Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tips for Creating a Moodle Course

Please consider these top ten tips when creating your Moodle course.

1.  Use your Moodle Course as a Launch Pad for content.
If you put content on your course page, it can become cluttered very quickly.  The course then becomes overwhelming and can be a scrolling nightmare.

2.  Decide on a weekly or topic format before you get started.  If the topic format is chosen, consider chunking your material by Modules, Chapters, Units, etc.  When using topic format, post assignment due dates clearly.  If assignments are due weekly, then the weekly format works best.  The weekly format helps the student visualize what they should be working on when.

3.  Consistent course layout is key.  It is helpful to map out your course outline on a word document prior to actually working in Moodle.  Make sure that the way you chunk your material is consistent throughout the course.  Use similar names for similar assignments.  If a student can easily see a pattern, navigating the course does not impede learning.

4.  The Course Template is Required.  Every DCCC online course must use the Course Syllabus (book resource) and Course Announcements forum.  Please include a title to your course in the Topic 0 or Week 0 summary.

5.  Be mindful of the Blocks you use.  Additional blocks beyond what the template provides should be added because it brings value to the course.  Too many blocks can be distracting.  You can add/remove blocks by turning your editing on.

6.  Name links appropriately.  If links are too long, that could be problematic in the gradebook.  Students should be able to differentiate between items in the course.  Keep link names short but purposeful.

7.  Consider requiring the Moodle Orientation.  If students complete the Moodle Orientation, they receive a certificate in the form of a pdf document with a unique code on it.  They can provide that document for proof that the Orientation was finished.  All students are loaded in the Orientation every semester.  It can be a great resource for students on technical issues with Moodle.  Instructors should go through the Orientation themselves to get a feel for what is covered.

8.  Embed YouTube Videos.  There is no requirement that courses must have YouTube videos.  However, several instructors are making use of this video repository.  There are several ways to get YouTube videos into your course.  An external link to a YouTube video takes you to the website where other suggested videos that you have no control over are also displayed.  Embedding a video in a Moodle webpage or book keeps the student within Moodle and it only shows the one video you have selected.  The end result allows you more control on the display and it does not take students to the YouTube site where they could be distracted by other videos.

9.  Open External Links in a New Window.  There are many times when it is appropriate to have your students visit another website you deem appropriate.  However, if the link opens in the same window, Moodle is replaced with the new web location.  And if students close the window when they are done with the external link, then they have also closed Moodle.  Generally, it is a good idea to have any non-Moodle resource (Ex. word, pdf, excel doc)  open in a new window so that the student can easily find their way back to the Moodle course.

10. Images should bring value, not distraction.  Images can be used to help create division in content, emphasize a point or idea, or create symmetry.  You should ask yourself what role the image will play before you add it to your course.  Too many images can make a course too busy and overwhelming.  Sometimes less is more.