Teaching with MoodleMOOC August 2015 – Feedback and Actions

September 19th, 2015

Reflections from the participants comments submitted during “Teaching with Moodle” MOOC, which was just completed in the month of August 2015 successfully, are published on Moodle forums by Mary Cooch.

Here are some reflections based on participant comments as mentioned in the original forum thread:

What we did well:

Keep it simple

The short videos, facilitator availability and ‘chunking’ throughout the four weeks were appreciated, as was a greater attempt this time to keep forum threads at the basic level to avoid overwhelming newbies. There appeared to be far more new Moodlers this time round than previously. Experienced participants took care to respond in beginner terms, and where installation/hosting/advanced issues were raised, the participants in question were swiftly messaged and asked to post in the Moodle.org forums. New Moodlers with questions about their own organisation’s Moodle or their recently acquired MoodleCloud site were also pointed at Moodle.org, and it was thus very encouraging to see Learn Moodle participants become active members of the Moodle.org community at large.

Weekly tutorials

Previously, the teaching content for each week had been presented in the Google hangout live session. Based on participant feedback, we opted this time to record the tutorials and display them each week as a page resource along with the instructions for that particular week. The page was revealed a few hours before the weekly live session, so participants had a chance to explore the tasks and be ready with any issues arising. This also allowed us to keep the live sessions shorter and focused purely on questions and answers and clarifications.

Live sessions

Previously, we had held one live session a week using Google hangout on air with participant chat either via twitter or the course’s own Chat activity. While hangouts are ‘cool’, the lack of interaction with course participants made us think again. With more participants being new to Moodle, not comfortable manipulating chat and hangout in two windows, and many not having twitter accounts, we opted this time to use the BigBlueButtonBN activity. This proved very popular because it allowed participants to ask us questions via the BBB text chat or even to add a personal touch with their microphone or camera. It was also good to use an open-source alternative to Google hangout. The sessions were optional and were recorded, so nobody was at a disadvantage because of their timezone. We also included a weekly text chat using the Chat activity on a different day, giving a second chance to interact with us. This was also popular.

What we could do better:

Keep it simple

You can never explain things clearly enough smile Participants repeatedly asked the same questions about the activity completion checkboxes and the workshop grading process. Do we need to explain these in greater depth at the start – or highlight the forum search option better? A simple forum search would have answered the questions in a couple of seconds. Or have an FAQ, as one participant suggested in the final feedback?

Course layout

Participants were working through the activities on the page from top to bottom, reaching the Q and A forum and Share your good ideas forum and posting in there before they needed to or without any good ideas. We need to rethink the positioning and display of these forums, perhaps even hiding the Share your good ideas forum until later on in the course and renaming it to ask participants to share something they have learned over previous weeks?

We made a certificate of completion available this time. It was hidden until all activities had been completed, but this meant that participants had trouble locating the certificate link once they had their completer badge. We need to make participants more aware of where to find it once they get it.

Re-using practice courses

Course restore had not previously been covered in the MOOC, but with the advent of MoodleCloud came a new issue of participants not knowing what to do with their practice courses once they had downloaded them to their desktop. MoodleCloud also presented the additional confusion of Moodle newbies having admin access on their own Cloud site, but teacher access on Learn Moodle. It’s not our role to support MoodleCloud users, but we can at least extend the screencast and instructions to deal with both backing up and restoring a course for next time.

Timings and deadlines

Feedback from previous MOOCs suggested we should increase the length of time required to 3 to 4 hours a week. Some participants felt however that the amount of work required each week was not consistent – Weeks 1 and 2 were considered heavy for example, while there did not seem much to do in Week 4 once the workshop assessments had been made. 

For the first time we set a deadline for the workshop with no late submissions allowed. This had the beneficial effect of encouraging hundreds of participants both to submit to the workshop and peer-assess others. However, in order to allow the maximum time possible, we closed the workshop the day before the official end of the course. It then became apparent that many participants had been so concerned with completing the workshop they had failed to ensure other tasks had been completed, and we saw a rush of completer badges in the final weekend of the course. Perhaps we should close the workshop a day earlier, but also emphasise more the need to get all boxes ticked in time! One possible option would be to use course completion. The course completion block would then allow participants to see at a glance what they have completed and what they still need to do, thus avoiding a last minute rush.

The bigger picture

Running this MOOC regularly is great opportunity for HQ to see Moodle in action and learn how it could be improved for teachers and students everywhere.  Each time we run it, different issues are highlighted, which are then passed on to developers. For example, there was a problem awarding badges: MDL-51110, which led to discovery of a bug with scheduled tasks: MDL-51109. Both were fixed very quickly during the MOOC. Issues arising from the MOOC are labelled. Here is the full list of ‘learn.moodle.net’ labelled issues.

Read the original forum thread here: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=320134 and share your feedback about the MOOC.