Based on our recent student survey data, the Curricular Technology team has created a list of six low-lift practices you can implement at the start of the new semester that will enhance your students’ experience with Moodle.
What We Recommend:
Digital learning spaces such as Moodle are extensions of your physical classrooms, so students are as expectant to see a Moodle site as they are to see desks and chairs in a traditional classroom. Making your Moodle site visible meets that basic expectation, alleviates student anxiety, and engages your students early in the class. In the words of one of our respondents, “…the ineffective use [of Moodle] was due to the lack of Moodle use.”
The next easiest high-impact practice is posting your course’s syllabus in a prominent location on the Moodle page. We recommend posting it as either a PDF or a link to a Google Doc in “General”, the very top section of your Moodle page. Because students often check Moodle before they physically enter the classroom, you can capitalize on early learning engagement by posting your syllabus before the first class meeting.
Moodle comes equipped with two communication tools – Announcements and Quickmail. Both of these tools are configured to send messages directly to students’ emails and always include the most up-to-date class rosters. Using these tools in Moodle to communicate with students encourages relationship-building with your students and reinforces your in-person classroom community. Information on using Announcements and Quickmail can be found in this document.
Create and Explain Site Structure
Student respondents were very clear that organization is a key factor in Moodle efficacy. Therefore, creating, maintaining, and explaining an intuitive site structure can greatly enhance your students’ experience within your Moodle site. Students report engaging more effectively with a chronological structure that follows the flow of your course, so we recommend utilizing a weekly or topical structure. No matter which structure you choose to use, we recommend orienting your students to this structure in some way early in the semester. This could be done in person during the first course meeting or via a video tour to be viewed by students before the course starts.
Strive for Consistency
One of our student respondents wrote, “…if every Moodle page was the same rough layout, I think it would make it infinitely easier to navigate especially at the beginning of the semester.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves. We know that faculty have different goals for their courses and Moodle sites and that instruction varies across academic disciplines and there is no one right way to build a Moodle site. However, posting your syllabus, choosing standard formats, and maintaining a similar organizational structure across all of your sites can help to start and spread this system of consistency.
Work with Instructional Technology
The Instructional Technology team is always happy to meet with you to answer questions and work with you to improve your Moodle site. We offer one-on-one technical support, assistance with course construction, course page review, and accessibility resources to help you bring your Moodle practices to the next level. In the words of one student, “…the professor had no idea how to use Moodle and worked directly with IT to develop the page in a pretty intuitive way.”
To make an appointment with our team, email email@example.com and see how we can help you shift into high-impact Moodle practice!