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You can see examples of the Moodle tools that help you to use Moodle as a communication hub on UCL Moodle: https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=218


Your presence in Moodle


  • Make your posts and messages stand out so people can see at a glance who is communicating? Do you want to:
  • configure the way Moodle appears to your own preferences?
  • provide an immediate visual cue about your identity (a profile picture)?


  • Forums - need-to-know info and discussion

Do you?

  • think your students would benefit from more interaction between face-to-face sessions?Do you:
  • think your students sometimes feel isolated?
  • sometimesneedcontacteveryoneonyourcoursewithouthassle?
  • find it helpful if your course communications to be recorded in one place, for reference


  • The News Forum is a special type. Only course staff can initiate messages and those are always emailed. Keep this channel free for need-to-know, mission-critical information about the course.


Groups - targeted communications


Do you want to:


  • communicate with different sub-groups of students?
  • set up an activity (e.g. discussion forum) just once but run it for different groups in parallel?
  • allocate students and staff to more than one group at once?
  • automatically assign students to their groups when they first enter your course area?


  • have different cohorts share an area and selectively show different links to different cohorts?

Version control - avoiding misinformation

Do you?

  • have documents which change frequently or regularly e.g. handbooks, reference documents?Do you:
  • have documents which students tend to refer to online rather than downloading?
  • want to avoid confusion where people don't realise that the version they have downloaded is out of date?
  • want to reduce the time you spend editing and re-uploading resources on Moodle?
  • want to make an online document which is both easily editable and easily printable?
  • want to improve the experience of your readers, especially on mobile devices?
  • want to automatically display when a document was last updated?
  • want difficult course terms to link to your course Glossary?


  • want to use other media than text in your course documents?


Hot Question - eliciting questions

Do you want to?

  • enable students to pose questions which others can see?Do you want to:


  • get students generating questions in advance of their seminar, lecture, or tutorial?
  • enable students to vote on each others' questions?
  • as staff, follow their activities?
  • optionally, allow anonymous questions from reticent students?


  • Choice - asking a question


want to gauge opinion on something?

Do you:

  • want to collect information about something in particular?
  • want to find out what your students would like you to prioritise?
  • have something to give away or to sign up for, on a first-come-first-served basis?


  • Blocks - orientation, navigation, alerts, updates and more

Do you want to?

  • Keep some information visible and salient on your course area's front page?Do you want to:
  • Promote updates to e.g. the News Forum?
  • Give some extra help with navigation and orientation?


  • Offer some extra tools for students?

Scheduler - convenient meeting arrangements


  • Make it easy for students to see when you're free, and take a slot on a first-come-first-served basis, individually or in groups?Do you want to:
  • Make it clear to students which slots are still free and which are taken?
  • Allow students to make their own cancellation, and free up their slot?
  • Avoid having to administrate this yourself?


  • Be able to see who's coming to see you when, without returning to a piece of paper you left on your door for them to put their names on?

Glossaries - clickable jargon-busting

Do you?

  • think that students are sometimes hindered by difficulties grasping core course concepts?Do you
  • have a hunch that technical terms or jargon pose difficulties in your course?
  • have to answer some questions repeatedly?


  • optionally, want students to be able to collaborate on authoring definitions?

Calendar - just for your Moodle course

Draw attention to course deadlines?
Do you want to:

  • Make a diary dedicated to your course, for extra-curricular events beyond the Common Timetable?
  • Promote events outside your course but very relevant?
  • Display different key dates to different Groups in your Moodle area?
  • Example: See the Calendar and Upcoming Events Blocks here on this Moodle area.


  • Example: See too the Calendar documentation at moodle.org.


Chat - real time text communication


Do you want to:

  • arrange an online drop-in session where you'll be around to join in with a chat?
  • provide an always-on space for your students to chat in?


  • make the transcripts available for future reference?



Conditional release - to access x, first do y


Do you want to:

  • Direct students' attention to something in particular before they proceed on to the next thing?
  • Make sure students have achieved a certain score or level of knowledge before they can proceed?
  • Persuade students to do something optional (e.g. complete a questionnaire) by rewarding them afterwards with something they value?
  • Make time-bound information disappear on a certain date?


  • You can make access to a given Moodle activity or resource contingent on students having fulfilled certain criteria elsewhere.

Blackboard Collaborate and BigBlueButton - rich online meetings


Bb Collaborate and BigBlueButton are alternatives for web meetings from your desk (or wherever) which need a separate session - for now just be aware that you can
hold web meetings with voice, video and chat.
they can be one-to-one, seminar, or larger
they can be recorded for posterity.
UCL also offers a bookable video conferencing service.


Reports & Logs - implicit feedback from students


Do you want to:

  • get feedback on how a certain resource or activity has been used over time?
  • find out how a certain student has been participating in this online part of the course?
  • get a sense of last minuteness on the part of students?


  • easily contact students based on participation (e.g. to remind them to do something)?


RSS Feeds - bringing the outside in


Do you want to:

  • highlight Moodle Forum discussion topics by displaying them on the course homepage?


  • promote news from, say, your departmental website, your discipline's professional body, a journal, or a blog?


Questionnaire - input from students


Do you want to:

  • collect data from your course area participants in the form of a questionnaire?
  • be able to do this anonymously?
  • be able to download the data for analysis?


  • There's a Moodle Questionnaire tool which allows you to ask different types of questions, view the responses in different ways, and download them as a spreadsheet.

Opinio

If you want to use Question branching or require people outside of UCL to answer a questionnaire you might like to use UCL's survey tool called *Opinio: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/services/learning-teaching/e-learning-staff/e-learning-core-tools/opinio 
* Note: Opinio requires you to import student lists and send out the link via email or by posting it on your Moodle course page. If you use the Moodle questionnaire students access it via the Moodle course homepage, like any other activity.




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