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Students: How to use Moodle

In this guide you will be introduced to the basics of participating in an online course using Moodle, an Open Source Learning Management System.

Site: Learning on the Loop
Course: Learning on the Loop
Book: Students: How to use Moodle
Printed by:
Date: Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 8:10 PM

Student Help

Moodle - Student Help


In this guide you will be introduced to the basics of participating in an online course using Moodle, an Open Source Learning Management System.

Please click on a help topic shown on the left.

Moodle Home Page

The resources and features on this page are available for all students. Take some time to explore the links on this page.

Enter your username and password in the login box on the right hand side. Your courses will appear in the Courses block, shown on the left hand side of the screen.

Software downloads

Your computer may require the following software to enable you to view documents available on NMIT Online:

Viewing, printing, editing and authoring documents

  • Microsoft Office ($) or components thereof, including Word (.doc), Excel (.xls) & PowerPoint (.ppt) OR
  • The Open Office Suite (free) will also allow you to view and edit these file formats

Viewing & printing documents only

Multimedia plug-ins & players (you should be automatically prompted to install them if required)

  • Macromedia Flash
  • Macromedia Shockwave
  • Quicktime
  • Windows Media Player
  • Real Player

Each site will provide instructions on how to download and install the required software on your computer.

Moodle Terms

Moodle uses the internationally recognized Moodle Open Source Software.

Basic Moodle Blocks

Moodle Blocks

Blocks are different sections of the main site and course pages.

Each block contains a list of links to other areas of the course in a logical order.

Note: Individual courses have different block layouts.

The Main Menu on the Site Home Page displays the link to the Site news as well as other useful links for users.

The Courses block displays all the courses you are enrolled in. If you are not logged in this block displays a list of course categories your course will belong to.

Click here for a full list of blocks within Moodle.



You can collapse and expand blocks to change the screen display. Minimise blocks you do not need to reduce the page size.

Click the collapse icon (-) to display only the heading of the block.

Click the expand icon (+) to display the entire block.

-- Moodle Blocks

Moodle Blocks

Note: Individual courses contain different blocks as per the instructor.

Activities

This block lists all the activity types used in the course. If you click on a type shown on this list all activities of that type used in the course are displayed.

Administration

This displays a list containing various administration tools. Instructors have access to all administrative tools for their course.

Students have access to three administrative tools, Grades, Change Password & Unenrol Me From Course_Name' . Note: This is the only block a user can navigate to and view their grades.

Calendar

The dates entered for the activity are automatically displayed within the calendar.

  • All participants are able to add User Events' that only they may see.

  • Instructors are able to add Course Events' that all course participants may see.

  • Groups may add Group Events' that all group participants may see.

  • Site Administrators are able to add Site Events' that all participants in all courses may see.

Course Summary

This block displays the Course Summary that is typed in by the instructor via Course Settings.

Latest news

The Latest news block only appears in Topic and Weekly formats. When a new discussion entry is added to the News forum on your course, a link is automatically created in this block.

My courses

This block contains a list of all courses the participant is enrolled in or is an instructor. This is a useful block if students are enrolled in several courses however they are able to navigate to the main site page to see this block so it may not be necessary to keep it in the course page.

Online Users

This block lists all other participants that are currently online in the same course (in the last 5 minutes). May be useful if the students wish to chat or email each other.

People

The People block is different for Students and Instructors. Students are able to view a list of Participants' in the course as well as a link to Edit profile'. Instructors are also able to view Groups' contained within the course.

Recent activity

The Recent Activity block shows all activity on the course since the last time the user logged in. This feature may help provide prompts for participants as activities are added/updated however it may become slow if large or heavily used courses.

Search

The Search block can be used to search for a word in the forums within your course.

Social Activities

On the Social Format. Bit of a waste of time as it just lists the same things as on the main screen.

Topics

This block lists the topic numbers as a link to provide a shortcut to that area of the course.

Upcoming Events

This lists events that are coming up on the calendar within the next two weeks. This may be a useful reminder for some participants however if the calendar is included as a block the dates are highlighted.

Moodle Navigation

Moodle Navigation

Important: It is recommended that you do not use the Back and Forward buttons on your web browser when using Moodle. Be careful to save or post any changes in the page before using these navigation methods.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are shown at the top of the screen and display your position in the current course as you move through the pages.

Each breadcrumb is a link to a specific area of the course.

  • 'Home' links to the main Online Learning page
  • 'CourseID' links to the main page of the course
  • 'Forums' (or other Acitivity description) displays a full list of this activity for the course.
  • 'News forum ' (or other title) displays the current activity's title.

Note: The page footer displays a link, 'HOME' or 'COURSEID', which returns you to the main page of the course.


The Jump to... Menu

This menu contains a Previous () arrow, a drop down menu () and a Next () arrow. Use the arrow to navigate to the previous and next activity and the drop down menu to display the activity names.

Course Organisation

Course Organisation

Courses are organised in a 'topic', 'weeks' or 'social' format.
Each format contains one or more middle blocks containing the activities.


Topic Format - the course is grouped into Topics by the instructor


Weekly Format - the course is grouped into Weeks by the instructor.
In this format the current week is highlighted.


Social Format - the course is oriented around a main forum.


Click on the collapse icon () to display the current block.

Click on the expand icon () to display all blocks.

Getting started

The basics of logging in and updating your personal information

How to Log in to Moodle

How to log in to Moodle

  1. Click the word Login

  2. Enter your Username and Password

  3. Click the Login button

  4. When you have successfully logged in you will see "You are logged in as your username (Logout)" displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen

Begin the animation to guide you through the steps login.swf

Step 1 alternative: Enter your Username and Password in the Login Block shown on the main site page.

Note: This block may not appear on the main site page.

How to Log out of Moodle

How to log out of Moodle

  1. Navigate to the main course page

  2. Click on the word Logout

  3. When you have successfully logged out you will see the word "Login" displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen

Begin the animation to guide you through the steps

You should always remember to logout and close the Internet browser window when you have finished working with your online course - especially if you share a computer.

How to update your user Profile

How to update your Profile

Your profile contains your personal information. Some detail is only available to your instructor and you can choose to show or hide your email address.

  1. Navigate to the main course page

  2. Click on your username shown in the top right hand corner

  3. Click the 'Edit Profile' button

  4. Edit relevant details and click the 'Update Profile' button

Begin the animation to guide you through the steps

Step 2 & 3 alternative: Click 'Edit Profile' listed in the People block of your course.
Note: This block may not be shown on your main course page.


How to change your Password

How to change your Password

Important Note: Your password is set for you when you first log in. Please ensure that you change your password as soon as possible and remember to keep it secure.

  1. Navigate to the main page

  2. Click on your username to view your User Profile

  3. Click on 'Change Password'

  4. Input your current password then your new password twice for verification and click the "Change Password" button

Begin the animation to guide you through the steps

Step 1 & 2 alternative: Click the word 'Change password' shown in the Administration block
Note: This block may not be shown on your main course page.

How to enter a course

How to enter a Course

If your instructor has enrolled you in your course the course name will be displayed in a block called Courses on the main Moodle page.

  1. Click on the course name to view the main course page

  2. The Course Home page is displayed and the title is shown at the top and in the breadcrumbs.

Begin the animation(s) to guide you through the steps


If your instructor has not enrolled you in your course, and has provided you with an enrolment key, you are required to enrol yourself in your course.

  1. Navigate to the course by clicking the required Course Category

  2. Click the course title from the list displayed

  3. Enter the Enrolment Key in the space provided and the click 'Login' button.

  4. The Course Home page is displayed and the title is shown at the top and in the breadcrumbs.

Begin the animation(s) to guide you through the steps

Note: An enrolment key is used to protect the course from unauthorised access, please keep it secure. You will only need to enter an enrolment key the first time you enter the course.

How to view your Grades

How to view your Grades

A link to your Grades appears in the administration block on the main course page.

  1. Click on the Grades link to view a list of graded activities for your course.

Activities are displayed showing the maximum grade and your current grade.
Note: Activities that are not graded on a numerical scale will not display a grade

  1. The total points available and your current total for the course are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Content & Activities

Course sites include content and activities defined by the course tutor

Moodle Activities

assignment
An assignment is a task with a due date and a maximum grade. Assignments can be either Offline or Uploaded.


Chat tool used for instant online discussions with one or more participants logged in at the same time.


A choice is like a poll and allows the instructor to gather statistics.


Forums are ways for students to hold discussions online and act like a virtual message board. A forum is a good place to post questions and comments.


A glossary is a list of words defined by you or your instructor. Participants are able to view and comment on all entries. Your instructor may allow you to also add entries.


A journal is a personal area to note comments and can only be edited and refined by you.


A Lesson delivers your course content in one or more pages normally ending with a question. To advance to the next lesson you are required to answer the question.


A Quiz is an online test and can have either multiple choice, true-false or short answer questions.


Your instructor will use resources to provide course information or reference material.


A survey is just like a questionnaire that the instructor uses to evaluate the online learning environment.


A workshot is a peer assessment activity.

How to view and upload an Assignment

How to view and upload an Assignment

Assignments can be either Offline or Uploaded. Offline assignments may be practical work viewed and graded by an instructor or a printed and handed in manually for grading. An Uploaded assignment requires you to upload an electronic document to your Moodle course for grading.

An Offline Assignment

  1. Click on the assignment title to view details and instructions.

  2. An Offline assignment displays instructions only and is manually handed in to the instructor.

An Uploaded Assignment

  1. Click the assignment title to view details and instructions.

  2. Type the path and filename in the filename box (The 'Browse' button allows you to locate your assignment, click 'Open' and the path and filename will appear in the filename box).

  3. Click the 'Upload this file' button.

  4. Click 'Continue' once the file has successfully uploaded.

Note: You can click on your file to view it. If you need to make changes you can upload a new file to replace it. When you upload or replace a file your instructor is notified of the date.

Calendar

How to use the Calendar

The course calendar highlights dates related to activities within the course. These dates may be the opening, closing or due dates of an activity.

When you move your mouse over the highlighted date the activity it is related to will appear.

Click on the activity to view the full description.

Click again on the activity title to navigate to it.

To view the full calendar with titles shown click on the month name.

To Add your own user event click the 'New Event' button.

  1. Name your event and provide a description.

  2. Change the Date if required as the default is the current date, the Time is optional

  3. You are able to specify a Duration and/or Repeats for your event

How to participate in a Chat session

How to participate in a Chat session

A chat is a ways for students to hold live discussions online.

  1. Click on the chat name to view a description

  2. Click the link 'Click here to enter the chat now'. Participants already in the chat room are listed.

  3. The screen is divided into three parts.
    Messages are displayed in the main part of the screen, Participants are displayed on the right hand part of the screen, you type your message in the text entry box at the bottom of the screen.

  4. When you have typed your message and press the 'Enter' key on the keyboard to submit it to the group.
    [click to see hints about writing online]

How to complete a Choice

How to complete a Choice

A choice is like a poll and allows the instructor to gather statistics.

Instructors may alter the settings of a poll such as to display or restrict the results of the poll to participants as well as showing anonymous or full results which include participant names.

  1. Click on the choice name to view the question and the choices available.

  2. Read the question and choose your answer for by clicking on the round radio button next to the answer.

  3. Click the 'Save my choice' button to submit your answer

How to participate in a Forum

How to participate in a Forum

Forums are ways for students to hold discussions online and act like a virtual message board.
A forum is a good place to post questions and comments.

  1. Click on the forums name to view a description of the forum and a list of the Discussion topics.

  2. The topics are listed from latest to oldest. Click the discussion topic's title to view and participate in the discussion.

  3. The discussion and all replies are listed from oldest to newest. Click Reply on the appropriate discussion to post your ideas or comments.

  4. Type your message in the text entry box. Click 'Post to forum ' to finish.

Click 'Add a new discussion topic…' to begin a new discussion - you may not be able to do this depending on how the instructor has set up the forum.


You can subscribe to a forum with the following choices; send all replies to your post to you, or send none of the replies from your post to you. This automatically e-mails you when someone posts a message. [Click to see email subscription options]

You may attach a document if you wish by clicking 'Browse' to upload a file before posting your message to the forum.


Note: Remember, only post information on what the forum is about. You only have 30 minutes to edit your entry.

Discussion Forum Communication Protocols

  1. Avoid using all capitals - Internet conventions mean this is the equivalent of shouting or "flaming" someone.
  2. When posting a reply to another students discussion posting or chat comment, make sure the golden rule applies i.e. dont post anything you would be unhappy to receive if it were posted to you.
  3. Any issues or problems with the course or with another course member should be notified privately to the tutor by email or phone, not raised in a chat room or posted publicly on a discussion forum -please use email or phone the tutor for emergencies or important course issues only.
  4. Log in to the course at least three times a week (but preferably daily each working day just to keep up with what is happening).
  5. Keep to one topic per discussion posting as much as possible, it is better to post several postings on one topic each, rather than one long posting with several topics embedded in it.

Forum Subscription

Forum Subscription (Getting email notification of forum posts)

An option when using forums is to receive postings via your email address. This provides a number of advantages such as important message posted by the instructor. You have the option of receiving forum postings to your email.

There are a number of options within your User Profile which relate to the email system.

  1. Email display allows you to choose different options to set who can view your email address through your profile.

  2. Email activated allows you to enable or disable your email address.

    • If you enable your email address you will receive emails when subscribed to a forum.
    • If you disable your email address you will not receive emails even if subscribed to a forum.
  1. Email format provides the option of your email address being plain text or html - you can leave this as 'Pretty HTML format' which is the default.

  2. Email digest type provides receiving options

    • If No digest (single email per forum post) is set you will receive an email for every single posting to subscribed forums within 30 minutes of the posting.
    • If Complete (daily email with full posts) is set you will receive ONE email with the forum posting details each day.
    • If Subjects (daily email with subjects only) is set you will receive ONE email with the forum subject details each day.
  1. Forum auto-subscribe sets the following default option shown when posting a forum

You can change this before you post your message to the forum, so check the Subscription option before clicking 'Post to forum'.

  • If you choose Send me email copies... you are subscribing to this forum.
  • If you choose I don't want email copies... you are unsubscribing to this forum.

To view which forums you are subscribed to click 'Forum' on the breadcrumbs at the top of the page when veiwing a forum.

  • You can then click either the word Yes or the word No to change if you are Subscribed or Unsubscribed to that particular forum.

Please note: If your instructor has forced everyone to be subscribed to a forum it will be for a valid reason, such as passing on important information. You can not Unsubscribe from a forum when the instructor has done this, the only way to stop receiving emails from these types of forums is to change your User Profile.

Using a Glossary

How to use a Glossary

A glossary is a list of words defined by you or your instructor. Participants are able to view and comment on all entries. Your instructor may allow you to also add entries.

Viewing the glossary

  1. Click on the glossary name to browse entries.

  2. You have various browsing options. The default is browse by alphabet letter.

Note: You may be able to comment on the glossary entry if the comment icon is showing. Click this icon to add a comment about the entry.

Adding a new entry to the glossary

  1. Click "Add New Entry" to add a new definition

  2. First determine the word and the alternate words that mean the same thing.

  3. Write a definition in any of the supplied formats and add an attachment if you wish.

  4. Concept and definition are mandatory fields.

  5. Click "Save changes" to submit your entry.

Note: You may or may not be able to add a new entry to the glossary, depending on how the instructor has set up the course. If you can you should remember that everyone can view your definition.

Completing a Lesson

How to complete a Lesson

A Lesson delivers your course content in one or more pages normally ending with a question. To advance to the next lesson you are required to answer the question.

  1. Click on the lesson name to view

  2. Read the page then review the question and possible answers

  3. Click the radio button beside the correct answer to make your choice

  4. Click 'Check Answer' to view feedback and advance

Note: Your progress through the lesson will depend on your answer and how the lesson was configured by the instructor. There may be times when you do not continue to the next lesson until your answer is correct.

Completing a Quiz

Completing a Quiz

A Quiz can have either multiple choice, true-false or short answer questions.

  1. Click on the quiz name to view the introduction and instructions

  2. Click 'Attempt quiz now' to begin the quiz

  3. Read each question carefully and click the radio button beside the correct answer to make your choice

  4. Click 'Save my answers' at the end of the quiz to finish

  5. You may or may not be given feedback on your quiz. Click 'Continue' to view your results

Resources

Understanding Resources

Your instructor will use resources to provide course information or reference material. A resource can be:

    • a web page
    • a word processing file
    • a slide show
    • an image
    • a sound file
    • a video clip
    • a directory structure
    • a program
  1. To view a resource click on the title

  2. The resource may appear in the lower part of the page or in a new window.

Survey

How to complete a Survey

A survey is just like a questionnaire that the instructor uses to evaluate the online learning environment.

  1. Click on the survey name to view a description and the questions.

  2. Click the radio button that best suits your answer, ensure you check every question.

  3. Click the 'Click here to check and continue' button to finish.

How to participate in a Workshop

How to participate in a Workshop

A workshop is a peer assessment activity with a huge array of options. It allows participants to assess each other's projects, as well as exemplar projects, in a number of ways.

  1. Click on the workshop name to view instructions.

Hints for studying online

Why learn online?

Why learn online?

  • Courses taught through the Internet or 'online' provide opportunities for student-centred learning. Online, learners are empowered to learn by themselves and to teach each other. Online, you have the opportuniy to share, collaborate and critique each other's work.

  • You have an opportunity to write more online. Because you have time to think before you write, and reflect on your and others' writing, your writing will improve.

  • It's geared to lifelong learning - you will be learning for the rest of your life, and much of it will be online.

  • You have access to rich content, including multimedia images that explain ideas better than text books and words. The Internet also provides you with rich and interesting resources.

  • You can learn where and when you want—24/7. Help and support is available to you through online connections

  • Through quizzes and interactive tests you can get immediate feedback, and you can see how you are doing.

  • You will get to know your peers and colleagues through online discussions, and often get to know more about their ideas than if you were in a face to face classroom.

  • Sharing, collaborating and discussing online helps you develop skills that you will need the rest of your life.

Adapted from: Kassop, M. Ten ways online education matches, or surpoasess, face to face learing. Retrieved on May 6, 2003 from http://ts.mivu.org

What is an eLearner

What is an e-learner?

An e-learner is someone who uses computers in any way to acquire knowledge and skills. An e-learner may:

  • use a communications site to access discussion boards

  • use a website to access library sites and catalogues

  • use email to contact tutors

  • use chat for class discussions

  • complete the whole of their course of study online - access information, post assignments and talk with classmates and tutors online.

What makes a good e-learner?

What makes a good e-learner?

  • Practice and self confidence. Online learning can be quite frightening at first.

  • Getting to know your other class members, either by attending any face to face sessions or by communicating with them online.

  • Contacting your tutor when you feel the need or as negotiated with your tutor.

  • Using technology to share, collaborate, discuss and practice.

  • Breaking your work into meaningful chunks and rewarding yourself when you have finished.

eLearner Hints

Can you give me some hints?

  • Use your experiences and share them. Think how much you know already!

  • Concentrate on the ideas and don't worry about 'typos' (typing mistakes) when you write. Your tutor will inform you of the academic requirements for your writing.

  • Practise your typing.

  • Go online, do what you need to do and get off. You can spend many hours online 'just having a look'. Remember the sunshine, people....

  • Allocate sufficient time to study online.

  • Make sure you allocate enough time to study online.

  • Use the search tool to find information.

  • Ask if there are any problems, say how you are feeling, let the tutor know what you think.

  • Get to chat sessions on time, post things on the discussion board when you are meant to, get your assignments in on time. Use the calendar.

  • Share your work and ideas.

  • Be aware that others my be feeling uncertain too.

  • Think about what you are going to say and check that what you have written will be easily understood.

  • Be academic - reference, refer to, quote....

  • Make sure your work is your own. Plagiarism is unethical and unprofessional.

Sharing and collaborating

Sharing and Collaborating

Online learning, while offering a way to deliver assignments and content to you asynchronously, also offers you the opportunity to share and collaborate effectively. Two notions underpin the development of online courses:

  • meaningful learning
  • scaffolding.

Jonassen, Peck and Wilson (1999) describe meaningful learning as:

  • Active
  • Constructive
  • Intentional
  • Authentic
  • Cooperative.

How does this work in my course?

Your tutor will provide opportunities for meaningful learning, through chat rooms, e-mail links and discussion boards and internet searches. These opportunities offer guidance through carefully constructed activities that lead you from the known to the less well known. This is called 'scaffolding'.

In order to use these activities effectively, consider the skills you may develop:

  • language/content skills
  • negotiation
  • problem solving
  • reaching consensus
  • synthesizing/summarising
  • observation/analysis, identifying
  • giving feedback.

We encourage you to use every opportunity to share and collaborate, so that you begin to construct a body of skills, information and knowledge that you develop, hone and share with your classmates.

How do I do this?

Use: the discussion board - paste updated word processesed documents, allocate someone to synthesise your work, share URLs, share and comment on readings, new information, opinions. Your tutor can set up private discussion groups.

email - send each other your updated word processesed documents, allocate someone to synthesise your work. Use the email to set up chat sessions. Your tutor can set up an email group for you.

chat rooms - note the rooms that are private. Use these to discuss your work, plans and to allocate tasks.

student presentations - this allows you to access shared folders, and to upload files. Your tutor will set you up in a group. (Note: not all courses use this feature.)

the Internet - use the Internet to search for information, making sure you carefully evaluate sites and avoid plagiarising.

Reference: Jonassen, D.H., Peck, K.L., & Wilson, B.G. (1999). Learning with Technology: A Constructivist Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Writing Online

Write concisely

  • If you adapt a paper copy document - cut it by 50%. People scan and use link words on the web.

  • Use paragraphs and keep your sentences short.


Use a readable design

  • Choose an easy to read font - sans serif is usually easier to read than serif .

  • Choose colours that are easy to read - headings should be darkish.

  • Don't use too many colours, keep to black or dark blue for main text.

  • Use short lines and remember paragraphs!

  • Use lower case rather than UPPER CASE WHICH IS HARD TO READ ONLINE.

  • Avoid using Initial Capitals. They Look Very Old Fashioned.

  • Only underline hyperlinks.


Write to be scanned

  • Align left - it helps the eye to scan.

  • Make your headings useful - ask questions, lead in...

  • Use the inverted pyramid structure

    • Big idea at the top

    • Least important at the bottom

Reference: McAlpine, R (1999). Web Word Wizardry. Wellington: Corporate Communications.