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A2: MS Teacher Resources: MSMoodle

Overview and Rationale

Adapted from: Moodle in the High School Guidelines for 2015 ‐16 ‐ Updated for 2016‐17 and Moodle in the Middle School Guidelines for 2016-­17

Updated for MSMoodle 2018/9

Rationale
In 2014/15 we conducted a study to review Moodle as our Learning Management System and how we could develop it further to enhance teaching and learning in the High School at WAB. With each MYP student generally having access to 8 Moodle courses plus additional courses for example, Block X, the goal was to reduce the impact of the interface on the cognitive load of learners. The resulting guidelines aim to ensure that each course has a similar framework so that students quickly become are familiar with the layout of new courses and can easily locate resources and instructions.

General Guidelines for all courses

“Must Dos”

  1. Courses can be set up in TABS (one topic) format. Students do not like the weekly format as they have to scroll down through many weeks to get their current week. Avoid TOPIC format for same reasons.
  2. All resources that can be downloaded must have the same filename as the resource label in Moodle.
  3. Naming of resources must be logical and sufficiently different from other resources.
  • For example, Mitosis Worksheet A, Mitosis Background Reading (1), Mitosis Background Reading (2).
  • Take care with naming of resources in shared courses don’t duplicate the resource/activity name in another tab because this will cause issues with automatic linking. Example: Essay (Thomas), Essay (Brookes) is better than Essay and Essay.
  1. Where possible, long lists of resources should be organised under labels or subtabs (For example, In Class Activities, Readings, Strengthen Your Skills, Challenge Yourself or colour-coded for differentiations, e.g. YELLOW or BLUE). 

Moodle Colour Coding

  1. Remove or collapse all blocks that are not useful for the course. For example recent activity blocks.
  • If you collapse, these shift and stack on the left side of the course.
  • Show students how to organise the blocks. 

Organise Block

  1. All learning resources that have been used in class should be uploaded/linked in the Moodle course. Anything on paper should also be uploaded to Moodle.
  2. Do not hide (grey out) resources/activities used in class as students want to go back and revisit. This usually this happens to prevent scrolling but students may want to go back and revisit.
  3. School Closure Learning Forum. Please ensure that you have a School Closure Learning Forum set up in your first tab and check that you have tested with your students.

Using Resources from Other Courses

  1. If you would like to use resources from other courses, you need to be a support teacher or a teacher in that course. It is a professional courtesy to ask the teacher of the course if you can have access to the course and if you could use the resources.

Recommended

  1. It is highly recommended that the tab headings are numbered: this is to help our EAL students and students who have difficulty scanning the headings quickly as these are generally not in alphabetical order.
  2. The Completion Tracker should be enabled so that students can tick the resources/activities they have been working on. This has to be turned on for each course and any resources/activities added will automatically be marked. Existing resources/activities will need to have the completion tracking turned on.
  3. If resources are made available to students using folders , again, please ensure that the file names are clear and logical.
  4. We should aim to model academic honesty by referencing our source material whenever possible.
  5. Educational support teachers who support students in classes will have global access as support teachers to all courses giving them the same editing rights as the class teacher(s). This is to encourage proactive discussions on how best all students can be served and demonstrates the collaborative nature of the course.

For courses that are logically divided into topics

  1. Each topic should have it’s own tab and numbered sequentially, where appropriate.
  2. The learning objectives for each topic should be clearly articulated at the top of the topic.
  3. Teaching teams should review the resources/activities available for the topic. It is expected that there will be a number of resources/activities that address the same learning outcome so that the teacher/student can select the activities/resources that best suit their learning style(s).
  4. It is highly recommended that learning activities & resources are organised under these main headings:
  • A. In Class Activities
  • B. Strengthen your Skills (independent learning activities)
  • C. Challenge yourself (extension activities)
  1. The completion tracker should be ON so that students can mark the resources/activities that they have used/are using. This will help them be more organised as they won’t always have to remember which one it is in a potentially long list.
  2. There is a LIBRARY tab and a HOMEWORK tab for each teacher.

Homework

Students have specifically asked that HOMEWORK is easily located and always documented in Moodle. It is suggested that the HOMEWORK tab is the second tab in the course. Under the homework tab are subtabs for each teacher. Teachers can use the wiki, page or forum functions in Moodle or link to another resource that lists homework pages. 

How to document homework

  • Page: update this page by adding the current homework to the top of the page (so homework is listed in reverse chronological order).
  • Wiki: by setting up a wiki, you can also have students take responsibility for writing out the daily homework. Don’t forget to check!
  • Forum: you can set up a forum (blog style is best) and add each homework as a discussion topic so that students can add comments.


Locating the Homework

  1. For courses with the TAB format, create HOMEWORK tab.
  2. For courses with WEEKLY format OR TOPIC format, the homework must be located at the TOP of the course.
  3. For teachers that build unit outlines that are fully populated and always up to date with lesson content, links to resources and the homework, it is acceptable to keep this format. The outline should be found under the UNIT table/TOPIC heading. Please ensure that this is updated at all times.

FAQs
What happens if I forget to write homework in Moodle after a class?

  • That’s up to you if it was me, if it’s not there, then the expectation is that they don’t have to do it.

What if I don’t often give homework or the homework is generally to review classwork?

  • You should explicitly state this and only add homework tasks when required.

Where should I add the actual assignment?

  • You can add the instructions and clearly give the task name. If you use the exact same name, then it will be automatically hyperlinked. The assignment should be located in the relevant unit/topic.

If there are resources associated with the homework, should I add these in the Homework tab?

  • No, these should be located in the unit/topic. The purpose of the homework page/forum/wiki is to give directions to the students: what they must do, where they might locate resources and where/how they should submit their work.

Guidelines for Teaching Teams

For classes, the common assessment and a significant amount of the content are generally common across the classes; however, it is acknowledged the delivery may change from class to class, and student to student.

It is highly encouraged that teachers teaching the same subject/course consider sharing a course as this allows for purposeful discussion and collaboration about the course and students have similar experiences across the grade. 

For shared courses:

  1. The course is set up in TAB (one topic) Format, with the first topic used for General Resources for the course.
  2. The course is set up for groups, with one class per group.
  3. All teachers have editing rights to the course and it is recommended that a system of curation is set up so that resources/activities are organised and easily accessible by all students.
  4. Some resources and activities can be hidden from some groups using the restrict access option in the course settings; however, only use this option when the resource/activity has been specifically tailored to that particular group or groups. 

FAQs
Where do I add resources/activities for my students only?

  • Resources can be made available to some groups only which means that you can add to main tabs and show/hide for specific groups if required.
  • The goal is for students to have access to a wide range of resources/activities. Is the resource/activity is personalized for your class and not relevant to any other student/class? If so, you could add it under your HOMEWORK tab. Otherwise it should be placed under the topic tab.

Assignment troubleshooting

Problem:

Students assignments are NOT bundled by class / Students are in incorrect class.

Reason:

This is because students did not sign up in the correct group or did not sign up in a group at all. At the beginning of the year ensure that your students use the correct enrolment key according to their homeroom number in order to sign up to your course. This will allocate them in the correct group.

Resolution:

If students didn't sign up correctly, or registered for the wrong group, you can manually reallocate them to the correct group. See the step-by-step instructions below:

 

Problem:

Each student is downloading into their own folder instead of in the group.

Reason:

The "download into folder" has been selected

Resolution: 

  • Go to "View All Submissions"
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Unselect "download submissions in folders"