Why are Moodle test 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.
- 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 from news/announcement forums are working, and how they behave, so you can instruct students about settings in a way appropriate for your course.
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.
What your test accounts can access
The accounts are Moodle only and cannot be used to access other UCL services requiring full user accounts, these include:
- Library facilities that require UCL log-ins, e.g electronic journals.
- Turnitn (All test account's emails default to the address of the person requesting account and are therefore not unique - uniqueness of email address is required by the Turnitin system)
- The Lecturecast system
- The Portico system
- The MyPortfolio system
Guidelines for account usage
- Treat the login details as confidentially as your own.
- Only ever use them in a Student role*.
- If you test accounts are used on a live course (as opposed to a Moodle test course) then it is good practice to delete any data associated with testing you've carried out, this could be; Forum posts, assignment uploads, choices etc.
*The exception is for the Hands-On With Turnitin & Moodle space, where there is no confidential information.
Instructions - how to create Moodle student test accounts
Log into Moodle.
Navigate to any space where you have the role of Tutor or Administrator. Near the bottom of the 'Administration' Block click on 'Create Test User Accounts'.
On the page which displays, fill in the details of number of accounts required, days they should be active etc.
The accounts your request will be automatically enrolled onto the current Moodle space - you can also enrol them onto other spaces where you need to test things out from a student point of view.
Important: Ensure that you make a note of the password you choose before saving the request, if you forget this password you will not be able to use the test accounts you've just created, and if you've reached your limit of 15 accounts you won't be able to create new ones until existing ones have expired.
Note that you can specify one email address. The form defaults to your own UCL address but you can use any email address that you own.
You can alter email addresses retrospectively, but it requires you to log into each individual account and changing the forwarding address in that test account's profile.
Once you've created your test accounts you will receive an email from the system detailing the usernames of the accounts you've created - these will be your own username with '_xx' appended. The email also contains details of how long your accounts will be active for. Note that accounts reclaimed by the system overnight on the expiry date specified in the email, so the accounts last a little longer than the confirmation email states.