Sunday, April 3, 2011

MoodleTip: Exploring #Moodle Meta-courses - The Moodle Commons?

Miguel's understanding of metacourses, imperfect as his image design.

Recently, Joel Brandos asked the following questions on the email list:
Where can we find out more about Metacourses? Could you give us a mini-course about metacourses? :)Where does one set up a Metacourse in Administration?What options are important to consider in creating Metacourses?How are Metacourses maintained from year to year? (Rollover)Can Metacourses be shared between faculty members?
Essentially, the question is how do metacourses work for us as educators? My first contact with metacourses came about with Amanda Hefner's work in Northside ISD. You can use metacourses as a way to setup document repositories, social topics that allow various courses to connect in one place--without having to re-enroll in yet another course.

That last example--allowing people in different courses to connect without re-enrolling--is definitely worth visiting again. I took advantage of it for a series of courses organized according to grant function (e.g. principal, coordinator, students). I used the metacourse as a way of bringing all the functions/people in various courses together.

First, it might help to better define what a metacourse is (the resource linked below at MoodleDocs is nice, and well worth reading!):
meta course is a course that is "with" or linked to one or more courses for its student enrolment (enrollment to some). Adding or subtracting participants in a metacourse can only be done from the courses it is linked to. The linked courses push enrolment information to the metacourse(s) every time cron is run. There are many uses for a metacourse. (Source: Moodle Docs)
I like to think of metacourses as a "commons area" where everyone in the community can access and share resources. A commons area, like a Moodle metacourse, is content that is collectively owned or shared. If you put something in a metacourse, it's available to all who have rights to access it.

It's easy to think of metacourses as a "parent" course and regular Moodle courses as "child" courses. You can have multiple parents courses sharing different resources, enabling child courses to access the pooled resources. You can only get to the metacourse via the child course.

Setting up a metacourse is pretty easy. Simply, create a new course and check the option that indicates that this is a metacourse:

Once you've setup your metacourse with the resources--in this case, a Copyright Center as shown below--you're ready to move on to the next step:

Notice that in the screenshot above of the metacourse entitled "Copyright Center," in the Administration box there is a link to CHILD COURSES. Here's what shows up when you click on the link:

The main benefit of this is that you can place resources in the metacourse and then that allows everyone in the "child" courses to access that metacourse without having to create additional logins, enrollments, etc.

Does this make sense the way I've explained it?

Note: Be sure to read/view Moodlefairy (Mary Cooch) approach to metacourses in Moodle 2.0.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I used to manage a Moodle installation for an FE/HE college. We used Meta Courses as the Units that make up a course. Each course would have linked to it Meta Courses that made up the units of the course. This enabled units to be shared between courses and that the teacher could lay out his/her Moodle site as they wanted. It also simplified student enrollment in that they only had to enroll in the Child course. A block called related Courses added a simple navigation aide to the Course. There were some issues, All of the 'Graded' activities had to be in the Child Course and Groups do not cascade down in to the meta courses.

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