November 2020 Moodle News

Table with many fruitts and veggie with a blur, Caw fave on the background. Thanks giving vibes

Midterms

We are already on midterm season and we’re still hard at work making improvements to Moodle, supporting instructors, and running webinars to improve your teaching technology use and experiences.

This month’s Moodle News includes information about FlexForward to Online Teaching, Support for Instructors, IDEAS Webinars, Request your Spring Moodle course, Request your Spring Echo360 courses, Moodle tip of the month, Planned Downtimes, and Moodle help and resources.

FlexForward to Online Teaching

The IDEAS Team has built out the University Quality Standards: FlexForward to Online Teaching Moodle and Blackboard courses. These training courses are self-paced and meant to help you every step of the way as you transition and build out your course. Each of the 7 modules includes information, resources, and actionable steps you can take to incorporate what has been presented. We encourage you to explore these modules and content to help you as you design your Winter 2020 courses.

If you have any questions, please contact us at instruct@umass.edu.

Support for Instructors

Even though we’re not on campus, we’re still here to help you with your courses and teaching technology. We have 3 avenues for support, in addition to webinars we are currently running.

  • 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 meeting  between 9am and 4pm Monday – Friday to meet with a staff member. Please note that wait times depend on the volume of requests.

Support for Instructors

There are a number of important dates for this semester that are a bit different than in a normal semester. Some of the highlights related to instruction are:

  • Last day of classes – November 20, 2020
  • Reading Days – November 27 & 28, 2020
  • Final exams begin – November 30, 2020
  • Last day of finals – December 4, 2020
  • Final grades due at midnight – December 14, 2020

IDEAS webinars on teaching technologies and course design!

We are still running our webinars, and we are constantly adding more dates. Our webinars are focused on helping you prepare and create engaging content for the current Fall 2020 and to prepare for Winter and Spring 2021 semester as well. We’re offering workshops on building online and accessible content, creating engaging media, and new ways to deliver lectures to your students. Check out our IDEAS Webinars page for more information and to register.

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

Request your Winter & Spring Moodle Courses

Winter and Spring Moodle courses are available for request through 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 Winter & Spring 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 Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) uses speech to text algorithms to create an interactive transcript for your recordings. After you do a little editing for accuracy, your students will be able to study for exams, find relevant information in recordings, and even turn on Closed Captioning for your media.

Echo360 course requests for Winter & Spring are 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 Tips of the Month:

  • Release Grades Using Workflow on Assignments
    Did you know that in Assignments on Moodle there is a feature called Workflow? Workflows can be especially helpful when you are managing big courses. Instructors and TAs can set grading stages and view the workflow status of all student submissions at any time. When grading is done you can release grades individually or to all students at once. To find more about this feature read our documentation in Grading Workflow and Allocation for Moodle Assignments.
  • Exclude Grades for Students
    Do you have an assignment or activity in which you want to collect student submissions and provide feedback, but don’t want scores to impact a student’s course grade? Maybe one student has been excused from an assignment? The Exclude grades option in the Moodle gradebook will help. The students will still be able to see scores and feedback, but they will not impact a student’s overall course grade. In addition to excluding individual grade items, the Moodle gradebook also allows for overriding grades that have already been assigned, locking grades, and more.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

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