Tracking student progress through a course

bernadette-parry-headshot Bernadette Parry is the Client Support Coordinator at eWorks. Her role involves juggling all sorts of client-focused tasks including start-up TVC training, advanced Moodle training and support services. A self-confessed Moodle ‘geek’, Bernadette loves to discover new ways to navigate and make the most of Moodle and online facilitation. Today Bernadette offers a short comparison of two fantastic tools to track student progress.

Detailing student progress in your online courses is not only a great tool to assist with your student’s time management by allowing them to prepare for upcoming tasks, but it is also a valuable resource for teachers to track their students progress and identify student who may no longer be engaged in the course.

There are two excellent options for showing student progress in Moodle:

  • Course Completion Status block
  • Completion Progress block (which is replacing the Progress Bar block)

The Course Completion Status block is particularly useful for teachers to track completion of activities and you can download the data into a spreadsheet.

Features of the Course Completion Status block include:

  • Select the activities you want to track
  • Moodle automatically ticks off the activities as the student completes them
  • Teacher overview has a view of student progress – and if any students are falling behind
  • Easily see students who have completed – a Course complete column gets ticked when the student has completed all of these activities
  • Students can see what they need to complete, when it is due, and what has been completed
  • Filter names displayed, e.g. students with first name starting with B and surname starting with G
  • Downloadable as a spreadsheet

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Note: For the Course Completion Status block to work, you first need to go to Administration> Course administration> Course completion and select the activities to be included.

The Completion Progress block is a fantastic, time-management, visual block – particularly helpful for your students.

The Completion Progress block features include:

  1. More visual and a great option for your students to see what they need to complete
  2. Students can use it as a time-management tool
  3. The teacher overview has a view of student progress – easily see if any students are falling behind
  4. Automatically adds all activities that have completion settings – you can easily remove any that you don’t want
  5. As a teacher, there is an option to select particular student/students and send them a message if required. This is a great option if you notice that there are some overdue assignments, etc.
  6. Select one particular student to see their progress
  7. No option to download the Completion Progress block information.

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Both are excellent options for students and teachers to see progress through a course, but there are some points of difference:

  • Course completion status block:
    • More options available for showing completion – course grade, etc
    • Can download results in a spreadsheet
  • Completion progress bar:
    • Visually appealing
    • Easier to set up (just create it and it auto fills with activities!)
    • Teachers can easily send messages to students

Why students still need knowledge when anything can be Googled

Andrew_Douch_croppedAndrew Douch is an independent education technology expert with 22 years’ classroom experience. He has won numerous awards for his work with emerging technologies in education, including the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Teacher of the Year. His mantra is ‘You don’t need to be very good with technology to do very good things with technology’.

In my enthusiasm to explain why teachers should be spending more time with their students working at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy, I have often pointed out the fact that knowledge has falling value. I stand by that statement. Google is a pretty good knowledge prosthesis. A head full of knowledge is unlikely to get you a job any more. The skills that make a person valuable now are the so called “soft skills” – problem-solving skills, entrepreneurship, computational thinking skills, presentation skills, communication skills, an eye for design and leadership skills. Those skills are hard to automate and you can’t easily google them. In 2017 a head full of facts is only valuable at trivia nights. Oh! – and in exams.

But in my effort to point out that the value of knowledge is falling, I have sometimes been misunderstood to be saying that the importance of knowledge is falling. On the contrary. In many ways the importance of knowledge is rising!

Every year the Oxford Dictionary announces their word of the year; a word that has entered the public vocabulary in a profound way. In 2013, for example, the word of the year was “Selfie”. Can you guess what the word of the year was in 2016?

“Post-truth”.

“You can’t believe everything you read in the papers” is a saying that long predates the internet. But the saying is doubly true now. You definitely can’t believe everything you read on the internet. As the value of knowledge has fallen over the past two decades, it has taken trustworthiness down with it. That’s the downside of the internet giving everyone a voice. There are now lots of unedited voices being exercised.

A student without knowledge in a subject, has no filter through which to sift new information. In a post-truth world, knowledge is more important than ever – it’s just not what employers will be basing their hiring decisions on.

This blog has been re-published with the permission of Andrew Douch.

EdVET 2017 Recap

The EdVET 2017 conference was held on Friday 29 April 2017 in Docklands, Melbourne. A month on and the eWorks team are still thrilled by the success of the day. Here is a short summary of the conference.

In April, eWorks held the inaugural EdVET conference together with the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS) and Chisholm’s Professional Educator College in Melbourne. After many years hosting the conVerge conference the eWorks team was excited to be back in the conference space with some great speakers lined up.

International guest speaker Trina Hoefling kicked off the day with an enlightening keynote panel discussion alongside Phillip Murphy and Geoff Young. Trina engaged the audience with a highly informative panel style presentation discussing how a student focused approach and simple effectiveness strategies will guarantee positive outcomes.

The agenda for the day then saw a range of topics covered, from using social media to attract and support learners, and using technology to meet student expectations through to developing training to suit industry needs and quality assurance. There was truly something for everyone.

Andrew Douch closed the day on a high with his keynote on technology that amplifies learning in the classroom. Andrew, as usual, delivered his highly polished showmanship combined with a sound understanding of issues facing contemporary educators and innovative solutions, leaving the audience with much food for thought.

What did the attendees think?

We have received a lot of positive and helpful feedback following the event, including:

  • “Words cannot describe the excellence and generosity represented by these two exceptional speakers / facilitators!”
  • “Andrew has inspired me to make my students become self-directed learners.”
  • “An inspiring, light bulb moment filled day of learning and sharing knowledge.”
  • “Enjoyed the day on a whole host of levels and went away inspired.”

What’s next?

eWorks are excited to be working with ISS Institute and Professional Educator College again later this year to host blog and RSS pioneer Alan Levine. Watch this space!

Support your professional currency through LinkedIn

Allison MillerAllison Miller is a regular contributor to eWorks’ blog who is passionate about engaging learners, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world of work. Here Allison talks about how LinkedIn can be used to support professional currency.

The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Clauses 1.13 & 1.16) are very explicit about the need for trainers and assessors to undertake professional development and have current knowledge and skills in vocational training, learning and assessment.  This knowledge and skills also needs to inform their training and assessment, including competency based training and assessment.

While the onus of these clauses tends to lay with the RTO to ensure that trainers and assessors have this currency, there is one simple way in which you can contribute to their own professional currency through being a LinkedIn member.

What makes LinkedIn so special?

LinkedIn identifies itself as the world’s largest professional network where you can connect, learn and share while powering your career.  LinkedIn is backed by Microsoft and has acquired Lynda Online Learning. This is enabling LinkedIn to position itself as one of the world’s leading providers of online professional learning through its recent launch of LinkedIn Learning.

While this fee for service professional development program offers many premium professional learning opportunities, it is still LinkedIn’s free services which offer trainers and assessors many opportunities to maintain their professional currency in vocational learning, training and assessment.

How can I use LinkedIn to support professional currency?

The first way to support your professional currency is through viewing SlideShare resources.  Slideshare is an online site where people freely share their learning content as video, presentation slides and supporting documents. With over 18 million uploads, Slideshare offers content for every major industry, including Education, and many resources on how to develop competency based training and assessment.

The next way is to connect with or follow vocational education and training experts as there are many active trainers and assessors using LinkedIn.  For example:

By connecting or following people like Gina, Michael and Sandie on LinkedIn, you are able to stay informed about what is current and best practice in vocational training, learning and assessment.

The final way is to join and participate in relevant online groups.  These online groups are the real gem of LinkedIn for supporting professional currency.  They have been started organically by LinkedIn members looking to support communities of practice and knowledge sharing, while enabling professional conversations around vocational training, learning and assessment.  For example:

What are the benefits of a LinkedIn Membership?

While you cannot solely rely on using LinkedIn for supporting your professional training and assessment currency, you can use it in the following ways as a strong basis for this currency.

Staying informed The only consistent in life seems to be change, so using LinkedIn as a one stop shop allows you to find out information and have discussions about current issues in training and assessment
Networking with others Connecting with others through LinkedIn allows you to also connect with people in your industry and stay informed in the same way which has been described above about this industry.  These connections could lead to information about jobs or grants for students.
Offering support People often use LinkedIn to ask questions or discuss issues.  This provides you with the opportunity to offer workforce development and training advice which may lead to work / training contracts.
Getting advice Information in Training Packages/Units of competency can often be ambiguous or difficult to interpret, so you can also use LinkedIn to seek advice in any area of training and assessment by drawing upon the experience of your LinkedIn connections and groups by posting a question or seeking advice.
Sharing your own expertise LinkedIn thrives through people sharing information and links, so you should do the same with information about what you are passionate about in the area of training and assessment.  This will help you to get requests from other LinkedIn members who are also interested in these areas.
Building partnerships Often tenders, training and/or workforce development opportunities come up which may be beyond your current scope of expertise or your ability to staff.  LinkedIn offers you a way of building relationships with others that when these opportunities arise, you will be able to form partnerships or collectives to work on them together.
Keeping your professional profile current Often people do not keep their resume up to date, but through active LinkedIn membership you will be ‘prompted’ to do update your LinkedIn profile.  This profile will also list your activity in LinkedIn, providing you with a record of your activity to support your currency.

How do you get started or improve your LinkedIn profile?

  1. Sign up as a member or login to LinkedIn at linkedin.com
  2. Update your profile with:
    – a professional headshot of yourself
    – information about your professional profile as a trainer / assessor eg Educational background and work experience
  3. Request to ‘connect’ to at least 50 people by finding and connecting with people you know on LinkedIn. Then view the connections of your connections and request to connect with some of them.  LinkedIn will also suggest people you should connect with through what’s on your profile and who you are already connected with in LinkedIn.
  4. Join at least 5 groups which are related to your training and assessment interest areas, as well as industry groups relevant to these areas.  In the first instance, watch and see what goes on in these groups.  Then once you know the ‘netiquette’ and you see what threads of conversations are popular, you should contribute to these discussions through responding to other people’s posts, and posting your own information and questions
  5. Follow at least 1-2 companies relevant to your interest and industry as these LinkedIn profiles also share useful information, including when jobs and tenders become available.

Like any other online space, people in LinkedIn do not want to be ‘spammed’ with useless information in their feeds or groups, nor do they want to be solicited about your services or ideas through the LinkedIn messaging service.  Behaviour in LinkedIn like you would in your staff room and at staff meetings, and act in the same professional and proactive way that you would in these locations.

Here are some more ‘do’s and dont’s when using LinkedIn.