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Supporting innovation in teaching, learning and learner development at Roehampton

MoodleMoot 2016 – 24th March 2016

I recently attended the annual MoodleMoot conference that was held in London.

For anyone who doesn’t know, MoodleMoot is an event hosted by Moodle HQ every year that brings together Moodle users. The Moots are held in various locations across the world and the March event was held in London.This year’s Conference began with the Hackfest on 23rd March (I didn’t attend this but now wish I had).  I did however attend the sessions on 24th and 25th of March.

As always, the conference began with a key note from Mr Moodle himself – Martin Dougiamas, his presentation focused on what Moodle HQ had been working on in the past year and what lay ahead in Moodle 3.1.

The Past Year

Moodle Cloud: Moodle HQ now have a hosting service. This has been a key development for them as it has been an opportunity for them to learn about hosting. They currently have about 15, 000 users. They host the sites for free though there are limitations to the number of users per site and ads are displayed. For a small fee, the ads can be removed. This solution is pretty much ideal for small schools or lone teachers and companies that would like to set up a Moodle site. More information about their hosting service and how to apply is detailed on their website: https://moodle.com/cloud/

Moodle Users Association. This is now also up and running and is completely independent of Moodle HQ. The association’s main goal is to get Moodle stakeholders together and work together to the design the next Moodle. More information about the association can be found here: https://moodleassociation.org/

The Road Ahead- Moodle 3.1

This will be the most significant change to Moodle that has happened since Moodle 2.1. Some of the key features and changes that will be included are:

  • One page assignment grading– The submitted work and grading form/area will be displayed side by side- quite similar to Turnitin. In the backend, files will also be converted to PDF.
  • Competency based education: Teachers and institutions will now be able to build in competencies that students should meet and students will be able to link their skills and evidence of how they have met these competencies.

**Competency-based learning (also known as Skill-based learning) refers to systems of assessment and grading where students demonstrate their understanding, proficiency, or ‘competency’ in certain subject-related skills. CBE (Competency-based education) in Moodle is a framework for evaluating students against competencies in Moodle. (Moodle.org)

  • In place editing – there will be no need to go to a form and change it, items can be edited on the same page as they appear.
  • It will be possible to Download all folders and files as a zip.
  • Global Search tool.

A preview of some of the new features can be found on the Moodle.net prototype page: http://prototype.moodle.net/

Mid-Morning Sessions

The mid-morning sessions included a variety of presentations from various speakers. The Themes around these were ‘Adoption’ and ‘Decision making’.

Adoption: Alex Chapman from Middlesex University gave a brief presentation on how they have managed to increase the use of Moodle across the university. This has involved partnering with other stakeholders in various departments across the university. All teams providing academic support for students or academic staff on a School-facing basis are involved in using and promoting the use of Moodle. This includes the Librarians, Programme teams, Learning enhancment teams amongst others.

Michael de Raadt gave an extremely useful talk titled ‘Incentives for Adoption and Greater use of Moodle’. As with any technology, getting users on board to make significant and appropriate use of Moodle to it’s full potential can be a challenging task. His talk focused on differentiating different Moodle users and using the Adoption theory/ Diffusion of Innovation theory developed by E.M. Rogers to seek ways to ‘win’ over Moodle users. On the one end of the spectrum you have the early adopters, those who are keen and eager to trial any innovation and the Laggards -those who are set in traditional ways and are cautious to adopt to change. Michael gave quite useful tips on how to target users on the different levels of the spectrum. A copy of his presentation is available on  the MoodleMoot webpages – https://mootieuk.moodlemoot.org/mod/data/view.php?id=287 . Search for ‘Incentives for adoption and greater use of educational technology.’ I would recommend a look at this for ideas on how to encourage staff to make the most out of Moodle and any technology.

Decision Making: The Open University gave us some insight into why and how they redesigned their Moodle sites/theme. I must say the Moodle site looked very impressive. Unfortunately,  at this time,  it is not available to the Moodle community and there are no plans to share it.

They took an evidence-based approach to the redesigning of the site and students were involved in the design process. The university was keen to make sure that students could use Moodle on whichever device they choose and wanted to ensure that Moodle was not just used as a content holding repository (print based site) but to a more task based experience.

To gather feedback, they asked staff and students what the VLE should be and what the VLE should not be.  Key changes to the design centered on navigation, consistency and minimising complexity. Their solution is a user centered design which includes a study planner that makes use of the progress bar and completion tracking . Navigation on the site has also been simplified. The new theme has not yet been rolled out to all their Moodle sites but they have developed a tool that will simplify the process of doing this.

The Afternoon Pecha Kucha’s

The afternoon Pecha Kucha’s provided useful insight into what challenges institutions are facing in using Moodle as well and showcasing good practice in various areas. The presentation that I found really interesting related to the Moodle mobile app and it’s offline features.

Key things to note about the Mobile app offline features are :

  • When you visit a page/section in the app, the data retrieved from the server is stored for offline use.
  • When browsing a course, you can download all the resources in a section for offline use.
  • The following resources are available offline if the user previously downloaded them (or downloaded the complete section where they are) Book, File, Folder, Label, Page.
  • Offline browsing of the following features is available if the user previously visited them –Participants, Grades, Completion, Notes.
  • Offline browsing of these activities is available if the user previously opened them: Glossary, Assignment, Chat (only entry page), Choice, Survey.

Moodle, Mahara and Turnitin

Another interesting presentation of the day  was how Cranfield University were using Moodle, Mahara and Turnitin to enhance group assessment.

Basically,

  • Moodle is used to provide reading and details about the activity that needs to completed each week by the group.
  • Mahara is the space used by students to work collaboratively and gather evidence of their work and completion of the assigned task.
  • Turnitin: students submit a PDF of their Mahara page to Turnitin where work is graded and feedback is provided.

Download Presentations

It’s not possible to detail all the insightful sessions I attended but all the presentations are available here: https://mootieuk.moodlemoot.org/mod/data/view.php?id=287 and if anything does interest you, please feel free to contact me your Departments eLearning advisor:

 

 

 

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