How can Moodle help our courses be flexible to student needs?

We have learned in the Inclusive Teaching at Lane series that “course policies should be flexible and welcoming for all students, allowing for mistakes, external challenges, learning, and growth”.

Assignment > User Override

Within your activity or quiz you will see user overrides.

Allow extended deadlines for specific students or a group of students.

Quiz > User Override

Require a password, extend deadlines, and/or adjust a time limit.

Moodle Philosophy and UDL

Moodle is built on a “Social Constructionist” pedagogy, where participants can be encouraged to construct something for other classmates to use and experience. This pedagogy in the core of Moodle offers a lot of resemblance to Universal Design for Learning. UDL allows students to express their knowledge in many different ways.

Here are a couple of ideas we can use in Moodle:

  • Choice: Ask a question and allow your student’s responses to build a graphic (anonymously or not).
  • Database: participants create and maintain a spreadsheet of student entries.
  • Forum: Provides a place for student-to-student discussion
    • Tip: Assign students to moderate or even create the discussions prompt and directions.
  • Glossary: (a personal favorite) use this in a number of different ways:
    • students create a list of definitions
    • Tip: These pages can include images, videos, links, text – essentially everything you find in the ATTO editor. Not limited to definitions!
  • Quiz: Allow students to receive instant feedback.
    • Tip: changing the local role in the quiz activity to allow students to create quiz questions. Then let students take each other’s quizzes. The best questions might be found on midterm/final.
  • Wiki: An oldie, but still a goodie – similar to glossary individuals or groups of students can create and maintain pages.
    • Tip: If interested in using Wikis – consider using Google suite instead.
  • Workshop: One of the most robust tools in Moodle to allow for student-to-student collaboration. The workshop is like a 3 phase assignment that includes a phase of peer review.
    • Tip: Not for a beginner.

What are your ideas? How do you allow for flexibility in your course?

Moodle: Personalized Learning Designer (PLD)

Pop-quiz! Answer the following:

Are you trying to keep up with student reports so that you can message at risk or failing students and encourage them to attend office hours or seek tutoring?

Are you watching your participants list to find and reach out to students who have not logged into the course or participated recently?

Are you trying to make sure students with an excelling grade have additional opportunities to further challenge them?

Are you wanting to find a way to get back a few hours of your life each week and let the PLD do some work to help you?

Open LMS - Personalized Learning Designer
The PLD can provide differentiated instruction that is more personalized to the student.

Many of the essential steps in helping your students succeed take a lot of TIME!  The Personalized Learning Designer (PLD) will help you by completing these tasks for you, thus giving you back this time to focus on your teaching!

Give some of these rules from our PLD Cheat sheet a go:

A student has not logged into the course in the previous x days.Event: Recurring Event (daily)
Conditions: User role check (student) & Course login (has NOT logged into course, x)
Actions:  Send email
Quiz or assignment not submitted (*note this rule uses course completion settings)Event: Quiz or assignment submitted 
Conditions: Activity completed
Actions: Send email
Students with 69% and below after midterm EMAILEvent: Specific date and time
Conditions: Course grade range
Actions:  Send email
Send students to the syllabus when the FIRST enter the courseEvent: Course start date
Conditions: Course login (NOT logged in / 30 days)
Actions: Go to activity
The PLD can be found within your Course Administration menu.

Want to learn more or see it in action? Come to our PLD Workshop on 10/29 at 11am.

Upon completion of this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Design automated interactions with students and personalize their learning.
  • Create rules using the Personalized Learning Designer to assist with course management strategies.

Do you have PLD rules that you found helpful? Tell us about them in the comments!

Keep an eye on the CTL Calendar for upcoming workshops. The next one will be 10/29 @11am on the PLD. If you can not make the live workshop – it will be recorded AND/OR I have an online version of the PLD workshop in Moodle for you!

Test Proctoring and Fall 2020

We’re looking at another term — and maybe more — of learning and assessment that happens predominantly through online means. This can make instructors nervous about maintaining academic integrity for their assignments and exam materials in particular. It also poses some thorny ethical questions for those presenting and grading tests, which I think we need to take a few minutes to unpack. I’ll provide my own views here, and I’d welcome further discussion!

The Risks…

Test proctoring through remote technology is imperfect at best and can be threatening in some forms: It requires surveillance of students in their homes. Many of the technological solutions to replacing traditional in-person test taking come with a host of privacy and access issues. For example, some proctoring services require eye-motion tracking; others require students to show their entire room to the camera; still others will invalidate tests for any interruption, leaving students with little recourse over infractions as minor as resting their chin on their hand or reaching out to move an interrupting pet from the desk.

If you’re working from home right now, you can imagine what might be shown — or what might interrupt — you at any moment. Now, put yourself in the position of a student being asked to take a high-stakes examination, while also concerned that a child or roommate might come in at the wrong moment.

In addition, using proctored testing services for students can set up an atmosphere of distrust from the start. I’ll admit, when first reading this critique a few years ago, I felt automatically defensive about the accusation that my use of anti-cheating technology was inherently discriminatory. In the intervening years, watching not only the discussion among faculty about these practices but also hearing from my own students, I’ve come around to the ideas that Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris, heads of the Digital Pedagogy Lab, support and espouse.

…Outweigh “The Rewards”

There’s not much evidence that online proctoring services or technology have any impact on improving student learning or preventing cheating. In fact, they may do the opposite, while having a negative impact on student success. Josh Eyler, director of faculty development at the University of Mississippi, summed this up nicely in a blog post today. Here’s a key excerpt:

There will always be those who have planted their flags of resistance firmly on the hills of rigor and standards. These are not bad things in an of themselves–I believe in having standards for our students and helping them to meet those standards–but when they conflict with students’ ability to do their best work or even serve as an obstacle to students’ emotional wellbeing, then we need to look closely at why the commitment to rigor and standards is so rigid… Those who are not persuaded by the ethical and empathetic position should know that proctoring software fails miserably when checked against the science of learning too.

Josh Eyler, “The Science of Learning vs. Proctoring Software.”

Little research exists into whether online proctoring has an impact on student test-taking behaviors. Are students less likely to cheat when being monitored? Maybe. Are students who would have done well (and never considered cheating) more likely to struggle because they are being monitored? That result seems clear.

What’s the alternative?

Put succinctly, the alternative is to trust that students are enrolled in courses because they want to learn, and then to provide them with the best opportunities to demonstrate what they’ve learned (and support to make sure they’ve learned it) throughout the course.

Project-based learning presents likely the best alternative to high-stakes testing in general. In courses where this seems impossible, restructuring exams to make sure that they assess the skills necessary in the course — not memorization of facts but the ability to demonstrate learning — can still be done through standard quiz methods. Lowering the stakes for some tests by offering multiple attempts and promoting recursive learning is another strategy that has promise.

Most importantly, talk to your students about whatever path you want to take. Showing that you value their learning and trust their integrity will go a long way toward building a learning community and a culture of honesty. Students are talking about these practices among themselves, and the reviews for this type of monitoring are overwhelmingly negative — and often very public. Students are experts in their own situations, and involving them in the decision of how to assess and monitor learning can be a rewarding experience for everyone!

Further Reading:

Coffee Check-ins: Fridays this Fall, 10-11

photo of a coffee cup with meme text: "Hello dark roast my old friend."

Pull up a virtual chair and a real coffee (or drink of your choice) every Friday this fall for a check-in and chat hosted by your Instructional Design Services colleagues. There’s no formal agenda! Just drop in to talk through what’s on your plate and your mind. We’ll have a chance to check-in if there’s a goal you’d like to accomplish: sometimes saying it out loud can help, and maybe so can the colleagues around you.

Just want to converse? Missing the hallway/watercooler/coffee shop line? We have space for that, too.

Add this meeting to your calendar for a reminder every Friday (including Zoom link), and we’ll see you there!

Have a “When you can reach me” policy

One critical factor in building a sustainable online course is deciding how and when to set limits on your own work and interaction time with the course. In-person classes have the advantage of a clear end time: You walk out of the classroom.

This fall, for many of us, the classroom will go with us wherever we are, in our pockets on the internet-connected smartphones we may be carrying around. At the furthest, class is but a few doors down in most households.

That can be exhausting. If you’re feeling a need to reply to student email in the middle of the night (or dinner, or during TV breaks), consider whether you’re able to provide thoughtful and quality help in these situations. Then think about whether you can sustain the always-on work mode for the rest of the year.

Ready to set some limits now? Try this:

  1. Communicate clearly from the start of your class when you will be available.
    • This includes office hours (synchronous video? phone?), class times, and other by-appointment times, and the hours when you’re available by email or other contact methods (if you provide a texting number or use an app).
  2. Stick to those times.
    • If you can’t stop yourself from replying to email at 2 a.m., consider using the Schedule Send feature in Gmail to make that message appear within your scheduled work hours.
  3. Explain why you have these policies, and what students should do if an issue comes up when you’re not available.
    • Technical problems can be referred to the Student Help Desk (SHeD).
    • Tutoring and academic questions can go to Academic Tutoring Services, where they can find appointments at many hours of the day.
    • I offer automatic extensions on deadlines if students contact me in advance of a due date. If their printer explodes or their understanding of citation evaporates between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, they can ask for an extension, know that they’ll have one, set up an appointment with me, and be ready to work as soon as I’m back on Monday.
  4. Don’t feel bad about being less than always-on.
    • Taking time off is not a disservice to your students. It is vital to your own survival.
    • Being clear about how soon you’ll respond lets students know that they aren’t screaming into the void, which can reduce some anxiety.

Other things to consider (not recommendations, just ideas):

  • Add an autoreply message when you’re not available to remind students (and colleagues) that you’ll get back to them at X time, and also to show them their message has been received.
  • Poll students to find out when they plan to complete their work, and schedule your available time to match up with these hours.

Do you have a way of dividing work and non-work time that’s, um, worked for you? Let us know in the comments, or join us at an upcoming Friday morning Coffee Check-In with Colleagues to talk about it.

Zoom is the new classroom

Adorable Guide Dogs Host Zoom Call
Zoom is the new dog park.

If we like it or not, Zoom and other online web conferencing (Google Meet) is here to stay and the “easy” days of normal may never be “normal” again. How do you replicate what we did in the classroom in zoom? A: You can’t.

If you are expecting to fully engage your students with your live lecturing performance you will be sorely disappointed with the level of participation.

Students most likely will have their webcams turned off. They may not have a private space or many other reasons why it is uncomfortable for them to allow you (and ALL their classmates) into their home/car/porch/tent/etc… Because their webcam is turned off, you can not see their face or read their reactions to the discussion.

Why the summer sound of noisy crickets is growing fainter
Crickets chirp when it’s silent.

Have you tried asking an open question in zoom only to be answered with silence [insert crickets chirping]? Students may not be paying attention or know how to interact in this new classroom. Building class-community and connections with students from the start may help easy their tensions when trying to interact with their instructor and classmates. Give students a chance to use Zoom reactions vs verbal responses. Then WAIT…until ALL students have responded in some way.

You may have also heard about Zoom fatigue. Imagine a student who has 3 lectures on zoom in one day. Now imagine having three 1-hour to 1.5-hour long meetings in one day via Zoom. YUCK is right! Only ask participants to turn on webcams if it is absolutely needed.

So how do we teach inside of Zoom?
I fall on the side of using Zoom to support the content, rather than deliver the content. Zoom makes it really easy for us to create, edit, and link in Moodle a screencast of our content. We use Zoom to screencast our content into micro-lectures, then use our live class sessions in Zoom to discuss, reinforce, and expand upon concepts. Sounds like a new type of flipped-classroom!

There are hundreds of tips and tricks to use while teaching in Zoom. The best advice we can give is to practice – practice – practice. All of the reactions, filters, polls, screen-shares, etc are only great if you know how to use them and seamlessly transition from one to another. We can help you get started in the ATC!

Need to talk through your course plan with an Instructional Designer?

Post UPDATE: Learn Zoom through LCCs Linked-in Learning platform.

LaneOnline Best Practices in Course Design (OSCQR) – self-enrollment now open.

Course Description

Have you taught online but could like a refresher on best practices?? Maybe you have never taught online, but are planning to do so in the future?? This course is perfect for you!? The LOBP in Course Design using OSCQR will introduce you to teaching online at Lane and spend time reviewing best practices in online course development and design found within OSCQR (OPEN SUNY Course Quality Review/Rubric).??

This course is designed for new or experienced online instructors who are new to OSCQR or teaching online at LCC. 

General Course Outcomes

  • The participant will be able to identify and design online experiences using best practices in student success.
  • The participant will be able to identify and design engaging courses with designed interaction that is appropriate for the course modality (remote/hybrid or online)
  • The participant will develop an action plan on how they will integrate best practices into their online teaching.

Workshop Syllabus for more detail on LaneOnline Best Practices in Course Design using OSCQR.

LOBP in Course Design using OSCQR self-enrollment is currently open.

Session 5: Content and Activities

June 5, 1pm-2pm Recording.

Does your course offer access to a variety of engaging resources and activities that facilitate communication and collaboration, deliver content, and support learning and engagement?

OSCQR: Content and Activities Category 

Upcoming options

LaneOnline OSCQR Top 15 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Cvto7EL4oOvqzVZv1HBNKu0FTTN53SB716V9S6u_pmM/edit

OSCQR in focus:

29. [Variety] Course offers access to a variety of engaging resources that facilitate communication and collaboration, deliver content, and support learning and engagement.

Why it matters:

  • Students learn more by doing than by listening/consuming content.
  • All content and activities should be aligned with module, course, and program objectives.
  • WHY do students need to do this?  Do you tell them why?

What it looks like:

  • Tell them WHY and HOW they should be engaging with course resources.
  • Meet with a librarian to help find more engaging materials.
  • Explore OERCommons
  • Course share with other faculty – meet and show what you do and why. (teaching-pairs?)
  • Don’t lecture.  (50 alternatives to lecturing) – small chunks w/ interaction/assessment.
  • Using the features within zoom to keep students engaged
  • Google doc – reactions while learning – used as prompts for future discussion
  • Breakout rooms in zoom for discussion

30. [Higher Order Thinking] Course provides activities for learners to develop higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills, such as critical reflection and analysis.

Why it matters:

  • Individual and group reflections – sustained critical thinking and reflection allow the students to construct knowledge, inquiring, exploring, and thinking.

What it looks like:

  • Reflection – what did you learn?  Why is it important to you?  How can you apply this today? Etc..
  • Peer review groups – when assigning groups encourage (or assign?) students to meet via Google hangouts as a group.
  • Use anonymous posts in a course forum.  
  • Assign students a role in live zoom sessions (moderator, class spokesperson (filters/proposes all student questions, etc.)
  • Allow students to create course content.

31. [Authentic Activities] The course provides activities that emulate real-world applications of the discipline, such as experiential learning, case studies, and problem-based activities.

Why it matters:

  • These activities engage learners by having them establish what they know and don’t know, work together to come up with real-world solutions, share those solutions, and review possible results.

According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning relies on four elements:

  • Experience;
  • Critical reflection;
  • Abstract conceptualization; and
  • Active experimentation in a new situation.

What it looks like:

  • Explore MERLOT for case studies that you can integrated into your course.
  • Create scenario-based discussion forums for learners to interact in. Establish and assign roles for learners within those scenarios.
  • Use mini-cases as pre-lab work where learners can see what might go wrong before they are actually immersed in an online lab.
  • Have learners create and facilitate course related scenarios.
  • Have learners turn in reflective essays along with applied learning activities to measure critical thinking and reflection stages of the process.
  • Assign “offline” activities to learners, and have the learners “debrief” in the online environment.
  • Require foreign language learners to interact with native speakers (online) and summarize their experiences.
  • Have learners document their real-world experiences through digital storytelling tools.

Step 6, 7, 8 in Remote/Hybrid/Online Course Development

This post is continuation of the original?10 Steps to Build a Remote/Hybrid/Online Course.

Wondering where to start? Just as we normally tell our students – start at the top and work your way down. The development checklist and all other guides on course development are designed to help you chunk the course development into easy to digest chunks. Taking the course development overall process step-by-step will help take a massive project and turn it into doable steps.

Step 6: The course development checklist is designed to walk you through setting up your course – starting with providing directions on how students should start the course (getting started) through the first week or module of the course.

Key points in step 6 are to make sure you have a welcoming introduction, all your essential course information is clear, students and instructor begin to build class community from the very first student entry into the course.

Step 7: Consult with an instructional designer! Once you have completed your getting started material, course orientation, syllabus, introduction materials, and week 1 –> STOP! Meet with an ID to review your work and gather feedback on how to progress with the remainder of your course development.

Step 8: Following your format of week 1 – develop weeks 2, 3, …. Following OSCQR top 15 as a guide.? It’s ok if your course is not 100% complete before week 1, as long as week 1 is ready by week 1!? ??

Stay tuned – step 9, 10, and 11 are next week!

Session 4: Interaction

Session Recording from May 22

How do we build critical pieces to our online, hybrid, or remote courses? How can my teaching be as effective as I was in the classroom? How can my students feel like they belong to the class and establish a community and trust amongst all participants?

OSCQR [Interaction] best practices in focus during this topic:?

*40. [Instructor Presence] Learners have an opportunity to get to know the instructor.[Syllabus / Instructor Bio, Introductions Forum]

*41.? [Class Community] Course contains resources or activities intended to build a sense of class community, support open communication, and establish trust (i.e. Ice-breaker, Bulletin Board, Meet Your Classmates, Q/A Forum)[News and Announcements, Introductions Forum, Course Q/A forum, Various activities through the course.]

*42. [Learner-to-Learner Interaction] Course offers opportunities for learner to learner interaction and constructive collaboration.

*43. [Learner Contributions] Learners are encouraged to share resources and inject knowledge from diverse sources of information in their course interactions.

Future Friday Sessions:

May 29 Completion Conference (Full)

June 5 Creating Engaging Content and Activities

June 12 Online Assessment