Sometimes I have personal video content that I want my students to access through Moodle yet I don’t want it accessed anywhere else on the web. I know that if I post a video to YouTube and set the privacy settings to private I can share the video with up to 50 people. This is a problem as I typically have more than 50 students needing access to the content. Furthermore, private videos can only be accessed by users who have a YouTube account. I also know that if I set the video to unlisted on YouTube, it won’t show up in searches or on my channel but the link can be shared throughout the web and be shared with any number of people. These don’t necessarily solve my problem as I want an indefinite number of people to have access to my video, but I only want it accessed through my Moodle installation.
I have found a solution to this problem…
Using an LMS to compliment classroom instruction is a relevant way to prepare students for post secondary education. Now, when I was at ASU, universities were still trying to figure out how to use forums and online discussions to engage students. We were using Blackboard and at the time is was pretty clunky. I wasn’t a Redditor back then so forums were relatively foreign to me. These days, I am enrolled at GCU working toward a Masters in Curriculum and Technology and 90% of the classwork for which I am responsible happens online in the form of forums. Form of forums? Karma Kramer?
Seven years have separated my undergraduate and graduate experiences and two things are for certain… forums are much slicker these days and forums are used by every professor.
When I first started using Moodle, I may have been a little obsessed with seeing the software from the point of view of my students. I remember setting up activities as a teacher and then signing in as a fictional student to take the activities that I just created. I needed to see what my students were seeing. I think I wanted to have a preemptive understanding of any questions or problems that my students may have encountered. So when my students would take a quiz, I’d take it alongside of them. This way I actually had the raw material in front of me and I could model answers to any questions they had about using Moodle.
And then my students caught on that I was participating in the assessments and activities…
When I first started using Moodle, I would enroll myself as a student in my own courses. This was, of course, in addition to my default teacher role. I just had to know exactly what my students were seeing when they used the program. I think some of the most important lessons I learned about Moodle was from the vantage point of an enrolled student.
It’s like my own teaching and design change when I regard it from the point of view of my students.
The following tutorial explains the process self-registration and self-enrollment from the vantage point of a student. Use it to troubleshoot the process with your students. Or, heck, show it to your students as a model for self-registration and enrollment.
If you are interested in learning how to build out an entire course using Moodle, check out BridgingEDU on Udemy!
My students understand social networks. I mean they really get them. And it might not be an understatement to say they spend a lot of time on them. I haven’t done any official research… but I hear things. Sometimes I run mental calculations comparing the hypothetical amount of time they spend on Facebook or Reddit to the amount of time they work on homework. The results are usually dismal.
Our students can post, link, comment, tweet, like, poke, and blog with such ease that it sometimes seems like they were born with social network instruction manuals programmed into their brains. Wait… does anybody “poke” anymore? Is that still a thing? Anyhow, as I step back and consider all of the knowledge my students have acquired about user interfaces, I wonder if I can use some of it to my advantage when creating a course with Moodle.
I mean, I think I might be able to use this knowledge of theirs.
Today I launched my very first Udemy course, and I am so excited about it! For those of you who don’t know what Udemy is, it is this platform that hosts online courses. You can find courses on anything from ranging from Excel to yoga. There is even a course on how to properly feed your infant… which… now that I write it… well… I didn’t realize there was more than one way. Anyhow, I decided to write a course on how to use Moodle in the classroom. I thought a continuous and structured course that explains Moodle step-by-step might be really helpful for educators.
I remember when I first started using Moodle with my high school students. The program was a beast! I think I spent 4 months, no joke – 4 months, just trying to figure out how to get the software installed on the server! And that is just the first step! I don’t know if my search terms were wrong or if there wasn’t anything available, but I could not for the life of me find anything online that covered basic installation.
Moodle is hard to figure out.
Like… really hard to figure out.
Like… the Moodle guys at last years’ Q Conference said it was hard to figure out. THE GUYS WHO MADE IT SAID IT WAS HARD TO FIGURE OUT!! Which may be pure authenticity or a wily sales pitch. You know, something in the vein of reverse psychology.
Anyhow, Moodle is out there… and it’s looming. It might even be billowing. So, in light of this looming and billowing software, I figured I’d take a stab at helping people use it. I mean I did eventually figure out how to get the software installed, so I can offer that much! And I think that alone might make the internet a better place.
But beyond mere installation the course actually does cover some foundational stuff. You know… the really important topics, stuff like, How to Enroll Students in a Course. Which is pretty darn important for us to know because without students we are nothing. And that is something we might be better off not telling our students. We got to keep them believing they need us!
What else? What else? It covers How to Create Online Quizzes. Which might be my favorite part of Moodle because my grading has been cut in half. Seriously. Ask my wife. We just started rock climbing because I have time now.
It covers how to add sweet online assessments like forums and blogs and chats and glossaries and wikis to a course. I think the glossary is my favorite assessment type in Moodle. It’s like writing a dictionary with your students. And after the glossary is complete, I feel so accomplished. I mean I just wrote a dictionary for heavens sakes! That’s an accomplishment!
You know what, you should check out all the topics. The course is located at www.udemy.com/how-to-moodle and it is 63 lectures long so we make it a little ways past installing the software.
One of my favorite parts of the course creating process was making the promo video with my buddy, Steve. We shot the video in my classroom one day while I was teaching and I think he did a really excellent job producing it.
Check it out…
Welp, one last order of business before I call it a night. If you are interested in taking Foundations in Moodle and learning how to moodle here is a link that will give you 25% off the course… (click on the picture below and voila!)
ps. I am not sure how I feel about the verb form of Moodle.
I am told to reflect on the claim, “Tests are the only objective assessment of student learning.”
If by “tests” we are talking about standardized fill-in-the-blank tests, the answer seems to be obviously No. Of course standardized tests are not the only objective way to measure student learning. I might go so far as to say, they are the least authentic way to measure student learning. Is the pinnacle of the compulsory education system to prepare citizens to take the census? I hope not. For goodness sake, amidst all this talk of rigor and relevance, it seems ridiculous that our high-stakes tests are still fill-in-the-blank. Standardized fill-in-the-blank tests measure the first couple tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy, all the while teachers are pressured by the system, insert the agents of the system here, to focus on the higher levels of Blooms. So to directly address the prompt, standardized fill-in-the-blank test are one way of measuring Remembering and maybe Understanding. Perhaps this is just my experience, and I could absolutely be wrong about this stuff.
It is at this point in my post, as I consider the system, that I would like to name drop my favorite book on the subject, Trusting Teachers. Here’s a link:
Now, if by “tests” we are talking about all forums of assessment, then the prompt becomes strangely redundant. I assume that when a student of a trade completes their training, they are required to prove they have learned the skills covered throughout their courses. For example, I imagine an apprentice-electrician is required to actually wire multiple electrical systems to complete whatever course they are in the midst of taking. I assume that some professional or instructor watches said student and evaluates their performance. This is a test. In fact, this is probably a more authentic test than if we were to supply the aforementioned student with a fill-in-the-bank test about the subject. Furthermore, I want drivers on the road to pass an actual driving test (which they do) not just a multiple choice driving test. I think I want my assessments to by active. I want my students to actively do something to prove they have learned something. Unfortunately, this isn’t the infrastructure I have set up in my classroom, nor is it the infrastructure by which I am being assessed. The words rogue, espionage, and espial all immediately come to mind. I am not sure why…
Needless to say, I think in a very roundabout I’m-on-Spring-Break-and-I’m-a-little-tired-right-now type way that I come away with two things:
1. We need to stop centralizing standardized fill-in-the-blank test. We need to do this because they are not authentic and because they do not assess what the Common Core Standards are requiring. The education system needs to look a little bit more like trade schools.
2. Assessments are the only objective assessment of student learning.
Sometimes The Onion just gets it right…