Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Assisting Students New to Moodle in Face-to-Face Courses

We are often asked how to support students new to Moodle in face to face courses.  Here are a few tips. 

1. Take a few minutes in class to model completing any new assignment activity in Moodle the week before it is due. 

2. Build activities early in your course which are practice or very low-stakes assignments. This way, students are able to practice the tools they need to use before they make a mistake which may deleteriously affect their grade. Some examples include an ice-breaker forum discussion, a biography sketch assignment to upload, or similar simple activity. There are more suggestions of activities here

3.  Direct students to complete the Orientation to Moodle course the IT department has created for students. This is linked on the Moodle login screen and is included in the top section of every Moodle course we create.  Faculty may enroll in the course and are free to download any of the resources to use in their courses. 

4.  Students can seek help from the lab assistant in 2F01.  They are open 8:00 am to  8:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. 

5.  There are many help files on this page.  Sending students directly to this page will be overwhelming to them. Instead, find the relevant help file or video, then create a direct link to that resource in Moodle near the assignment you want students to complete.  Such as, "How to upload and submit a file."  If you cannot find the help resource you need, contact IT and we may be able to create it for you (please give us a couple of days notice). 
Contact IT at

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I stumbled upon a resource this morning that I think you will find valuable for improving learning.

The resource is the Goodwill Community Foundation, which is found at  You might find the two resources outlined below valuable as you prep your fall courses.

Self-paced Tutorials 
Their website consists of self-paced tutorials which that are quite diverse in topic, up-to-date, and very well done.   Topics of the tutorials include math, grammar, microsoft office software, reading, money, and more.

I was most impressed with the technology section of the site.  I think many of these could be added as help links to an online course for students new to using our technology tools.

A few examples you might check out are:
Firefox:  These tutorials start with the basics of installing firefox and use it to browse, but also shows how to add bookmarks and more.

Grammar: one page review of grammar topics such as possesives, semi-colons, negatives, run-on sentences, and others grammar topics.

 Microsoft Office:  tutorials for the using Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, and Excel formulas.

Youtube Channel
They also have a Youtube Channel.  (The videos are not linked to their site. I'm not sure why.)  However, these videos would be a great addition to an online class to support students with just-in-time learning.    Their Youtube channel has an extensive list of playlists including topics on Gmail, grammar, math basics, Windows 8,  and reading/vocabulary.

If you would like assistance integrating any of these resources into your Moodle course, please contact IT at 815-835-6229.  Or email .

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Syllabus Language Revisions

A few revisions to the syllabus template have recently been made; please take a moment to update your course syllabi to include these changes.  The revised templates have been posted in FAST. They can be found in the Academic Forms folder.

Assessment syllabus statement -
Sauk Valley Community College is an institution dedicated to continuous instructional improvement. As part of our assessment efforts, it is necessary for us to collect and analyze course-level data. Data drawn from students’ work for the purposes of institutional assessment will be collected and posted in aggregate, and will not identify individual students. Your continued support in our on-going effort to provide quality instructional services at SVCC is appreciated.

Privacy -
The College policy on student records complies with the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.” This Act is designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for correction of incorrect or misleading data through formal and informal hearings. A copy of the Act or questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Assistant Dean of Student Services, 815/835-6305.

Disability -
If you have a disability or suspect that you have one and want to request a classroom accommodation, it is your responsibility to contact the Disability Support Office. Reasonable accommodations will be made after verification from the Coordinator of Disability Support located in Room 1G04, or by calling 815/835-6220.

Notification of recording
All classes at Sauk Valley Community College may be recorded for a variety of reasons to include compliance with the American with Disabilities Act in providing reasonable accommodations to person with disabilities. By enrolling in this course, students hereby consent to recording of classes.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Moodle Upgrade, a Learning Opportunity, and a Hint for Hiding Activities from Students

A planned service outage for Moodle maintenance will take place beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9th and extending until 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 10th. During this time frame, Moodle will be unavailable for use. Please check your courses and adjust due dates for assignments, quizzes, and other features accordingly.

Following the upgrade, a few new features will be available for faculty use.
  • Students will be able to upload Assignments as .pdf files, and instructors will be able to use the Joule Grader feature to add comments on the .pdf submissions.
  • Instructors will be able to turn on notifications within the Joule Grader feature indicating that grading of an assignment is in progress, and can release grades for an assignment all at one time. 
  • Moodle will issue a warning if a student loses his/her internet connection while taking a quiz.
  • The Activity Chooser moves to the top right of each topic area.
  • Editing icons visible to faculty will be changed from the current line up to a tidy drop down menu.
The i3 Workshop online course will begin on July 7th! Faculty may register for the course on our Instructional Technology web site.

Finally, this week's Moodle highlights include a new tutorial explaining how to use the Restrict access feature for Moodle Resources and Activities. There are occasions when it might be useful to hide an activity from students. The Hide icon that is visible to instructors when the editing is turned on in a course works well for hiding Resources (items such as videos, podcasts, readings, or urls to websites that students will view without receiving a grade), but not for Activities (Assignments, Quizzes, Forums, or other tasks that students must complete to receive a grade.) Use of the Hide icon (shaped like an eye) to hide an Activity, causes course totals in the gradebook User report to miscalculate. When an Activity must be hidden from student view, choose the Edit option from the editing tools for the activity, and utilize the Restrict access feature instead.

The Restrict access feature should not be confused with the Availability dates in the Assignment activity or Timing dates in Quiz. In fact, the simplest way to use Restrict access is to insert a Release code, which acts as a password. If you do not share the Release code with students, the students cannot gain access to the activity. The gradebook totals are unaffected when Restrict access is utilized, making it the preferred way to hide any Moodle item with the potential for earning a grade.

An illustrated tutorial explaining the use of Restrict access is available at our Instructional Technology website.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Moodle Transition for Summer 2014

Faculty members, it is once again that time of year when we wrap up the spring semester and prepare our summer courses in Moodle while daydreaming about long days at the pool.

Your IT team has posted a helpful checklist with links to several tutorials explaining how to complete those end of the semester Moodle chores. View the checklist here.

As always, if you require assistance, please contact us at extension 229.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guest Blogger Nina Dulabaum shares her experience attending the Distance Learning Conference

Enriching Learning Environments with Technology was the theme of the Distance Learning Conference on March 7th in Elgin. Dr. Maria Andersen began her keynote speech with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke, Anyone who can be replaced by a computer should be." Gasps from faculty were audible as she continued with her predictions for the future:

“(1) Learning that involves information transfer will be replaced by technology
 (2) Any repetitive assessment or learning task that can be replicated by a computer will be.
 (3) Any computerized course that is cheaper and results in equal or better learning outcomes¹ for students will be delivered that way.
 (4) The only technology that will improve learning outcomes for the majority of students is the technology that begins to mimic a tutor-student relationship.” of-technology-enhanced-learning/

Her presentation continued discussing the implications of these predictions and what this means for the future of education. In addition, I soon learned the true meaning of “Busynessgirl” – she shared many resources and tools for teaching and engaging students, including a few minutes of a Hans Rosling’s TED Talk from 2006 that certainly makes statistics come alive! Click here for interesting handouts!

Yes, she thinks computers should replace faculty in some instances (refer to above). No, in the end, she emphasized that education needs competent faculty – professors and instructors – who embrace and leverage technology and focus on “acting human” – mentoring, assisting, and supporting students in all those ways computers can not.

I took this opportunity to speak with her personally, and she shared her views on some innovative technology on the market – e.g., adaptive tools such as the SmartBook. Having used a similar adaptive study resource at another institution, I am excited about exploring this option and finding new ways to assist our students in becoming successful learners here at Sauk! Just like Raph Koster’s quote she posts on her blog, her session truly demonstrated that “Learning is the brain having fun.”
~ Dr. Duly

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Moodle Quiz - Certainty Based Marking

Moodle Quiz offers a scoring option called Certainty Based Marking. When this option is selected, students are asked how certain they are of their answer after answering every question.

The following excerpt from Moodle documentation explains how it works.

When a student answers a question they also have to state how sure they are of the answer: not very (less than 67%); fairly (more than 67%) or very (more than 80%). Their grading is then adjusted according to how certain they are, which means that for example if they answered correctly but were only guessing, their mark is adjusted from 1 to 0.33. If they answered wrongly but were very sure, their mark is adjusted from 0 to -2.”

This grading option is selected in the quiz settings, and is one of many choices under 
 the Question behavior section.