May 2020 Moodle News

moodle cow with flower crown in a field of wildflowers

End of the Spring 2020 Semester

This has been a semester full of challenges and opportunities. We’re so proud of our instructor community and all you have done for your students and one another during the temporary move to remote teaching. This month’s Moodle News includes information about Spring 2020 grades, our Summer workshops, Summer and Fall Moodle course requests, Echo360 course requests, Moodle tip of the month, What’s new in Moodle ,and Moodle help and resources.

Spring 2020 Grades are Due by Midnight, May 12

Grades need to be approved in SPIRE by Tuesday, May 12 at midnight. Final grades from the Moodle gradebook can be imported into your SPIRE grade roster any time during the grade-entry period.

For step by step instructions, see:

Preparing your Final Course Grades in Moodle
Import Grades from Moodle to SPIRE

While we are not on campus, we are still assisting instructors with their courses and questions around grading. The three options available are:

  • Support through email. Just reach out to instruct@umass.edu.
  • Schedule an appointment with us. Please send an email to instruct@umass.edu with a brief description of your goals/needs, and suggest a few times you are available between 9am and 4pm, Monday – Friday. We will schedule you in as soon as possible. .
  • Join our Instructor Support Zoom room between 9am and 4pm to meet with a staff member. Please note that wait times depend on the volume of requests.

Summer 2020 Workshops!

Our Summer 2020 workshop session is starting! We’re offering workshops on building online and accessible content, creating engaging media, and new ways to deliver lectures to your students. Check out the Instructional Innovation Events page for more information and to register.

Can’t decide which workshops to take? Have questions? Contact the Instructional Media Lab for help in deciding which workshops are right for you. Contact us at instruct@umass.edu.

Request your Summer & Fall Moodle Courses in SPIRE

Summer and Fall Moodle course requests are now available in SPIRE. Don’t forget that each semester you will need to request Moodle for the courses you are teaching.

For detailed instructions, see:

Request your Summer and Fall Echo360 Courses

Echo360 allows you to create recordings of your lectures to deliver to students. Students can access recordings to learn new content or review content to reinforce the information. The system also allows you to add interactive content and measure student engagement.

Echo360 course requests for the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters are now available in SPIRE. Just like Moodle, each semester you will need to request Echo360 for the courses you want to use it in.

For step by step instructions, see Request Lecture Capture. Once your Echo360 courses are ready, it’s easy to give students access to Echo360 recordings through Moodle.

Moodle Tip of the Month: Include Empty Grades

Did you know that you have many Grade Category Options in the Moodle Gradebook? One of those options is Include Empty Grades. This feature may be helpful at the end of the semester.

By default, Moodle is set to exclude empty grades from category and course totals. Excluding empty grades means that Moodle ignores items without grades assigned when calculating a student’s course total. This helps students see their current grade in a course.

However, that requires you to add a “0” for each student who did not turn in work. If you have many items where no grade has been entered, you can set Moodle treat all empty grades as 0 instead of manually entering each one.

Planned Downtime

Moodle will be down for routine planned maintenance during May 14, 2020 from 7am to 9am.

Moodle will be upgraded to Moodle 3.5.10 on Thursday, May 21, 2020. During this time, the service may be unavailable between 7am and 9am. This upgrade contains important security updates. No new features are planned for release in this upgrade.

If you have any questions, please reach out to instruct@umass.edu.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

To learn more about Moodle or to get help, you can: