Monthly Archives: August 2016

TOW: Two important default settings for Moodle Gradebook

Tip of the Week


As we approach the start of the semester, now is the time to set up your gradebook in Moodle. The Moodle Gradebook has many different options for setting up a gradebook, including the use of weighted categories or total points. You can use a Moodle assignment to collect and grade assignments within Moodle, or you can just create a gradebook item and enter in the grades by hand. It allows students to track their progress throughout the semester, and faculty can give personalized feedback to each student on assignments and scores.

We want to highlight here two default settings for the Gradebook that are set when the courses are created. The first controls the visibility of the Gradebook for the students, and the default option will be for the gradebook to be visible. If you plan on using Moodle for a course, but do not want the students to see the Gradebook, then you will need to change this setting. Go to Course Administration in the left navigation bar, and click on “Edit settings.” In the Edit Course Settings page, expand the Appearance block. To hide the Gradebook, change the drop-down from Yes to No for “Show gradebook to students” as shown in the figure below, and then click “Save and display.”

HideGradebook

The second default Gradebook setting worth mentioning controls how course and category total grades are calculated. Many faculty prefer to have students view a running average for their class grade over the semester, rather than showing a grade based upon the total number of assignments. Moodle uses the function “Exclude Empty Grades” to give up-to-date running totals for the students’ grades. This is a category setting only, so it is relevant to category-based grading schemes where it adjusts calculations for the full course level category score and any sub-category score (i.e. Quizzes, Homework, etc.). This is not a setting controlled at the grade item level. It is important to point out that when the ‘Exclude empty grades’ option is activated, the calculations just ignore grades that have yet not been entered – if a zero is entered as a grade for any assignment or grade item, this does count towards the student’s score.

By default, the Gradebook will be set to display running averages. Use the following instructions if you want to change this setting so that grades are calculated using all the assignments. Select “Gradebook setup” in the left navigation bar of your course, and then click “Edit Settings” under the Actions column for the category (as seen for the Tutorials category in the image below). You will then see an Edit Category screen. GradebookEditSettings

ExcludeEmptyGradesIn the Grade category box, click “Show more,” click on the ‘Exclude empty grades’ box so that it is not checked, and then click on “Save changes.” This will then include every grade item in the course total and category total grade calculations.

For any questions about the Moodle gradebook, don’t hesitate to contact your Instructional Technologist.

TOW: Adding library articles to your Moodle course

Tip of the Week

Trinity’s Library provides access to a rich collection of online journal articles and other materials you may want to assign to your students. Most of the databases in which these articles are found provide a handy URL that you can easily plug into your Moodle course. This method of providing course readings can eliminate the hassle of uploading pdf files, and it also leads students directly to the journal database where they can browse further.

The terms databases commonly use are Stable URL, Permanent URL, or Permalink. The example below is taken from an article record in JSTOR, which uses the first term.  Just copy the URL link, and add it to your Moodle course (Go to “Add and Activity or Resource,” then select “URL” at the very bottom). Now your students will be able to access the article directly in JSTOR.

jstor_permaurl

Many of the library subscription databases come from the vendor Ebsco, and therefore share the same user interface. The second example is taken from the Ebsco database Wilson Omnifile. In the record view, look for the right-hand menu of options where “Permalink” is listed.

omnifilepermalink

Trinity’s Research librarians are very familiar with our database interfaces and collections. Please feel free to contact them for any assistance with our research collections.

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Lynda.com

What is Lynda.com?

Lynda.com is a massive archive of video tutorials. It’s a great way students, faculty and staff can learn specific software (like every variety of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint), programming concepts and skills (like WordPress, HTML, CSS and Javascript) and design principles (like typography, color theory and typography).

How do I log in?

Every member of the Trinity community has access to Lynda.com, on campus or away!

First way:

  1. Click this link to go to lynda.com
  2. Log in with your Trinity College username and password.
  3. The first time you do this, you’ll need to verify that the information we’re using to authenticate is correct.

Second way: 

  1. Go to lynda.com
  2. Select “Log in” on the upper-right part of the screen
  3. In the dialog box that pops up, click on “organization login” then scroll down to “enter your organization’s URL.” This is trincoll.edu
  4. Log in with your credentials. Again, the first time you do this, you’ll need to verify your authentication information.

How do I find what I need?

There are a lot of videos on Lynda.com, and it can be hard to know what one you need. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find the content that will fit your needs.

  1. Use Lynda’s search feature. Start by entering the specific name of the software you’re looking for (like Microsoft Office 2016 – it’s important to include the version) and the phrase “essential training.” This will return a list of videos and courses that the Lynda.com editors have flagged as, well, “essential” for the software you are learning.
  2. Browse Lynda’s library. lynda_topicsIf you know the general discipline of the skill you’d like to learn, Lynda’s library has a nice interface for browsing their content. Clicking the “library” link next to the search bar will open a tray of all the disciplines Lynda covers. So if you want to learn about typography, you can probably find a lot of great tutorials in the Design category. Here’s what the library browse tray looks like:
  3. Take a look at one of Trinity’s curated playlists. Our curated playlists are works in progress, and we’re adding more all the time. Below are the ones we have put together so far, but if you’re looking for something different, make an appointment with the STA office, and they can help you find what you are looking for.

Curated Playlists

Fall 2016 EdTech Workshops

Already know what workshop you want to register for? Use this link!

WordPress Basics

Learn to:

  • Add text, photos and images to WordPress sites (posts and pages)
  • Categorize content, add tags and organize posts
  • Save drafts and publish posts and pages
  • Create navigation menus and add them to WordPress sites
  • Cite sources and link to other sites associated to your topics
  • Explore WordPress themes and their customization options

Introduction to Bloomberg

Learn to:

  • Create a login for Bloomberg Professional
  • Navigate the terminal using the specialized keyboard
  • Understand basic commands for accessing news and market information
  • Explore more advanced features, including financial analysis and charts
  • Access Bloomberg certification programs

Presentation Skills

Learn to:

  • Focus your topic and content for the presentation time and space
  • Understand your audience’s needs and expectations
  • Create effective visual aids
  • Use the technology in Trinity classrooms
  • Deliver your presentations with poise and confidence

You must pre-register for these workshops. Links in the workshop, date and time columns will take you to the specific registration page for that workshop.

WORKSHOP DATE TIME* LOCATION INSTRUCTOR
WordPress Basics 9/20 1:15 Phalen Library Learning Center Cheryl Cape
WordPress Basics 9/22 2:40 Phalen Library Learning Center Dave Tatem
Intro To Bloomberg 9/26 1:15 Financial Research & Technology Center Cheryl Cape
Intro To Bloomberg 10/5 2:40 Financial Research & Technology Center Cheryl Cape
WordPress Basics 11/1 2:40 Phalen Library Learning Center Sue Denning
WordPress Basics 11/3 1:15 Phalen Library Learning Center Amy Harrell
Presentation Skills 11/17 2:40 Phalen Library Learning Center Sue Denning
Presentation Skills 11/29 1:15 Phalen Library Learning Center Dave Tatem

*All workshops are 1-hour long

TOW: New Features in Moodle

 

Tip of the Week

As is usually the case, we’ve updated Moodle over the summer, and are now offering Moodle 3.0. In addition to a variety of behind-the-scenes updates, there are a few new features that may be relevant to your fall courses:

  • There are four new question types for quizzes, two involving text, and two involving images. The text types are: select missing word (multiple-choice fill-in-the-blank) and drag-and-drop into text (same, but with a drag-and-drop interface rather than selecting from a list). The image types are: drag-and-drop onto an image, which lets students drag text or small images onto larger images, and drag-and-drop markers, which lets students add text markers to predefined locations.
  • If you use the Workshops feature, showcased during SITT, it now lets you see at-a-glance who has/has not participated.
  • You can optionally set your course to display the dates you uploaded files or other resources, which may help students focus on new material.
  • There are also some simplifications to the course editing process.
  • The text editor features improved handling of tables.

If you’d prefer these features recapped in an Australian-accented jaunty video, well, that’s also available:

As always, if you have questions about anything involving Moodle, please get in touch with your instructional technologist!

Copying a Moodle course from a previous semester

Tip of the Week

If you’re at all like me, you’ve looked at the calendar, and realized that it’s August 8th! That’s right – fall classes start in just a few weeks. Fortunately, there is one task that is easy to get out of the way, and thanks to this summer’s Moodle upgrade, you can copy your Moodle course from a previous semester to this fall’s course instance with just a few clicks.

Keep in mind, this process will take a few minutes, depending on the amount of content you have in the course you are copying. It will probably take less time if you do this while on campus (since you will be on the same network as the Moodle server).

01_Import_CourseHere’s how to copy your course:

  1. Go to the Fall 16 instance of your course, and find the Administration box. It’s usually in the left-hand column, but that might be different if you have customized your Moodle layout. Click the Import link. The administration box looks like the image on the right.
  2. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select the course to copy content from. Chances are, you have more courses in Moodle than can fit in this small window, so you will need to refine the display by entering a key term to identify the course. You can use the course number, or a keyword to refine the results. Enter the terms, then click Search.
  3. When you’ve found the course you are copying from, select the radio button next to that course title and click Continue02_Import_Course
  4. On the next screen, you most likely want to click the Jump to final step button. This will copy everything from the course you selected in Step 3 except for the participant list. (If you want to copy only some of the content from the course, you can click the Next button, and that will give you the option to select specific files from the previous course instance – but you can always copy the entire course and delete what you don’t want to use this fall.)
  5. When the import is done, you’ll get a green confirmation box, and click the Continue button. Your course should look exactly like the previous semester’s course.

If you run into issues, the STA Program is your first stop for getting help. If they encounter issues as well, they can help escalate to your Instructional Technologist with more accurate troubleshooting information.

Hopefully, copying your Moodle course content with just a few clicks relieves some of the semester start-up stress!