Today, I’m going to start a series of articles on how
to use Moodle for students. While this powerful and intuitive system has more than enough instructions, tutorials and tips for teachers (found internally within the website and even from outside sources such as blogs and even books), there seems to be a bit less material for students. Given that most students using Moodle are busy professionals, having to deal with learning a new system like this – in their adult lives – can be stressful and annoying.
There’s a lot to Moodle… But it is very easy to use, and so the instructions listed below won’t be hard to understand. If you break down individual tasks, step-by-step, you will find that they are remarkably simple to perform.
Let’s jump right into it and start with the basics- the bare essentials -in our first edition of ‘How to use Moodle for students.’
1. Your Profile
As with any multi-user semi-social SaaS platform, your profile is very important- it identifies you beyond a number, a name or a statistic. This is true for the teachers, as well as for the students. (Afterall, cooperative learning is the feature that makes Moodle truly special.)
In your profile, you should describe a few key characteristics about yourself, your location, your contact information and the lists of courses you are enrolled in. You can edit or update your profile by clicking your name, then using the “edit” tab, or by clicking “Edit Profile” in the course administration block. (If you’ve been denied permissions for this, simply contact your instructor or administrator, as it’s likely due to an oversight, not deliberate restriction).
2. Your Gradebook
Another important feature is the Gradebook. You can find it in your administration block as a link labeled “Grades.” There are no writing privileges here – it is simply a status display. This feature allows you to keep an eye on your grades and monitor your own progress. (Note that it is impossible to deny viewing permissions for this feature).
3. Blogs and Messaging
Blogs and messaging are readily viewed and composed via the profile and administrative block of each student. This feature comes complete with an intuitive text editor (similar to the simplicity of Windows Wordpad). This is all – thankfully- wizard-automated, so there’s no way to get lost or make a mistake. I point this out because communication is the most valuable tool for teachers and students, and so you should feel free to use this feature as often as possible. It is through Moodle’s forum and messaging system that you can collaborate with other students and contact your teachers when you have a question, problem or even a complaint.
4. Activities Block
Finally, the biggest, most heavily-used block, that you need to know how to access, is your activities block. In this block, you will find your list of assignments, current chat conversations, choices, forums (designed to accompany your specific courses), glossaries, quizzes, surveys, resources wikis and the actual lessons themselves. All of the information in the block is organized and constantly upgraded, so there is no potential for confusion. Lessons can include text, video and even interactive systems. Assignments will specify which lessons and activities, as well as quizzes, need to be finished in order to mark these assignments as ‘complete’. ‘Completion’ will be automatically tracked and updated – with no need to worry about constantly saving everything. Simply open the assignment requirements, view/read/interact with the given lesson, complete the quiz, and Moodle will show your task as ‘completed’ without any further input. There is not much more to say here because using the activities block is frankly, ‘that easy’.
Now you know the basics. In future lessons, on ‘How to Use Moodle for students,’ we’ll take each of these topics and talk about them in depth, including the specific steps involved in making the most out of Moodle.