Category Archives: elearning

Short Answer Cloze Questions in Moodle VIDEO

How to make cloze questions in Moodle

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Making Auto-Groups and the Grouping Feature in Moodle

In a prior post, we looked at how to make groups manually in Moodle. In this post, we will look at two additional features in making groups and they are

  • The Auto-group feature
  • The Grouping feature

Making Auto-Groups

Auto-groups allows you to have Moodle make groups based on a criteria you give it. If the  characteristics of the groups doesn’t matter that is a fast convenient way to put students in groups. Below are the steps

  1. After logging in and going to a course where you have administrative privilege go to course administration->users->groups. If you do this correctly you should see the following

screenshot-from-2016-11-30-08-30-37

2. Click on Auto-Create Groups and you will see the following

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-07-05.png

3. The page is mostly self explanatory. Groups can be formed based on the number of groups you want or the number of people per group. Group formation can also be limited by role in the class or by last name, ID, etc. Before groups are finalized you can use the preview button to look at the potential groups. Below is an example of a completed group formation

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-12-52.png

The auto-group feature made 12 groups and the names of the members are listed in the table. Once you are satisfied you click submit and return to the previous page

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-14-02.png

Using Groupings

Groupings allows you to place several groups into a “grouping” this allows you to add several groups to an activity at once. In order to use groupings you must first make groups which we have already done. Just like with the group feature in which the same person can be a member of several groups so can one group be a member of several groupings. Below are the steps to making groupings

  1. On the groups page, click on grouping and you will see the following

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-22-03.png

2. Click on  create grouping and you will see the following

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-23-26.png

3. We will give the grouping a name and click save changes and this will send you to the previous page shown below

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-34-43.png

4. To add a group to the grouping, you need to click on the people icon under the edit column and you will see the following

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-36-06.png

5. Now we will pick several groups to add to our grouping and click add as shown below

screenshot-from-2016-12-02-08-37-37

6. When you are done adding groups you click on back to groupings to finish the process as shown below

Screenshot from 2016-12-02 08-38-46.png

Conclusion

We now know how to make groups manually and automatically. We also know how to create groupings. However we have not yet learn how to actually using groups and or groupings in Moodle learning experiences. This will be a topic of a future post

Making a Database in Moodle

For those of us who are not tech-savvy, the idea of making a database can sound very intimidating. However, a database is not as mysterious or difficult to create as you may think.

A database is strictly is just an organized way of collecting and storing records. If you ever made a list of your CD or book collection this is in many ways a highly simplified database.

Moodle allows a teacher to create a database to allow students to upload and or share information for whatever purpose. The secret to developing a database is to know what information you want it to store. After this, you just select the fields in Moodle to complete the database.

This post will explain how to develop a database in Moodle based on particular needs. We will make a database that stores information about Asian food.

  1. After logging into Moodle you need to turn editing on, click “add resources” and select database. As shown in the picture below.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:10:35.png 2. After clicking “add”, you need to give the database a name and if you want, a description. The options are mostly familiar except for “entries”. The “entries”” options allows you to control when an entry is viewable. Below is a picture of the database.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:15:31.png

3. After clicking “save and display” you will be taken to the next page where you add the fields you want. The fields are simply the different forms of information you want the database to store. There are 12 of them  as listed below and next to each is a description of how we will use them in the example

  • Date-Date you tried the food
  • Text input-Name of Asian food
  • Picture-Picture of Asian food
  • Menu-Meal when the food was eaten
  • Number-Rate the level of spiciness
  • Multi-menu-Who eats the food
  • Checkbox-Where is the food prepared at
  • Radio button-Recommendation of the food
  • Text area-Comments about the food
  • file-Upload recipe
  • URL-Website about the food
  • Latlong-Location of where the food was eaten

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:18:09.png

We will now use all twelve in making  a database

4. First, we will create a date field so the student can indicate when they tried the food. To do this click on the drop down box to add a new field . Type in the information and click “add”.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:29:52.png

5.We will now make a text input. This is a single line of space for inputting text. In this field, the students will be able to put the name of the Asian food. There are also two options for making this field required and to autolink it throughout the course. Below is a visual

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:22:25.png

6. The picture field allows the students to upload a picture. For us, we want to be able to see the food that the students eat. You can set the options if you desire for the size of the picture

screenshot-from-2016-09-14-093454

7. We will now create a menu field. This field will allow the student to indicate one of several options. For our example, the student will select if the meal was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In the options, you must put one choice per line

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:38:15.png

8. We will use the number field to indicate the level of spiciness of the food

screenshot-from-2016-09-14-094130

9. The multimenu allows you to select several options at once. For our example, we want to know who eats this type of food foreigner, local, or both.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:46:24.png

10. The checkbox field allows for multiple choices to be selected. For our example, we want to know where the food is prepared.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:51:48.png

 

11. The radio button allows a person to make a single choice. For example, we want the students recommendation about the food

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:56:29.png

12. The text area allows for anything to be added. It is also possible to determine the size of this box. For us, we want to allow the student to share additional comments about the food.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 09:59:48.png

13. The file field allows for attachments. We are going to have the students upload the recipe of the food.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 10:04:11.png

14. The url field allows for a link. For the example, the students will put a website that explains more about the food

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 10:13:35.png

15. Lastly, the Latlong field allows for the inclusion of location. You have to indicate the external map services you want to use. For our example, we are asking for the location where the student ate the food.

screenshot-from-2016-09-14-101457

16. After completing the various fields, you need to click on “templates’ in order to set the template.

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 10:19:05.png

Below are two more pictures, the first picture shows what an empty entry looks like. This can be accessed by clicking on “add entry”. The second picture is a picture of a completed entry. This can be seen be clicking on “view single”

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 10:20:42.png

Screenshot from 2016-09-14 10:22:38.png

Conclusion

This post explain how to create databases in Moodle. All that is required is an idea of what exactly you want the students to input. From there, clicking on several different fields is not to complicated for any teacher. The benefit of the database is that it is a highly structured way of collecting data. This is useful for students who require a greater degree of support.

Using the Attendance Module in Moodle

The attendance module in Moodle is yet another excellent tool for learning management. Unlike other Moodle modules, the attendance feature is still simplistic and is surprisingly simple to setup. With this module you can do some of the following.

  • Take daily attendance
  • Track overall percentage of attendance
  • Contact students about attendance
  • See students attendance in other classes

This post will provide a step-by-step procedure for setting up the attendance module in Moodle.

1. Log in to Moodle, select the course, and turn editing on

2. Click “add activity” select “attendance” and click “add”

2.jpg3. For the grade option consider the following

  • If you give points for attendance set the type to “points” and select a grade category
  • If you do not give points for attendance select “none”
  • After making a decision about these two options click “save and display”

3

4. Click “add session” and complete the following

a. Start date of the semester
b. Time of the class
c. Check the box “Repeat the session above as follows” because we want to use the attendance module more than once
d. Check the boxes for the days the class is held
e. Make sure class repeats every 1 week if this is how your class works
f. For “repeat until” select the last day of the semester
g. Click “add”
h. NOTE: You can have multiple sessions in a day if you repeat these steps. This is valuable for teachers who see the same students several times in a day.

4.jpg5. The next page shows the attendance there are five different views

  • All-see every session of attendance in the course
  • All-past-see session before the current date
  • Month-See the current month sessions
  • Weeks-See the current weeks sessions
  • Day-See today’s session
  • NOTE moodle will remember the view you select for the next time you log in

5.jpg

The next step is for customizing the features of your attendance. The example below is from one school but you can modify the settings however you want

6. Click on settings

a. Delete the “excused” column as it is not applicable in our example school
b. Change the number of points for being present from 2 to 1
c. Change the value of late from 1 to 0.65
* The school’s policy is 3 tardies is one absence
* Students should lose 1/3 of a point for be late or about 0.33
* When this happens three times it is the equivalent of losing a full point
* 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1 absence

6

7. Click on “sessions” and take attendance by finding the day you want and clicking on the green circle

7b.jpg

  • After taking attendance click “save attendance”

7.jpg

  • You will return to the previous screen and the green circle will become a green arrow.

7c.jpg8. To check a students attendance do the following

  • Click “reports” and click “summary”
  • below is some of the information on this page
    • Taken sesssions-days attendance was taken (useful to know if you took attendance)
    • Points-number of points earned (1 per session)
    • Percentage-points earned divided by total points
    • Total number of sessions
    • Points over all sessions
    • Percentage over all sessions
    • Max possible points
    • Max possible percentage

You can view attendance on individual days by selecting any of the following

  • All
  • All-past
  • Month
  • Week
  • Days

8_censored.jpg9. If a students attendance is not acceptable and you want to send a message through moodle do the following

a. Go to “reports”
b. Off to the right hand size are check boxes select the student(s) you want to send a message to
c. Click “send message” in the lower left of the screen
d. Enter your message and click “send message”

9

9b.jpg11. To check the attendance of a student in their other classes that use this module do the following

  • Click on a student’s name (Do not click on their picture)
  • Click on “all courses”

10_censored.jpg

Conclusion 

The attendance module provides teachers and administrators with a tool to see how students are doing not only in their class but across the campus. This assumes that everyone uses it. As such, modules such as the attendance module in Moodle requires support of all the teachers in order to reach full functionality.

Making Quiz Questions in Moodle

One of Moodle’s many features is the quiz activity, which allows a teacher to assess a student’s knowledge in a variety of ways. However, before developing a quiz, a teacher needs to have questions developed and ready to be incorporated into the quiz.

The purpose of this post is to explain how to develop questions that are available to be used in a quiz.

Make a Category

When making questions it is important to be organized and this involves making categories in which to put your questions. To do this you need to click on course administrator|questions bank|Categories. After doing this you will see something similar to the image below.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 09:40:53.png

You want to click add category and type a name for your category. In the picture below we named the category “example”. When you are finished click “add category and you will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 09:43:36.png

Finding the Question Bank

Now that we have a question category we need to go to the question bank. To do so click on  course administrator|question bank. You should see something similar to the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 09:36:40.png

Select the “example” category you made and then “click create new question.” You should see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 09:50:39.png

As you can see, there are many different forms of questions available. The type of questions you should ask depends on many factors. For now, we will make a true or false example question. Once you select the option for T/F question you will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 09:54:15.png

The question name is for identifying the question in the bank and not on the quiz. Therefore, avoid calling your questions “question 1, 2,3 etc.” because if you have multiply quizzes you will not know which question one to take from your bank. You need to develop some sort of cataloging system for your questions such as the following

1 Q1 TF 2016

This means the following

  • 1 means this is number 1
  • Q1 means this is quiz 1
  • TF means the question is true false
  • 2016 is the year the question was developed

How you do this is your own decision and this is just an example.

The other boxes on this page are self-explanatory. General feedback is what the student receives whether they are right or wrong. The other feedback is given depending on the response. After making a question selecting if it is true or false you will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-24 10:10:01.png

In a future post, we will learn how to take questions from the question bank and incorporate them into an actually quiz.

Using the Lesson Module in Moodle

The lesson module in Moodle provides a way for a teacher to share content in an interactive way through the use pages that provide text and questions at the discretion of the teacher.

This post will provide basic information on how to setup and deliver content through a lesson.

Planning a Lesson

Lessons take a lot of planning. You have to determine what you want you students to do while also deciding how they will navigate through the lesson. This is not easy. For our example, we are going to have a brief lesson on two theories in education (perennialism and essentialism. Below is an outline of the structure of the lesson.

  1. Greeting page
  2. Perennialism
  3. Essentialism
  4. Question

Types of Pages in a Lesson

There are several types of pages you can use in a lesson there are explained as the following.

  • Content pages-These pages contain content or the learning material
  • Question page-These are for assessing learning
  • Cluster/end of cluster-This page is use to randomize several question pages
  • Branch/end of branch-Use to provide a different order in which content pages appear

In our sample lesson, we have the following types of pages

  1. Greeting page (Content)
  2. Perennialism (Content)
  3. Essentialism (Content)
  4. Question (Question)

Below are the steps for setting up a lesson

  1. Select the “lesson” option in the “activity and resources” menuScreenshot from 2016-08-19 09:01:30.png
  2. Give the lesson a name. There are a lot of other options available that are mostly self-explanatory. For now, we will just give the lesson a name and click “save and display”
    Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:04:08.png
  3. On the next page, we want to add our first content page by clicking “add content page”. After you click you will see the following
    Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:07:01.png
  4. On the content page we need to add some information. The name of the page is “understanding theories of education. This goes in the “page title”. In the “page contents” we put the following

    Welcome to the lesson on Theories in Education. Click on the button perennialism to learn about this theory.

5. You need to scroll down and find the “content 1” box. In the “description” type “perennialism and set the jump to the next page as shown in the picture below. Then click save page

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:11:11.png

When you click “save page” you should see the web page below

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:12:55.png

Under the heading actions select “add content page”. In the new page call it “perennialism”. You can give a brief definition of  perennialism. In addition, you can add a video on perennialism as my example did. Under “content 1” type “essentialism” and have this page jump to the next page. Below is what the page should look like.

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:15:42.png

We now repeat this process for the “essentialism page” The only difference is that for “content 1” we will have this page jump to a page called “summary questions”. Below is a visual of this step

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:18:12.png

The final page we need to create is a question page. This allows us to assess student understanding of the lesson. On the home page for the lesson under “action” after the “essentialism” page select “question. This is shown in the picture below.

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:21:59

On the next page select “Essay” as shown below

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:23:36.png

You can now give the page a name and ask whatever question you want. Make sure you set the jump to “end of lesson” and you can also determine how many points the question is worth. Below is my example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:26:47.png

You can see how your lesson looks using the “preview” tab. After your students have completed the lesson you can click on the grade essays tab to mark the essays. Below is an example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-19 09:29:43.png

The reports tab give you the results for all students.

Conclusion

The lesson module is a great feature in Moodle. It is important to keep lessons short, focused and lively in order to keep student motivated. The only limit to a lesson is your own imagination and the ability to plan systematically.  As progress in elearning continues lessons may be replaced in the near future with the development of authoring tools and other forms of interactive content.

 

Using the Chat Activity in Moodle

The chat activity in Moodle provides students with the opportunity to communicate with each other in real-time. This is an example of of synchronous learning, which is the traditional mode of learning found in classrooms. Students, through collaboration, are learning together in time.

In this post, we will look at how to setup a chat as well as some suggestions on the use of the chat activity in an online course.

Setting Up Chat

  1. In your Moodle course, make sure you have turn editing on and then click on “add activity or resource” in one of the available spaces. Then select “chat” as shown in the picture below.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 07:34:06.png

2. In the next screen, you need to give your chat a name. Adding a description is optional. In the “chat session” section you can schedule when the chat takes places. You can also indicate if you want this chat session to be regularly schedule with the “Repeat/publish sessions” if you leave it on the default setting, students can join the chat room anytime. There is also an option for saving past chats and whether students can view past chats. Below is a screenshot of the features.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 07:56:09.png

3. The actual chat room is simple to use. After clicking on “Save and display” the next screen will have a link called “click here to enter chat now”. When you do this, you will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 08:00:42.png

4. The people who are in the chat room are displayed to your right. To type a message click on the empty box next to the “send” button, type your message, and press enter. Below is a sample message between the teacher and a student.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 08:03:32.png

5. When you log in to chat the previous messages are gone. This is different from facebook which saves everything as a never-ending dialog. To see what was said in the past you need to click on the link “view past chat sessions” and then select the conversation you want to read. Below are two pictures, the first shows the link for viewing past chat session and the second shows a list of sessions to read

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 08:08:32.png

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 08:08:47.png

Suggestions for Using Chat

  • Chat is useful for allowing students to coordinate group work. The benefit of using chat for the teacher is control of what is happening and the useful of an official challenge of communication of the school.
  • Chat is one tool for allowing students to communicate in a foreign language in real-time.
  • For large classes, it is best to break the students into smaller groups for chatting. Since only one person can talk at a time and nobody can see each other, large groups are usually chaotic in a chat room.
  • Set a clear beginning and end to a chat. It is also important to keep in mind the various time zones the students may be in.

Conclusion

The chat activity is an excellent tool for coming into direct contact with students. This tool can be used to stimulate real-time discussion or for other means. When using chat be aware of the strengths and limitations and this will help in providing an excellent learning experience for the students.

Using Forums in Moodle

The forum module in moodle is a highly versatile tool available for a teacher’s use. For beginners in particular, the forum module can be used to delivery and teach all content. For this reason alone, it is wise for newbies to moodle to focus on using forums and to add additional tools that are more efficient for specific task later.

In this post, we will look at how to deploy forums as your one-all tool for someone who is using Moodle for the first time.

Using Forums for Everything

Below is a brief list of how forums can be used in multiple ways. The list below includes how the forum is used and the more efficient tool that could be used if the teacher is familiar with it. If there is no tool that is more efficient than the column is left blank.

Ways to Use Forums
Task Better Way
Discussion
Download course outline file resource
Links to various websites link resource, book, or page
submit assignments Assignment activity
Quiz Quiz activity
Survey Survey activity
Organized key terms in course Glossary

Moodle is challenging to learn to use because it is so flexible. Having a beginner focus on using forums exclusively can allow someone to get up and running in a short period of time.

Creating a Forum

To create a forum you need to determine what the purpose of the forum is so that you can adjust the options accordingly. Let’s say you are new to Moodle and you want your students to upload an assignment to a forum so you can mark them. Below are the steps.

  1. In your Moodle course, click on “add activity”select “forum” and click “add” as shown below.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 07:44:04.png

2. In the next screen, you need to give the forum a name and a description. The description is where you can place instructions or other information to complete the task. Below is a picture

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 07:46:52.png

3. You now need to indicate what type of forum you are using. If you click on the ? near “forum type” in Moodle it will explain each of the type of forums that are available. I will not repeat the explanation but I will provide suggestions on when to use each.

  • Simple discussion-If you want a focus forum on a question you pose, this is a good choice. This is also useful if the purpose is for students to upload an assignment.
  • Q & A forum-Useful for giving quizzes. You can set the options so that students do not see other students’ responses until they post their own answer.
  • The other choices available are mostly similar and are useful for a more open ended discussion.

We are going to pick “simple discussion”

4. The next three columns “attachment and word count”,  “subscriptions” and “post threshold for blocking” are self-explanatory. You can determine the size of the file to upload and determining if students have to be aware of the activity in the forum The blocking feature is useful for students who dominate a discussion or are argumentative.  Below is a picture of the options in our example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:24:14.png

5. The next two settings work together. The “grade” section allows you to determine where to place this activity in the gradebook. This assumes that you have setup the gradebook. You can also set a minimum score to pass if you want but this is optional.

The “ratings” section allows you to setup how you will mark the assignments. You can set the. These options have been discussed previously. The only thing new is the “aggregate” option. Moodle explains this to you. Remember however that the purpose of our forum is uploading of an assignment. As such, when you read the assignment you will put the grade in the forum. The picture below is the settings for our example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:38:36.png

The rest of the settings are not related to our particular task. So you can click “Save and return to course”

After Student Submits

When a student submits you will see the following on the course home page

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:43:37.png

Hopefully, you can see in small print “1 unread post”. Click on this and see the following

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:44:47

Click on the uploaded assignment and then you can rate the assignment using the drop down box “average of ratings”. The current score is out of a 100 points. After marking click “return”.

You can check to see if the grade was recorded by going to the gradebook.

Conclusion

This post provide practical advice for using forums. How you use forums is only limited to your creativity. Forums are particular useful for beginners as they can complete most Moodle task without mastery of the other modules. However, once you are comfortable with forums you should expand into other tools to further benefit your students.

 

Marking an Assignment in Moodle

As with all the features in Moodle, there are many different ways to mark an assignment. In this post we will explain several different approaches that can be taken to marking an assignment in Moodle. For information on setting up an assignment see the post on how to do this.

Below is a screen shot of a demo class for this post. To beginning marking an assignment, you need to click on the assignment while in the role of a teacher.

Screenshot from 2016-07-27 13:58:52.png

After clicking on the assignment you will see a

  • summary page that indicates the number of students
  • how many assignments have been submitted
  • the number of assignments that need to be graded
  • the due date
  • how much time before the assignment is late.

Underneath all this information is a link for viewing submissions and you need to click on this. Below is a visual of this.

Screenshot from 2016-07-27 14:02:55.png

On the next page there is a lot of information. For “grading action” we don’t want to change this option for now. The next section has the names of the students who have submitted the assignment. The “grade” box allows you to submit a numerical grade for the assignment. The “online text” box is only available if you want the students to type a response into Moodle. The “file submission” link allows you to download any attachments the students uploaded. If any comments have been made by the student or someone else you can see those in the “comments” section. The “feedback comments” allows you to inform the student privately how they did on the assignment.

The other options are self-explanatory. Please note that this example uses the quick grading option which is useful if you are the only one marking assignments in the class. Below is a visual of this page.

Screenshot from 2016-07-27 14:05:50.png

Once you put in a score and at feedback (feedback is optional). You must click on “save all quick grading changes”. The student now has a grade with feedback on the assignment. As the teacher, you can view the students overall grade by going to the “grading action” drop down menu and clicking on “View gradebook” You will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-07-27 14:20:19.png

You can also change grades here by clicking on the assignment. This will take you “grading summary page” which is the second screenshot in this post. If you click on the pencil you can override an existing grade as shown in the screen below. It will take you to the following screen.

Screenshot from 2016-07-27 14:22:47.png

Click on override and you can change the grade or feedback. Click on exclude and the assignment will not be a part of the final grade.

Conclusion

In this post we explored some of the options for grading assignments in Moodle. This is not an inherently technical task but you should be aware of the different ways that it can be done to avoiding becoming confused when trying to use Moodle.

 

Adding Categories and Graded Items in Moodle

In this post, we are going to take a closer look at setting up the gradebook in Moodle. In particular we are going to learn how to setup categories and graded items in. For many, the gradebook in Moodle is very confusing and hard to understand. However, with some basic explanation the gradebook can become understandable and actually highly valuable.

Finding the Setup Page

After logging into Moodle and selecting a course in which you are the teacher, you need to do the following.

  1. Go to the administration block and click on “grades”
  2. Next click on the “setup” tab. You should see the following

33.jpg

The folder “ENGL 5000 Experimental course” is the name of the class that I am using. Your folder should have the name of your class in this place. When you create categories and grade items they should all be inside this folder.

Making Categories

It makes sense to create categories first so that we have a place to put various graded items. How you setup the categories is up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that you can create sub-categories, sub-sub categories, etc. This can get really confusing so it is suggested that you only make main categories for simplicity sake unless there is a compelling reason not to do this. In this example, we will create 4 main categories and they are

  • Classwork (35% of grade)
  • Quizzes (20% of grade)
  • Tests (20% of grade)
  • Final (25% of grade)

To make a category click on “Add category” and you will see the following.

12.jpg

  1. Give the category the name “Classwork”
  2. Aggregation is confusing for people who are not familiar with statistics. There are different ways in which grades can be calculated in a category below is the explanation of 2 that are most commonly used.
    • Mean of grades-This aggregation calculate the mean of the graded items. All items have the same weight
    • Simple weighted mean-For this aggregation, the more points an item is worth the more influence it has in the calculation of the grade for the category.
  3. Set your aggregation to “mean of grades
  4. Click on “category total”
  5. The grade type should be set to “value” this means that it is worth points.
  6. The maximum grade should be set to 35. Remember our classwork category is worth 35% so we want the category to be worth 35 points and the entire class to be worth 100 points. Moodle is able to standardized the data so that everything fits accordingly.
  7. Click on “save changes”

Repeat what we did for the “classwork” category for each of the other categories in the example. Below are screenshots of the categories

QUIZZES Category

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TEST CATEGORY

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FINAL CATEGORY

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If everything went well you should see the following on the setup page.

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Notice how the class is now worth 100 points. You can make your categories worth whatever you want. However, it becomes difficult to interpret the scores when you do anything. As educators, we are already use to a 100 point system so you may as well use that in Moodle as well even though you have the flexibility to make it whatever you want.

There is one more step we need to take in order to make sure the gradebook calculates grades correctly. You may have noticed that each of our categories are worth a different number of points. Therefore, we must tell Moodle to weigh these categories differently. Otherwise the results of each category will have the same weight on the overall grade. To fix this problem do the following.

  1. Find the folder that has the name of your course (for me this is ENGL 5000 Experimental course)
  2. To the right of the folder there is a link called “edit” click on this.
  3. Click “edit settings”
  4. You do not need to give this category a name so leave that blank.
  5. For aggregation, change it to “simple weighted mean”
  6. Click “save changes”

You should see the following

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Notice in the course total that it now says “simple weighted mean of grades”.

For adding graded items, you do the following

  1. Click on “add graded item”
  2. Give it a name (I will call mines quiz 1)
  3. Determine how many points it is worth (for me 10 points)
  4. Scroll to the bottom and you will see a drop down tab called “grade category”
  5. Pick the category you want the graded item to be in.

Below is an example of a quiz I put in the quiz category. This is what the setup page should look like if this is down correctly

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As you can see, quiz 1 is worth ten points. You may wonder how quiz 1 can be worth 10 points when the entire category is only worth 20. Remember, Moodle use statistics to condense the score of the quiz to fit within the 20 points of the category.

Conclusion

This post exposed you to the basics of setting up categories and graded items in Moodle. The main problem with the gradebook is the flexibility it provides. With some sort of a predefined criteria it is easy to get confused in using it. However, with the information provided here, you now have a foundation for using the Moodle gradebook.

Setting up Assignments in Moodle

In this post, we will explore how to setup an assignment in Moodle. As with most features in Moodle, how to setup assignments comes with an endless array of options and ways that can become exceedingly confusing for people. As such, we will not look at all of the options but rather try to look at the basic steps need to complete this process.

  1. Once you are logged in to Moodle and your course as a teacher you need to turn on editing in order to see the options for adding resources and activities. Once editing is on you need to click on the link that says “add an activity or resource.” After clicking on this link you should see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:31:30.png

2.Select the “Assignment” button and click “add” and you should then see the following

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:33:07.png

3. You need to type a  name for the assignment in the “assignment name” box as well as a brief description of the assignment in the “description” box. These are required.
If you look closely at the many different options you will see little question marks in many places. Clicking on these will give you a brief explanation of what the feature does. This is important to know as there are too many features to explain them all clearly.

Explanation of the Various Sections

Additional Files. This section allows you to upload files the students may need to complete the assignment. It is shown in the picture above.

Availability and Submission Types. Availability allows you to setup time frame in which the assignment can be completed. The submission type allows you to determine how the students can submit the assignments. Below is a visual of these two sections.

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:38:59.png

Feedback Type and Submission Settings. The feedback type is how you can communicate with students about their grade for the assignment. Submission settings allows you to use one of several options for allowing students to turn in their work through Moodle. Below is a picture of what these sections look like.

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:43:55.png

Group Submission and Notifications. Group submission is useful when a team of students submit something together. Notification settings provide options for how Moodle communicates with teachers and students when assignment are submitted and marked. Both of these settings are shown below.

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:48:48.png

Grade Settings. Grade settings provides options for how papers are marked. Again, further details, you need to click on the question marks for additional information. Below is a screenshot of the grade options.

Screenshot from 2016-07-18 10:52:12.png

The final section is common module sections. These can mostly be ignored unless you are working with students in groups. After determining your settings you need to click either “save and return to course” or “save and display”.

Conclusion 

There really is no simple way to explain when to use the various features available when using assignments. What to use depends on such factors as the needs of the students, the learning environment, the goals and objectives of the course, etc. As such, for you as a teacher the best advice to be given is to look at the context in which you are teaching and try to find the right combinations of options to use for that particular assignment.

Creating Rubrics in Moodle

Rubrics are a systematic way of grading assignments. They can be holistic or analytical in nature.

A holistic rubric looks at the overall assignment and provides one over-arching criterion with various levels of performance. For example, a paper can be jduge on overall writing by making the categories of excellent, good, average, and poor. Each of these ratings comes with a brief paragraph that describes the level of performance. This is a way to provide some feedback with having to spend a large amount of time marking.

An analytical rubric breaks the assignment done into components and provides a rating for each component. For a research paper a teacher might include the components of grammar, formatting, word count, etc. and each of these components would have a score attached to it.

In this post, we are going to develop an analytical rubric for an assignment in Moodle. The only activity that allows for rubrics is “assignments” so we will make a rubric for this activity.

Making a Rubric

  1. After logging into Moodle, in your course, click “turn editing on”
  2. Next, in one of the sections of the course click “add activity”
  3. Select “assignment”
  4. The setting page for the assignment appears. There is a lot of information here but focus on the following
    • Give your assignment a name (THIS IS REQUIRED BY MOODLE)
    • Give your assignment a description (THIS IS REQUIRED BY MOODLE)

Below is a picture of step 4

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:07:03.png

5. Scroll down to the “grades” tab

6. Set maximum number of points to “30”

7. Change the grading method to “rubric” and leave the rest of the settings the same

Below is a picture of steps 5-7

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:10:23.png

8. Click “save and display” and you will see the following.

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:11:59.png

9.  Click on “define new grading form from scratch” The other option only works if there are existing rubrics.

10. In the next screen, you need to complete the following

  • Give the rubric a name
  • Create three criterion by clicking on “add criterion” two times
  • Add one levels to each criterion by clicking on “add level”. You should have four levels for each criterion
  • Below is a picture of the rubric I developedScreenshot from 2016-07-13 14:22:36.png

As you can see, rubric is highly flexible. Each level can be worth a different number of points ad you can have a different number of levels for each criterion. The only rule is to make sure that the total points for the rubric are the same as those you set in the points option in assignment settings.

11. Once finished, click”save rubric and make it ready” You should see the following

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:27:42.png

We can now use our rubric and I will demonstrate this with an example student. You may not be able to follow along if your course does not have any students.

  1. I click on “view/grade all submissions”
  2. Next, I see the assignment and the students in the class. To grade the student I click on “edit” and select “grade”. Below is a picture

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:30:54.png

3. I can now pick the score  I want to give. Provide comments for each criteria and provide overall comments in the “Feedback” section. Below are pictures of the rubric and feedback.

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:33:35.png

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14:35:39.png

4. Now, I click “save changes” On the next screen I click “continue”You should now see the grade page again with the score and feedback you provided. Below is a visual of this

Screenshot from 2016-07-13 14-37-47_censored.jpg

Conclusion

This post provided step-by-step instruction on using rubrics in Moodle. Rubrics provide quick feedback to a student in terms of there performance on specific action-based task.