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These tips are based on a presentation given at the Goldsmith's Teaching and Learning Conference by Andrea Sella
(aka SellaTheChemist from UCL Chemistry). The presentation slides are here : My Learning Landscapes (pdf)

Communication

Ensure students feel like they can contribute to the group!

Rules!

  • Never answer a question by email (unless it's personal) > you should reply "post this to the forum" Why? Because 359 other students have the same question
  • Respond to general questions quickly
  • Respond to course work related questions more slowly or better still with "anyone out there have any suggestions?" > You don't really explain the material until you explain it to someone else.
  • Post regularly to the Learning Exchange and encourage students to do the same

Tips!

  • Having a Twitter tag for the module allows for rapid response and comment during labs and in lectures - you can use Tweetdeck to look at these during / after the class
  • Encourage students to upload a profile picture to make conversations in the discussion forum and elsewhere easier to follow
  • Allow students to rate posts to highlight the especially useful contributions

The 5 types of forums 

  • Announcements from staff
  • Admin Q&A - for general questions
  • Topic specific fora (so staff and students can subscribe selectively - in large groups colleagues can distribute the workload of replying by subscribing to the forum related to their specialisms)
  • Learning Exchange > where staff and students post links to interesting articles, videos etc.
  • Wishlist / suggestion box forum? (could be anonymous)

Add dynamic content

Much of this can be automated.

  • add events to the calendar > you can now import calendars into Moodle using the ical import feature
  • use the upcoming events block so students get reminders about due dates etc.
  • add the recent activity block so students see new materials as it's posted
  • create a student contributed glossary of terms
  • add RSS feeds to relevant materials (e.g. news, journals and magazine articles)
  • if you tweet add a Twitter widget to your Moodle course homepage
  • put pictures on each page

Assessment

  • develop revision quizzes for students to help them gauge their progress and provide detailed feedback regardless of whether they got the answer correct or not
  • give a small percentage of the final grade for engaging with the Moodle course activities
  • High score - games > using the quizzes block
  • confidence based marking to build virtuous feedback loops into revision.
  • In addition to revision quizzes - encourage students to use Peerwise to contribute their own questions (add a link to your Moodle course)  these questions become a useful source of new questions that can be added to the existing bank for future years
  • Keeping track of 600 questions (tag them so they can be found again)
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