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.