Category Archives: Moodle

Measuring the Success of a Moodle Implementation

It’s a mistake to measure the success of a Moodle implementation by the amount of content on the site.

Why?

Just think about your own site for a moment.

Many Moodles have loads of resources placed there by staff back in the early days and never looked at since. You know the sort of thing, a member of staff receives some training, decides that Moodle is the best thing ever and spends the next few weeks uploading every PowerPoint they’ve ever written, pasting images onto every topic heading, setting up Forums, writing quizzes and setting assignments. Two months later they realize that what they’ve added isn’t being used, not that it matters because they’ve moved on to a new enthusiasm. Even so, the course remains there and is held up as an example of good practice, despite the fact no one ever looks at it.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Think of the obsolete resources that staff can’t bear to delete or archive, the duplicated materials, the imported materials someone’s put on just in case it might be of use someday…

Although good content will make your site successful, the amount of content is not a measure of success.

So what is?

Well, the simplest measure is to see if those resources are being used. Moodle provides a number of ways of doing this, the simplest being the Participants block. Add this to a course, click on the link and you get a list of participants, sorted by most recent access. It’s easy to see from this when students last logged onto the course. If it’s a few weeks ago then you know that no matter how good your content is, it’s not being viewed.

You can get a more detailed view of what’s being viewed through the course participation reports and the site wide stats.  All of these give you a quick overview of just how well your site is being used. A course may not look impressive, but it could be getting the traffic. It’s the number of hits that counts. Are those resources being used?

There could be a number of reasons for all that traffic of course, including the fact that a member of staff is simply telling students to log on. This is not necessarily a bad thing: a text book is no less good a learning resource simply because students are instructed to use it.

Hit counts – whether driven by teachers, driven by interesting content, driven by whatever – are the measure of a successful Moodle implementation. Full stop.

… but that’s not the full story, of course.

Because now you have to ask yourself this: is your Moodle effective?

And now you have to start looking at achievement…

A Successful Moodle Implementation

What makes a successful school Moodle implementation?

Quite simply: consistency.

A typical school will contain a number of different departments (English, Maths, Science, French, Art etc). Teaching staff are notorious for their enthusiasm, they are capable of populating a Moodle implementation with any number of courses within a matter of weeks.   …and that’s when the trouble starts.

Left unchecked, there will be as many types of course as there are teachers. More, in fact. Moodle beginners seem to have a fondness for making a course for every eventuality, so I’ve seen lists of courses something like the following

GCSE Chemistry Year 10 Molecules
GCSE Chemistry Year 10 Reactions (Ms Jones)
GCSE Chemistry Year 10 Reactions (Mr Smith)
GCSE Chemistry
GCSE Chemistry Year 10

The courses are invariably unused. No surprise, the students don’t know where they’re supposed to be looking.

It’s far better, of course, to set up one course called GCSE Chemistry and put all the resources there. That may be obvious to you, it won’t be obvious to teachers. If you want a clear, consistent structure you have to work for it. You need to give examples of good structure and to constantly monitor what’s going on Moodle and to (politely) ask for changes when they’re needed.

If you don’t, you’ll end up with loads of resources that aren’t actually being visited.  Great for showing off to headteachers and governors, no real use otherwise.

Moodle and LaTeX

Moodle and \LaTeX

\LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. \LaTeX is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents. \LaTeX is available as free software.

Moodle comes with the ability to handle \LaTeX. Check that your administrator has enabled it.

To include \LaTeX code in Moodle, use the following:

$$Your-latex-Code$$

So $$A=\pi r^2$$

becomes

A=\pi r^2

Symbols

If you type $$\alpha, \beta, \gamma$$ into Moodle you get \alpha, \beta, \gamma.

Knowing this you can write formulas such as $$A = \pi r^2$$

Knowing this you can write formulas such as A = \pi r^2

Note the difference between $$\sigma and \Sigma$$.

Note the difference between \sigma and \Sigma

You can guess the names of most of the symbols you need...$$\pm,\le, \neq, \ge$$

You can guess the names of most of the symbols you need… \pm, \le, \neq, \ge

There are lots of other symbols: $$\forall , \leftarrow, \Rightarrow, \infty$$, $$\cos (2\theta) = \cos^2 \theta - \sin^2 \theta$$

There are lots of other symbols: \forall , \leftarrow, \Rightarrow, \infty, \cos (2\theta) = \cos^2 \theta - \sin^2 \theta

Find more symbols here: http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Wiki/index.php/LaTeX:Symbols

Functions, Fractions and Derivatives

You’ve already seen how to write superscripts.  Use the underscore for subscripts: n_ij

Copper Sulphate:  $$CuSO_4$$ : CuSO_4

Use braces { } for clarity:

Fibonacci Sequence:  $$F_n = F_{n-1} +F_{n-2}$$ :  F_n = F_{n-1} +F_{n-2}

Here are some fractions

$$\frac{x+y}{y-z}$$ :

\frac{x+y}{y-z}

$$\frac{\frac{1}{x}+\frac{1}{y}}{y-z}$$

\frac{\frac{1}{x}+\frac{1}{y}}{y-z}:

You can probably guess what \sqrt does, so that gives us

$$x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 – 4ac }}{2a}$$

x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4ac }}{2a}

Which you can copy and paste when you need it.

Here’s how to do derivatives

$$y = x^2$$

y = x^2

$$\frac{dy}{dx}=2x$$

\frac{dy}{dx}=2x

Brackets

Note the use of \left and \right to size the brackets correctly

$$\frac{x+y}{y-z}$$

\frac{x+y}{y-z}

$$(\frac{x+y}{y-z})$$

(\frac{x+y}{y-z})

$$\left(\frac{x+y}{y-z}\right)$$

\left(\frac{x+y}{y-z}\right)