Moodle Triage Session and Open office hours

UPDATE: We have expanded the availability of the drop-in office hours.

Instructional Technology will be hosting two Moodle "triage" sessions the Friday before spring classes begin.

We will also be hosting open office hours throughout the semester. Please see the full schedule below.

Moodle Spring Triage Session
We will be hosting two sessions, both Friday January 16, one in the morning (10 AM) and one in the afternoon (2 PM). Both sessions will meet in the Learning Studio (located on the lower level of the Library).

Please click this link to RSVP.

Moodle Drop-In Sessions
We will be making ourselves available for Moodle questions during open office hours during the common hour (12:30-1:20), Monday through Friday of next semester. The first session will be Tuesday, January 20. Come with your "in time" Moodle questions. No topic is off limits.

Drop-In Schedule
January20, 21, 22, 23
26, 27, 28, 29, 30
February2, 3, 4, 5, 6
9, 10, 11, 12, 13
16, 17, 18, 19, 20
23, 24, 25, 26, 27
March2, 3, 4, 5, 6
16, 17, 18, 19, 20
23, 24, 25, 26, 27
30, 31
April1, 2, 3
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
13, 14, 15 ,16, 17
20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Google Form to Document with Autocrat

One recent request I have received is a way to take information submitted into a Google Form and then create a document (Google doc or otherwise) with that information. After some searching I found the Autocrat add-on.

This add-on functions like a mail merge, but with a few more features. You can install it on any Google sheet, including a form response sheet. This allows you to create either a Google document or PDF from the form submissions. The add-on requires that you create a template document with embedded merge tags. These are easily created by closing text between double chevrons, like so, "<<your_tag>>" The template and merge tags may be formatted however you like.

Autocrat allows you to set up conditional merging, meaning you can create two (or possibly more) different templates and Autocrat will use the conditions you set up to choose which template is used to create the merged document.

I can see many applications for this add-on. Aside from those suggested in the video demonstration, I could see this being used for an automated note collector. You could create a form to collect information about meeting details with a field for longform notes. Once the doc is created you could then email it to any locations or services (IFTTT, Evernote). You would then have a copy of the document in both/all locations. This could also be used to create application forms. The patron would fill out a form and then Autocrat could automatically generate the application, plugging in the patron's submissions.


Blogger Comments

Thanks to a friendly instructor (who also blogs) I discovered that the commenting system on this blog was non-functional.

I found this post. Most browsers block third-party cookies by default. This is causes an issue when the the blog is set to use embedded commenting. A person enters a comment and then nothing happens. This seems to have been a problem for awhile as I found this blog post from 2012 about the same problem.

Pop-up comments: The recommendation in the forum post linked above is to enable this or full page comments. The pop-up really works well and allows a person to still see the blog they are commenting on. Any previous comments are listed in the pop-up so replies are easy to make as well. Once a comment is posted it appears under the blog post. The one downside to this is that it does not appear to allow threaded comments.

To enable this:
  1. Navigate to Posts and Comments 
  2. Select "Pop-up window" from the comment location drop-down menu.

Google+ commenting: This is embedded in the blog post and allows threading. The downside is that this requires a Google+ account. While this might be an option for a blog within a Google apps domain, this probably isn't a good option for a personal blog as it will not allow anyone without a G+ account to comment. You may follow the instructions here to enable this for your blog.

I really think the pop-up option is the best way to go. I would prefer to be able to have an embedded and threaded comment system, but this will allow the broadest group of people to comment. 

Images: By Tokyoship (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Moodle Quiz Docs [UPDATE]

I recently came across some Moodle documentation describing some strategies for making the Moodle quiz as effective as possible.
I posted links to our internal quiz documentation earlier this year and thought this would make a welcome addition. I have updated that post to include the link above and will be updating our internal documentation to include the link as well.

A couple of the ideas that I think bear a highlight here include recommendations for security, and creating random variants of questions.

Because Moodle is a digital/internet venue it is possible for students to copy or print questions and answers. Depending on how the quiz is setup this may make it possible for a student to reproduce a quiz in its entirety. The documentation shares strategies to minimize the possibility and effect that this may have. Creating question variants is one such strategy. While it may take more time on the frontend to create the questions and variants, doing so will make a quiz more robust from a security standpoint and as an assessment tool.


Moodle Quiz Docs

In preparation for a new academic year, we have published documentation about the Moodle quiz activity. This activity is a powerful tool for assessment and as a learning aid.

There are a number of different question types that you may use in a Moodle quiz. Click this link to see a list and description of each. One benefit to using the Moodle quiz is that most question types are graded automatically. It is also possible to determine what feedback is shown to students and when so that the quiz may be used as a study aid.

You may access the quiz documentation below. Please contact Instructional Technology if you have any questions.

Moodle Quiz: Home
Moodle Quiz: Basic
Moodle Quiz: Advanced
Moodle Quiz: Question Bank
Moodle Quiz: Grading

Moodle Resources
Effective Quiz Practices