Inside MoodleMoot UK & Ireland 2017 Day 1: Masterclasses & Presentations with our Community Educator

This year’s UK and Ireland Moodlemoot kicked off on Monday 10th April 2017 with rooms packed full of participants engaging in pre-Moot masterclasses. Mary Cooch, Moodle Community Educator, facilitated the Online Course Design masterclass. Mary was keen to point out from the start that, in line with Moodle’s own Pedagogical principles, she wouldn’t be lecturing from the front but instead, would be encouraging participants to share their own experiences so that everyone could learn from each other.

All of us are potential teachers as well as learners – in a true collaborative environment we are both.

The day comprised of four sessions – interspersed with (delicious!) coffee breaks and lunch. Mary had also set up courses for everyone on aMoodleCloud site, giving attendees a chance to try out aspects investigated during the day in the most up to date version of Moodle around.

Session 1: Content was a chance for participants to consider the optimum methods of displaying static materials, whilst always keeping in mind the increased mobile use. Discussions took place in groups, and feedback, good ideas and any conclusions were collected. Mary outlined the new core media player, VideoJS, available in Moodle 3.2, and attendees explored the benefits (and drawbacks) of adding content from external sources such as Google and Microsoft instead of uploading directly into Moodle. Better Office and Google integrations are coming in Moodle 3.3, so this was a timely discussion.

Session 2: Assessment focused not only on the practicalities of gradable activities such as assignment, quiz and workshop but on ‘best practice’ in terms of asking questions and giving constructive feedback. Participants also engaged in a fun learning activity designed to highlight the importance of thinking carefully when creating quiz questions.

Session 3: Communication inspired lots of interesting experiences from different organisations on what is allowed and restricted in terms of teacher-student and student-student communication, notifications and alerts. Mary outlined the most recent improvements in the forum activity and participants shared innovative ways of using forums. Project Inspire was also touched upon, when the conversation turned to identifying and communicating with at-risk students.

Session 4: Structure inspired yet more lively discussions about how to set up your site and courses to best suit your learners, including:

  • Weeks, Topics, Social or contributed course formats?
  • Using the Boost theme, Clean theme or contributed themes?

While the day so far had focused solely on core Moodle, this final session also included suggestions for add-ons which would enhance course delivery. A few favourites cropped up, particularly relating to question types and progress tracking.

Hopefully, the masterclass attendees went home with some practical solutions to move online course design forward in their own organisations. Maybe some of them will return next year and present on the results!

Mary also presented on the second day of the MoodleMoot UK & Ireland, one presentation focused on Competency Based Education in Moodle (you can view the presentation slides on Slideshare) and the other focused on 10 cool things for teachers and students in Moodle 3.1 and 3.2 (also available for viewing now on Slideshare).

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