Course Syllabus – Grade Appeal Statement

DCCC instructors should make sure that they have the following blurb regarding Grade Appeal on their course syllabus within the Academic Integrity Policy Page:

Final Course Grade Appeal
Students are encouraged to discuss their progress in the course throughout the semester and should discuss any concerns they have regarding grades on assignments with the instructor. On occasion, circumstances may arise in which  a student should have the opportunity to appeal the final course grade. If a student believes that the final course grade is inaccurate, the student should contact the faculty member who assigned the grade within five (5) business days of the posting of that semester’s grade. Please refer to the Final Course Grade Appeal Process in the General Catalog and Student Handbook. NOTE: Individual assignment/test grades are not appealable.

What’s New in Moodle 2 – Time Savers

Time is precious for everyone.  And when you can save a bit of it here or there, that’s a good thing!  I have found a couple of Moodle 2 features that will be time savers for our faculty and I share them in this linked video.

DCCC faculty:  Please remember that we will be moving from Moodle 1.9 to Moodle 2.3 starting in Fall 2013.  In preparation for the move, I am offering training starting March 18th.  I have divided the training up into two days.

Day One:  New Course Interface and Course Files Structure
Day Two:  New Quiz and Assignment Features plus Joule Grader

To sign up for training, please fill out the web form at

What’s New in Moodle 2 – Quiz Features

DCCC’s move to Moodle 2.3 in Fall 2013 will allow us to take advantage of some new features in the Quiz activity.  This post highlights one of those features.  Instructors at DCCC have students with accommodation plans that might allow the student to have different time constraints on a test.  Or, perhaps you are combining multiple sections of a course into one Moodle shell and need for the test to have different available dates for each section.  This was not easily achieved in earlier versions of Moodle.  Now, in Moodle 2.3, instructors can use the user overrides or group overrides option to create new settings on a test for either one individual or a subset of students.  The following video illustrates this.

The Move to Moodle 2

In Fall 2013 Davidson County Community College will be on the Moodle 2 platform.  Opportunities to participate in training will be held after Spring Break.  Until then, I would like to preview the new features that DCCC instructors can look forward to in a video series known as “What’s New in Moodle 2.”

Click on the following link to view the video.

End of Semester Moodle Course Tips

Online Testing for Final Exams
DCCC’s Moodle is set to time-out a user when there has been 4 hours of inactivity.  When creating your final exam, it is good practice to have Moodle display your test with a few questions per page, as opposed to unlimited questions.  This is good for two reasons:  One, when the student navigates to the next page, the page is refreshed and the computer counts that as activity.  Second, navigating to the next page also forces the computer to save the student’s work up until that point.  This can be beneficial if there are technical issues.  It increases the likelihood that the student’s work will be saved.

Exporting Your Gradebook
When closing out a course for a semester, there are some data that every instructor should be pulling from Moodle.  After your gradebook is complete, it is good practice for an instructor to export it for record keeping.  To do this, navigate to your Grades link and click on the Export tab.  For a more detailed look at how to do this, click on the following link titled: help document.

Saving Online Entry Assignment Data
Distance courses were required to include an online entry assignment to denote when the student “Entered” the course.  As an instructor, it is a best practice to keep the Moodle record that shows when the student submitted the designated assignment.  For a detailed look at how to do this, click on the following link titled:  help document.

Help with Moodle Gradebook
Now that the semester is coming to a close, the attention of faculty and students is focused on the gradebook.  You’ll want to make sure your Moodle gradebook is setup appropriately.  To see some examples of how to set up your gradebook, click on the following link titled:  help document.

SoftChalk Hands On Workshop at DCCC

DCCC currently has a limited number of licenses of SoftChalk, a content authoring software that allows instructors to make online, engaging, and interactive content.  To see examples of what SoftChalk can do, visit the links below:

Health and Science Sample Lesson
History Sample Lesson
Linguistics Sample Lesson
English As A Second Language Sample Lesson
Science Sample Lesson

If you are interested in using one of DCCC’s licenses, we are offering two hands on workshops to get you started using the software.  Liz Irizarry will be offering the sessions on Nov. 30th 2-3pm and Dec. 7th 2-3pm.  You are welcome to attend one or both of those sessions.  To sign up for the workshop(s), visit the following link:

The agenda for the two days is as follows:

Day 1 Agenda – Nov 30th
Intro to Softchalk
Basic Features
Creating a Lesson
Using MS Word to import content
Q&A Time

Day 2 Agenda – Dec 7th
Review from Day 1
Inserting images
Inserting YouTube videos
Inserting a Power Point
Q&A Time

If you have any questions regarding SoftChalk or the workshops, please contact Liz Irizarry at

Help with Moodle Gradebook

We are still continuing to learn more about the Moodle Gradebook and how it fits in with Starfish and the varying grading schemes used across the school.  Our department has been trying to help individuals on a case by case basis.  However, we have seen that most folks use one of three methods:  Weighted System, Points System without categories, or Points System with categories.

Scenario #1:  Weighted System.   

Tests = 25%
Projects = 20%
Discussions = 30%
Final Exam = 25%

Weighted Mean Example

Weighted Mean Example

Scenario #2:  Points System (No Categories)

Test #1 = 100 pts
Test #2 = 100 pts
Research Project = 80 pts
Final Project = 80 pts
Discussion #1 = 60 pts
Discussion #2 = 60 pts
Discussion #3 = 60 pts
Discussion #4 = 60 pts
Final Exam = 200 pts
Total Points = 800 pts

Points System (No Categories)

Points System (No Categories)

Scenario #3:  Points System (With Categories)

Test #1 = 100 pts
Test #2 = 100 pts
Research Project = 80 pts
Final Project = 80 pts
Discussion #1 = 60 pts
Discussion #2 = 60 pts
Discussion #3 = 60 pts
Discussion #4 = 60 pts
Final Exam = 200 pts

Points System (With Categories)

Points System (With Categories)

This is by far not the only way to set up your gradebook.  You are certainly free to do what is needed to match your grading scheme.  The only method that is not allowed is the Sum of Grades method.  This method is problematic for Starfish as it always treats empty grades as zeros and those assignments count against the student.  If you would like for someone in the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology to review your gradebook, do not hesitate to contact us.

Not Including Dropped Students in Course Emails

Several instructors have asked me how to email their class but not include inactive students.  The inactive student role was one that DCCC created by copying the student role but changing a few settings so that students cannot access the course and they are not seen in the gradebook.  This role is what instructors should change their students to when they drop a course.  There are two ways that you can email your whole class, through the Course Announcements forum (we have renamed our News forum) and the QuickMail block (part of our school’s template).

The Course Announcements forum can be used as a way to send mass emails.  However, it all depends on the subscription setting on the forum.  If you have forced your students to be subscribed, then all active students (not inactive) and instructors in the course will receive an email of the forum post.  If you have not forced your students to subscribe and you would like to, you just need to update your forum.

Course Announcements Forum

Update a forum to force subscription

The QuickMail block can also be used to email the whole class.  There is a trick to making sure that you do not include the students who have been changed to the inactive student role because they do appear in the list of users in your course within the QuickMail block.  After you click on Compose an email within the block, you will be taken to a screen to create your email.  Click on the Students Only option under Role Filter.  Then, if you do not have any groups, click on the Not in a Section option under Potential Section.  This should highlight all active students in the course.  You can then click on the Add button to send them to the Recipients list (see pictured below).

QuickMail Block

Emailing all students except inactive students

If you are using Groups, then you will follow the same steps as above but when you get to the Potential Section area, you’ll want to hold down your Control button as you select all the groups that you would like to send the message to (see pictured below).


Emailing all students except inactive ones when you use groups

Click on the following link for a help document on how to execute the steps described above.

Delete Test Attempts in Moodle

Now that we have more and more online testing through Moodle, it appears that instructors are running into the scenario where they need to clear out a student’s attempt on a quiz or test.  This is a fairly easy process to do.  The first thing you need to do is click on the quiz itself.  You do not need to have editing turned on.  Once you click into the quiz, you’ll need to navigate to the bank of attempts.  This can be done by clicking the word “Attempts,” which is a live link, or you can go to the Results tab across the top.

Getting to the Attempts

Once there, click on the check box next to the name of the student’s attempt.  Then, scroll down and click on Delete Selected Attempts.

Delete Selected Attempts

Welcome to Suzanne!


Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning
photo taken by David Whitehead (thanks!)

Pictured Left to Right:  Dori Stanfield, Suzanne Edmonds, Elizabeth (Liz) Irizarry.

Please welcome our newest member of the Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, Suzanne Edmonds!  Suzanne recently completed her Masters of Arts in Educational Media from Appalachian State University.  As our Instructional Technology Specialist, she will be primarily working with our Echo360 lecture capture room, SMART hardware and software, Elmo document cameras, Vision classroom monitoring software, iclickers, and Blackboard Collaborate.  Please do not hesitate to contact Suzanne for training on the aforementioned technologies.  Her office is Reich 122.

Suzanne shares an office with Elizabeth (Liz) Irizarry, our Instructional Designer, who has been here for over a year now.  Liz primarily trains instructors on Moodle, Turnitin plagiarism software, Softchalk, NCLOR, Respondus 4.0, Respondus Lockdown Browser, and Blackboard Collaborate.

Feel free to visit our Staff page (link above) to learn more about our Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.