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.


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.

Combining Sections in Moodle

Moodle“I am teaching 2 (or more) sections of the same course but I only want to manage one Moodle course.  Can we combine the course enrollments into one large course?”

Link and PostYes you can.  Moodle calls this process “meta linking.”  You can go here to read more about it.  It is common for faculty to want to combine or merge sections of their Moodle course.  However we do not combine them by default because there may be a good reason not to combine.  For instance, you may want different deadlines for the distinct sections, or you may actually want to post different content for the separate sections.  Banner will continue to manage the enrollments of the meta course. If a student drops in one of the combined courses, Moodle removes them from the meta course.

It is possible for faculty to create their own meta courses, however we want the meta linked course names to be standardized, therefore OIT will combine your courses for you.  Fill out the form below and OIT will combine your courses within two business days from the date of your request.

Seminar Recording

Sorry we missed you if you could not make it to our end-of-year faculty dinner/seminar.  I will try to schedule it earlier in the Spring semester next year.  We had great food, useful door prizes, and we honored two of our best faculty “geeks” who showed exemplary use of educational technology in the past year.  Congratulations Amy and Krista!

  • Green Award: Amy Riggins
  • Gold Award: Krista Hands

Below is the audio-only version of George Saltsman’s lecture.  Sorry, I was unable to get his PowerPoint slides.

Extra Credit in Moodle

students_professor_classroomIt’s that time of year again!  Hopefully you don’t have students lining up outside your office asking for another chance at that missed assignment.  You do have some options if you use the Moodle gradebook.  Go to this page on our Moodle support section to see the easy, step-by-step instructions on how to make the points in a graded item in Moodle count for extra credit.

Extra Credit Tutorial Link

Faculty Invitation – Dinner Seminar

You are cordially and digitally invited to the Year-end OIT Faculty Dinner Seminar:

  • When: April 29th  5-8 pm
  • Where: Mabee Suite
  • Dinner
  • Awards
  • Door prizes
  • Speaker
  • Discussion

George Saltsman, Ed.D.

George Saltsman, Ed.D.

Dr. George Saltsman from Abilene Christian University will be speaking on “Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age.”  There will also be the first annual “Green and Gold” awards for exemplary use of educational technology.  The “Green” award will go to a faculty member who is a relatively novice user of edtech and the “Gold” award will go to a  veteran edtech user.

Discussion Synopsis:

Throughout history, technological advances have profoundly influenced religion, education and politics. In that same way, today’s mobile technologies, the internet, and ubiquitous access to information are shaking the foundations of churches, schools and governments. By looking to our past we are able to project a path to our future, and that future may not be what we expect. Our Christian worldview offers us tremendous opportunities, but only if we are willing to embrace the movement that threatens us most.

Speaker bio:

George Saltsman is the Executive Director of the Task Force for Innovation in Learning and Educational Technology at Abilene Christian University and Instructor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. As the leader of ACU’s Connected Mobile learning initiative, George works closely with faculty and administrators who are deploying and researching mobile learning within education. George is an Apple Distinguished Educator, mobile learning policy advisor to UNESCO, and winner of multiple awards, including Campus Technology Innovator of the Year and The New Media Consortium’s Center of Excellence award. As a researcher, George has overseen over 40 empirical investigations into mobile learning and worked with partners that include Cambridge University Press and Bell Labs France. George is co-author of An Administrators Guide to Online Education and multiple other works focused on the integration on technology in education.

Sloan-C: Workshops & Webinars for Faculty – Funded by OIT

Oklahoma Baptist University is now a member institution with Sloan-C.  There is a long list of benefits available to every faculty member at member institutions. Some of the most significant benefits include:



If you would like to take advantage of this great professional development opportunity, simply go to the user registration page and create a personal account with Sloan-C.

Workshop Payment:

If you would like to register for a workshop , email teach@okbu.edu and ask for the “college pass coupon code”.  Then click on the link to register, and then on the workshop you would like to attend, and add it to your shopping cart.  As you “check out” of your shopping cart, you will be asked for the attendee’s email address. The system will automatically enter the email of the person completing the registration. When you reach the billing page, you will find a spot to add the college pass coupon. Enter the coupon number that you were sent via email and click “apply” to zero out the balance.

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is the leading professional online learning society devoted to advancing quality e-Education learning into the mainstream of education through its community.

Wikipedia: To cite or not to cite?

Wikipedia LogoDo you allow Wikipedia as a source in your courses?

I am going to take the “Fox News” approach…I will report and you will decide!  Below are links to two well-reasoned opinions from an academic perspective.  After reading these articles, what do you think about “crowd-sourced” knowledge?  Do you allow Wikipedia citations in your student’s papers?  Why or why not?  Please discuss in the blog’s comments section.

You never know who is behind those Wikipedia edits!

You never know who is behind those Wikipedia edits!