First Day of Class Activities that Create a Climate for Learning

First Day of School for Josh and Molly Young -- circa 2001

First Day of School for Josh and Molly Young — circa 2001

Today I am re-tweeting another timely, practical, and succinct Faculty Focus article by Maryellen Weimer.  Below are a few of the tips shared in the article.  Click on the link above if any of these pique your interest.  Also, please share any of your favorite “first day” activities in the REPLY section below on the blog page.

  • Syllabus Speed Dating
  • Best and Worst Classes
  • First Day Graffiti
  • Irritating Behaviors: Theirs and Ours

Happy teaching and learning for the new semester!

New Moodle-Turnitin.com Integration

Turnitin.com LogoNew Moodle-Turnitin.com integration means:

  • Users don’t have to create accounts and log in to Turnitin separately
  • Users can submit and grade papers directly within Moodle

New Turnitin Assignment ActivityAs of Fall 2013 OBU has implemented Turnitin.com integration with our Moodle learning management system.  If you have never used Turnitin.com, go to our main support page and read about the features.  If you use Tii often and you also use Moodle, there is now a simpler process for both faculty and students.  Instead of creating a separate Tii account, faculty go to their Moodle course where they intend for the students to turn in their written assignments.  They create an assignment there, directly within the Moodle interface instead of having to log in to Tii and create a class and an assignment.  The student also does not have to create a separate Tii account.  They log into their Moodle course and turn in the assignment there.  The professor can check originality reports and grade papers from within the Moodle course page taking advantage of all of the features of the Tii application.  There is even an iPad app for checking originality reports and providing detailed feedback with Grademark.

Installation:

There is no installation requirement. Simply log in to Moodle and go to your course. Faculty can view the tutorial video on how to add an assignment here.  This tutorial was created based on Moodle 1.9, but the information can easily be extrapolated to Moodle 2.x which is the version in use by OBU.

Tutorials and Help:

Apple TVs in the Classroom

Wireless projection is now possible in almost
half of the OBU main campus classrooms.

apple-tvApple TVs are designed and marketed for the home entertainment market, but they can be very useful in the classroom.  Anything on the screen of an Apple device such as an iPad, an iPhone, or a MacBook, can be sent wirelessly to the projector via the Apple TV device. The sound signal is also sent to the projection speakers.  It uses Apple’s “Airplay” protocol to connect wirelessly to other Apple products.  If you have an Apple device that is on the same wireless network as the Apple TV device (the employee network), you can mirror your screen onto the projector and show presentations, show web sites, show videos, demonstrate apps and other software, etc.

What’s new in Moodle-Summer 2013

MoodleThe Moodle development community is constantly trying to improve their code and add features to the core Moodle product.  Moodlerooms, our cloud hosting provider, usually waits a few weeks (or months) to fully test the changes before releasing them to their clients.  Moodlerooms also adds new features to their joule product at that time.  Below is a list of the extensive changes that were made in July.  We will be adding some of these features to our training session on assessments and gradebook.  The most useful changes in my opinion are the Group Assignments, Blind Marking, and Offline Marking features mentioned below:

Moodle 2.4 Major Features

  • Assignment Module Updated

    • Group assignments: Now it’s possible to setup an assignment that a group can work on collaboratively and each student can receive a common (or individual) grade.
    • Blind marking (not knowing the student’s identity when grading): Randomly generated Participant numbers will replace Students’ names.
    • Submission Date Extensions: Teachers can set a cut-off date (and time) beyond which submissions will no longer be accepted. They can also grant extensions for those who miss the deadline.
    • Submission statement: It will be possible to set a submission statement so students have to check a box promising their work is original before submitting it.
    • Offline marking: Teachers can download all assignments plus the grading sheet, view, grade and give feedback offline and then upload back to Moodle and have the grades/files/comments transferred into Moodle’s Gradebook.
    • Students can now see the content of advanced grading forms on their assignment page before they submit.
  • Workshop Module Updated

    • Full support for alternative grading evaluation methods.
    • Final grades are displayed to workshop participants when the activity is closed.
    • Ability to define a conclusion text to be displayed to workshop participants when the activity is closed.
    • Teachers can assess submissions in the grading evaluation phase without the need to switch to the assessment phase.
  • Miscellaneous

    • Users can set the order and number of courses displayed on their My home page.
    • Activities and topics can be restricted according to user profile fields.
    • The screen reader profile setting has been removed – all pages should now work with a screen reader
    • Submission added to the Activity Completion tracking options
    • When searching for users exact matches are listed first
    • The messaging providers page has been tidied and ordered
    • Safe Exam Browser window no longer includes a logout link
    • Blog system can be completely disabled
    • Automated course backup settings include options to specify whether the backup of certain courses should be skipped
    • Options to include selected user profile fields and custom profile fields in grade export

New Joule Grader

  • Updated Joule Grader to work with assignment team submissions and assignment blind marking
  • Assignment comments and feedback are now fully integrated with Joule Grader
  • Added a Full Screen Mode that offers more room to view documents/activities (enabled by default)
  • Joule Grader and Assignment comments have been integrated into the Moodle Messaging system

New Plugins

Pearson Direct

The Pearson Direct for Moodle plug-in facilitates direct integration between Moodle and Pearson’s MyLab / Mastering and CourseConnect products. Direct integration allows instructors and students to log in to Moodle and click a link to access their Pearson resources without the need for the user to create a new account, a course, or to log in a second time.

Mediacore

This plug-in gives you access to your MediaCore account from within Moodle. Using MediaCore (a cloud-based video education platform) you can browse, search, and add your videos directly to Moodle pages and courses. You can also upload videos directly to your Moodle course without needing to leave Moodle. The plug-in also works with MediaCore’s iOS Capture App, which means you can bring mobile video capture into the Moodle learning experience.