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Showing posts from February, 2010

Moodle Grading

I still dislike the "pop-up" or "list" method for entering grades in Moodle. I could enter digits much faster; I hate being forced to use the mouse / touchpad to select grades. This is consuming a bit more time than it should, but it seems comparable to Blackboard in terms of the time and effort. At least I have Moodle set to always show the complete enrollment when I enter grades. For some reason, Blackboard always showed only ten students at a time, no matter how often I told the system I wanted to see 25 or more students at once.

The grade book for Moodle is a bit confusing, still. I use a Numbers spreadsheet I migrated from MS Excel, so the online grades are only for students to track their progress. Still, I wish the display were a little easier to read. The last column is showing an average points earned per assignment, when what I would like to see is a points total. I'm sure I'll figure out how to change this… but it isn't a major issue right n…

Online Forums

I went back to requiring weekly responses to readings and lectures after two semesters without the requirement. I know students always complained about weekly responses and I found that the grades in a course would not change with or without the responses. But, something told me that the online conversations were valuable.

There are already 138 posts to the forums on Moodle this semester. The students are using the forums actively, along with the group wiki pages I set up on Moodle for students. The posts reflect a much deeper attention to detail than I think the students exhibited in the courses without weekly responses.

While the grades might not be different without the responses, I'm convinced the overall quality of work and reflection is higher. I realize that if the grading were more objective this would not be an issue — in a writing course we always "curve" the grades somewhat based on the work in that class.

Also, I think the students rise to what they perceive…

Moodle Issue - Homework

I have experienced two issues with Moodle that annoy me. One is inconvenient, the other is truly frustrating.

The inconvenience doesn't surprise me: the full-featured editor and some dialogs do not function properly in Safari. Since I don't mind coding the HTML manually, this is okay, but for students wanting the "Word-like" editor I have to explain they need to use another browser on a Mac. It's definitely not unusual, since Blackboard behaved oddly via Safari.

The frustration was with assignments. If you select a "single file" assignment, you cannot return a copy of the file with comments. The problem for me, and probably other writing instructors, is that mark-up is part of the grading process. I like to return a paper with comments in the original file.

If you create an "Advanced Assignment" item you can return drafts, with certain requirements. But, not realizing I had to create an "Advanced Assignment" even for a single file…

Moodle Work

Students have submitted their first assignments via Moodle and are starting to use the Moodle-based Wiki system for group projects. I have a lot of ideas for using this system, so I'll have to consider how the ideas might be shifted to Blackboard just in case. I like the use of standards within the Moodle Wiki and how easy it was to create a Wiki per group. I am going to be grading papers today, so I'll learn about returning them with grades tonight. So far, I'm obviously pleased with how flexible the system is. There are often too many choices, but I'm willing to tolerate some of the complexity for the extra power I seem to have as an instructor. Maybe newer versions of Blackboard will be as flexible. If I accept a post at a BB-only campus, I hope to have some time to play with any modules they have added. Moodle is working so much better for me that I'd hate to go back, though.