Google Sheets: Pivot Tables

In the video below, Jay Atwood shares about how and why to use pivot tables in Google Sheets. If you are curious about what pivot tables are and why you would want to use them, this video will be a help. This video demonstrates how you can manipulate data within a sheet to answer questions you have about the data.


Improved Search in Drive and Columns in Docs

This is a quick update to share that Google has made some improvements to search within Google Drive and added support for creating columns in Google Docs. You can read the full announcement  from Google here.

Below is a screenshot of how to add columns into a Google document. The ability to add columns has been a long awaited function for many Docs users.


ITEC Workshop - Moodle: IPAL, H5P

This is the first post in a series of posts about workshops that ITEC (Instructional Technology) will be facilitating over the fall semester. You can read more about the workshops and find a schedule here. This post is a summary of the first session, Moodle: IPAL, H5P. Thank you to everyone who attended. Both of these tools are plugins available for Moodle. The first is a student response plugin that allows the instructor to prose questions to students and receive feedback immediately. The second is a free, open-source tool for creating interactive web content. We will take a brief look at each tool and provide links for more in-depth documentation further on.


H5P is a website that provides the means for a person to create interactive HTML 5 embed-able elements into webpages. One promising tool within the H5P suite is an interactive video element which you can see in a longer summary here. This tool lets the user overlay questions and other elements on top of an online video. They recently released a plugin for Moodle. One cool thing about this is that once the student answers all the questions and views the entire video they are given a grade automatically. Another cool thing about this is that the student will not receive a grade until they have viewed the entire video. The entire suite of tools and the Moodle plugin appear to be in active development. It will be exciting to see what develops in the future.


IPAL stands for Internet Poling for All Learners. The plugin, developed by Bill Junkin, provides a means for an instructor to gather immediate feedback from students for questions they ask during the class session. This is akin to a student response system a la TurningPoint or iClicker.  Questions are created using Moodle's built-in question editor. It is also possible to pull questions from the ComPADRE site (http://www.compadre.org/). Students may access the questions through a free mobile app or through a browser (Mac, PC, mobile).

If you would like to learn more about either of these tools or use them in your classroom, please contact Jedidiah.


Moodle + Gravatar

We currently create a new Moodle instance each academic year. It can be frustrating that each time a new Moodle is created any profile pictures that were added are lost. There is a way to keep this from happening. It relies on a service called Gravatar.

Gravatar stands for globally recognized avatar. The benefit to using it is that any time you visit a site that supports it your profile image is automatically added. Moodle supports Gravatar. This means that you can create an avatar that will automatically appear each year in the new Moodle. You can set it and forget it (unless you want to update the image). Using Gravatar is free, but does require that you create an account.



Moodle1617 is now available and is running version 2.9. Summer and Fall courses have been and are being populated. This version contains a number of updates. A lot of work has gone in this version to make it as user-friendly as possible. 

A few noteworthy changes are listed below. Click here to see the full list. 

Please contact the Moodle Administrator if you have any questions about these updates.

Enhancements for everyone:

Dashboard Page

“My Home” is now “Dashboard” - This is the same user homepage with a new name.

Drag-and-drop in Atto

It's now possible to drag and drop images directly into the Atto editor, for example when editing a course summary or when posting in a forum

New Profile Page

Accessed from the user menu, the new Profile page provides quick links to blog entries, forum post, badges and, depending on the user’s privileges, a variety of reports including a new browser sessions page. The page includes links formerly in the Navigation block.

Enhancements for students:

New Grades Page 

The user menu now includes a new Grades page which display grades from all courses users are students in, with links to the relevant user reports.

Enhancements for teachers:

Improvements to Quiz

Quizzes can now have section headings and questions can be shuffled on different pages. It is now possible to require that a particular question be answered before a subsequent one may be accessed, and quizzes along with responses and feedback will now display attractively when printed from the browser.

New Grades Page 

Courses users are teaching in are also displayed, with links to the relevant course gradebook.

Grade to Pass Setting

If you are using graded activities it is now possible to set a passing grade during the activity set up process instead of having to edit the gradebook directly.

Delete Topic Sections

A new option in each course topic section allows you to completely remove the section and its content, regardless of where the section is located on your course page.

Site Home/Dashboard

When a person logs into Moodle they will now be taken to their own “Dashboard” page. This page provides a list of current enrolled courses in the middle of the page, a Navigation and Administration blocks on the left, a Latest News (Moodle) and Beloit College Events blocks on the right. This page may be customised by clicking the Customise this page button. After doing so you will be able to change the locations of the blocks to your liking and add others if you wish.

Updated My Courses Block

The My Courses block has been updated to be able to show courses by semester. Students will only see courses that have been made visible to them. Faculty will see all their courses.

Autocreated Courses Category

In the last Moodle we had a single category for all courses and courses were organized alphabetically. This time around courses will be created in a subcategory based on the term. There are three terms in our academic cycle (summer, fall, spring). Based on the structure within the Portal, each of these terms begins with the year (2016) and then is suffixed with a number; 10, 20, and 30 respectively. So the category for summer courses is 2016-10, fall is 2016-20, and spring is 2016-30. Each of these in turn will be created as subcategories of the Autocreated category.