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Place holder page for information regarding creation and use of Moodle test accounts

Table of Contents

Overview

This guidance is for staff who have requested to be able to log into Moodle in a Student role.

We know that it is immensely helpful for Moodle editors to adopt the point-of-view of a student when making decisions about the design and settings of their Moodle course areas.

In allowing these Test Moodle Accounts to be shared among UCL staff, we in ELE have decided to incur a small risk in order to minimise what we consider a greater risk of staff making decisions about their Moodle areas without being able to empathise with their student users - with all the confusion, wasted time and student dissatisfaction that can ensue.

If you use Moodle Quizzes for e-examinations it is important you read and understand the implications of using these test accounts, especially that without a password on the Quiz your students, and others, may be able to preview the exam questions.

Info

The instructions below are important to the continuation of this Test Moodle Account service - please read them.

Why are Test Moodle Accounts helpful?

They can help Moodle editors grasp the implications of their design decisions (beyond what Moodle's 'Switch Role To' function allows) including:

  • anticipating students' needs when making design decisions in your Moodle area.
  • reassuring yourself about exactly what students can access, eg when you're hiding or revealing elements, when using Groups and Groupings, or using the Gradebook to give assessment feedback.
  • familiarising yourself with the way things display to students eg Quizzes, the Gradebook, Forum posts, email alerts.
  • anticipating student questions and authoring instructions for students from their point of view.
  • invaluable insights when experimenting with something new in Moodle; interacting with the new thing in one or more student roles, then logging back in as editor to see whether it works as intended from a tutor point of view.

This is helpful because:

  • you can test and check as you go along - in other words you can play and experiment within Moodle.
  • you're independent and don't have to rely on colleagues to pose as students.
  • you can design your Moodle areas more empathetically, which hopefully makes them easier to use, which in turn means fewer student questions and more student satisfaction.
  • if you want to persuade your colleagues to try something new in Moodle, you don't have to rely on their imaginations or optimism so much - you can actually show them, and even let them log in and play.

A few of the things you can only do with confidence if you can log in as Test Students with LDAP authentication include:

  • Testing bulk enrolment into Groups
  • Testing the difference between separate and visible Groups
  • Testing whether your private Forum really is private.
  • Testing whether the things you need to be hidden from view really are hidden from view (and whether they are available when the time comes for them to be revealed).
  • Testing whether your Grouped resources and activities are displaying to your different Groups and Groupings as intended.
  • Testing whether emails (eg MyPortfolio notifications about shared resources) are working, and how they behave, so you can instruct students about settings in a way appropriate for your course.

Why not give each department its own Test Moodle Account?

  • Colleagues may want or need to experiment with several accounts at once - eg with Groups, Forums, etc.
  • In ELE's judgement there would be little difference, in terms of privacy and security, between sharing test accounts among staff in a department and among staff in the whole institution. However, we will be taking a different approach with Moodle areas which contain materials for which conditional permission has been given (e.g. patient images or client case studies) - here we will be guided by course leaders.
  • ELE is experimenting with the most straightforward approach first.

What do I need to know to use these?

  • You can enrol (i.e. join) Test Moodle Accounts to your Moodle area via its Settings menu. For step-by-step instructions see the Manual Enrolment guide.
  • For usernames and passwords, contact ele@ucl.ac.uk.
  • You can have more than one - but please avoid asking for many more than you need.
  • These accounts are shared widely and will have a life of their own - so don't count on them necessarily remaining in the state you left them (though they probably will). They're intended for ephemeral experiments.
  • These accounts need to be given only Student roles on Moodle areas - don't give them any other roles. ELE will know!
  • Good to know - if you open two different web browsers (eg Firefox and Safari) you can be logged on as yourself in one and as a test user in another.
  • To give your test student access, you'll need to temporarily unhide your Moodle course.

Please!

  • Treat the login details as confidentially as your own - even though you know other staff may already have them. This is because we want to ensure that only staff can use these accounts and that actual students can't access a Moodle area there is a good reason for them not to see. In ELE's judgment, the risk of this is low and we have decided to trade it off against the benefits of having Test Moodle Accounts. If we turn out to be wrong we'll be asked to end this service - so please be responsible with these login details.
  • Only ever use them in a Student role - this is because they are shared and we don't want them to have unaccountable edit access.
  • Remember, they are shared. This means that any staff member logged in as Abeeku Student can access all the other Moodle areas where Abeeku is enrolled.
  • Clear up after your test user - once you're finished (even if it's a few days or weeks later) then delete any forum posts, etc, and ideally unenrol them from the area until you need to use them again.
  • Testing a Quiz? then take a simple measure to prevent other students getting a preview: password-protect your Quiz during testing. For testing Moodle Lessons, contact ELE.
  • Testing Turnitin? Set it up as a DRAFT and not to add submissions to the Student Repository - because test documents submitted to Turnitin are difficult to remove and should only be submitted under the name of the actual author - not a test account.