Moodle Tools for Advising Week

Quickmai Block and Scheduler
Quickmai Block and Scheduler

As part of our synchronization with Banner, we create a "Faculty Advisor" Moodle course for every faculty member with advisees, and we automatically add advisees to that course as "enrolled students." You can find a link to that course by logging in to Moodle and clicking on the "Advising" section within the Current Course List to expand that section:

Advisor Course Link

There are several ways that you can use that "Faculty Advisor" course:

  1. You can use the Quickmail block to send an email message to all of your advisees. If you don’t see the Quickmail block in your Faculty Advisor course, you can add the Quickmail block to your course first.
  2. You can make your course visible to students, and you can add content to the course relevant to all of your advisees.
  3. You can make your course visible to students, and you can add a Scheduler to the course to allow students to sign up for advising appointments.

Please contact our Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship (DP&S) Group if you have any questions about using Moodle for advising.

Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Moodle

Moodle Turnitin Assignment

Moodle Turnitin Assignment

Our Preventing Academic Irresponsibility page, part of the full Academic Responsibility at Bucknell Web site, describes ways to both prevent and to detect plagiarism. With plagiarism, to quote Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is [indeed] worth a pound of cure.” In other words, if you educate students about plagiarism and academic honesty, if you assign original work that would be hard for students to find on Web-based sources, and if you actually assign the full writing process – asking students (perhaps) to submit an annotated bibliography, a topic statement, an outline or rough draft, etc., as they work on their assignments – then you will be reducing the likelihood that students will intentionally copy full papers or even extended passages from other sources without proper citation.

Another way of encouraging students to submit original work is to add a Turnitin Assignment to your Moodle course. All student work submitted to a Turnitin Assignment is compared to Turnitin’s database of previously submitted work. That database includes documents openly available on the Web, articles from some journals and other periodicals, and student work submitted to institutions that subscribe to Turnitin. Soon after students submit the Turnitin Assignment, Turnitin generates an originality score that indicates the percentage of language in the student submission that matches other sources. The originality report also provides a side-by-side comparison of the student passage with each matching source.

Please note that the Turnitin database does not necessarily include journals that require a subscription, and so students can still copy extended passages from published work without necessarily being caught by Turnitin. Faculty members still need to trust their intuition about student writing that sounds too polished to be that student’s actual original work.

If you don’t use a Turnitin Assignment but receive student work that sounds suspicious, you can also create a hidden Turnitin Assignment in a Moodle course, and you can manually submit an individual student essay (or essays) to have it (them) checked for originality.

Here are instructions on how to add a Turnitin Assignment to a Moodle course. Please contact our Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship (DP&S) Group if you have any questions about Moodle and the Turnitin Assignment type.

Survey Software: Choices for Faculty Members

Survey Tools

At Bucknell, we have three easy-to-use platforms for creating surveys:

  1. Qualtrics
  2. Moodle
  3. Google Forms

QualtricsQualtrics (discussed in a related blog entry) is the most flexible and advanced of the three options just mentioned. Here are some scenarios in which Qualtrics would be your best choice:
  • You want to create an anonymous survey and share the link with a large group of respondents.
  • You want to send your survey to a specific panel of users, and you want to be able to send reminders to users who have not yet filled out the survey.
  • You have a complicated survey with multiple sections, branching logic, or other advanced features.
  • Your research requires approval by the Bucknell Institutional Review Board (IRB), and you want to choose the most secure survey tool available to you.

MoodleMoodle has a survey activity called Questionnaire that allows you to make the survey available to a very specific audience. Moodle’s Questionnaire activity would be a good choice for these possible reasons:
  • You want students in your course (and only students in your course) to take the survey. Questionnaire allows for both anonymous and name-identified surveys, so either type of survey is possible in Moodle.
  • You want to administer your survey to a large or specified campus group. We have the ability in Moodle to create courses in which all students, faculty, and/or staff are enrolled, and you could add your survey to such a course in order to get feedback from a specific (large) audience. We also have Moodle courses for each faculty advisor (with his/her advisees automatically added to the course) and for each campus major, and you could add a Questionnaire activity to those courses to survey such targeted audiences (among other examples).

Google FormsGoogle Forms is an easy-to-use survey creation tool. The specific survey/form that you create exists in your Google Drive, and responses to the form are saved in your Google Drive as a Google spreadsheet. Google Forms might be the best choice under these possible scenarios:
  • You want to be notified each time someone completes your survey. (Please note that Qualtrics has this feature as well, which it calls email triggers.)
  • You want to distribute your survey to people within the "bucknell.edu" domain, and you want to collect usernames automatically (or not collect usernames and keep the survey anonymous).
  • You want to create your survey quickly, without having to spend too much time learning how to use the tool.

Here are ways you can explore each survey tool:

  1. Qualtrics University (also called Qualtrics Support) has extensive documentation, along with the very helpful guided tutorial, Learn Qualtrics in 5 Steps (Survey Platform Overview).
  2. Moodle QuickStart Guide: Creating a Survey Using Questionnaire
  3. Google Apps Learning Center: Getting Started with Forms

Please contact our Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship (DP&S) Group if you have questions about using surveys in your teaching or research.

Moodle FAQs for Faculty

  1. How do I make my course available to students?
  2. One of my students has reported that s/he can’t see my course in Moodle? What’s the problem?
  3. How do I copy courses from the Moodle archive server to the main Moodle server?
  4. How do I add a Teaching Assistant to my course?
  5. I am teaching two sections of the same course, but I see three courses in Moodle. Why is that?
  6. My course is cross-listed between two departments or between undergraduate and graduate versions of the course. Which Moodle course should I use?
  7. Do I need to add and drop students from my Moodle course, or is that taken care of for me?
  8. I imported my past course content into my current course, but some of my activities are now "Orphaned." What happened?
  9. I would like students to discuss course-related topics in an online forum, so I changed the name of the News Forum at the top of my course. For some reason, though, students can’t post to that forum. What did I do wrong?

  1. How do I make my course available to students?
    Moodle courses are created so that they are unavailable to students. When you are ready for students to see your course content, you need to edit the settings for the course to make your course visible to the students. To do that, click on “Edit settings” in the Administration block, in the Course administration area. In the General section at the top of the page, for the “Visible” setting, click on the downward-facing triangle so that the option says “Show.” Then scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the “Save and display” button.
  2. One of my students has reported that s/he can’t see my course in Moodle? What’s the problem?
    Moodle enrollments tend to be one day behind Banner. If the student brought his/her Add Form to the Registrar’s Office and the information has been entered into Banner, the student will be added to the course in Moodle the following morning at around 6:30, when we coordinate information between Banner and Moodle. Another possibility is that you haven’t made the course available to students yet. (See the answer just above.)
  3. How do I copy courses from the Moodle archive server to the main Moodle server?
    If two Moodle courses exist on the same server – for example, if they are both on our main Moodle server – you can use the Import process to copy course materials from a past course into a current course. However, if the courses exist on different servers for example, our Archive Server and our main Moodle Server – you will need to use the Backup and Restore (directions without screenshots) process to copy materials from one server to the other.
  4. How do I add a Teaching Assistant to my course?
    We automatically add and drop students from Moodle courses based on the official course enrollments in Banner. Since Teaching Assistants are not listed in Banner, however, faculty members need to add Teaching Assistants manually into the Moodle version of the course. You can find detailed instructions on how to add a TA to your course here.
  5. I am teaching two sections of the same course, but I see three courses in Moodle. Why is that?
    When you are teaching two sections of the same course, we actually create three courses in Moodle: a course for each one of the individual sections, and a merged course that combines the enrollments from those two sections. Faculty members who view the two sections as basically the same course tend to use that merged version only and make it available to students, leaving the individual sections unavailable to avoid confusion. If you are using the merged course, you need to upload documents into only one Moodle site, which many faculty members find more efficient than building or updating two sites with similar content. Faculty members who view the two sections as distinct, separate entities tend to ignore the merged course and make each individual section available to students.
  6. My course is cross-listed between two departments or between undergraduate and graduate versions of the course. Which Moodle course should I use?
    As with the example just above (faculty teaching two sections of the same course), when a course is cross-listed between two departments, we create three courses is Moodle: a course for each of the departmental listings, and a “CROSS” version that combines the enrollments from the two individual courses. Similarly, when there is an undergraduate and graduate version of the same course that are cross-listed by the Registrar’s Office, we create a “CROSS” version of the course containing all undergraduate and graduate enrollments from the two component courses. In such instances, you will want to use the CROSS version only, since it will have all the appropriate students in the course. You’ll want to make that CROSS version available to students and just ignore the individual courses.
  7. Do I need to add and drop students from my Moodle course, or is that taken care of for me?
    Every weekday morning at 6:30 AM and every Saturday morning at 10:30 AM, we process data feeds from Banner that contain all the student course enrollment information. At that time, every student who should be added to your course – in other words, every student who was added to the course by the Registrar’s Office on the previous day – will be added to the Moodle version of the course. Every student who was dropped from the course (via the Registrar’s Office) on the previous day will also be removed from your Moodle course. Faculty members would need to add a student to a course manually only if the student’s official enrollment has been delayed for some reason, and you want to give the student immediate access to the course content, or if the student is in a category that won’t appear in Banner – for example, teaching assistant or auditor. If you need to add a student to a course manually, you can follow the instructions for adding a Teaching Assistant to your course  – although you would most likely choose the “Student” status for an auditor or for the student who needs to be enrolled in your course immediately.
  8. I imported my past course content into my current course, but some of my activities are now "Orphaned." What happened?
    By default, new Moodle courses have only six topic blocks (in addition to the "zero block" at the top of the course page, containing the News forum). When you import materials from a past Moodle course that has more than six topic blocks, the activities and resources in topic blocks seven and below (in the new course) become "orphaned" if you didn’t increase the number of sections in the new course before importing the past content. We recommend in our instructions on how to import course content that you first click on the "Edit settings" link in the Administration block of the past course, expand the "Course format" section, and note down the number of sections in that course. Then, in the new course, click on the "Edit settings" link in the Administration block, expand the "Course format" section, and select the same number of topic areas for the new course. If you forgot to do that before importing the content, then you can just do it after the fact. In other words, if your new course could talk, it would say to you, "Please sir, I want some more [topic blocks]." If you click on "Edit settings" in the Administration block, click on "Course format,", choose the appropriate number of sections, and then scroll down and click on "Save and display," your topic blocks will no longer be starving orphans.
  9. I would like students to discuss course-related topics in an online forum, so I changed the name of the News Forum at the top of my course. For some reason, though, students can’t post to that forum. What did I do wrong?
    Moodle created the News Forum as a way for faculty members to post announcements to students. Those announcements appear in the “LATEST NEWS” block at the top-right of the page, as well as in the News Forum itself. Announcements posted to the News Forum are also emailed to all students 30 minutes after you save the announcement. By design, the News Forum is for faculty posting only, and students cannot add messages to the News Forum. If you want to create a space for on-line student discussions, you need to click on the “Add an activity or resource” link at the bottom-right corner of a topic block and choose “Forum” among the list of available activities. The “Standard forum for general use” tends to be the most appropriate type of forum for student discussions.

For Moodle assistance, please contact Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship at dps@bucknell.edu or call Leslie Harris at ext. 7-1461.

New Collapsed Topics Moodle Course Format

Collapsed Topics

One challenge that students and faculty members face with large Moodle courses is the (over-dramatically named) “scroll of death.” In other words, when there are many topic blocks and/or lots of documents within topic blocks, the Moodle course ends up being so long, that students need to keep scrolling downward to see all the course content, and faculty members need to keep scrolling downward to add new content. In order to address this “scroll of death” problem and to reduce the screen length of a Moodle course, we have installed the “Collapsed Topic” course format. When a faculty member chooses the Collapsed Topic format for his/her Moodle course, the topic blocks (past the zero block) display only the title of each block. Students (and the faculty member) can click on the title of the topic (or on a familiar right-facing triangle icon) to reveal the contents of that particular topic block. Here is how a sample course would look using the Collapsed Topics course format for the first four blocks of the course (after the zero block, which remains un-collapsed):

Collapsed Topics

Here is how the same course would look when one of the topics blocks has been expanded:

Collapsed Topics Format - Block Expanded

You can find instructions on how to implement the new Collapsed Topic Course Format here.

Adding the Quickmail Block to Your Advisor Course

Quickmail Block

In Moodle, we have created an “Advisor” course for every faculty member who has advisees in Banner, and the list of advisees enrolled in that course is automatically updated each morning as part of our integration between Banner and Moodle.

You can use the Scheduler Activity in Moodle to schedule appointments with your advisees, which we describe in this blog post.

You can also use the Quickmail block in Moodle to send an email message to all of your advisees, letting them know of upcoming deadlines (for example) or of the need to schedule an appointment with you. If you can’t find the Quickmail block in your “Advisor” course in Moodle, you can add it to your course following these instructions.