How to Use Moodle

Help Videos
If you’re new to Moodle, we encourage you to take advantage of the videos Moodle has created to teach users how it works. The SFF uses version 3.4, and the help videos can be found here.

Tech

  • We have found that Moodle works best on a laptop or desktop computer. IPads are notoriously frustrating. Moodle apps for mobile do exist, and we would love to hear about your experience with them if you choose to go that route.
  • Browsers: Chrome seems to be the least buggy browser to use. If you are having trouble, always switch browsers first to see if that solves the issue.

How to edit your course page:

  • click the ‘turn editing on’ button at the top left of the page
  • Note the settings icon and ‘add an activity or resource’ option in each section
  • Have fun!

Activity/Resource Options

The activity/resource options have a lot of choices, but the ones most instructors use are:

  • Page— it literally makes a web page where you can put text. This is good if you have a lot of text to share. You can add hyperlinks, etc. That way the main page of your course stays tidy
  • File— if you have a .pdf, .doc, etc that you want to post for them to read
  • Forum— makes a chat-style feature where everyone can post, reply, etc.
    • One good basic expectation for forums is to ask participants to post in response to some prompt, AND also to respond to at least two other people’s posts. Everyone can see what is posted in a forum.
  • Assignment: use this feature when you want them to turn something in that only you can see.

How to add a discussion forum:

  • click the ‘turn editing on’ button at the top left of the page
  • click ‘add an activity or resource’ in the section where you want to add a discussion forum
  • pick the ‘forum’ resource
  • You will want to go in and edit that forum so that it has the information that you want them to see.

Accessibility

  • Don’t assume your students are all familiar with this kind of online course. Look at your page with fresh eyes: Have you given clear instructions?
  • A good example here is the course ‘Layers: The Story of the Old Testament’ taught by Reed Carlson. You can click through that page (ask for access if you haven’t received it) to see an example of a really well-structured online course. In particular, the instructor sets up the first week with absolute clarity: START HERE, THEN DO THIS, etc. He’s gotten great reviews for his online teaching and we like to enroll instructors new to Moodle in his course so that they can riff on his best practices.

Help

  • Once you have played around a bit, we would love to meet or talk on the phone to work through any questions you have and fine-tune your page.
  • Please encourage your students to reach out immediately if they have any issue – Moodle does sometimes have bugs and problems.

Posting Videos

  • Record on whatever device is easiest and cheapest for you– you could put your iPhone on a tripod or a mantel and do it.
    • Don’t worry about polish here — part of what works is your honest face talking into the camera. It doesn’t need to be edited and produced or have captions or anything like that.
      • If you do have a script or notes, posting that as a .pdf would be a gesture of kindness to students with varying learning styles or home/work situations.
    • Don’t record long videos. 5 min is great, 10 min is pushing it, 20 minutes better be really riveting!  It’s better to break material up into chunks and record short videos and ask for a response after each chunk.
  • Post your video on YouTube.
    • Make the video unlisted (it won’t show up in searches of your name if you do this — only people who have the link will be able to watch it).
    • Disable the comments feature.
    • WHEN THE CLASS IS OVER, set the video to Private so it’s invisible to everyone but you –that way it’s still up if you ever need it again, but isn’t still available to anyone else.
  • Under the YouTube video in the “share” settings there is an option to copy a bit of html code called “embed.” You can copy this and paste it into the html of each of your posts.
    • In the editing menu of Moodle (where you see bold, italic, underline etc…) there will be a button to switch into html mode. Click that, paste the code from YouTube, and then click back to regular editing mode.