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Preparing your Moodle Courses for 2017/18

Janice K MKiugu14 September 2017

STAFF – Preparing your Moodle Courses for 2017/18

Many staff have already started preparing their modules on Moodle to try to give students the best possible environment for learning and getting to grips with new material. With the start of term one fast approaching, we wanted to remind all staff of some of the key steps to follow during set-up and review of Moodle modules.  Guidance is provided below for Moodle courses where student activity was completed before the Snapshot was taken on 21st July 2017 as well as for Moodle courses where student activity may have continued beyond this point.

Modules where student activity finished by 21st July 2017 (mainly UG)

  • Student data and assessment from the past year should have been captured in the Moodle 2016/17 Snapshot: https://moodle-snapshot.ucl.ac.uk/16-17/ . You may want to check your modules to confirm that content that should be hidden has been, and any assessment data you may need is available to you.
  • Reset your course in live Moodle to ensure no data or students from the last cohort remains before new students are enrolled – Find out how to reset your course.
  • Make sure to update your content, in particular any assignment submission dates for this year, and that any links are not broken. Find out how to update Moodle Assignments: and Turnitin Assignments.

**If your Turnitin submission inbox does not display the column headings, you may want to clear your web browsers cache and cookies.

  • If required, activate Portico enrolments in your module so that students are automatically enrolled – Find out how to activate Portico enrolments here.
  • Once your course is updated, make sure it is visible by going to the Settings for the course.

Modules where Student activity continues/continued beyond 21st July 2017 (mainly PG)

  • Do not reset your course! – as students have been active after the date of the snapshot and this data will not have been captured elsewhere. Check the Moodle 2016/17 Snapshot version of your course to confirm: https://moodle-snapshot.ucl.ac.uk/16-17 . If you are still unsure get in contact with us using the email below.
  • Request a new course to use for this year’s teaching – include the url of the original course if you require content to be duplicated.

Accessibility of e-learning – 10 key points from the free OU course

JessicaGramp13 June 2017

The UK Open University (2006) provide a useful introductory course, called Accessibility of eLearning, that will help you understand how to create accessible e-learning experiences that provide access for all. The course can be completed online, or downloaded in a number of common file formats, including for e-readers and as a PDF.

I would strongly suggest either completing the course, or reading the course materials, but if you don’t have time I’m going to summarise the key points in this post:

  1. In 2006, disability affected 10-20% of every country’s population, and this number is growing.
  2. In 2006, 15% of the UK population, over 16 years old, self-declared a disability.
  3. A disabled person is one who has a mental or physical disability that has a substantial, long term (12 months or more), adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  4. Around 1 in 10 men and 1 in 200 women have red-green colour blindness.
  5. UK Universities are legally obligated to make reasonable, anticipatory adjustments to ensure those with disabilities are not discriminated against.
  6. There are two views of disability. The medical model describes the problem of disability as stemming from the person’s physical or mental limitation. The social model sees disability as society restricting those with impairments in the form of prejudice, inaccessible design, policies of exclusion, etc.
  7. Accessibility is about both technical and usable access for people with disabilities. For example, although a table of data may be technically accessible by a blind person using a screen reader, they may not be able to relate the data in each cell to its column or row heading, so the meaning of the data is lost in the process, rendering the table unusable for that person.
  8. Computers enable even severely disabled people to communicate unaided, giving them independence and privacy that is not possible when they need to rely on human assistants.
  9. When communicating online, a disability may not be visible, removing barriers caused by people’s reactions to the disability.
  10. Creating accessible learning environments helps everyone, not just those with disabilities. For example, products that can be used by blind people are also useful for people whose eyes are busy*.

*This last point reflects my own preference for listening to academic papers while running or walking to work, when I would be otherwise unable to “read” the paper. As a student and full-time employee, being able to use this time to study enables me to manage my time effectively and merge my fitness routine, with study time. This is only possible because my lecturers, and many journals these days too, provide accessible documents that can be read out loud using my mobile smartphone.

This list brifly summarises the key points I drew from the OU’s Accessibility of eLearning course and demonstrates some of the ways we, as developers of online courses, can make better online learning experiences for all our students, including those with disabilities.

References

Open University (2016) Accessibility of E-Learning. [Online]. Available from: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/education/professional-development-education/accessibility-elearning/content-section-0 [Accessed: 13 June 2017].

Creating a Moodle Template based on the UCL E-Learning Baseline 2016

JessicaGramp14 March 2017

The Digital Education Advisor for BEAMS, Jess Gramp, worked with the E-Learning Champion for Science and Technology Studies (STS), Christina Ogunwumiju, to develop a Moodle course template that meets the UCL E-Learning Baseline 2016.

Christina then applied this baseline to every Moodle course in the department using the Moodle import feature. This means students now have a more consistent experience across modules. They can now easily find their learning resources and activities because they appear in common sections across their Moodle courses.

Jess developed a guidance document for staff, to show them how to meet the baseline when using the template. Complying with the list of items on the template guide (which only number 18) is a lot quicker than having to make decisions about how to adhere to all 30 items on the the entire baseline checklist, without the guidance of template text.

You can view and download the template guidance document below. If it doesn’t load, please refresh this page.

 

If you would like to develop a Moodle template to improve consistency in your own department, please contact Digital Education at digi-ed@ucl.a.uk.