New Book: Moodle Administration Essentials with Packt Publishing

We have just released a new book with Packt Publishing called Moodle Administration Essentials.

Moodle Administration Essentials

When training new organisations on Moodle administration, our approach has been to focus on just the tasks that they need to get up and running and this book covers those essential areas.

More Info

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5 things to know about MoodleCloud

Martin Dougiamas from Moodle HQ announced a new free cloud based hosting for small Moodle sites. MoodleCloud enables an individual who does not know how to install Moodle themselves, or does not have the money to spare, to get a small Moodle sitethat they can test out with their training group or class.

So what is it?

1. The service
The MoodleCloud service provides free hosting for an up-to-date Moodle site on https://yourname.moodlecloud.com You cannot change the URL. The site will always be running the very latest release of Moodle but with no hassle of upgrading – it will just happen. So no hassle, and no technical know-how required. Just fill in a form, verify you are you – and you got a small Moodle site.

2. Small is beautiful

MoodleCloud is designed for smaller users.

  • a teacher trying out Moodle for the first time with a class before later moving to a full Moodle site for the school – with a Moodle Partner
  • a trainer wanting to try out Moodle and see how it works for them without any commitment
  • administrator wanting to see how Moodle works installed without having to set up an environment themselves
  • an instructional designer wanting to practice building a course in the Moodle site

The system is free to use but the user numbers are capped at 50 – which is quite sufficient for a small class or test site.

The space allotment is 200 mb – however this should quite a lot really. Moodle integrates with YouTube, Dropbox, Flickr, and many other content sites out there – so files can reside on those without impacting the install size of Moodle.

3. Video Communication

The site is the core Moodle install, no extra plugins with one exception – BigBlueButton – an excellent open source video conferencing tool – which this limited version will cater for 6 people in a session. Again, quite enough to test with or use in a small discussion.

4. Free

It is free to the teacher, but someone has to pay – so there are some Google ads in the footer of most pages on the site. Not too intrusive really. Something that while running a small class or trial site is not a turn-off.

5. Verification

The service uses a mobile number to verify that you are real. This works two ways – firstly, it sends you a code to confirm your setup request. Also once you have successfully set up a site  you cannot use your mobile to make another site. Just one Moodle 4 u!

In a nutshell

So if you need to just tip your toe in the water,  or if you have no resources and want to try out Moodle in your training, or in your class teaching, then MoodleCloud is an easy option to try without commitment.  If you need more, then have a look to the Moodle Partners

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Reflections on UK & Ireland Moodlemoot 2015

So it’s been two weeks since the Moodlemoot in Dublin drew to a close, however the buzz and energy from those four days is still there, inspiring me to further explore improvements in Moodle usage and interface.

Firstly, have to give a huge thanks to all the attendees and presenters for their patience, enthusiasm and attentiveness for the sessions and overall in making it a very engaging atmosphere. It was so wonderful to have ye all there.

Next I must thank the programme committee who helped go through all the submissions where each proposal was reviewed by at least five of the committee.

I must also thank the very supportive sponsors who helped make the Moodlemoot what it is. The National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) were a huge help in helping organise the conference and the programme committee. The gold sponsors Catalyst, Enovation Solutions, Kaltura and Moodlerooms and silvers sponsors Mind Click, Planet eStream, ULCC and Webanywhere all contributed to make the Moodlemoot great.

Lastly but not least, I should say that it was really cool having so many from Moodle HQ there, with their keynotes, presentations, the new Moodle working groups and of course the hackfest. It all brings an extra dimension to the Moot.

As I tweeted, my main take away from the Moot is the focus on improving the student experience. This is being approached from many sides through analytics, interface design and curriculum design (with personalised learning).

The standard of the presentations was quite high this year, and a huge thanks must go out to all the presenters and poster authors. The change to presentation more than demonstration has overall gone down well and it was great to see people take advantage of the chance to share their experience. (it also greatly added to the timely running of sessions to everyone’s benefit for their much needed coffee and meal breaks!)

Moodle Streams

This year we went with segregated streams for Moodle in Education, Moodle in the Workplace and Moodle Technical presentations. It was something that I had wanted to try before but this time we took the risk and so far from feedback it looks like it worked out well.

The Moodle in the Workplace stream lasted one day and included some great examples of using Moodle outside of the academic world, in healthcare, in the Civil service, for compliance training, for delivering Badges centrally for many schools and a well designed MOOC site which demonstrated what a Moodle based learning experience can be with some investment and design.

The Moodle in Education stream went over the two main days, and had a wide range of presentations from many institutions which touched on many aspects of online delivery including multimedia usage, student created content, learning analytics and administration.

The Technical Moodle stream lasted one day and covered a number of technical processes as well as some useful developments that raised a lot of interest. The use of Behat in testing was one presentation which many commented on that it would change how they implemented testing in the future.

Presentations

This year we restricted presentations to three formats; short presentations of 15 minutes length, Pecha Kucha of 6 mins 40 seconds length and Posters which saw a lot of interest. We had eleven posters this year covering a wide range of topics including the 70:20:10 approach to course design for social learning, the plugin ecosystem and how to choose which assignment to use. Posters can deliver a lot of learning quickly and it was great to see more uptake in the format this year and hopefully the central placing of the posters will encourage more next year to embrace this sharing approach.

We had four keynote sessions, top and tailing each of the main days. Day one saw Dr. Bart Rienties, Reader in Learning Analytics at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University UK give a keynote on Learning Analytics: The good, the bad, or perhaps ugly? which was extremely informative on the topic in general and how the Open University are going about this. The end of day keynote was a keynote from Martin Dougiamas where he discussed Feedback as the central aspect to learning. It certainly makes you think more and more about the type of feedback you give to others and how you receive and process the feedback you get yourself.

Day two saw Dr. Michael de Raadt, Research Director of Moodle HQ keynote on Personalised learning and Moodle. This is an area which clients always ask about, how to approach it in their online courses and what to do and not do – so is essential viewing. At the end of the second day, Martin Dougiamas held a session on the Moodle Association and how it will work and operate, facing a lot of questions from the floor. There is so much potential in the Association – it will be great to see it up and operational, and helping to shape the roadmap of features for Moodle.

Weather

This year we had managed to negotiate with NIDL that they would provide sunshine along with the coffee and they did not let us down. Personally, I found it great to have a few minutes fresh air walking to lunch and between the main building and keynote. Being inside all day can be a bit overpowering and that sunshine was very welcome. Let’s hope London can deliver the weather too.

Treats

This year, I thought it might be a good opportunity to introduce attendees to some local produce. So attendees got to sample three Irish foods which help you through the day:

I am not sure which was liked more but there was not many left of any of them after the Moodlemoot and hackfest, so I shall take that as a dead heat. For those who can’t find them in your local store the websites are linked above.

If you havent filled in the feedback survey from attending the Moodlemoot, please do so over at the Moodlemoot site – you will need to log in via Moodle.org.

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UK & Ireland Moodlemoot 2015 – Some blog posts

I have not had the chance myself to reflect much on the crazy busy Moodlemoot in Dublin last week, but luckily others in the community have and here are some of the posts:

In the last week we have seen a number of blog posts about the Moot so here are the ones we found.

 

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Moodle Working Group at UK/Ireland Moodlemoot in Dublin

There is going to be a Moodle Working Group full day session on the Monday of the Moodlemoot in Dublin on May 11th.

Working groups will bring together end-users who are interested in working together to make Moodle better. A working group is not the same as a workshop. Working groups actively involve experienced Moodle users who have an interest in improving Moodle for the community. Working groups should generally have no more than 10 participants to allow each member to contribute. There are likely to be one or two working groups at the Moodlemoot.

Earlier I interviewed Michael de Raadt about the Working Groups..

If you want to be involved you can volunteer?

Do you have an idea for a working group? Would you like to be a working group leader? Contact Michael at michaeld@moodle.com to suggest a topic.

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Moodlemoot Scandinavia 2015 – Learning Analytics Song

So today we had a sing-a-long before the learning analytics keynote,  we sang as a teacher talking to the student who had dis-engaged from the course totally – Think Abba -Fernando.

Can you access the course Fernando
I remember you had trouble with your username and pass.
In the course forums Fernando
You can ask me for help, or help others with their tasks
I can’t see activity or logins on our moodle site tonight..

There was nothing in the Moodle logs, or Progress Bar, Fernando
It is there for everyone to see, you failed that quiz, fernando
But you haven’t logged on since, Where are you now?
If i had to run the course once more,
would you try again, Fernando

You are failing now Fernando.
We always have a ninety five per cent completion rate
You are the five per cent Fernando
The course statistics tell me that you could have made the grade
But to pass the course you need to log in more than once or twice a week and stay

There was nothing in the Moodle logs, or Progress Bar, Fernando
It is there for everyone to see, you failed that quiz, fernando
But you haven’t logged on since, Where are you now?
If i had to run the course once more,  would you try again, Fernando

The course is over now Fernando
It is many many weeks now since you logged into the course…
You abandoned us, Fernando
You left all of our messages and emails unreplied..
We even tracked your wifi to the campus bar and nightclub every night…

– There is a video so I will link sometime when I get it.

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