By Mira Vogel, on 14 October 2014
Moodle now gives any staff member in an editing role the ability to create up to 15 test accounts for up to 15 days. These are easy to set up from any Moodle course area. They are assigned a student role in the Moodle course area where they are set up, but their creator can use them across other course areas they edit.
What’s the point of these?
As Moodle editors, test accounts can help you understand the how the materials and activities you set up in Moodle will be encountered by your students, beyond what Moodle’s ‘Switch Role To’ function affords. Specifically they let you:
- anticipate students’ needs when making design decisions in your Moodle area.
- reassure yourself about exactly what students can access, eg when you’re hiding or revealing elements, when using Groups and Groupings, or using the Gradebook to give assessment feedback.
- familiarise yourself with the way things display to students eg Quizzes, the Gradebook, Forum posts, email alerts.
- anticipate student questions and author instructions accordingly, for students from their point of view.
- discover important insights when experimenting with something new in Moodle; interacting with the new thing in one or more student roles, then logging back in as editor to see whether it works as intended from a tutor point of view.
How can they help?
- you can test and check as you go along – in other words you can play, experiment and build your confidence within Moodle.
- you’re independent and don’t have to rely on colleagues to pose as students.
- you can design your Moodle areas from an authentic student perspective, which hopefully makes them easier to use, which in turn means fewer student questions and more student satisfaction.
- if you want to persuade your colleagues to try something new in Moodle, you don’t have to rely on their imaginations or optimism so much – you can actually show them, and even let them log in and play.
What can you do with them?
A few of the things you can only do with confidence if you can log in as Test Students.
- Testing bulk enrolment into Groups.
- Testing the difference between separate and visible Groups.
- Testing what privacy looks like for your private Forum.
- Testing whether the things you need to be selectively hidden are displaying as anticipated (and whether they are available when the time comes for them to be revealed).
- Testing whether your Grouped resources and activities are displaying to your different Groups and Groupings as intended.
- Testing whether emails from news/announcement forums are working, and how they behave, so you can instruct students about settings in a way appropriate for your course.
How can you get some?
There are instructions in the Moodle Resource Centre.
Anything else to know?
The accounts are only for Moodle and cannot be used to access other UCL services requiring full user accounts.