AuthorSue Denning

ToW: Moodle Docs for this page provides contextual help

While our Moodle Resource Center should be your first stop for common Moodle issues and Trinity-specific help, the Moodle platform provides a link to more detailed documentation at the bottom of every page.

Just scroll ALLllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the screen, and you will see a link that says “Moodle Docs for this page.” 

Moodle Docs for this page

The best part about this link is that it will take you to documentation for the specific type of tool you are using. So if you’re setting up the Assignment tool, the link will take you directly to the documentation for the Assignment tool.

Full details about all the settings for every tool can be found in the Moodle Docs. This information can be a little overwhelming, but if you’re having trouble with the many options and settings Moodle offers for every tool, this can be a helpful place to start (I use it all the time – in fact, most of the time when you call me with a tricky Moodle question, I’m using this tool to find the answers you need).

*Please keep in mind that not all the of the settings and tools mentioned in the general Moodle Docs are always available on our Trinity instance of Moodle.

TOW: The Moodle Resource Website is Ready to Help!

Tip of the WeekAre you new to using Moodle at Trinity College? Or are you a Moodle veteran who suspects something simple has changed, or you’re missing a step?

The Moodle Resource Website, at, probably has the answers you’re looking for, including:

  • How to make your course visible to students
  • How to add your TA
  • How to upload files
  • How to import materials from a previous semester
  • … and more!

Visit to get started. If there is a topic that you would like to see included on the site, email your Instructional Technologist.

If you need immediate help on your Moodle course, the STA desk is the fastest way to get help. Visit their information on the Trinity website at this link or contact them:

TOW: Audio Feedback in Moodle, with PoodLL

Tip of the Week

If you’ve noticed a blue puppy dog icon as an option in Assignments, Quizzes and Forums in Moodle, you probably didn’t realize it was an indicator for a tool that will let you give audio files as feedback. Meed PoodLL, a Moodle plugin that lets you (and students) record audio directly in Moodle, without having to go through a separate upload process.poodll-audio

PoodLL can do a lot, but perhaps one of the most helpful features is the ability to provide audio feedback to student assignments. You just need to make sure the PoodLL option is checked in the Feedback Type area of the Assignment or Quiz you’re working with in Moodle.

Image showing PoodLL feedback option checked.

Make sure “Feedback PoodLL” is checked wherever you might want to include audio feedback.

This doesn’t mean you are required to leave feedback as audio, but it gives you the option to add audio. You can still leave comments just as you always could.

When you grade assignments, you’ll see a recorder bar below the feedback box. You may have to give PoodLL permission to record sound, but for the most part, you just need to click the record button, and talk into your computer’s microphone. (Just speaking normally should give you pretty decent results.)

Click the big red button to record your audio.

Click the big red button to record your audio.

As always, the STAs are equipped to help you get started with PoodLL, and you can make an appointment with them, or drop in during their regular hours.

What is 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, on campus or away!

First way:

  1. Click this link to go to
  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
  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
  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, 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 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.

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

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!

Help, I Have a Pile of Research and I Don’t Know What It Means and I’m Tired of Reading: Digital Tools for Understanding Research

On May 17th, 2016, the Trinity College Library and Center for Teaching and Learning hosted a workshop for faculty on practical applications of the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This post the digital tools preview that were previewed during that presentation. Contact your Instructional Technologist to learn more about incorporating these tools into your course curriculum.

Reasons to Embrace Digital Tools in the Research Process

There is an “analog” version of all these tools, but there are three key reasons to encourage students to use digital tools in their research process.


Since all these tools live on students’ drives or server space, they are easier to transport from library to living space to classroom and back again. Paper versions of documents and notes are also portable, but not as physically convenient to transport as digital files.

They also allow students to transport research from one semester to another. An article that is not useable in a 200-level course research project might be more relevant to a topic they pursue their senior year. A student is more likely to keep a digital file, and be able to access it, than a stack of papers that gets filed away.


The digital tools summarized here are much more shareable than their paper counterparts. Students can selectively share work in progress or completed projects with selected recipients or publish to a general audience on the web.

Visual & Interactive

One of the struggles we face with students who are new to academic research is that they need to develop new habits of learning and engage with scholarly content in formats that have typically seen in a “summarized” format before college. When students use digital tools to effectively deconstruct research materials and work with them in visual and interactive mediums, they will develop a more complete and meaningful understanding of the research they are working with.

Reference Management Tools



  • Store documents (as PDFs or HTML) and their bibliographic information, often by clipping directly from a browser
  • Group references into shareable collections or notebooks
  • Add notes
  • Use tags and keywords to identify concepts in articles and relationships between articles
  • Organize and save research materials that might not be appropriate for a current project for future semesters.

Text Analysis



  • A large corpus of documents can be quickly analyzed, and word patterns can be quickly identified in a visual and interactive manner;  this can help students focus on research materials that are best for their research topic
  • More relevant key words (which can be used as tags in reference management tools) can be identified and used to organize content

* There are many ways text analysis tools can be used for research; through the lens of refining a research topics, these are the two we focused on in this post.

Note Taking & Annotation of Text


Storing and sharing PDFs, citations, notes and tags:

Commenting directly on an web pages – privately, in a small group, or publicly:


  • Notes and annotations can be shared and discussed online

Annotation of Images



  • Gives students ability to annotate images digitally that they could not otherwise annotate (such as art, rare book images and other artifacts)
  • Same opportunity for discussion as text annotation

Annotation of Video


  • VideoAnt (note: VideoAnt works with YouTube videos only – it does not work with videos posted to TrinFlix)


  • Students can comment in directly in the timeline of a video (or audio) file, and jump to those comments as needed
  • Same opportunity for discussion as text annotation




  • Creating a visual representation of research materials in a visual medium, and in a limited amount of space, can help students to better understand their research topic
  • Data and research methodoligies are difficult to understand (at best) in most academic papers; re-creating the data in charts and graphs can help students better understand the actual reasearch (rather than just relying on findings)




  • Students trace sequence of events on up to five tracks
  • Helps understand not only sequence of events, but can help students find connections between seemingly unrelated events at points in time
  • The progression of less concrete information – like shifts in ideas – can also be traced on a timeline

Story Mapping



  • Helps students deveop a geospatial understanding of events and ideas

Essential Feedback to Gather

We don’t always gather student feedback on individual assignment impact, but it’s important that we ask students follow-up questions on their experiences with digital tools. Some good questions to start with:

  • Did using this tool help you better understand your research topic?
  • Will you use any of these tools in research projects for other classes?

The answer to these questions will help us understand if our assignments with digital tools were as effective as we hoped and will also suggest to the student that they have gained a skill that can be applied to other courses.

Incorporating into Research Projects

Contact your Instructional Technologist to get started.

There are a few basic ways you can include digital projects in a course’s research projects, and your instructional technologist can help you find the best fit for your needs. You could consider any combination of these options, plus many more variations:

  1. Scaffold in to course curriculum: Have students use one of these tools midway through the research process and submit for a grade.
  2. Have instructional technologist come to class a workshop a selection of tools with students: The digital resource the student creates can be graded or not, but help with the tools in a “lab” environment might help students get started.
  3. Recommend to students one-on-one: If you don’t feel that all the students in a class need to create a digital project, you might suggest they try working with a digital tool on an individual basis. Instructional Technologist and Student Technology Assistants are always happy to work with students on an as-needed basis.

Adding text annotations with is a great tool for collaboratively annotating text on websites, and it’s WordPress plugin is a reliable way to add this functionality to your site.

Contact your instructional technologist if you’re interested in adding the to your WordPress site, or want to talk about how you can add this tool to your course content.

site with hypothesis plugin activated

When you are on a WordPress site that has the plugin activated, you should see the bar on the right side of your browser window. Click the arrow to expand the tray to get started.

create a hypothesis account

If you don’t have a account, you’ll need to create one. Please note that this is independent from your Trinity account – if you need help resetting your password, you will need to go through the site, not the Help Desk.

Back on the original WordPress site, open the tray, and click "Sign in."

Back on the original WordPress site, open the tray, and click “Sign in.”

When you've successfully signed in, you will see the annotations that have already been added to the page.

When you’ve successfully signed in, you will see the annotations that have already been added to the page (when the tray is open).

Once you're logged in, you can add annotations of your own. You can add annotations to the overall page, or highlight specific text to make direct comments.

Once you’re logged in, you can add annotations of your own. You can add annotations to the overall page, or highlight specific text to make direct comments.

Winterizing Your Course


The occasional snow day can feel like a gift. But too many snow days can disrupt a carefully-planned semester. And then there are all the other reasons faculty sometimes have to cancel: childcare, travel for presentations or research, jury duty . . . the list can be extensive.

During this workshop, the Center for Educational Technology’s instructional technologists will survey some tools and technology that can help you avoid canceling class when you can’t be there. This workshop is ideal for faculty members, TAs and department support staff.

Winterizing Your Course

Tuesday, December 9th
1:30 to 2:30, with a hands-on workshop to follow
Seabury 205

Snacks and beverages will be provided. Registered attendees will receive a headset/microphone to help facilitate remote presentation.

Photo “Snow-pocalypse 2013 Hartford, CT” by Flickr user Dave S. / Creative Commons licensed BY-SA 2.0

Simple Audio Recordings for Student Assignments

Many faculty members have expressed interest in giving students audio assignments or in providing feedback on student work in an audio format. The technology to create these audio files can sometimes be cumbersome, depending on the tools you use, so for we’ve put together the following set of instructions that explains to students (and faculty) how to use their iPhone or standards Windows and Mac tools to make simple audio recordings.

Download (PPTX, 1.51MB)

You can direct students to this post for instructions, or distribute the following link to them (via Moodle or email).

Contact your Instructional Technologist if you want to discuss this in greater detail!