At our latest SMUG Meet, we all met up on the sunny shores of St. Andrews University, and although we didn’t make it to the beach (this time!), we did hear from an excellent group of speakers. Really, it was the perfect way to end off a week.
Quick note – if you would like to join SMUG (Scottish Moodle User Group), then sign up to our free mailing list where we post notices of future SMUG Meets and the community of over 200 Moodle users can share their thought and experiences.
First up was Mark Glynn, who was kind enough to step in at the last moment and deliver a piece on the work DCU had done on assessment calendars.
Mark Glynn, Head of Teaching Enhancement, Dublin City University
On so many occasions assessment across a programme can be disconnected. More often than not, lecturer “A” doesn’t talk to lecturer “B” to discuss assessments, to identify opportunities for collaboration, or at the very least avoid poor scheduling of assignments.
Even in circumstances where discussion does take place, it normally relies on an individual, such as the programme coordinator, to instigate conversations with each of the individual lecturers and collate assessment information for the student handbook. In addition to the additional workload created for the coordinator, this handbook information can very quickly go out of date if lecturers decide that they need to change their assessment arrangements for their modules.
Chris Sumner, South Lanarkshire College
Moodle can now be integrated with Microsoft Teams (along with an optional Moodle chatbot). Chris will talk you through SLC’s experience of the integration, covering the pros and cons of the approach, and how they are currently integrating the platforms.
Jasmin Hodge, Forth Valley College
The ‘Grid’ course format has been Moodle’s most popular download (closely followed by ‘Collapsed topics’. And Labels have been a core part of Moodle for as long as anyone can remember. This presentation will introduce two new developments, which breathe new life into Grids and Labels, overcoming previous issues and adding welcome new features.
Developed by Gareth Barnard, these plugins are still going through the approval process at Moodle.org and are expected to be available shortly, but SMUG members can access the plugins by following the two links below. Remember, if you’re trying these out, then put them on your development server!
I just added the video above to give you an impression of what the updated Grid (sorry, Flexible Course) Format looks like – well worth a look if you haven’t clicked on it already. That isn’t Jasmin speaking in video before you ask, it’s just something I found on YouTube (which saves me recording something myself!). The Structured Label adds the ability to insert buttons into your labels; you can use this as a way of improving navigation around a course, or linking out to external content. It’s not a significant improvement on what was there before, but will definitely make life easier for some!
Ken Currie, CAPDM
This presentation will show how ‘interactive content’ libraries, such as H5P, can be fully integrated into Moodle Activities, such as Book, Page, and Lesson. It will show, too, how this can be done to scale and in a manner that matches the intention and interpretation of the learning materials when delivered online. The underlying approach will emphasise the value in developing a digital repository of these pedagogically sound learning assets independent of the delivery environment.
Lee Coomber, University of St. Andrews
Based on survey and design sprint feedback, our students expressed a desire for more streamlined access to course materials and learning activities. This talk outlines how we are starting to achieve that outcome through integrations and re-skinning of systems.
Stephen Bruce, Edinburgh Napier University
Hear our story of running this two-week course giving academics experience of being a fully online learner. I’ll describe the course design principles, themes and activities, and lessons learned.