Moodle can be a valuable resources for managing remote learning. Here are a few tools that will be helpful to utilize in Moodle:

Forums

The forum activity module enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time. To add a new forum:

  1. Turn editing on in the upper right hand corner of your course page
  2. Select ‘Add an activity or resource’ in the section where you would like to add the forum
  3. Select ‘Forum’ from the list of activities in the pop up that appears’
  4. Give the forum a name (what students will see on the main page of your Moodle course to get to the forum) and a description (this is a good place to outline your expectations for how the forum is used, whether it’s posting writing drafts, responding to readings, or even sharing images of your workspaces).
  5. Next, choose the type of forum; the default option is Standard forum for general use, which allows a lot of flexibility in how you and your students utilize the forum:
    • A single simple discussion – A single discussion topic which everyone can reply to (cannot be used with separate groups)
    • Each person posts one discussion – Each student can post exactly one new discussion topic, which everyone can then reply to
    • Q and A forum – Students must first post their perspectives before viewing other students’ posts
    • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with “Discuss this topic” links
    • Standard forum for general use – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time

A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.

Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.

Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook.

Forums have many uses, such as

  • A social space for students to get to know each other
  • For course announcements (using a news forum with forced subscription)
  • For discussing course content or reading materials
  • For continuing online an issue raised previously in a face-to-face session
  • For teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
  • A help centre where tutors and students can give advice
  • A one-on-one support area for private student-teacher communications (using a forum with separate groups and with one student per group)

Once a forum is created, students will see the option to ‘Start a New Discussion’ (you’ll also see this when you click into the forum). Students can also reply to each others’ posts. Please note: by default, students have a 5 minute window to edit their posts after submitting them.

You can also change your preferences in Moodle to select how you receive email notifications for forums you are subscribed to.

Assignments

The assignment activity module enables a teacher to communicate tasks, collect work and provide grades and feedback. To add a new assignment:

  1. Turn editing on in the upper right hand corner of your course page
  2. Select ‘Add an activity or resource’ in the section where you would like to add the forum
  3. Select ‘Assignment’ from the list of activities in the pop up that appears’
  4. Give the assignment a name (what students will see on the main page of your Moodle course to get to the forum) and a description (this is a good place to outline your expectations for the assignment, or upload the assignment guidelines as a file).
  5. Set the others options, such as submission type and due date, for your needs. Be sure to set the grade options for the assignment if you are using the Moodle gradebook

With an assignment students can submit any files, such as word documents, spreadsheets, images, audio, and video clips. Alternatively, or in addition, the assignment may require students to type text directly into the text editor. An assignment can also be used to remind students of ‘real-world’ assignments they need to complete offline and not require any digital content. 

Students can submit work individually or as a member of a group. When reviewing assignments, teachers can leave feedback comments and upload files, such as marked-up student submissions, documents with comments or spoken audio feedback. Assignments can be graded using a numerical or custom scale or an advanced grading method such as a rubric. Final grades are recorded in the gradebook.

Quizzes

A quiz can be used as a quiz, test or exam for your course, and will appear in your Moodle Gradebook.  As an activity on Moodle, quizzes have a variety of settings (Moodle Quiz Guide) that can make them useful in different situations. They can be configured to allow multiple attempts and only report the best score. Or they can be time-limited, so that students must complete the assessment in a certain period of time.

You can also use the User Overrides setting to allow for different configurations for different users, which is helpful for providing testing accommodations like extended time. Here is a short video demo by AIA Brad Belbas that covers how to use these override settings.

Please note that when scheduling time limited quizzes or exams, there are two ways to control students’ ability to interact with a Moodle quiz module. The first is visibility using the show/hide option under “Common Module Settings” -> “Availability” under the edit settings portion of Quiz Administration. The second is using the Timing section of the Edit Settings menu inside Quiz Administration. Please note that the timing section’s availability will not override the hidden/show section of the module. If the module is visible but accessed by a student outside the scheduled time, it will show a message like the one below:

If you’re curious about what test-takers see when they take a quiz, or want a better understanding of certain settings, here is a guide to the student experience of a Moodle quiz (gdoc).

Quiz Questions

Each quiz activity is constructed from questions in the course questions bank. A question bank is a portion of your Moodle course which contains all the questions for quiz activities on your page. Once set up for a course it can be migrated to future courses as well.

Use the (QB)2 Question Bank Builder add-on in Google Sheets to quickly build a question bank in Moodle. Designed by UCLA’s Humanities Technology team, (QB)2  has a quick and thorough tutorial which outlines how to use their template to quickly create question banks.

There are many different kinds of quiz questions, including multiple choice, true/false, matching and short answer.

The essay question type is best for manually graded written answers. It can be set up to allow uploaded submissions, or to require students to enter their answers in a text box. You can also create pre-configured response templates, if you want student responses to be structured in a certain way. Grading essay questions doesn’t have the PDF Grader features that Moodle Assignments do, but it does allow teachers to provide written, video or audio feedback.

You can insert audio or video into quiz questions, which might be especially useful for language classes, or situations where instructors want students to respond to a multimedia text. You can link to these media files if they’re online somewhere (e.g. Youtube or Google Drive) or you can embed a file in the quiz question itself. For this latter option, you must add your media file into the question text with the Insert Moodle Media button:

The media can be previously uploaded to the Moodle course, or uploaded during Insert Moodle Media process, then added to the text.