Gathering feedback from your Moodle courses

bernadette-parry-headshotBernadette 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 desk services. Recently she has received several queries about using Survey Monkey from Moodle Courses. This is of course doable, but here Bernadette tells us ten reasons for using the Feedback survey instead.

Ten reasons for using the Feedback survey in Moodle:

If you have never thought to use the Feedback survey in Moodle, here are my top ten reasons to give it a go:

  1. Course name, teacher names, etc are automatically added to the report. Why not make life easier for yourself, and prevent potential errors associated with manual data entry?
  2. There are fewer options for creating questions and collecting responses. While at first this might seem like a disadvantage, it actually makes the tool  simpler and easier to use.
  3. The Feedback can be anonymous. If the Feedback is anonymous, the participants see ‘Mode: Anonymous’ on the screen – so they are reassured of anonymity.
  4. Even if the Feedback is anonymous, you can still see which participants have not submitted in your activity completion report. This is particularly useful if the Feedback is compulsory.
  5. You can list Feedback activities on your Moodle landing page. This means that  learners can submit the Feedback without logging in.
  6. Logs will record student usage of the Feedback survey. Another way to measure learner engagement.feedback_01
  7. All teachers of a course can receive email alerts when a Feedback form is submitted. Staying within Moodle makes the form look more like an integral part of the course. Better branding, a more professional look and feel, and students more likely to complete the survey.
  8. Staying within Moodle keeps all tracking of student learning together. This not only helps out at auditing time, it makes results easier to find.
  9. If you already have Moodle, there is no extra expense! Why add another layer of cost and software when Moodle has everything you need?
  10. In the future, a new survey module will incorporate Survey, Questionnaire (which is currently a plugin) and Feedback – with the best elements of each. It’ll be even better!

Important things to note

  • ‘Survey’ is another Moodle activity, however with Survey, you can’t create your own questions like you can with Feedback.
  • If you don’t see the Feedback activity in your course, then it may be disabled. Ask your Administrator to ‘turn it on’!
  • Feedback results can be used for continuous improvement of your courses. Use it to gather student Feedback – and teacher Feedback – on how the course went, and how it could be improved.
  • To best analyse your responses, don’t forget to use question type ‘dropdownlist (rated)’. See the Moodle website for more information on the most useful questions to use.
  • See the results! In the screenshot below, four learners have anonymously completed a Feedback survey, ‘Learner Questionnaire’. The results can also be downloaded to an Excel file. Use this analysis to improve your courses.feedback_02

Keen to learn more?

For further information about the Feedback survey activity please visit the Moodle website.

But most importantly, try it! Let me know if you need any help.

Easy video streaming through your LMS: Why reinvent the wheel?

john-collins-headshotJohn Collins is passionate about cloud-based e-learning solutions which enable the delivery of online training anywhere and anytime. Today, John explains how to easily stream video through an LMS using inexpensive and user-friendly tools on the market – a highly effective alternative to buying and setting up a custom streaming media server with your LMS.

Moodle and video content

Moodle is rapidly emerging as the most popular LMS in the world of global education. eWorks’ customisation of Moodle – TVC – offers a wide range of additional features specific to managing vocational education and training (VET). eWorks’ TVC clients frequently ask how to best deliver video content to their learners using Moodle. There are a number of reasons why we continue to recommend the two major players in web-based video streaming – YouTube and Vimeo.

YouTube and Vimeo – how it works

Both YouTube and Vimeo offer a wealth of opportunities for learning, sharing and collaborating via learning management systems. Displaying and streaming videos in a Moodle course page is easy to do, by simply copying the YouTube or Vimeo share address on the page of the video you wish to add as course content and then hyperlinking the share address, to text or an image in a Moodle label resource. The selected video will then be displayed within the Moodle Course page.

Where you are producing your own video, you first upload this to your own Vimeo or YouTube Account. Once your file has finished uploading to either platform it is re-encoded into different versions of varying quality in order to optimise playback performance over different internet connection speeds. You then follow the simple steps above to display your video in your course page. This is where the value in using these systems comes into play and provides a superior experience for your learners, in comparison to locally hosted content.

Video and privacy

Where your organisation requires a degree of restriction to content, this is achieved through the combination of the password protected Moodle course with either:

  • Hide this video from Vimeo.com (Plus + PRO only) – This video can be embedded on other sites (such as an LMS) but can’t be viewed on vimeo.com.
  • YouTube’s option to either ‘unlist’ your video (i.e. it is not included in searches) or make it private (only those you nominate can view the video).

Free guide to using YouTube and Vimeo

For further information, JISC digital media have written an excellent guide to using YouTube and Vimeo for education.

Need a hand setting up your Moodle?

Contact eWorks for some friendly advice.

Visually track your learners’ progress

bernadette-parry-headshotBernadette Parry is the Client Support Coordinator at eWorks. Her role involves juggling all sorts of client-focused tasks including start-up TrainingVC training, advanced Moodle training and support desk services. Have you ever thought about using Moodle’s Progress Bar block to keep an eye on how your learners are progressing through their courses? Bernadette tells us how to do it.

Are your students engaged?

The Progress Bar block in Moodle is a fabulous way to visually track progress through courses. Learners can see how they are progressing through the course, and teachers can see how their students are progressing. This is important, both as a motivational tool for students and a measure of engagement for teachers.

This is what a teacher sees

Overall view

  • When the teachers click on Overview of students in the Progress Bar block

  • They will see a visual overview of what the learners have completed.
  • The teacher can also select particular learners and send them a personal message to let them know they need to do some work, or congratulate them on how much they have completed.

This is what a learner sees

Learners will see the activities they need to complete in the Progress Bar block. As they move the mouse over the coloured blocks, they will see what each block represents. Learners only sees their own information. Clicking on the coloured boxes will take the learner to the activity.

On the My home page, learners will see all progress bars for any courses they are enrolled in. The course name will appear above the appropriate progress bar. By clicking on any of the coloured boxes, the learner will be taken straight to the activity.

Setting up your progress bar

1. Set up completion for your activities and resources (show completion settings)

Make sure that any activities or resources you want to track have completion settings set.

Example for a Chat activity

2. Add a progress bar to the course

  • In the course, turn on editing
  • Add a block> Progress Bar
  • Click on ‘Select Activities/resources’ in the Progress Bar block
  • Select all the activities that you want the users to monitor (usually all assessed items).
  • Choose ‘yes’ and the ‘action’.
  • Save

You will see a visual representation of the activities completed. The completed ones are usually green, and incomplete are purple. The teacher can see an overview of all student progress by clicking on ‘Overview of students’.

3. Add the Progress Bar block to My Home

As an administrator in your site:

  • Go to Administration> Site administration> Appearances> Default My home page
  • Click on Blocks editing on so you can edit this page
  • Add the Progress Bar block
  • Ignore the message ‘No activities or resources are being monitored. Use config to set up monitoring.’ The learners will see their own activities if there are progress bars set up in any course they are enrolled in.

Test this by logging on as a student and teacher and checking their My home page. For this to display correctly, you need at least one course that your students are enrolled in to have a Progress Bar correctly set up.

4. (Optional) when users log in, send them straight to the My home page

As an administrator in your site:

  • Go to Administration> Site administration> Appearance> Navigation.
  • Set the first setting Default home page for users to My home.

Note that in this example there is no progress bar block in the course Bernadette Testing.

All good to go!

It’s time to start monitoring your learners, making it as easy as possible for them to succeed in their studies. Let us know if you need a hand.

7 days of Moodle tasks: Be ready for the new year

Allison Miller, eWorks Accredited ConsultantAllison Miller is a member of eWorks’ team of accredited consultants, and a regular contributor to eWorks’ blog. Here Allison encourages us to consider what we should be doing to ensure that our Moodle courses are ready for 2016. Don’t worry, just one task per day for seven days and you will be set!

A smooth transition into 2016

When I was a child, there were a number of activities that my family always did to prepare for the end of year celebrations. Decorating the tree, hanging up stockings, being nice rather than naughty, and so on. Similarly, as an adult, there are things that I need to get done in my workplace before going on leave. Right about now I’m sure you know the feeling! These activities include cleaning and clearing up so that I am ready for the new year, and this tidying applies to my Moodle courses as much as anything else. Follow these seven days of Moodle tasks to ensure that you’re ready for the new year:

On the first day of Moodle tasks: Request and review student feedback through Moodle Survey

Every cohort of students is unique and different, so it is always important to ask for feedback from your students about their learning experience. Moodle Survey has a number of surveys that you can use to evaluate your students’ learning experiences and to help you reflect on whether the course design or your training and assessment approach could do with any further tweaking.

On the second day of Moodle tasks: Remind students to keep copies of their Moodle work

One thing I learned very quickly about being an online student was that once the subject finished the online course closed, preventing me from accessing my work in the future. This included posts to discussion forums, in wikis and glossaries and so on. To ensure I had access to my work after the course closed, I would copy and paste it into a Word document and save it somewhere safe. So, why not give your students the gift of this wisdom by encouraging them to do the same. You can share this wisdom through a post in the Moodle ‘News’ discussion forum as everyone receives these posts.

On the third day of Moodle tasks: Send students an end-of-year greeting through Moodle Messaging

All students like to feel that they are important to their teacher. This is especially important for online students, who might not have met their online teachers and tutors face-to-face. Take a little time to send your students a Christmas or end-of-year greeting through Moodle Messages. Sending this message makes it more personalised, as each student receives an email message from you. You can easily send all of your students a message through the Moodle ‘Participants’ block, but try to be creative in your approach. As Moodle Messages does not have a WYSIWYG editor, source some text art such as this image below, and copy and paste it into Moodle Messages, along with your Christmas greeting.

ascii star

Credit: ASCII Text Art

On the fourth day of Moodle tasks: Back up your Moodle courses

It is good practice to regularly back up your Moodle course, even if your organisation does a system-wide nightly back-up. This is because your organisation is very unlikely to roll back the whole system back up if something minor has gone wrong in your course. Backing up your Moodle course takes less than 30 seconds, and you should always download the backed up file and save it to another location outside of your Moodle course.

On the fifth day of Moodle tasks: Reset your Moodle courses

Resetting your Moodle course means restoring it back to its original format before any students start working in the course. The end of the year is a good time to reset your Moodle course so that you start 2016 with a clean slate. You can always access your 2015 students’ work by restoring the backup you did on the fourth day of Moodle tasks, so always ensure you do a back-up before doing the reset. Like the back-up, this process is quick and easy.

On the sixth day of Moodle tasks: Ensure your Moodle course is up to date

Content can quickly go out of date due to legislative, regulatory and industry changes and updates. Links to external websites or to internally housed documents can easily become broken links. Staff details and contact information can also change. Spend a little time reviewing your Moodle course content, links and staff profiles to ensure they are up to date.

On the seventh day of Moodle tasks: Make a Moodle course maintenance wish list

Like content, technology changes rapidly. With the release of Windows 10, any Articulate Storyline 1 embedded files in your Moodle course are now not able to be viewed. Similarly Adobe Flash, which previously allowed interactive content to be developed, is no longer supported by Adobe and has never been viewable on an Apple iOS device. Interactive content should be developed using HTML5. So on the seventh day of Moodle tasks, make a wish list of technical improvements for your Moodle course and log a job with your ICT support so your 2016 students have a seamless user experience in your Moodle course when they start in the new year.

And a partridge in a pear tree!

Now that you have completed your seven days of Moodle tasks you are ready for a well-earned break. Have a safe, restorative and fun holiday season, knowing that you are organised and ready to go in 2016.