Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ted's Moodle Adventures: Chapter 5: MoodleCloud Site Navigation

OK - you've created your own MoodleCloud site. Here are a few things you may want to do prior to creating your own courses, or restoring a course from a backup.

Note that, although this is a free site, it is a fully functioning Moodle site, so the home page should look familiar.

First give your site a name

  • Under Administration, Front page settings: Click Turn editing on
  • Click Site administration
  • Click Front page, then Front page settings
  • Give your site a name (and a relevant short name). Unless you want to do otherwise, leave the other fields as is. Click save changes

The short name appears at very top left. The full name appears in larger letters below the short name. Click Home at top left to return to the home page. Turn editing off for now.

Now notice that one course is created for you when your site is built: Introduction to Moodle. This course is actually the MoodleCloud cheat sheet! It is a reading course only - you are set up as the teacher, and you do not have to enroll (or enrol) in the course to take the course. I strongly suggest you read through this course, including the documentation section near the bottom.

Since you are an admin by definition, you will want to refer to the Guide to New Administrators - setting up a new course is relatively easy, setting up students and allowing them to take your courses is not.

Next up: Adding a course to your site - the easy way - restore a course from a backup, such as your backup from Teaching with Moodle. the hard way - creating a course from scratch

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ted's Moodle Adventures: Chapter 4: My Free MoodleCloud site - Getting Started

Have you taken a Moodle class or studied on your own? Ready to try Moodle for real?

The Moodle organization has been nice enough to provide a free space for hosting your own Moodle site: MoodleCloud. Like most truly free items, there are constraints and catches, but these for the most part do not limit what you can do - and you can always move on to paid hosting if your site gets "too big" in some sense.

The first thing you do is to go to MoodleCloud and get your site (if you are reading this, you are reading this in English, but MoodleCloud offers other languages - see the dropdown next to the orange cloud at top right). In the big black box, you can sign up for your site - click Sign Up - or get more information first - click Wait, I Need More Info. I'd suggest clicking Wait first, read the info over, then sign up. 

The signup process now begins. You need to come up for a unique name - the URL for your site will be You will be set up in the admin role - "admin" will also be your username. You will need to also set up your password. Once this is done, you will be able to access your site.

The site is pre-built with several features. A small course, Introduction to Moodle, is included - you can, and should, add some courses of your own. NOTE: If you are taking any online classes (such as the Teaching with Moodle class I just completed) that allow you to backup your practice Moodle courses, and you need a place to restore the class to, definitely set up a MoodleCloud site for this purpose - I did, and it works!

Next up - navigating your MoodleCloud site.

Please note that all following CwDev Blog posts in the Moodle Adventures series that refer to MoodleCloud assume you either have created your own MoodleCloud site, or have access to someone else's.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ted's Moodle Adventures: Chapter 3: Teaching with Moodle: Weeks 2, 3, 4, and Course Completion

The Teaching with Moodle class is done - I am happy to report that I successfully completed the course! 

Among other things, we:
  • Set up a practice course (more about this in a future chapter)
  • Worked with forums and surveys
  • Set up quizzes and saw how quizzes are graded
  • Set up self-enrollment
  • Saved our practice course to our own Moodle site
  • Used text, graphics, and links in our practice course
  • Earned badges for our achievements
  • Gained initial knowledge on how to navigate the main Moodle Website
Next up: Beginning to apply what I learned to my MoodleCloud site!

    Saturday, August 15, 2015

    Ted's Moodle Adventures: Chapter 2: Teaching with Moodle: Week 1

    The Teaching with Moodle class just finished Week 1 (Getting Started with Moodle). A few observations:

    The course itself is written using, and presented via, the Moodle environment, which makes the system that much easier to learn.

    The main study information is presented as "books", which resemble PowerPoint slide shows, with embedded tutorial videos. There are two books for Week 1. The "Setting up your course" book explains how to initialize a new Moodle course, what the Dashboard is, how to lay out a course, and basic editing. The "Learning on the side" book explains some of the standard course blocks (these are similar to blog areas) such as Navigation and Administration, and several of the optional blocks.

    The course (and in general, most Moodle courses) has a Forum area where students can ask questions and teachers or administrators or other students can answer them. I've found this most useful in getting some good answers. In a way, this is not surprising since there are over four thousand other course participants!

    Each course is divided into one or more sections. For instance, this course has six - a Welcome section, one section for each of the four weeks of the class, and an Extra resources section. The sections are where you actually place your course materials, such as the books (see above), surveys, quizzes, other files to read, etc.

    Last but not least, as part of the sign-up for this course, we were given the skeleton of a practice course, which will be used for the actual writing exercises. We cannot keep this course on the Moodle official site, but we can download it, then re-upload it to a personal Moodle site such as MoodleCloud.

    So far, I've liked the course and am learning a lot, but the rubber will hit the road when I try writing my own materials!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    And Then There Were Five...

    Effective immediately, three of our groups will no longer be reported on in the Group Scoreboard, as follows:

    Orkut, final membership 62, Orkut no longer exists
    Plaxo, final membership 85, Plaxo Groups functionality has been deactivated
    LearningTown, final membership 97, LearningTown no longers exists

    Thank you very much for your participation in these groups - please continue to enjoy the remaining five groups - membership counts for the remaining groups will be updated soon.

    Ted's Moodle Adventures: Chapter 1: Entering the Moodlesphere

    It has been a while since I've posted in this blog - I've been busy with other pursuits, such as teaching my Henrico County Adult Ed (Richmond, VA area) computer classes, and ramping up my math and computer training business, pcLearning4U. In addition, I'm dealing with trying to stay clear of the colon cancer that attacked me last year.

    Also, as you may know, I started the pcLearning4U Blog (using WordPress, the other popular blogging platform). As part of that blogging effort, I am chronicling Judy (my wife) and my efforts to learn our Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and Tab4 tablet). These blog posts are listed under Ted and Judy's Android Adventures (see the TOC for a table of contents for these posts).

    Last but not least, as much as I enjoy teaching classes, I've always wanted to write my own courseware. A number of years back, I briefly took a look at the Moodle open-source online learning platform, and have kept up a light interest in the subject. Then it happened - earlier this month, Dr. Nellie Deutsch, founder and CEO at IT4ALL, posted a link on LinkedIn to obtain a free Moodle site via MoodleCloud. I created my MoodleCloud site, with very little idea of what I wanted to do with this. I then came across a free Teaching with Moodle MOOC course that will get me started - and - this course starts in two weeks. The course covers a lot of the basics, lasts for 4 weeks, and according to the instructors, will take 3-4 hours per work to do. Needless to say, I signed up!

    As I progress through my Moodle experiences, I will add chapters on this blog to this adventure story.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014


    I recently began experimenting with Versal, a new courseware development platform. This platform enables the developer to quickly implement the structure of a course without difficult coding. The platform is still in beta, so there are a lot of problems and limits, but the Help Center is very responsive - I got answers to some concerns and glitches within 24 hours.

    To develop or take courses, you need to sign up for a free Versal account, a very easy process.

    The good news - you can put your ideas "on paper" very quickly. The bad news - text handling is still very rudimentary, as you will see if you choose to take my demo course (see below)!

    There are a lot of "gadgets" included that allow you to display charts, math formulas, etc. When you are creating or modifying a course, you can see the gadgets (you have to scroll to the right to see them all). You then drag the gadget onto your work area and modify as able/desired

    As a test bed for Versal, and in support of my business, I've created a brief demo course on how to do word problems that resolve to a quadratic equation.

    Please feel free to take this course and let me know your thoughts! There are also some other demo courses accessible from the Versal home page.

    Last but not least, Versal is free for now (unless you have a lot of learners accessing the course - see Versal for Teams for more details). The only thing they expect (and this is not required) is that if you use Versal, you act as an informal beta tester and send them any suggestions and issues.

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    The pcLearning4U Blog, and new services

    My company has started a blog, with the very arcane name of the pcLearning4U Blog, which I hope you will follow in addition to following this blog. Note that the company blog has a different look and feel, due to the fact that I am using WordPress!

    In addition, I am announcing that pcLearning4u is doing mathematics tutoring! Some of the subjects we cover are:
    • High school algebra, geometry, and trigonometry
    • The SAT college entrance exam
    • The ASVAB military entrance exam
    • The Metric System 
    All suggestions and leads are appreciated - thanks!

    Friday, January 31, 2014


    Congratulations to the LinkedIn Courseware Development Group for exceeding 2000 members!

    Thursday, February 7, 2013



    What is Sophia? It is a platform for posting tutorials for various academic subjects, in video, PowerPoint, or PDF format. Where did they get the name? No idea - maybe the originator is a fan of "The Golden Girls"?
    • How much does it cost a student to use Sophia? Nothing. 
    • How much does it cost a teacher to post a tutorial on Sophia? Nada. 
    • How much can a teacher make via Sophia? Zilch.
    • What's the potential for positive name recognition if you post a useful tutorial on Sophia? Priceless.
    Take a look at the website:

    I've viewed a couple of tutorials so far, including a very good one called Conditional Formatting in Excel, which contains slide and video content. It is very easy to search for tutorials on your favorite subject.

    I hope to create a tutorial myself soon. Why do it, if you can't make money via Sophia? Free advertising - you are allowed to mention your business in the tutorial description, as the author of the example above does.

    Please feel free to comment.

    Thanks - Ted

    Monday, September 24, 2012


    Hi folks,

    A few words about Pinterest. My first thought was "what a peculiar name". I then decided to visit the site, and look at a few pin boards. The concept seemed a bit odd at first - an online version of a physical picture-only bulletin board. When I signed up, this seemed even odder - it asked me what my preferences were regarding art, etc., and I was given built-in people's boards to follow - I didn't realize my taste in art was so avant-garde!

    After deleting a few of the follow-ees, and keeping a few that I found aesthetically interesting, I then went about creating some boards of my own, including one for my current place of residence (Richmond, Virginia) and one for my computer training business (pcLearning4U). The interface for adding ones own pictures, and re-using others (called repinning) is reasonably simple. I've also added a board for elearning-related items, and via searches in Google and Pinterest itself, have begun to see if and how Pinterest is supporting elearning/courseware-related efforts.

    Much to my pleasant surprise, there is a lot of stuff out there! I had more luck doing Google searches on "Pinterest elearning" and "Pinterest courseware" than searching on Pinterest itself. I am just now scratching the surface of looking into Pinterest's elearning uses. A couple of uses are for lists of available courseware (such as Eric Sheninger's site), and for elearning-related infographics (such as Juan Antonio Ortiz' site).

    I'm not sure if Pinterest itself is a good delivery tool for elearning content - at this point, it appears to be more useful as an information organizer, and a very good one at that.

    As for myself, my use of this app is just beginning. All suggestions, in particular for the elearning board of my site, are greatly appreciated, as are all general comments regarding this post. If you are interested in keeping up with my efforts, please feel free to follow the board at the link above.

    Thanks - Ted

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    Lectora - a few tidbits

    If you are reading this blog, you probably have either used Lectora or know someone who has. Lectora is an excellent courseware authoring tool, by Trivantis. I have had the privilege of creating online courses using Lectora on several occasions.

    One nice feature (among many!) is its test building mechanism. Questions can be set up in all the standard formats (multiple-choice, true-false, fill-in-the-blank, etc.) with a variety of editing options. Multiple-choice questions, for instance, can have one or more-than-one correct answer. You can also physically edit the question page after you are done, for example, you can move an answer 5 pixels down if it looks better that way.

    In fact, Trivantis is so associated with Lectora that they changed their website name to!

    The above are my opinions - please feel free to submit yours.

    Thanks - Ted

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Final Eight

    To my readers:

    We are now down to 8 Courseware Development groups due to the following reasons:
    • Nuvvo has been apparently deactivated
    • Konnects has apparently gone to a paid-membership-only platform
    Please continue to join and participate in the other groups as desired.

    Thanks - Ted

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    WizIQ Blog

    To all of you who are interested in the WizIQ online learning system:

    I am happy to report that they have started a blog - please visit this blog - it contains many interesting articles!

    I've also added this blog to the Blogroll,

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Just Don't Overdo It

    Some of you are on Facebook. Most of you who are on Facebook probably like to play games - usually, the price is right (free!). As long as you don't overdo it, I highly recommend The Sims Social from Electronic Arts - you can learn a lot from this game (wow- eLearning!):

    1. The object is to enhance your property (indoors and outdoors), and to maintain it. You learn cooperation because without the help of Facebook friends who also play, you will get nowhere.
    2. You learn organization because various things you buy have to be put in their proper place.
    3. You learn maintenance because various items need to be cleaned and/or repaired, and outdoor spaces need to be kept weed-free.
    4. You learn budgeting because you have coins and points that can be spent in a variety of ways.
    5. You even learn a bit about relationships, i.e., what type of in-game friendships you should have, and should not have, depending on your actual relationships, both online and real-world!

    Have fun, and remember, it's only a game!

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    More Do-it-yourself eLearning

    Recently, my vehicle wouldn't start, so assuming the battery had drained, I decided to jump-start it with another vehicle. I followed these steps:
    • Googled 'how to jump start a car'
    • Visited this site
    • Printed the relevant pages
    • Successfully did the jump-start
    • Drove the vehicle, parked it, tried to start it again, and the battery drained again
    It then became apparent after inspecting the battery that the battery probably needed replacement. To disconnect the old battery, and connect the new one, I followed these steps.

    • Googled 'how to disconnect a car battery'
    • Watched this YouTube video
    • Disconnected the old battery and took it to the store
    • Had them test it, and, after confirming its demise, bought the new battery
    • Googled 'how to connect a car battery'
    • Watched this YouTube video
    • Installed the new battery, drove the vehicle, parked it, and it started OK!
    The moral of this story is not that I got my vehicle running again - it's that eLearning is all around you, even in this informal form!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    pcLearning4U Newsletter

    To my readers:

    As some of you know, I am growing my personal computer training business, pcLearning4U. As part of these efforts, I have started a free email newsletter. The next edition of the newsletter will be published shortly, however, due to anti-spam rules, I have to limit delivery to subscribers.

    The good news: subscribing is easy - just click this link and the form will walk you through the very easy subscription process - hope to see you on the list!

    Thanks - Ted

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    eFront eLearning blog

    I've added the eFront blog to the Blogroll, authored by Christopher Pappas. This is a very good eLearning blog, which features, among other things, Christopher's list of the top eLearning and workplace learning blogs. From the blog, you can also do other things such as subscribe to the eFront newsletter and like the eFront Facebook page.

    I urge all my readers to take a look at this site and participate as desired!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    LinkedIn 1000!!

    I am happy to report that the LinkedIn Courseware Development Group has reached 1000 members!

    • There is increased interest in the Nuvvo group
    • I'm adding new people to the Twitter list as often as I can find them
    As usual, your input into this blog is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks - Ted

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    The LinkedIn Group is Closing in on 1000 Members, but...

    And this is a big but, folks - the other Courseware Development groups are generally not growing at all.

    The good news is that my business, pcLearning4U, is slowly improving. The result of this, however, is that I don't have as much time to manage and contribute to these groups. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your input into the following:

    1. I'm going to keep LinkedIn alive (obviously!), also Facebook and Twitter (due to the popularity of these platforms). I'm thinking of shutting the rest down - please make your case for keeping any of the others alive.

    2. I'd also like your thoughts regarding items to post to this blog - this is not a one-man show.

    Thanks in Advance - Ted