Using the Lessons Module in Moodle

You might be using Moodle to host some of your activities online, things like quizzes, discussions, assignments, etc. but one of the activities that you can use is Moodle Lessons.

Moodle Lessons let you create linked pages of information and questions. This means that you could have an online lesson that increases in complexity while checking for misconceptions or pitfalls through each stage. You could build a very simple version of this with a quiz activity, but Moodle Lessons can be a much more robust tool for helping clear up misconceptions and confusion.

Where a quiz will let you give students specific feedback on an incorrect answer a lesson lets you create branching paths. This means that if a student goes through a lesson and answers a question incorrectly, instead of proceeding on in the lesson, they can be given a different path to address the confusion and provide more practice before being able to continue the lesson.

Another way to use branching decisions is to let students make choices in the lesson, for example you might want to make a decision based simulation.

Moodle Lessons have three types of pages that can be linked together. The links between pages are called jumps.

The first type of page is called a content page- this is an HTML page, so this could be used for linking a video, discussing an image or explaining a topic with text. If you’re familiar with posting in a Moodle forum, a content page can show anything that you can show in a Moodle forum post.

The second type is a question page- these pages are framed around different types of questions: Multichoice, Essay, Short Answer, True False, Matching, and Numerical input.

Question pages can also include content, for example you may create an essay page with a link to an article or with an embedded image or video and ask students to use the provided space to explain three key points, or reflect on the piece or critique what was presented.

One thing to take note of is that questions are limited to having as many possible answers as you have content jumps. This means that if your maximum number of jumps per page is 4, you can set 4 possible answers for a multiple choice question. If you want to increase this number, it can be changed in the appearance settings of the lesson module. Changing this limit will change the limit for all your pages.

The final type is a cluster. A cluster is a series of questions that can be presented in a random order, so for example, if you were building a lesson about a topic in math, you may want a series questions between content pages.

Before setting up a lesson, you should sketch out your paths on a piece of paper and map how you want to connect your content. This can help you sort out your content, and determine the number of jumps you need to allow.

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To create a lesson go to your Moodle course and turn editing on, add an activity or resource to the section where you want the lesson. From the list choose Lesson.

Name your lesson, under the appearance tab and then choose your maximum number of jumps or answers by selecting the dropdown for maximum number of answers. Set this value as needed. This number can be changed later if you make a mistake or want to change it later.

Make any further changes you need to the settings and click save and display.

You’ll then be taken to a page asking what you’d like to do, choose what type of page you’d like to create to get started.

When editing a page, you will have to give that page a title, the title will show up in the tab for the page, it will also be the title for the page when your setting your jumps, so providing a useful title that is unique to that page rather than numbering the pages will help you later on.

The next piece is a HTML editor, here you can format images, text, embed videos or link to other sites.

Next name your jumps or answers. These sections are set to Moodle’s autoformat, but you can change these sections to HTML by selecting that option from the dropdown, saving and reopening the section. HTML will let you use images, formatted text, links, etc in your answers. The description is the text that will show up on the button, it doesn’t have to be the same as the jump. So for example, you might link to your introduction page but write “Go back to Start” in the description.

Once you’ve filled in this content save your page.

You’ll be taken to the lesson editing page, here you can add more content, questions, or clusters. You can also reorder content by clicking on the move button, you can edit it by clicking on the gear button, you can see what the page will look like by previewing it with the magnifying glass, or you can delete it by clicking on the X button.

Take the time to create all of your content pages before worrying about setting your jumps. Once you’ve completed your pages, return to the top of the lesson editing page and edit your pages. With the jump dropdown, select the page title for the page you would like each button to jump to. If you’d like to end a branch, choose the “End of Lesson” option from the dropdown.

Once all of your jumps are set, your lesson should be ready. You can press the Preview tab at the top of the lesson editing page to test your lesson as a whole.

After you’ve gone through the preview you, the lesson should be ready for your students.

If you’re interesting in trying a Moodle Lesson in your course contact us at elearning@upei.ca and we can help you get started

What a W (Web-Only Designated) Course is at UPEI

In order to accommodate shifting user patterns, UPEI is applying standard guidelines for web-based content.

Students accessing their course materials online now frequently use mobile devices, whereas a few years ago most would use desktop or laptop computers. This shift means significant changes and important considerations when posting your materials online.

Later blog posts will explain and detail the ‘shoulds’ and ‘mights’, but for now let’s look at the ‘musts’.

UPEI W designated courses at MUST:

  • Present equal experience to students regardless of physical location.
    • All resources and activities on a course should be accessible through the web.
  • Not use restricted file formats.
    • Students ideally should be able to access all of their course resources on the web. Only in specific contexts should students need to download materials.
  • Contain content that does not violate copyright.
    • At the top of the moodle.upei.ca there is a ‘Copyright Help’ link. Or you can directly access it at: http://library.upei.ca/copyright/faircopying. All materials posted in an online course must follow due diligence.

Further questions, comments, and concerns should be directed to elearning@upei.ca

Organizing & Naming Your Course Materials

Students are often enrolled in three or more course, with many of these posting online materials. Add to this previous and future semesters and we can see that students must potentially search through hundreds of resources to find what they’re looking for.

This is where we can help.

By simply naming our resources in a clear manner, it helps students more easily find what they need, when they need it. This also helps us in the same way. Let’s look at three ways to name documents more clearly.

When you are uploading files from your own computer, make sure they are named consistently.

  1. Course Code and Number begin the document name. For example, the syllabus for English 101, Sept 2013 would be called “ENG101 Syllabus Sept 2013”. This type of naming structure affords several ways to find the document. If you simply name the document “syllabus”, this may result in many unclearly named documents.
  2. In Moodle, when posting your resources, name them the same name as the filename, minus the course code. This way the syllabus from ENG101 mentioned above would be named Syllabus Sept 2013.
  3. Label your media files and links using brackets at the end of the file. For example, if you have recorded an introduction to your course and have posted it on YouTube, you should name that link “ENG101 Course Introduction (YouTube Video)”. Likewise, if you have media files that need to be downloaded, you should clearly label them. For example, “ENG101 Shakespeare Radio Interview (Audio Download)”.

Using these naming standards not only allows for better organisation, but it tells students what the files are before they open them or download them. This is a very important feature as students increasingly use mobile devices which have limited storage and maybe accrue extra fees with streaming or downloading.

If you have questions about naming and organizing your course materials, please e-mail elearning@upei.ca

Students – Google Apps Accounts – UPEI.ca

With your Google Apps account at UPEI.ca you have the ability to easily share, collaborate, and participate with everyone else in the UPEI community. Combining the following four apps can lead to a lot of awesomeness.

Gmail – Gmail is the cornerstone of the Google Apps suite. And it is the primary address for all types of communication throughout the UPEI community. With a lifelong account, you’ll be able to easily communicate and revisit your classmates, friends, and colleagues as a student or alumni.

For more information about Gmail, check out our video tutorial playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQS6BnXBe38&list=PLADCB85FE83E9652D

Drive – Google Drive continues to expand and push the boundaries of collaboration and participation on the web. Creating new or editing old documents has never been easier for groups, and many UPEI classes, centres, and services use Google Drive to share documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other data. This is an easy-to-use storage space for all your papers, assignments, and notes.

For more information about Google Drive, check out our video tutorial playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztUDkhW5h2I&list=PL7C052718F4DB9538

Calendar – Google Calendar lets you manage your timetable, allowing you to easily keep track of assignments, exams, or group meetings. Google calendars allow you to share your calendars with other users, letting project groups determine the best times to meet. With the ability to create multiple calendars, you can easily keep track of separate courses, as well as personal events, or your work schedule.

For more information about Gmail, check out our video tutorial playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-RJgxbmPhs&list=PL0351588E909436DC

Sites – Google Sites can be used in variety of ways to help highlight your UPEI experience. In some classes you could use Google Sites to submit assignments or papers, construct a wiki, or more. You can keep your sites private, or share them with classmates, or all over the world, making it an excellent tool for sharing portfolios of your work across disciplines.

For more information about Google Sites, check out our video tutorial playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ZCJEWzPeQ&list=PL04D93A6ED734DF35

Audacity

Audacity is a free audio editing software that you can use on Windows, Mac, or Linux. Audacity allows you to easily record, import, export, and edit audio for a variety of purposes.

You could use Audacity to record lecture notes to accompany slides, for interviews with subject experts, for an alternative to written assignments, or for podcasts. You could even take famous speeches and re-edit them into smaller pieces. You can then export your audio file in a lot of different formats allowing for greater accessibility.

To learn the basics on Audacity, check out our playlist here.
Interested in learning more?  Visit our YouTube channel, where we have uploaded some tutorials to get you started!

Still looking for more information?  Click here to contact the E-Learning Office.