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Moodle 2 upgrade

Despite advice at the Learning@Schools conference to hold off on Moodle 2, we returned to find that our IT technition had already moved us to the new moodle platform. The result has been a rather rapid shift to the new version, the expected teething problems but in the end we feel a better LMS interface.

Backgound

We are in our 3rd year of our ICT PD Cluster, which has had developing an LMS as a central component. In the interests of conserving finances, we decided to host the LMS ourselves using space at an external server farm to give outside access. The timetable was exported from Kamar along with students and teacher details to automatically create a course structure. One logging in teachers and students would see their courses. Initial uptake by staff has been slow and sporadic with some teachers using the LMS extensively and others hoping it would all go away after the cluster. To ensure a better adoption rate, teacher appraisals included a requirement to develop at least 1 course presence on Moodle, but often this has been course outlines and a few links only.

Steps to Improve uptake

  • Department were able to set up "meta-courses"  where individual classes are linked to one course for that subject/level. Teachers could hide their own course, or have it visible for their own material. This meant for the large departments, one teacher could maintain the course for several classes.
  • PD moved away from big hands on sessions, to a 1-1 or few - 1 model that was delivered when teachers were ready to work on their courses. We found the bigger PD model lost value if teachers were not actually working on their own courses immediately as the skills are quickly lost if not used.
  • HOD's have now been asked to upskill along with 1 other lead person in the department, so there is a core of knowledge in each learning area.

Moodle 2

The initial installation and settling in of Moodle 2 has been tricky, mainly from the technicians side. The courses moved quite seamlessly from the old Moodle, but the enrollment procedures were different and we had several false starts. The loss of traction over the start of the year has been disappointing. However, all is working as it should now.

The Moodle 2 interface is a big step forward for teachers. The process of adding resources and activities is much more intuitive and hopefully going forward this will allow PD to be more effective and more teachers to become active users. Our stronger staff have been using Moodle to

  • create Portfolios of writing for the new L1 English standards
  • submit assignments which can be graded and given feedback within Moodle
  • developing groups and collaborative work
  • using forums to encourage out of class questioning and discussion

New features in Moodle include

  • the ability to hide boxes to free up page space
  • 1 step uploading of resources
  • new improved quiz module