September 2021 Moodle News

The Moodle cow in front of DuBois Library, under a double rainbow.

Moodle in the Cloud is here!

Moodle has moved to the cloud. UMass Amherst Information Technology (IT) has made this change with the goal of improving our teaching and learning experience and expanding the reach of UMass Amherst education. Cloud-based services are available on-demand online from a cloud computing provider’s servers as opposed to on-premise IT infrastructure.
Hosted in the cloud, Moodle is more scalable, resilient, and agile. The platform can accommodate more students, courses, and web traffic, with fewer technical hiccups and service interruptions.
In short, Moodle will have a new and more durable home. For more information, please see Moodle in the Cloud 3.9 Highlights.

Moodle Courses open August 31st

Only Moodle courses that have already been requested through SPIRE will open on Tuesday, August 31. Don’t forget that each semester you will need to request Moodle for the courses you are teaching.

If you haven’t requested your Moodle course yet, see:

Courses requested on or after 8/31 will need to be opened by the instruction. We have a step by step instructions to help you Make Your Moodle Course Available to Students.

Request your Fall Echo360 Courses

Echo360 course requests for Fall 2021 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.

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.

Once your Echo360 courses are ready, it’s easy to give students access to Echo360 recordings through Moodle.

Automatically copy your Zoom cloud recordings to Echo360

You can connect your Zoom and Echo360 accounts, and have all cloud recordings copied into Echo360. If you enable this, you can even have a recurring Zoom meeting publish directly to an Echo360 course. Unlike Zoom recordings, which are kept for 120 days, Echo360 does not have a storage limit on your recordings.

Moodle Tip of the Month:

Instead of putting the spotlight on a single tool or setting this month, we have a few things to highlight that might help make your Moodle course run a little smoother this fall.

Did you know that…

  • You can integrate Zoom with your Moodle course? You can set up a Zoom activity in Moodle that allows your students to join meetings, see all upcoming times and dates, and even view cloud recordings of previous meetings all in the same place? Check out our Getting Started with Zoom in Moodle page for more information and instructions.
  • You can generate transcripts automatically for your recordings? Both Zoom and Echo360 can automatically generate interactive transcriptions for your recordings? These transcripts allow students to search for information in your recordings, including key terms and phrases. Automated transcriptions are not 100% accurate, but if you edit them they can be a powerful study aid for your students. For information, check out Add and Edit Transcripts in Zoom or Add and Edit Transcripts in Echo360.
  • You can create groups and groupings in Moodle? These groups and groupings allow you do things like facilitate peer-to-peer instruction in forums, or have students submit assignments in groups? For more information, check out An Overview of Groups and Groupings in Moodle.
  • You can add user and group overrides for Quizzes in Moodle? These allow you to set special options such as increased time limits, staggered start and end times, and additional time access for students, or groups of students, who need it. For more, check out Configure Special Quiz Access for Individuals or Groups.

Planned Downtimes

There are no planned downtimes outside of regular maintenance windows for September 2021.

Scheduled routine maintenance windows for UMass Amherst Moodle in the Cloud are Thursdays 11pm-12am (ET). Regular maintenance is a necessity for a stable, secure, and improving service. Many of these maintenance windows will not actually have the site unavailable for more than a few minutes, but it is still not advised to plan activities or set due dates during maintenance windows.

You can check the status of Moodle, Zoom, and other supported teaching technologies on the IT Services Status for Remote Teaching and Learning page.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

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