31 Jan 2016

January Moodle links

Here are some interesting Moodle-related news from the month of January:

~ Gavin Henrick shared his favourite Moodle plug-ins of 2015

~ Teaching with Moodle MOOC started the week of January 18th

~ Moodle user association opened its doors for members (via MoodleWorld)

~ Moodle Moblie 2.8 release

~ Say "Thank you" to Martin Dougiamas #thanksMartin (via MoodleNews)

~ January MoodleMoots:

   Michigan Moot (January 7-8, 2016) #mimoodlemoot

~ Upcoming MoodleMoots

   Moot India (February 6, 2016 #mootin)
   Moodle Moot Japan (February 21-23, 2016)

29 Jan 2016

How to: special case of grading quizzes

Scenario: You are giving students several learning quizzes throughout the semester.  Each quiz has a fixed number of multiple-choice questions.  Each question is worth 1 point.
Students can attempt these quizzes unlimited number of times (within a specific time period) in preparation for the midterms and finals.  While you do not particularly care about students overall grade for each quiz you would like to encourage them to attempt and get correct answers to at least half of the questions in each quiz.  Altogether 5 quizzes count for 5% of the final grade, however each quiz has a different number of questions and is worth different percentages: Q1 - 1%, Q2 - 1,5%, Q3 - 1,2% Q4 - 0,8% Q5 - 0,5%

How can you set this up using Moodle Quiz activity and Moodle Gradebook

Logic behind the suggested solutions:
The tricky part of this scenario is identifying whether a student correctly answered less than a half of the questions (no grade) or over a half of the questions (full grade).
One way of doing this is by setting the maximum grade for the whole quiz to 1, irrespectively of number of questions in the quiz, total of marks, and/or percentages. 
This allows to use round function that will round up (to 1) grades from 0.5 and above and round down grades below 0.5  Proper percentages can be assigned to the quizzes via aggregation in the gradebook.

Suggested set up:
  • Set up 5 quizzes the way you usually do
  • Assign max quiz grade for each quiz to 1

  • In the gradebook create a category for quizzes with a maximum grade of 5
  • Move 5 quizzes into the category
  • Assign ID numbers to each quiz and use the following formula for the calculation of the Quiz category total (q1, q2, q3, q4, and q5 are ID numbers of quizzes)

    =round([[q1]],0)+round([[q2]],0)*1.5+round([[q3]],0)*1.2+ round([[q4]],0)*0.8+round([[q5]],0)*0.5

26 Jan 2016

10 creative ways to use Moodle Assignment activity

Assignment activity is undoubtedly one of the most popular Moodle activity.  It "provides a space into which students can submit work for teachers to grade and give feedback on" (Moodle.org).  Here are 10 ways of how you can use this activity as a part of your Moodle course.

1. Evaluate students' work. This is a straight "out of the box" use of the tool; simply set up an assignment, choose whether you want students to submit an on-line text or to upload a file, and choose the type of feedback you would like to provide.

2. "Reminder" for the upcoming non-digital homework / in-class exam. This is another popular set up.  It doesn't require due dates and cut off dates.  You can give students sample questions and/or a set of instructions by uploading documents into additional files

3. File submission for a presentation.
Assignment activity could be used as a space for students to submit their files for the in-class presentation.  This set up also conveniently creates a column in your course Gradebook that you can use to record grades and feedback.

4. Draft and final document submission. Using require students click submit button in assignment Submission settings you can not only collect the final versions of the assignment but give students comments on their drafts, guiding their work, and providing extensive feedback.

5. Journaling.
An online text assignment can easily be used as a journaling tool; set up one for each section of the course allowing students to submit their thoughts on the topic.  Do not forget about the duplicate function to save some time creating these assignments.

6. Tweeter-style thoughts sharing.
Limiting the word count of an online text assignment allows for short, "to the point", and fast-to-read-through answers.

7. Filling out a form. If your students are required to fill out and to submit a form simply attach a blank form to the additional files field of the Assignment and turn it into a non-graded file submission activity.

8. Agreeing to terms and conditions. This is a combination of an assignment activity, restrict access settings, and an activity completion.
- First, turn on completion tracking for your course (Administration block -> Edit settings ->  Completion tracking -> Yes)

- Second, set up a non-graded file-upload assignment with a "terms and conditions" additional file so that students can download, sign, scan, and re-upload the document.
- Third, specify activity completion for the assignment making it automatically completed once student submits a document.

- Fourth, use restrict access settings for other activity (-ies) to make it (them) available only after the Terms and Conditions assignment has been submitted.

9. Anonymous feedback. This method is useful if the Feedback activity is not enabled in the version of Moodle you are using.  Non-graded file-submission assignment with blind marking could be used to collect anonymous feedback.

Note: Assignment submission generates a log and students' identities could be figured out by going through the course log MDL-35390

10. Anonymous questions.
Non-graded assignment with blind marking allows students to submit their questions anonymously.  A great way to collect questions on a sensitive topic as well as to give an opportunity to students who are not comfortable speaking in class.

These are my 10 creative ways of using Moodle Assignment activity.  What about you?  How are you using Moodle Assignments?