Editing a Section in Moodle

This post is a follow up to Moving to Remote Quickly. In it I show an almost complete task list for what I want students to do in the first week back from spring break and how I created some of it.

If you do not feel comfortable yet with Moodle you can attend training this week, seek out help from others, or in the short term exchange task lists and papers via email with students. I might suggest that if you don’t want to meet face-to-face that you temporarily add the other teacher as an editing member of your course. Then they can make changes too as you talk on the phone or via video conference.

If you are comfortable with Moodle you can see that I just have a list in approximately the order students might do the work. If you create or find videos in Youtube you can add them just by adding the URL. If you want to add face-to-face meetings with Big Blue Button or zoom you can provide directions. But, don’t let not being ready to add the fancy stuff stop you from communicating with your students and giving them the work they need to learn.

Anyway, here is the next step in my process. I still have not picked (or decided not to pick) additional software. Soon I will. (There only is soon left.) I stopped the video before I pressed the save changes button. Make sure to save your changes.

Captioned Version:

Moving to Remote Learning Quickly

Note: I have edited the original post in a couple places. I have decided some of my content should be synchronous and adjusted my outline accordingly.

I have started to think about how to move my face-to-face course online/remote quickly. I certainly don’t intend this to replace the many good webinars you are probably hearing about from publishers and professional organizations now. And this series will assume some familiarity with Moodle. (I expect crash courses and peer mentoring will be a lot of what happens during extended spring break). And I realize that all of you will have different levels of expertise from recent online teaching experience to where-is-HFCOnline? I hope some of you find my experiences helpful.

Here is my plan to crash into online education in a week:

  1. Choose a backbone for delivering the course: Will you use publisher sofware? Will you record short videos? Will you have a suggested reading and video list? Will you deliver content live using BigBlueButton in HFCOnline or Zoom outside of it? (This will actually come second for me because I am getting some password help with stale accounts from some publishers).
  2. Organize Moodle: I suggest weekly task lists. Some instructors prefer organizing by modules. I usually like weeks because it goes with the other cycles in most students’ lives. I am absolutely using weeks now because I think I can get a week or two ahead of the students by working hard this week, but I doubt I can get an entire quarter of the class in front of them.
  3. Outline a Week (Unit): I would do this video now but I as I wrote above I am still deciding between two products. Basically, the first week will have half the work of a regular week. I will have students post a reply to a question like “What online work have you done before? How did it go? What suggestions do you have for others?”. I will have them set up accounts (if needed) on publisher software. I will have them do one section in the publisher software. I will have them complete an assignment in Moodle (using the Moodel Quiz feature or the turn in assignment feature). I will have them do an interactive forum activity. Most weeks they will do all that for two sections. Account set up can be messy though and you and your students need time to allow for that.
  4. Send a “Welcome” letter: It seems strange to welcome folks to a class that is slightly over half done but since the rules and expectations will change slightly I must. I have sent a pre-welcome letter letting students know to expect the welcome letter on Wednesday. I imagine many are anxious about the changes and would welcome any certainty- even if it is just, “We can do this and you’ll hear more by March 23.”

My Welcome Letter Points (Subject to change)

Here is how to set up any needed accounts
Twice weekly we will have brief live meetings using BigBlueButton
Here are the deadlines (I will just pick a consistent day and time each week for things to be due. The Tuesday/Thursday class meeting days are pretty meaningless now).
Here is how the homework scores will be done now (some online in publisher software and some through Moodle quizzes for me)
Here is how a typical week will go
Here is how we will test (I will designate a day which is the formal test day. This day will be a day the class used to meet so students have no excuse not to be able to test that day. Ideally these would be proctored. I will instead make the first question a summary of an honor code for that test and require them to type a sentence saying they agree to follow the code.)
You should be caught up once a week or you are going to have trouble
This will likely not go completely smoothly. Contact me with any concerns as this is not what I expected either and I want it to go well for you.

This post is getting longer than I intended. Let me close with three points. First,to my colleague who may remain anonymous if she chooses or who may choose to out herself in the comments for credit: You were right. We should have made an online template of questions for Math 131. I believe my penance will come this week. Second, if others want to comment on their experience that might be helpful. Remember however that this is a public blog. Anyone with the URL can see it so do not post anything you would not want students to read. Finally, I chose the zombie picture because I own a license to use it, it includes the brain, and I expect we will all feel like zombies for the first two weeks of this. Teaching online does get better though. By the third or fourth week it will only be exhausting. We can do this!

Here is my first brief video of my experience converting the course to online. It is step 2 above:


Captioned version: