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Here are some key categories we think everyone should consider when developing online courses, followed by examples on how you might achieve each of them. 

Each category contains suggestions for how you might extend your use of e-learning tools and provide online activities for your students. Not all of these will be relevant for your context. They are intended to share practice and act as a guide for you to consider implementing, where appropriate.

How these map back to the categories in the E-Learning Baseline is included in brackets after each one, where this is not immediately obvious. For the Baseline standard that all taught modules at UCL should adhere to, please refer to Archived: UCL E-Learning Baseline 2016.

Moodle as a community hub

  • Moodle is used as a communications hub with all online communication delivered via a Moodle course (or an integrated messaging system within Moodle).

    Further information on using Moodle as a communication hub. (Communication)

  • Moodle is used as a hub that includes links to all the other systems students are expected to use during their studies - e.g. Portico, Email, Twitter, Facebook, UCL blogs, UCL Wiki, Wikipedia, video platforms.
    Further information on using Moodle as a communication hub. (Structure)
  • Moodle Groups/Groupings are used to split larger cohorts into smaller groups for tailored communications and activities (where relevant).

    Further information on how group settings affect different activities. (Student support)

  • A meaningful and active student community is sustained (possibly with student owned or moderated forums).
    Further information on communication. (Communication)

  • Chat is used for synchronous communication.
    Further information on establishing an active student community. (Communication)


  • Detailed assignment feedback and grades are communicated to students electronically - within 4 weeks, using Moodle Assignments or Turnitin GradeMark.
  • Assessment rubrics or marking guides / grading sheets are communicated to students in advance of them producing assessed work to communicate the
    Further information on using rubrics and marking guides. Turnitin v2 supports this, as do Moodle Assignments.
  • Formative Moodle quizzes allow students to test their understanding of core concepts and provide detailed feedback to enable them to work on areas they are uncertain about. This may also include certainty based marking where students also indicate their confidence that their answer is correct.
  • Assessments should map to the module's Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and these should be communicated to students.
    Further information on assessment criteria and formative assessment.
  • Staff assign weighted grades for online and offline assessments and can then export these to excel via the Moodle Gradebook.
  • Cover sheets ask students to indicate the type of feedback they would like to receive and outline how they have acted upon prior feedback (from drafts or other assessments) to improve their work.
  • Peer feedback and/or grading forms part of the assessment process. This may be compulsory or optional.
  • Further information on providing electronic feedback.
  • Students are graded partially on how well they adhere to accessibility guidelines in their assessed work.

    Further information on grading students on their ability to produce accessible presentations and media.

Enhancing resources

Students as ChangeMakers

  • Students develop their own learning resources and share these with their peers (e.g. videos, blogs, paper summaries, quiz questions). This may form part of the assessment. The act of creating such work helps students learn the content and high-quality materials can be re-used for future cohorts of students (if permission is gained).


  • Filmed introductions from the course tutor welcome students to the course and explaining its structure, communication methods and assessments.
    Further information on developing videos. (Orientation)
  • Short filmed summaries (possibly by students) highlight the key concepts for each topic.
    Further information on developing videos.

  • Lecturecast videos - link to the Echo Centre page containing videos of lectures or personal captures for that module/programme for students to review.

Student participation

  • Online activities are used to inform face to face activities. E.g. students are asked to research and discuss a topic online in groups, prior to sharing these more widely in a face to face session.
    Further information on active participation

  • Collaborative activities are encouraged, such as asking students to contribute to a wiki of shared knowledge; or share useful resources via a forum.

  • Students are guided through a series of tasks (using branches and optionally questions) using the Moodle Lesson activity, or similar.
  • Further information on scaffolding learning using collaborative activites. (Structure)

  • Students reflect on their own learning using online tools (such as blogs, wikis, forums).

  • Students complete set tasks and lead the topic discussions. This may count as their attendance (for distance learning courses) and/or form part of their assessment.
  • Online communication tools are predominantly used to question, clarify and debate the taught concepts, rather than answer administrative queries, although a space for these is provided.


Student support

Mobile access

  • The Moodle course displays well on a smartphone, including any embedded videos, images and texts. E.g. text is not too long, but is chunked into separate pages using books or lessons.
    Further information on chunking content and embedding small images and video. (Cross platform compatibility)
  • Students can easily undertake all the online activities and discussions from a mobile device

    Further information on creating a mobile friendly course. (Cross platform compatibility)

Continual improvements

  • Activity reports identify which resources and activities are being utilised by students to help guide further development of the course.
    Further information on using activity reports to view usage of resources and activities. (Resources)
  • Student feedback is collected during the module, rather than only at the end,so students have an opportunity to help improve the course design, materials and activities to support their own learning, not just that of future cohorts. Anonymous student feedback can be gathered using the Moodle Questionnaire or the Opinio Survey tool.
    Further information on collecting feedback during the module.  (Quality Assurance)

  • Programme and module evaluation includes Moodle statistics, such as number of document views, forum messages, logins - while no indicator of the quality of a course, they contribute to an overall picture and potential difficulties.

    Further information on using Moodle statistics. (Quality Assurance)

  • Just in Time Teaching is possible using Moodle pages, books and lessons to enable materials to be quickly updated with new information.

    Further information on using internal and external resources. (Resources)

Open access

  • Students and staff are encouraged to share their own work as open educational resources (OERs) applying appropriate Creative Commons licenses.
    Further information on developing learning resources.(Student active participation)
  • Students are encouraged to use open source resources (images, sounds, video) in their own work, so this work may then be used to showcase their skills to potential employers without breaking copyright legislation.
    Further information on using open source resources.

  • Students and staff choose their own Creative Commons license to apply to open electronic resources they create for their studies and teaching purposes.

    Further information on using creative commons licenses. (Intellectual property)

Self-paced learning (where appropriate)

  • Students receive enough guidance within Moodle itself to enable them to complete the course unaided by others (essential for self-paced online courses). 
    Further information on using Moodle for self-paced learning. (Structure)


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