Three quick ways to spruce up your Moodle™ courses
How long has it been since you updated your courses? Are they still the first version of the course? Or were they created while you were learning Moodle™? These three steps will assist you to take your courses to the next stage.
Create visual interest
Upon entering the front page of your course what do you see? Is it a large empty space with no images little text and a few links? If so consider adding a header image or changing the current one. Images are a quick way to add visual interest in just a few clicks.
Another way to add visual interest is by using labels. How is the content in your course organized? Consider using labels or updating the labels you are currently using. Make sure there is consistency in font size format and color. To aid in this process choose one heading style to use for your labels. Also consider creating a naming schema to make for an easy flow from one topic to the next. You can also save time in creating labels by using the Duplicate feature. This allows you to only create each label once. Then you can quickly rename it using the Edit title feature and relocate it using the Move feature.
Most likely you are using the Assignment Forum and Quiz modules in your courses as these replicate activities teachers commonly use in the traditional classroom as well as online. Now let’s add some variety. Determine if you can execute any of these activities using a different format. For example instead of having the students write a book report in a Word document and then upload the file via the Assignment module consider creating the book report in the Database activity. By doing this you not only create a variety in the activity type but also gain added value through having a searchable database of books for the rest of the class to review. Other students if allowed can rate entries and comment on the book reports. This can encourage discussion between classmates about the book.
Use the appropriate feature
Now that you have reassessed your activities why not think about the resources as well. Would a lesson be a better option to use than the book that is currently in your course? Lessons allow for paged content just like a book does with the added benefit of question pages. These pages could be used to add interactivity and to ensure the student comprehends the content. By using the lesson and aligning points towards completing question pages you are ensuring the students are reading the course content and reinforcing key points. Next let’s think about the files you have uploaded for your students to read. Would these files better be suited as Page resource? The benefits of using a Page over a File resource is that the student is kept within the LMS interface rather than having to download a file to view it. The more you keep students on task without navigating away from the course modules the more likely they will succeed in the course.
Teachers work long days and facilitate multiple classrooms. Don’t worry if you are unable to update all of your courses at the same time. Choose one or two action items when you have time in your schedule and make appropriate updates to keep the course current and working to fit not only the needs of the student but your needs as a facilitator.