We held our latest SMUG Meet on the 7th of June at West College Scotland in their Abercorn Conferencing Centre; over 30 SMUG people (I do love that acronym) attended and a range of genuinely interesting presentations shared. Below, you’ll find a taste of what was delivered on the day.

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.

SMUG Meet Programme – 7th June

Autoenrol Cohort to Database Enrolments
James MacNee, Systems Development Team Leader, West College Scotland

West College Scotland are making the transition from using the ‘Autoenrol Cohort’ plugin to enrol students to using the ‘Cohort External Database’ plugin. James will describe the pros, cons and flaws encountered in each approach. There will be an overview of the flow of data between Unit-E, Active Directory and Moodle. The chosen approaches will be contrasted against available alternatives.


Using Moodle as a Platform for Public Engagement
Lizzie Seymour, Learning Technology Officer, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

RZSS Discovery and Learning have been using Moodle successfully in our outreach and schools programme for a few years, and recently we have been trialling its use in our public engagement activities, particularly aimed at furthering our younger visitors’ engagement with conservation beyond their visits to Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park.


Offline Marking of Practical Exams using OSCEMark
Gordon McLeod, Learning Technologist, University of Glasgow Vet School

Practical skills demonstration is a key component of professional degrees such as medicine, nursing and veterinary medicine. During an OSCE, students typically move from room to room along a corridor, demonstrate the appropriate skill to the assessor, then proceed to their next station, all against a ticking clock. At Glasgow Vet School we developed an app to sync assessment forms between a Moodle database activity and a handheld tablet, replacing the paper clipboard and burden of processing thousands of marking sheets with an electronic solution.


Breaking the Moodle Wheel (a reference for all you GoT fans)
Angela Tinney, Education Futures, UWS

We’re looking to pick the collective brain and experience of SMUG. Imagine you had the chance to rebuild your institution’s Moodle from scratch. Or maybe you’ve already been through this process. This will be an interactive discussion about the possibilities of starting afresh and how to achieve this. We’re looking for the good, the bad and the ugly. What would you/did you do differently? How would/did you manage this transition?

We’ve set up an online survey to find out how others have gone about deploying a new Moodle instance; for the next SMUG Meet, we’ll report back on what we learned and share our plans of how we’re going to develop our new Moodle.


The User Experience of Navigating Moodle
Kat Husbands, UX Content Specialist, University of Glasgow

Overview of a user research project with the goal of making the University of Glasgow’s Moodle easier to navigate. We generated 16 technical recommendations and 4 best practice recommendations – might some of them help you too? And how could you learn from observing your Moodle users?

You might also be interested in the UofG UX blog and the University’s UX Framework. If you’re interested in seeing the full research report, including the 20 recommendations, email Kat Husbands for a copy.


Using Teams as an Alternative to Moodle to Help Engage Entry Level College Students
Avril Edmond, Learning Technologist, Ayrshire College

HIVE (Hope, Inspiration and Vision in Education) is a bespoke learning space within Ayrshire College which focuses on preparing young people for life, learning and work. These programmes aim to develop essential skills, motivation and self-confidence in an innovative and engaging way.

Traditionally students on these courses are already disengaged from education, often due to a lack of positive education and/or life experiences. For this reason the use of Moodle appears to be a ‘step too far’ and something which does not really meet their needs.

This year, a small-scale pilot study trialed the use of Teams as a means of communicating and engaging with students on one class as an alternative to Moodle. One of the aims of the HIVE courses is RARA (Recruitment, Attendance, Retention and Attainment) and evidence suggests that Teams can help achieve three of these four aims.

This presentation describes student involvement in the process, feedback from staff and students from this trial, and future applications.


collection of 4 images from a meeting featuring a remote presence robot and star wars force trainer toy

And well, that was it really … we played around with a Double robot (for peopled joining the session via VC) and did unbox a Force Trainer and had a go at seeing if anyone could master the Force and discovered that Craig B. was the only one with a significant number of midi-chlorians in his system. Might give it another go at the next SMUG Meet. 😉