Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ISTE 2012: Moodle Best Practices

Best Practices in Moodle Course DesignPresenter: Michelle Moore, Chief Evangelist, Remote-Learner.net, a Moodle Partner (@michelledmoore; michelle@remote-learner.net)
For a copy of the slide show on Best Practices, go to: http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen/michelledmoore/teaching-with-moodle-best-practices-for-course-design-i-moot-11/1

*Also see hug.moodle.org or moodleshare.com to view other teachers’ Moodle sites and share your own!

Best Practices

  • Don’t use more than 5 font styles per page (this includes bolds, italics, fonts, sizes, underlining)
    • It’s not “fun” and “colorful” or “interesting”; it’s difficult to navigate, distracting, and unprofessional.  
    • Do not use underlining for emphasis-be mindful that this indicates a hyperlink or title of a text.
    • Do not use animated GIFs, etc.! These can trigger seizures.
      • By having too much on your page, you are increasing the cognitive load for your learners as they try to process through your web page instead of processing through the actual assignment.
  • DO maintain consistency
  • Don’t use the course page for content
    • Students need to be able to see the “big picture” of the course or unit--don’t make students back track or navigate unnecessarily.  Make it easy for them to figure out what it is you want them to do.
  • DO use the course page as a launch page
    • Guide students to a webpage, article, etc. if they need more information--again, don’t use the course page for content.
  • Don’t be the one doing all the work
  • DO let students participate and collaborate
  • Don’t make your users scroll side to side
  • DO make sure your content fits
  • Don’t forget about the value of the logs
    • Activity logs can help teachers save time on grading
  • Don’t overdo the activity names
  • DO keep the activity names short and sweet
  • DO use labels to guide students
  • Don’t be afraid of white space
    • Incorporate white space into your Moodle page--don’t fill all spaces!  This makes it easier to navigate the course.
  • DO use topic summaries for titles
  • Don’t force users to scroll and scroll and scroll
  • DO use images to enhance your course
    • Be consistent in where you place your images and what your text wrap looks like
    • Flickr has free images for teacher use (though they may not be appropriate to direct students to)
  • DO simplify delivery
    • Learners should be focused on the content and not the technology.  This is especially important if learners are accessing content on a mobile device!
    • MS Word documents may be difficult for students to download (if they have Word), they are not accessible on some mobile devices, can spread viruses, and students can alter or plagiarize your original source document.  Instead, use a “book module” or “lesson module” (Free Moodle Plug-in can be installed!).  Research suggests also that students will not take the time to download something and may just skip over it.
      • Google Docs can be embedded (we need to figure out how to do this)
      • Repository through Moodle (grab embed code from youtube).  New plug-ins will embed without the embed codes and various clicks it takes to do it the old way.
  • Don’t be afraid to branch out!
  • DO dock the blocks.
  • DO give your learners completion tracking
  • Don’t overdo the conditional activities

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