August is Moodle Bootcamp month! Register now!

Moodle is UPEI’s Learning Management System or LMS, which means that it’s a big collection of tools that we use to help support classes, whether they’re face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online. There’s a lot that can be done in Moodle, but it can be a little difficult to learn, and you might be wanting to see what else you can accomplish in Moodle.

So the E-Learning Office is taking the month of August to run our own Moodle Bootcamp.

Week 1: Moodle Basics – Setting Up Your Course

Week 2: Quizzes and Assignments

Week 3: Moodle Gradebook

Week 4: Special Topics (we’ll be asking participants to select what they want to talk about that day).

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about Moodle please join us by registering with this form.

If you have any questions please contact us at moodle@upei.ca

Clearly Naming Your Files

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There are a lot of ways that doing a little work at the start of the course can save you A LOT of time in the long run.

One of the simplest things you can do to make your life easier is getting into the habit of giving your files clear names. This is something that can make a world of difference for you and for your students.

Have you ever gone back to look at your files and found something like “Chapter 2.pptx” and wondered what exactly the topic is? Or even worse, found a file like “12573786_574587379357471_3402002897720853131_n.jpg”? 

Instead of leaving these files with cryptic names, we can rename them something clear and consistent, something that tells us what the file is and where it belongs.

So what makes a good file name?

Think that we can search our computers (or Google Drive, etc) by file name, so we can ask ourselves “If I wanted to find this file, what would I type into the search?”. So some common things like this might be the course name; the topic of the material, the author, or the type of resource.

If I had a Powerpoint presentation for a history course, a good file name might be something like: HIST 322: Chapter 6 Lecture – Jeanne d’Arc and the Hundred Years War.pptx

If I had an assignment in Biochemistry it might be something like this: CHEM 342: Assignment – Amino Acids.pdf

If I had an image for an English course, a clear file name for it might be something like: ENG 402: Guernica by Pablo Picasso.png. 

Alternatively, you could model proper citations by structuring your file names in a similar way that you would expect your students to list a citation.

Giving clear filenames means that you should be able to more easily find your files (such as if you’re teaching the course again, or teaching a related course, or putting together a portfolio), it’ll make it easier to identify if the file is important such as if you’re deleting files, or have bought a new computer, and it will make reviewing and organizing the files much easier for your students.

Everyone benefits when you give your file a clear name.

What is Digital Literacy? An Abridged Twitter Chat

On April 8th, @digpedlab hosted a Twitter chat about digital literacy. I participated and saw some great thoughts and conversations take place and I thought I’d try to make something that would let others see what I’ve seen and put out an invite for you to join in on future #digped tweetchats or the Digital Pedagogy Lab Summer Institute in Prince Edward Island this July.

If you’re not familiar with a tweetchat, it’s a largely synchronous but chaotic conversation that takes place on Twitter. Participants mark their messages with a tag, in this case #digped, to let others find and respond to their comments without having to have known or be following the person beforehand. When you include a tag in your tweet, it lets people who are searching that particular tag to see your tweet, they can also respond to that tweet as well.

This means that you might coordinate a conversation on Twitter with people you know, or people who regularly participate in a particular tag, but others may stumble across your conversation and be able to offer their own perspective and responses.

In the poster below are some highlights of the conversation made of little speech bubbles, the person who made the statement is identified by their twitterhandle or online pseudonym right beneath the speech bubble. Bubbles that are touching are responses to each other, whereas ones by themselves are replying to the overall question of the section.

What is Digital Literacy

If you’re interested in using Twitter, send an email to us at elearning@upei.ca

 

What are Learning Outcomes?

By the end of this blog post, you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between General Learning Outcomes and Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Compose General Learning Outcomes
  • Compose Specific Learning Outcomes using your General Learning Outcomes

An outcome is a statement that tells students what you expect them to achieve or be able to demonstrate by the end of the course. You can present your outcomes in your course syllabus or as a separate resource. And there are a lot of benefits to taking the time to provide your course outcomes:5 Ways Outcomes Can Benefit Your Course

So how do you write an outcome?

If you’ve decided that you want to try providing course outcomes, the first thing you should check is whether your department has already prepared Program Outcomes. Program Outcomes can provide a great starting place for you, and could also be provided with the outcomes for your course.

For this blog post, we’ll stick to two types of learning outcomes: General Learning Outcomes and Specific Learning Outcomes.

Like the name implies, General Learning Outcomes are going to be broad statements about the expected outcomes of your course. They’re are almost how you might answer someone you meet in a hall, “Why should I take this course?”. Your answer would likely summarize the core goals of your course without getting into too much detail of the topics or assessments.

Some examples of General Learning Outcomes would be “By the end of this course you will be able to: “Identify key historical events that have shaped modern Istanbul”, or “Describe the process of DNA replication”.

As you might expect, Specific Learning Outcomes are more specific. They should be written in ways that are assessable. These statements help students identify the expectations of how they’ll have to demonstrate their learning. The Special Learning Outcomes are the measurable pieces that make up the larger General Learning Outcomes.

Specific Learning Outcomes are usually structured to be short statements that have a single descriptive verb. Some examples of specific learning outcomes would be “You will be expected to: arrange the elements in order of electronegativity”, or “compose lines of poetry in iambic pentameter.”

One tool that can help you write your outcomes is Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you identify which type of learning you’re trying to facilitate and can recommend some of the verbs that work well in a representative outcome.

Here’s a table from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission guide to writing outcomes that provides some verbs that go with the categories of learning in Bloom’s model.

Categories

Content Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes

KNOWLEDGE

Facts, places, information, objects, events, characteristics, vocabulary

Arrange, define, duplicate, know, label, list, match, memorize, name, order, quote, recognize, recall, repeat

COMPREHENSION

Words, sentences, ideas, definitions, meanings, new examples, relationships, aspects, consequences

Characterize, classify, complete, depict, describe, discuss, establish, explain, express, identify, illustrate, locate, recognize, report, relate, review, sort, translate

APPLICATION

New situations, problems, difficulties, situations

Administer, apply, calculate, choose, compute, conduct, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, implement, interpret, operate, perform, practice, prescribe, sketch, solve

ANALYSIS

Causes, effects, principles, connections, events, conducts, devices, parts, instruments, errors, fallacies, facts, hypotheses and arguments

analyze, appraise, categorize, compare, contrast, critique, diagram, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, detect, examine, experiment, explore, explain, inventory, investigate, question research, test

SYNTHESIS

Undertakings, writings, narrations, descriptions, colours, shapes, stories, theories, structures, models, discoveries

Combine, compose, consolidate, construct, create, design, formulate, hypothesize, integrate, merge, organize, plan, propose, synthesize, systematize, theorize, unite, write

EVALUATION

Advantages, disadvantages, decisions, similarities, difficulties, agreements, disagreements, strengths, weaknesses

Appraise, argue, assess, critique, defend, distinguish, envision, estimate, examine, grade, inspect, judge, justify, rank, rate, review, value, validate

This table isn’t comprehensive, but is one tool that you can use for writing outcomes. There’s also an app that you can use to help you write your outcomes is the Objectives Builder by James Basore.

If you have any questions about writing or presenting the outcomes in your course, feel free to contact us.

Accommodating individual students in Moodle

If you haven’t had a chance to try some of our UDL tips, you might need to make accommodations for individual students in your course. This might be giving a student time and a half to write an assignment, or it may be changing the date the assessment is due. You can add accommodations to your activities in Moodle by adding User Overrides.

The first step to adding a user override is to open the assessment or activity that needs the accommodation. As an example I’m going to add an override to my Moodle Midterm assessment.

Slide 1

Inside my Moodle Midterm, we’re going to scroll down to the Administration block. In the administration block, select User OverridesSlide 2

On the User Override page select Add User Override. Now we can search for students who need exceptions or modifications. If a student is accessing the activity outside of your set timing, you can set a different window of time for that student to complete it.

With my example I’ve let a student write this midterm on Jan 27th, 2016 at 3:30 to 7:30. I’ve also given the student time and a half to write the midterm by adjusting the Time Limit.

If something goes wrong with a student’s attempt at an activity, you have the option to give a student an extra attempt. You can give additional attempts through User Overrides as well.

Slide 3

If you have questions about setting accommodations for your students, you can check out this video of the process. If you need help you can write to us at moodle@upei.ca.