How to let students work collaboratively to solve a problem by using Problem Section plugin @MoodlePlugins

Do you like to let your students work collaboratively to solve an assignment? Which tools you would like to offer them to collaborate with each other? Will your teachers setup everything without giving up all these activities in Moodle?

Today, I am going to show you “How to let students in your course work collaboratively” and how you as a teacher can set up everything in 5 minutes. All you need is a new Moodle plugin “Problem Section”. The new plugin is the Local plugin type and needs to be installed in your_moodle_directory/local/ directory.

Problem Section plugin adds a new section to the course where the teachers can assign an assignment problem to groups of students and give them various collaboration tools to work together on a solution. The collaboration tools includes a forum, a chat and/or a wiki and mod_etherpadlite and mod_publication if installed.

Now you may ask why you need another plugin when these tools are available in core Moodle? The answer is to ease your teachers in setting up the assignment, collaboration tools, groupings, groups without giving up on all the configuration steps. A “problem section” is a special section in a Moodle course. It always has an assignment activity, that a few student teams will take and collaboration tools which can be selected/deselected by the teacher.

How to let students work collaboratively to solve a problem by using Problem Section plugin @MoodlePluginsSetting Up Problem Section:

Now, we will see how we can use the Problem section in any existing Moodle course:

    1. To add a new Problem Section in any existing Moodle course, navigate to Administration> Course Administration> Problem SectionsHow to let students work collaboratively to solve a problem @MoodlePlugins
    2. Here you will see a screen showing the problem sections available in the course, allowing you to manage them, create new ones, change the groups or jump to the submissions.How to let students work collaboratively to solve a problem @MoodlePlugins
    3. let’s click on add a new problem section.
    4. Now, enter a suitable name, summary and directions for students like what they have to do in this problem.
    5. In the communication tools section, select the tools which you would like to offer for collaboration.
    6. In the grouping section, select if you have any existing groupings in the course otherwise it will create a new grouping with specified members in each group.
    7. On the next screen you can add/remove group members in different groups.
    8. Once you are done, you will a new section in the bottom of your course with the problem assignment and the communication tools.How to let students work collaboratively to solve a problem @MoodlePlugins

Although the tools which this plugin provides are available in Moodle core but still this plugin can save tons of time for your teachers and help them to configure everything simply. You can download the Problem section plugin from Moodle plugins directory here.

Have you also got complaints from teachers for having enormous configuration options in Moodle? How did you resolve those? Share you experience with us in the comments section below.

Jaswinder Singh

Jaswinder Singh, passionate about using Moodle in improving the Indian Education System and reaching the students in far flung areas where still education seems to be a impossible prospect of life. He is the author of the popular Moodle Book “How to use Moodle 2.7”. In October 2016, Jaswinder was elected as the Moodle User’s Association Committee member – the first to make it from India.

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  • Just one comment. With my theme, the assignment activity doesn’t seem to work. What I had to do to use this plugin was to remove the assignment that it generates and create a new one from the activity / resources interface.

    • Hi Heather,
      Which theme are you using? What was the problem with the assignment? Can you please share.