Live ISTE Blog – My first ISTE session was Teaching Moodle:Tips for Enhanced Course Design. My goal in attending the session was to get some ideas on how to create better quizzes, better use of blocks, and just creating a strong online experience for Moodle users. Michelle was very informative and knowledgeable about the Moodle Platform, and was well versed in good course design.
Her main concept is creating courses that have a clear, consistent design, and are organized in a way in which your information is easy to find and understand. In thinking about my own course design, I still have many things to learn. The importance of presenting information that is clear to the user is critical. The individual topic descriptions need to be shorter, and I need to start using labels a bit more. I never made the connection that the topic descriptions go into the “jump to” navigation. By thinking of this, my students can easily access a topic that they need to in a much easier manner. When I need to go into more detail, I need to start using the label.
The most important concept that I took away was breaking down the information. Avoid embedding links–use the resource tool to add a link. Avoid putting video directly on the front page, as it delays loading the page, and puts too much on the course start page. And finally, avoid having too much text in one area. Break it apart into smaller sections by using labels, or compose several web pages to break the information apart. One plug-in that was mentioned, that I would like to explore, is the book plug-in. Again, it’s another great way to break large amounts of information apart.
The hands-on activity was very useful for us. We were broken into groups and looked at a fake course which had several design flaws. We were able to re-design the course, and have a discussion amongst colleagues about good design. My only wish is that we had more time with this activity. I was very happy with the information I took from this session. Although I was hoping for more ideas on adding good content to Moodle, the design aspect is also important and I will consider many of Michelle’s points as I re-design some of my courses this summer.
John P. Collins is the technology coordinator/district web site administrator for West Bridgewater Middle-Senior High School in Massachusetts, and is chairperson of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Southeast District.