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Tips to Using Moodle to Support your Class

To create a simple online presence.

This can be because students are demanding access to lecture notes, or because it is an institutional requirement to have an online presence for every unit, or because the main course content is being done in the ‘carbon community’, meaning a Moodle course isn’t really needed for anything of substance. Whatever the cause, the need is for something simple to support existing teaching practices.

To replace existing manual processes.

This is often driven by the desire to use Moodle as an efficiency tool – there is little in the way of pedagogy shift caused by Moodle, it is more about translating existing processes into an online environment. Examples of this are using the Gradebook rather than a marking spreadsheet, using chat rooms in place of live support and using the Calendar in place of a printed course schedule.

To increase the use of online tools.

This is an interesting one, as an increase in engagement with an online space doesn’t always equal improved learning outcomes for students, yet there is often a push to create ‘engaging online courses’ with the assumption that this will help students learn better. The focus here is making an online course attractive so that students will want to interact with it, regardless of the alignment with teaching outcomes.

To support a ‘continuous improvement’ model of teaching.

This model has a focus on using Moodle to connect with students for the main reason of collecting feedback on how the course is progressing, whether the pace is suitable, the learning materials good and so on. The focus is on providing good learning outcomes, but primarily through using Moodle as a feedback space.

To support shifts towards progressive teaching methods.

This is the one which I wish I would see more of – using some of the more complex tools in Moodle to open up possibilities for improving teaching practice which would be difficult without something like Moodle. Whether it be peer/self assessment, self-reflection, collaborative student-led content creation or something else which uses Moodle’s social constructionist philosophy, the focus here is clearly on improving teaching practice through some of the advanced tools which Moodle offers.

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