Top tips for using Moodle
- Get the settings right. When setting up discussion forums be very careful not to click “force everyone to subscribe “unless you really need to. This option is really only suitable for news forums. You have to allow people to subscribe to the forums they are interested in and hope that they go onto your space to see that there are discussions , this is the price to pay so you don’t drive your colleagues demented.
- Chat rooms will only work if specific times are set for the room to be available. Its good practice to have a live chat space available. However unless you set it to open at certain times that your users are aware of, you are relying on them to be coincidentally on-line at the same time. This results in a lot of people feeling lonely in the chat room, saying hello with no reply.
- Twitter is brilliant. It allows you to stream current relevant information to your students with a minimum of effort. It keeps your moodle space current and you can secretly keep track of what Stephen Fry had for breakfast.
- Discussion forums take quite a bit of work. Discussion forums are a bit like teaching students at 4pm on a Friday. You have to really work to get a response. Nobody wants to be the first to post so you have to work to get people to engage. Give them something specific to discuss. Students take a while to engage with each other so the teacher needs to have a role in keeping the discussion going.
- Discussion forums can reduce your workload. Fed up with keep being asked the same question? Put it in an faq’s forum. This works really well for queries around essays and practice. If you only respond to these questions within a forum it encourages students to read the forum before sending you an email.
- You’ve got to love a lurker. It may feel if you set up a forum that isn’t being particularly well engaged with that its a bit pointless. If you go into reports you can see who has been looking at what on your space. It can be quite reassuring that whilst students may not be taking an active role on the space, that they are still there lurking.