Friday, July 31, 2015

Interactive elements in Moodle Book content

The Book module in Moodle allows you to easily create a series of pages of online content, with text, images, embedded videos, etc.

One major limitation of the Moodle Book is that you can't include any questions to check learners' understanding or to introduce a pause for reflection.

If you want to include a lot of questions, you should consider using the Moodle Lesson module, but what if you're happy with the Book but want to include at least some simple reflection questions? You can indeed do this!

Here's an example. Click the buttons below the question.

What do you understand by the term 'quality'?

Like what you see? Below is the code you have to put in a Moodle Book page (or chapter) in HTML view to create buttons like the ones shown above and the show/hide text. I've highlighted the show/hide text that's the only thing that needs to be customized.

<div id="showtext">
function displayResult() {
    document.getElementById("showtext").innerHTML = "'Quality' is a loaded word...<br><br>";

function reset() {
    document.getElementById("showtext").innerHTML = "";

<button onclick="displayResult()">Reflect and click</button>
<button onclick="reset()">Reset</button>

If you're going to use more than one show/hide feature on the same page, you can reuse the code but you have to remember to change the names of the functions - displayResult() and reset() - as well as the <div> element "showtext" for any new instance of the feature.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

5 reasons Moodle's Feedback module is better than SurveyMonkey for online courses

If you run an online course on Moodle, you probably collect feedback from the students and maybe the teachers too.

SurveyMonkey is a popular tool to set up surveys and feedback forms. And there are other tools that do a similar job. They give you so many options for creating questions and collecting responses that it's easy to think of them as superior to Moodle's relatively humble Feedback module. This doesn't seem to be something that Moodle developers are very proud of, as it's not even enabled by default on a Moodle site! If you've used it, you might have wondered -- Why does the form look so bare? Why can't there be a few more question types?

So why should you use Moodle's Feedback module instead of SurveyMonkey or something else?

Here's why:
  1. You can keep the feedback form anonymous and yet know who has filled out the feedback form and who hasn’t, using the Activity Completion report. This is useful to determine course completion in cases where giving feedback is mandatory. Also, when you make the form anonymous, the message "Mode: Anonymous" appears right on top of the form, which should reassure respondents.
  2. How many times have you wished you could quickly figure out who didn't respond to your survey? When you use Moodle Feedback as a teacher you can see a list of non-respondents, select some or all of them, and send a message -- all from the same page!  
  3. When a feedback form is spread over multiple pages, the respondent’s answers are saved from one page to the next. You can set up a similar feature on SurveyMonkey but it seems a bit complicated.
  4. You can set up email alerts to be sent to the course teachers when the form is filled out each time. On SurveyMonkey, "Survey Alerts can only be sent to the main email address on the account." Bah.
  5. Keeping the feedback form on the same learning platform as the course makes the form look like an integral part of the course and not a pesky extra activity.
Have you enabled and used the Feedback module in your Moodle? You should!

Monday, July 6, 2015

How might the new MoodleCloud change the Moodle landscape?

MoodleCloud has just been announced at the Moodlemoot in Australia.

My quick impressions after checking out