I originally developed this tutorial series for a colleague of mine who wanted to use Moodle with her high school students but was unsure of where to start. I spent some time on the web looking for resources that might help her with the software, but I was unable to find any that were comprehensive or affordable. I decided that I would write and record a couple tutorials for her that would cover the basics of the program. After I finished one tutorial I would think to myself, "I just have to include one more tutorial covering another facet of the software." Needless to say, about 50 tutorials later I felt I had something that would really lay the foundation that she needed.
WHAT IS MOODLE?
Just in case you are wondering what Moodle is exactly... Moodle is this free, open-source, learning management system wherein educators can create online learning environments for their students. It is what high schools and colleges use to offer online classes. Educators use the program to distribute notes and resources, implement quizzes, set up forums and chats, and build an online community around their subject matter.
I love that Moodle allows my students to acces my subject matter and participate in my classes from anywhere in the world... even when they are sick or on vacation! I love that Moodle does the majority of the grading for me... which means I can hang out with my wife more! I love that Moodle allows me to integrate media into my curriculum with ease; this keeps my students engaged. And I love that Moodle helps prepare my students for the acadmic environments they will undoubtedly encounter after graduation.
WHY FOUNDATIONS IN MOODLE?
Foundation is Moodle walks you step-by-step through the most important and foundational aspects of the Moodle learning management software. This course includes 60 video lectures each with written / graphic transcripts that detail each step in the process. We start at the very beginning stages of using the software, installing it on a server, and move through complete course creation.
It is comprehensive and meant for those of us who have never used the program before.
So many educators want to incorporate technology into their instruction but don't exactly know where to start.
If you are looking for a place to start...
...this course is for you!
Once you have purchased a domain name and hosting plan you are going to need to install the Moodle software on your server. Though we are using HostGator, this process will be similar no matter which hosting provider you use.
If you found the manual registration process a little daunting, especially in light of 100 or more students, fear not! There is an easier way! I am going to walk you through the steps to set up email-based self-registration.
Email-based self-registration allows students to register on their own and can be secured with a course key.
I think it is important to know, as a teacher, what the students see as they register for your Moodle course. This lecture will walk you through all the steps that the student must follow as they register. This should hopefully help you with trouble-shooting amidst this process. The video is free so you can share the link with your class as a tutorial for them.
It is important to verify that students are enrolled in the proper course especially when employing email-based self-registration. I am going to show you how to verify that the proper students are in the proper course.
In the same way we had students use email-based self-registration and enrollment, we are going to have our teachers email-based self-registration. Teachers will select the courses they are teaching during the self-registration process in the same way students selected the courses they plan on taking. If you completed the previous course section then you already have this set up.
The following lecture is going to explain how to set a users role to teacher. Remember, the default role for users is Student. So we must go into the system and change the role of any user who we want to be a teacher.
In this lecture I am going to give you a tour of a Course’s page. I am briefly going to explain all of the elements that you, as a Teacher or Site Administrator, will see by default when you click on one of your courses.
Now we are going to cover adding blocks to a course. Remember, blocks are similar to widgets or apps within a Moodle course. These help present course data in different ways. One block will keep track of course completion for the user, another will outline upcoming various assignments. We will cover the basic functions of each of the blocks Moodle offers. The following steps are for teachers, administrators, and course creators.
It didn’t seem necessary to learn how to add a profile picture to a users profile until the previous lecture. This lecture will walk you through the steps it takes to add a profile picture to a users profile.
I find the HTML block one of the most useful blocks in Moodle. An HTML block is perfect for hosting links, static text, picture, or any thing written in HTML. I will show you how to add an HTML block as a means of hosting links that are frequently accessed by my users.
I like to add the Online Users block so my students can see their classmates online when they are at home. I think this does two things. One, it reinforces a sense of community. My students feel less isolated when they can see their classmates online. It creates this sense that they are not alone in a potentially sterile, online environment. Two, I think students are encouraged to do their own work when they see the other people working. So, in this section we are going to enable the Online Users block.
Blocks are by default set in the order (top down) in which we add them. There is a way, however, to change the order of blocks and it is relatively simple. In this section we will discuss how to rearrange blocks.
I would like to show you how a regular user (or student) would go about adding their profile picture. Once again, it is good to know what is happening on the students end as a means of trouble shooting their problems. I will be addressing this tutorial to the student.
To begin, I would like to cover how to add a Word document to Moodle. I feel like this may be the most common document teachers would distribute to their students with PowerPoints and .pdf files at a close second and third. Adding a Word document is a wonderful way to share a course syllabus, handouts, worksheets, or notes.
Labels are a wonderful resource for teachers to offer their students. A label allows teachers to host information right in the Weekly outline. Teachers can create a list of weekly assignments, host URLs, embed videos, or just post the weekly objective. In this lecture we are going to learn how to create a label that lists weekly assignments and hosts a hyperlink to another website.
There is another way to add a URL as a separate resource without hyperlinking text. This tutorial will walk you through the steps it takes to add a URL as a resource.
I think the best option when it comes to adding web-based content to Moodle is embedding it. Embedding content essentially means that all web-based material is kept within the Moodle framework. Students will not be directed away from Moodle at all when viewing content. They will, rather, be kept within the context of the site and the site will act as a host of the content. This tutorial will walk you through the steps it takes to set up your system to enable embedding.
Now we are going to embed a YouTube video into a course. This will allow students to view content you wish for them access without ever having to leave the Moodle course at all. This is, in my opinion, the best possible route when it comes to sharing outside, web-based content with your students. Please note, you may follow the next few steps to embed any web-based content, not just video. Since YouTube, however, is one of the most popular video-sharing sites, I am going to show you haw to embed a YouTube video.
Now that we have set our systems to allow embedded content, we even have the option of embedding content in Labels. This is useful if you want your students to see a video upon visiting a course page. This next lecture will teach you how to embed a video in a Label.
Before you create a quiz for a course in Moodle, you need to make sure that the timezone in the software is set to the timezone of your students. This ensures that quizzes will open and close at the proper times thus preventing any confusion on behalf of your students. This lecture will walk you through the steps it takes to set the timezone of your Moodle installation.
Before we create a quiz or quiz questions, we need to create Question banks to keep our quiz questions organized. This will be of great benefit when we create future quizzes and quizzes that randomize questions. This lecture will walk you through the steps it takes to create Question banks for your course.
We have set the time zones, we have created question banks, and now it is time to add a quiz to your course. I have got to say, this is one of my favorite features in Moodle. Quizzes are an easy way to assess student progress, check for understanding, and allow students to practice what they have learned in your class. I think my favorite part about quizzes though, is the fact that Moodle grades them for you! In this lecture, I am going to walk you through the steps it takes to add a quiz to your course.
Now that we have created a quiz and edited the quiz settings, we must now add questions to the quiz. This lecture will walk you through the steps it takes to add Multiple Choice questions and True/False questions to a quiz in Moodle.
So far we have added 2 Multiple Choice questions to a quiz and 1 True/False question to a quiz. In this tutorial we are going to walk through the steps it takes to add Matching questions to a quiz.
We are now going to walk through the steps it takes to add a short answer question to a quiz. I like to use short answer questions as a way to assess vocabulary. I will provide the students a definition and they will in turn have to provide me the correct vocabulary word.
We are now going to walk through the steps it takes to add an Essay Question to a quiz in Moodle.
Now that we have added an Essay question, I think it is important to know how to change the point values of individual questions. This lecture will walk you through the steps it takes to adjust the point values of individual questions within a quiz.
As an administrator / teacher / course creator I want you to be able to see what a student will see when they are taking a quiz. This will give you some context when it comes to fielding student questions and troubleshooting along the way.
In this lecture I am going to show you how to manually grade the essay question we created in the previous lecture series. This is the only type of question that needs to be graded manually. Quizzes composed of every other type of question will be graded automatically by your Moodle installation.
Once a teacher has loaded question banks with questions, they can be reused to create new quizzes. I will sift through all my question banks and create final exams out of old questions I used on quizzes throughout the course of the year. I will also create “review quizzes” from old questions that I have stored in banks on my Moodle installation. In this lecture I am going to walk you through the steps it takes to create a quiz from pre-existing questions stored in question banks.
This lecture will show you how to adjust the settings of a quiz that has already been created and added to your Weekly outline.
Now that we have learned how to add resources and quizzes to a course, it is time to learn how to add other activities to a course. Activities are wonderful ways to actively engage your students in the subject matter that you are covering in your course. Moodle provides various activities that help create a sense of community amidst students. In this lecture series we are going to walk through setting up a discussion forum.
I am now going to walk you through what the student sees when they access a forum discussion. I did this partly in the pervious lecture, but I want to dedicate an entire lecture to this process so you can see exactly what they have to do to participate in a forum. I will set this lecture to free so you can use it as a resource in your own classroom.
A second activity available through the Moodle platform is a chat room. Chat rooms are safe and useful resources for students who need to communicate regarding your class. Students are essentially able to communicate in real-time within the context of your online class. Chat rooms are only available to students enrolled in the class which prevents strangers from engaging your constituency. In this lecture series we are going to walk through setting up a chatroom.
In this lecture series I am going to show you what a student sees when they access a Chat that you have added to your Moodle course. This is will also show you how the Chat activity functions.
A third activity that I like to use with my students is the Glossary. The Glossary allows users (students) in a class to collectively create an online dictionary / encyclopedia of all the major concepts that are covered in the class. Essentially, students will create entries in the Glossary and their classmates will have access to the entries. This is a great way to create a study guide for a final or just to keep track of everything that is covered in a class. In this lecture, I will show you how to create a Glossary.
In this lecture, I am going to show you how a student access the Glossary and adds an entry to it. This will be written from the perspective of a student.
In this lecture I will walk you through the process of grading a Glossary entry.
A fourth activity I frequently use in my class in the Upload a single file activity. This activity allows you, the teacher, to provide a place in your Moodle course where students can upload documents. If a student has written a report, instead of having them turn in a hard copy, they can simply upload a digital copy to your Moodle course. This lecture will walk you through the process of setting the Upload a single file activity in Moodle.
In this lecture I am going to walk your students through adding a file to a Single File Upload activity.
After your students have uploaded files to the Moodle course, you, the teacher, are going to need to know how to access them. In this lecture I will explain how to access files that have been previously uploaded by students.
A fifth activity that is useful to know about is the Online text activity. By providing an Online text to your students you are providing a space with a rich text editor wherein students can enter a text / graphics / videos and submit it as an assignment. This is a wonderful activity to use for writing assignments or note-taking assignments that you want entered into directly into Moodle. In this lecture I am going to walk you through the process of adding an Online text activity to a Moodle course.
In this lecture I am going to walk your students through participating in an Online text activity.
One final activity I want to mention in this Foundations in Moodle course is the Blog. Now, every user who is part of a Moodle course is given a personal Blog. Teachers and students access their Blog in the same way. A Blog is not a graded assignment like a Forum, Glossary, or Online Text, rather it is just a space for students and teachers to reflect. Teachers can formalize Blog posts if they wish but they will not be entered into the Grade book automatically like the the previous five activities that we have addressed. In this lecture I am going to show you how to access a Blog and add an entry.
Alright, it is pretty safe to say that the standard Moodle theme is pretty boring. It’s a lot of white space and it isn’t very aesthetically pleasing. My students describe it as, “Meh.” Well, in this lecture I am going to show you how to change the theme of your Moodle course installation. Don’t get me wrong, the default Moodle themes are not the most exciting, but they are nicer than the default theme that we have been working with.
Moodle by default provides an instant messaging service so students logged in to the same class can instant message by clicking on their peers’ names in the Online users block, forum posts, blog entries, etc. Essentially, students can send messages to any other student if they are able to locate that student on Moodle. This feature can be very distracting for my students as they have tendencies to chat when they should be working on school work. Now, it is totally up to whether you want to disable messaging, but this tutorial is going to walk you through the process of disabling messaging on a Moodle site.
A really neat feature that Moodle offers is the ability to export question banks. This is useful if you want to make back-ups of question banks, share question banks with other teachers, or sell them on a website like TeachersPayTeachers. In this lecture I will walk you through the steps involved in exporting question banks.
Now that you have learned how to export question banks, it is important to know how to import question banks. There is a wonderful Moodle-based community online who share resources like question banks and it is very useful to know how to import them into a course. This lecture will walk you through the process of importing question banks into a Moodle course.
One of the benefits of Moodle is that a teacher doesn’t necessarily need to build out every single course on the website. Teachers are able to import entire courses thus saving hours of preparation. You will want to do this if you are teaching more than one of the same courses. Now, up to this point in the lectures we have been building out
English 3 Period 1. In this tutorial we will build out English 3 Period 2 in just a few steps. In this tutorial I am going to show you how to import all the coursework from one course into another course.
In this lecture I am going to show you how to link a course to PayPal. This will prompt students to pay for your course during the registration and enrollment process.
My name is Jeff Johnson and I teach sophomore English at Northwest Christian School. I received my BA in Secondary Education from Arizona State University in 2007. Though I have enjoyed teaching these past five years, I have been anxiously waiting to formally return to a university. I enjoy class discussions where worldviews, philosophies, and perspectives coalesce into dynamic thought.
Upon graduation, my wife Jess and I moved to Seattle, Washington and I had the privilege of staring my career at Seattle Christian School. I was young, 22 at the time, and teaching senior English. Though some of my students were only 3 years my junior, I fondly remember those years as some of my favorite years in the profession. In 2009, my wife and I moved back to Phoenix and I have been teaching at NCS ever since. I have been a part of a very supportive faculty that have not only allowed me to hone my craft but realize some of my dreams and passions within the institution itself. At this point I do not plan on leaving the profession, but hope to stay relevant as teaching is undoubtedly changing.
When I am not teaching I spend my time gardening, playing guitar, writing punk rock music and slam poetry, designing lesson plans (to sell on teachers pay teachers), and dating my beautiful and intelligent wife. Hamlet is my favorite play and last summer I was so lucky as to see it performed at the Globe Theatre (although, my wife and I had to sneak in as it was sold-out months in advance). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a close second when it comes to favorite literature. My wife and I do not have kids, but we have dogs if that counts for anything.
My name is Steve McCarthy, and while I am primarily a filmmaker & web designer in Tempe, Arizona, in reality I wear a lot of hats. From stage productions to touring with a rock band, I've done a lot. But two things matter to you: I know Moodle, and I know teaching.
I did a crash course on Moodle the hard way - learning as you go. Trial by fire. But what I ended up with was a fully functioning online school, and one very happy client. I came away from that experience impressed by what the platform had to offer, and knew that others could benefit from using it. Moodle offers an incredible (and cheap) way for teachers to bridge the digital divide and engage students in new and exciting ways. I love teachers, and I'm stoked for any technological innovations that frees them up to do what they love and automate the rest.
Teaching isn't new for me - I've been doing it for just about a decade, in a variety of non-classroom settings. As both a volunteer and full-time employee of non-profits, an integral part of my job was instruction and mentorship. I'm excited to engage with the Udemy crowd and share my love.
When I'm not preaching the Moodle gospel, you can probably find me curled up with a good book and a strong cup of coffee, idly strumming my guitar, or hiking up and down South Mountain.