Moodlemoot Australia in Sydney

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Moodlemoot in Sydney, Australia. It was wonderful to meet some real live Moodle users. Sitting in the Moodle office in Perth its difficult to comprehend just how many people there are out there using Moodle. I took notes on all the sessions I attended and will detail them below for anyone who couldn’t make it themselves.

First though, I couldn’t go to Sydney and ONLY attend the moot. I did of course find time to sneak in some touristy exploration of the city. After all, you can’t come to Sydney and not see the bridge and the opera house.

Myself and some fellow Moodlers went on a little walking tour of the city and took in the bridge, the opera house, the botanical gardens and the infamous King’s Cross. I’m not sure my fellow moodlers would agree but these stairs were a highlight for me. They definitely got the blood pumping.

And now on to the Moodlemoot sessions. Apologies to anyone whose name I misspell or forget and to anyone who I have mis-interpreted. This are a transcription of my notes. I’ve cleaned them up a bit but don’t expect perfect grammar.

Breaking Moodle by Jason La Greca

Use course templates properly

You can store template course via backup/restore. Store your media elsewhere. This will prevent your backup files becoming enormous. Make sure you use a naming convention for your media so you can find stuff.

Consider using groups instead of multiple course instances.

Youtube, wikipedia and many other sites are not available in every country. This is important if your teachers or students are scattered throughout the globe.

Document lessons learned

Post lessons you have learned to the Moodle forums. Make sure you go and search the forums before untertaking any task for the first time. Hopefully you can learn from the mistakes of others.

Don’t alter core unless you really really really need to

Alteration you make to core code become an ongoing problem as they need to be checked and reapplied every time you update Moodle. Don’t do it at all if at all possible.

Never develop code or content on a production Moodle

Always have separate development sites for the programmers and teachers to work on. Use a different username and password for your development and productions sites.

Italian goes Moodle by

If you display a glossary within a block and fill the glossary with videos you will have a new video every time you visit.

Voki = a digital face that says whatever you type. Can help provide a “human” face for your site.

Scrible = a system that allows you to annotate web pages. Extremely useful for an editor wanting to check other people’s work. Saves emailing documents back and forth prior to putting it on the web.

Scrivener = a tool for writers that allows them to store all of their works in progress.

WidgetBox = a resource that you can search for interactive elements for your site.

Using audio and video by Colin Simpson

Video is useful for demonstrations as you can manipulate the student view point. For example time lapse, repitition and point of view. Repition is great for teacher particularly in settings like language instruction that require lots of repititon

Also handy for assessment. For example physiotherapy students may have to complete a gait assessment where students are required to assess a subject’s gait (the way they walk). If marking essays you could do a screen capture so you can comment to the student as you read.

We are moving into a post-literate world. Are you assessing the subject knowledge or essay writing?

Audacity = shareware for recording audio. Use constant bit rate.

Moodle’s media filter works basically everywhere.

Soundcloud = hosted audio player. Can embed in Moodle.

Use a USB headset. They tend to work better/easier. Keep the mic 3 fingers from your mouth.

For video editing Windows Movie Maker is usually adequate.

Outcomes Overview by Allan Greenbank

Using the Moodle overview report in place of paper report cards.

Parents can drill down to see details of activity participation.

Is constructing national outcomes as a .csv file that can be imported into any Moodle site.

In the course header added a table of links to the topics. Thus avoiding the need to scroll.

Online Language Course by Pavle Jeric

Computer enhance rather than replace teachers.

Class presentations can be submitted in the form of a video and a powerpoint presentation.

Shifting to Moodle 2 by John Hannon

(from La Trobe University?)

There are two approaches:

  1. A new LMS is an opportunity for improvement
  2. While deploying a new LMS limit potential disruption.

Choose one. Attempting to do too much leads to change weariness.

A quick switchover may be preferable as it is hard to hold most user’s attention. Moving fast requires performing tasks in parrallel. It allows you to avoid having to run two LMS side by side.

Stay focus. Just replace the LMS. Don’t fix or improve stuff. You can do that later. This requires clarify of purpose.

Fully allocate staff to the switch. Have a full-time project manager.

A drop in center provided Moodle help to staff and students.

A set of “2 minute Moodles” was provided. Concise how to videos.

Moodle tool guide for teachers by Joyce Seitzinger

Resource Vs Activity

read Vs do

Many of the issues around introducing and using a LMS arise because very few teachers have personal online learning experience.

Teachers often fall into the content trap ie only moving content provision online. Or they fall into the technology trap and say things like “I want to use a wiki” putting the tool before the requirement.

Design courses then bring them into Moodle. Do not design courses in Moodle.

Rethinking content development by Michael Coghlan

Can you teach without content?

Can you teach a course where you co-create content as you go?

Typically, 90% of Moodle assessments are done with quiz.

The Queensland government if encouraging teachers to share their course content through their GILF programme.

Some example more creative assessments:

  • Take a photos that fits certain criteria
  • Call 2 suppliers of a particular product and evaluate them
  • Get students to write the quiz questions instead of simple answering them.

Establishing eCommunities by Susan Cornish

They have about 30 courses but only 4 forums. Fewer forums means they are easier to nurture. A html block within each course provides links to the forums

Access to course content is password protected. This was insisted on by some teachers.

One means of encountering online participation was driving real world discussion to the forums. For example having a guest presenter available online after a presentation to answer more questions.

K12 Panel with Mary Cooch, Nathan Hutchings and Sandy Skinner

Contributed code is a major roadblock for upgrading between major versions of Moodle.

Parents like to be able to access Moodle to see their child’s work.

If more work is public students are able to show off their work.

The Moodle 2.0 file system is seen by some as “the same as before but harder to use.”

The Microsoft EU cloud service is a potential file repository. Is there a Moodle plugin?

Someone recommended progressively migrating 1.9 to 2.0 over 6 to 12 months. Start with the most experienced Moodle teachers and students first.

Some institutions test users and issue a Moodle drivers license for teachers and/or students.

Should you use a entirely separate Moodle for different age groups?

Teachers often lack confidence in courses built by their peers. Will they be well built and maintainable?

To get more content online take a photo of the white board and post it after class. That way students can review on their own and learn while the teacher isn’t there. Some teachers examined the logs and frequently saw students reviewing course material at night and on weekends.

When asking questions in the forum if they’re too hard you’ll get no answers. If too easy you’ll get one definitive answer then nothing more.

Some see Moodle as readding creativity to teaching.

Self directed offshore ESL learners by Jason Lagreca

Coming to Australia to study English is super expensive however English is necessary before going to an Australian university.

  1. market research.
  2. what lessons have been learned (by others)
  3. what is the business case and what risks exist.

What is the learner landscape? Can they stream video? How literate are they in their first language?

For curriculum development decide your learning outcomes then content. After creating content break up into course, units, activities and even into discrete learning objects. You can then build new courses out of existing learning objects.

Balance learner-learner, facilitator-learner and learner-content interactions. One third each.

Workshops. Can mark submission and quality of peer assessment. Can also override peer provided marks if necessary.

Mahara can replace Facebook if Facebook is innaccessible to your students. A lot of time may be necessary to simplify it.

Need regular assessments to identify weak students and also provide reguar feedback.

The first course is compulsary and is a “how to use Moodle” course.


And that’s it šŸ™‚