Based on feedback we've obtained from students, this checklist outlines things you should have in place before making your Moodle area available to students. It cross-references the UCL E-Learning Baseline, a minimum standard we hope each Moodle space will exceed.
Before the start of term:
Have you reset your course?
IMPORTANT: If you are preparing your course for the academic year 2019-20, the answer to this question is: NO!
Please do NOT reset courses on UCL Moodle 2018-19. These are only editable until 20th September to use for Late Summer Assessments.
If not, or you are not sure what course resetting is, please see the pages on course resets.
Moodle course resets Summer 2019
The process for resetting courses has changed slightly and includes an additional step to unenrol students. After reading through the information below, please follow the guidance on resetting courses.
Moodle_start_of_term_checklist_19_20: This is a printable, summary checklist designed to help you prepare for the start of term. A more detailed checklist is available below.
Detailed: Start of term Checklist
Make sure everything is up to date
- Check that you have updated dates on assignments and within topic sections (if using the weekly format you may need to change the course start date - this can be found in Settings > Edit Settings> Course start date).
- Check all your web links work.
- Ensure all course information, resources and activities on display are up-to-date and accurate.
Have a communication statement
- Have you defined how students should expect to communicate in Moodle (e.g. forums, messages, email):
- how do students ask the tutor questions?
- how do students seek support from administrators?
- how will staff communicate with students?
- if needed, how to reduce the number of emails from Moodle?
- Ensure the contact details of key course staff are visible on the Moodle course homepage - this is a requirement of the Moodle baseline.
- If your course is on Moodle 2019-20 then delete the People block if it exists because the This course dropdown menu at the very top of any course page has the People option that allows students a social presence and to see who their peers and tutors are. However, if your course is on Moodle 2018-19 Snapshot, ensure the People block is on your course homepage.
- Upload an image for your personal icon (in your Profile) and encourage your students to do the same - doing this is particularly helpful when scanning contributions on Discussion forums.
- Refer to items consistently using the same terms.
Check students have access
- Ensure your Moodle materials, including audiovisual media, are accessible for all students.
- If you can see a a message saying 'This course is hidden and cannot be accessed by students.' your course is currently hidden from students. To unhide the course, click on 'Update Course Settings', change the Visible setting, then save. The course should now be visible to students.
- If the course uses Portico enrolments, check that the correct mappings are in place, your course has a Portico identifier specified in the course settings, and that the mappings are activated.
If the course uses self enrolment, make sure that enrolment method is active and that you have changed the enrolment key (if used) to something different from the one used in the previous year.
- If you have any students who require ongoing access to the material over summer for Late Summer Assessments they must use Moodle 2018-19 snapshot or for deferring or summer resits, please ensure they are aware their content will be available to them in the Moodle Snapshot.
Check navigation and orientation
- If your course is on Moodle 2019-20 then look for the Activities, My Courses and People blocks and delete them because the My Courses and This course dropdown menus at the very top of any course page makes them redundant. Otherwise, on Moodle 2018-19 to ensure that the Activities block is showing to help you and your students find what they need.
- Keep the Navigation block prominently displayed at the top of the page to help students navigate the sections.
- Or if you prefer to show one section per page you can use the tabs format (N.B. if there are many sections then hide tabs to avoid overwhelming students and make sure the Navigation block is prominently displayed at, or near the top of the page).
- Include your module outline and handbook somewhere salient e.g. top section.
- Link to your timetable (you can add the Common Timetable block).
- Link to the reading list (if using readinglists@ucl, you can include any individual item in the list and/or to link to the entire list).
- Insert links to individual items on your online @ucl reading list are inserted in the relevant sections/topics on your course. This makes it clear to students what they should read and when.
- Course completion allows students to tick items off. This helps staff keep track of how students are engaging with a course, and allows you to keep track of student progress.
Tidy up your course homepage
- Remove any unused sections. The minus icon at the bottom of the central column removes sections.
- Remove or hide any blocks that aren't needed.
- Try to use contrasting colours for text.
- Update module titles and assignment dates to include the relevant dates.
- Check that all those who should have a Tutor or Course administrator (i.e. an editing) role have it. To do this on:
- Moodle 2019-20 click on the This course dropdown menu at the very top of any course page and select People. Then you can see what role a user has in the Roles column. To change the role click on the grey pencil icon under the user's given role and use the dropdown menu to select an alternative role. Use the Enrol users button to enrol the user if they are not listed.
- Moodle 2018-19 Snapshot click on the Participants in either the People or Navigation block to check, and enrol editors via Settings > Users > Enrolled Users.
Check your course from a student's perspective
- One way in:
- Moodle 2019-20 is to click on your name in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select Switch role to...
- Moodle 2018-19 Snapshot is to use the Switch Role To... in the Settings menu.
- Another way to do this is to use a .
- Ask yourself:
- Are the things which need to stand out, standing out?
- Are things clearly and consistently presented?
- Is there enough but not too much on the course home page?
- Get somebody else's opinion, too - ideally a sample of your students.
- If you'd like help with this, contact Digital Education for suggestions.
Induct your students
- Try to accommodate students who are new to virtual learning environments like Moodle.
- Inform your students about the Student Support section in the Moodle Help menu.
- Consider sending your students the Moodle Quick Start Guide for students (also available in the Moodle Help) with an introduction message via the Moodle News forum.
- During induction week you may wish to modify the Moodle student induction powerpoint template.
- Consider using and monitoring an Introductions forum to allow student to practice using the discussion forums in a safe way as well as introducing themselves to their peers.
- If you'd like help with any of the above please contact Digital Education.