Monday, 30 April 2012

The Month of Moodle at the RVC

Over the past fortnight, the RVC ran daily Moodle taster session in each of its campuses. Reactions to Moodle from academic staff have been positive, as VLE Developer, Sachin Taank describes below:

The people who have attended have been pretty senior academics. They could be ambassadors for the less techy academics and could set a great example. One of the academics who had been almost in tears when we did the initial RVC Learn training back in January came into our office today saying it is one of the easiest platforms to use and she is so glad we have decided to move over. Extremely satisfying!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Month of Moodle

The Month of Moodle is now officially closed in Birkbeck and I wanted to say BIG thank you to everyone involved in the Month of Moodle – presenters, helpers and most of all participants. It was an incredible month!

This project has been a great example of collaboration between the Bloomsbury Colleges and it is interesting to know that we have had around 100 attendees all curious to hear about Moodle.  There have been lots of interesting questions, suggestions and discussions that we will take on board for the next 6 months and we will try to implement as much of theses as possible. All comments were very positive and we like that you find Moodle very intuitive, easy to use and that you cannot wait to start using it!

For those of you who like numbers I would mention that 70 % of our participants were Birkbeck staff members, 16% were from SOAS and 7% from both LSHTM and IOE.

Workshops and training sessions have already started for all the colleges so don’t forget to contact the team responsible in your college and to book a place.

Contact  Details
Birkbeck Support  
IOE Support  
LSHTM Support  
RVC Support  
SOAS Support

Friday, 13 April 2012

BLE Moodle mini guides Part 2

We have added another 10 Moodle mini-guides for staff to the migration website, which the Bloomsbury Colleges - and the wider education sector - are very welcome to use. There are now 21 guides in total (each one or two pages long), covering topics such as uploading images, creating quizzes, collecting user feedback.

You can access PDF versions here:

During the summer, we will be working on guides for student users, too!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Moodle and Meerkats

This photo is of Jenny Maud, who graduated as a vet from Cambridge University in 2006 (and a friendly meerkat!). The photo was taken in the middle of the Kalahari desert where she was carrying out a research project on meerkats whilst simultaneously administering the online content of distance learning courses at the RVC. Using a satellite modem link and a laptop, Jenny was able to log in to Moodle and enrol new users whilst watching her meerkats...... now that is a pretty cool use of technology!

(Thanks to Nick Short for the post!)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Month of Moodle

19th March saw the start of Bloomsbury's "Month of Moodle" - lunch-time taster sessions introducing staff to the new learning platform; these sessions precede full training events, to be managed locally by the individual Colleges. So far, attendees have provided useful feedback and seem to be very happy with the look of the new environment.
The last few remaining dates are on:
11th, 12th and 13th April in Birkbeck, Malet St.

11th April - Room 152
12th April - Room B02
13th April - Room 151

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Moodle Early Adopters

The notes below were taken from the views of the academics and course administrators who attended the BLE’s Moodle Early Adopters workshop. Some of the “Bad (and Ugly)” suggestions could be dealt with during staff development / training sessions and site/course design. The version of Moodle referred to here is 2.1.3 and any references to “Blackboard” relate to Blackboard 8.0.475. Attendees have been using Moodle since September 2011 (or later) - hence, they are still finding their way!

The Good
  • Intuitive and more user friendly for all users - less clicks to get where you’re going
  • Cleaner layout (provided it’s set up sensibly and concisely, avoiding the “scroll of death”)
  • Students like it better than Blackboard
  • The ability to change view
  • Easier to use - even self-taught; picture icons are very helpful e.g. open/closed eye
  • Cross browser support - doesn’t seem to cause as many issues as Blackboard
  • More locally-available technical support
  • Digitised readings on Moodle have worked well
  • Moodle 2 file upload is much easier than 1.9
  • good tool-set (activities) (more than just forums)
  • Better than Blackboard
    • chat-rooms (could be used for online office hours, library helpdesk, surgeries, etc)
    • more control over design
    • flat structure (everything visible)
    • conditions and completion tracking
  • Visually pleasing; more visual than text based
  • Integration of images and videos
  • The ability to see which participants are online
  • Editing all appears on one page
  • Accessible
  • Supports opportunities to teach in modules, blocks, topics
  • Forces academics to re-think course design
  • Good controlling and adaptive release features

The Bad (and Ugly)
  • Issues with the Discussion Forum
    • Would like to set up groups and use it for mailing lists
    • unclear which forum within a module you are getting an email from
    • you end up emailing separately as well as posting in Moodle
  • Navigation menu - expanding and collapsing, docking - seems like it’s not very clear how to do these
  • Finding the right module - how will they be categorised? It needs to be easy to find the current year’s modules but still have archive of previous year’s
  • Course format lends itself to clutter/scroll of death -> users need to understand how to expand and collapse topics
  • Can students update their own email address (they don’t like to check institutional email accounts)
  • Exporting a list of participants into .xls, etc - just having on screen is not so useful
  • Very first contact not too intuitive - rather technical language that you have to know e.g. “labels”
  • Worse than Blackboard
    • Quizzes
    • Some initial learning required
  • Pre-course access not really possible
  • Course list can become too long
  • Would like to log in first and then browse the list of courses (this is to do with how the institutional instance is set up)
  • Adding files is more complicated than Blackboard due to many more options and not enough explanation.
  • An issue with blog posts appearing on the site-wide block instead of just within the course
  • Where are user stats?
  • Audio and video files needs to be stored externally
  • Groups and Groupings is confusing

  • Unclear support for Moodle
  • Training required
  • Suggestion re icon and terminology
    • explanation; screenshots, screen recordings, text instructions - mixed approach
  • Vital to have fast registration - VLE access from Day 1
  • Support site within Moodle for
    • FAQs, Mini-Guides, etc
    • Link to webmail and other IT provisions
  • Difficult to get information architecture right
    • How do we get students to find and read all relevant info?
  • Quality Control? How?
  • Moodle offers more scope for improved communications, but it needs training
  • Would like to know how to easily combine links to readings with files containing digitised readings into one viewable place.
  • Increased flexibility of Moodle causes additional/new issues!
  • Course default settings need to be carefully selected
  • Use of WordPress inside Moodle would be good as a blogging tool
  • Batch uploading and the ability to move blocks of courseware around between modules on a programme would be good

  • Let us enrol staff in our courses
  • student access until a cut-off date (e.g. 3rd week)
  • “Pre-Module lobby area”
  • Export calendar to Outlook and Google; better: live sync
  • Assessment handling: bulk multiple file downloads, grade management
  • Would have liked to have had contact with more experienced users -> Faculty/departmental “champions”