Hands on and thumbs up!

This week we ran two hands-on training sessions using Moodle 2.2, outlining to staff some of the changes they’ll see in the new site, and letting them try out some of the new features. Overall, staff gave a thumbs up to the new features and tools available.

Everybody seemed impressed with the Navigation block and the way you can now manage your blocks. They also liked how Glyndŵr plan to have links to useful tools and staff and support services across the top of the site:

This means that, as well as being able to move more easily between the courses you have access to (using the Navigation block), it will be possible to access the useful links from wherever you are in our Moodle site.

Attendees also liked the new editing options:

  • The Move icon (now more like a cross than a arrow) means you can drag and drop your activities and resources (and your topic areas) around the site.
  • The Duplicate icon (x2) means you can easily copy activities. This will be useful, for example, for those tutors using groups in their courses, who want to set the same assignments but with different deadlines. (You can see Mary Cooch explaining how to use this option by watching this video Using Moodle: Quickly Copy Activities)
  • The Assign roles icon (a face and mask) allows you to assign student or tutor roles for individual resources and activities, so you could, for example, allow students to moderate forum discussions. (This icon also appears now for blocks).

One of the new features that everybody particularly liked is the fact that now, for most resources and activities, you can ask Moodle to display the description on the course page. Previously you would have to click into the resource or activity to see this description, and if you wanted something to appear on the course page you would have to use  a label. Now, when editing your resource/activity, you can tick the box:

And you will see the description you have typed in, just below the link on the course page:

This improvement was developed in conjunction with the Open University, and you can watch their developer Sam Marshall giving a demonstration of how this might work in practice: Display descriptions demo from Sam Marshall, Open University

The sessions were meant as an introduction to our new Moodle site, and in the time available we only had the opportunity to try out some of the basics, such as navigating around the site and uploading files. There were some new features that we only really had chance to flag up, without being able to explain in detail. This included the Book module (for displaying multiple pages with a table of contents) and the Workshop activity (for integrating self and peer assessment), and attendees expressed an interest in learning more about how to use these tools.  They were also  very enthusiastic about activity completioncourse completion, restricting access and conditional activities, which will allow for easier tracking and planning of student progress. We’ll therefore be running training sessions on all these new features and blogging about them here in the near future.

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