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Answer student questions with a virtual coffee shop

Coffee Shop SignGuest Post by Victoria Shropshire – English Instructor

Forums can be used in a variety of ways in any course, but at their heart, they encourage and increase writing.  At a University where writing across the curriculum is one of our most pressing goals, why not embrace a technology that is easy to use and (in my experience) increases student engagement as well?

Forums are also a great way to engage students and give them time to Think before Class. Or (gasp) Think before they Speak!  Forums can help facilitate original posts and peer review.  Continue reading »

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Moodle Q&A: forum emails, resubmit assignments, remove from gradebook

Question MarkIn this Moodle Q&A post, Elon faculty ask how their students can stop receiving an email every time someone posts in a forum. We also cover how to give a student a chance to resubmit a file after they’ve submitted something.

In a previous post, we walked through enrolling yourself in your course as a student to experience Moodle from a student perspective. Now, we’ll cover how to remove yourself as a student from the course.

In this post, we answer questions about:

Read other Moodle questions from faculty. Continue reading »

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5 design strategies to engage your students in Moodle

Guest post by Moodlerooms – Elon’s Moodle partner. Classroom Engagement

Engaging students in fresh and interesting ways can definitely be a challenge in the classroom, even more so in the online arena. Here are some design strategies that you can use in Moodle to engage your students.

  1. Incorporate videos to foster forum discussions. Videos can be a great way to engage many students with multiple learning styles and preferences. Try using videos as a way to generate online discussion. Post the video into the Forum Introduction area when creating the forum and instruct students to post their reactions. Make sure you are using relevant videos. Click here for instructions on how to embed YouTube videos into Moodle.

  3. Give students’ permission to rate each other’s forum posts. If you are not yet using forums, try adding them into your courses. They spark discussion and interactivity within the classroom. If you’re already using forums, consider adding an additional level of interactivity by allowing students to rate the quality of each other’s work. To do this, first you’ll need to alter the activity’s permissions to allow students to rate each other’s responses. Then, establish your own grading scale that awards students points for anytime they rate another student’s post.

  5. Create an interactive scenario based on a case study. Present students with a case study and pose questions to them in a Lesson activity. Create an interactive learning experience by branching to various learning paths based on the user’s selection. Alternatively, you could use the Essay question type to allow the student to type a response and then present them with an ideal response after submission.

  7. Add a Workshop and require peer assessment. The Workshop activity allows students to create their own projects and allows for peer assessment (when enabled). Peer assessment is a great way to involve students in the evaluative process. It engages them in critical thinking and collaboration while enabling them to send/ receive constructive feedback to/from their peers.

  9. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate! There are so many different options in Moodle for evaluation. The Quiz activity is an obvious choice, but there are other activities available in Moodle that you should also consider. Try adding a Choice activity to poll students’ knowledge prior to a lesson or let students choose the focus of an upcoming class project. You can also use the Feedback block to create your own questions and gather input from your students to evaluate the success/engagement of course activities.

Click here to visit MoodleRoom’s blog.

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Encourage class-wide participation with Moodle Forums

Image of Speech BubblesA Moodle forum, similar to Blackboard’s discussion boards, is an asynchronous communication activity used to discuss various course topics.  There are several types of forums and different purposes for each.

Choosing the right forum

Standard Forum is best suited for large discussions monitored by the instructor, or for social forums facilitated by students.  A standard forum may have numerous threads and require frequent monitoring to weave threads together when commenting. It is also the best forum if there are files or resources to be uploaded.

Simple Forum is best for a brief discussion on a single topic. This forum is superior to keep students focused on a narrow topic or issue since the instructor asks only one question.

Each person posts one discussion allows each student to start one discussion topic but they can still read and respond to peer postings.  An example is posting a document for peer review and feedback.

Question and Answer Forum encourages independent thinking.  Instructors post the question and students must respond before viewing responses from peers; once a response is posted students can see course responses.  This is ideal for controversial issues or topics where you want the student to take a position.

Tips for robust discussions

  • Set rules and standards for good netiquette with the first post
  • Ask questions focused on knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • Encourage interactions between:  instructor to student, student to content, and student to student
  • Require students to provide substantial posts backed up with class information, readings and resources
  • Set up a forum where students can post their murkiest point anonymously
  • Incorporate external websites links to maintain current discussions
  • Assign discussion groups to create a product such as:  a quiz for the class, write a response to an author, compose a critique of a reading, brainstorm a topic, create a journal article review, compare and contrast an issue, reinforce procedures or processes by asking them to relate it to daily life, or respond to a case study

Tips for summarizing forums

The standard forum is an ideal forum to assign each student in the course an opportunity to summarize daily posts at a specified time, searching for trends and common threads and tying them together in the summary.

  • Summarize the important points in the forum weekly in the news forum
  • Alternate postings by assigning students to respond every other week
  • Assign students to summarize discussion points
  • Create mind maps that show connections and relationships to use as summaries posted in the news forum

Evaluating forum responses

Here is a simple rubric developed by Middle Tennessee State University, to use as a guideline when evaluating forum responses. Click on the image below to open a PDF file of the rubric.

Forum Rubric for Moodle

Photo by Flickr user Marc Wathieu / Creative Commons licensed BY-NC 2.0

About the author

Cheri Crabb, PhD, Academic Technology Consultant with TLT, has a career in academia focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems for blended learning.

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