Navigation Block on the left. Let's talk more about navigation.
[ 16 ]
Chapter 1
Navigation Block
The Navigation Block shows you where you are, and, where you can go in the site. In
the demonstration, you can see that the student has access to several courses: Email
Overload, Basic Botany, Outlining, Mnemonics, and Critical Reading. Right now,
the student is in the Basic Botany course, in the topic labeled About this Course.
Under that topic, you can see a variety of resources and activities.
With just a few clicks, the student can open another course and jump to a place in
that course.
Earlier in this chapter, I commented on the non-linear nature of many Moodle
courses. Notice that all of the resources for this course are available to the user at all
times. Later, we'll discuss features that allow you to set conditions for when activities
or resources become available to the student.
At the top of the Navigation Block is a link to the site's Home page. Below that,
is a link to the student's home page, My home. The student's home page lists the
courses that the student is enroled in, and the work that the student performs in
those courses.
[ 17 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Also on the Navigation Block is a link to the student's profile, My profile. The name
gives the impression that you will find information such as contact information,
interests, and maybe a picture of the student, under this link. But there's actually
much more under that link:
Notice that we are viewing a Blog entry made by the user. At the bottom of the blog
entry, Moodle tells us what course the user made this blog entry in: Email Overload.
In Moodle, when a user makes a blog entry or forum posting in a course, that entry/
post appears both in the course and in the user's profile.
The user's Messages are also collected under this link. Here the user can see both
received and sent messages.
[ 18 ]
Chapter 1
The drop-down list lets the user filter messages by person or by course.
The user's profile also contains a link to any personal files uploaded into Moodle by
this user:
Unlike Forum posts and Blog entries, the My private files page doesn't display files
that the student has uploaded to specific courses. The files here are, literally, private.
However, when the student submits a file to a course, the student can select a private
file and submit it to the course.
[ 19 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Topics
Moodle also allows you to organize a course by Week, in which case each section
is labeled with a date instead of a number. Or, you can choose to make your course
a single, large discussion forum. Most courses are organized by Topic, like the one
shown in the following screenshot:
[ 20 ]
Chapter 1
Notice that the first topic, which I've labeled About this Course, is not numbered.
Moodle gives you a Topic 0 to use as the course introduction.
Teachers can hide and show topics at will. This enables a teacher to open and close
resources and activities as the course progresses.
Topics are the lowest level of organization in Moodle. The hierarchy is: Site | Course
Category | Course Subcategory (optional) | Course | Topic. Every item in your
course belongs to a Topic, even if your course consists of only Topic 0.
Joining a discussion
Clicking on Course Discussion, under Group Activities, takes the student to the
course-wide forum. Clicking on a topic line opens that thread. You can see in the
following screenshot that the teacher started with the first post. Then a student
replied to this post:
[ 21 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
That Student's message doesn't serve our students. Fortunately, the teacher has
editing rights to this forum, and so he or she can delete posts at will. The teacher
can also rate posts for their relevance, as shown in the following screenshot:
Because Moodle supports an interactive, collaborative style of learning, students
can also be given the ability to rate forum posts and material submitted by other
students. You'll find out more about forums in Chapter 7.
Completing a workshop
Now in our demonstration course, the student will enter a workshop called
Observing the Familiar.
In this workshop, the student writes and updates some defined observations. These
observations are then rated by other students of the course. When the student first
enters the workshop, he or she sees instructions for completing the workshop, as
shown in the following screenshot:
[ 22 ]
Chapter 1
After reading these instructions, the student continues to the workshop
submission form:
[ 23 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Notice the online word processor that the student uses to write the assignment. This
gives the student basic WYSIWYG features. The same word processor appears when
course creators create web pages, when students write online assignment entries,
and at other times when a user is editing and formatting text.
Editing mode
Let us see what happens when you turn on the editing mode to make changes.
Normal versus editing mode
When a guest user or a registered student browses your learning site, Moodle
displays pages normally. However, when someone with course creator privilege
logs in, Moodle offers a button for switching into editing mode:
Clicking on Turn editing on puts Moodle into Editing mode:
Normal Mode
Editing Mode
Let's walk through the icons that become available in editing mode.
The Editing icon
Clicking the Edit icon
allows you to edit whatever that icon follows. In this
example, clicking on the Edit icon that follows the paragraph allows you to edit
the announcement, as shown in the following screenshot:
[ 24 ]
Chapter 1
Clicking on the Editing icon next to the quiz Win a Prize takes you into the editing
window for that quiz. In that window, you can create, add, and remove quiz
questions, change the grading scheme, and apply other settings to the quiz.
The Delete icon
Clicking on the Delete icon
deletes the item that the icon follows. If you want to
remove an item from a course, but you're not sure if you'll want to use it later, don't
delete the item; instead, hide it from view. Hiding and showing items is explained in
the following section.
The Hidden/Shown icons
I call these the Hidden/Shown icons
/
instead of Hide/Show because the
icons indicate the current state of an item, instead of indicating what will happen
when you click on them. The Hidden icon indicates that an item is hidden from the
students. Clicking on it shows the item to the students. The Shown icon indicates
that an item is shown to the students. Clicking on it hides the item from the students.
If you want to remove an item from a course while keeping it for later use, or if
you want to keep an item hidden from students while you're working on it, hide
it instead of deleting it.
The Group icons
The
icons indicate what Group mode has been applied to an item. Groups are
explained in a later chapter. For now, you should know that you can control access to
items based upon what Group a student belongs to. Clicking on these
icons allows you to change this setting.
[ 25 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
Resources and Activities
Course material that a student observes or reads, such as web or text pages,
hyperlinks, and multimedia files—are called Resources. Course material that
student interacts with, or that enables interaction among students and teachers,
are called Activities. Now let us see how to add some Resources and Activities to
your Moodle site.
In Editing mode, you can add Resources and Activities to a course. Moodle offers
more Activities than Resources, including Chat, Forum, Quiz, Wiki, and more.
Adding Resources and Activities
You add Resources and Activities by using the drop-down lists that appear in
Editing Mode:
Selecting an item brings you to the Editing window for that type of item. For
example, selecting URL displays the window to the right. Notice that you can do
much more than just specify a hyperlink. You can give this link a user-friendly
name, a brief description, open it in a new window, and more.
[ 26 ]
Chapter 1
Almost every Resource and Activity that you add to Moodle has a Description. This
Description appears when a student selects the item. Also, if the item appears in a
list (for example, a list of all the Resources in a course), the Description is displayed
in the list.
[ 27 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
When building courses, you will spend most of your time in the Editing windows
for the items that you add. You will find their behavior and appearance to be very
consistent. The presence of a Description is one example of that consistency. Another
example is the presence of the Help icon next to the title of the window. Clicking
on this icon displays an explanation of this type of item.
The Settings menu
The full contents of the Settings menu are displayed only when someone with
administration or course creator privileges has logged in. The following screenshot
shows the teacher's view of the Settings menu:
The choices on this menu apply to the course itself. If a teacher, administrator, or
course creator selects an activity or resource in the course, a Settings menu for that
item will appear, as shown in the following screenshot:
[ 28 ]
Chapter 1
Notice that the items that used to be under the course settings menu are now under a
Course administration menu.
And much more
This short tour introduced you to the basics of the Moodle experience. The
following chapters take you through installing Moodle and creating courses. If you
work through these chapters in order, you will discover many features that were
not mentioned in this tour. Also, because Moodle is open source, new features can
be added at any time. Perhaps you will be the one to contribute a new feature to the
Moodle community.
The Moodle architecture
Moodle runs on any web server that supports the PHP programming language, and
a database. It works best, and there is more support, when running on the Apache
web server with a MySQL database. These things, Apache, PHP, and MySQL are
common to almost all commercial web hosts, even the lowest cost ones.
The Moodle learning management system resides in three places on your web host:
•
The application occupies one directory, with many subdirectories for the
various modules.
•
Data files that students and teachers upload—such as photos and
assignments—reside in the Moodle data directory.
•
Course material that you create with Moodle (web pages, quizzes,
workshops, lessons, and so on), grades, user information, and user logs
reside in the Moodle database.
[ 29 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
The Moodle application directory
The screenshot below shows you my Moodle application directory. Without even
knowing much about Moodle, you can guess the function of several directories. For
example, the admin directory holds the PHP code that creates the administrative
pages, the lang directory holds translations of the Moodle interface, and the mod
directory holds the various modules:
[ 30 ]
Chapter 1
The index.php file is the Moodle home page. If a student were browsing my
Moodle site, the first page that the student would see is the file http://moodle.
williamrice.com/index.php.
On my site, the free course Basic Botany for Foragers happens to be course
number 4. Only the Moodle system knows it as course number 4; we know it as
Basic Botany for Foragers. When a student enters that course, the URL in the
student's browser reads http://moodle.williamrice.com/moodle/course/
view.php?id=4. In the preceding screenshot, you can see that /course is one of the
directories in my Moodle installation. As the user navigates around the site, different
.php pages do the work of presenting information.
As each of Moodle's core components and modules is stored in its own subdirectory,
the software can be easily updated by replacing old files with newer ones. You
should periodically check the http://www.moodle.org website for news about
updates and bug fixes.
The Moodle data directory
Moodle stores files uploaded by the users in a data directory. This directory should
not be accessible to the general public over the Web. That is, you should not be able
to type in the URL for this directory and access it using a web browser. You can
protect it either by using an .htaccess file or by placing the directory outside of the
web server's documents directory.
In my installation, the preceding screenshot shows you that the web document
directory for moodle.williamrice.com is /www/moodle. Therefore, I placed the
data directory outside of /www/moodle, in /www/moodledata:
On my server, the directory /www/moodledata corresponds to the subdomain
www.moodledata.williamrice.com. This subdomain is protected from open
access by an .htaccess file. The directory /www/www corresponds to the root
domain, www.williamrice.com.
[ 31 ]
A Guided Tour of Moodle
The Moodle database
When the Moodle data directory stores files uploaded by students, the Moodle
database stores most of the information in your Moodle site. The database also stores
objects that you create using Moodle. For example, Moodle enables you to create
web pages for your courses. These web pages' actual HTML code is stored in the
database. Links that you add to a course, the settings and content of forums
and Wikis, and quizzes created with Moodle, are all examples of data stored
in the Moodle database.
The three parts of Moodle: the application, data directory, and database, work together
to create your learning site. However, knowing how the three parts work together is
also helpful when upgrading, troubleshooting, or moving your site between servers.
Summary
Moodle encourages exploration and interaction between and among students
and teachers. As a course designer and teacher, you will have most of the tools at
your disposal if you work with this tendency in mind, and make your learning
experiences as interactive as possible. Creating courses with forums, peer-assessed
workshops, surveys, and interactive lessons is more work than creating a course
from a series of static web pages. It is also more engaging and effective, and you
will find it worth the effort to use Moodle's many interactive features.
When teaching an online course in Moodle, remember that Moodle allows you
to add, move, and modify course material and grading tools on-the-fly. If it's
permitted by your institution's policies, don't hesitate to change a course in
response to student needs.
Finally, learn the basics of Moodle's architecture, and at least read over the
Installation and configuration section in Chapter 2. Don't be afraid of the technology.
If you can master the difficult art of teaching, you can master using Moodle to its
full potential.
[ 32 ]
Installing Moodle
Even if you don't install Moodle yourself, you should skim this chapter for
information that will be helpful to you as a course manager and/or creator. That is
because the choices made during Moodle's installation can affect how the system
works for people who create, teach, and/or take courses on that system.
Installing Moodle consists of the following activities:
•
Obtaining space and rights on a web server that has the capabilities needed
to run Moodle
•
Creating the subdomains and/or directories needed for Moodle and its data
•
Getting and unpacking Moodle, and uploading it to your web server
•
Creating the data directory
•
Creating the Moodle database
•
Activating the installation routine and specifying settings for your
Moodle site
•
Setting up the cron job
All of these activities are covered in the following sections.
The publisher and the author of this book have provided Moodle installation
instructions on installationwiki.org. On that site, you will find the latest
installation instructions for Moodle and many other open source applications.
Installing Moodle
Installation Step 1: The web server
Moodle is run from a web server. You upload or place Moodle in your directory on
the server. Usually, the server is someone else's computer. If you're a teacher, or are
in the corporate world, your institution might have their own web server. If you're
an individual or have a small business, you will probably buy web-hosting services
from another company. In either case, we are assuming that you have an account on
a web server that offers Apache, PHP, and MySQL.
If you must install your own Apache web server and MySQL software,
the easiest way to do so is to use another open source tool: XAMPP from
http://www.apachefriends.org. Apache Friends is a non-profit project that
promotes the Apache web server. XAMPP is an easy, all-in-one installer that installs
Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. It is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, and Solaris.
If you would like to create a test environment for Moodle, then installing XAMPP
onto your computer will install the web server with the components required to
support a Moodle installation.
You can also download a package containing Moodle and the other software needed
to make it run: Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Go to the official Moodle website and
under Downloads look for Packages.
What level of hosting service do you need?
With only a few dozen students, Moodle runs fine on a modest web-hosting service.
At the time of writing, many hosting companies offer services that can run a small
Moodle installation for less than $10 a month. Base your decision upon the following
factors discussed.
Disk space
A fresh Moodle 2.0 installation will occupy less than 100MB of disk space, which is
not much. The content that is added as users create and take courses will probably
grow larger than that. Base your decision on how much space to obtain upon the
kinds of courses that you plan to deliver. If the courses will contain mostly text and
a few graphics, you'll need less space than if they contain music and video files.
Also, consider the disk space occupied by the files that the students will upload.
Will students upload small word processing files? Large graphics? Huge multimedia
files? When determining how much disk space you will need, consider the size of the
files that your courses will serve and that your students will submit. The size of files
that can be uploaded is controlled by the site administrator, using a setting under
Security | Site Policies | Maximum Uploaded File Size.
[ 34 ]
Chapter 2
Bandwidth
Moodle is a web-based product, so course content and assignments are added over
the Web. Whenever a reader or user connects to a website, they're using bandwidth.
When a user reads a page on your Moodle site, downloads a video, or uploads a
paper, he or she uses some of your bandwidth. The more courses, students, activities,
and multimedia that your Moodle site has, the more bandwidth you will use. Most
commercial hosting services include a fixed amount of bandwidth in their service.
If your account uses more bandwidth than allowed, some services cut off your
site's access. Others keep your site up, but automatically bill you for the additional
bandwidth. The second option is preferable in case of unexpected demand. When
deciding upon a hosting service, find out how much bandwidth they offer and what
they do if you exceed that limit.
Are you serving videos with your course?
If your course includes many videos, or if you'll be serving video to
many users, that can use up a lot of the bandwidth that your hosting
company provides. Instead of hosting those videos on your Moodle
server, consider hosting them on a dedicated video hosting site like
vimeo.com or youtube.com. Then, you can just embed them in your
Moodle page. Vimeo, YouTube, or whoever hosts the video will take
care of the bandwidth.
Memory
If you're using a shared hosting service, your account will be sharing a web server
with other accounts. All accounts share the memory, or RAM, of that server.
During times of high demand, only a small amount of memory will be available
for each account. During times of low demand, your account might be able to use
more memory.
Moodle runs fine on most shared hosting services. However, when you have a
large number of courses, or large courses on shared hosts with low memory limits,
Moodle's automated backup routine often fails. Site administrators can get around
this limitation by manually backing up their site one course at a time, or by moving
to a different host.
If your site will have more than a few courses, or any courses whose size is measured
in tens of megabytes, and you want to use automated backup, check your possible
web hosts carefully. In particular, search the forums on Moodle.org to find out if any
other customers of that host have complained about automated backups failing due
to a lack of memory. In general, Moodle's automated backup routines are inefficient
and you might want to consider alternatives for a large site.
[ 35 ]
Installing Moodle
In general, 1GB of RAM on your server will serve 50 simultaneous users. Note that
your memory needs will be determined not by the number of total users, but the
number of simultaneous users.
Ensuring minimum prerequisites
Check with your hosting service to ensure that you will be given the following
minimum prerequisites:
1. Enough disk space for the Moodle 2.0 software, your course material, and
the files that students will upload.
2. Enough bandwidth to serve your course files, and for students to upload
their files.
3. PHP version 5.2.8.
4. The ability to create at least one MySQL database, or to have it created
for you.
5. The ability to create at least one MySQL database user, or to have it created
for you.
6. Enough shared or dedicated memory to run Moodle's automated backup
routines. You might not know how much that is until you've tried it.
When you confirm that you have those items, you are ready to proceed with
the installation.
Many hosting services also offer automated installation of Moodle. Search for
hosting services using the terms "fantastico" and "moodle", or "one-click install"
and "moodle". These are usually shared hosting services, so you will have the
same performance limitations as if you installed Moodle yourself on a shared host.
However, such hosting services simplify the installation and thus provide a fast,
inexpensive way to get a Moodle site up and running. Automated installations are
not always the latest version. Check with your hosting company to determine when
they roll out new versions.
You should also research the services offered by the official Moodle Partners. You
can find out more about Moodle partners on moodle.com (notice the "dot com" and
not "dot org" address).
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Chapter 2
Installation Step 2: Subdomain or
subdirectory?
A subdomain is a web address that exists under your web address, and acts like
an independent site. For example, my website is www.williamrice.com. This is
a standard website, not a Moodle site. I could have a subdomain, http://www.
moodle.williamrice.com, to hold a Moodle site. This subdomain would be like an
independent site. However, it exists on the same server, under the same account, and
they both count towards the disk space and bandwidth that I use. In the following
screenshot, notice that I have one subdomain, in addition to my normal website:
In this example, Moodle is installed in the subdomain
http://www.moodle.williamrice.com.
Using a subdomain offers me several advantages. As you can see, I can manage them
both from the same interface. Second, I can use a subdomain as a test site for my
Moodle installation. I can install and test Moodle in the subdomain, and then copy it
over to my main site when it's ready. Having a site to test updates and add-ons may
be helpful if uninterrupted service is important to you. Later, you'll see how easy
it is to copy a Moodle installation to a different location, change a few settings, and
have it work. If you want to do this, make sure that the hosting service you choose
allows subdomains.
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Installing Moodle
If you want to keep things simpler, you can install Moodle into a subdirectory
of your website. For example, http://www.williamrice.com/moodle or
http://www.info-overload.biz/learn. In the next step, you will see how
Moodle can automatically install itself into a subdirectory called /moodle. This
is very convenient, and you'll find a lot of websites with Moodle running in the
/moodle subdirectory.
Decide if you want to install Moodle into a subdirectory or a subdomain.
If you choose a subdomain, create it now. If you choose a subdirectory,
you can create it later, when uploading the Moodle software.
Installation Step 3: Getting and
unpacking Moodle
Get Moodle from the official website, at http://www.moodle.org/. Go to the
Download Moodle page and select the version and format that you need:
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Chapter 2
Which Version?
For a new installation, the Latest Stable Branch is usually your best choice. The Last
build: information tells you when it was last updated with a bug-fix or patch. This is
usually irrelevant to you; the version number determines which features you get, not
the build time.
For a production server, do not use the standalone packages mentioned above; they
are insecure. Instead, use the latest stable branch.
The quick way: Upload and unzip
Moodle is downloaded as a single, compressed file. This compressed file contains
the many small files and directories that constitute Moodle. After downloading the
compressed file, you could decompress (or unzip) the file. Unzipping it on your local
PC will extract many files and directories that you must place on your server.
If you're using a hosting service, they might have the ability to decompress the file on
the server. If so, you can just upload the entire ZIP file, tell the server to decompress it,
and all of your Moodle files will be in place. This is much faster than decompressing
the ZIP file on your computer and then uploading the many files that it creates.
Upload and decompress the ZIP file on the server
1. Go to http://www.moodle.org/ and download the Moodle package (ZIP or
TAR file) to your local hard drive.
2. Upload the file to your hosting service. My hosting service uses the popular
cPanel control panel, so uploading a file looks like this:
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Installing Moodle
3. In your hosting service's control panel, select the compressed file. If you're
given a choice to unzip the file, then you can use this method. In the
following example, I have selected the compressed file, moodle-latest.tgz.
When I click on the Extract icon, the file will decompress:
4. If your hosting service gives you the option to create a new directory for
the unzipped files (Create Subdirectory in the preceding example), you
can select not to. Moodle's compressed file will automatically create a
subdirectory called moodle for the unzipped files. On my server, you can
see the result. The directory /moodle is created, and the files are placed in
that directory:
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Chapter 2
The long way: Decompress the ZIP file locally and
upload files
If you cannot decompress the ZIP file on the server, you must decompress the file on
your PC and then upload the extracted files to the server. If you're using a hosting
service, you will probably need to carry out the following steps:
1. Download the Moodle package (ZIP file) to your local hard drive.
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Installing Moodle
2. Decompress or unzip, the package. This will create many folders and files on
your hard drive, as shown here:
3. Upload the files to your web server. You'll need to use an FTP program to
upload the files. Two of the most popular ones are FileZilla and WinSCP.
Select all of the folders and copy them to your server. Uploading this many
small files will be much slower than uploading a single, large .zip or .tgz
archive. So, be prepared to wait for the upload to finish:
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Chapter 2
Whether you're using Windows, Mac, or a Linux personal computer, you can find
a decompression program that will unzip .zip files. If your system doesn't have a
decompression program that works with .zip files, and you're using Windows, try
http://www.nonags.com for freeware unzip programs. If you're using a web page
editor like Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage, then your program has the ability
to upload files to the server. If you're not using a web page editor that can upload
files, you'll need an "FTP client". Again, try http://www.nonags.com, for freeware
FTP clients.
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Installing Moodle
If your school or company has given you space on their web server, you might have
access to the directory just as if it were another folder on your PC. In that case, you
can download the .tgz file, put it into your directory on the web server, and then
decompress it. Tell the system administrator who gave you access what you want to
do, and ask how to decompress a file in your directory.
You can decompress the file by carrying out the following steps:
1. Go to http://moodle.org and download the version of Moodle that you
want to install. You will download a compressed file, in either .zip or .tgz
format.
2. Upload the compressed file to your hosting service.
3. Using the control panel that your host gives you, select the compressed file.
If it automatically decompresses, you're in luck. Go ahead and decompress
it in place.
Or
Decompress the file on your local PC, and upload the resulting files to your
hosting service.
Installation Step 4: The Moodle Data
Directory
When you run the Moodle install script, the installer asks you to specify a directory
in which to store course material. This is the Moodle data directory. It holds material
that is uploaded to the courses. You will need to have this directory created before
you run the install script. That is what you will do in this step.
For security, the Moodle data directory should be outside of the main
Moodle directory. For example, suppose you are creating a learning site
called www.info-overload.biz/learn. You will install Moodle into /learn,
and create the Moodle data directory somewhere outside of /learn.
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Chapter 2
Preferably, you will put the data directory somewhere that is not accessible over the
Web. For example, on my hosting service, anything put into the directory /public_
html is served over the Web. Anything outside of that directory cannot be seen over
the Web.
You should check with your hosting service's technical support group to see if you
can create a directory that is not accessible via the Web.
On your server, create a directory in which to hold the Moodle
data. This can be a directory outside of the Moodle directory, or a
subdirectory of the Moodle directory.
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Installing Moodle
Installation Step 5: Creating the Moodle
database and user
While the Moodle data directory stores files uploaded by students, and some larger
files, the Moodle database stores most of the information for your Moodle site. By
default, the installer uses the database name moodle and the username moodleuser.
Using these default settings gives any hacker a head start on breaking your site.
When creating your database, change these to something less common. At least
make the hackers guess the name of your database and the database username.
You should also choose a strong password for the Moodle database user. Here are
some recommendations for strong passwords:
•
Include at least one number, one symbol, one uppercase letter, and one
lowercase letter.
•
Make the password at least 12 characters long.
•
Avoid repetition, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, and
anything based on biographical information about yourself.
You will need to create the Moodle database, and the database user, before you run
Moodle's installation routine. Otherwise, the installation process will stop until you
have created the required database.
Creating the database
Moodle can use several types of database. The recommended type is MySQL. There
are many ways to create a database. If you are using a shared hosting service, you
might have access to phpMyAdmin. You can use this to create the Moodle database
and the database user.
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Chapter 2
The following is a screenshot of database creation using phpMyAdmin.
If your hosting service uses the cPanel control panel, you might use cPanel to create
a database, as shown in the following screenshot::
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Installing Moodle
This process will create a blank database. Moodle will add the necessary database
tables during the installation routine. So unless the installation routine fails, you
don't need to do anything more to the database.
Creating the database user
Whatever username you use, that user will need the following privileges for the
Moodle database: SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, CREATE, DROP, INDEX, and ALTER.
In the following screenshot, I've created the database user and am now specifying
the user's privileges by using phpMyAdmin.
Alternatively, if your hosting service uses cPanel, you might use that to create the
database user , as shown in the following screenshot:
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Chapter 2
Later, during the installation routine, you will enter the name of the database,
the database user, and the database user's password. If you're not creating these
yourself, you will need to get them from your system administrator, or whoever
creates them.
At this point, you should create the Moodle database and database user by carrying
out the following steps:
1. Create the Moodle database. Moodle works best with a MySQL database, but
you have a variety of choices.
2. Create a database user with the privileges that we saw some time back. Take
note of the user's password.
3. Take note of the following information:
°
The name of the server that holds your database. If the database and
Moodle are on the same server, this will probably be localhost. If
you're not sure, ask your system administrator for the path that your
Moodle software would use to access the database server:__________
_____________
°
The name of the database:_______________________
°
The name of the database user:_______________________
°
The database user's password:_______________________
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Installing Moodle
Installation Step 6: The installer script
At this point, you have:
1. Uploaded the Moodle software to your Web server.
2. Created a data directory outside of the directory that Moodle is served from.
3. Created a database for Moodle to use.
4. Created a user for the Moodle database.
You are now ready to run the installation routine. Moodle's installer script walks you
step-by-step through how to set some of the configuration settings, and the creation
of Moodle's database tables. But first, some background information.
Configuration settings and config.php
Configuration variables are settings that tell Moodle where the database is located,
what the database is called, the database user and password, the web address of the
Moodle system, and other necessary information. All of these configuration settings
must be correct in order for Moodle to run. These variables are stored in a file called
config.php in Moodle's home directory.
Stepping through the install routine creates the config.php file, among other things.
Here's the config.php file for www.info-overload.biz/learn:
<?php
/// Moodle Configuration File
unset($CFG);
$CFG->dbtype
$CFG->dbhost
$CFG->dbname
$CFG->dbuser
$CFG->dbpass
$CFG->dbpersist
$CFG->prefix
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
'mysql';
'localhost';
'info-overload';
'info-overload';
'badpassword';
false;
'mdl20_';
$CFG->wwwroot
$CFG->dirroot
$CFG->dataroot
$CFG->admin
=
=
=
=
'http://info-overload.biz/learn';
'/home/info-overload/www/learn';
'/home/info-overload/www/info-overload-data';
'admin';
$CFG->directorypermissions = 00777; // try 02777 on a server in Safe
Mode
require_once("$CFG->dirroot/lib/setup.php");
// MAKE SURE WHEN YOU EDIT THIS FILE THAT THERE ARE NO SPACES, BLANK
LINES,
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Chapter 2
// RETURNS, OR ANYTHING ELSE AFTER THE TWO CHARACTERS ON THE NEXT
LINE.
?>
Downloading the example code
You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have
purchased from your account at http://www.PacktPub.com. If you
purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.PacktPub.
com/support and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.
This site uses a mysql database. On most servers, the hostname will be localhost.
In an earlier subsection we covered the creation of the Moodle database. We also
created a database user, with the proper privileges. Note that the configuration file
stores the password for the Moodle database, which in this example is badpassword.
Database tables
Database tables are sections of your database, like miniature databases. Each table
in your database stores information that is for a different purpose. For example,
the table user stores the names, passwords, and some other information about
each Moodle user. The table wiki_pages stores the name, content, date modified,
and other information about each wiki page in your system. A standard Moodle
installation creates over 200 tables in the database.
By default, the prefix mdl_ is added to the beginning of each table that Moodle
creates in your database. I changed this to mdl20_ because I'm using version 2.0. If
I upgrade to version 2.1, I want to be able to use the same database. You could use
the same database for Moodle and something else, or for two Moodle installations, if
each program used its own tables with its own prefix. The different prefixes would
prevent the two programs from becoming confused and reading each other's tables.
If you're running more than one copy of Moodle, you might consider using the same
database and different tables. You could then back up the data for both copies by
backing up the one database.
In the following subsections, I will walk you through the Moodle installation routine.
Step 6a: Run install.php
In the Moodle directory, a script called install.php creates the Moodle
configuration file when the script is run. You run the script simply by launching your
browser and pointing it to wherever you've placed the Moodle software. The script
creates config.php.
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Installing Moodle
In the following screenshot, I've pointed my browser to the home page of my Moodle
installation. Moodle begins the install routine by asking you to select the language
for the installation. This is the language that the installer script will use. It is not the
language that your site will use; you can specify that later.
After selecting the language that you want to use during the installation, click on the
Next button.
Step 6b: Specify the web address and
directories
Next, the installation routine asks for the web address of your Moodle system, and
the names of the directories for the software and data.
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Chapter 2
The Web address is the URL that browsers will use to access Moodle. The Moodle
Directory is filled in for you. This is the directory on your server into which you
uploaded the software. The Data Directory is the directory that you created in Step 4.
Fill in these values, and then continue to the next step.
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Installing Moodle
Step 6c: Specify the database settings
In this step, you specify the database that Moodle uses.
The Host Server is the address of the computer that serves the database. On most
servers, the hostname will be localhost. Think of it this way: Moodle and its
database are on the same server, so they are "local" to one another. So from Moodle's
point of view, the database server is a local host. If the database existed on another
server, you would enter the IP address or web address of that server.
Fill in the Database name, Database user, and Database password that you defined
in Step 5.
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Chapter 2
The table prefix will be added to the beginning of the name of every table that
Moodle creates. If you use the same database for Moodle and something else, you
can easily spot the tables used by Moodle by their prefix (mdl_user, mdl_courses,
and so on). Also, if you upgrade Moodle, you can use the same database for the
old and new versions by using different prefixes for their tables (for example,
mdl20_user versus mdl21_user).
Step 6d: Copyright
For this step, you just need to click on the Continue button to advance to the
next step:
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Installing Moodle
Step 6e: Check server
Moodle is written in a programming language called PHP. PHP is the most popular
programming language for web applications. It is most likely already installed on
your web server. Some of PHP's capabilities are turned off and on using settings that
you, or your system administrator, control. Moodle's installation routine will check
some of these settings to ensure that they are compatible with Moodle.
In the preceding screenshot, you can see that I have received a warning message. I
need a certain PHP extension to be installed. My next task is to ask my web hosting
service if this is installed, and if not, ask them if they will install it.
One common problem with the server is having the memory that PHP is allowed
to use set too low. This is a common cause of the installation "hanging"," or stalling.
If you see a message indicating this problem, then you might want to cancel the
installation and fix the situation right away.
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Chapter 2
The PHP installed on your server uses a file called php.ini to store its settings. The
memory limit that caused the warning above is set in php.ini. If you have your own
server, you can edit the php.ini file and increase this limit. On my server, I changed
this limit to 128 megabytes by editing the following line in the php.ini file:
memory_limit = 128M
If you're using someone else's server, you will need to contact the support group and
find out how to increase the limit. Sometimes it will be necessary to put a file in your
Moodle directory called .htaccess, and include the memory limit in that file, by
including the following line:
php_value memory_limit = 128M
For more information, search http://moodle.org for the term "php memory limit".
Usually, 128 megabytes works fine. Start with that setting and increase it if necessary.
Whether you're using your own server or someone else's server, I recommend that
you fix this situation before continuing with the installation.
Step 6f: Database tables created by install.php
Next, install.php creates the tables in your Moodle database. You don't need to
do anything during this part of the installation except to click to on Continue see
progress to next screen. The installation script tells you when the table creation
is complete:
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Installing Moodle
When you click on the Continue button, you will be taken to a page where you need
to enter the details for your site's administrative user.
Launch your browser and point it to the home page of your Moodle
installation (where you uploaded the software). Step through the
installation, using the subsections above as a guide. If you have all of the
information ready to enter, it will probably take less than 10 minutes.
Installation Step 7: Create the
administrative user
The Admin user has ultimate power on your Moodle site. This user can do anything
to the site, including creating other users. When you enter the details for this user,
keep them in a safe place! The fields (with an asterik besides it) are required. All
others are optional:
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Chapter 2
Oh no! I forgot the password to my Admin user!
Don't panic! There are ways to deal with the loss of your Admin user's
password. You can still get it back, if you can get to the Moodle database.
The frequently asked questions page on the Moodle website will tell you
more: http://docs.moodle.org/en/Administration_FAQ#I_
have_forgotten_the_admin_password.
After filling in the required details for the Admin user, scroll down and save your
work. The install routine will advance to the next step.
Installation Step 8: Front page settings
The Full site name that you enter in this step will be displayed on the front page of
your Moodle site. The Short name will be displayed in the navigation menu. The
Front page description will be displayed on the front page of your site. You can
easily change all of these, later. If getting them perfect slows you down, just enter
the best information that you have, and continue:
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Installing Moodle
At the bottom of this page, you can choose whether to allow email-based
self-registration. This capability is turned off by default. Unless you have a good
reason for allowing people to register themselves, you should leave this turned off.
After you save the page, the install routine advances to the next step.
Installation Step 9: Success!
Moodle displays the front page of your new site. You're ready to start
developing courses!
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Chapter 2
Summary
You have now created your Moodle site. From here, you can continue with any or all
of the following:
•
Create user accounts
•
Configure your site
•
Add content to your site's front page
•
Create courses
You can do these in any order, but I usually use the order presented here. And don't
be intimidated into thinking that you must get all of these "correct" or "right" the
first time. They can be changed and edited at any time. So start with whatever you're
most comfortable with, develop some momentum, and let's build your learning site.
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Configuring Your Site
Many configuration choices that are made after the installation process affect the
students' and teachers' experience when they use your Moodle site. This chapter's
focus is on helping you create the user experience that you want, by making the right
configuration choices.
Many of the configuration choices that you make will be easy to decide. For example,
will you allow your users to select their own time zone? Other configuration choices
are not so obvious. You could spend a lot of time trying different settings to see what
effect a setting has on your user's experience. These are the settings that we will
focus on in this chapter. The goal is to save you time by showing you the effects
that key configuration choices will have on your site.
If your system administrator or webmaster has installed Moodle for you,
you might be tempted to just accept the default configuration and skip
this chapter. Don't!
Even if you did not install Moodle, we encourage you to read the configuration
sections in this chapter. If you want, you can work with your system administrator to
select the settings that you want. Your administrator can create a site administrator
account that you can use for configuring Moodle, or, can make these configuration
settings for you.
Prepare to experiment
Although this chapter describes the effects of different configuration choices, there
is no substitute for experiencing them yourself. Don't be afraid to experiment with
different settings. You can try this method:
1. When installing Moodle, you created an account for the site administrator.
Now, create test accounts for at least one teacher and three students.
Configuring Your Site
2. Install three different browsers on your computer. For example, Firefox,
Opera, and Internet Explorer.
3. In the first browser, log in as an administrator. Use this account to
experiment with the settings that you read about here.
4. In the second browser, go to your site as a teacher. Each time you change a
configuration setting, refresh the teacher's browser and observe the change to
how the teacher works.
5. In the third browser, go to your site as a student. Each time you change
a configuration setting, refresh the student's browser and observe how it
changes the student's experience.
Instructions for each of these tasks are discussed in detail in the following sections.
Creating test accounts for teacher and
students
These instructions begin where the installation ended: with you at the home page of
your new site, logged in as the administrative user.
Create test accounts for your site
To create test accounts for your site, carry out the steps shown below:
1. Before you go into Moodle, launch your word processor or create a blank
e-mail. You'll use this to take notes.
2. If you're not logged in as the administrative user, log in now. Use the Login
link in the upper-right corner of the page.
3. You should be looking at the home page of your new Moodle site.
4. From the Settings menu on the leftmost side of the page, click on Site
administration. This expands the Site administration menu.
5. Click on Users, then on Accounts.
6. Click on Add a new user. Moodle displays the Add a new user page.
7. The following table gives information to help you decide how to fill out each
field on this page. The fields in red are required.
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Chapter 3
Field
Notes
Username
For the username, you might find it easiest to use the role that you are
testing. So create usernames like teacher1, teacher2, student1,...student4,
and so on.
For your test accounts, this should be set to Manual accounts.
Choose an
authentication
method
New password
Force password
change
First name and
Surname
Email address
Email display
Email activated
Email format
Email digest
type
Forum
auto-subscribe
and Forum
tracking
When editing
text
Refere to your institution's password policy. To ensure that you type the
password correctly, click on the Unmask checkbox. This enables you to
see the password as you type it.
For your test accounts, leave this blank.
By default, when Moodle lists users, it sorts them by name. Often, it is
convenient to have your test accounts appear next to each other in the list
of users. Also, if they are at the top of the list, then you don't need to scroll
or search to find them. For your test users, consider using a last name like
AATest, which will put them at the top of the list with just
one click.
The e-mail address of each user in Moodle must be unique. So if you are
creating six test accounts, you will need six different e-mail addresses.
At some institutions, the IT department won't give you multiple e-mail
addresses. In that case, ask them for multiple aliases that you can use for
your e-mail address.
Do you want other users on your site to see the e-mail address for this
test account? For a test account, set this to Hide my email address from
everyone, unless you have a good reason for your students to know the
e-mail address of your test accounts. Also, you don't want a real student to
get confused and e-mail a test Teacher account, instead of their real teacher.
You want your test account to receive e-mail while you are developing
courses, so set this to This email address is enabled.
To test how your site sends e-mail, you can set your odd numbered users
to Pretty HTML format and your even numbered users to Plain text
format.
When a user is subscribed to a forum, Moodle usually sends that user
e-mails about new forum postings. This setting determines how often those
e-mails are sent, and what they contain. For testing, leave this to No digest.
That way, you'll know within a few minutes if a forum is sending out
messages the way it should. If your test user starts getting a lot of messages
from a forum, you might want to set this to a daily e-mail.
For testing, you can leave these settings to Yes. If your test user starts
getting a lot of messages from a lot of forums, you might want to set one
or both of these to No, and then unsubscribe the test user from those
forums.
To test the behavior of Moodle's HTML editor, you can leave this to Use
HTML editor.
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Configuring Your Site
Field
Notes
AJAX and
Javascript
Screen reader
You should find out from your IT department if the users in your
organization have these enabled in their browsers.
For some functions, Moodle offers an interface that is more accessible for
sight-impaired users. If you are testing your site for a visually impaired
user, set this to Yes for one of your test accounts.
These fields are required. If you use names for your test accounts that
sound real, consider giving your test accounts a fictional city, like
"Testville". It might make it easier to find the test accounts later.
This determines what time is displayed to the user.
City/town and
Select a country
Timezone
Preferred
language
Description
This determines what language Moodle uses for its interface. There is
a site-wide setting that allows or forbids users from selecting their own
language. If you plan to allow users to select their own language, their
selection will overwrite what you choose here.
Most sites allow users to enter their own Description in their user profile.
You can enter a starting description here.
8. The remainder of the user fields are self-explanatory. Usually, they are filled
out by the user.
9. In your word processor, take note of the user's username, password, and
email address. You'll need these later.
10. At the bottom of the page, click on the Update profile button. This saves
the profile.
11. Repeat this for each of your test users. When you finish, you will see them
listed under Settings | Site administration | Users | Accounts | Browse
list of users, as shown i the example below:
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Chapter 3
Installing several browsers
You cannot log in to Moodle with two different usernames, from the same browser,
at the same time. For example, if you want to log in as both teacher1 and student1,
you can't do that from the same browser. You need two separate browsers.
Consider installing several browsers on your computer, to enable you to log in as
several different users at once. For example, you could install:
•
Firefox, and use this as the site administrator.
•
Opera, and use this as a teacher.
•
Chrome, and use this as a student.
And, don't forget that Safari and Internet Explorer are also available.
Telling you how to install these browsers is beyond the scope of this book. Here
are the websites where you can get these browsers. If your organization has your
computers secured so that you cannot install your own software, you will need their
help to install additional browsers.
To get this
browser...
Firefox
Opera
Chrome
Safari
Internet
Explorer
Go to...
And it works
on...
http://www.mozilla.com
Windows
Macintosh
Linux
http://www.opera.com/
Windows
Macintosh
Linux
http://www.google.com/chrome
Windows
Macintosh
Linux
http://www.apple.com/safari/
Windows
Macintosh
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ Windows
internet-explorer/
Exploring the site administration menu
After installing Moodle, I like to set some basic configuration options. Some of these
settings determine how the site functions, such as how users are authenticated, what
statistics the site keeps, and which modules are turned off or on. Other settings just
affect the user experience, such as which languages are available, the color scheme,
and what is displayed on the front page. All of these settings are available through
the Site Administration menu.
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To access the Site Administration menu, you must be logged in as an administrative
user. Under the Settings menu, click on Site Administration to expand the menu:
In this chapter on configuring your site, we'll cover some of the settings under the
Site Administration menu. Others will be covered as we build our courses, teach,
calculate grades, and update our site.
The important idea here is this: Unlike many other applications,
in Moodle, the Site Administration menu isn't something that
you "set and forget". You return to the configuration settings as
your site develops.
In early versions of Moodle, the Site Administration menu
appeared only on the front page of the site. In Moodle 2, if you
have access to Site Administration, it is available to you on every
page of your site.
Now let's go through the settings that you can use to configure your site for the kind
of user experience that you want to create.
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Configuring authentication methods
Authentication and login are different. Authentication is what happens when a new
user signs up for your site, and creates a new Moodle account. Login is when an
authenticated user logs into Moodle.
Moodle offers a variety of ways to authenticate users. You'll find them under
Settings | Site Administration | Plugins | Authentication | Manage
Authentication. Each of the options is briefly explained by clicking on
Settings for that option:
This subsection fills in some key information, in order to make it easier for you to
work with these authentication methods.
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Configuring Your Site
Manual accounts and no login methods
In the preceding screenshot, which shows the authentication methods, notice that
two methods cannot be disabled: Manual accounts and No login. These methods
are always available to the site administrator.
Manual accounts enables the administrator to create user accounts. You used this
method to create your test users.
Even if you are authenticating against an external database, you can still use this
method to create users. For example, suppose your company or school uses Moodle,
and authenticates against your organization's IMAP e-mail server. Because everyone
in your organization has an e-mail account, this ensures that your colleagues, and
only your colleagues, have accounts on your Moodle site.
However, what if you have a guest or consultant teach one of your courses? If your
organization doesn't want to give that person an official e-mail address at your
organization, then the guest teacher won't have an entry on the IMAP server. In that
case, you can manually create the guest's account in Moodle. Their account will exist
only in Moodle, and will not be written back to the IMAP (or other) server.
No login enables the administrator to suspend a user's account. Suspending a user
takes away that person's ability to log in, but keeps all of the work that person did in
the system, such as their blog and grades. Deleting a user removes the account and
the user's data.
Manually creating a new user:
If you created test accounts at the beginning of this chapter, you manually created
user accounts. Follow the instructions under Preparation Task 1: Create test accounts for
teacher and students of this chapter
To suspend a user's account:
1. From the Settings menu on the leftmost side of the page, click on Site
administration | Users | Accounts | Browse list of users. The Users
page displays. On this page, you will search for the user.
2. In the New filter area, enter all or part of the user's name:
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3. Click on the Add filter button. The user appears in the list at the bottom of
the page.
4. Next to the user's name, click on the Edit link. This displays the Edit profile
page for that user.
5. For Choose an authentication method, select No login.
Be careful that you do not select No authentication
instead. In the drop-down list, it is next to No login,
but they are very different options!
6. At the bottom of the page, click on the Update profile button. This saves
the change.
Enabling e-mail-based self-registration
This method enables people to register themselves for your site. When someone
fills out the new user form, Moodle sends them an e-mail to confirm creation of
their account.
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You must turn on e-mail-based self-registration in two places.
Enable e-mail-based self-registration
1. Under Settings | Site Administration | Plugins | Authentication |
Manage Authentication, click to open the eye for Email-based selfregistration, as shown in the example below:
2. On the same page, further down, for the Self registration drop-down list
select Email-based self-registration.
3. If you want to increase the security of your site, under the Settings for
Email-based self-registration, enable the reCAPTCHA function.
4. At the bottom of the page, click on the Save Changes button.
5. Return to the Manage Authentication page.
6. If you want to limit self-enrolment to only people at your company or school,
consider using the Allowed email domains function, further down on the
same page. This will restrict self enrollment to people who have an e-mail
address from your company or school.
Authenticating against an external source
Moodle can look to a different database, or another server, to determine if a user can
log in. This is called "authenticating against an external source".
In the following screenshot, the authentication methods for external databases and
external servers are highlighted.
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External databases and external servers have some things in common. We'll look at
these common features and how to use them for authenticating your users.
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Connecting to an external database or server
When you choose to authenticate against an external source, you must tell Moodle
how to connect to that source. To get to these settings, click on the Settings link for
the source.
The exact settings that you need to connect are a little different for each type of
authentication. The best way to obtain the information that you need is to ask the
administrator of the database that you want to authenticate against. You could take
a screenshot of the Settings page for the authentication method, and send it to the
database administrator for their input.
What happens when users are deleted from the external
database?
When you authenticate with an external source, each time that a person logs in,
Moodle looks to the external source for that person's username and password.
If the username is removed from the external source, Moodle will take one of the
following actions:
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•
Keep the user active in Moodle: This means that although the person was
removed from the external source, they can still log in, because their profile
and login information is still in Moodle's database.
•
Suspend the user in Moodle: The person's records will still be in Moodle,
but they cannot log in.
•
Delete the user from Moodle: The person's records will be completely
deleted from Moodle.
This is controlled by the Removed ext user setting:
This is an important decision, because you are deciding how Moodle
will handle people who have left your organization.
For example, suppose you are authenticating Moodle users against your company's
e-mail server (LDAP server). When a person leaves your organization, that person
is removed from the e-mail server. Do you still want that person to be able to log in
to Moodle? Do you want to suspend their account, but keep a record of everything
they did in Moodle? Or, do you want to completely delete that person's records from
Moodle? You should work with your system administrator to make this decision,
and then select the appropriate option for your organization.
What happens when usernames are changed in the
external database?
After Moodle checks an external source, and determines that a user has access,
Moodle creates an account for that user in Moodle's database. Although, Moodle
looks at the external source for the username and password, records for the user's
activity are kept in Moodle. The user's grades, blog entries, history, and so on are all
kept in Moodle, under that person's username.
If the username changes in the external source, there will be no connection between
the old username in Moodle and the new username in the external source. For
example, if you changed a person's username in your LDAP server from jsmith1
to jsmith2, how would Moodle know that jsmith2 is the old jsmith1? When user
jsmith2 logs in to Moodle for the first time, Moodle will create a new account for that
username. The account for jsmith1 will still be in Moodle, but it will not be used.
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Configuring Your Site
When you change a person's username in your external source, if you
want to keep their records in Moodle synchronized with their new
username, you should also change their username in Moodle.
Changing a username in Moodle
To change a username in Moodle, carry out the steps shown below:
1. From the Settings menu on the leftmost side of the page, click on Site
administration | Users | Accounts | Browse list of users. The Users
page is displayed. On this page, you will search for the user.
2. In the New filter area, enter all or part of the user's name:
3. Click on the Add filter button. The user appears in the list at the bottom of
the page.
4. Next to the user's name, click on the Edit link. This displays the Edit profile
page for that user.
5. In the Username field, enter a new user name for the person.
6. At the bottom of the page, click on the Update profile button. This saves
the change.
If the user wants to change his or her password, it usually must be done in the
external source, and not in Moodle.
When you authenticate users against an LDAP server, you can allow them to change
their passwords through Moodle. You can also make Moodle use the LDAP server's
password expiration feature, forcing users to change their passwords periodically.
These are two features that you get when authenticating against LDAP, and that you
don't get when authenticating against an external database. Each type of server offers
unique advantages and disadvantages.
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Granting access to courses with enrolment�
����������
choices
Enrolment is different from authentication. In authentication, you grant a user access
to your site. In enrolment, you grant a user access to a course. That is, authentication
answers the question, "Are you a member of this site?". Enrolment answers the
question, "Are you enrolled in this course?".
You have several options for managing student enrolment. They are found
under Settings | Site Administration | Plugins | Authentication | Manage
Authentication, and are shown in the following screenshot:
Notice the column labels across the top of the list. Let's discuss the meaning of each
label, and then discuss each enrolment method.
Name
This is the name of the enrolment method.
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Configuring Your Site
Instances / enrolments
The number for Instances tells you how many courses have this enrolment method
assigned to them. In the preceding screenshot, you can see that only one course has
the first three enrolment methods assigned to it. However, just because a course has
an enrollment method added to the course, this doesn't necessarily mean that course
is using that enrolment method. For example, the Scientific Method course has three
enrolment methods assigned to it, as shown in the following screenshot:
Notice that although Guest access and Self enrolment are assigned to this course,
they are not available. That is, they are not being used. The teacher or administrator
would need to enable those enrolment methods for this course.
Note that self enrolment is not the same as self registration. Self
registration enables a person to join your site. Self registration
enables a person who has joined your site, to enroll in a course.
Remember that when we configured our site, we turned off guest access and self
registration for the site. That is why these methods are disabled in this course. They
can be enabled for just this course, but that will not change the settings for the rest of
the site.
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The specific overrides the general
In Moodle, as in most systems, settings for a specific scope override
settings for a more general scope. Many settings that apply to your
whole site can be overridden by settings for a specific course, and,
many settings that apply to an entire course can be overridden by
settings for a specific activity within that course.
Enable
This setting determines if the enrolment method is available to your courses. To
make a method available, click on the eye to open it. To make it unavailable, click
on the eye to close it.
Up/Down
Use the up and down arrows to put the enrolment methods in the order that you
want Moodle to use them. The first enrolment method that contains the username
of the user who is trying to log in, will determine if the user is authorized.
For example, suppose the username jsmith1 is in Moodle's internal database, and
also in an external database. In the following screenshot, the password and profile
from Moodle's internal database would be used, because Manual enrolments is
listed above External database:
The other, non-interactive enrollment methods are external databases or servers that
are managed outside of Moodle.
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Configuring Your Site
Settings
Many enrolment methods have a separate page for settings, where you configure
that method. For example, the following screenshot shows the settings for the Self
enrolment method:
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Chapter 3
If you enable an enrolment method, then you should at least look at the Settings
page for that method and determine if you need to change any of the enrolment
method's settings.
Manual enrolments
Manual enrolment is the default form of enrolment. When this is selected, a teacher
or administrator can enrol the student.
To manually enrol a student in a course:
1. Enter the course as a teacher or an administrator.
2. From within the course, select Settings | Users | Enrolled users.
3. In the upper right corner of the page, click on the Enrol users button.
The Enrol users window is displayed:
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Configuring Your Site
4. To find a user, enter any part of the user's name into the Search field and
then press Enter or Return on your keyboard. A list of possible matches is
displayed, as shown in the following example:
5. To enrol a user, click on the Enrol button next to the user's name. The display
of that user's name will change to indicate that (s)he is enrolled.
6. When you finish enrolling users, click on the close box for this window. You
will return to the Enrolled users page, and see the user added to the list of
enrolled users.
Remember: Teachers can enrol users in a course, but they
can't create new users.
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Unless you override Moodle's default settings, teachers cannot create new users.
They can only enrol existing users. By default, only a site administrator can manually
create new users. In the following screenshot, the site administrator is logged in to
the browser on the left. Notice that Site administration | users | Accounts | Add a
new user is available for the administrator. A teacher is logged in to the browser on
the right. Notice that the Site administration menu is not available to the teacher.
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Guest access
Your Moodle site has a special user called "Guest". This user can be used to grant
access to courses, without requiring the user to be enrolled. Essentially, you are
allowing anonymous users to access your site and/or course.
In the screenshot above, the button Login as a guest indicates that guest access has
been enabled for this site. If you disable guest access, this button does not appear.
Who is this guest?
Who is your guest visitor? You will probably never know! That's because
the guest account can be used by anyone. Therefore, you won't know the
guest's name. When you look at your site logs and see the activity for the
guest, you are looking at the activities performed by every visitor who
used the guest account.
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The Settings page for the guest access method contains some settings for a password:
It might seem odd to set a password for an anonymous guest. However, there is a
good reason for requiring a password for the guest user. That prevents automated
software, such as web crawlers and spam harvesters, from entering your course.
Requiring a password for the guest ensures that the user entering the course is a
human and not a piece of software.
If you require a password for guest access, you'll need to tell your guests what the
password is. You could add that to the course description that visitors see on the
front page of your site, as shown in the following screenshot:
We'll talk about the course description later, when we create new courses.
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Configuring Your Site
Enabling guest access for a course
To enable guest access for a course, you should first, make sure that the Guest access
enrollment method is available and activated , by carrying out the steps shown below.
1. Enter the course as a teacher or administrator.
2. Select Settings | Course administration | Users | Enrolled users |
Enrolment methods.
3. If the Guest access enrolment method is not listed on this page, use the Add
method drop-down list to add it. If it's not available under that list, have
your System Administrator add it.
4. Once the Guest access enrolment method is listed, activate it. In the Edit
column, click on the eye icon to open the eye.
Second, enable this method under the course settings, by following the steps
shown below:
1. Select Settings | Course administration | Edit settings. The Course settings
page is displayed.
2. From the Allow guest access drop-down list, select Yes.
3. If you require a password for guest access, enter this password into the
Password field.
4. At the bottom of the page, click on the Save Changes button.
Self enrolment
The Self enrolment method allows users to enrol themselves in courses. As with
guest access, you must enable this method under Site administration for your entire
site, and also activate it for the specific course.
On the Settings page for Self enrolment, you can choose to require an
enrolment key:
An enrolment key is a code that the user must enter when enrolling in a course. After
the user is enrolled, the enrolment key is no longer needed.
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You can allow self registration on your site, and then require users to
have an enrolment key for a course. The self registration removes the
burden of creating accounts for users from you. The enrolment key
ensures that only those to whom you give the key can enter your course.
Cohort sync
In a Moodle course, you can add students to a Group. Then, you can manage that
group's access to activities and resources in the course, instead of managing the
students one at a time. In previous versions of Moodle, a Group existed only in the
course in which it was created. Now, Moodle enables you to create site-wide groups.
These are called Cohorts.
The Cohorts sync enrolment method enables you to enroll a Cohort to a course. This
enrolls everyone who is a member of that Cohort in the course at the same time.
Inside a course, a Teacher can create a Group. But because a Cohort is a
site-wide group, by default, only your site's Administrator can create a
Cohort and enable Cohort sync in the enrolment methods.
Creating a Cohort
To create a Cohort, follow the steps shown below:
1. Log in to your site as an Administrator.
2. Select Settings | Site administration | Users | Cohorts. The Cohorts page
is displayed.
3. Click on the Add button. The Edit Cohort page is displayed.
4. Give the Cohort a Name and ID. You will probably leave the Context set to
System, so that you can use the Cohort throughout your site.
5. Optionally, add a Description.
6. Click on the Save Changes button. You are returned to the Cohorts page,
where your new Cohort is now listed.
To enrol a Cohort in a course
To enrol a Cohort in a course, follow the steps shown below:
1. Access the course definition as an Administrator.
2. Select Settings | Course administration | Users | Enrolled users.
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3. Click on the Enrol cohort button (by default, this button doesn't appear for
Teachers, only for Administrators). A pop-up window appears. This window
lists the Cohorts defined to the site.
4. Next to the Cohort that you want to enrol, click on Enrol users. The system
displays a confirmation message.
5. At the confirmation message, click on the OK button. You are taken back to
the Enrolled users page.
Notice that although you can enrol all of the users in a Cohort all at
once, there is no button to unenrol them all at once—you will need to
remove them from your course, one at a time.
Category enrolments
If you used a previous version of Moodle, and enrolled students in courses using
Category roles, then activating this enrolment method will enable you to import
those enrolments into the new version of Moodle. If you're not importing Category
roles from a previous version, you can leave this enrolment method deactivated.
Flat file
A "flat file" is a text file that contains information in a simple text format. The flat file
method of student enrolment causes Moodle to read in a text file, and use that as the
source for enrolment information. The flat file method is especially useful if you need
to enrol a large group of people who have records in another system.
For example, suppose that all of the nurses at your hospital need to be trained in
patient privacy laws. We can assume that the nurses have records in the hospital's
human resource or payroll system. Or, suppose all of the teachers at your school
need to be trained on new educational standards. These teachers will probably have
records in the school's e-mail or human resources system. If you can get a flat file, or
text file, containing a list of everyone who needs to be trained, and that file contains
their ID Numbers, you are well on your way to enrolling them all at once. You might
want to speak to the system administrator of the other system, and ask them for an
"extract" from their system.
The file
The flat file has the following format:
operation, role, ID number of user, ID number of course
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Where:
•
operation is add or del, which enrol the user to the course, or unenrol the
•
role is role, or function that the user will have in the course. For example:
•
ID number of user is a unique identifier for the user.
•
ID number of course is a unique identifier for the course.
user from the course, respectively.
student or editingteacher.
Moodle periodically reads in this file, and modifies its enrollment data according to
what the file says. For example, the following line will add the student with an ID
number of 007 to the course with an ID number of EM102:
add, student, 007, EM102
Place this file in a directory that is accessible to your web server. For example, you
can put it inside the Moodle data directory.
Student ID number required
Before you can enrol a person in a course, that person needs to be a member of
your site. That is, the person needs to be authenticated. In this case, your first step
is to authenticate the users using one of the methods discussed in the section
on Authentication.
If you use a flat file to enrol students in a course, the file will identify each student
by their ID number. Whatever method you use to authenticate your users, it should
include a unique ID number for each user. This number should consist of only digits,
and be up to ten characters in length. On the user profile page, you can see that ID
number is an optional field, as shown in the screenshot below:
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Configuring Your Site
This ID number will match the student in Moodle to a record in the enrolment file.
For example, the following line from the file enrolls student 007 into the course with
an ID of EM102:
add, student, 007, EM102
In the Moodle database, you will find the student's ID number in the table mdl_user,
in the field idnumber:
If you want to use a flat file to mass enrol a group of students, and your users
don't have ID numbers, speak to your administrator about loading those numbers
directly into the Moodle database. They might be able to use a database command to
populate that field.
If your database administrator cannot add ID numbers for your users, you will need
to edit each user's profile manually and add the ID numbers to each user’s record.
Course ID required
If you use a flat file to enrol students in a course, the file will identify each course by
its ID number. The example that we saw earlier was:
add, student, 007, EM102
This ID can consist of any alphanumeric characters, not just digits, and can be up to
100 characters in length. On the Edit course settings page, you can see that Course
ID number is an optional field, as shown in the following screenshot:
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In the Moodle database, you will find the Course ID number in the table mdl_
course, in the field idnumber:
If you want to use a flat file to mass enrol a group of students, and your courses don't
have ID numbers, you can add them in the Edit course settings page for each course.
If you need ID numbers for a lot of courses, your database administrator might be
able to use a database command to populate that field.
Role
A user's role in a course determines what the user can do in that course. Later in the
book, we'll discuss Moodle's built-in roles in detail, how to customize roles, and how
to create new ones. For now, let's look at the built-in roles that Moodle gives you as
part of a standard installation:
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Configuring Your Site
A user can have a role in the site, and a role in a course. The most permissive
role wins.
When you use a flat file to enrol students in a course(s), the file specifies what role
each user will have in the course. Let's return to our example:
add, student, 007, WP102
This line from the file specifies that user ID number 007 will be added as a student
to course ID number WP102.
Notice that the flat file uses "student" with a lowercase "s", whereas the role is called
"Student" with a capital "S". They don't match exactly because the flat file uses the
"short name" of the role. To find out the short name of a role, go to Settings | Site
Administration | Users | Permissions | Define roles.
Flat files: Summary
A flat file provides an effective way to mass enrol a large group of students into one
or more courses at once. Remember that this method requires you to have a student
ID number and a course ID number, both of which are optional by default. You'll
need to populate those fields in your student records and course settings either
manually or automatically, before you can use the flat file to batch enrol students. If
you're authenticating users against an external system that has ID numbers, such as
your school's LDAP server, consider mapping the student ID number field to your
server's ID numbers.
IMS Enterprise File
An IMS Enterprise File is a flat file (text file) that conforms to standards set by the
IMS Global Learning Consortium. Many student information systems and human
resource information systems can both export an IMS-compliant file. For example,
PeopleSoft and Oracle can export IMS files. These standards enable human resources
systems and learning management systems to exchange data. Just like many Word
processors can read and write .rtf files, many human resources and learning
systems can read and write IMS files.
If your organization uses an HR system that can produce IMS files, you can use this
method to enrol and unenrol students. You can also use this method to create new
courses. This would be especially useful for a school that wanted to offer teachers
the option of an online work space for every course. Each semester, the school could
export an IMS file from their enrolment system, read this into Moodle, and use it to
create an online course for every class that the school offers.
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Let's return to an example used in the Flat file section. Suppose that all of the nurses
at your hospital need to be trained in patient privacy laws. We can assume that these
nurses have records in the hospital's human resource system. The human resource
system might also be used to track the courses and certifications that the nurses need.
You could export the nurses' information from the HR system, including the courses
and certifications that they need. When you import the IMS file into Moodle, it will
create the required courses, and enroll the nurses in them.
You can find the IMS Enterprise Best Practice and Implementation Guide at
http://www.imsglobal.org/enterprise/enbest03.html. From that document:
Corporations, schools, government agencies, and software vendors have a major
investment in their systems for Training Administration, Human Resource
Management, Student Administration, Financial Management, Library
Management and many other functions. They also have existing infrastructure and
systems for managing access to electronic resources. To be effective and efficient,
Instructional Management systems need to operate as an integrated part of this
Enterprise system environment.
The objective of the IMS Enterprise specification documents is to define a
standardized set of structures that can be used to exchange data between
different systems.
LDAP
Remember that authentication is when a user logs into your site, and enrolment
is when a user is made a student of a specific course. LDAP can be used for both
authentication and/or enrolment. If you use LDAP for one, you do not need to use
it for the other.
LDAP, External Database, and IMS Enterprise File are all able to create new
courses as they enrol students. All of the other methods can only enrol students
in existing courses.
External database
You can use an external database to control student enrolment. In this case, Moodle
looks in the designated database and determines if the student is enrolled.
As of version 2.0, Moodle will not write back to the external
database. All changes in the external database are made by
another program. So to enrol and unenrol students, you will
need to change the external database.
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Configuring Your Site
In addition to using an external database, you can also allow Moodle's normal
enrolment routine. If you enable manual enrolments in addition to the external
database, Moodle checks two databases when a student tries to enter a course:
the external one, and its own internal one.
External database connection
In the External database connection settings, you enter information that enables
Moodle to connect to the external database. You should get this information from
the administrator of the external database.
Local field mappings
In the Local field mapping settings, you answer the question, "What name does the
external database use for the course?". In the following screenshot, you can see that
you have three choices:
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In Moodle, every course has an ID. The front page of your Moodle site is always
course number 1. The next course that you create is course number 2, and so on.
In your external database, you can use this ID to specify your courses. However,
I recommend against using the ID in an external database. Here is why:
Suppose you install a new version of Moodle. You export your courses out of your
old Moodle installation and you import them into your new Moodle installation. The
first course that you import will have an ID of 2. The second course that you import
will have an ID of 3, and so on. These course IDs might be different from those in the
external database. Therefore, when you connect your new Moodle site to the external
database, the course IDs will no longer match.
Consider using the idnumber or shortname of the course in the external database.
One advantage of using the shortname is that this is a required field for every course,
so you know that every course will have one.
The shortname is used in the navigation bar at the top of the page. In the following
screenshot, the shortname of the course is Scientific Method 1.
The idnumber of a course is optional. Students will not see the idnumber; only
administrators and teachers will see it.
Remote enrolment sync and creation of new courses
In the Remote enrolment sync settings, you tell Moodle where in the external
database the course identifiers and students are stored. In the Creation of new
courses settings, you tell Moodle where in the external database to find information
for creating new courses. In both areas, you are entering the names of the tables and
fields in the external database that hold the data that Moodle needs.
Paypal
The Paypal option enables you to set up paid access to the site, or to individual
courses. When you select this option, you enter a value into the field Enrol Cost. This
becomes the fee for joining the site. If you enter zero into enrol_cost, students can
access the site for free. If you enter a non-zero amount, students must pay to access
the site.
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Selecting this option also puts an Enrol Cost field into each of the Course Settings
pages. Again, entering zero into Enrol Cost for a course enables students to access it
for free. Entering a non-zero amount requires students to pay to access the course.
The Paypal payment screen displays a notice that this course requires a payment
for entry:
Mnet Remote Enrolments (formerly Moodle
Networking)
The official Moodle documentation describes Moodle Networking as:
The network feature allows a Moodle administrator to establish a link with another
Moodle, and to share some resources with the users of that Moodle.
The initial release of Moodle Network is bundled with a new Authentication
Plugin, which makes single-sign-on between Moodles possible. A user with the
username Jody logs in to her Moodle server as normal, and clicks on a link that
takes her to a page on another Moodle server. Normally, she would have only the
privileges of a guest on the remote Moodle, but behind the scenes, single-sign-on
has established a fully authenticated session for Jody on the remote site.
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If you need to authenticate users across Moodle sites that are owned by different
people, then Moodle Networking is an obvious choice. However, if all of the sites
are owned by the same person or institution, you need to weigh the advantages
and disadvantages of using Moodle Networking versus some kind of central login.
For example, suppose several departments in your university install their own
Moodle sites. If they want to authenticate students on all of their sites, they could
use Moodle Networking to share student login information. This would make sense
if the university's IT department could not, or would not, let them authenticate
students against the university's LDAP server or student database. But if all of
the departments could authenticate against a central database maintained by the
university, it would probably be easier for them to do so.
Language
The default Moodle installation includes many language packs. A language pack is a
set of translations for the Moodle interface. Language packs translate the Moodle interface,
not the course content. Here's the front page of a site when the user selects Spanish from
the language menu:
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Notice that the interface is being presented in Spanish: menu names, menu items,
section names, buttons, and system messages. Now, let's take a look at the same
front page when the user selects Tagalog from the language menu:
Notice that some of the interface has not been translated. For the example, the month
name in the calendar and some of the links under Navigation are still in English.
When a part of Moodle's interface is not translated into the selected language,
Moodle uses the English version.
About the language files
When you install an additional language, Moodle places the language pack in
its home directory, under the subdirectory /lang. It creates a subdirectory for
each language's files. The following screenshot shows the results of installing the
International Spanish and Romanian languages language packs:
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For example, the subdirectory /lang/en_us holds files for the U.S. English
translation, and /lang/es_es holds the files for traditional Spanish
(Espanol / Espana).
The name of the subdirectory is the "language code". Knowing that code can be
useful. In the example above, es_utf8 tells us the language code for International
Spanish is es.
Inside a language pack's directory, we see a list of files that contain the translations:
For example, the file /lang/es_utf8/forum.php holds text used on the forum
pages. This includes text that is displayed to the course creator when creating the
forum, and text that is displayed to the students when they use the forum. Here are
the first few lines from the English version of that file:
$string['addanewdiscussion'] = 'Add a new discussion topic';
$string['addanewtopic'] = 'Add a new topic';
$string['advancedsearch'] = 'Advanced search';
And here are the same first three lines from the Spanish version of that file:
$string['addanewdiscussion'] = 'Colocar un nuevo tema de discusión
aquí';
$string['addanewtopic'] = 'Agregar un nuevo tema';
$string['advancedsearch'] = 'Búsqueda avanzada';
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The biggest task in localizing Moodle consists of translating these language files into
the appropriate language. Some translations are surprisingly complete. For example,
most of the interface has been translated to Irish Gaelic, even though this language is
used daily by only about 350,000 people. This is the nature of open source software:
it's not always the largest group of users who get what they want, but often the most
active group.
Installing and enabling additional languages
Using the Site Administration menu, you can install additional languages and make
them available to your users. In the following subsections, we'll cover the installation
of an additional language and configuration of the language settings.
Installing additional languages
To install additional languages, you must be connected to the Internet. Then, follow
the steps shown below:
1. Select Settings | Site Administration | Language | Language packs. A list
of all available language packs is displayed:
2. From the list of available languages on the right, select the language that you
want to install.
3. Click on the button for Install selected language pack. Moodle retrieves the
most recent version of the language pack from the Web and installs it. This is
why Moodle must be connected to the Web to use this feature. If Moodle is
not connected, you will need to manually download the language pack and
copy it into the /lang directory yourself.
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If you don't see the language that you want in the list of Available language packs,
it's not available from the official Moodle site.
Configuring language settings
The settings covered in this subsection are found under Settings | Site
Administration | Language | Language settings.
The Default language setting specifies which language users will see when they first
encounter your site. If you also select Display language menu, a language menu is
displayed on your Front Page, and users can use this to change the language.
The setting Languages on language menu enables you to specify which languages
users can pick from the language menu. The directions tell you to enter "language
codes". These codes are the names of the directories that hold the language packs. In
the subsection on Language Files above, you saw that the directory es_utf8 holds
the language files for International Spanish. If you wanted to include that language
in the list, you would use the specification shown in the following screenshot:
Leaving this field blank will enable your students to pick from all available
languages. Entering the names of languages in this field limits the list to only
those entered.
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Sitewide locale
Enter a language code into this field, and the system displays dates in the format
appropriate for that language.
Excel encoding
Most of the reports that Moodle generates can be downloaded as Excel files. User
logs and grades are two examples. This setting lets you choose the encoding for those
Excel files.
Your choices are Unicode and Latin. The default is Unicode, because this character
set includes many more characters than Latin. In many cases, Latin encoding doesn't
offer enough characters to completely represent a non-English language.
Offering courses in multiple languages
The settings on the Language Settings page apply to translating the Moodle
interface. However, they do not apply to translating course content.
If you want to offer course content in multiple languages, you have several choices.
First, you could put all of the different languages into each course. That is, each
document would appear in a course in several languages. For example, if you offered
a botany course in English and Spanish, you might have a document defining the
different types of plants in both English and Spanish, side by side in the same
course: Types of Plants and Tipos de Plantaras. While taking the course, students
would select the documents in their language. Course names would appear in only
one language.
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Second, you could create separate courses for each language, and offer them on
the same site. Course names would appear in each language. In this case, students
would select the course in English or Spanish: Basic Botany or Botánica Básica.
Third, you could create a separate Moodle site for each language. For example,
http://moodle.williamrice.com/english and http://moodle.williamrice.
com/spanish. In the Home Page of your site, students would select their language
and be directed to the correct Moodle installation. In this case, the entire Moodle site
would appear in the students' language: the site name, menus, course names, and
course content. These are things you should consider before installing Moodle.
Fourth, and most elegantly, you could use the Multi-Language Content filter
described later in this chapter to display course content in the language selected by
your user.
And fifth, you could use groupings to hide the different languages from
different users.
Security settings
You will find the security settings under Site administration | Security. This section
will not cover every option under that menu. Instead, it will focus on the options
that are not self-explanatory, and describe how they affect your users' experience.
IP blocker: Limiting access from specific locations
This page enables you to block or allow users accessing your site from specific
IP addresses. If you want to limit access to your Moodle so that users must be on
campus, this is especially useful.
Site policies
The Site policies page contains a variety of security settings that you should either set
yourself, or work with your administrator to set.
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Protect usernames
If you forget your password, Moodle can display a page that enables you to retrieve
it. If you enter your username or e-mail address, Moodle will send an e-mail with
your login information to the e-mail address for that user:
When Moodle sends this e-mail, it confirms that the e-mail has been sent but does
not display the e-mail to which the message was sent:
The e-mail address is hidden to protect the user's privacy. Many countries have
laws that forbid the disclosure of personal information. If someone could guess a
usernames (which is often the case in large institutions), they could enter them into
the lost password page and harvest the e-mail addresses for abuse.
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Forcing users to log in
As stated in the directions, setting this to Yes causes the Front Page to become
hidden until a visitor logs in to Moodle. When visitors first hit your Moodle site,
they see the Moodle Login Page.
Setting this to Yes means that you cannot use Moodle's Front Page as an information
and sales tool. You can customize the text on the Login Page, but you won't be able
to add all of the features available on the Front Page.
Setting this to No enables you to use a non-Moodle page as your introduction to the
site. If you want your Front Page to be something that cannot be created in Moodle,
this is a good option. For example, we could make moodle.williamrice.com/
index.htm into a flash presentation about our site. Visitors then click on an Enter
link and are taken to the Moodle Login Page at moodle.williamrice.com/moodle/
index.php. Notice that this requires us to put Moodle into its own subdirectory. If
you want a non-Moodle introduction page that leads to a Moodle Login Page, put
Moodle into its own subdirectory or subdomain.
Force users to log in for profiles
What the directions don't state is that setting this to No enables anonymous visitors
to read not only teachers' profiles, but also the profiles of any students enrolled in
courses that have guest access. This may be a privacy issue.
The effect of enabling Force users to login for profiles is that anonymous visitors
cannot read the profiles for the teachers in a course that accepts guest access. They
must register as a student before being able to read student and user profiles. This
may be a drawback if your teachers' profiles are a selling point for the course.
Consider enabling this to force people to register before reading student or teacher
profiles. Then, if your teachers' profiles are a selling point, you can add a section to
the Front Page for "About Our Teachers".
Open to Google
This setting lets the Google indexing robot into courses that allow guest access. If you
want to know more about the Googlebot, see http://www.google.com/bot.html.
It seems that everyone with a website wants their site to be ranked high in Google's
search results. However, you should consider whether you really want Google
to add each of your guest-enabled courses to its search engine. There are several
disadvantages:
•
If your course content changes frequently, Google might index out-of-date
information for your courses.
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•
Your students and teachers might not want their names and materials
indexed and available to the public.
•
If Google indexes all of your guest-enabled courses, you have less control
over what information about your site appears in Google. Everything on
the pages that the Googlebot searches is used in indexing your site. There
might be items on those pages that don't accurately represent your site. For
example, a negative forum posting or an off-topic discussion could become
associated with your site. Also, if the focus or structure of your Moodle site
changes, it may take a while before all of the Google references to all those
pages are corrected.
If you want strict control over what information about your site appears in Google,
then set Open to Google to No. Put only the information that you want to appear
in Google on the Front Page of your site, and do not allow teachers or students to
modify anything on the Front Page. This way, Google will index only your
Front Page.
You should also request that anyone who links to your site links only to the Front
Page (for example, "Please link only to http//www.williamrice.com/moodle, not
directly to a course page."). Google and other search engines use links to your site
to calculate your ranking. If all of those links point to the same page, you can better
control your site's public image. By disabling Open to Google, and requesting that
people link only to the Front Page, you are trading away some of your search engine
presence in exchange for greater control over your site's public image.
For the ultimate in control of what information about your site is indexed, consider
this plan: Disable Open to Google and enable Force users to login to keep search
engine robots out of Moodle completely. Under Users | Authentication, set Guest
login button to Hide to eliminate the possibility that any other search engine's robots
crawl your guest courses. Now you've locked out all but registered users.
Put Moodle into a subdirectory of your site. Link to Moodle from the index page
at the root of your site. In the demo site, we would put Moodle into moodle.
williamrice.com/moodle/ and link to it from moodle.williamrice.com/index.
htm. Then, we can use index.htm as an introduction to the site. Ensure that index.
htm contains exactly the kind of information that you want the public to know about
your site, and optimize it for the best search engine placement.
Maximum uploaded file size
Also on the Security page, you will find a setting to limit the size of files that users
and course creators can upload:
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This setting affects students, teachers, and course creators. If you're creating a course
that has a large file, such as a video, and Moodle forbids you from uploading the file,
this setting might be the cause.
As stated in the directions on the page, there are three other settings that limit the
size of a file that can be uploaded on your server. The first two are PHP settings and
the third is an Apache setting. To see the PHP settings on your server, go to Site
Administration | Server | PHP info. Scroll down until you see the post_max_size
and upload_max_filesize settings.
The Apache setting LimitRequestBody also sets a limit on the size of uploaded files.
From the official Apache 2 documentation:
This directive specifies the number of bytes from 0 (meaning unlimited) to
2147483647 (2GB) that are allowed in a request body.
The LimitRequestBody directive allows the user to set a limit on the allowed size
of an HTTP request message body within the context in which the directive is given
(server, per-directory, per-file or per-location). If the client request exceeds that
limit, the server will return an error response instead of servicing the request. The
size of a normal request message body will vary greatly depending on the nature
of the resource and the methods allowed on that resource. CGI scripts typically
use the message body for retrieving form information. Implementations of the PUT
method will require a value at least as large as any representation that the server
wishes to accept for that resource.
Changing the limit on uploaded file size in PHP
If you have your own server, you can change the values for post_max_size and
upload_max_filesize in the file php.ini. You will usually find this file in
/apache/bin.
If you are using someone else's server (such as a hosting service), you probably
can't change anything in php.ini. Try creating a file called .htaccess that contains
these lines:
php_value post_max_size 128M
php_value upload_max_filesize 128M
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Replace 128M with any value that you need. If the server times out while uploading
large files, you might add lines like this to .htaccess:
php_value max_input_time 600
php_value max_execution_time 600
The variables max_execution_time and max_input_time set the maximum amount
of time allowed for a page in order to upload and process the files to be uploaded.
If you will be uploading several megabytes of data, you may want to increase this
setting. The execution time is specified in milliseconds (thousandths of a second).
You can check your host's settings for these under Site Administration | Server |
PHP info.
Next, place .htaccess into the directory that contains the PHP scripts that you want
to run. For example, the script for uploading files is in the directory /files.
Your hosting service can disable .htaccess, which would make this solution
impossible. In this case would need to ask your hosting service to change these
values for you.
Changing the limit on uploaded file size in Apache
Just like you might be able to use .htaccess to override PHP settings, you also
might be able to use the same file to override Apache settings. For example, placing
the following line in .htaccess changes the limit on uploaded files to 10 megabytes:
LimitRequestBody 10240000
Notice that the limit is specified in bytes, not megabytes. Setting it to zero will make
the setting unlimited. The highest number that you can specify is 2147483647, or
two gigabytes.
Allow EMBED and OBJECT tags
By default, you cannot embed a Flash or other media file in a Moodle page. Instead,
the media file plays in Moodle's built-in media player. However, many course
developers do not like to use Moodle's built-in media player. Instead, they prefer
that their media plays on the course page in the player designed for that media. One
example of this is embedding a YouTube video in a web page.
If you allow users to embed objects on a Moodle page, then users can embed objects
only in pages where they have editing rights. For example, a Teacher can embed a
YouTube video on a page in the Teacher's course. But a Student cannot, because the
Student cannot edit course pages.
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However, every user has a profile that they can edit. In the following example,
Student1 has embedded a video in his profile:
HTTP Security
The HTTP Security page has several options that you can use to further secure
your site.
Use HTTPS for logins
This setting is found under Security | HTTP security. If you enable this setting, but
your server doesn't have HTTPS enabled for your site, you will be locked out of your
site. Moodle will require that you use HTTPS when you log in, but you won't be able
to comply. If that happens to you, then you must go into the Moodle database and
change this setting to No.
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The following screenshot shows an administrator using the web-based product
phpMyAdmin to edit this setting in Moodle's database. Notice the setting for
logging in via HTTPS is in the table mdl_config. The administrator is clicking on
the Edit icon. If this cell contains a 0, HTTPS login is not required. If it contains a 1,
HTTPS login is required. If you're locked out because of HTTPS login, change the contents
of this cell to 0. Then try logging in again.
Running Moodle entirely from HTTPS
Although this is not a setting on the HTTP security page, we should note at this
point that you can run Moodle entirely from a secure connection. You can do this by
configuring your Web server to serve Moodle's address using a secure connection.
You will need to speak to your web server administrator to set this up.
Note that using this setting greatly increases the amount of memory and processing
time that your server will use when serving Moodle. Your system administrator will
need to closely monitor the performance of the server to ensure that it gives your
users acceptable performance.
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Filters
Moodle's Filters read text and media that users put on the site. The Filters can then
do three things with that material: link, interpret, and/or restrict.
In Moodle 2.0 and above, these filters can be enabled site-wide by the administrator,
disabled-sited wide, or turned off by default, with the option of the Teacher enabling
them for individual courses.
First, a filter can automatically link words and phrases to items in your site.
For example, suppose you create a Glossary that contains the phrase "selfdetermination". If you activate the Glossary Auto-linking filter, whenever that
phrase appears on your site, it will be highlighted and will link to this glossary entry.
When a reader clicks on the phrase, the reader is taken to the glossary entry.
Second, a filter can interpret what you have uploaded. For example, you could
upload a document that is written in the markup language call TeX (think HTML on
steroids). The TeX Notation filter would interpret this document and enable Moodle
to display it correctly. There's also an Algebra Notation filter that interprets a special
markup language for writing math formulas.
Third, a filter can restrict the kind of content that a user can place on the site. For
example, the Word Censorship filter can filter out a list of "bad words" that you don't
want to appear on your site. Every time that text is uploaded or entered, it is checked
against the list of forbidden words.
You'll find the Filters settings under Site Administration | Plugins | Filters. Read
the following descriptions for detailed information about what each filter can do for
your site.
Activity names and Glossary Auto-linking filters
The Auto-linking filters search the text on your site, and automatically link to items
when they find the item mentioned in the text. For example, Glossary Auto-linking
looks for terms that are in any glossary, and when it finds them links the term to the
glossary entry. The term is highlighted, and when a user clicks it, the user is taken to
the glossary.
Activity Names Auto-linking searches course text for the names of course activities.
When it finds the name of an activity, it links to the activity. This means whenever
a student sees the name of an activity, wherever the student is in the course, the
student can just click on the name of the activity and be taken to this activity.
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Math filters
Algebra Notation and TeX Notation search the text for special characters used
to describe mathematical formulas. For example, if you enter @@cosh(x,2)@@ the
Algebra Notation filter will display it as:
If you enter $$\Bigsum_{i=\1}^{n-\1}$$, the TeX Notation filter will display it as:
Algebra Notation and TeX Notation are standard markup languages. The
http://www.moodle.org site contains more information about Algebra Notation.
For more information about TeX, see the TeX Users Group at tug.org. TeX is more
mature and complete than Algebra Notation. If you plan on writing more complex
equations, I suggest making the TeX Notation filter active and leaving the Algebra
Notation filter inactive.
E-mail protection filter
Activating this filter makes email addresses on the site unreadable to search
engines, while keeping them 'human-readable'. If you set Open to google to No,
or require users to log in, then you probably don't need to worry about search
engines automatically picking up your students' email addresses. If your site is open
to search engines and anonymous users, then you might want to use this filter to
protect the users' email addresses.
Multimedia plugins
If you leave the multimedia plugins filter inactive, then multimedia content will
usually play in a separate window. For example, without this filter, when a user
clicks on a video, that video might open and play in a separate Windows Media
Player or RealPlayer window. By activating this filter, you cause multimedia to
play in Moodle's multimedia player.
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Multi-language content
Earlier, you might have used the setting Display language menu to give your users
a list of languages for the site. When a user selects one of these languages, only
the Moodle interface is translated; the course content remains in whatever language
you created it in. If you want your site to be truly multi-lingual, you can also create
course content in several languages. Activating the Multi-Language Content filter
will then cause the course material to be displayed in the selected language.
To create course content in multiple languages, you must enclose text written in each
language in a <span> tag, like this:
<span lang="en">Basic Botany</span>
<span lang="es">Botánica Básica</span>
This requires that you write course material in HTML. This can be done for
headings, course descriptions, course material, and any other HTML document
that Moodle displays.
Word censorship
When this filter is activated, any word on the offensive list is blacked out. You can
enter a list of banned words under the Settings for this filter. If you don't enter your
own list, Moodle will use a default list that is found in the language pack.
Tidy
This filter checks HTML that is written or uploaded to Moodle, and attempts to
"tidy" it by making it compliant with the XHTML standard. If your audience is
using a wide variety of browsers (or browser versions), or a screen reader for the
blind, making your pages compliant with this standard could make the pages
easier to render.
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Configuring the Front Page
Your site's Front Page welcomes the world to your learning site. Moodle treats your
Front Page as a special course. This means that you can do everything to the Front
Page that you can do for a normal course, plus a few additional settings.
How to use this section
Early in the process of building your site, you can make some decisions about how
your Front Page will look and function. This section deals with the settings that
it makes sense to select when you're first building your site. Some configuration
settings on the Front Page won't make sense until you've created some courses,
and seen how Moodle works. You will find these settings covered in the chapter on
"Welcoming Your Students".
If you have already created courses for your site when you read this, consider
working your way through this section, and then working through the chapter
"Welcoming Your Students". These two will give you a fairly complete process for
configuring the Front Page of your site.
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Front Page Settings Page
The settings for the Front Page of your site are found under Site Administration |
Front Page | Front Page Settings:
Full Site Name
The Full site name appears at the top of the Front Page, in the browser's title bar,
and also on the page tab when browsing using tabs.
The Full site name also appears in the metadata for the Front Page. Here's the first
few lines of HTML code from the Front Page. The line containing the Full site name
is in bold:
<html dir="ltr">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-88591" />
<style type="text/css">@import url(http://moodle.williamrice.com/lib/
editor/htmlarea.css);</style>
<meta name="description" content="
Welcome to the Wilderness Skills site. If you have an interest in
primitive living/survival skills, you're at the right place. This site
offers courses in basic botany (just enough for a beginning forager),
shelter building, firestarting without matches, orienteering, and
other wilderness skills.The first course, Basic Botany for Foragers,
is free. It covers the terms and concepts you need to know to
understand most field guides and to talk about wild plants. Try the
free course, and if you like it, you can join us for other courses for
a low fee.">
<title>Wilderness Skills</title>
<meta name="keywords" content="moodle, Wilderness Skills " />
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Front Page Description
This description appears in the left or right column of your site's Front Page. If you
require visitors to register and log in before seeing the Front Page, remember that
visitors will see this description after they have logged in. In that case, the Front Page
description can't be used to sell your site. Instead, it can instruct students on how to
get started with your site. For example, "Take the Introduction course to learn how to
use this site…".
If your Front Page is visible to all visitors, then you can use this description to sell
your site, tempt visitors to take a sample course, tell them what's inside, and so on.
This description also appears in the metadata of the Front Page. For example, below
you can see the HTML code for the site's Front Page. The description is highlighted
so it's easier for you to spot:
<html dir="ltr">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-88591" />
<style type="text/css">@import url(http://moodle.williamrice.com/lib/
editor/htmlarea.css);</style>
<meta name="description" content="
Welcome to the Wilderness Skills site. If you have an interest in
primitive living/survival skills, you're at the right place. This site
offers courses in basic botany (just enough for a beginning forager),
shelter building, firestarting without matches, orienteering, and
other wilderness skills.The first course, Basic Botany for Foragers,
is free. It covers the terms and concepts you need to know to
understand most field guides and to talk about wild plants. Try the
free course, and if you like it, you can join us for other courses for
a low fee.">
<title>Wilderness Skills</title>
<meta name="keywords" content="moodle, Wilderness Skills " />
A page's metadata is used by search engines to help place it in the correct
search results. So even if you decide to hide the box that displays the Front Page
description, enter the description into the Front Page settings. It will make your site
more findable on search engines.
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Chapter 3
Front Page items
Two settings determine whether the center column of the Front Page shows news
items, a list of courses, and/or a list of course categories. These settings are Front
Page and Front page items when logged in, as shown in the following screenshot:
Notice that the Front Page settings apply to visitors who are not logged in. In
the example above, we want to entice visitors with a list of the courses that we
offer. However, since site news would probably not be of interest to anonymous
visitors, we will show site news only to logged in users. Each choice has its unique
advantages. The screenshot below shows an example of using a Combo list on the
Front Page:
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Configuring Your Site
Using a Topic Section on the Front Page
Remember that the Front Page description always appears in the left or right column
of the Front Page. It does not appear in the center column. If you want your site
description (for example, Welcome to the....) to appear top and center, you'll need to
include a topic section, which always appears in the center of your Front Page:
You could make your site description the first topic. In this example, we turned the
Front Page Description off. We are using the first topic to introduce the site, instead.
That puts the site description top and center, where it's most noticeable.
Show News items
The Show News items setting is useful if the content of your site changes frequently,
and you want to keep visitors informed. If one of the primary purposes of your
Front Page is serving repeat customers, showing news items on the Front Page
is a good idea.
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Chapter 3
Backup
You'll find the backup settings under Site Administration | Courses | Backups.
Most of these settings enable you to choose the type of data that gets backed up. You
can also choose which days of the week the backup will automatically run, and the
hour the backup job will start. Usually, you want to choose a time when there are
few users on the site. The backup is activated by the cron job routine.
Seting up the Cron Job
Some of Moodle's functions occur on a regular, timed schedule. The most visible
example is mailing out notices to the subscribers of a forum that a new message has
been posted. A script called cron.php checks periodically to see if new messages
have been posted to any forum. If so, the script causes the notice to be emailed to the
members of that forum.
The cron job also triggers routines that clean up old data and back up your courses.
The script cron.php must be triggered at regular intervals. You can set this interval.
The mechanism that triggers the script is called a cron job. Directions for setting up the
cron job are in the Moodle installation guide, available from http://moodle.org/.
Some web-hosting services allow you to set up cron jobs. If you're buying hosting
services, look for a host that allows you to set a cron job to run every hour, or even
every few minutes. Some hosting services allow you to run a cron job only once a
day. This means that Moodle will perform those functions that depend on cron.php
only once a day.
If you've been given space on your school's or company's web server, speak to the
system administrator about setting up the cron job. Moodle's cron.php uses very
little memory and few system resources. Most servers could run it every 15 minutes
without affecting the server's performance.
If you cannot set up the cron job on your host, then your only other option is to set
up the cron job on a Windows machine that you control. The cron job will reach
out over the Internet to your Moodle site, and activate the script cron.php. Again,
directions for this are in the Moodle installation guide, available at http://moodle.
org/ installation guide. However, if you choose this option, you must keep that
Windows PC running all the time, and it must also be connected to the Internet at
all times. If the Windows PC goes down or offline, then the Moodle functions that
require periodic triggering will also go down.
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Configuring Your Site
The following is a screenshot of installing the MoodleCron application, where we
specify the location of the cron.php script. In this example, you can see the line
Location: /www/moodle/admin, which on our server corresponds to www.moodle.
williamrice.com/admin. Moodle's /admin directory contains the cron.php file.
Summary
This chapter tells you how to make changes to your site's configuration. It covers the
settings that, in our experience, you are most likely to change. Many of these settings
affect the behaviour of the entire site. You don't need to get these choices perfect
the first time, because you can return to these settings and edit them at will. As you
proceed with building your site, you will probably want to experiment with some
of them.
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Creating Categories
and Courses
This chapter's focus is on helping you create different categories and courses.
Although someone else may have installed Moodle and made these choices for
you, you can always go back and change them.
The following sections will help you to create and organize course categories. It will
also tell you how to put a course into several categories. Topics covered include:
•
Using course categories and the user experience
•
Creating courses
•
The course settings page
•
Manually enrolling teachers and students
•
Course completion
•
Conditional activities
Using course categories and the user
experience
Every Moodle course belongs to only one course category. You can set up Moodle's
Front Page to display course categories, categories with courses, or a list of all
available courses without their categories.
Creating Categories and Courses
Displaying courses and categories on your
front page
The list that shows both course categories and the courses is called the "combo list".
It looks like this:
The combo list gives your front page an organized appearance. If you have a
moderate number of courses, and the categories are self-explanatory for your
users, this might be a good option for your front page.
If you have a lot of categories and courses, a combo list might be too long for your
front page. In that case, you could display only the course categories. Then, the user
would select a category and see the courses under that category:
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Chapter 4
If you have too many categories to display on the front page, you can limit the
number by using the setting under Site Administration | Front page | Front page
settings | Maximum Category Depth.
First, the student must select a category. In the next example, the student selected
the Academic Demo Courses category from the front page. Notice that unlike in the
combo list, in this list, the description for each course is displayed:
Notice that even though the student is looking at the Academic Demo Courses
category, a drop-down list of Course categories enables the student to see the other
categories. Typical of Moodle, this enables the student to jump to another part of the
site without having to return to the front page.
Categories provide a site-wide way to organize your courses. You can
also create subcategories. The categories or subcategories become an
online course catalog. Organize them in the same intuitive way that you
would a printed course catalog.
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Creating Categories and Courses
The third option for showing courses on the front page is an uncategorized list of
courses. This is a good option if your site has only a few courses. Some sites start out
with only one course. In that case, creating a separate category for that course, and
displaying a category list, doesn't make sense. For example, the following site offers
a demonstration course and two courses that require payment. A simple list
of courses along with their descriptions makes the most sense for this site:
Choosing the best option for your front page
When you are deciding which option to use for your front page, try to put yourself
into your student's situation.
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Chapter 4
If your students will be looking for…
…then consider using…
A specific course by name.
An uncategorized list of courses, displayed
alphabetically.
A type of course.
A combo list or category list, so that the
student sees the types of courses offered.
Either specific course by name, or types of
courses.
A combo list. Add a notice to the front page
that the student can search for courses by
name (see the section Add instructions to
your front page with labels in Chapter 5).
something else
An uncategorized list of courses, if you
have only a few courses. You can use the
course description to "sell" each course. If
your list of courses is too long for the front
page, you'll need to use a category list, and
include information on the front page to
convince visitors to explore the categories
(see the section Add instructions to your
front page with labels in Chapter 5).
Now that we have discussed how each option can affect how your student sees and
uses the site, let's see how to implement each of these options.
Creating course categories
You must be a site administrator to create, edit, and delete course categories.
1. If you're not logged in as the administrative user, log in now. Use the Login
link in the upper-right corner of the Front Page.
2. You should be looking at the home page of your new Moodle site.
3. From the Settings menu on the left-hand side of the page, click on Site
Administration | Courses | Add/edit courses. This displays the Course
categories page. On this page, you create new categories and courses. Here,
you can also arrange the order in which the categories are displayed on the
front page.
4. Click on the Add new category button. The Add new category page
is displayed.
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5. Select where in the hierarchy of categories this new category is to appear. In
the following example, it will be a subcategory of Critical Thinking:
6. In the Category name field, enter the name for the category. Your users will
see this in the category list.
7. In the Description field, enter the description for the category. Your users
will see this name in the category list. Use this information to help your users
decide if this is the category that they need.
8. Click on the Create category button. Moodle creates the category and
displays the Add/edit courses page.
Rearranging course categories
You must be a site administrator to rearrange course categories. The order, in which
you put them on this page, is the order in which your users will see them listed.
1. If you're not logged in as the administrative user, log in now. Use the Login
link in the upper-right corner of the Front Page.
2. You should be looking at the home page of your new Moodle site.
3. From the Settings menu on the left-hand side of the page, click on Site
Administration | Courses | Add/edit courses. This displays the Course
categories page.
4. To move a category up or down in the list, click on the appropriate arrow
button next to the category:
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Chapter 4
5. To move a category to a place under another category (that is, to make it a
subcategory of another category), select a top-level category from the dropdown list on the right:
6. You do not need to save your changes. The changes that you make on this
page are automatically saved as you make them.
Putting a course into several categories
One of Moodle's limitations is that you can put a course into only one category. In
some situations, you might want to put the same course into several categories. You
have several options to do this:
•
You can forego the use of categories, and use direct links to the courses.
In Chapter 5, you'll see how to add labels and links to the front page. You
can use labels of your category names, and put the links below the labels.
This could be a lot of maintenance for the site administrator because
whenever a course is added or deleted, the list of courses will need
to be manually updated.
•
You can create the course in one category, and then create an
identically-named course in the second category. However, you will
put only one thing into the second course: a JavaScript that automatically
redirects the user to the real course.
You can search the Web for a free JavaScript to use, or here is one from
http://javascriptkit.com/ that you can add to the course as a label:
<form name="redirect">
<center>
<font face="Arial"><b>You will be redirected to the script in<br><br>
<form>
<input type="text" size="3" name="redirect2">
</form>
seconds</b></font>
</center>
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Creating Categories and Courses
<script>
<!-/*
Count down then redirect script
By JavaScript Kit (http://javascriptkit.com)
Over 400+ free scripts here!
*/
//change below target URL to your own
var targetURL="http://javascriptkit.com"
//change the second to start counting down from
var countdownfrom=10
var currentsecond=document.redirect.redirect2.value=countdownfrom+1
function countredirect(){
if (currentsecond!=1){
currentsecond-=1
document.redirect.redirect2.value=currentsecond
}
else{
window.location=targetURL
return
}
setTimeout("countredirect()",1000)
}
countredirect()
//-->
</script>
Creating courses
As stated before, every course belongs to a category. Don't worry if you mistakenly
put a course into the wrong category. It is easy for the site administrator to change a
course's category.
Creating a course and filling it with content are two different functions. In this
section, we describe creating a blank course, with no content. In later chapters,
we describe how to add material to a course.
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Chapter 4
To create a course, a user must have the role of Administrator or Course creator. To
add material to a course, a user must have the role Administrator, Course creator,
Manager, or Teacher (usually the Teacher adds material).
Creating a new, blank course
1. Log in to the site as an Administrator or Course creator.
2. Select Site Administration | Courses | Add/Edit courses.
3. Click on the Add a new course button. The Edit course settings
page is displayed.
The Edit course settings page does a good job of explaining the
purpose of each setting. However, the directions do not tell you
the implications of the choices that you make on this page. In
the following section, I've added some commentary to help you
determine how your choices will affect the operation of your
site, and some information to help you decide upon the right
choices for your needs.
4. From the drop-down list at the top of the page, select a Category for
the course.
You can use the drop-down list to change the category at any time. The list
shows both visible and hidden categories.
As your site grows and you add categories, you might want to reorganize
your site. However, if a student logs in while you are in the middle of
creating categories and moving courses, he or she might be confused.
It would be best if you can perform the reorganization as quickly as
possible—ideally, instantaneously.
You can reduce the time taken for the reorganization by hiding your
categories as you create them. This lets you take your time in thinking about
what categories to use. Then, once you are clear on what you want, move
the courses into the categories. Each course will disappear until you finally
reveal the new categories.
5. Enter a Full name and a Short name for the course.
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Creating Categories and Courses
6. The full name of the course appears at the top of the page when viewing
the course, and also in course listings. The short name appears in the
breadcrumb, or trail, at the top of the page. In the following example, the full
name is Basic Botany in Plain Language and the short name is Basic Botany:
The full name also appears in the page's title and meta data, which influences
its search engine rankings. Here's the HTML code from the example above:
<title>Course: Basic Botany in Plain Language</title>
<meta name="keywords" content="moodle, Basic Botany in Plain
Language" />
Notice the full course name in the <title> and <meta> tags. Many search
engines give a lot of weight to the title and keywords tags. Choose your
course title with this in mind.
7. Enter a Course ID Number.
Chapter 2 describes how to use an external database for enrollment
information. The ID number that you enter into this field must match the
ID number of the course in the External Database. If you're not using an
external database for enrollment information, you can leave this field blank.
8. Enter a Course Summary.
The Course Summary is displayed when a reader clicks on the information
icon for a courser, and when the course appears in a list. In the following
screenshot, the user is clicking on the information icon for a course. The user
will be shown the course summary after clicking on the information icon:
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Chapter 4
If you allow visitors to see your front page without logging in, then they
will probably read your course summaries before enrolling. Consider the
Course Summary to be a course's resume. Your course summaries need to be
informative and work as a sales tool. They should offer enough information
to help your visitors decide if they want to enroll, and should describe the
courses in their best light.
9. Select a Format for the course. Among your choices are:
°
Topics
°
Weekly (this is the default format for a new course)
°
Social
°
SCORM
The Topics format is the most intuitive format to use for a course. As it
displays each part of the course as a numbered topic, this format encourages
students to proceed through the course sequentially. However, by default,
Moodle does not enforce this sequence, so students are free to jump ahead
and behind in the course.
You can force students to complete activities in a specific order by using
conditional activities. This is covered in detail, later in the book. To use
conditional activities, your system administrator must enable this feature
under System Administration | Advanced Features | Enable conditional
availability.
The Weekly format appears almost identical to the Topics format, except
that it displays dates for each topic. As of this writing, Moodle does not
automatically enforce these dates. That is, Moodle does not turn on and off
weekly sections on the appropriate dates. The site administrator or teacher
must do that. Alternatively, you can just allow students to access the weeks
in any order.
The Social format turns the entire course into a discussion forum. Discussion
topics are displayed on the course's Home Page. Replies to a topic are added
and read by clicking on the Discuss this topic link.
One of the settings available for forums enables you to prevent students from
creating new topics, so that they can only post replies to existing topics (later,
we will cover the settings that are available in a forum). When this setting is
activated, only the teacher can create new topics. Students then discuss
these topics by adding replies to them. This enables you to better control the
discussion, and to prevent the creation of so many topics that the course's
Home Page becomes too long.
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The Social format is very different from a traditional, sequential course. It
lacks the organization and ability to add activities and resources that you
find in the Topic and Weekly formats. However, because the Social format
turns the entire course into a discussion forum, it offers you the chance to
put a discussion forum right into the course listings. You can then have a
discussion appear in the course listing on the front page of your site.
The SCORM format allows you to upload a SCORM-compliant activity. This
activity then becomes the course.
If you want to use a SCORM package as one part of your course, then under
Add an activity you can use SCORM package. If you want to use a SCORM
package as your entire course, then use the SCORM format setting.
10. Select the Number of weeks/topics.
You can change the number of weeks or topics in a course, on-the-fly. If you
increase the number, then blank weeks/topics are added. If you decrease the
number, then weeks/topics are deleted. Or, so it seems.
One of Moodle's quirks is that when you decrease the number of sections in a
course, if the topics that are dropped contain any material, they're not really
deleted. They're just not displayed, even for the teacher. If you increase the
number of topics so that those topics are added back to the course, they
reappear with their content intact.
Notice that this is different from hiding weeks/topics from students.
When you hide topics or weeks from students, the teacher can still see those
sections. When a section disappears because the number of weeks/topics in
the course was reduced, the topics or weeks are hidden from for everyone,
even the teacher. The only way to bring them back is to increase the number
of weeks/topics.
11. Set the Course Start Date.
For a Weekly course, this field sets the starting date that is shown for the
course. It has no effect on the display of Topic or Social courses. Students can
enter a course as soon as you display it; the course start date does not shut
off or hide a course until that date. This field's only other effect is that logs
for course activity begin on this date.
If you want to limit the period for which a course is
available for students to enrol in, look under Course
administration | Users | Enrolment methods. Enable
the enrolment method for Self enrolment. Then, under
the settings for Self enrolment, set the Enrolment period.
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Chapter 4
12. Select how the course will display Hidden Sections.
The setting Number of weeks/topics determines how many weeks or
topics your course has. Each week or topic is a section. You can hide or reveal
any individual section at will, except for Topic 0, which is always displayed.
To hide or reveal a section, turn on course editing, and click on the open or
closed eye icon next to the section, as appropriate. The following example
shows a course creator hiding and revealing section 1 of a course:
If you select Hidden sections are shown in collapsed form under Hidden
Sections, then the titles or dates of sections that you have hidden will appear
grayed out. The user cannot enter that section of the course, can see that it is
there. This is most useful if you plan to make sections of a course available in
sequence, instead of making them available all at once. If you select Hidden
sections are completely invisible, then hidden sections are invisible to
students. Course creators and teachers can still see those sections, and can
access the resources and activities in them.
If you choose to make hidden sections completely invisible to students, then
there is no real disadvantage of having more sections than you're using. You
can keep the section that you're working on hidden, and then reveal it when
you're finished. If you want to modify an existing section, you can create a
hidden duplicate of the section, work on it, and then, with a few clicks in a
few seconds, hide the old section and reveal the new one.
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You can move resources between sections in a course. This
makes a hidden section a convenient place to hold resources
that you might want to use later, or that you want to archive.
For example, if you find a site on the Web that you might want
to use in your course later, but you're not sure, you can create
a link to the site in a hidden section. If you eventually decide
you want to use the site, you can just move that link from the
hidden section to one of the sections in use.
13. Specify how many News Items to Show in the Latest news block.
For Weekly and Topics course formats, a News forum automatically appears
on the course's Home Page. If you want to delete this forum, set the News
Items to Show to zero, and then delete the forum.
The News forum is like any other forum, except that its postings appear in
the Latest news block. Like other forums, the course creator and editor can
enable or disable the ability of students to create new topics, or to reply to
existing topics.
The Latest news block automatically disappears if you have News items to
show set to zero, or if there are no news items (no topics in the forum). Also,
the Latest news block can be manually hidden, regardless of this setting or
how many news items are posted.
The maximum number of news item that the block will
show is 10.
14. If Show gradebook to students is set to Yes, then a student can view a list of
all of their grades for the course by clicking on the Grades link in the Course
administration block.
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Chapter 4
If the course allows Guest access, the Guests will not be able to earn grades.
So if your site has a free sample course, and you want people to see how
Moodle displays their grades, you might want to make people register for
that free sample course.
15. Under your profile, you can see a report of your activity in each course that
you take. Note that your personal activity report is in your profile, not in
the courses. The setting for Show activity reports determines if a student's
activity for this course will be kept in that student's profile.
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Creating Categories and Courses
For a course that allows guest access, setting this to Yes usually doesn't make
much sense. Remember that every anonymous, unregistered user enters the
course under the name Guest. So having a report that shows the grades and
activities for Guest is usually not very useful. If you want to track how many
people tried a sample course, and what parts of the course they sampled,
allow users to create a free account to use in the fully-functioning sample
course. Make this especially easy by not requiring e-mail confirmation when
the student registers; instead give instant approval. Then, you can track and
study individual usage in the sample course. To keep these anonymous users
out of the courses requiring registration or payment, use a Login Page for
such courses.
16. The setting for Maximum upload file size limits the size of a file that a
student can upload into this course. There is also a site-wide limit set under
Site Administration | Security | Site policies. The smaller of the two
settings—site-wide or course-wide—takes precedence here.
17. The color and icons that Moodle uses are determined by its theme. Usually,
you use the same theme throughout your site. However, teachers and
even students can change the theme that they use. The setting Force theme
determines whether users can choose a different theme when they are in this
course, or if they are forced to use the predetermined theme.
A theme can do more than just provide a pleasant color
scheme. For example, you can assign the courses a
distinctive theme for each teacher, or assign the same
theme to all of the courses in a particular category, and
so on. For more about themes, see the official Moodle site
at http://moodle.org.
18. Under Guest access, choose whether to allow guests to take the course. You
17.can also set a guest Password. This password applies only to guests, and
not to enrolled students.
19. Select the Group mode.
Group mode applies to activities in the course. Each course can have either
no groups or several groups. When set to No, all students assigned to the
course are considered to be in one big group. When set to Separate, all of the
students in the same group can see each other's work. However, students in
different groups, even though they are taking the same course, cannot see
work from another group. That is, the work done by different groups is kept
separate. When set to Visible, students are divided into groups but can
still see the other groups. Even though the other groups are visible to each
other, the work done by one group's students is not visible to the other
group's students.
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Chapter 4
You can change this setting for individual activities. For example, suppose
you want to run groups through a course separately. However, you have one
project for which you want all students, in all groups, to be able to see each
other's work. You can choose Separate for the course, and then for that one
project, override the course setting by using Visible for the project. Then,
only for that one project, each group can see the other groups' work.
Running separate groups through a course versus having
separate courses
Using Separate groups allows you to reuse a course for
many groups, while giving the impression to each group
that the course is theirs alone. However, this doesn't work
well for a Weekly format course, where the weeks are
dated. That's because the course home page displays the
dates for each week. If you start each group on a different
date, the weekly dates will become incorrect.
If you're running a Topics format course, you can easily
reuse the course by separating your students into groups
and running each group individually. Later, you'll see how
to assign teachers to a course. You can also assign a teacher
to a group, so that each teacher can see only his or her
students.
If you run several groups through a course, and those
groups are at different points in the course, be aware that
the teacher cannot regulate the flow of students through
the course by turning topics off and on. That is, you cannot
reveal just Topic 1 until the group has finished it, and then
reveal Topic 2 until the group has worked through it, and
then Topic 3 and so on. If you tried this while running
several groups who were at different points in the course,
you'd be turning off topics that some groups still need.
If you really must enforce the order of topics by revealing
them one at a time, create a copy of the course for each
group, or use conditional activities to reveal activities after
previous ones have been completed by a student.
20. Normally, the course's group mode can be overridden for each activity.
When the course creator adds an activity, the teacher can choose a different
group mode than the default group mode set for the course. However, when
Force group mode is set to Yes, all activities are forced to have the same
group mode as the course.
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Creating Categories and Courses
21. The Default grouping for the course determines how groups are filtered in
the gradebook. This setting has no effect unless you are using groupings.
22. While you're working on a course, you may want to set Availability to This
course is not available to students. This will completely hide your course
from students' view. Teachers and administrators can still see the course, so
you can collaborate on the course content with them.
23. Select a setting for Force language. Selecting Do not force enables a student
to select any language on the pull-down list of languages.
Remember that the languages on the pull-down list are limited by the setting
you chose under Site Administration | Language | Language Settings |
Display language menu and Languages on menu. Also, remember that you
must have the language pack for any language that you want to use installed.
Also remember that only Moodle's standard menus and messages are
automatically translated when a student selects a different language. Course
material is not translated unless the course creator entered material in
another language and used the Multi-language Content filter.
24. If you want to use different terms for the roles in your course, you can
use Role Renaming. Moodle inserts your term for teacher or student into
Moodle's standard messages. For Teacher, you can substitute any term such
as Instructor, Leader, and Facilitator. For Student, you could use terms such
as Participant or Member.
25. At the bottom of the page, click on the Save Changes button.
Congratulations! You now have a new, blank course.
You're ready to start configuring it and filling it with
great material.
Enrolling teachers and students
Who will teach your course? And how will students be enrolled? The settings that
you choose for your course enrolment will determine these things.
Assign teachers
After a site Administrator or Course Creator has created a blank course, (s)he can
assign a Teacher to build the course.
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Chapter 4
Assigning a teacher to a course
In order to assign a teacher to a course, the teacher first needs an account on your
site. If you need to manually create the teacher's account, see Preparation Task 1:
Create Test Accounts for a Teacher and Students in Chapter 3.
1. Enter the course as a teacher or administrator.
2. From within the course, select Settings | Users | Enrolled users.
3. In the upper-right corner of the page, click on the Enrol users button.
The Enrol users window is displayed:
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To find a user, enter any part of the user's name into the Search field and then press
Enter or Return on your keyboard:
1. From the Assign roles drop-down list, select Teacher.
2. Next to the user's name, click on the Enrol button. The display of that user's
name will change to indicate that (s)he is enrolled.
3. When you finish enrolling users, click on the close box for this window. You
will return to the Enrolled user's page, and see the user added to the list of
enrolled users.
How to set enrolment methods
In Chapter 3, in the section Enrolment methods, you enabled a list of enrollment
methods for your site. For each course, you can enable or disable any or all of
these enrolment methods.
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The teacher can enable, disable, and arrange only the interactive
enrolment methods. Interactive enrolment happens when a user tries
to enrol on a course. The user must do something to be enrol, such as
selecting a course and confirming that they want to enrol, or paying
for a course.
Non-interactive enrolment methods are checked when a user tries to log
in to a course, for example when logging in via, an external database or
LDAP server. Only a Site Administrator can enable or disable a login-time
enrolment method. These are not managed at the course level, but at the
site level.
1. Enter the Course as a Site Administrator or Teacher.
2. Select Course administration | Users | Enrolment methods. The Enrolment
methods page displays all of the enrolment methods that are enabled for
the site.
3. To enable or disable an enrolment method for this course, click on the eye
icon. When the eye is open that enrolment method can be used for this
course. When the eye is closed, that enrolment method is not available for
this course.
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4. Place the enrolment methods in the order that you want this course to use
them. Do this by clicking on the up and down arrows next to each enrolment
method, to move each method into the required position in the list.
Many enrolment methods have a separate page for settings, where you
configure that method:
If you enable an enrollment method, you should at least look at the
Settings page for that method and determine if you need to change
any of the settings.
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Summary
Just as Moodle enables students to explore courses in a non-linear fashion, it also
allows you to build courses in a flexible, nonlinear manner. Once you fill out the
Course settings page, the order in which you add material and features to your
course is up to you. Don't get stuck if you don't know where to begin. For example,
if you're unsure whether to use a Weekly or Topics format, just pick one and start
adding material. If the course content begins to suggest a different type of course
format, you can change the format later.
If your course is still under development when it's time to go live, use hidden
sections to hide the unfinished portions. You can reveal them as you complete them.
When deciding which blocks to display, consider the comfort level of your students.
If they're experienced web surfers, they may be comfortable with a full complement
of blocks displaying information about the course. Experienced web surfers are
adept at ignoring information they don't need (when was the last time you paid
attention to a banner ad on the Web?). If your students are new computer users,
they may assume that the presence of a block means that it requires their attention
or interaction. And remember that you can turn blocks off and on as needed.
In general, make your best guesses when you first create a course, and don't let
uncertainties about any of these settings stop you—continue on with the next
chapter, Adding Static Course Material. As you add static, interactive, and social
materials in the coming chapters, you can revisit the course structure and settings
described in this chapter, and change them as needed.
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Adding Static Course Material
Static course materials are resources that students read but don't interact with, such
as web pages, graphics, and Adobe Acrobat documents. This chapter teaches you
how to add such resources to a course, and how to make the best use of them.
In this chapter, we will cover:
•
Kinds of static course material that can be added
•
Adding links
•
Adding pages
•
Adding files for your students
•
Adding media
•
Organizing your course
•
Restricting access by date or score
Kinds of static course material that can
be added
Static course material is added from the Add a resource drop-down menu. Using this
menu, you can create:
•
Web pages
•
Links to anything on the Web
•
Files
•
A label that displays any text or image
•
Multimedia
Adding Static Course Material
Adding links
On your Moodle site, you can show content from anywhere on the Web by using a
link. You can also link to files that you've uploaded into your course. By default, this
content appears in a frame within your course. You can also choose to display it in a
new window.
When using content from outside sites, you need to consider the legality and
reliability of using the link. Is it legal to display the material on your Moodle site?
Will the material still be there when your course is running? In this example, I've
linked to an online resource from the BBC, which is a fairly reliable source:
Remember that the bottom of the window displays Window Settings, so you can
choose to display this resource in its own window. You can also set the size of the
window. You may want to make it appear in a smaller window, so that it does not
completely obscure the window of your Moodle site. This will make it clearer to the
student that he or she has opened a new window.
To add a link to a resource on the Web:
1. Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
2. In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn
editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not
need to click on this button. (You will also find this button in the Settings
menu on the leftmost side of the page.)
3. From the Add a resource… drop-down menu, select URL.
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4. Moodle displays the Adding a new URL page.
5. Enter a Name for the link. This is the name that people will see on the home
page of your course.
6. Enter a Description for the link. When the student sees the course's home
page, they will see the Name and not the Description. However, whenever
this resource is selected from the Navigation bar, the Description will
be displayed.
Here is a link as it appears on the home page of a course:
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Here is the same link, as it appears when selected from the Navigation bar:
7. In the External URL field, enter the Web address for this link.
8. From the Display drop-down menu, select the method that you want
Moodle to use when displaying the linked page:
9. Embed will insert the linked page into a Moodle page. Your students will
see the Navigation bar, any blocks that you have added to the course and
navigation links across the top of the page, just like when they view any
other page in Moodle. The center of the page will be occupied by the
linked page.
Open will take the student away from your site, and open the linked page in
the window that was occupied by Moodle.
In pop-up will launch a new window, containing the linked page on top of
the Moodle page.
Automatic will make Moodle choose the best method for displaying the
linked page.
10. The checkboxes for Display URL name and Display URL description will
affect the display of the page, only if Embed is chosen as the display method.
If selected, the Name of the link will be displayed above the embedded page,
and the Description will be displayed below the embedded page.
11. Under Options, the ShowAdvanced button will display fields that allow
you to set the size of the popup window. If you don't select In pop-up as the
display method, these fields have no effect.
12. Under Parameters, you can add parameters to the link. In a Web link, a
parameter would add information about the course or student to the link. A
discussion of URL parameters is beyond the scope of this book. If you have
Web programming experience, you might take advantage of this feature. For
more about passing parameters in URLs, see http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Query_string.
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13. Under Common Module Settings, the Visible setting determines if this
resource is visible to students. Teachers and site Administrators can always
see the resource. Setting this to Hide will completely hide the resource.
Teachers can hide some resources and activities at the beginning of a course,
and reveal them as the course progresses.
Show/Hide versus Restrict availability
If you want a resource to be visible, but not available, then
use the Restrict Availability settings further down on the
page. Those settings enable you to have a resource's name
and its description appear, but still make the resource
unavailable. You might want to do this for resources that
will be used later in a course, when you don't want the
student to work ahead of the syllabus.
14. The ID number field allows you to enter an identifier for this resource, which
will appear in the Gradebook. If you export grades from the Gradebook and
then import them into an external database, you might want the course ID
number here to match the ID number that you use in that database.
15. The Restrict Availability settings allow you to set two kinds of conditions
that will control whether this resource is available to the student:
16. The Accessible from and Accessible until settings enable you to set dates for
when this resource will be available.
17. The Grade condition setting allows you to specify the grade that a student
must achieve in another Activity in this course, before being able to access
this Resource. Note that adding Activities is covered in Chapters 6 and 7.
18. The setting for Before activity is available determines if the Resource will
be visible while it is unavailable. If it is visible but unavailable, Moodle will
display the conditions needed to make it available (achieve a grade, wait for
a date, and so on.).
19. Click on one of the Save buttons at the bottom of the page to save your work.
Adding pages
Under theAdd a resource drop-down menu, select Page to add a Web page to a
course. A link to the page that you create will appear on the course's home page.
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Moodle's HTML editor
When you add a Page to your course, Moodle displays a Web page editor. This
editor is based on an open source web page editor called TinyMCE. You can use
this editor to compose a web page for your course. This page can contain almost
anything that a web page outside of Moodle can contain.
A full discussion of the editor's features is beyond the scope of this section. Instead,
we will examine a few of the key features that are available in Moodle's HTML editor.
Pasting text into a Moodle page
Many times, we prefer to write text in our favorite word processor instead of writing
it in Moodle. Or we may find text that we can legally copy and paste into a Moodle
page, somewhere else. Moodle's text editor does allow you to do this.
To paste text into a page, you can just use the appropriate keyboard shortcut. Try
Ctrl + V for Windows PCs and Apple + V for Macintoshes. If you use this method,
the format of the text will be preserved.
To paste plain text, without the format of the original text, click on the Paste as Plain
Text icon, as shown below:
When you paste text from a Microsoft Word document into a web page, it usually
includes a lot of non-standard HTML code. This code doesn't work well in all
browsers, and makes it more difficult to edit the HTML code in your page. Many
advanced web page editors, such as AdobeDreamWeaver, have the ability to clean up
Word HTML code. Moodle's web page editor can also clean up Word HTML code.
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When pasting text that was copied from Word, use the Paste from Word icon,
as shown in the image below. This will strip out most of Word's non-standard
HTML code.
Adding images to a page
When you select an image to add to a Moodle page, you can choose images from
those that you have already uploaded, or, you can upload a new image. A less
obvious feature is the ability to link to a picture that is hosted on another website. For
example, you could link to a picture hosted on a Flickr account, or one that appears
on a non-profit educational website.
Inserting a linked picture into a Moodle Page
The following steps explain how to insert a linked image that is hosted in another
location on the Web, into a Moodle page. If you want to insert an image file that you
have on your computer, see To insert an image file in the next subsection.
1. Find the image that you want to link to.
2. In your browser, right-click on the image. A pop-up menu will appear.
One of the options on this menu will enable you to copy the URL (the Web
address) of the picture. For example, in Internet Explorer 8, you would select
Properties and then copy the Address of the image. In Firefox 3+, you would
select CopyImageLocation.
3. Switch back to Moodle, where you are editing the Page.
4. Click on the Page, so the insertion point is where you want the picture
to appear.
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5. Click on the Insert Image icon, as shown in the example below:
6. A pop-up window appears. In this window, paste the address of the image
into the Image URL field. In the following screenshot, you can see the HTML
editor window in the background. On top of that, you can see the Insert/edit
image window. At the bottom of the screen is the original location of
the image.
7. If needed, fill out the fields under Appearance. In particular, you might want
to resize the picture, because Moodle will, by default, display the picture at
its original size.
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Inserting an image file
Follow the steps below in order to insert an image file that you have on your
computer. For example, if you have a .jpg or .png file.
1. On the Moodle Page, position the insertion point where you want the image
to appear.
2. Click on the Insert Image icon, as shown in the example below:
3. A pop-up window appears. In this window, click on the button labeled Find
or upload an image.
4. The File picker window is displayed. In this window, click on the Upload a
file link.
5. Click on the Browse… button.
6. Locate the file on your computer, and select it.
7. Click on the Open or OK button.
8. Optionally, enter the a name that you want the file to have in Moodle.
9. Click on the Upload this file button. The file is uploaded to your
Moodle system.
10. If needed, fill out the fields under Appearance. In particular, you might want
to resize the picture, because Moodle will, by default, display the picture at
its original size.
11. Click on the Insert button. The picture is inserted into the page.
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Composing in an HTML editor and uploading
to Moodle
For long or complex HTML pages, or just for your own comfort, you might want
to compose your web page in an HTML editor like DreamWeaver or FrontPage.
This is especially true if you want to take advantage of these editors' ability to insert
JavaScript timing, and other advanced features. How, then, do you get that page into
your Moodle course? You can copy and paste the HTML code from your web page
editor into the Moodle page editing window. To do this you would:
1. Select the HTML view in your web page editor. For example, in
DreamWeaver you would select View | Code, and in FrontPage you
would select View | Reveal Codes.
2. Select all of the HTML code, between the two body tags. That is, drag from
just after the <body> tag near the top, to just before the </body> tag at the
end. Copy the code by selecting menu option Edit | Copy or by using the
keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C.
3. Switch over to Moodle, and create the new web page.
4. Display the HTML code by clicking on the
icon.
5. Paste the code into the page by pressing Ctrl+V.
A second method is to publish your web page to someplace outside of Moodle, and
create a link to it from your course.
Learn more about HTML
To learn more about HTML code, you can start with the organization responsible
for defining the standards. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) maintains
the complete standards for HTML online at http://www.w3.org/TR/html4. W3C
also maintains a basic tutorial at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/. Everything
covered in this basic guide can be done using the WYSIWYG tools in Moodle. The
advanced HTML guide at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/Advanced.html
covers some features that you would need to go into HTML view to add, such as
defining clickable regions within images, and using roll-overs.
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Adding files for your students to
download
You can add files to a course, so that your students can download them onto their
personal computers. Some examples of files you might want students to have are:
forms, reading to complete before class, word processing files to edit, and more.
What happens when a student selects a file
from the course?
When a student selects a file from your course, the student's computer will attempt
to open that file. Moodle will only pass the file to the student's computer. For
example, if it's a PDF file, your student's computer will try to use Adobe Acrobat to
open the file. If it's a word processing file, your student's computer will attempt to
use Word or some other word processor to open it.
You can override this behavior with a setting called Force download. When you
choose that setting, your student's computer will not try to open the file. Instead, it
will download the file and prompt the student to save it.
If you want the student to use a file immediately upon accessing the file, then
indicate to Moodle that you want the file to open when the student selects it. If you
want the student to save the file for future use, then use the Force download setting.
Adding a file to your course
1. Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
2. In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn
editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not
need to click on this button.
3. From the Add a resource… drop-down menu, select File.
4. Moodle displays the Adding a new URL page.
5. Enter a Name for the file. This is the name that people will see on the home
page of your course.
6. Enter a Description for the file. When the student sees the course's home
page, they will see the Name but not the Description. However, whenever
this resource is selected from the Navigation bar, the Description will
be displayed.
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The Site Administrator can turn off the requirement to add a Description for
each file. By default, this requirement is turned on.
7. Under Content, click on the Add… button. The File picker window displays.
8. If the file already exists in the system, and you have access to it, you can find
it under Server files, Recent files, or Private files. If you don't find the file
under one of these areas, then click on Upload a file.
9. Click on Browse… and select the file.
10. In the Save as field, enter a name for this file.
11. Click on Upload this file. The File picker window closes, and you are
returned to the page where you edit the file. The options are as follows:
12. From the Display drop-down menu, select the method that you want
Moodle to use when displaying the file:
13. Open and Embed will insert a link to the file into a Moodle page. Your
students will see the Navigation Bar, any blocks that you have added to the
course, and navigation links across the top of the page, just like when they
view any other page in Moodle. The center of the page will have a link to
the file.
In pop-up will launch a new window on top of the Moodle page, containing
a link to the file.
Automatic will make Moodle choose the best method for displaying the
linked page.
Force download will force the file to be downloaded to your student's
computer.
14. The checkboxes for Display resource name and Display resource
description will affect the display of the page, only if Embed is chosen as the
display method. If selected, the Name of the file will be displayed above the
link to the file, and the Description will be displayed below the link to
the file.
15. Under Options, the ShowAdvanced button will display fields that allow
you to set the size of the pop-up window. If you don't select In pop-up as the
display method, these fields have no effect.
16. Under Common Module Settings, the Visible setting determines if this
resource is visible to students. Teachers and Site Administrators can always
see the resource. Setting this to Hide will completely hide the resource.
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Show/Hide versus Restrict availability
If you want a resource to be visible, but not available, then use the
Restrict Availability settings further down on the page. Those
settings allow you to have a resource's name and its description
appear, but still make the resource unavailable. You might want
to do this for resources that will be used later in a course, when
you don't want the student to work ahead of the syllabus.
17. The ID number field allows you to enter an identifier for this resource, which
will appear in the Gradebook. If you export grades from the Gradebook and
then import them into an external database, you might want the course ID
number here to match the ID number that you use in that database.
18. The Restrict Availability settings allow you to set two kinds of conditions
that will control whether this resource is available to the student. These
settings are:
19. The Accessible from and Accessible until settings allow you to set dates for
when this resource is available.
The Grade condition setting allows you to specify the grade that a
student must achieve in another Activity in this course, before being
able to access this Resource. Note that adding Activities is covered in
Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.
20. The setting for Before activity is available determines if the Resource will
be visible while it is unavailable. If it is visible but unavailable, Moodle will
display the conditions needed to make it available (achieve a grade, wait for
a date, and so on.).
21. Click one of the Save buttons at the bottom of the page to save your work.
Adding media (video and audio)
If you want to add video or audio to your course, you have two choices. First, you
can add it as a file. If you do that, when the student selects the file, one of two things
will happen. Either the media file will be downloaded to the student's computer,
and played by the software on the student's computer, or Moodle will try to play
that file with its built-in media player. If multimedia plugins are enabled under Site
Administration | Plugins, then Moodle will try to play the file in its built-in media
player. If multimedia plugins are not enabled, then the file will be played using
whatever media player is available on the student's computer (such as Windows
Media Player or Quicktime).
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Second, you can embed the media on a Moodle Page (see the section on Adding
pages). That will cause the media to be played on the web page. By default, the
media will be played using Moodle's built-in media player.
Adding video or audio to a page
Follow the steps below in order to add a video, audio, or applet to a Moodle Page.
You must be in possession of the file that you are adding. That is, the file must be on
your computer, and not on another website. If the file that you want to appear is on
another website, see the procedure for embedding media from another website on a
page, earlier in this chapter.
1. On the Moodle Page, position the insertion point where you want the media
to appear.
2. Click on the Insert Media icon, as shown in the example below:
3. A pop-up window appears. In this window, click the button labeled Find or
upload a sound, video, or applet.
4. The File picker window displays. In this window, click on the Upload a
file link.
5. Click on the Browse… button.
6. Locate the file on your computer, and select it.
7. Click on the Open or OK button.
8. Optionally, give the file a name that you want the file to have in Moodle.
9. Click on the Upload this file button. The file is uploaded to your
Moodle system.
10. If needed, fill out the fields under Appearance. In particular, you might want
to resize the picture, because Moodle will, by default, display the picture at
its original size.
11. Click on the Insert button. The media is inserted into the page.
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To embed a video on a page:
1. Find the media that you want to link to. For example, you might find a video
on Vimeo.com, or Flickr.com, that you can use.
2. Check the license for the material, to ensure that you have the right to use it
as you intend.
3. Somewhere on the page, you will see a button or link that will give you the
HTML code to embed the video, as shown in the example below:
4. Copy the code for embedding the video.
5. Switch back to Moodle, where you are editing the Page.
6. On the Moodle Page, position the insertion point where you want the media
to appear.
7. Click on the Edit HTML icon:
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8. The HTML Source Editor is displayed. In this window, paste the code that
you copied from the video sharing site.
9. At the bottom of the editor window, click on the Update button.
10. You are returned to the editing page. Continue editing, and then save
your work when you are finished.
Organizing your course
The main tools for organizing a course in Moodle are Topics and Labels. In this
section, we'll look at how to use them, and how to move material around on the
course page.
Name your Topics
In a course that uses the Topics format, your Topics are automatically numbered.
You might also want to name your topics, and add a description to them.
To add a name and description to a Topic
1. Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
2. In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn
editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not
need to click on this button.
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3. Next to the Topic's number, and then click the Edit button:
4. The Summary page for your Topic is displayed. You must uncheck the
checkbox for Use default section name. If there is a checkbox in this field,
then you cannot edit the name or description of the Topic.
5. In the Section name field, enter the name for your Topic.
6. In the Summary field, enter a description for your Topic. This is a
full-featured Web page editor, so you can enter text, graphics, and media.
7. Save your work. You will be returned to the course home page. The Topic's
name and summary are displayed.
Rearrange (move) items on the course home
page
As you build your course, you will be adding Resources and Activities to the course
page. Moodle allows you to easily reposition these items. It's so easy to reposition
them that I recommend that you don't even worry about getting them in the right
place as you are creating them. Just forge ahead, create them, and then rearrange
them later.
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Rearranging items on the course page:
1. Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
2. In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn
editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not
need to click on this button.
3. Next to the item that you want to move, place the mouse pointer over the
crosshairs icon:
4. Drag the item to where you want it on the course page, and drop it.
You can also drag-and-drop entire Topics, if your browser has
Ajax-enabled drag. You'll know you can do this if you see a
crosshairs icon next to the Topic. Just click on the crosshairs icon
and then drop it where you want the Topic to go.
Provide directions and organization through
labels
Topic and Weekly courses are organized into sections. Labels can help you to
organize material within a section, giving you another level of organization. A label
can have any amount text, an image, or other content that you can put on a web
page. It is essentially an HTML document. However, just because a label can handle
any HTML content, you don't want to go overboard and create entire web pages in a
label. A label's main purpose is to add organization to a course's Home Page. In the
following screenshot you can see that the WildPlants course uses labels to organize
course resources. The horizontal lines and Jump to a topic, Group Activities, and
Before You Start the Course: Do These Activities headlines are labels:
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In our example, the course creators used text labels to organize the course content.
A label can also hold a graphic. Adding a graphic to the beginning of each topic
is a good way to add visual interest to a course. Also, a label can consist of a large
amount of text. You can introduce activities by using a paragraph-long label. In
the preceding screenshot, perhaps a sentence explaining each activity would help
the student understand the course flow. That can be added by using a label. Make
creative use of labels for organization, interest, and information.
To add a Label to the course's home page:
1. Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
2. In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn
editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not
need to click on this button.
3. From the Add a resource drop-down menu, select Label.
4. The Adding a new Label page is displayed. In the Label text field, you can
enter anything that can appear on a Web page: text, graphics, media, and
so on.
5. Save your work, and then return to the course home page.
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Restricting access by date or score
(restrict availability setting)
Moodle allows you to restrict access to an item, by date or by score. That is, you can
make the item available only during specific dates, and/or only when the student
has achieved a specific score on some specific activities).
This feature is turned on by default. If it's not enabled on your site, you will need to
ask your Site Administrator to enable it for you.
You will find the Restrict Availability settings at the bottom of the page, when you
are editing a Resource or Activity.
The Restrict Availability settings allow you to set two kinds of conditions that will
control whether this resource is available to the student.
The Accessible from and Accessible until settings allow you to set dates for when
this resource is available.
The Grade condition setting allows you to specify the grade that a student must
achieve in another Activity in this course, before being able to access this Resource.
Note that adding Activities is covered in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.
The setting for Before activity is available determines if the Resource will be visible
while it is unavailable. If it is visible but unavailable, Moodle will display the
conditions needed to make it available (achieve a grade, wait for a date, and so on).
Summary
Static course materials (text pages, web pages, links, files, and labels) form the core of
most online courses. Most student/teacher interaction will be about something that
the student has read or viewed. Adding static material first gives you a chance to
think about how the material will be discussed and used. In later chapters, you'll
see how to add more interactive material. The interactive material will allow the
teacher to see student performance, and assess how well they have assimilated the
static material.
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Lessons and Assignments
Course activities enable students to interact with the instructor, the learning
system, or each other. Note that Moodle doesn't categorize activities into "Static,"
"Interactive", and "Social" as we do in this book. In Moodle, all activities are added
from the Add an activity menu, after selecting the option Turn editing on. We use
the terms "Static", "Interactive", and "Social" as a convenient way to categorize the
activities that Moodle offers.
In the previous chapter, we saw how to add static course material, such as web
pages, links, and media. In this chapter, we will see how to add two kinds of
interactive course material: Lessons and Assignments.
An assignment is an activity completed offline, outside of Moodle. When the student
completes the assignment, they either uploads a file for the instructor's review or
reports to the instructor in some other way. Regardless of whether the assignment
requires a file to be uploaded, the student receives a grade for the assignment.
A lesson is a series of web pages displayed in a given order, where the next page
displayed might depend upon the student's answer to a question. Usually, the "jump
question" is used to test a student's understanding of the material. Get it right, and
you proceed to the next item. Get it wrong, and you either stay on the page or jump
to a remedial page. But the jump question could just as easily ask a student what
they are interested in learning next, or some other exploratory question.
A lesson gives Moodle some of the branching capability found in commercial
computer-based training (CBT) products. You could make a course consisting
of just a summary, one large lesson, and a quiz.
Adding Interaction with Lessons and Assignments
Adding assignments
After logging in as a teacher, and turning on editing, you can add an assignment
from the Add an activity menu. In the following screenshot you can see that we are
adding one of the four types of Assignments available:
Adding different types of assignments
You can select from four types of assignments, as listed below. Each is explained in
the following sections.
•
Upload a single file
•
Advanced uploading of files
•
Online text
•
Offline activity
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Uploading a single file
Use the Uploading a single file assignment type when you want the student to
submit a single file online. The following screenshot shows what the student sees
before (s)he submits the file:
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The following screenshot shows what the student sees after submitting (uploading)
the file and once the submission has been graded by the teacher:
Advanced uploading of files
Just as with the Upload a single file assignment type, the Advanced uploading of
files type of assignment allows each student to upload a file in any format. However,
the student can upload multiple versions, or drafts, of the file. Until the student
uploads the final version of the file, the submission is marked as a draft.
The teacher determines how many versions can be uploaded when (s)he creates the
assignment. The student indicates that a file is the final version, up to the limit, that
the teacher set.
Students can also enter notes for the submitted file. In the following screenshot, you
can see that a student has uploaded a file, added a note, and that the submission is
still a draft. Notice:
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•
The student can replace the existing file by uploading another one. That will
count as another draft.
•
The Edit button enables the student to edit the note.
•
The Send for marking button allows the student to call this the final
submission, even if they haven't submitted the maximum number of
drafts allowed.
Creating an online text assignment
Select an Online text assignment type when you want the student to create a page
online. Although it's called "Online text" assignment, note that the student can
include anything on the page that you can include in a web page, such as graphics
and links. That's because the student creates the page using Moodle's built-in web
page editor. If you include this assignment type, consider giving your students
directions on how to use the online editor to insert graphics, links, multimedia, and
tables. Most of the functions of the online editor are self-explanatory, especially for a
generation of bloggers, but these functions might give your students some problems
if you don't explain them.
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While grading the assignment, the teacher can edit the student's online text page.
When the student clicks on the assignment to see their grade, the student also
sees the original and edited versions of their page.
In the following screenshot, notice that the student has a full-featured online word
processor in which to post their response:
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If the teacher allows resubmission of the assignment, then the back-and-forth of
feedback and grading can continue until the teacher decides upon the final grade
for the assignment.
Offline activity
Select the Offline activity when you want the student to do something outside
of Moodle. Note that "outside of Moodle" doesn't have to mean "offline". The
assignment could be something elsewhere on the Web. Or it could be completely
offline, such as taking a photograph or visiting a museum.
Although the work is performed outside of Moodle, the teacher still records the
grade in Moodle.
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Creating an assignment
Adding an assignment automatically brings up the Editing Assignment window, as
shown in the following screenshot:
The Assignment name field is displayed on the course page. When a student clicks
on the name, the Description field is displayed. The description should provide
complete instructions for completing and submitting the assignment.
Assignments that are due soon will appear in the Upcoming Events block. If you do
not set a due date, by default it will be set to the current date (the day on which you
created the assignment). This will make the assignment show up in the Upcoming
Events block, as if it's overdue. Make sure that you set an appropriate due date for
the assignment.
Other settings in the Editing assignment window control the behavior of
the assignment.
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The setting for Allow resubmitting determines if a student can retry an assignment
after (s)he has submitted it.
Selecting Email alerts to teachers causes an e-mail to be sent to the teacher(s) when a
student submits an assignment.
Email alerts are especially useful in courses where you allow
students to proceed at their own pace, as otherwise you will not
know what activities they have completed unless you check in
to the course and look at the gradebook.
Comment inline is unique to online text assignments. Selecting this option makes it
easier for the teacher to comment on the text that the student has submitted.
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Printer-friendly directions
As assignments are completed offline, you may want the directions to be
printer‑friendly so that students can take the directions with them. Make sure that
any graphics that you've embedded into the Description field are less than the
width of the printed page. Alternatively, you can upload the directions as an Adobe
Acrobat (.pdf) file, and use the Description field to instruct students to print the
directions and take the directions with them.
Making it clear that assignments are mandatory
On the course's Home Page, an assignment link appears with its own icon, like
this: . It is not immediately apparent to a new student that this icon means "Do
this assignment." You might want to use a label to indicate that the assignment is
something that the student should do. In the following example, a label instructs the
student to complete the assignment and a multiple-choice survey question:
You can also label the individual activities with an imperative, such as "Read about
the plants around you" or "Answer a survey question about your experience with
edible plants".
Assignments are always added to the Upcoming Events block. Even if you have no
other events planned for the course (such as a field trip, discussion, chat, and so on),
if you have an assignment consider adding the Upcoming Events block. This will
serve as an additional reminder for the students.
Lesson
A Lesson is the most complex, and most powerful, type of activity. Essentially, a
Lesson is a series of web pages that presents information and questions.
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A Moodle lesson can be a powerful combination of instruction and assessment.
Lessons offer the flexibility of a web page, the interactivity of a quiz, and
also provide branching capabilities.
What is a lesson?
A lesson consists of a series of web pages. Usually, a lesson page contains some
instructional material, and a "jump question" about the material that the student
just viewed. The "jump question" is used to test a student's understanding of the
material. Get it right, and you proceed to the next item. Get it wrong, and you're
either taken back to the instructional page or are taken to a remedial page. But the
jump question could just as easily ask a student what he is interested in learning
next, or who her favorite candidate is, or be labeled Continue and take the student to
the next page.
The following is a screenshot of a lesson page. Its purpose is instructional. It appears
like any normal web page. Indeed, you can put anything on a lesson page that you
can put on any other Moodle web page.
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At the bottom of the lesson page is a Continue button. In this lesson, when
the student clicks this button, (s)he is taken the question page, as shown in the
following screenshot:
Each answer displays different feedback, just like a quiz:
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If the student answers correctly, (s)he is taken to the next instructional page. An
incorrect answer takes the student to a remedial page. The following screenshot
is an example of a remedial page:
This is the simplest sequence for a lesson in Moodle. You can also add a few, more
advanced features. We'll discuss these later, after looking at the basic features.
Configuring lesson settings
When you first create a lesson, you are presented with a window where you choose
settings for the entire lesson. Before you can add even a single page to a lesson,
you must specify the lesson settings. If you're not sure about any of these settings,
just take your best guess. You can always return to this page and change the
settings later.
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Remember, one of the advantages of Moodle is the ease with which you
can experiment with and change your course material. Get accustomed
to taking a bolder, more experimental approach to using Moodle and you
will enjoy it a lot more.
The Editing Lesson window is broken into six areas:
•
General
•
Grade options
•
Flow control
•
Lesson formatting
•
Access control
•
Dependent on
•
Pop-up to file or web page
•
Other
•
Common Module Settings
In this section, we'll go through the Editing Lesson page from top to bottom. We'll
discuss most of the settings, and focus on the ones that are most useful for creating
the effect of a deck of flash cards. So, by the end of this section, you will understand
how most of the settings on the Editing Lesson page affect the student's experience.
General settings
Each of the General settings is described in the following subsection.
Name
This is the name of the lesson, which students will see on the course's home page.
Time limit
This is the time limit for the entire lesson (not for each individual page). Enabling
this option displays a timer, with a countdown. The timer uses JavaScript, so to
use this feature your students must have JavaScript installed and enabled in
their browsers.
When the time limit is reached, the student is not ejected from the
lesson. The student remains in the lesson. However, any question
that the student answers after the time limit is reached does not
count towards the student's grade.
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Maximum number of answers/branches
At the bottom of each question page in a lesson, you can place a quiz question.
Maximum number of answers/branches specifies the maximum number of answers
that each question can have. If each answer sends the student to a different page,
then the number of answers is also the number of branches possible. For True/False
questions, set this to 2. After creating question pages, you can increase or decrease
this setting without affecting the questions that you have already created.
Grade options
If a lesson is being used only for practice, most of the grade options are irrelevant.
Practice lesson
If you set Practice lesson to Yes, this lesson will not show up in the Gradebook.
Custom scoring
Normally, a correct answer in a question is worth the entire point value for the
question, and each wrong answer is worth zero. Enabling custom scoring allows
you to set a point value for each individual answer in a question. Use this if some
answers are "more right" or "more wrong" than others. You can also use this to set
the point value for a question. If a specific question is more important than others in
the same lesson, use custom scoring to give it more points.
Maximum grade
If you set Maximum grade to 0, the lesson does not appear in any of the Grades
pages, and the student's score in this lesson will not affect the student's final grade
for the course.
Student can re-take
This setting determines if the student can repeat the lesson.
Handling of re-takes
This setting is relevant only if the student is allowed to repeat the lesson (the setting
Student can re-take is set to Yes). When the students are allowed to re-take the lesson,
the grades shown in the Grades page are either the average of the re-takes or the
student's best grade, depending on the value of this setting.
Display ongoing score
When this is set to Yes, each page of the lesson displays the student's score and the
number of possible points so far.
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Notice that selecting this option displays the number of points that the
student could have earned for the pages that , depending on the value of
this setting viewed so far.
If a lesson is not linear-that is, if it branches-then the path that each student takes
through the lesson can change. This means that each student can have the chance
to earn a different number of points. So in a branching lesson, the "total number of
points possible for the entire lesson" is not meaningful because the lesson can be
different for different students. For example, you might create a lesson with many
branches and pages, and then, require the student to earn at least 200 points on that
lesson. This would encourage the student to explore the lesson and try different
branches until (s)he has earned the required points.
Flow control
Some of the options under Flow control make the lesson behave more like a flash
card deck. Other settings on this page become irrelevant when a lesson is used for
flash cards.
Allowing student review: Allow student review allows a student to go backwards
in a lesson, and retry questions that (s)he got wrong. This differs from just using the
Back button on the browser, in that the setting enables the student to retry questions,
whereas using the Back button does not.
In the preceding screenshot, look at the setting for Action after correct answer.
Notice that in this case it is set to Show an unanswered Page. That means that after
a student answers a question correctly, Moodle will display a page that the student
either hasn't seen or that (s)he answered incorrectly. The Show an unanswered Page
setting is usually used during a flash card lesson to give the student second chances
at answering questions correctly. During a practice lesson, you will usually use
Allow student review to allow students to go back to questions that they got wrong.
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Providing option to try a question again: Selecting Provide option to try a question
again displays a message after the student incorrectly answers a question. The
message invites the student to try the question again, but for no points:
When you create a question in a Lesson, you can create feedback for each of the
answers to that question. However, if you set Provide option to try a question again
to Yes, Moodle will override the feedback that you created for the answers. Instead,
it will display the message shown in the preceding screenshot.
If you created custom feedback for the answers in your Lesson, but
Moodle is not displaying the feedback that you created, check the
Provide option to try a question again setting. It might be set to
Yes. Set it to No, and your custom feedback will be displayed.
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Setting Maximum number of attempts: The Maximum number of attempts setting
determines how many times a student can attempt any question. It applies to all
questions in the lesson.
Setting Minimum number of questions: The Minimum number of questions
setting sets the lower limit for the number of questions used to calculate a student's
grade on the lesson. It is relevant only when the lesson is going to be graded. If the
student doesn't answer this minimum number of questions, then the lesson is
not graded.
If you don't see this setting, it is probably because you have Practice lesson
set to Yes. Set Practice lesson to No, save the page, and then you should see
this setting appear.
Displaying default feedback: If Display default feedback is set to Yes, if Moodle
does not see any custom feedback that you created for a question, it will display a
default message like "That's correct" or "That's incorrect". If you set this to No, and
Moodle does not see any custom feedback that you created for a question, then
Moodle will not display any feedback when the student answers the question.
Displaying left menu: Selecting Display left menu displays a navigation bar on
the leftmost side of the slide show window. The navigation bar allows the student
to navigate to any slide. Without this navigation bar, the student must proceed
through the slide show in the order that Moodle displays the lesson pages, and must
complete the lesson to exit (or the student can force the window to close). Sometimes,
you want a student to complete the entire lesson, in order, before allowing him or
her to move freely around the lesson. The setting for Only display if Student has
grade greater than accomplishes this. Only if the student has achieved the specified
grade will (s)he see the navigation menu. You can use this setting to ensure that
the student goes completely through the lesson the first time, before allowing the
student to freely move around the lesson.
Displaying Progress bar: The Progress Bar setting displays a progress bar at the
bottom of the lesson.
The Setting Number of pages (cards) to show determines how many pages are
shown. If the lesson contains more than this number, the lesson ends after reaching
the number specified here. If the lesson contains fewer than this number, the lesson
ends after every card has been shown. If you set this to zero, the lesson ends when all
cards have been shown.
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Flow control: Advanced settings
The settings under Flow control's Advanced settings can be used to turn the lesson
into a slide show, which appears in a pop-up window. The Slide Show setting
creates the slide show window, when set to Yes. Slide show width, height, and
background color set the format of the slide show. The background color setting
uses the Web's 6-letter code for colors. This code is officially called the "Hex RGB".
For a chart of these color codes, try a web search on the terms "hex rgb chart" or
you can see a partial chart at http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-css3-color20010305#x11-color.
Popup to file or web page
When the student launches the lesson, you can cause a new web page or file to
be launched at the same time as the lesson. This page or file will be launched in a
separate window. This enables you to use the page or file as the focal point for your
lesson. For example, you could launch an animation of a beating heart in a pop-up
window, and use the lesson to point out parts of the heart and quiz the student on
what each part does during the heartbeat.
Moodle will display the following file types in their own viewer:
MP3
Plain Text
Media Player
GIF
Quicktime
JPEG
Realmedia
PNG
HTML
File types for which Moodle does not have a built-in viewer are launched via a
download link instead.
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Even if your file type is supported by one of Moodle's viewers, you might want to
embed the file in a web page instead. Putting the file on a web page allows you to
write an explanation at the top of the page, such as "You will refer to this graphic
during the lesson. Reposition this window and the lesson window so that you can
see both windows at the same time, or easily switch between the two".
If you combine this with the Slide show setting that we saw earlier in this chapter,
you'll have the Moodle slide show displayed in one window, and the specified file
displayed in another.
A lesson can be graded or ungraded. You also can allow students to retake the
lesson. Even though Moodle allows you to grade a lesson, remember that a lesson's
primary purpose is to teach, not to test.
Don't use a Lesson to do the work of a Quiz or Assignment.
The lesson's score is there to give you feedback on the effectiveness of each page, and
to allow students to judge their own progress.
Adding the first question page
Immediately after you save your lesson settings, Moodle presents you with the
following page:
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At this point, it is time to create the first question page, or import question pages
from another system. Let's take a look at each of your options.
Importing questions
If you choose to Import questions, you can import questions created in another
instance of Moodle or from other online learning systems. Some of the formats that
you can import are:
GIFT and Moodle XML These are Moodle's proprietary formats. GIFT is text only, and
XML can include graphics and special characters.
Aiken
This format is used for multiple-choice questions.
Missing Word
This format is used for missing word multiple choice questions.
Blackboard
If you're converting from Blackboard to Moodle, you can export
questions from Blackboard and import them into Moodle.
WebCT
This format supports multiple choices and short answers
questions from WebCT.
Course Test Manager
If you're converting from Course Test Manager to Moodle, you
can export questions from Course Test Manager and import
them into Moodle.
Embedded Answers
(Cloze)
This format is a multiple question, multiple answer question
with embedded answers.
Each question that you import will create a lesson page.
Importing PowerPoint
Basic text and graphics can be imported from PowerPoint into Moodle, but advanced
features are lost.
If you've created a complex PowerPoint presentation—with animations,
special text effects, branching, and other advanced features—don't expect
to import those advanced features into a Moodle lesson.
Before you import your PowerPoint slideshow, you must export it as a series of web
pages. This ability is built into PowerPoint, so it is not difficult and does not require
additional software. But you should be aware that Moodle does not read PowerPoint
files directly. Instead, it reads the web pages that PowerPoint exports.
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Adding a content page
A content page consists of a page of links to the other pages in your lesson. At
this point, immediately after you've finished the lesson settings page, your lesson
doesn't have any pages. However, if you want to begin your lesson with a page of
instructions, you can add a content page and make it jump to the next page. Creating
a content page would look like this:
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When the student runs the lesson, that content page will look like this:
Adding a cluster
A cluster is a group of question pages. Within this cluster, you can require that the
student correctly answer a number of questions before being allowed to proceed out
of the cluster. This enables you to test that a student understands a concept before
moving on.
Alternatively, you can display a random page from the cluster, and from that page,
proceed to any other page in the lesson. This enables you to send students down
random pathways in the lesson, so that not all students have the same experience.
A cluster consists of a beginning cluster page, and end of cluster page, and pages in
between them.
Adding a question page
This option enables you to add a question page to your lesson, using Moodle's
built-in editor. The process for creating a question page is covered in the next
section, Creating the question pages.
Try adding your question pages first. Then, put a content page with instructions
at the beginning of the lesson. If necessary, organize your question pages into
branches or clusters. Finally, end the lesson with a content page to say good-bye
to the student.
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Creating the question pages
After you fill out and save the Settings page, it is time to create the first question
page. Even though it's called a "question page", the page can contain more than just
a question. It's a web page, so you can add any content to it. Usually, it contains
information and a question to test the student's understanding. You can choose
from the following types of questions:
•
Multiple choice
•
True/false
•
Short answer
•
Numeric
•
Matching
•
Essay
You can also create feedback for each answer to the question, similar to creating
feedback for the answers in a quiz question. You can also make the lesson jump
to a new page, based upon the answer that the student provides.
In the following example, you can see that the question page contains some text, a
graphic, and three answers to the question. Notice that for each answer, there is a
Response that the student sees immediately after submitting the answer. There is
also a Jump for each answer. For the two incorrect answers, the Jump displays the
same page. This allows the student to try again. For the correct answer, the Jump
displays the next page in the lesson.
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Page Title
The Page Title will be displayed at the top of the page when it is shown in the lesson.
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Page contents
As was said before, a lesson page is really a web page. It can contain anything that
you can put on any other Moodle web page. Usually, it will contain information and
then a question to test the student's understanding.
Answers
The Answers will be displayed at the bottom of the lesson page, after the Page
Contents. The student selects an answer in response to the question posed in the
Page Contents.
Responses
For each Answer that the student selects, its Response is shown before the student is
taken to a new page.
Jumps
Each Answer that a student selects results in a Jump to a page.
This Page
If Jump is set to This page, the student stays on the same page. The student can then
answer the same question again.
Next or Previous Page
If Jump is set to Next page or Previous page, the student is taken to the next or
previous page respectively. Be aware that this is a relative jump, so if. After you
rearrange the pages in a lesson, this jump might give you different results.
Specific Pages
You can select a specific page to jump to. The drop-down list displays all of the
lesson's pages' titles. If you select a specific page to jump to, the jump will remain
the same even if you rearrange the pages in your lesson.
Unseen Question within a Cluster
Recall that a Branch Table is a table of contents, listing the pages in a lesson. When
you insert a Branch Table into a lesson, you can also insert an End of Branch later in
the same lesson. The pages between the Branch Table and End of Branch become a
Branch. For example, a lesson with two Branches might look like this:
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Cluster 1
Question Page
Question Page
Question Page
End of Cluster
Cluster 2
Question Page
Question Page
Question Page
End of Cluster
For a Jump, if you select Unseen question with a branch, the student will be taken
to a question page that (s)he has not yet answered correctly in this session. That
question page will be in the same cluster as the current page.
Unseen question with a branch takes the student to a question page that
(s)he hasn't answered correctly. The student might have seen the page
before, but answered it incorrectly.
Random Question within a Content Page
For a Jump, if you select Random question within a content page, the student will
be taken to a random question page in the same cluster as the current page.
In the Lesson Settings page, if Maximum number of attempts is set to something
greater than 1, the student might see a page that (s)he has seen before, but a
previously-viewed page will only be re-displayed if Maximum number of attempts
is greater than 1. If it's set to 1, a random question page that the student has not seen
before will be displayed, which has the same effect as choosing Unseen question
within a cluster.
To restate this: When the lesson setting Maximum number of attempts is set to 1,
then Random question within a content page acts exactly like Unseen question
within a cluster. When Maximum number of attempts is set to greater than 1, then
Random question within a content page displays a truly random question.
One strategy for using this setting is to forgo the use of Unseen question within a
cluster. Whenever you want to use Unseen question within a cluster, instead use
Random question within a content page and set the Maximum number of attempts
to 1. Then you have the option of converting all of your lessons to random jumps just
by setting Maximum number of attempts to 2 or greater.
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Creating pages and then assigning jumps
When filling out a question page, Answer1 is automatically assumed to be the correct
answer, so Jump1 automatically reads Nextpage. This is because in most cases, you
want a correct response to result in the next page in the lesson being displayed.
However, you can select any existing page in the lesson for the jump. Note that when
you are filling out the first question page, there are no other pages to jump to, so the
jumps on the first page will all read This page. After creating more pages, you can go
back and change the jumps.
It is usually more efficient to create all of your question pages first, and
then go back and assign the jumps.
The jumps that you create will determine the order in which the pages are presented
to the student. For any answer, you can select a jump to the last page of the lesson.
The last page displays an end-of-lesson message and, if you choose, the grade for the
lesson. It also displays a link that takes the student back to the course's Home Page.
The flow of pages
The most obvious usag of question pages and jumps is to enforce a straight-through
lesson structure. A correct answer results in a positive response, such as "That's
correct!" and then jumps to the next page. An incorrect answer results in a negative
response or a correction. An incorrect answer can then redisplay the page so the
student can try again, as in the preceding example. (Jump1:This page). Alternatively,
an incorrect answer can jump to a remedial page.
The order of pages that the student would follow if (s)he answered every question
correctly is called the logical order. This is what the teacher sees when editing the
lesson, and when displaying all of the pages in the same window.
Question pages without questions
In previous versions of Moodle, if you wanted a page without a question, you would
need to create a question page and just not supply any answers. By omitting the
answers, Moodle displayed a Continue link that took the student to the next page.
In Moodle 2.0, you are required to add an answer to a Question page. If you want an
informative page without a question, then you should create a Content page. On the
Content page, create just one link, which jumps to the next page.
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Editing the lesson
After you've created several lesson pages, you might want to see and edit the flow of
the lesson. You can do this on the Edit tab.
Collapsed and expanded
The Edit tab is where you edit the content of your lesson. From here, you add, delete,
rearrange, and edit individual lesson pages.
On the Edit tab, when you select Collapsed, you see a list of all of the pages in your
lesson, like the example shown in the following screenshot:
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The pages are listed in their logical order, which would be the shortest path through
the lesson if a student got all of the questions correct. Notice that the contents of
the pages are not displayed. The purpose of this screen is not to edit individual
questions, but to help you see the flow of the lesson.
Rearranging pages
To rearrange the pages, click the up/down arrow for the page that you want to
move. Note that it is the jumps that determine the order in which Moodle presents
the pages. If a question is set to jump to the next page, rearranging the pages can
change the jumps. A question can also be set to jump to a specific, named page. In
that case the order in which the pages appear doesn't determine the landing point
for the jump, so rearranging the pages here won't affect that jump.
Editing pages
From the Edit tab, to edit a page, click the edit icon: . Clicking this takes you to
the editing page for that page. The previous section in this chapter gave detailed
instructions for editing a lesson page.
Adding pages
The Add a page here drop-down list allows you to insert a new page into the lesson.
You can choose from several different kinds of pages:
•
A Question page is the normal, lesson page.
•
As stated before, a Content page is a page that contains links to other pages
in your lesson.
•
A Cluster is a group of question pages, where one is chosen at random.
Content pages
You can add a Content page, which allows students to jump to other pages in
your lesson. A Content page consists of a page of links to the other pages in your
lesson. This page of links can act as a table of contents. For example, suppose you're
developing
a lesson on William Wallace. The traditional way of teaching about a person's life is
to organize the information in a timeline. That would be easily accomplished with
a straight-through lesson like the one described above. But suppose you wanted
to teach about the different areas of a person's life, and they do not all fit well
on a timeline.
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For example, Wallace's historical achievements would fit well on a timeline. But a
timeline might not be the best way to teach about Wallace's personal beliefs and
religion. Wallace's family might fit well on a timeline, but background information
about the culture and society in which he lived might not. A straight-through lesson
might not be the best way to present Wallace's life. Instead, you might use a
content page.
In this content page, each link could be an aspect of Wallace's life: historical
achievements, personal beliefs, family, and the world in which he lived. At the
beginning of the lesson, the student would choose a branch to explore. At the end
of each branch, the student would choose between going back to the content page
(beginning of the lesson), or exiting the lesson.
You can mark the end of a branch with an End of Branch page. This page returns
the student back to the preceding content page. You can edit this return jump, but
most often, you would want to leave it as it is. If you do not mark the end of a
branch with an End of Branch page, you will proceed out of the branch and on
to the next question.
Summary
Moodle's assignments and lessons allow you to create course material that students
interact with. This interaction is more engaging, and usually more effective, than
courses consisting of static material that the students view. While you will probably
begin creating your course by adding static material, the next step should usually be
to ask, "How can I add interactivity to this course?" Lessons can even take the place
of many static web pages, as they consist of web pages with a question at the end of
each page.
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Evaluating Students with
Quizzes, Choices, and
Feedback
Moodle gives you several options for evaluating your students. In this chapter, we
will cover several of those options. In this chapter, we will cover the activity types
listed in the following table:
Activity
Description
Choice
A choice is essentially a single, multiple-choice question that the
instructor asks the class. The result can be displayed to the class, or kept
between the individual student and the instructor. Choices are a good
way to get feedback from the students about the class. You can plant
these choices in your course ahead of time, and keep them hidden until
you need the students' feedback. You can also add them as needed.
Quiz
Questions that you create while making a quiz in one course can be
reused in other courses. We'll cover creating question categories,
creating questions, and choosing meaningful question names.
Feedback
???
If you want to evaluate your students' knowledge, use a Quiz. If you want to
evaluate their attitude towards the class, use Feedback. And if you want to
share the results of question that you pose to the class, use a Choice.
Evaluating Students with Quizzes, Choices, and Feedback
Creating quizzes
Moodle offers a flexible quiz builder. Each question is a full-featured web page that
can include any valid HTML code. This means that a question can include text,
images, sound files, movie files, and anything else that you can put on a web page.
In most instructor-led courses, a quiz or test is a major event. Handing out the
quizzes, stopping class to take them, and grading them can take a lot of the teacher's
time. In Moodle, creating, taking, and grading quizzes is much faster. This means
that you can use quizzes liberally throughout your courses. For example, you can:
•
Use a short quiz after each reading assignment to ensure that the students
completed the reading. You can shuffle the questions and answers to prevent
sharing among the students, and make the quiz available only for the week
or month in which the students are supposed to complete the reading.
•
Use a quiz as a practice test. Allow several attempts, and/or use the
Adaptive mode to allow students to attempt a question until they get
it right. Then the quiz becomes both practice and learning material.
•
Use a quiz as a pretest. Ask the students to complete a quiz even before they
come to the course. The students can complete this pretest at a time and place
that is convenient for them. Then, you can compare their scores on the pretest
and their scores on the final test, and confirm that learning has occurred.
Question Banks
In this chapter, you will see how to create a quiz and add questions to the quiz.
During that process, keep in mind that when you create a question, you are adding
that question to Moodle's Question Bank.
The Question Bank is Moodle's collection of quiz questions. A Quiz is really just a
place where you choose questions from the Question Bank, and display them all
together. A Quiz can be deleted, but the questions still remain in the Question Bank.
The questions in the Question Bank can be categorized and shared. The real asset in
your learning site is not the Quizzes, but the Question Bank that you and your fellow
teachers build over time.
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Configuring quiz settings
When you first create a quiz, you see the Settings page. The settings that you select
on this page affect only that Quiz. Also, questions are added separately from the
Quiz. So while these settings affect the Quiz that you are creating, they do not affect
other Quizzes or the Questions that you will be adding to the Quiz.
The Settings page is divided into nine areas. Let's look at the settings under each
area, from top to bottom.
General
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The Name of the quiz is displayed on the course's home page. The Introduction is
displayed when a student selects the quiz, as shown in the following screenshot:
The Introduction should explain why the student is taking the quiz. It should also
tell the student about any unusual features of the quiz, for example, if it uses an
animation that requires the Flash plugin, or if it uses a pop-up window. Remember
that once the student clicks on the Attempt quiz now button, they are into the quiz.
So give the student everything they need to understand why and how to take the
quiz before clicking on that button.
The Open and Close dates determine when the quiz is available. If you do not select
the Enable checkbox for Open the quiz, the quiz will be permanently open, instead
of becoming available on a given date. If you do not select the Enable checkbox for
Close the quiz, then once the quiz is open, it will stay open permanently, instead of
becoming unavailable on a given date.
Note that even if the quiz is closed, it is still shown on the course's Home
Page and students might still try to select it. If they do select a closed quiz,
the students see a message saying that it is closed.
If you want to hide a quiz, further down on this page you will see the setting Visible.
Change this setting to Hide, and the quiz will no longer be visible.
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By default, a quiz does not have a Time limit. If you want to set a time limit, use this
setting. When time runs out, the quiz is automatically submitted with the answers
that have been provided up to that point. A time limit can help to prevent the use
of reference materials while taking the quiz. For example, if you want students to
answer the questions from memory, but all the answers are in the course textbook,
setting a timer might discourage students from taking the time to look up the answer
to each question.
Attempts allowed can be used to limit the number of times that a student can take
the quiz. Further down the page, you can choose settings that require the student to
wait between attempts. If, and only if, you enable multiple attempts, the time delay
settings will take effect.
Layout
The settings under Layout control the order of the questions in the quiz, and how
many questions appear on a page.
Question order determines whether the questions appear in the order that you
place them when editing the questions, or in a random order. The random order will
change each time the quiz is displayed. This discourages the sharing of quiz answers
among students, and encourages them to focus on the wording when they retake
a quiz.
New page determines where page breaks will fall. Will you have a page break
after every question, every 2 questions, and so on? On the page where you edit the
questions for the quiz, you can move these page breaks.
By default, all questions in a quiz are displayed on the same page. New page breaks
the quiz up into smaller pages. Moodle inserts the page breaks for you. On the
Editing quiz page, you can move these page breaks. If you want to break up your
quiz into pages so that each hold the same number of questions, then this setting
will work for you. If you want to break up your quiz into pages that hold different
numbers of questions, then use this setting anyway, and edit the page breaks that
Moodle creates for you.
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Question behavior
The setting Shuffle within questions enables you to present the parts of a question
in random order. This only works if three conditions are true. First, this option must
be set to Yes. Second, the question must have several parts, for example as a multiple
choice question or a matching question. This setting has no effect on something like a
fill-in-the-blank question. Third, each question also has a "shuffle" setting of its own,
and that must also be set to Yes.
The Adaptive mode setting allows multiple attempts for each question. This is
different from Attempts allowed, which allows multiple attempts at the whole quiz.
When you make a quiz adaptive, each question offers you the option to:
•
Display a message if the student answered incorrectly, and redisplay the
question.
•
Display a message if the student answered incorrectly, and then display a
different question.
Clicking on the Show Advanced button reveals two more settings.
Apply penalties will subtract a penalty from the quiz score, for a wrong answer. For
each question that the student answers incorrectly, points are subtracted from the
student's score. You can choose the penalty for each question when you create that
question. This only works if three conditions are true. First, Adaptive mode must be
set to Yes. Second, Apply penalties must also be set to Yes. Third, an amount for the
penalty must be specified; this is done in the question itself.
Each attempt builds on the last only has an effect if multiple attempts are allowed.
When this is enabled, each attempt that a student makes will display the results of
the student's previous attempt. The student can then see how they answered and
scored on the previous attempt.
The setting for Each attempt builds on the last is especially useful
when you are using a quiz as a teaching tool, instead of an evaluation
tool. Attempts allowed allows the student to keep trying the quiz. Each
attempt builds on the last retains the answers from one attempt to
another. Taken together, these two settings can be used to create a quiz
that the student can keep trying until they gets it right. This transforms
the quiz from a test into a learning tool.
Review options
Review options determine what information a student can see when they reviews a
quiz, and when they can see that information.
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The information the student can see is shown below:
Setting
Type of information displayed to the student
Responses
This is all of the answers that student had to choose from for a
question.
Answers
These are the answers that the student chose.
Feedback
Each response for a question can have its own feedback. This setting
refers to the feedback for each response that the student selected
(that is, the feedback for each of the student's answers).
General
feedback
Each question can have its own feedback. This feedback is
displayed regardless of how the student answered the question.
This setting displays that general feedback for each question.
Scores
The student's scores, or points earned, for each question.
Overall
feedback
Overall feedback is given for the student's score on the quiz.
The settings for when the information is revealed are as follows:
Time Period
Meaning
Immediately
after the attempt
Within two minutes of finishing the quiz.
Later, while the
quiz is still open
Two minutes after the quiz is finished, for as long as the quiz is
available to the student.
After the quiz is
closed
After the date and time set in Close the quiz has passed. If you
never close the quiz, this setting has no effect.
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Display
The settings under Display affect information that is displayed while the student is
taking the quiz.
If Show the user's picture is set to Yes, then while the student is taking the quiz, the
student's profile picture and name will be displayed in the quiz window. This makes
it easier for an exam proctor to confirm that the student is logged in as him or herself.
The proctor can just look over the student's shoulder and see the student's picture
and name on this screen.
The settings for Decimal places in grades and Decimal places in question grades
affect the display of the grades that are shown to the student. The first setting affects
the display of the overall grade for the quiz. The second setting affects the display of
the grade for each, individual question.
No matter how many decimal places you display, Moodle's database calculates the
grades with full accuracy.
When you create a course, you can add blocks to the left side bar and the right side
bars. The setting for Show blocks during quiz attempts determines if these blocks
are displayed while the student is taking the quiz. Normally, this is set to No so
that the student is not distracted while taking the quiz.
Extra restrictions on attempts
If you enter anything into the Require password field, the student must enter that
password to access the quiz.
With Require network address, you can restrict access to the quiz to particular IP
address(es). For example:
•
146.203.59.235 is a single IP address. It would permit a single computer to
access the quiz. If this computer is acting as a proxy, the other computers
"behind" it can also access the quiz.
•
146.203 is a range of IP addresses. It would permit any IP address starting
with those numbers. If those numbers belong to your company, then you
effectively limit access to the quiz to your company's campus.
•
146.203.59.235/20 is a subnet. It would permit the computers on that subnet
to access the quiz.
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The Enforced delay settings prevent students from attempting the quiz without
waiting between attempts. If you show the students the correct answers after they
submit the quiz, you might want to set a delay between attempts. This prevents
students from attempting the quiz, seeing the correct answers, and then immediately
trying the quiz again while those answers are fresh in their memory.
If Browser security is set to Full-screen popup…, the quiz is launched in a new
browser window. It uses JavaScript to disable copying, saving, and printing.
However, this security is not foolproof and ins intended more as a deterrent.
Techniques for greater security
You should understand that the only way to make a test secure, is to give the test
on paper, separate the students far enough apart so that they can't see each other's
papers, place a proctor in the room to observe the students, and use different
questions for each group that takes the test. There is no way to make a web-based
test completely cheat proof. If you absolutely must give a web-based test that is
resistant to cheating, consider these strategies:
•
Create a very large number of questions, but have the quiz show only a small
set of them. This makes the sharing of questions less useful.
•
Shuffle the questions and the answers. This also makes the sharing of
questions more difficult.
•
Apply a time limit. This makes using reference material more difficult.
•
Open the quiz for only a few hours. Have your students schedule the time
to take the quiz. Make yourself available during this time to help with
technical issues.
•
Place one question on each page of the quiz. This discourages students from
taking screenshots of the entire quiz.
Grades
If you allow several attempts, the grading method determines which grade is
recorded in the course's gradebook: the Highest, Average, First, or Last grade.
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Apply penalties only applies when a quiz is adaptive. For each question the student
answers wrongly, points are subtracted from the student's score. You can choose
the penalty for each question when you create that question. (See the setting for
Adaptive, above)
Decimal digits apply to the student's grade.
Students may review
The Students may review setting controls if and when a student can review his/
her attempts at the quiz. If you allow the student to review the quiz Immediately
after submitting his/her answers, but not Later or After the quiz is closed, then
the student can review the quiz only once, immediately after submission. When the
student navigates away from that review page, they will no longer be able to review
the quiz.
In the matrix, Responses means the student's answers to the questions. Scores is the
point value for each question. Feedback is individual feedback for each question.
Answers is the correct answer(s) for each question. General feedback is feedback for
the entire quiz.
Security
Show quiz in a "secure" window launches the quiz in a new browser window.
JavaScript is used to disable copying, saving, and printing. This security is not
foolproof. If you enter anything into Require password, the student must enter
that password to access the quiz.
Overall feedback
Moodle enables you to create several different kinds of feedback for a quiz. You can
create feedback for:
•
The entire quiz, which changes with the student's score. This is called
Overall Feedback, and uses a feature called Grade Boundary.
•
A question, no matter what the student's score was on that question. All
students receive the same feedback. This is called General Feedback. Each
individual question can have its own General Feedback. The exact type of
feedback that you can create for a question varies with the type of question.
•
A response. This is feedback that the student receives when they selects that
response (that answer) to a question.
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The following screenshot shows Overall Feedback with Grade Boundaries. Students
who score 90—100% on the quiz receive the first feedback, "You're a wizard..."
Students who score 80—89.99% receive the second feedback, "Very good!...":
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Common Module settings
Group mode works the same as it does for any other resource. However, because
each student takes the quiz themselves, the only real use for the group setting in a
quiz is to display the high score for a group in the Quiz Results block.
Visible shows or hides the quiz from students, but, as always, a teacher or course
creator can still see the quiz.
Adding questions to a quiz
After you've selected the quiz from your course home page, you can add questions
to the quiz. First, select Settings | Quiz Administration | Edit quiz. On the Editing
quiz page, you can see the Add a question… button:
Before we look at detailed instructions for creating new questions, look at the button
labeled Question Bank contents. Also, on the Quiz administration menu, you can
see the option for Question bank. These enable you to work with the Question Bank.
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The Question Bank
The Question Bank is the collection of quiz questions for your Moodle site. You have
access to different questions in the Bank, depending upon where you are in your site.
In the following screenshot, the user is in the Outlining course. The user selected the
Question Bank, and is now selecting the group of questions to work with:
Notice that the user can select questions that are stored for just this quiz (Quiz:
Outlining Quiz), questions that are stored for this course (Course: Outlining), the
category in which the course resides (Category: Academic Demo Courses), or the
entire site (System). If the user switched to another course, the questions for this
quiz and course would be unavailable. But, questions for the new course would be
available. Questions for the system are always available.
Sharing questions
If you want the questions that you create for this quiz to be
available to other users of the site, then create the questions under
Question bank and move them to the Category or to the System
lists. Note that being able to access a question category depends on
your security settings.
As shown in the section Add questions to a quiz, you can create questions directly
to a quiz. As shown in the preceding section, you can also create questions in the
Question Bank, and then later add these to the quiz. If you're in a hurry to create
questions for a quiz, select Edit Quiz and start creating them. You can move them
to the Question Bank later, if required.
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You can display questions from one category at a time. To select that category, use
the Category drop-down list.
If a question is deleted when it is still being used by a quiz, then it is not removed
from the Question Bank. Instead, the question is hidden. The setting Also show old
questions enables you to see questions that were deleted from the category. These
deleted (or hidden, or old,) questions appear in the list with a blue box icon next
to them.
To keep your Question Bank clean and to prevent teachers from using
deleted questions, you can move all of the deleted questions into a
category called "Deleted questions". Create the category "Deleted
questions" and then use Also show old questions to show the deleted
questions. Select them and move them into "Deleted questions".
Moving questions between categories
To move a question into a category, you must have access to the target category. This
means that the target category must be published, so that teachers in all courses can
see it.
Select the question(s) to move, select the category, and then click on the Move
to button.
Managing the proliferation of questions and categories
As the site administrator, you might want to monitor the creation of new question
categories to ensure that they are logically named, don't have a lot of overlap, and
are appropriate for the purpose of your site. As these question categories and the
questions in them are shared among course creators, they can be a powerful tool for
collaboration. Consider using the site-wide Teachers forum to notify your teachers
and course creators of new questions and categories.
Creating and editing question categories
Every question belongs to a category. You manage question categories on the
Categories tabbed page. There will always be a Default category, but before
you create new questions, you might want to check to ensure that you have an
appropriate category in which to put them.
To add a new category, do the following:
1. Select Quiz administration | Question bank | Categories.
2. Scroll to the Add category section, at the bottom of the page.
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3. Select a Parent for the category. If you select Top, the category will be a
top-level category. Or, you can select any other category to which you have
access, and then the new category will be a child of the selected category.
4. In the Name field, enter a name for the new category.
5. In the Category Info field, enter a description of the new category.
6. Click on the Add category button.
To edit a category, do the following:
1. Select Quiz administration | Question bank | Categories.
2. Next to the Category, click on the
is displayed.
icon. The Edit categories page
3. You can edit the Parent, Category name, Category Info, and Publish settings.
4. When you have finished, click on the Update button. Your changes are saved
and you are returned to the Edit categories page.
Creating a question
1. To create a quiz question, begin by selecting Quiz administration | Edit
Quiz. Then, next to Question Bank contents, click on the Show link. The
page will then display the questions that have been added to this quiz, and
will also show the Question Bank.
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This is a two-step process. First, you will create a question, and then you will add
this question to your quiz.
To create a question, do the following:
1. Click on the Create a new question button.
2. From the pop-up window, select the type of question that you want to create.
For an explanation of the different types of questions,
see Question types, below.
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3. Click on the Next button. This brings you to the editing page for that
question. The editing page will be different for each type of question,
but some features are the same for all types of questions.
4. The Name of the question is what the teacher will see when building and
reviewing the quiz. Students don't see this field. Make the name meaningful
to the teacher. For example, "Leaf Question 1" would not be a very
descriptive name, but "PrinciplesofBio-Chap8-Pg3" would tell you the
source of that question. If you forget what a question says, you can
always click on the
button next to the question to preview it.
5. The Question text is the actual question that the students will see.
6. General feedback is feedback that students will see for this question, no
matter which answer they gave. For more about question feedback, see the
section Adding feedback to Questions and Quizzes, earlier in this chapter.
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7. Enter the choices (answers) for the question.
8. At the bottom of the page, you can tag the question.
9. After you save the question, it is added to the list of questions in
that category.
10. To add the question to the quiz, select the checkbox next to the question, and
then click on the Add to quiz button.
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Question types
The following table explains the types of questions that you can create, and gives
some tips for using them.
Type of question
Description and tips for using
Calculated
When you create a calculated question, you enter a formula that is
displayed in the text of the question. The formula can contain one or
more wildcards, which are replaced with numbers when the quiz is
taken. Wildcards are enclosed in curly brackets.
For example, if you type the question What is 3 * {a}?, Moodle will
replace {a} with a random number. You can also enter wildcards into
the answer field, so that the correct answer is 3 * {a}. When the quiz is
run, the question will display What is 3 * {a}? and the correct answer
will be the calculated value of 3 * {a}.
Description
This is not a question. It displays whatever web content you enter.
When you add a description question, Moodle gives you the same
editing screen as when you create a web page.
Recall that under the Quiz tab, you can set page breaks in a quiz.
If you want to break your quiz into sections, and fully explain
each section before the student completes it, consider putting
a Description on the first page of the section. For example, the
Description could say "The following 3 questions are based on this
chart," and show the chart just once.
Essay
When the student is given an essay question, they use Moodle's
online rich-text editor to answer the question. However, if there is
more than one essay question on a page, the rich-text editor appears
only for the first essay question. This is a limitation of Moodle. To
work around this, insert page breaks in your quiz so that each essay
question appears on its own page. You enter page breaks on the
Quiz tabbed page.
Also, you might want to instruct your students to save their essay
every few minutes.
Matching
After you create a matching question, you then create a list of
subquestions, and enter the correct answer for each subquestion.
The student must match the correct answer with each question. Each
subquestion receives equal weight for scoring the question.
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Type of question
Description and tips for using
Embedded Answers
(Cloze)
An embedded answers question consists of a passage of text, with
answers inserted into the text. Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and
numeric answers can be inserted into the question. Moodle's help file
gives the following example:
Notice that the question presents a drop-down list first, which is
essentially a multiple-choice question. Then, it presents a short
answer (fill-in-the-blank) question, followed by a numeric question.
Finally, there's another multiple-choice question (the Yes/No
drop-down) and another numeric question.
There is no graphical interface for creating embedded answers
questions. You need to use a special format that is explained in the
help files.
Multiple Choice
Multiple choice questions allow a student to select a single answer,
or multiple answers. Each answer can count toward a specified
percentage of the question's total point value.
When you allow a student to select only a single answer, you
usually assign a positive score to the one correct answer and zero
or negative points to all of the other, incorrect, answers. When you
allow the student to select multiple answers, you usually assign
partial positive points to each correct answer. That's because you
want all of the correct answers to total 100%. You also usually
assign negative points to each incorrect answer. If you don't bring
down the question's score for each wrong answer, then the student
can score 100% on the question just by selecting all of the answers.
The negative points should be equal to or greater than the positive
points, so that if a student just selects all of the answers, they won't
get a positive score for the question. Don't worry about the student
getting a negative score for the question, because Moodle doesn't
allow that to happen-zero is the lowest possible score.
On the Editing Quiz page, if you have chosen to shuffle the answers,
check all of the multiple choice questions that you use in the quiz. If
any of them have answers like "All of the above" or "Both A. and C."
then shuffling answers will ruin those questions. Instead, change them
to multiple-answer questions, and give partial credit for each correct
answer. For example, instead of "Both A. and C." you would say,
"Select all that apply" and then give partial credit for A. and for C.
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Type of question
Description and tips for using
Short Answer
The student types a word or phrase into the answer field. This is
checked against the correct answer or answers. There may be several
correct answers, with different grades.
Your answers can use the asterisk a wildcard. You cam also set the
answers to be case sensitive.
Numerical
Just as with a short-answer question, the student enters an answer
into the answer field. However, the answer to a numerical question
can have an acceptable error, which you set when creating the
question. For example, you can designate that the correct answer is
5, plus or minus 1. Then, any number from 4 to 6 inclusive will be
marked correct.
Random
When this type of question is added to a quiz, Moodle draws a
question at random from the current category. The question is drawn
at the time that the student takes the quiz. The student will never
see the same question twice during a single attempt at the quiz, no
matter how many random questions you put into the quiz. This
means that the category you use for your random questions must
have at least as many questions as the random ones that you add to
the quiz.
Random Short-Answer
Matching
Recall that a matching question consists of subquestions, and
answers that must be matched to each subquestion. When you select
Random Short-Answer Matching, Moodle draws random shortanswer questions from the current category. It then uses those shortanswer questions, and their answers, to create a matching question.
To the student, this looks just like any other matching question.
The difference is that the subquestions were drawn at random from
short-answer questions in the current category.
True/False
The student selects from two options: True or False.
Adding feedback to a question
Moodle allows you to create several different kinds of feedback for a quiz. You can
create feedback for:
•
The entire quiz, which changes with the student's score. This is called Overall
Feedback, and uses a feature called Grade Boundary.
•
A question. The exact type of feedback that you can create for a question
varies according to the type of question. In this section, we'll look at feedback
for multiple choice questions. In the next section, Assemble the Quiz, we'll look
at feedback for the entire quiz.
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Types of feedback for a question
For a multiple choice question, you can create three kinds of feedback:
Type of feedback
Explanation and when to use it
General Feedback
If you create general feedback for a question, no matter what answer
the student chooses, they will receive that feedback. Every student
who answers the question gets the general feedback. If you think
the student might get the correct answer by guessing, then you
can use general feedback to explain the method of arriving at the
correct answer. Also, consider using general feedback to explain the
importance of the question.
Any correct response
A multiple choice question can have multiple answers that are 100%
correct. For example, "From the list of people below, select one person
who signed the Declaration of Independence." That list could include
several people who signed, and each of them would be 100% correct. If
the student selects any of those 100% correct answers, they will see the
feedback for Any correct response. This is useful when you want to
teach the student which answers are 100% correct, and why they
are correct.
For any partially
correct response
You can create a multiple choice question that requires the student
to select several choices to get full credit. For example, "From the list
of people below, select the two people who signed the Declaration of
Independence." In that case, you could give each response a value of
50%. The student needs to choose both correct responses to receive the
full point value for the question. If the student selects some - but not
all - of the correct choices, they will see the feedback for Any partially
correct response. This is useful when you want to teach the student the
relationship between the correct responses.
For any incorrect
response
Any response with a percentage value of zero or less is considered an
incorrect response. If a student selects any incorrect response, they will
see the feedback for Any incorrect response. This is useful when all
incorrect responses have something in common, and you want to give
the feedback about that commonality.
Remember that these types of feedback are not activated because the student chose a
specific response. They are activated because the student chose any correct, partially
correct, or incorrect response.
If you want to create feedback for individual responses, we will discuss that in the
following section. Feedback for individual responses.
Feedback for individual responses
You can create feedback for any individual response to a question. A response
is an answer that the student chooses or types. Each response can display its
own feedback.
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In the following example, notice how each response has its own feedback. In this
example, if a student selects an incorrect response, they will see feedback for that
specific response, and also the feedback for any incorrect response.
The following screenshot shows a multiple-choice question that uses several kinds of
feedback. You're seeing this question from the course creator's point of view, not the
student's. First, you can see General Feedback, "The truth is, most New Yorkers have
never even thought about the "missing Fourth Avenue" issue.". After the question is
scored, every student sees this feedback, no matter what the student's score.
Following that, you can see that Choice 1 through Choice 4 contain feedback for
each response. This feedback is customized to the response. For example, if a student
selects Sixth Avenue the feedback is "Nope, that name is taken. Sixth is also known
as the "Avenue of the Americas."".
For this question, we don't need any feedback under Any correct answer or Partially
correct answer. Those options are useful when you have multiple responses that
are correct, or responses that are partially correct. In this case, only one response is
correct and all other responses are incorrect.
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Feedback for a numeric question
The following screenshot shows feedback for a numeric answer question. In this
screenshot, notice that the course creator is not using the HTML editor. Instead, the
course creator is editing the questions in plain text. You can turn the HTML editor
off or on for yourself under your Profile, using the HTML Editor setting.
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Notice that the General Feedback explains how the question is solved. This feedback
is displayed to everyone after answering the question, even those who answered
correctly. You might think that if the student answered correctly, they don't need this
explanation. However, if the student guessed or used a different method than that
given in the General Feedback, explaining the solution can help the student learn
from the question.
In a numeric answer question, the student types in a number for the answer. This
means the student could enter literally any number. It would be impossible to create
customized feedback for every possible answer, because the possibilities are infinite.
However, you can create customized feedback for a reasonable number of answers.
In this question, we've created responses for the most likely incorrect answers.
After we've given this test to the first group of students, we'll need to review their
responses for the most frequent incorrect answers. If there are any that we haven't
covered, we'll need to add them to the feedback for this question.
In the following screenshot, notice that each response has customized feedback.
Answer 1 is correct. Answer 2 would be the result of switching the two numbers
while trying to solve the problem. Because this is a likely error, we've included
feedback just for that answer, explaining the error the student made. Answer 3 is the
result of interpreting b3 as "b times 3" instead of "b cubed". This is also a likely error,
so we've included feedback for that answer. Answer 4 is a wildcard, and applies if
the student submitted any answer other than the three above it.
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Assembling the quiz
After you have created the questions, you can begin adding the questions to a quiz.
With the quiz selected, select Settings | Quiz administration | Edit Quiz.
Most of the functions on the Edit Quiz page are self-explanatory. However, here
are some tips for using them. Generally, you'll use the Editing quiz tabbed page to
assemble the quiz, and the Order and paging tabbed page to place the questions in
order and create page breaks.
The Editing quiz tabbed page
Under the Editing quiz tabbed page, you can:
•
Add questions from the Question Bank.
•
Create new questions.
•
Assign each question a number of points.
•
Assign the quiz a total number of points.
Let's look at some of the functions available on this tabbed page.
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Maximum grade
The quiz's Maximum grade is the quiz's point contribution towards the course. In
this example, the quiz is worth 10 points towards the student's total for the course.
The grade for each question will be scaled to the quiz's Maximum grade. For
example, if this quiz had five questions worth 1 point each, but the Maximum
grade is 10, then each question will contribute 2 points to the student's total grade
for the course.
Grade for each question
Each question has a point value. The question's point value is scaled to the quiz's
Maximum grade. For example, if a question has a grade of 2, and the quiz has a
maximum value of 10, then that question is worth one-fifth of the quiz's grade.
In the preceding example, you can see that the maximum grade for the quiz is 10,
and the grade for the question is 1. However, this is a matching question, with four
choices. We would probably make this question worth 4 points, so that each correct
match is worth 1 point.
Using the Question Bank contents
On the rightmost side of the page, you can see an area labeled Question Bank
contents. You must click on the unhide link to display this area.
From the Question Bank, you can add questions that are stored under the:
•
Quiz
•
Course
•
Category
•
System
You can also create new questions from this page.
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To add a question from the Question Bank:
1. Select the category that holds the question:
2. Select the question that you want to add, by selecting the checkbox next to
the question.
3. Click on the Add to quiz button, and the selected question(s) are added to
the quiz.
4. Remember to assign a Grade to the questions that you add.
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Adding random questions to a quiz
You can add a number of random questions to your quiz. In the following
screenshot, notice that there are three questions in the selected category. Also notice
that the user can add a maximum of three random questions from this category:
You can add random questions from several categories to the same quiz.
On the same attempt, the student will never see the same random question twice.
However, the questions are reset between attempts, so a student could see the same
question twice if they attempt the same quiz twice.
If a question is deleted when it is still being used by a quiz, then it is not removed
from the question bank. Instead, the question is hidden. The setting Also show old
questions enables you to inlcude questions that were deleted from the category.
These deleted (or hidden, or old,) questions appear in the list with a blue box next
to them.
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The Order and paging tabbed page
You can change the order and page breaks on your quiz on the Editing quiz tabbed
page. However, you have more options under the Order and paging tabbed page.
Let's look at what you can do under that tab.
Changing the order of questions
You have several ways to rearrange questions. First, you can specify their order
by entering a number into the field next to the question. In this example, the user
has entered a 12 next to the D.E.C. question. Let's look at the order of the questions
before the user clicks on the Reorder questions button:
After clicking on Reorder questions, notice that the D.E.C. question has moved to
second place. Note that Moodle has changed the ordering number for the question to
20 Page 4 is now empty, and can be deleted:
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Another way to rearrange questions is to click on the up and down arrows next to
each question.
Finally, you can select a question or questions using the check box to the left of each
question, enter the page number for those questions into the box labeled Move
selected questions to page:, and then click on the Move button.
Changing page breaks
If you put all of the questions in the quiz onto one page, if the student's browser
refreshes or freezes before the quiz is submitted, they will lose the answers that
they have already selected on that page. To avoid this, use page breaks to put a few
questions on each page, so that your student can't lose more than a page of work.
To remove a page, you should first move all the questions off that page,
and then click on the X on the page.
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To add a page, select the question that you want to precede the new page, and then
click on the Add new pages after selected questions button. If you select several
questions, then a new page is added after each of those questions.
Preventing Glossary auto linking in quiz questions
If you have a Glossary in your course, glossary words that are used in quiz questions
will link to the associated glossary entries. If you don't want students to have this
resource when they take the quiz, then go to the Glossary and change the setting
Automatically link glossary entries to No. Alternatively, when typing a glossary
word in a quiz question, use the online editor's HTML view to add the tag <nolink>
</nolink> to the word, like this:
Preventing an open-book quiz
In most Moodle courses, quizzes are "open–book" affairs. This is because when the
student is taking an online course, there is nothing to prevent the student from looking
things up. If you want to prevent this, you can do so, with some manual intervention.
The easiest way to prevent a quiz from becoming "open book" is to put that quiz into
a separate course topic, by itself. Then, hide all of the other course topics. This can
be done with single click on each topic. Administer the quiz, and redisplay the
topics afterwards.
Feedback
The Feedback module allows you to create surveys for your students. Do not confuse
this with the Survey activity. In a Survey, you must choose from several pre-built
surveys; you cannot build your own surveys. Also, do not confuse this with the
Questionnaire module. The Questionnaire module is an add-on, whereas Feedback
comes standard with Moodle 2.0.
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Feedback isn't just for students
Obviously, you can use a Feedback activity to survey your students. But you can also
use it for other purposes, for example to:
•
•
•
Conduct a survey of the employees in your work place
Collect data from people who have agreed to be research subjects
Conduct public opinion surveys of the visitors to your site
The Feedback activity allows you to create different kinds of questions: multiple
choices, drop-down selection, short answers, and more. You can share the results
of a Feedback activity with the students, or keep it confidential.
Creating a Feedback activity
Creating a Feedback activity is similar to adding a Quiz. First, you add the activity, and
then you add the questions. We'll cover both of these tasks in a separate section below.
To add a Feedback activity, do the following:
1. From the Add an activity… menu, select Feedback. Moodle displays the
settings page for the activity.
2. In the Name field, enter a name for the Feedback activity. Your students will
see this on the course home page.
3. Text and graphics that enter into the Description field, is displayed to
students before they begin the activity. Use this information to explain the
activity. Remember, this is a full-featured HTML editor, so you can put text,
graphics, and media into the Description.
4. Under Timing, you can enter a time to open and close the activity. If you
don't enter a time to open the activity, it is available immediately. If you
don't enter a time to close the activity, it will remain open indefinitely.
5. The option to Record User Names affects only what the teacher sees. Students
do not see each others' responses. If Record User Names is set to Users' Names
Will Be Logged and Shown With Answers, then the teacher will be able to see
a list of users who completed the Feedback, along with their answers.
6. If Show analysis page after submit is set to Yes, a summary of their results
so is shown to the user after they submit their feedback.
7. If Send E-Mail-notifications is set to Yes, then course administrators are
emailed whenever someone submits this feedback. This includes Teachers
and Course Managers.
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8. If Multiple submissions is set to Yes, then users can submit their feedback
multiple times. When Record User Names is set to Anonymous, this setting
is enabled and an unlimited number of anonymous users can submit
feedback an unlimited number of times. When you track user names, this
option allows each logged-in user to submit feedback an unlimited number
of times.
Get this setting right the first time.
For some reason, Moodle doesn't allow you to change the
Multiple submissions setting after someone has answered
the Feedback activity. So you need to get this setting right
before people start answering.
9. If you want Moodle to number the questions in your Feedback activity, select
Yes for Automated numbers.
10. The page that you compose under Page after submit is displayed
immediately after the user submits their answers. You can use this page
to explain what happens after the activity. If you leave this blank, Moodle
displays a simple message telling the user that their answers have been
saved. At the bottom of this page, Moodle displays a Continue button.
11. The URL for continue field specifies the Web address of a page that you
want the user to see after they view the Page after submit. If you leave this
blank, the Continue button will take the user back to the course home page.
Careful with the URL for continue button!
You might be tempted to use the URL for continue
button to send the user to another page in your site.
However, bear in mind that, if you move this activity to
another course, or another Moodle site, the URL might
no longer apply.
12. Common module settings and Restrict availability work as they do for other
activities. These are covered in a separate section of the book.
13. Click on the Save and display button to save the settings. Moodle then
displays the Questions tab for this Feedback activity. It is then time to start
adding questions.
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To add Questions to a Feedback activity, follow the steps shown below:
1. Select the Feedback activity.
2. From the left-hand menu, select Settings | Feedback administration |
Questions. If you have just created and saved the activity, this page will
already be displayed.
3. Select the Edit questions tab.
4. From the drop-down list that is labeled Add question to activity, select the
type of question that you want to add.
Specific types of questions and their settings are covered
in the next section. The rest of this procedure covers
settings that are common to almost all question types.
5. If you mark a question as Required, the user must answer it in order to
submit the feedback. The question will have a red asterisk next to it.
6. The Question field contains the text of the question. Unlike a quiz question, a
feedback question can consist of only text.
7. The Label field contains a label that only Teachers will see, when viewing the
results of the feedback. The most important reason for the Label field is that
if export the results of the feedback to an Excel worksheet, then the Label is
exported with the results. This allows you to match the feedback results with
a short label in your database.
8. The Position field determines the order of the question, when you first add
it to the feedback page. After the question has been added, you can override
this number and move the question to any position on the page.
9. Depend item and Depend value can be used to make the appearance of a
question dependent upon the answer to a previous question. For example,
you might first ask someone, "Do you have a Twitter account?" If they
answer Yes, you might display a question like, "How often do you tweet?" If
they answer No, you would hide that subsequent question.
From the Depend item drop-down list, select the question whose answer will
determine if this question appears. Then, in the Depend value field, enter the
answer that is needed to make this question appear.
10. For a discussion of the fields that apply to only one type of question, see the
section on Question types.
11. Save the question.
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Question types
The Feedback activity allows you to add several types of questions. Some of these are
not actually questions, but you still add them from the same drop-down menu:
Adding a page break
Add a page break inserts a page break into the Feedback activity.
Avoiding bots with captcha
A captcha is a test to ensure that a human is filling out an online form. It displays a
picture of some text, and the user must read and type in that text. If the user doesn't
correctly type the text, the feedback form is rejected. This prevents software robots
from automatically filling in your feedback and spamming your results.
Inserting information
You can use the Information question type to insert information about the feedback
into the form. This information is added by Moodle, and submitted with the user's
answers. At this time, the options are:
•
Responsestime: The date and time the user submitted the feedback.
•
Course: The short name of the course in which this Feedback
activity appears.
•
Course category: The short name of the category in which this
Feedback activity appears.
Adding a Label
Adding a Label question to a Feedback is the same as adding a Label to a course
home page. The Label can be anything that you can put on a web page. This is a
good way to insert an explanation, instructions, or encouragement into the activity.
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Creating a text box for a longer text answer
Use the Longer text answer question type question type to create a text box in which
the user can enter a relatively long answer. You specify how many characters wide
and how many lines high the text box is. If the user runs out of space, Moodle adds a
scroll bar to the box, so that the user can keep on typing.
Displaying multiple choice questions
A multiple choice question displays a list of responses. There are three sub-types of
multiple choice questions.
With a multiple choice – multiple answers question, Moodle displays a checkbox
next to each response. The user can select as many responses as they want.
With a multiple choice – single answer question, Moodle displays a radio
button next to each response. The user must select only one response from
the list of options.
With a multiple choice – single answer allowed (drop-down list) question, Moodle
displays a drop-down list of the responses. The user must select only one response
from the drop-down list.
You create the responses for a multiple choice question by entering one response
on each line, in the Multiple choice values field. For example, consider the
following settings:
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The above settings will create the following this question:
Notice the Adjustment setting for this question is set to horizontal. This
causes the responses to be listed horizontally, across the page, instead of
in a vertical list.
Notice the setting for Hide "not selected" option. If this is set to No, then Moodle
adds a Not selected response to the list of responses that you create. If it is set to Yes,
Moodle displays only the responses that you create.
Creating a multiple choice (rated) question
To the user, the Multiple choice (rated) type of question appears the same way as
a multiple choice – single answer question. However, when you review the results,
you will see a number that is associated with each answer. This allows you to
calculate averages and perform other calculations with the data that you collect.
In the following example, the answers are rated 4 through 0:
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The user doesn't see these numbers when they select an answer. However, when the
Teacher looks at the analysis for this question, the average is displayed:
In addition, when the results of the feedback are exported to Excel, the rating
numbers are also exported. This allows you to perform advanced analysis on
your results, using a spreadsheet.
Numeric answer
Use a Numeric question type to ask the user to enter a number. You can specify an
exact value, or a range that you will accept.
Short text answer
A Short text answer question lets you limit the amount of text that the user can
enter. You specify the size of the text entry box, and the amount of text that the
box will accept.
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Viewing feedback
Teachers and administrators can view the responses to a Feedback activity. You can
view the responses one at a time, or can view a summary of all responses.
See individual responses
If Record User Names is set to Users' Names Will Be Logged and Shown With
Answers, then the Teacher will be able to see a list of users who have completed the
Feedback, and their answers. To see this list of responses, carry out the following steps:
1. Select the Feedback activity.
2. From the left-hand menu, select Settings | Feedback administration |
Show responses.
3. For the user whose responses you want to see, click on the date.
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The responses for that session will be displayed.
Note that if a user answers the Feedback several times, there will be a date for each
time that the user answered.
For anonymous responses, instead of a name you will see a number.
Analyzing responses with the Analysis tab
On the Analysis tabbed page, you can see a summary of all the responses. On this
page, you also have an Export to Excel button. Clicking on this button will download
all of the Response data to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
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Choices
Moodle's Choice is the simplest type of activity. In a Choice activity, you create one
question and specify a choice of responses. You can use a Choice to:
•
Take a quick poll
•
Ask students to choose sides in a debate
•
Confirm the students' understanding of an agreement
•
Gather consent
•
Allow students to choose a subject for an essay or project
Before we look at how to accomplish this, let's look at the Choice activity from the
student's point of view, and then explore the settings available to the Teacher when
creating a Choice.
Student's point of view
From the student's point of view, a choice activity looks like this:
Notice a few things about this Choice activity:
•
The student can see how many other students have chosen a response.
•
There is a limit on the number of students who can choose each response.
•
The student can remove their choice and submit again.
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These are options that you can set for the activity. The teacher also could have
hidden other students' responses, had no limit for the number who can choose each
response, and prevented the student from changing their response.
Teacher's point of view
Before we discuss some of the uses for a choice activity; let's look at the settings
available on the Editing Choice page. Then, we'll see how we can make creative
use of these capabilities.
Limit
The Limit next to each choice allows you to limit how many students can select a
given choice. In the preceding example, no more than four students can select each
choice. So, once four students have selected a team, that choice becomes unavailable
to subsequent students.
For Limits to take effect, Limit the number of responses allowed must be set
to Enable.
Display Mode
In the preceding example, Display Mode is set to Horizontal. You can also arrange
the choices vertically.
Publish results
You can choose whether to reveal the results of the Choice to the students, and if
so, when.
In the example at the beginning of this section, Publish results was set to Always
show results to students. This is why the student could see how many students had
chosen each response. If it had been set to Do not publish results to students, then
the activity would not have shown how many students had selected each response.
If you are going to limit the number of students who can choose a response, consider
using Always show results to students. That way, the student can see how many
others have chosen the response, and how many slots are left for each response.
Privacy of results
If you publish the results of the Choice, then you can then choose whether or not to
publish the names of the students who have selected each response. In the example
at the beginning of this section, Privacy of results was set to Publish full result, so a
student completing the Choice could see who had already selected each response.
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Allow students to change their minds
The setting Allow choice to be updated determines whether or not a student can
change their answer after submitting it. If this is set to Yes, a student can retake the
Choice activity until the activity is closed. However, they can only ever choose
one option.
Summary
Feedback and Choice give teachers the opportunity to assess students, their
attitudes, and their satisfaction with a course. Feedback is especially useful for
assessing the class' attitude and experience at the beginning of the course. You can
also use Feedback to create surveys for people who are not even taking a course,
such as an employee survey or gathering research data.
The Choice activity is especially useful for having a structured, ongoing conversation
between the students and teacher. You can create several of these, keep them hidden,
and reveal them when you want to measure the students' attitude.
Moodle's Quiz activity is rich in feedback. The many different types of feedback
allow you to turn a quiz into a learning activity. Consider using the quiz activity
not just for testing, but also for teaching.
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Adding Social Activities
to Your Course
Social course activities encourage student-to-student interaction. Peer interaction is
one of the most powerful learning tools that Moodle offers. It not only encourages
learning, but also exploration. It also makes courses more interesting because
students can share their knowledge, which increases student participation and
satisfaction. This chapter teaches you how to add social resources to a course, and
how to make the best use of them.
Chat
The Chat module creates a chat room where students can have real-time, online
chats. Online chat has some unique advantages over an in-person classroom
discussion. Students do not need to deal with a fear of public speaking, transcripts
can be edited and used as course material, and conversation can proceed at
a leisurely pace that gives participants time to think. The key to using these
advantages is preparation. Prepare your students by ensuring that they understand
chat room etiquette and know how to use the software. Prepare yourself by having
material ready to copy and paste into the chat. And everyone should be prepared to
focus on the goals and subject of that chat. More than any other online activity, chat
requires that the teacher take a leadership role and guide the students to a successful
learning experience.
When you add a chat room to a course, any student taking the course can enter that
chat room at any time. The chat room can become a meeting place for the students
taking the course, where they can come to collaborate on work and exchange
information. If you give group assignments, or have students rate other students'
assignments, consider adding a chat room to the course and encouraging students
to use it. Also, consider saving transcripts of the chat sessions so that they can act as
another reference tool for the students.
Adding Social Activities to Your Course
When you schedule a Chat, it appears on the course Calendar and is also displayed
in the Upcoming events block, as shown in the following screenshot:
When the student selects the Chat, they see the Description that you entered when
you created the Chat. You can use this Description to advise the student of the
purpose of the Chat:
When you enter a Chat, it launches in a pop-up window, as shown below. Make sure
that your students don't have pop ups blocked.
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Let's have a look at the settings that you can specify when creating a Chat.
The Chat settings page
The Editing Chat page is where you create and select settings for a chat. When you
first add a Chat, you will be taken to this page. In order to edit the settings of an
existing Chat, select that Chat and then from the left-hand menu bar select
Settings | Chat administration | Settings.
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Let's take a look at the settings on this page:
Name
This is the name that students will see on the course's Home Page.
Introduction text
When a student selects the chat, they will see the introduction text before being
passed into the chat room.
Next chat time and Repeat sessions
As stated in the beginning of this section, as long as a chat is visible to the student,
they can enter that chat room at any time. Therefore, the settings for Next chat time
and Repeat sessions don't open and close the chat. Instead, these settings put a time
and date for the chat on the class calendar.
Chat times are listed in the Calendar and Upcoming Events blocks. Note that chat
is not restricted to these times; they are only announced as a way for people in the
course to "make a date" for the chat. Spontaneous chats have the best chance of
happening if the course has a lot of students who frequent the course's Home Page.
Also, consider adding the Online Users block, so that when students visit the site
they will know who is online and can invite others into the chat room.
In order to make the chat room available only during designated times, you should
make sure that the person running the chat is a Teacher with editing privileges,
and also hide the chat room during off hours. When the chat is about to begin, the
Teacher can show the chat room.
Save past sessions and Everyone can view past
sessions
Through this setting, the past chats can be saved. The Save past sessions setting
allows you to set a time limit for saving chats. The setting for Everyone can view
past sessions determines whether students can view past chats (Yes) or whether
only teachers can view past chats (No).
Chat security
The only security for a chat room is turning the group mode on, so that only students
in a selected group can see each other in the chat room.
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Remember that in the Course Settings page, you can set the Enrolment duration
as Unlimited. This means that once a student is enroled in the course, she or he is
always enroled until you manually unenrol the student. If you leave the course
open to all students who were ever enrolled, consider segregating your chat by
groups. Then, create a group that includes only the currently-enrolled students.
This prevents previous students from giving away too much in the chat room.
Forum
Forums are one of Moodle's most powerful features. A well-run class forum can
stimulate thoughtful discussion, motivate students to become involved, and result
in unexpected insights.
You can add any number of forums to a course, and also to the site's Front Page.
Anyone with access to the course will have access to the forums. You can use
group mode to limit access to a forum to specific groups.
When a student enters a forum, the student sees the description entered during
creation of the forum, as shown in the following screenshot:
When writing a forum posting, the student uses the same online, WYSIWYG editor
that you see when creating web pages in Moodle. Also, you can allow students
to upload files into a forum. If you ask students to collaborate on assignments, or
ask them to review each others' work, consider adding a forum specifically for
discussing the assignment. Encourage the students to use the forum to preview
each others' work and collaborate on the assignments.
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Discussion equals topic
In the Moodle forum, discussions are the equivalent of topics or threads. Under
Settings | Forum administration | Permissions, you can control who can create
new discussions, and who can post new replies.
In the preceding screenshot, note that the introduction to the forum states that only
the Teacher can create new discussions. Students can reply to the discussion,
but cannot create new discussions. This was accomplished by using permissions.
Here's how:
Only an Administrator can perform this process. If you have only Teacher
rights, get an Administrator to do this for you.
1. Select the Forum.
2. Select Settings | Forum administration | Permissions.
3. From the Advanced role override drop-down list, select Student.
4. A page listing the Student's permissions for this activity is displayed. Scroll
down to the section labeled Activity: Forum and locate the permission for
Start new discussions.
5. Change this permission to Prevent.
6. At the bottom of the page, save the changes.
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Using the News Forum to send mass emails
Moodle does not have a module specifically for sending email announcements. So
when you want to send an email to everyone in a class, you can use the default News
Forum that is automatically added to every class. By default, in the News Forum, the
Subscription mode is set to Forced subscription, and only Teachers have the ability
to post messages to the forum. When the teacher posts a message, everyone who is
subscribed to the Forum receives the message via email. With everyone subscribed,
the entire class will receive a copy of each posting by e-mail.
Multiple forums
Remember that a class can have as many Forums as you want. If your course uses
groups, you can use groups in the forum. Also, you can hide old Forums and create
new ones. This is useful if you run students through a course on a schedule. Just
turning off the old Forums and creating new ones allows you to refresh a part of
the course.
Forum settings
The Settings page is where you select the settings for a forum. Let's look at how each
of the settings affects the user experience.
General settings
The following are some of the general settings.
Forum name
The Forum name is the name that students will see when the forum is listed on the
course's Home Page.
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Forum type
In Moodle, you can create several types of forums. Each type can be used in a
different way. The types of forums are:
Type of Forum
Description
Single simple
discussion
The entire forum appears on one page. The first posting, at the
top of the page, is the topic for the forum. This topic is usually
created by the Teacher. The students then post replies under this
topic. A single-topic forum is most useful for short, highly-focused
discussions.
Each person posts Each student can create one and only one new topic. Everyone can
one discussion
reply to every topic.
Q and A
This is like a single-topic forum, in which the Teacher creates the
topic for the forum. Students then reply to that topic. However,
a student cannot see anyone else's reply until they have posted a
reply. The topic is usually a question posed by the Teacher, and the
students' replies are usually answers to that question.
Standard forum
displayed in a
blog-like format
In a standard forum, anyone can start a new topic. Teachers and
students can create new topics and reply to existing postings.
Displaying the discussion in a blog-like format makes both the title
and the body of each discussion visible.
Standard forum
for general use
In a standard forum, anyone can start a new topic. Teachers and
students can create new topics and reply to existing postings. Only
the titles of discussions are visible; you must click into a discussion
to read the postings under it.
Forum introduction
When the student enters a forum, they will see the Forum introduction at the top of
the forum's page. This text should tell the student what the forum is about. You can
also use this introduction to tell the student if they can rate posts by other students,
and even to link to a document with more extensive instructions for using the forum.
This is possible because the Introduction is a full-featured web page that can hold
anything that you can put on a standard web page.
Subscription mode
Selecting the Force subscription option subscribes all students to the forum
automatically—even students who enrol in the course at a later time. Before using
this setting, consider its long-term effect on the students who take your class.
If you re-use the same class for a later group of students, then the previous group
will still be enroled. Do you want previous students to be notified of new postings
in the current class's forum? If not, there are several solutions, such as:
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•
Don't force all students to be subscribed.
•
Use groups to separate the current group of students in the class from
previous groups.
•
Create a fresh instance of the course for each new group.
If you select Auto subscription, everyone in the course is subscribed to the forum,
but later they can unsubscribe. With Force subscription, the student cannot
unsubscribe as long as they are enrolled in the course.
Read tracking for this forum?
When the Read tracking for this forum? setting is turned on, it highlights the
messages that the student hasn't read.
If students are subscribing to the forum via email, then this feature is less useful
because it won't reflect any posts read via email.
Maximum attachment size
Students can attach files to forum postings. This sets the maximum size of a file that
the student can upload. The setting turns off the student's ability to upload files to
the forum Uploads are not allowed.
Maximum number of attachments
The Maximum number of attachments setting specifies the maximum number
of files that can be attached to one post. Note that this is not the maximum for the
whole forum.
Post threshold for blocking Settings
The Post threshold for blocking setting helps you to prevent the forum from being
taken over by a few prolific posters. Users can be blocked from posting more than a
given number of postings in a given amount of time. As they approach the limit, they
can be given a warning.
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In the preceding example, after a student makes a sixth post for the day, the system
will warn them that they are approaching the limit for the number of posts per day.
After eight posts, the student cannot post any more posts that day.
Ratings
In a forum, a "rating" is really a "grade". When you enable ratings, you are really
allowing the Teacher to give each forum posting a grade. In the following screenshot,
you can see the first posting in the forum, which was made by the Teacher. Below
that, you can see the reply left by Student1. The student's reply was rated by
the Teacher:
By default, only Teachers, non-editing Teachers, and course managers can rate
forum postings. If you want the students to be able to rate postings in a forum,
follow the steps given in the section. Enable students to rate forum postings, below.
You do that on the Permissions page. Make sure you save your work before
leaving the Settings page.
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Only an Administrator can perform this process. If you have only
Teacher rights, get an Administrator to do this for you.
Enable students to rate forum postings
1. Select the Forum.
2. Select Settings | Forum administration | Permissions.
3. From the Advanced role override drop-down list button, select Student.
4. A page listing the Student's permissions for this activity is displayed. Scroll
down to the section labeled Activity: Forum and locate the permission for
Rate posts.
5. Select the radio button for Allow.
6. Click on the Save changes button.
Glossary
The Glossary activity is one of the most underrated features of Moodle. On
the surface, a glossary is a list of words and definitions that students can
access. However, a course creator can allow students to add to a Glossary. This
transforms the glossary from a static listing of vocabulary words to a collaborative
tool for learning.
When this setting is turned on, whenever a word from a Glossary appears in the
course, it is highlighted in gray. Clicking on the word brings up a pop-up window
containing the word's Glossary entry.
You can use a glossary to build a class directory, a collection of past exam questions,
famous quotations, or even an annotated collection of pictures.
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Enable glossaries for your site
Under Site Administration | Plugins | Manage Filters, the site administrator can
turn on Glossary Auto-Linking.
Help! My glossary won't work!
If you create a glossary and just can't get it to work, check with your Site
Administrator that the glossary plugin is enabled.
Adding glossary entries
Selecting a Glossary from the course menu displays the glossary's introductory page.
On this page, you can edit and browse the glossary. The teacher can always edit a
glossary in their course. You can also permit students to submit new glossary entries
(more on that later).
The following screenshot shows the Browse tabbed page, where you can add a
new entry:
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Create new Glossary entries by clicking on the Add a new entry button. This button
appears below every tab when you're browsing the glossary, so it's always available.
The following screenshot displays the top half of the new entry page:
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On this page, Concept is the term that you are adding to the Glossary. Keyword(s)
are synonyms, the equivalent of a "see also" in an index or dictionary. These terms
will link to the same definition as the concept.
Notice that you can add a picture or media file to the Definition, using the icons in
the tool bar:
.
You can also upload these kinds of files as an Attachment, which is what the user in
this example chose to do.
The following screenshot displays the bottom half of the Add a new entry window:
When this word appears in your course, you can have it link to its glossary entry.
The Auto-linking options determine if, and when, this word should link to its
glossary entry.
For the Teacher, the Import and Export links allow you to exchange glossaries
between courses or even between Moodle installations:
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You might want to begin a course with a small glossary, and let students add to it as
they discover new concepts. If you do this, export the starting glossary so that you
have it available for the next course. The next time that you teach the course, you
can choose to export everything in the completed course except student information
and the glossary. In the new copy, just create a new, blank Glossary and import the
starting Glossary.
Also, note that the editing window allows you to include hyperlinks in the definition
(the
icon). This can be used to link to freely-available information on the Web,
such as information from Wikipedia, at http://www.wikipedia.org/.
When you create a Glossary, in the Settings window you choose whether terms
that students add are approved automatically, or whether they need the Teacher's
approval. If Approved by default is turned off, new terms would await the Teacher's
approval before being added. In the following screenshot, notice the link in the
upper-right corner for Waiting approval:
Global versus local glossary
By default, a glossary applies only to the course in which it resides. However, you
can choose to make a glossary global, in which case the words from that glossary will
be highlighted and clickable wherever they are in your site. The work done in one
course then becomes available to all of the courses on your site. If your site's subject
matter is highly focused, consider using a global glossary. If your site's subject matter
is very broad, as would be the case for a university-wide learning site, you should
use local glossaries to avoid confusion. For example, imagine you have a course on
chemistry and another on statistics. Both use the word "granular," but chemistry
uses it to indicate a powdered substance while statistics uses it to indicate a fine
level of detail.
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Only an Administrator can make a glossary into a global glossary. If you
have only Teacher rights, get an Administrator to do this for you.
Main and secondary glossaries
If you want students to be able to add entries to a Glossary, you must make it a
Secondary glossary. Prior to Moodle 1.7, only teachers could add terms to a Main
glossary. A Secondary glossary had only the terms that the students and the Teacher
add to it. Since Moodle 1.7 and the introduction of Roles, you can override these
settings and allow students to add entries to the main glossary through the Override
roles capability.
Only an Administrator can override roles.
You can export terms one-at-time from a Secondary glossary to a Main glossary. So
you could create a secondary glossary(s) to which students will add terms, and then,
you and/or the students could export the best terms to the main glossary. Imagine a
course with one main glossary, and a secondary glossary each time the course is run.
The main glossary would become a repository of the best terms added by each class.
You can add a Secondary glossary for each section in a course. For example, you
can put a Secondary glossary into each topic or week. Then, you can create a Main
glossary for the course that will automatically include all of the terms added to each
Secondary glossary. You can then put the Main glossary into Topic 0, the section at
the top of the course's Home Page. An alternative to using secondary glossaries is to
use one main glossary, and create categories within that glossary for each section in
the course. This keeps all glossary entries in one place.
If you want the course to have only one glossary, and you want students to be able to
add to it, make it a Secondary glossary. Even though the term "Secondary" implies
that there is also a primary or main glossary, this does not have to be the case. You
can have just a Secondary glossary (or more than one) in a course, without a
Main glossary.
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Ratings
You can give students the ability to rate glossary entries, just like they can rate
forum postings. The question is, what do you want students to rate? The glossary
entry's clarity? Its helpfulness? Your writing skill in creating the entry? You'll need to
consider what you want students to rate, and create a custom scale that supports this
rating. You determine who can rate glossary entries, and what scale to use, on the
Settings page, as shown in the following screenshot:
In the preceding screenshot, the course creator is applying a custom scale called
Helpful Memorizing to the glossary. This custom scale was created before the
Teacher came to this page.
After creating a custom scale, the Teacher went to the glossary's Settings page, as
shown in the preceding screenshot, and selected it under Scale.
Notice that only the course Manager, Teachers, and Non-editing Teachers can
rate the entries in this glossary. The next step is for the Teacher to modify the
permissions, to allow students to rate entries.
This three-part process is covered in the following subsections.
Allowing students to rate glossary entries:
Allowing students to rate glossary entries consists of a three-part process:
1. Create the rating scale
2. Select the scale for the glossary
3. Give students permission to use ratings
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Create the rating scale
1. Select Settings | Grade administration | Scales.
2. Click on the Add a new scale button.
3. On the new Scale page, give the scale a Name. Only the teacher will see
this name.
4. In the Scale field, enter the values that the user will select when giving
their rating.
5. In the Description field, enter a short description that will help you to
remember the purpose of this scale.
6. Save your changes.
Select the scale for the glossary
1. Go to the glossary's Settings page.
2. For the Scale field, select the scale that you just created.
3. Modify any other settings that you want to on this page.
4. Save your changes.
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Students will now be able to rate each glossary entry on how helpful it is to
memorize the material. From the student's point of view, the result looks like this:
Wiki
The Moodle Wiki module allows students to collaborate on a group writing
project, build a knowledge base, and discuss class topics. Because a wiki is easy
to use, interactive, and organized by date, it encourages collaboration among the
participants. This makes it a powerful tool for capturing group knowledge. The key
difference between a forum and a wiki is that when users enter a forum, they see a
thread devoted to a topic. Each entry is short. The users read through the thread one
entry at a time. The result is that the discussion becomes prominent. In a wiki, users
see the end result of the writing. To see the history of the writing, they must select a
History tab. The result is that the end result of the writing becomes prominent.
Old wiki content is never deleted and can be restored. Wikis can also be searched,
just like other course material. In the following section, we'll look at the settings on
the Editing Wiki page and how these settings affect the user experience.
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Using the wiki type and group mode to
determine who can edit a wiki
A wiki can be open to editing by: the entire class, a group, the teacher, or a single
student. It can also be open to viewing by: the entire class, a group, the teacher, or
single student. Notice that the course creator determines who can edit the wiki, and
who can see it, and that these are two different settings. Specifying who can edit the
wiki is done by using the Wiki mode drop-down box. Specifying who can see the
wiki is done by using the Groups mode.
Making a wiki editable by only a single student appears to turn the wiki into a
personal journal. However, the difference between a single-student wiki and a
journal is that a journal can be seen only by the student and the Teacher. You can
keep a single-student wiki private, or, you can open it for viewing by the student's
group or the entire class.
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Default format
The Default format setting determines whether wiki authors use standard wiki
markup or HTML code when editing. If you're using the HTML editor for other
student activities, setting this to HTML only can simplify this activity for your
students. They will get the familiar HTML editor, and don't need to learn the wiki
markup language. However, if your students are accustomed to wikis, you may
want to select Creole. This enables them to use a common wiki markup, which is
faster for experienced typists.
First page name
The name on the first page of the wiki will be taken from this field.
If there is one wiki for the entire class, when the first student enters the wiki, that
student will see the starting page(s). If that first student edits any page, the next
student who enters will see the edited version, and so on. If there is one wiki for
each group in the class, then each group will get a "fresh" wiki, containing only the
starting page(s) that you created. Similarly, if each student gets their own wiki, then
each student will see those starting pages when they enter their wiki.
Workshop
A workshop provides a place for the students in a class to see an example project,
upload their individual projects, and see and assess each other's projects. When
a teacher requires each student to assess the work of several other students, the
workshop becomes a powerful collaborative grading tool.
Workshop strategies
Workshops can be ungraded, peer graded, instructor graded, or a combination of
peer and instructor graded. Workshops allow you to create very specific assessment
criteria for the graders to use. Also, workshops let you set due dates for submitting
work, and for grading work. You can use these and other features to build a strategy
for making the best use of workshops in your courses.
Peer assessment of assignments
One strategy for workshops is to have students assess each other's work, before
submitting that same work as a graded assignment. For example, you could create a
workshop where students assess each other's subject matter, outlines, and hypothesis
for their term papers. Or they could assess each other's photos for specific technical
and artistic criteria before submitting them to the instructor for grading.
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Timing of submissions and assessments
Workshops allow you to set different due dates for submitting work, and for
assessing other student's work. If you set both due dates the same, so many students
might submit their work just before the submission deadline that they cannot all be
assessed before the assessment deadline. Consider setting the submission deadline
well before the assessment deadline. Then, before opening up the assessment ability
to the students, examine the work submitted and ensure that it's close to what you
expected or were trying to elicit from the students. You might even want to use
the time between submission and assessment to refine your assessment criteria, in
response to the work submitted.
The four questions
The fields in the workshop window give you many choices. No matter what you enter
into each field, your many decisions can be summed up as:
•
What will you have each student do? Create a file offline and upload it to
the workshop? Write a journal entry? Participate in an online chat? Perform
some offline activity and report on it via email or Wiki? Although the
workshop window allows the student to upload a file, you can also require
any other activity from the student.
•
Who will assess the assignments? Will the Teacher assess all assignments?
Will students be required to assess other students' assignments? Will each
student self-assess their work?
•
How will the assignments be assessed? You can determine the number of
criteria upon which each assignment is assessed, the grading scale, and the
type of grading.
•
When will students be allowed to submit their assignments and assessment?
The assignment becomes available as soon as you show it. However, you can
require students to assess an example before being allowed to submit their
own work, and you can also set a deadline for submitting assignments.
All of the fields that we cover in the following subsections are variations on these
questions. The online help does a good job of explaining how to use each field.
Instead of repeating how to use each field here, we will focus on how your choices
affect the student and Teacher experience.
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The Edit Settings page
The workshop activity is the most complex tool currently available in Moodle.
Workshops are designed so that a student's work can be submitted and offered for
peer review within a structured framework. Workshops provide a process for both
instructor feedback and peer feedback on open-ended assignments, such as essays
and research papers. They provide a place for the students in the class as well as
the teachers to make the best use of Moodle. There are easy-to-use interfaces for
uploading assignments, performing self-assessments, and peer reviews of other
students' papers. The key to the workshop is the scoring guide, which is a set of
specific criteria for making judgments about the quality of a given work. These are
several fields under workshop. They will be explained in the following sections.
Name and introduction
The settings under General partially answer the question: what will you have each
student do?
Your students will see and click on the Name. The Introduction should give
instructions for completing the workshop. If you want to provide printer-friendly
instructions, you can upload a .pdf file to the course files area, and put a link to this
document in the workshop description.
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Workshop Features
The settings under Workshop Features answer the question: who will assess the
assignments?
Use examples
If the workshop uses examples, then users can assess example(s) of the work
provided by the teacher. The user's assessment of the example is then compared
to the assessment provided by the teacher. This enables users to practice assessing
work, before they assess each other's work.
Users receive a grade for how well their assessment agrees with the assessment
provided by the teacher. However, the grade is not counted in the gradebook.
Use peer assessment
If the workshop uses peer assessment, each user will be given submissions from
other users to assess. The users will be graded on their assessments of their peers.
The number of peers that each user assesses, and how their assessments are graded,
is set elsewhere on this page.
Use self assessment
If the workshop uses self assessment, each user will be given their own work to
assess. The user will be graded on their assessments of their own work.
Grading settings
The Grading settings fields determine the maximum points that a student can earn
for a workshop.
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Grade for submission is the maximum number of points that a student can be given
by the grader.
Grade for assessments is the grade that the student receives for grading other
submissions. This grade is based on how close the assessment by the student is to
the average of all assessments for that same submission. For example, Student A
submits work. Students B, C, and D assess the work and give scores of 10, 9, and 5.
The average assessment is 8, so students B and C would receive higher marks for
their assessments than student D. In essence, the Grade for assessments is the "grade
for grading".
If you did not enable Use peer assessment under Workshop features, then this
grade is irrelevant.
Grading strategy
A workshop assignment is quite flexible in the type of grading scheme used. This
setting determines the overall scheme. The various options for this setting are
described below.
Accumulative
In the Accumulative grading strategy, the grade for each element is added upto
arrive at the accumulated grade. This style of grading allows you to present the
reviewer with a numeric scale. You can also present the reviewer with Yes or No
questions, such as "Does this workshop meet the requirement?". Or you can present
the reviewer with a grading scale, such as "Poor, Fair, Good, or Excellent". If you
use a Yes or No or a grading scale, you will assign a point value to each response.
Consider informing the reviewer of the value of each response. For example, instead
of just writing:
•
Poor
•
Fair
•
Good
•
Excellent
Consider writing:
•
Poor (1 point)
•
Fair (2 points)
•
Good (3 points)
•
Excellent (4 points)
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Comments
When the Comments grading strategy is selected, students can comment upon each
assessment element but do not select a grade. The teacher can grade the students'
comments. In that case, the workshop is transformed from one where students grade
each other to where the teacher grades each student's comments.
This may be especially useful when you want to have a structured discussion about
material that you present to the students. As the course creator, you can present the
students with material uploaded to the workshop, or use the workshop's description
to direct the students to the material that they must assess. After the students view
the material, they enter the workshop and leave comments according to the elements
presented. Because the workshop presents the students with evaluation elements,
and because it requires that they complete each element, your discussion is more
structured than if you use a Wiki or forum.
Number of errors
When you choose this option, students evaluate a workshop using a series of Yes or
No questions. Usually, you create questions to evaluate whether the submission met
a requirement, such as "Does the student present a variety of opinions?"
When writing one of these questions, make sure that it can be answered using only
Yes or No. A sign that you need to revise your question is the presence of the word
"or". For example, don't write "Did the student describe the plant well enough to
distinguish it from others, or, is there still doubt as to which plant the student is
describing?" Such a question cannot be answered Yes or No.
The answer to an evaluation question is sometimes very clear, and sometimes
subjective. For example, the question "Did the student describe the plant well enough
to distinguish it from others?" is subjective. One reviewer might think the student
did an adequate job of describing the plant, while another might think otherwise.
These questions can be a good way to perform subjective peer evaluations of each
student's work.
If the work requires a more objective evaluation, such as "Did the student include all
five identifying features covered in this lesson?" you may not need a workshop. That
kind of objective evaluation can be easily performed by the Teacher, by using
an assignment.
Rubric
For a rubric grading scale, write several statements that apply to the project. Each
statement has a grade assigned to it. The reviewers choose the one statement that
best describes the project. This single choice completes the review.
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You can create several of these elements, and the reviewers must select a statement
for each of them.
Submission settings
The submission settings are where you enter instructions for the users, and determine
how many files they can upload, and how large these files can be upload. This is
where you partially answer the question: what will you have each student do?
The user will see the Instructions for submission when they navigate to the
workshop.
The Maximum number of submission attachments and Maximum file size
determine how many files the user can upload, and what size these files can be.
Late submissions allows users to submit their work after the deadline. The deadline
is set further down the page.
Assessment settings
The settings in this section are used to give the users instructions on how to
perform their assessments, and, to determine when to present the user with
examples to assess.
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The actual criteria used in the assessment are not created on this page. Instead, the
criteria are created under Settings | Workshop administration | Edit assessment
form, as shown in the example below:
We will cover the process of creating the assessment form later. For now, we will just
give the user instructions for the assessment:
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If the Mode of assessment is grayed out and unavailable, that is because the setting
for Use example is not selected (further up the page).
Access control
The settings under this section answer the question: when will students be allowed
to submit their assignments and assessment?
Notice that the submissions and assessments can open on the same day. However,
assessments cannot open before submissions (there would nothing to assess).
The Edit assessment form page
On the Edit assessment form page, you enter the assessment criteria. The exact
contents of this page will change depending upon the type of assessment that you
selected on the Workshop settings page.
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Making the maximum grade a multiple of the number of assessment elements allows
the students to more easily interpret their grades. For example, suppose a workshop
will be assessed on five elements. For each element, the assessor will choose from
four statements:
•
The workshop does not meet this requirement in any way (0 points).
•
The workshop partially meets this requirement (1 point).
•
The workshop meets this requirement (2 points).
•
The workshop exceeds this requirement (3 points).
Using the above statements, element would be worth a maximum of three points.
With five elements, the workshop would have a maximum grade of 15. This would
make it easy for the student to interpret his or her grade.
From the student's point of view, the assessment form looks like this:
Notice that for each assessment criteria, the student can enter comments. This is a
default setting for the workshop.
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Add an example to the workshop
After you save the workshop settings and assessment form, you can add an example
to your workshop. Selecting the workshop will give you a screen like this:
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To add an example submission, begin by clicking on the Add example submission
button. This brings you to a page that displays the same assessment instructions that
your users will see, and where you can upload the example to be assessed:
After you save the example, Moodle displays a message saying that you must assess
the example, as shown in the following screenshot:
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After you assess the example, Moodle returns you to the workshop's home page. You
will see the progress that you have made, as shown in the following screenshot:
Notice that the next step would be for the Teacher to allocate the student
submissions for assessment. However, no one has submitted anything yet.
At this point, the Teacher has to wait for students to submit their work.
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Students submit their work
Once a student selects the workshop, they will see a page similar to the example
shown below:
Even though the teacher has finished setting up the workshop and is ready for the
students to submit their work, the students still see a message: The workshop is
currently being set up. Please wait until it is switched to the next phase.
The Teacher must manually switch the workshop from one phase to
the next. Even if you're done with the set-up and are ready to accept
submissions, Moodle doesn't know that.
To switch to the next phase, the Teacher must click on the light bulb above that
phase. In our example, the Teacher clicks the light bulb above the Submission phase,
and sees the following message:
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Now when the student selects this workshop, they see a prompt to submit work, as
shown in the following screenshot:
Notice that the student can also assess the example at this point. On the Settings
page for this workshop, for Mode of examples assessment, we selected voluntary.
Therefore, the example is not required. If we had made assessing the example
mandatory, the student would receive a message that they cannot submit work
until the example has been assessed.
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Allocating submissions
As soon as students begin submitting their work, you can start allocating
those submissions to other students for assessment. Do this under Workshop
administration | Allocate submissions. You can allocate submissions manually
or randomly.
If you perform a random allocation, then all of the submissions that have been
received up to that point in time will be allocated to other students for assessment.
However, submissions sent in after the random allocation will not be automatically
allocated. You will need to perform another random allocation for subsequent
submissions, until the workshop is complete.
Assessment phase
When you move the workshop into the assessment phase, the allocations that you
made during the submission phase become available to the students. In this phase,
the students will actually assess each other's work.
Grading evaluation phase
When you move the workshop into the grading evaluation phase, you can tell
Moodle to automatically calculate the student's grades. You can also override these
grades and enter your own grades, if necessary.
At this stage, students can no longer modify the submissions they have sent in.
Closed phase
When you close a workshop, the final grades are written into the course's
Gradebook.
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Summary
Moodle offers several options for student-to-student and student-to-teacher
interaction. When deciding which social activities to use, consider the level of
structure and amount of student-to-student and student-to-teacher interaction you
want. For example, chats and Wikis offer a relatively unstructured environment,
with lots of opportunity for student-to-student interaction. They are good ways of
relinquishing some control of the class to the students. A forum offers more structure
because entries are classified by topic. It can be moderated by the Teacher, making
it even more structured. A workshop offers the most structure, by virtue of the set
assessment criteria that students must use when evaluating each other's work. Note
that as the activities become more structured, the opportunity for students to get to
know one another is decreased.
You may want to introduce a chat and/or forum at the beginning of a course, to
build "esprit de corps" among the students, then move into a collaborative Wiki, such
as a group writing project. Finally, after the students have learned more about each
other and are comfortable working together, you might use a workshop for their
final project.
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Blocks
Every block adds functionality to your site or your course. This chapter describes
many of Moodle's blocks, helps you decide which ones will meet your goals, and
tells you how to implement them.
A block displays information in a small area in one of the side columns. For example,
a block can display a Calendar, the latest news, or the students enrolled in a course.
Think of a block as a small applet, or widget.
When configuring your Moodle site, you can choose to display, hide, and position
blocks on the site's Front Page. When configuring a course, you can also show, hide,
and position blocks on the course's Home Page. The procedure is the same whether
working on the site's Front Page or a course's Home Page. The site's Front Page is
essentially a course. You can also give students permission to add blocks to their
personal, My Moodle page.
Many blocks are available to you in a standard Moodle installation. You can also
install additional blocks, which available from http://moodle.org/.
Configuring where a block appears
In early versions of Moodle, when you added a block to a course, that block
appeared only on the course's Home Page. It did not appear on any resource or
activity pages in the course. With version 2, you can now configure a block to appear
on the course's Home Page, and on all the resource and activity pages for the course.
You can also configure a block to appear on all of the courses in a specific category.
Blocks
Configuring where a block appears is done by using the settings for Page context
and Restrict to these page types. For example, in the following screenshot, the user
is configuring the Blog menu block in the Email Overload course:
•
These settings work in combination to determine where a block appears. In
some places, some of these settings have no effect. The following is a list of
the combinations that you might find most useful.
•
When a block is added to a course's home page, and you want it to appear on
only the course's home page, set Page contexts to Display on course name
only and set Restrict to these page types to course-*.
•
When a block is added to a course's home page, and you want it to appear
on every page in that course (all of the activities and resources), set Page
contexts to Display on course name and any pages within it and set
Restrict to these page types to *.
•
When a block is added to a category home page, and you want it to appear
on the home page of every course in that category, set Page contexts to
Display on course name only and set Restrict to these page types
to course-*.
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When a block is added to a category home page, and you want it to appear on the
every page of every course in that category, set Page contexts to Display on course
name only and set Restrict to these page types to *.
Types of blocks
Moodle gives you many standard blocks that you can add to your courses. Some of
the most useful are discussed in the following sections.
Activities block
The Activities block lists all of the types of activities available in the course:
If a specific type of activity is not used in the course, the link for that type is not
presented. The activity type is only shown if your course contains at least one
instance of that type. When a user clicks on the type of activity, all activities of that
type for the course are listed. In the example below, the user clicked on Assignments
in the Activities block and a list of the assignments in the course is presented:
If this block is on the site's Front Page, clicking on a type of activity gives
a list of the activities on the Front Page (and not for the entire site!).
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Blog menu block
By default, every Moodle user has a personal blog on the site. Selecting this block
puts the blog menu into the course's sidebar:
Notice that this block provides shortcuts to blog entries about the course. If blogging
will be a part of the course, include this block on the course's Home Page.
Blog tags block
This block displays a list of all of the blog tags used on the site. The tags are listed in
alphabetical order. The more blog entries that use a tag, the larger the tag appears in
the block:
Calendar block
Workshops, assignments, quizzes, and events appear on the Calendar:
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In the preceding screenshot, you can see that the user is pointing to an event that
begins on the 13th. A pop-up window shows the name of the event. This event was
added to a course, so it is a course-wide event.
When the course creator or administrator clicks on one of the four links at the bottom
of the Calendar block, it disables the display of that type of event. For example, if
this Calendar is displayed on a course's Home Page, you might want to disable the
display of global events and user events by clicking on those links. This would result
in the Calendar displaying only events for the course and the groups in the course.
Comments block
The Comments block allow]s anyone with access to it, to leave and read comments.
The comments are all saved, so you can accumulate quite a long list of comments.
In the following screenshot, the user Student1 is logged in. Notice that Student1 can
delete his comment, but not the comment left by the course administrator:
Of course, the course and site administrator can delete anyone's comments.
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As all comments are saved, and the list can get long, you probably want to limit the
comment block to a single course. That is, you don't want to add a comment site
wide, or to all the courses in a category. If you do, the block could become crowded
with comments (unless this is the effect that you want).
Consider adding a Comments block to an activity or a resource, and using the first
comment to encourage students to leave their feedback, like this:
Course completion block
The Course completion block works with the course completion tracking function.
Please see Chapter 10, Features for Teachers, for a detailed discussion of course
completion tracking.
Courses block
The Courses block displays the courses that the student is enrolled in, plus a link
to All courses at the bottom of the block. Notice that the Navigation block displays
only the courses that the student is enrolled in. It does not give the student a link to
the list of all course categories:
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Course/site description
The Course/Site Description block displays the course summary, taken from the
course's Settings page. This is the same course summary that is displayed when
someone clicks on the Information icon in the course listing on the front page of
the site.
HTML block
The HTML block creates a block in the sidebar that can hold any HTML (any
web content) that you can put on a web page. Most experienced web users are
accustomed to the content in sidebars being an addition to the main content of
a page. For example, we put menus and interesting links in the sidebars in most
blogging software. I suggest you adhere to that standard and use the HTML block
to hold content that is an interesting addition to, but not part of, the course. For
example, you could put an annotated link to another site of interest.
Think of an HTML block as a miniature web page that you can put into the sidebar
of your course.
When you edit an HTML block, Moodle provides the same full-featured web page
editor that you get when adding a web page to a course.
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Blocks
Latest news block
When you create a new course, by default it has a News forum. The Latest news
block displays the most recent postings from this forum.
Even if the forum is renamed, this block still displays the postings for this forum.
The number of postings displayed in this block is determined by the field News
items to show.
Recall that the Front Page of your site is another course. If the Latest news block is
displayed on the site's Front Page, it displays the latest postings from the sitewide
news forum, or Site News on the Course Settings page.
If you have set the News forum to email students with new postings, you can be
reasonably sure that the students are getting the news, so you might not need to
display this block. However, if the news items are of interest to visitors not enrolled
in the course, or if the course allows guest access, you probably want to display
this block.
Login block
If a visitor is not logged in, Moodle displays small Login links in the upper-right
corner and bottom center of the page. However, the links are not very noticeable. The
Login block is much more prominent. The main advantage to the Login block over
the small Login links is the block's greater visibility.
If you want the Login block to be displayed on every page of your site, set Page
contexts to Display throughout the entire site and Restrict to these page types to *.
After the user logs in, this block disappears.
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Main menu block
The Main menu block is available only on the site's Front Page. Anything that can
be added to a course can be added to this block, as you can see from the pull-down
menus labeled Add a resource and Add an activity.
In my example site, I use the Main menu to convey information about the site and
how to use the site. I want visitors to be able to easily get instructions for enroling
and using courses. Perhaps I should change the name of this block to How to Use
this Site. I can do that by looking in the moodle.php file under the language folder,
for this line:
$string['mainmenu'] = 'Main menu';
Change Main menu to whatever you want to be displayed for the name of the menu.
Messages block
The Messages block provides a shortcut to Moodle's Messages center. It displays
the latest messages received. This is a shortcut to the same page you would reach by
selecting Settings | My profile | Messages.
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Blocks
Online Users block
The Online Users block displays a list of the users who are in the current course at
the present time. If it is on the site's Front Page, is shows people who are online on
the site. Every few minutes, the block is updated:
Quiz results block
The Quiz results block is available only if there is a quiz in the course. It displays
the highest and/or lowest grades achieved on a quiz within a course. You can
anonymize the students' names in the block, if you prefer.
Random Glossary Entry block
Moodle's Random Glossary Entry block pulls entries from a selected glossary, and
displays them in a block. It can pull entries from any glossary that is available to
that course. In the following screenshot, the glossary that the block is using is a class
directory, where each student is an entry in the glossary:
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Even though the name of the block is "Random" Glossary Entry, you can control the
order in which entries are pulled from the glossary, and how often the block displays
a new entry. For example, in the following screenshot, the Random Glossary Entry
block is set to display each entry in order, and to change the entry displayed
each day:
Here are some ideas for using the Random Glossary Entry block for something other
than a glossary:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Highlights of work that past students in this class have submitted. If the class
is working on a long-term project, create a glossary that contains the best
work submitted by previous classes who completed that project. Display the
glossary while the current class is working on that project.
Inspirational or informative quotes related to the field of study.
If you're teaching in a corporate setting, consider putting rules and
procedures into their own glossaries. You could create a separate glossary
for each type of rule or procedure, for example, a Human Resources Policies
glossary, a Purchase Order glossary, and so on. Then, display random entries
from these glossaries in the appropriate courses.
Past exam questions and their answers. Students can use this as another
resource to prepare for your exams.
Funny anecdotes related to the field of study.
Common mistakes and their corrections. For example, how to spot software
bugs, or common foreign language grammar errors.
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Blocks
Recent activity block
When the Recent activity block is added to a course's Home Page, it lists all of the
student and teacher activity in that course since the user's last login. The link for
Full report of recent activity displays a page that enables you to run reports on
course activity.
When added to the site's Front Page, this block lists all of the student and teacher
activity on the Front Page, but not in the individual courses, since the user's last
login. If someone is logged in as a guest user, this block displays activity since the
last time that Guest logged in. If guest users are constantly coming to your site, this
block may be of limited use to them. One strategy is to omit this block from the site's
Front Page, so that anonymous users don't see it, and add it only to courses that
require users to authenticate.
Remote RSS Feeds block
When the Remote RSS Feeds block is added to a course Home Page, the course
creator chooses or creates RSS feeds to display in that block.
This example below shows an RSS feed from an adventure racing site. This feed is
the result of the configuration shown in the following screenshot.
A feed can be added by the Site Administrator, and then selected by the course
creator for use in an RSS block. Alternatively, when the Course Creator adds the
RSS block, they can add a feed at that time. The new feed then becomes available to
all other Course Creators, for use in all other courses. This is similar to the way quiz
questions work. All quiz questions, no matter who created them, are available to all
Course Creators for use in their courses.
Search forums block
The Search forums block provides a search function for forums. It does not search
other types of activities or resources. When this block is added to the site's Front
Page, it searches only the forums on the Front Page.
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When it's added to a course's Home Page, it searches only the forums for that
course. This block is different from the Search courses field that automatically
appears on the site's Front Page. The Search courses field searches course names
and descriptions, not forums.
Topics block
The Topics block displays links to the numbered topics or weeks in a course.
Clicking on a link advances the page to that topic. This block does not display
the names of the topics. If you want to display links to the topics that show their
names, you'll need to create those links yourself. The following screenshot shows
an example of this:
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Blocks
Here's one way to create those links:
1. While viewing the Home Page of the course, in the address bar of your
browser you will see the web address of the course. In my example, it was
http://moodle.williamrice.com/course/view.php?id=4. Select and
copy this address.
2. In Topic 0, add a label. Do this by clicking on the Add a resource drop-down
menu and selecting Insert a label.
3. You should see a word processor-like window, where you enter the text of
the label. In my example, I added a horizontal rule and then typed Jump to a
Topic. You can add any text that you want to use to introduce these links.
4. Type the name of the first topic, such as Types of Plants.
5. Select the name of the topic by dragging across it.
6. Click on the Link
button to create the link. You should see a pop-up
window where you can enter the URL of the link.
7. In the Insert Link pop-up window, paste the link that you copied before.
This is the link to the course's Home Page. Immediately after the link, type
the hash sign (#) and the number of the topic or week.
8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for each topic.
9. When you have finished with the Edit label window, click on the Save
changes button to return to your course's Home Page. You will now see
the links in Topic 0.
Upcoming Events block
The Upcoming Events block is an extension of the Calendar block. It gets event
information from your calendar. By default, the Upcoming Events block displays
10 events; the maximum is 20. It looks ahead a default of 21 days; the maximum is
200. If there are more upcoming events than the maximum chosen for this block, the
events furthest away will not be shown.
This block is helpful for reminding students of the tasks that they need to complete
in the course.
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Summary
When deciding which blocks to display, consider the comfort level of your students.
If they're experienced web surfers, they may be comfortable with a full complement
of blocks displaying information about the course. Experienced web surfers are
adept at ignoring information they don't need (when was the last time you paid
attention to a banner ad on the Web?). If your students are new computer users, they
may assume that the presence of a block means that it requires their attention or
interaction. Remember that you can turn blocks on and off as needed.
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Features for Teachers
Moodle offers several features that are of special interest to teachers. These focus on
determining how well your students are progressing through a course. Reports and
logs show you who has done what on your site or in your course. Grades not only
tell you how well your students are scoring, but can also be curved and weighted
very easily.
Logs and reports
Moodle keeps detailed logs of all activities that users perform on your site. You can
use these logs to determine who has been active on your site, what they did, and
when they did it.
Some reports are available at the course level. Teachers can access these
reports. Other reports are available at the site level. You must be a Site
Administrator to access these reports. Both sets of reports are covered in
this chapter.
Moodle has a modest report viewing system built into it. However, for sophisticated
log analysis, you need to look outside of Moodle.
To view the logs and reports for a course, you must be logged in as a Teacher or a
Manager. Then, select My courses | name of course | Reports.
You can use the Reports page to display three different kinds of information. From
top to bottom, they are:
•
•
•
Raw logs
Activity reports
Participation reports
Let's look at each one separately.
Features for Teachers
View course logs
Notice that Moodle's display of the log files can be filtered by course, participant,
day, activity, and action. You can select a single value for any of these filters:
You cannot select multiple values for any of these filters. That is, you cannot look at
the logs for two courses at the same time, or four participants at the same time, or for
a few days at the same time. If you want a more sophisticated view of the logs, you
must use a tool other than Moodle's built-in log viewer.
Fortunately, you can download the logs as text files and import them into another
tool, such as a spreadsheet. To download the logs, use the last drop-down list on the
page, as shown in the following screenshot:
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For example, you could use Excel's data menu to format, chart, and analyze the data.
A complete discussion of Excel's data functions is beyond this book, but there are
many sources of help for these functions.
The following figure is an example of a table created in Excel from imported data.
I've sorted the data by participant (Full name), so that at a glance, I can see which
users are most active:
Notice that the preceding table contains information from several courses. You can
see this from Column A. There are two ways to get information from several courses
in the same place. First, you could run the report as an Administrator, from the
administrative interface. This enables you to run a report for all courses on the site.
Second, as a Teacher, you could download the data from each course separately, and
combine it into one Excel worksheet.
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Viewing Activity reports
An Activity report offers a user-friendly view of the activity in a single course.
Whereas the logs show complete information, an activity report shows only the
course items, what was done in each item, and the time of the latest activity for that
item. When you first select Activity reports from the menu, you are presented with a
list of all of the activities in the course, as shown in the following screenshot:
From this list, select the activity for which you want to generate a report. You are
taken to that activity. In this example, the teacher selected The Plants Around You:
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Notice that the Activity report only acts as a link to the activities in a course. Once
you select an activity, you will use that activity's method for viewing a report.
Participation report
The Participation report is especially useful for discovering which students need to
complete an activity, and sending them a reminder to complete it. In the following
example, the teacher is looking at the report for the activity called Interesting Finds.
This is a glossary activity. The teacher is displaying only records for the students in
the class, but wants to see only records of students' posts to the glossary:
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Features for Teachers
In this demonstration course, the teacher wants all of the students to contribute
(post) to the glossary. So, the teacher will send a message to Student1, Student3, and
Student4. To do this, they select the students and then from the With selected users…
drop-down list, selects Send a message, as shown in the following screenshot:
This takes the teacher to a page where they can create and send a message. The
message will be sent to the students' email addresses, and will also be stored in
their Moodle messages.
Statistics
Statistics is a feature that is available only to Site Administrators. If you run a
website, you might be familiar with using site statistics to track the usage of your
site. These statistics are recorded by the web server and displayed using a statistics
analyzer. In Moodle, if the Administrator enables site statistics, Moodle will record
statistics about each course and the site, just as your web server records statistics
about your website. Moodle will also produce graphs to display the statistics,
similar to a statistics analyzer.
The statistics page shows how many hits the different pages in your Moodle site
have had. The Administrator can look at the hits for a given day or hour. The
statistics page does not show which users visited these pages. For that, you will
need to use the site logs.
If you enable site statistics, Moodle will record activity as it happens. Then, at a time
that you specify, Moodle will process the statistics to generate the graphs and charts
on the Statistics page. For a very active site, this processing can take a long time.
Therefore, the Administrator should specify a time when the site is not busy serving
students. Also, you do not want the statistics processing and backup routines to run
at the same time, so you should schedule them a few hours apart.
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How to enable site statistics:
1. Select Site administration | Server | Statistics.
2. Select the Enable statistics checkbox.
3. Select the appropriate settings to specify when, and for how long, to run
the statistics.
4. Click on the Save changes button.
Using scales for feedback, rating, and
grading
In Moodle, you can use scales to rate or grade forums, assignments, quizzes, lessons,
and workshops. These scales can be used by anyone who is grading or evaluating a
student's work. For example, if a workshop is being graded by other students, then
the students can use the scale selected by the teacher to grade that workshop. Being
able to apply a scale to so many types of activities is a powerful way to make your
courses more interactive and engaging.
Moodle comes with two pre-existing scales. One is called "Separate and Connected
Ways of Knowing". This scale allows students to describe an item as connected to
other knowledge in the course, or separate from the other knowledge. It isn't
useful as a way to grade students, but instead is used to stimulate discussion
about the item.
The other built-in scale that Moodle offers is numeric. You can assign a maximum
number of points, from 1 to 100, to an item. Whoever is rating or grading the item
selects a numeric grade from a drop-down list.
Moodle also allows you to create custom scales. For example, in the following
screenshot, you can see that the student is looking at an activity named
Terminology. This is a glossary that contains terms that the student must
memorize for the course.
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Features for Teachers
In the lower-right corner of the page, the student is rating this glossary entry. The
teacher created a custom scale for this course. The scale allows students to rate how
helpful something is for memorizing the glossary entry. The teacher then applied
this custom scale to the glossary.
Note that once the teacher created the custom scale, they could have applied it to any
activity in the course. For example, the course could have a forum where students
exchange tips on memorizing terminology. Then, the students could rate each post to
that forum on how helpful it is for memorization.
How to create a custom scale
A Site Administrator can create a custom scale at the site level. Then, that scale can
be applied by all of the teachers to their activities. A teacher can create a custom scale
at the course level. Then, that scale can be applied to the activities in just that course.
1. Select Settings | Grade administration | Scales. If you're creating a scale for
the entire site, select Site administration | Grades | Scales.
The Scale page is displayed. The scale for Separate and Connected Ways
of Knowing is listed, as are any other custom scales for this course (or for
this site).
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2. Click on the Add a new scale button. The Edit page is displayed,
as shown below.
3. When a teacher applies this scale to an activity, they will see the Name that
you enter here. Students who use the scale will never see the Name.
4. The Scale field holds the entries that the user will see when using this scale.
Compare the text in the Scale field of the preceding screenshot, to the text
that appears in the drop-down list of the screenshot before that.
5. When a teacher sees this scale in the list, they will see the Description that
you enter here. Students who use the scale will never see the Description.
6. Save your changes.
The scale is now ready to be applied.
How to apply a scale to an activity
Once a custom scale has been created, you need to apply it to an activity.
1. When logged in as a Teacher, Administrator, or Course Manager, select
the activity.
2. Look on that activity's Edit settings page.
[ 303 ]
Features for Teachers
3. Find the section labeled Ratings.
4. From the Scale drop-down list, select the scale that you want to apply.
5. Save your changes.
Grades
Moodle offers a very flexible reporting tool for grades. When you combine the
ability to customize grading scales with Moodle's extensive grading tools, you have a
powerful way to view the progress of your students. As a teacher, you can categorize
graded activities, assign ranges to letter grades, use weighted grades, and either
hide grades from students or reveal grades to students. If Moodle doesn't have the
reporting capabilities that you want, you can download grades in text-only or Excel
format and use a spreadsheet to chart and analyze them.
Anything that can have a scale applied to it can be graded: forums, assignments,
quizzes, lessons, workshops, and more.
Remember from the previous section on Scales that ratings can be
assigned by both teachers and students. A rating is a grade, so this means
that you can have students grade each other by allowing them to rate
each other.
Viewing grades
To access grades, select the course whose grades you want to see, and then select
Grade administration | Grader Report. This displays a summary of the grades for
that course, as shown in the following screenshot:
[ 304 ]
Chapter 10
Notice that Student2, Student3, and Student4 have not completed the first
assignment in this course. Also notice that the Teacher can override the grades
being displayed by entering new ones, and then clicking on the Update button.
In our example course, the Teacher wants to investigate the lack of grades for
Assignment1. So they will click on the name of the assignment, which takes the
Teacher out of the Grader report and into the Assignment itself. Notice that now
the navigation bar at the top of the page shows that we are viewing the assignment:
Now that the Teacher is viewing the submissions for the assignment, they can
see that Student2 submitted a paper but it has not been graded. Clicking on the
submission will download or open it. Clicking on the Grade link will allow the
Teacher to enter a grade and optional comments for the submission.
The Grader report is the Teacher's starting point for examining the grades for a
course. It also allows the Teacher to enter updated grades. From there, you can
click into individual activities and investigate or modify grades.
Categorizing grades
Each of the graded activities can be put into a category. Note that you put activities
into categories, not students. If you want to categorize students, you need to put
them into groups.
[ 305 ]
Features for Teachers
Viewing grade categories
Categorizing the graded activities in a course enables you to quickly see how your
students are doing with various kinds of activities. If you do not assign an activity
to a category, by default it belongs to the category Uncategorized. The following
screenshot shows a course that uses the categories of Quizzes and Non-quizzes.
These were created by the Teacher because they were concerned that some students
have test anxiety, so the Teacher wanted to compare the students' performance on
tests to other activities:
Notice that in the category labeled Quizzes, the grades for two quizzes are showing:
Terminology Test and Lifecycle Test. It also displays the Category total for
Quizzes.
In the category labeled Non-quizzes, the report displays only the Category total.
Grades for the individual activities under Non-quizzes are not displayed. If the
Teacher clicks the + sign next to Non-quizzes, then the individual grades in that
category will be revealed.
In this example, the Teacher can see that Student1's scores on the quizzes are
consistent with the student's score on the non-quiz activities. Categorizing the
activities made it easy to see the comparison.
Creating grade categories
Categories are created, and items are moved into categories, in the same window.
How to create a grade category
To create a grade category,follow the steps shown below:
1. Select Settings | Grade administration | Categories and items.
2. From there, you can select Simple view or Full view.
[ 306 ]
Chapter 10
3. At the bottom of the page, click on the Add category button. The Edit
category page is displayed.
4. Complete the required fields the page, and save your changes.
How to assign an item to a grade category
To assign an item to a grade category, follow the steps shown below:
1. Select Settings | Grade administration | Categories and items |
Simple view.
2. Select the item(s) that you want to assign to the category.
3. At the bottom of the page, from the drop-down list, select the category into
which you want to move the item(s).
4. Click on the Save changes button.
The most important point here is to determine what kind of question you want to
answer when you examine student grades, and create categories that enable you
to answer that question. For example, "How do my students do on quizzes versus
more interactive activities, such as workshops and forums?" To answer that question,
create a category just for quizzes, and you can answer that question just by viewing
the grades. Or, "How do my students do on offline activities versus online activities?"
To answer that question, create Online and Offline grading categories.
[ 307 ]
Features for Teachers
Remember, these categories are not "written in stone". If your
needs change, you can always create and assign new grading
categories later, as needed.
Using extra credit
You can designate any activity as being for 'extra credit'. When an item is designated
as extra credit, its points are not added to the total possible points for the category. In
this example, the Terminology test has been designated as extra credit. If it were not
designated as extra credit, the total points needed for a 100% in this category would
be 20. But in this case, the total points needed to achieve a 100% is 10. That means in
this example, if the student scored perfect on both tests, they could score 200% for
this category!
You can also create a category just for extra credit activities. The extra credit setting
is on the Edit category page. Alternatively, you can use the extra credit setting on
selected activities. Both approaches will work.
Weighing a category
You can, and probably should, assign a weight to a grade category. By default, a
weight of 100 is applied to every category. This means that each category contributes
equally to the course total. In the following screenshot, you can see that both
categories are assigned a weight of 100. The course has a weight of 100:
[ 308 ]
Chapter 10
No matter what numbers you enter for category totals, you can enter any number
for the course total. The category totals will contribute proportionately to the
course total.
Compensating for a difficult category by
adding points
You might want to add extra points to everyone's grade, to compensate for an
especially difficult assignment. The easiest way to add extra points to everyone's
grade in the class is to add an extra grade item to a category and then give everyone
the points for that item.
[ 309 ]
Features for Teachers
In the following screenshot, you can see that the Teacher has added a grade item
worth 2 points to the Quizzes category, and designated it as Extra credit:
The Teacher then added this grade item by clicking on the Add grade item button
at the bottom of the page. When you add a grade item instead of an activity, you
must enter the grade for each student manually. This is because there is no activity in
Moodle for the student to perform, so Moodle cannot calculate a grade for the student.
In order to add grades to the grade item go to Course administration | Grades |
Grader report. On this page, manually enter the grades for the grade item, and then
click on the Update button:
[ 310 ]
Chapter 10
Another way to add extra points is to simply override the automatic grading of
the assignments. In this example, the Teacher could have simply entered manual
grades for either Test. However, that would have made it more difficult and tedious
to determine how many points were manually added to the grades. By creating an
extra credit grading item, we can see exactly how much was added to the grades.
The Teacher forum
You cancreate a Forum that only Teachers can access. This is especially useful
when several teachers collaborate on a course. To create a teacher-only forum, add
a normal forum and then change the security so that Students and Guests cannot
access it. When a Student tries to access the forum, they will receive a message
stating You do not have the permission to view discussions in this forum.
Teachers will be able to access the forum.
How to make a forum (or any activity or
resource) available to Teachers only
To make a forum (or any other activity or resource) available to Teachers only,
carry out the steps shown below:
1. Log in to the course as a Teacher or a Course Manager.
2. Select the forum.
3. From the Settings for the forum, select Permissions, as shown in the
following screenshot:
[ 311 ]
Features for Teachers
4. From the Advanced role override drop-down list, select Student:
5. Under Activity: Forum, change all of the Student permissions to Prohibit:
6. Save your changes.
7. In the lower-right corner, for Change another role, select Guest.
8. Again, under Activity: Forum, change all of the Guest permissions
to Prohibit.
9. Save your changes.
The result is a forum that Students and Guests can see the name of, but
cannot access.
Summary
Managing a successful course requires two-way communication between the teacher
and students, whether in a classroom or online. Constantly monitoring a course's
logs and grades gives you an early indication that a class may need a mid-course
correction. You can use questions, surveys, and chats to discover specific problems
and challenges that the students are facing. After bringing the course back on track,
custom grading scales, extra credit, and curves can help you to equalize the grades.
When teaching online, make a habit of often checking the logs and grades.
[ 312 ]
Index
A
access levels
anonymous 14
guest 14
registered 14
Activities block 281
activity reports
about 298
viewing 298, 299
admin user
creating 58, 59
Algebra Notation filter 112
assessment form page, Workshop module
269, 270
assessment phase, Workshop module 276
assignment activity 165
assignments
adding 166
creating 172, 173
making mandatory 174
printer-friendly directions 174
types of assignments, adding 166
assignments, types
advanced uploading, of files 168, 169
offline activity 171
online text assignment, creating 169-171
single file, uploading 167, 168
authenticating against an external source
about 72, 73
external database or server,
connecting to 74
usernames, changing in external
database 75
users, deleting from external
database 74, 75
authentication methods
e-mail-based self-registration, enabling 72
authenticating against an external
source 72
configuring 69, 70
e-mail-based self-registration, enabling 71
manual accounts method 70
no login method 70
auto linking filters
activity names 111
glossary 111
B
block 279
blocks, Moodle Front Page 14
Blog menu block 282
Blog tags block 282
C
calculated question 215
Calendar block 282, 283
category enrolments 88
Chat module
about 241, 242
settings 243
Chat settings page
about 243
chat security 244
editing 243
everyone can view past sessions 244
introduction text 244
name 244
next chat time 244
repeat sessions 244
save past sessions 244
Choice activity
about 238
student's point of view 238, 239
teacher's point of view 239
Chrome
URL 67
cluster 187
Cohort
about 87
creating 87
enrolling 87
Cohorts sync enrolment method 87
Comments block 283, 284
common module settings, quiz settings
configuring 208
content page 186
course
organizing, in Moodle 160
course, organizing
items, rearranging on home page 161, 162
labels, adding 163
labels, using 162
topics, naming 160
Course/site description block 285
course categories
best option, selecting for front page 124,
125
creating 125, 126
displaying, on front page 122, 123
rearranging 126, 127
using 121
Course completion block 284
course enrolment
enrolment methods, setting 140, 142
students, enrolling 138, 140
teachers, enrolling 138, 140
course logs
viewing 296, 297
courses
blocks, displaying 134
creating 128-138
displaying, on front page 122-124
files, adding for downloading 155
format 131
guest access, allowing 136
hidden section, displaying 133
links, adding 146-149
maximum upload file size, limiting 136
media, adding 157
pages, adding 149
putting, in several categories 127
separate groups, using 137
static course materials, adding 145
Courses block 284
custom scale
creating 302, 303
D
database user
creating 48, 49
description question 215
display settings, quiz settings
configuring 204
DreamWeaver 154
E
e-mail-based self-registration
enabling 71, 72
editing choice page settings, Choice activity
allow choice to be updated 240
display mode 239
limit 239
privacy of results 239
publish results 239
editing mode, Moodle
about 24
delete icon 25
edit icon 24, 25
group icons 25
hidden/shown icons 25
edit settings page, Workshop module
about 263
access control 269
assessment settings 267-269
general settings 263
grading settings 264
grading strategy 265
submission settings 267
workshop features 264
email protection filter 112
embedded answers question 216
[ 314 ]
enrollment methods
about 77
category enrolments 88
Cohorts sync enrolment method 87
enable option 79
guest access enrollment method 84
instances / enrolments 78, 79
manual enrollment 81
name 77
self enrollment method 86
settings 80, 81
student enrollment, manually 81-83
up/down option 79, 80
essay question 215
extra restrictions on attempts, quiz settings
attempts allowed 205
browser security 205
enforced delay settings 205
require network address 204
require password 204
F
feedback, quiz
adding, to question 217
for individual responses 218, 219
for numeric question 220
Feedback activity
bots, avoiding with captcha 232
creating 229, 230
individual responses, viewing 236, 237
information, inserting 232
label, adding 232
multiple choice questions, creating 234, 235
multiple choice questions,
displaying 233, 234
numeric answer, adding 235
page break, adding 232
questions, adding 231
question types, adding 232
responses, analyzing with analysis tab 237
short text answer, adding 235
text box, creating with longer text answer
233
viewing 236
Feedback module
about 228
uses 229
feedback settings, quiz settings
configuring 206
feedback types
any correct response 218
for any incorrect response 218
for any partially correct response 218
general feedback 218
files
adding, to course 155-157
filters
about 111
auto linking filters 111
email protection filter 112
math filters 112
multi-language content filter 113-119
multimedia plugins filter 112, 113
Firefox
URL 67
first question page
adding, to lesson 184, 185
cluster, adding 187
content page, adding 186, 187
question page, adding 187
questions, importing 185
flat file
about 88, 92
course ID 90, 91
role 91
student ID number 89, 90
flow control, lesson settings
about 180, 182
advanced settings 183
formats, courses
SCORM format 132
Social format 131
Topics format 131
Weekly format 131
forum, for teachers 311, 312
Forum module
about 245
discussions 246
Forum settings 247
multiple forums 247
News Forum, using for sending mass
e-mails 247
[ 315 ]
students, allowing to rate forum postings
251
Forum settings
general settings 247
post threshold for blocking settings 250
ratings 250
forum types
each person posts one discussion 248
Q and A 248
single simple discussion 248
standard forum displayed in a blog-like
format 248
standard forum for general use 248
FrontPage 154
front page settings 59
G
general settings, Forum
about 247
introduction 248
maximum attachment size 249
maximum number of attachments 249
name 247
read tracking for this forum 249
subscription mode 248
types 248
general settings, lesson settings
maximum number of answers/branches
179
name 178
time limit 178
general settings, quiz settings
configuring 200, 201
glossaries
enabling, for site 252
glossary entries
adding 252-255
Glossary module
about 251
global versus local glossary 255
glossaries, enabling for site 252
glossary entries, adding 252-255
main glossary 256
ratings 257
secondary glossary 256
students, allowing to rate glossary
entries 257
Googlebot
about 105
URL 105
grade options, lesson settings
about 179
custom scoring 179
maximum grade 179
ongoing score, displaying 179
practice lesson 179
re-takes, handling 179
student can re-take 179
grades
about 304
accessing 304, 305
categories, creating 306
categories, viewing 306
categorizing 305
category, compensating 309-311
category, weighing 308, 309
extra credit, using 308
item, assigning to grade category 307
viewing 304
grade settings, quiz settings
configuring 205, 206
grading evaluation phase, Workshop
module 276
grading strategy, Workshop module
about 265
accumulative grading strategy 265
comments 266
number of errors 266
rubric grading scale 266
guest-enabled courses
about 105
disadvantages 105
guest access enrollment method
about 84, 85
enabling 86
H
HTML block 285
HTML code 154
HTML guide
reference link 154
[ 316 ]
HTML online
reference link 154
I
IMS Enterprise File
about 92
reference link 93
installer script
about 50
config.php 50, 51
configuration settings 50, 51
copyright 55
database settings, specifying 54, 55
database tables 51
database tables, created by install.php 57,
58
directories, specifying 52
install.php 51, 52
server, checking 56
web address, specifying 52
interactive course material
assignment 165
lesson 165
Internet Explorer
URL 67
J
jumps settings, lesson setting
next or previous page 190
random question within content page 191
specific pages 190
this page 190
unseen question within cluster 190, 191
L
language
about 97, 98
additional languages, installing 100, 101
files 98, 99
language settings, configuring 101
language settings
configuring 101, 102
Excel encoding 102
sitewide locale 102
Latest news block 286
layout settings, quiz settings
configuring 201
LDAP 93
lesson activity
about 165, 174-177
content pages 194, 195
editing 193, 194
first question page, adding 184, 185
question pages, creating 188
settings, configuring 177, 178
lesson settings
configuring 177, 178
flow control 180, 182
general settings 178
grade options 179
pop-up window 183, 184
links
adding, to course 146-149
Login block 286
M
Main menu block 287
manual accounts method, authentication
methods 70
matching question 215
math filters
about 112
Algebra Notation filter 112
TeX Notation filter 112
media
adding, to course 157, 158
video, embedding on Moodle page 159, 160
video or audio, adding to Moodle page 158
Messages block 287
Mnet Remote Enrolments 96
Moodle
about 7
activities 11, 26
activity reports, viewing 298, 299
Chat module 241
Choice activity 238
course, organizing 160
course activities 165
course categories 121
course logs, viewing 296, 297
course material 26
[ 317 ]
custom scale, creating 302, 303
database user, creating 48, 49
demo sitre 114
editing mode 24
external database 93
external database connection 94
features, for teachers 295
Feedback activity 228
flat file 88
forums, for teachers 311
Forum module 245
Front Page 12
Glossary module 251
grades 304
IMS Enterprise File 92
interactive course material 165
Learning Management System (LMS) 8
learning site 12
local field mappings 94, 95
logs 295
Mnet Remote Enrolments 96
participation report 299, 300
Paypal option 95
PowerPoint, importing 185
Quiz activity 198
remote enrolment sync settings 95
report 295
restrict availability setting 164
scale, applying to activity 303
scales, using 301, 302
settings menu 28
site administration menu, exploring 67, 68
statistics 300
Wiki module 259
Workshop module 261
Moodle application directory 30, 31
Moodle architecture
about 29
application directory 30, 31
database 32
data directory 31
Moodle blocks
about 279
Activities block 281
Blog menu block 282
Blog tags block 282
Calendar block 282
Comments block 283
configuring 279, 280
Course/site description block 285
Course completion block 284
Courses block 284
HTML block 285
Latest news block 286
Login block 286
Main menu block 287
Messages block 287
Online Users block 288
Quiz results block 288
Random Glossary Entry block 288
Recent activity block 290
Remote RSS Feeds block 290
Search forums block 290
Topics block 291
types 281
Upcoming Events block 292
Moodle course. See courses
blocks 16
breadcrumbs 16
discussion 21, 22
navigation block 17-19
topics 20, 21
workshop 22-24
Moodle database
about 32
creating 46-48
Moodle data directory 31
Moodle Front Page
about 12
blocks 14
courses 15
demonstration learning site 12
levels, of access 14
main menu 14
site description 15
Moodle installation
administrative user, creating 58, 59
database user, creating 48
front page settings 59
installer script 50
Moodle database, creating 46
Moodle learning management system 29
Moodle settings
experimenting with 63, 64
[ 318 ]
Moodle site
configuring 63
courses, offering in multiple languages 102
Front Page description 116
Front Page items 117
Front Page Settings Page 115
guest access enrollment method 84
self enrollment method 86
test accounts, creating 64, 66
multi-language content filter 113, 114
multimedia plugins filter 113
multiple choice questions 216
N
No login method, authentication
methods 70
numerical question 217
O
Online Users block 288
Opera
URL 67
order and paging tab
editing 226
order of questions, changing 226, 227
page breaks, changing 227, 228
P
participation report 299, 300
PowerPoint
importing, to Moodle 185
Q
Question Bank
about 209, 210
proliferation, managing 210
question categories, creating 210
question categories, editing 211
questions, moving between categories 210
question behavior, quiz settings
adaptive mode setting 202
configuring 202
shuffle within questions 202
question pages
adding 194
answers 190
creating 188
editing 194
jumps 190
jumps, assigning 192
page contents 190
page flow 192
page title 189
rearranging 194
responses 190
without questions 192
questions
creating 211-214
formats 185
questions, adding to quiz
about 208
feedback, adding to question 217
question, creating 211-214
Question Bank 209
question types 215
questions types
about 215
calculated 215
description 215
embedded answers 216
essay 215
matching 215
multiple choice 216
numerical 217
random 217
random short-answer matching 217
short answer 217
true/false 217
quiz
assembling 222
glossary auto linking, preventing 228
open-book quiz, preventing 228
order and paging tab 226
quiz tab, editing 222
Quiz activity
about 198
Question Bank 198
questions, adding to quiz 208
quiz, assembling 222
[ 319 ]
quiz settings, configuring 199
Quiz results block 288
quiz settings
common module settings 208
configuring 199
display 204
enforced delay settings 204
general settings 200
grades 205
layout settings 201
overall feedback 206
question behavior 202
review options 202, 203
security 206
students may review 206
quiz tab
editing 222
grade, for each question 223
maaximum grade 223
Question Bank contents, using 223, 224
random questions, adding to quiz 225
R
Random Glossary Entry block
about 288
using 289
random question 217
random short-answer question 217
ratings, Glossary module
about 257
rating scale, creating 258
scale, selecting 258
students, allowing to rate glossary
entries 257
Recent activity block 290
Remote RSS Feeds block 290
resources and activities
adding 26, 28
restrict availability setting 164
review options, quiz settings
configuring 202, 203
S
Safari
URL 67
scales
applying, to activity 303
using 301, 302
SCORM format 132
Search forums block 290
security settings
about 103
access, limiting to specific locations 103
EMBED tags, allowing 108
HTTPS, using for login 110
HTTP Security page 109
IP blocker 103
Moodle, running from HTTPS 110
OBJECT tags, allowing 108
open to Google 105, 106
site policies 103
upload file size limit, changing in
Apache 108
upload file size limit, changing in PHP 107
upload file size, limiting 106, 107
user login, forcing 105
usernames, protecting 104
user profile login, forcing 105
security settings, quiz settings
configuring 206
self enrollment method 86
settings menu 28
several browsers
installing 67
short answer question 217
site administration menu
authentication methods, configuring 69, 70
exploring 67, 68
filters 111
language 97, 98
security settings 103
user access, granting to course 77
Social format 131
static course materials
adding 145
statistics
about 300
site statistics, enabling 301
student's point of view, Choice activity
238, 239
students may review settings, quiz settings
configuring 206
[ 320 ]
T
teachers point of view, Choice activity 239
test accounts, for Moodle site
creating 64, 66
fields 64, 65
TeX Notation filter 112
Topics block 291, 292
Topics format 131
true/false question 217
U
Upcoming Events block 292
user accounts
creating manually 70
suspending 70, 71
username
changing, in Moodle 76
W
web pages
adding, to course 149
composing, in HTML editor 154
image file, inserting 153
images, adding 151
linked picture, inserting 151, 152
Moodle's HTML editor 150
text, pasting into Moodle page 150, 151
uploading, to Moodle 154
Weekly format 131
Wiki module
about 259
default format setting 261
editing, group mode using 260
editing, wiki type using 260
first page name 261
Workshop Features
examples, using 264
peer assessment, using 264
self assessment, using 264, 265
Workshop module
about 261
assessment phase 276
closed phase 276
edit assessment form page 269, 270
edit settings page 263
evaluation phase, grading 276
example, adding 271-273
strategies 261
submissions, allocating 276
work, submitting 274, 275
Workshop strategies
about 261
assignments, assessing 261
due dates, setting for submissions and
assessments 262
WYSIWYG tools 154
[ 321 ]
Thank you for buying
Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course Development
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Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques
ISBN: 978-1-849510-06-6
Paperback: 216 pages
Creative ways to build powerful and effective
online courses
1.
Motivate students from all backgrounds,
generations, and learning styles
2.
When and how to apply the different learning
solutions with workarounds, providing
alternative solutions
3.
Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions
with screenshots and examples for Moodle’s
powerful features
Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 Year
Olds: Beginner's Guide
ISBN: 978-1-847197-14-6
Paperback: 236 pages
Effective e-learning for younger students using
Moodle as your Classroom Assistant
1.
Focus on the unique needs of young learners
to create a fun, interesting, interactive, and
informative learning environment your
students will want to go on day after day
2.
Engage and motivate your students with
games, quizzes, movies, and podcasts the
whole class can participate in
3.
Go paperless! Put your lessons online and
grade them anywhere, anytime
4.
Ideal for teachers new to Moodle: easy to follow
and abundantly illustrated with screenshots of
the solutions you’ll build
Please check www.PacktPub.com for information on our titles
Moodle 1.9 Math
ISBN: 978-1-847196-44-6
Paperback: 276 pages
Integrate interactive math presentations, build
feature-rich quizzes, set online quizzes and tests,
incorporate Flash games, and monitor student
progress using the Moodle e-learning platform
1.
Get to grips with converting your mathematics
teaching over to Moodle
2.
Engage and motivate your students with
exciting, interactive, and engaging online
math courses with Moodle, which include
mathematical notation, graphs, images, video,
audio, and more
3.
# Integrate multimedia elements in math
courses to make learning math interactive
and fun
Moodle 2.0 Administration
ISBN: 978-1-849516-04-4
Paperback: 427 pages
An administrator’s guide to configuring, securing,
customizing, and extending Moodle
1.
A complete guide for planning, installing,
optimizing, customizing, and configuring
Moodle
2.
Learn how to network and extend Moodle for
your needs and integrate with other systems
4.
A complete reference of all Moodle system
settings
Please check www.PacktPub.com for information on our titles
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