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New Date manager report in Moodle

Rod Digges12 August 2021

In response to user feedback a new report called Date manager has been added to Moodle.

Date manager provides the ability to amend the dates and names of Moodle’s most used date-sensitive activities all in one place . Date manager handles:

  • Moodle assignments
  • Turnitin assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Moodle Workshops
The Date manager report can be found under Reports in the administration block of a Moodle course and is  particularly useful for courses that have large numbers of date-sensitive activities.

Using Date manager, course tutors/administrators no longer have to visit each activity’s settings page to make simple date or activity name changes during a course roll-over.

Image showing access to the Date manager report link found in Moodle course's administration menu under Reports

For more information see Date manager’s mini-guide.

Working with the Connected Learning Baseline for 2021/22

Clive Young29 July 2021

A major challenge faced  by our learners studying online last year was simply orienting themselves; understanding what tasks to undertake next in a module and how much time to spend on them.

As we move back into more blended delivery, students will have to navigate a rich mix of online and campus-based activities. Clear ‘signposting’ of resources and activities becomes ever more important to reduce stress and guide learners though often quite complex teaching sequences. Pre-Covid, directions could be given verbally during on-campus sessions, but over the last 18 months much of this signposting has had to be provided via Moodle. In this sense, a Moodle course becomes a ‘map’ of the student journey, displaying the structure of each module while also allowing access to its online material and activities. 

We know students who are learning partially or entirely online may feel isolated or ‘disconnected’ from the learning process. It is not unusual for them to be unsure whether they have all the information they need and are doing the right things at the right times. A consistent and ‘friendly’ Moodle course design, with clear labelling of links will students help find specific resources quickly and easily. Learners also appreciate simple instructional direction, describing where, when (and why) to look for resources and how to complete activities. Students can especially benefit from suggestions on how long to spend on each task in order to prioritise and avoid overload. These simple adjustments can reduce students’ confusion and anxiety, enabling them better to focus on learning. 

To make this simple redesign even easier, many departments have aligned with the UCL Connected Learning Baseline which establishes the minimum expectations, or baseline, for Connected Learning in Moodle in 2021/22. Its 10 brief sections address the practicalities of how to arrange and present a course so that it is easy to use, how to help students get the most out of it, how to manage communications, as well as a digestible overview of legal requirements, particularly accessibility. A general, baseline-aligned template (see image) was created by Digital Education which has been adapted by many departments. While there is no requirement to present the course in a specific way, your Faculty Learning Technology Lead (FLTL) will be able to advise if a local template is available. 

Whether a template is used or not – and given everyone’s time constraints – we suggest focusing initially on the first five sections of the Baseline, covering structure, orientation, communication, assessment and resources. These five sections make recommendations for making your course more ‘friendly’, useable, and navigable.  For example, we know that simple welcome videos that provide an overview of the module and/or sections within it are much appreciated by our students. 

Beyond these basics, a real positive outcome of the last 18 months is that staff and students have become much better at using Moodle to its full potential, including for example using quizzes to help engagement and of course including pre-recorded short lectures in Moodle as a springboard for seminars (on campus or online). If you are interested these and other approaches, there is a wealth of help available online  (linked from the Baseline page) and again, your Faculty Learning Technology Lead (FLTL) or Digital Education Advisor should be able to assist. 

Reusing Lecturecast Recordings from previous academic years

Rod Digges13 July 2021

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Following course resets it’s important to remove old Lecturecast section and class links unless the recording has been embedded in the course, in which case you do not need to relink. After this has been done staff may want to review existing recordings for potential re-use e.g. short recordings used in flipped teaching, module introductions etc.

The way recordings are reused depends on their ownership and the way in which they’ve been published. The table below illustrates different scenarios which may apply to your course. Please use the relevant method to re-share your recordings onto your new course. Please note: Currently there is no method for the bulk duplication of recordings from one year’s Lecturecast section to the next.

 

Way recording was previously shared Owner Method for re-sharing
From Echo360 library embedded in a Moodle course using the Echo360 plugin tool in Moodle’s text editor Member of staff who uploaded Generally no action needs to be taken to re-use recordings published in this way.  These recordings remain in a course along with other course content even after a course has been reset. These recordings are independent of Lecturecast sections.  Note, that analytics for these recordings will simply accrue as they are not re-set.
Recordings shared from staff Echo360 libraries into a previous year’s Lecturecast section that now need to be published into a new academic year’s section. Member of staff who uploaded In these cases recordings which will still be available in staff’s Echo360 libraries need to be re-shared into the new year’s Lecturecast section. The method is the same as that used to originally share the content and identical to the steps from 4.1 in the guide Reuse recordings from previous academic years
Recordings shared from staff Echo360 libraries into a previous year’s Lecturecast section who’s classes are then individually linked to different areas of a Moodle course. Member of staff who uploaded This is identical to the scenario above but requires the additional steps of recreating Lecturecast activity links to individual classes. A short video on linking to individual classes is available in the guide Create a Link on a Moodle course to a Lecturecast Recording.
Recordings made in Lecturecast equipped teaching spaces and automatically shared into a section. Owned by the section and not available in any Staff Echo360 library. Any staff member who is an instructor in the section in which the content sits will have the capability to create a copy of the recording in question, this copy will be available to them in their Echo360 library from where it may be re-used using any of the methods above. The process is outlined fully in the guide Reuse recordings from previous academic years

Please see our guide for more information and video guidance on: Preparing for the new academic year – Lecturecast rollover

For any questions or concerns regarding Lecturecast please email: digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

What’s new in MyPortfolio

Aurelie18 June 2021

Our eportfolio system MyPortfolio is powered by the open-source platform Mahara.

On 24 June 2021, we’re upgrading MyPortfolio to Mahara version 21.04. This means we’re bringing you new functionalities and improving features such as accessibility and competency frameworks as well as making MyPortfolio more user-friendly.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of improvements:

Improved portfolio page layout:

    • You can now add any type of content to the page from a click of a button through a placeholder block.
    • You can easily move and resize blocks, at any time, as you add content.
    • You can add instructions to template pages to help learners with structuring their eportfolio pages.

Improvements for assessments:

    • Portfolios can be declared as a template and can have instructions locked as well as a peer-assessment block.
    • Portfolio can have a completion/cover page (using the sign-off block) .

More accessible site with a better look and feel:

    • A new portfolio theme is available.
    • You can now add a feature picture for each portfolio page and collection, which allows you to better navigate your pages.
    • Heading styles are now consistent and accessible.

For more details, you can review the MyPortfolio Mahara Manual.


21.04 Mahara video from https://manual.mahara.org/en/21.04/new.html 

If you have any question regarding setting up eportfolio activities or assessment, don’t hesitate to contact me : a.soulier@ucl.ac.uk .

 

How to enrol staff in Moodle

Silvia Giannitrapani21 March 2021

As part of the continuous work on Moodle, we have been optimising the roles and enrolment procedures. Specifically we have created a new ‘Category Administrator’ role and reviewed our current roles’ permissions.

Anyone with editing permissions on a Moodle course (including Tutors and Course Administrators) can use the manual enrolment method to grant access to other members of staff to their individual courses.

To manually enrol a user onto your course, from within your Moodle course go to the Participants list and click on Enrol users. In the Enrol users pop-up window, use the Assign roles dropdown menu and choose the relevant role from the following list:

Leader Leader can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Course Administrator/Tutor roles, but with an alternative name.
Tutor Tutors can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Course Administrator role, but with an alternative name. Used for academic staff who require edit access.
Course Administrator Course Administrators can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Tutor role, but with an alternative name. Used for non-academic staff who require edit access.
Non-editing Tutor Non-editing tutors can view and grade students’ work, but may not edit content or alter activities or resources. It is used for academic staff, external examiners and teaching Assistants who can grade student work but DO NOT require edit access.
Staff Observer Can view courses, including hidden courses and activities, but may not grade students, edit content or alter activities. This role may be suitable for staff such as those in the Library, Digital Education or Arena.
Student Students can view course content, participate in activities, submit coursework and view their own grades.

Staff who require access to all Moodle courses within a faculty or a department do not need to be manually added to every course individually. They can be added once to the department’s category and then have access to every Moodle course within that category. Please note: only the Digital Education team is permitted to assign this category level access. Approval from the Head of Department should be sought for any new enrolments at category level as this grants access to a large number of courses.

 To obtain Moodle access to all courses within a faculty or a department, please see the instructions below: 

  • To request Read-only / Non-editing access: A written email confirmation from the Head of Department will need to be sent to Digital Education (digi-ed@ac.uk) to request access for particular staff.
  • To request any editing roles: In order for any UCL member of staff to gain editing category level admin rights in Moodle, they will need to provide written email confirmation to Digital Education (digi-ed@ac.uk) from the Head of Department specifying the member of staff, the type of role and the Moodle category to which they require access and then, they will need to complete the ‘Administering your Moodle’ course, which is available at https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=9682. 

Types of Moodle category roles available:

Category Administrator Course Administrators can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Tutor role, but with an alternative name. Used for non-academic staff who require edit access. Can only be assigned at Category level.
Course Administrator (No E-Mail) Course Administrators can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Tutor role, but with an alternative name. Used for non-academic staff who require edit access. THIS ROLE DOES NOT RECEIVE E-MAIL NOTIFICATIONS. Can only be assigned at Category level.
Non-editing Tutor (No E-Mail) Non-editing tutors can view and grade students’ work, but may not edit content or alter activities or resources. It is used for academic staff, external examiners and teaching Assistants who can grade student work but DO NOT require edit access. THIS ROLE DOES NOT RECEIVE E-MAIL NOTIFICATIONS. Can only be assigned at Category level.
MyFeedback Departmental Administrator Allows Departmental Administrators to view MyFeedback student assessment reports for their department. Can only be assigned at Category level.
Accessibility Assistant Accessibility assistants can view and edit course content, and access Ally’s feedback and course report. They cannot view or edit grades or assignment feedback. Can only be assigned at Category level.
Faculty Learning Technologist Faculty Learning Technologist can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. THIS ROLE DOES NOT RECEIVE E-MAIL NOTIFICATIONS. Can only be assigned at Category level.

Further guidance on manual enrolments is available at UCL Wiki – M06f – Category enrolment

If you have any specific queries, please talk to your Faculty Learning Technology Lead or email the Digital Education Team at: digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

Spotlight on … Moodle quizzes & exams

ccaazwo and Aurelie8 March 2021

With campus being closed, departments are looking for alternative options to run both formative and summative assessments.

Young person with laptop and headphones

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The Moodle quiz activity is a great option, which allows you to set a specified Start / End time or have a window-in-a-window, e.g.: 2hr time limit between 00:00 – 23:59 on 1 March 2021.
You can find guidance and recommended settings in our Moodle Quiz Guide.

For both formative and summative quizzes, make sure you let us know in advance by completing the Exam Notification Form, under the Staff Help  menu of any Moodle page. This means we can check your exam does not clash with any planned maintenance, and know who to contact if there are any student queries or technical issues on the day.

If you have any specific queries, please talk to your Faculty Learning Technology Lead or email the Digital Education team at: digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.