Using Moodle to support your online teaching

The impact of the Corona virus situation for teaching through Moodle

The Moodle support team will monitor Moodle’s capacity and server usage in order to ensure that all teaching in Moodle goes as planned and without technical interruptions. If you are planning to give an exam in Moodle for a large group of over 100 students, please let us know well in advance by sending a message to this email: moodle@helsinki.fi. Moreover, if your exam has typically utilised the exam services personnel’s help (tenttipalvelu), please inform the exam services at least 5 working days ahead of time about any changes to your exam processes. Thank you for your consideration!

Moodle as a Learning Management System (LMS) and an elearning environment

Moodle is a versatile elearning environment that can be adapted for a wide variety of online teaching purposes. Within Moodle, the teacher can create assignments for the students as well as receive and grade the assignment submissions. A number of elearning tools are available within Moodle, and the selection of a particular activity type or tool depends on the learning goals and the teaching and learning methods of your course.

What is Moodle?

If you are not familiar with the elearning environment Moodle, please see the following introduction video: What is Moodle?

You may also consider familiarizing with these Moodle self-study modules. 

How to create a Moodle area for your course

You can order a new Moodle area in two different ways:

  1. With the course area request form, which you can find at moodle.helsinki.fi  (before you login) —> instructions for teachers —> Request a new course area. After your Moodle course area has been created, you will receive an automatic notification in your email, which includes a link to your Moodle course as well as instructions for how to open the course to students.
  2. Or, you can create a Moodle Course area at the Course pages site (courses.helsinki.fi). If you create a Moodle course area through the Course page, your students will be automatically added to Moodle if they have registered for the course in Weboodi. Cf. guidelines: Creating a Moodle area that is automatically connected to your Weboodi roster

Lecture teaching

Contact teaching lectures can be substituted for example by providing the students with e-materials, articles and other learning assignments, for example assignments in which the students are looking for materials themselves. The students can also share materials with each other through Moodle, for example on the discussion boards through the Forum or Glossary tools.

Teacher’s Moodle guide:

Other guidelines:

Sharing videos

The recommendation is that any lecture and instructional videos that you have created yourself, can be shared to Moodle from Unitube, which is the University of Helsinki’s video publishing platform.

Cf. teacher’s Moodle guide:

  • Linking Unitube videos to Moodle
  • Linking Youtube-videos to Moodle: Navigate to the Moodle editor, write the placeholder word (e.g. “video”), highlight this word, click the link-icon on the editor, and copy-paste the selected URL from either Youtube of Vimeo. (We recommend Vimeo Pro since it does not have ads, but also a private Youtube or Vimeo basic account is also OK.)

Assignments, e.g. literature reviews and essays

With the Assignment-tool within Moodle, the teacher can give the students assignments and the students can submit those through Moodle for the teacher to be graded. The teacher can grade the assignments and give feedback through Moodle, as well.

Teacher’s guide: Assignment quick guideAssignment activity guide

Exams

Consider whether you could substitute an exam with a final essay or a so-called home exam/materials exam, in which the students could utilise materials such as literature and the Internet to answer the questions. In this case, try to create questions that utilise tasks of applying and processing knowledge, instead of mostly memorising knowledge. An exam in Moodle can be created in two ways:  with the Quiz and the Assignment tools.

Assignment tool

Essay final papers and exams and other forms of assignment submissions in which the student submits an assignment in writing is recommended to be done with the Moodle Assignment-tool, from which it is also possible to send the submissions to the Urkund plagiarism detection program.

Teacher’s guide:

Quiz tool

When you would like to randomise or vary the questions that the individual students receive to be answered in the quiz/exam, the best way is to utilise the Moodle Quiz tool. First, create the questions in their relevant category within the Moodle area’s question bank. Then, you can create the Quiz activity itself, and draw questions from the question bank. The Quiz questions can be randomized for each student to vary the questions they receive. With the Quiz tool, you can also create many other types of questions to be automatically graded, including multiple choice questions, word match, or cloze questions. Typically, the exams are time restricted so that after the exam time is over, the questions will close and thus not be visible to the students anymore. If possible, consider setting the exam submission time to be flexible so that the exam itself allows for example a 2 hour time period to be answered, but this exam time can be started anytime within – for example – a 6 hour time period.

Exams for over 100 students

  • Please let us know about the date and time of large exams in Moodle, preferably three days in advance, through the email address moodle@helsinki.fi. Please include a link to the exam in Moodle. Moodle support can then help you and monitor the servers during your exam in order to ensure that Moodle server has enough available capacity.
  • Inform the students that as they start the quiz or exam, there may be a traffic jam in Moodle. In this event, the student should wait a few moments and then refresh the browser to reload the quiz page.
  • If possible, set the exam to be available for multiple hours and then restrict the timeframe of the exam answering.
  • Inform the students that they should prioritize doing the exam with a laptop rather than a mobile device.

Other exam options

Communication and online discussions in Moodle

You can use the Announcements forum in Moodle when you need to communicate something to the students urgently and you need to be able to reach the students immediately. The Announcements forum will send a push notification to the students’ emails. Please note that the students cannot respond to Announcements. If you would like to send a message to your students through Moodle, which allows them to respond, as well, you may use the Forum tool.

Teacher’s guide:

Group work in Moodle

To utilise the tools in Moodle that function with the group settings, you need to first create the groups in Moodle. After this, you may utilise the created groups with for example:

  • Group discussion boards
  • Chat
  • Submitting a group assignment through the Assignment tool
  • Wiki for example to create a group work, but note that only one person can edit at any once time

Teacher’s Moodle guide:

Other possibilities:

More information

Support

Moodle trainings in spring 2020

Welcome to Moodle trainings and clinics!

In English:

More trainings and advanced courses are in Finnish, see here.

Enrollment and more information in SAP Suffeli Learning.

NB. If you wish to have training in English or in some other topic please contact moodle@helsinki.fi.

You can now check code with a CodeRunner plug-in

A CodeRunner question type for checking code has been installed on Moodle. Thanks to the CodeRunner question type, you can create programming assignments associated with quiz activities to be automatically checked. CodeRunner supports the following programming languages: Python 2, Python 3, C, C++, Java, PHP, JavaScript (Node.js), Octave and MATLAB. CodeRunner is suited particularly to introductory courses in programming, when it is important for students to receive immediate feedback on their code and its style, depending on how exact the tests to be entered into the program are. The coding of one’s own testing method is also possible, but this is not recommended for beginners.

In basic use, students enter their own code or program into the answer box for the question, after which CodeRunner runs the test code on a virtual server and compares the outputs of the provided sample code and the student’s code. In the next phase, the use of certain functions can, for example, be restricted, or the student can be asked to write code with a certain number of lines. After creating your own question type, you can also, for example, compare text with the provided sample text, depending on how complex a question type you write.

A workshop related to CodeRunner will be organised early next year to explore question types in more detail. For further information and requests for workshop content, please send an email to moodle @ helsinki.fi.

Instructions for Teachers

Moodle is updated to version 3.6 on June 26th, 2019

Moodle will be upgraded to version 3.6 on June 26th, 2019, from 8 AM to 5 PM. During this time, Moodle is closed and cannot be logged into. The update may not take the whole day, but the time is reserved as a precaution to prepare for potential update issues and fixes.

Improved Course overview function

This improvement has been waited for: the courses on the Course overview on the Dashboard can now be sorted, starred, and hidden. The view can be just a listing, a pictorial “card” format, or a listing with a course description. You can also add new blocks to your page: Recently accessed courses, Starred courses and Recently accessed items (activities and resources). By default, everyone will see their own Recently accessed courses block. The Timeline can now be found in its own block within the right column. Click the “Customise this page” button at the top right of the page to edit your Dashboard’s Course overview. You can add blocks from the “Add a block” button at the end of the left column.

Read more

New messaging interface

There are new options in the inbox message view: Starred, Group and Private. You can mark your contacts as starred, and their posts will appear on your list. New group communications allow group members to send messages to the entire group. This requires that the function is enabled in group settings. The teacher must also be a member of the group if she wants to send group messages.

For teachers

Easily find duplicated items

Duplicated resources are appended with ‘copy’ so you can easily distinguish between the original and copy.

Download the list of course participants

In the Participants page, you can download the list of course participants for example to Excel. The participant list has been changed so that the last name comes first.

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