Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moodle 2.0 First Look - Chapter 5

Note: This is part of a series of blog entries sharing my take-aways from Moodle 2.0 First Look by Mary "moodlefairy" Cooch, published by Packt Publishing.

In Chapter 5, What's New in Add an Activity, the author points out that one of my favorite modules--Hot Potatoes--is missing by default...and will have to be installed, just as you would another module. Since Hot Potatoes is now available for free--albeit unsupported as far as I know--this makes sense...but what will take the place of the cross-platform Hot Potatoes.

That omission may be explained by an easier to use Quiz! Mary Cooch, the author, explores the Moodle 2.0 quiz module in more detail. Some of the take-aways for me include the following:

  • If you are using the Quiz in exam conditions where you are invigilating (Note: I didn't know what this word was, so I had to look it up! It is British English for "to keep watch over students at an examination!"), it makes it easier to check the user is logged in as themselves and hasn't paid an associate to take the test for them!
  • I really like Mary's step by step approach on "Make a Quiz" as we follow someone go through the transformed interface (Example: Add Question Type).
  • You can now add tags (keyword search terms) to describe questions
  • "As a teacher in a course you can only add questions to categories you make for quizzes in that course. However, as an administrator you can also view and move questions from individual courses into their related course category and/or to the Moodle site as a whole." This is neat for some folks who wanted to share quiz questions across courses (you'd normally use the Sharing Cart solution for that).
  • Viewing Quiz results could be a bore, but now, you can rely on graphs, response reports (download all students' answers to all questions), and statistics report.

I'm breathless with anticipation. The next section of this Chapter involves working with a Moodle 2.0 wiki. I've been hoping that the wiki upgrade would make the wiki even more usable than it was in 1.9. I'm hoping the M2.0 wiki will provide as much functionality as a Wikispaces or PBWorks.com wiki, eliminating the need for those services.

Some take-aways from the "Making a Moodle 2.0 Wiki" section:

  1. Elements from NWiki have been incorporated into the new wiki
  2. Wiki modes available include Collaborative wiki where everyone may edit or Individual wiki where each student edits their own. This is pretty nifty...I particularly like the collaborative wiki since it most resembles the kinds of wikis I'd like to see teachers and students create...and would an individual wiki work as an eportfolio solution?
  3. Comments can be easily added to the wiki, just as elsewhere in Moodle.
  4. Students--using wiki--can "easily include sound, image, or video files" in their entry "by selecting the appropriate icon in the editor and accessing the file picker." They are not limited "to items on her own computer but if the Moodle admin has enabled them – she can search a number of repositories such as Dropbox or Flickr."

The top tabs that appear on the wiki capture much of the changes to Moodle 2.0 wiki:

The next section in Chapter 5 is working with Workshop. I never played much with Workshop so this will be almost totally new for me. Apparently, Workshop is a "vehicle for peer assessment." Mary offers this example activity, which is quite engaging for a writing workshop facilitator like myself:

Andy's making one where the students compose a poem which will then be assessed by the others in their class.

This is a pretty neat activity. Consider this as a writing workshop activity. I would change the word "assessed" to something else, more of a feedback opportunity. Mary expands the activity that will serve as the guide for her development of Workshop in the Chapter in this way, highlighting 3 elements:

1. Use examples: Students are provided with sample items that they can practice evaluating either before they send in their work or before they review others.
2. Use peer assessment: The "traditional" use of the workshop where students' work is distributed amongst them for them to evaluate.
3. Use self-assessment: Students reflect on and evaluate their own work.

Some of my take-aways from this section:
  • Assessment strategies include a "Comments" section that isn't grade-focused or dependent.
  • Students can use a rubric for the assessment portion.
  • It appears students can assess each other's work or the teacher can make that decision.

  • Workshop is turning out to be an awesome looking tool, especially (IMHO) for writers' workshop usage! Wow!!

Some other neat points in this LONG chapter packed full of goodness:
  • In Moodle 2.0, the SCORM player has had a major overhaul and now provides a much faster environment for users and fixes a range of display issues with the previous player.
  • A provider of SCORM content is http://www.contentgenerator.net. Mary includes a game from this site in her notes.

Wow, Chapter 5 of Moodle 2.0 First Look was packed full of great stuff!! I'm dying to try this out in a Writing Workshop setting with students.

BTW, on an unrelated note, it's been fun writing these all at once and then scheduling them to appear in the blog. I should have clicked on Post options sooner in Blogger!

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