Members of the Instructional Technology Team participated as discussants in the Center for Teaching and Learning’s most recent Talking Teaching event. We met with an enthusiastic group of faculty to discuss Moodle and Google tips and tricks that can make the semester easier for instructors and students. In order to continue the discussion, we thought we’d round up some of our discussion topics to share in this recap blog post.
Moodle Usage Across Campus
Instructional Technology has been informally collecting data about Moodle usage across campus. We presented some of that data to faculty as a way of answering one of our most frequently asked questions: “How are other instructors using Moodle?” A few points of interest include:
- About 80% of faculty turned their Moodle sites on in Fall 2021.
- Of those faculty, over 90% posted something on their site.
- 78% of Moodle users used at least one of the two communication tools in Moodle (Announcements and QuickMail)
- 60% of instructors used the gradebook
Tips for Structuring & Building A Moodle Site
The group spent a fair amount of time discussing effective practices in structuring Moodle sites. While there is no one right way to use Moodle, the discussion focused on some powerful formatting choices that can be made to reduce the cognitive load needed for students to utilize a Moodle course page. Some practical tips include:
- Use the “Label” feature in Moodle to build out a structure for your course that is consistent and predictable. For example, labels that say “Before Class”, “During Class”, and “After Class” can be duplicated in every course section so that students know where to find their homework and in-class materials.
- Consider using the Gradebook as a way of helping students track their progress through the course. This can be a tricky balance as you navigate students’ anxieties and pressures around grades, but the Gradebook is a flexible tool that can be tailored to your instructional style.
- Try a course format like “Grid” or “Collapsed Topics” to create a more streamlined site.
- If you copy your Moodle site over to a new semester, use the “Dates Report” to easily change due dates and access dates for materials all on one screen.
Next Level: Google Appointment Schedules
As we talked about tech that makes our lives easier, we took the opportunity to introduce the new Google Appointment Schedule, a tool that will eventually replace the existing Google Appointment Slots. Schedules can be enabled anytime and provide a number of functional and aesthetic improvements including:
- “Smart” scheduling of appointment blocks (no more double booking!)
- Customizable booking pages and scheduling forms
- Buffer times, maximum daily appointments, and automated email reminders
If you are interested in trying out the appointment schedule, check out this video tutorial to learn more!
Instructional Technology is always happy to help you take your tech usage to the next level. Reach out to email@example.com if you’d like to hear more about any of these strategies, and thank you to the Center for Teaching & Learning Talking Teaching program for hosting us!