Tips


Tips



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A

Adding a Chat

When you upload an Assignment activity an entry is automatically created in the grade book where you can keep track of student progress. Setting that up is referenced in another section (linked below). Grading of assignments is also covered in another section.

Many times you can provide your links and resources in the directions for your assignments so that students have fewer places to click and search for when completing an activity. If you have to scroll past content to access the submission button, it may be a sign that those resources should be located on their own page. Auto-linking is turned on for this site so if you write the title of a resource or activity anywhere in your course, it will automatically be linked. Look in your Filters in your Settings/Administration block to see if you can enabled Auto-linking, if not, ask your Moodle Admin to turn it on for you.

Add an Activity-->Assignment

In Moodle versions 2.4+ you will see additional options if you open up your Assignment settings, those enable things like Group Submissions; Submission Statements; and Blind Marking

For Moodle 1.9-2.2 Users: This assignment type replaces the four older assignment types (upload a file, advanced uploading of files, online text and offline activity. All of those options can now be enabled/disabled in the Assignment settings. If you want your existing assignments upgraded to the new type email your Moodle Administrator as this can all be done at once.)

Adding a File

Adding a file is pretty much just that. It allows you to upload a specific file to the main page. Sometimes people will use this to put handouts (or a list of handouts) in order on the main page. This is not best Moodle practice and should generally be avoided. If you want to upload a file for your students this can be done via linking to the file when you refer to it (this will be covered in the Embedding Links & Files section).

If that didn't help convince you not to do it here's how: Turn Editing On and drag/drop the file into the topic area of your choice (it will always go to the bottom of that topic). Then you can edit the assignment settings if there is something you'd like to alter. Here's a video that shows you how to do it the long way.

 

Adding a Folder

Adding a Folder is slightly more appealing than Adding a File as at least it won't add to the scroll of your main page and take up too much space. This resource would be useful if you have multiple related files you wish to share with your students. When students click on the folder they can access the desired files. 

Keep in mind that students may not have the software to access some of the files you might wish to upload (i.e. Microsoft Word/PowerPoint/Excel; Pages for Mac; etc). Also, adding steps to direct students to content will many times result in that content not being accessed at all. Whenever possible have your content display in the browser window. This is touched upon in the Making PowerPoints Useful section.

Adding a Label

Adding a Label is one of the most useful tasks when editing your main page in Moodle. You can add text/images/links/tables/multimedia/etc. Anything you can do in any other resource but this will help you to display it on the main page of your course. Using labels to spruce up the place will help you to create a warm and welcoming environment for your students (heart)

Here's something I like to call Fun with Labels, enjoy:

While this video only covered the how-to aspect of creating a label, make sure you review the section on embedding content to get some ideas about what kinds of objects you might add to them. Consider how using labels might improve the design and experience of your class.

Adding a Page

Aside from maybe adding assignments, Adding a page is probably the thing you'll find yourself doing the most in your course. It's worth doing well. After this you'll learn about all kinds of ways of embedding content that will give you something exciting to add to your pages. Think of page as web page (unless that scares you off, then whatever you do, don't think of it as a web page, but just like turning the page of a book you really like [If you remember books that is.])

Pages are generally the text for your course (but don't just put a bunch of text in them!) Since this is where much of the content of your course will reside you'll want to make sure it's displayed nicely and easy to follow. 

For 1.9 users: This resource has combined the Add a webpage and Add a Text page resources in prior versions of Moodle as there really was no reason to add a text page anyway. You can still change the format of your page if you really want to in the Page settings.

Adding an Assignment

When you upload an Assignment activity an entry is automatically created in the gradebook where you can keep track of student progress. Setting that up is referenced in another section (linked below). Grading of assignments is also covered in another section.

Many times you can provide your links and resources in the directions for your assignments so that students have fewer places to click and search for when completing an activity. If you have to scroll past content to access the submission button, it may be a sign that those resources should be located on their own page. Auto-linking is turned on for this site so if you write the title of a resource or activity anywhere in your course, it will automatically be linked. Look in your Filters in your Settings/Administration block to see if you can enabled Auto-linking, if not, ask your Moodle Admin to turn it on for you.

Add an Activity-->Assignment

In Moodle versions 2.4+ you will see additional options if you open up your Assignment settings, those enable things like Group Submissions; Submission Statements; and Blind Marking

For Moodle 1.9-2.2 Users: This assignment type replaces the four older assignment types (upload a file, advanced uploading of files, online text and offline activity. All of those options can now be enabled/disabled in the Assignment settings. If you want your existing assignments upgraded to the new type email your Moodle Administrator as this can all be done at once.)

E

Embed Audio or Video from a FILE

If you have a video you'd like to embed from a file on your computer or one that is stored online somewhere and does not have embed code it is possible to embed the file itself within a video player in Moodle. (Tip: use an MP4 video so that it is compatible with iPads/Pods/Phones you can use Zamzar to convert file types.) Note: Let's face it, the only option that's going to work reliably almost 100% of the time is to upload your video to YouTube and embed it on a page. See: Embedding Video & Audio from a Webpage. The worst thing about embedding videos using this method is that the video does not stream so users have to wait until it's downloaded before they can start viewing it, this can take a moment depending on the connection. Some might report that it is broken because they're not waiting long enough (another good argument for using short videos that students might actually watch.) Having said that, here's how you embed a video from a file...

The Simple Way (not compatible with all FireFox versions):

The Hard Way (This is the method of embedding videos from a file that is compatible with the most browsers/devices):

This allows you to resize your embedded video if the simple way was too small. It involves some tweaking of HTML code, but if you follow the directions in the video closely, you should be okay.

This way works well because I know that the dimensions of the video were already set at the appropriate size. When I make my screencasts, I usually make sure that I set the width to 800 pixels, that way I know that it will fit within most themes and display well on an iPad.

Here is the HTML Text used in the video if you want to copy/paste:

  1. Replace "a hrefwith "embed src"
  2. Add: autoplay="false" height="465" width="800" / to the end of your embed tag. If after you save you don't see the video controls at the bottom, you'll need to increase the height of your video until they appear. I'd add 5-10 to my number and save until I see the control bar.
  3. Don't forget to remove the end of the link tag from the original embed </a> and the text to which it was linking

Try viewing your pages on a Mobile Device to see how it looks. You may need to do some tweaking.

Note For users of Moodle 1.9: The old way of resizing videos is not ideal because browsers like Chrome will only resize the size of the video window but not the video itself. This causes display issues so you're best off resizing your video. If you use the Pro version ($12) Screencast-o-matic to make your tutorials, you are able to resize your video before you download it.

Embed Image

Displaying images on your page is a great way to convey information (make sure you name them appropriately for screen readers); break up walls of text; help people remember information that they're reading and make things look nice. What doesn't always work out so well is if those images are improperly aligned and end up causing more scrolling and white space in your text. Here's how to embed and align and image on your page:

Different types of alignments may be used for different purposes. If your image is relatively small (like an icon) then using the Middle alignment would be an appropriate way to display an image within a sentence. For most images however you'll use either the right or left alignment settings. A page or topic heading would need no alignment as it can be centered on the page using the text editor.

Note: Aligning images on the main page of your Moodle course is a little trickier as the code for those pages is different. This site allows users to align images (labels will need to use the solution below.) If you are on a non-287 Moodle site you will have to use the work-around in your headings as well.

If you want more in-depth information about this you can read this thread on Moodle.org. There is a work-around for this as you can see on the main page of this course, but it's not perfect. If you replace align:right; in the Appearance tab of your image (it's at the bottom of that box) with position:absolute;right:0; it will work with a few potential problems. Any text on your main page that is long enough will cover the image making it harder to read. Your image may also potentially cover the hide/show icon on your topic (see discussion) which would make you unable to edit those settings. Use care when doing this. If something doesn't work out you can always delete it.

For 1.9 users: As you saw in the video, editing existing images is now as easy as right-clicking on it. You won't have to play with the HTML code or replace the image any longer.

Embed Video and Audio

Have you checked out the Internets lately? There's all kinds of stuff out there and some of it's useful! Adding existing audio and video to your classes helps differentiate instruction; clarify information; provide accommodations not to mention makes learning-time fun. Since most of what you want to do already exists in some format or another, you're better off using that as you build your courses (you can decide later on if you want to replace it with your own creations later).


If you save a resource with an embedded object and it does not display, try refreshing your page (especially if using Chrome). If it still does not display, look at the HTML version to verify you've got the entire code.

Most websites and news organization allow their content to be embedded. Remember, look for the embed code, copy it (make certain you get it all), and paste it in the HTML version of your page (if you don't things aren't quite as pretty). For sites with lots of great content that is in the Public Domain, Creative Commons Licensed, or uploaded for embedding start with some of these resources:

The Internet Archive
Khan Academy
YouTube

Don't forget to add some context to your videos by setting them up with expectations and then following up with something for students to do. Embedding a video on a page with no other direction is tantamount to putting in a DVD for your class and walking out of the room. If we wouldn't do that in the face-to-face setting it makes it even more important to provide that context in the digital setting.

Embedding a Link

Adding links and files to your courses may be a necessary practice (though in most cases it might be time to reconsider). Rather than adding them as a resource and creating a list of objects for your students to click it is much more useful to embed those links and files when you refer to them. Adding a link to those items is a quick way to improve the usefulness of your content and increase the likelihood that students will actually look at it.

This method is likely easier than adding links and files individually to your main page. It also helps your content look more like a typical webpage.


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