An introduction to some of the things you may need to consider now that the University has moved to online teaching.

Online Teaching with Moodle

The basis of the resources you provide on Moodle should be your plans for the face-to-face sessions. However, they will need some adaptation to enable students to fully engage with them and give them the opportunity to discuss issues and ask questions.

Engaging students

Please do ensure students receive a friendly, reassuring message about how things will be managed during the online teaching and learning period and that the university will be monitoring the impact to ensure that their grades are not negatively impacted. This should be posted on your Moodle course homepage by editing your module description but you may also want to email it via the Moodle participants list.

You should decide whether you will stick to the usual class times and office hours to teach via webinars in Panopto, which helps to maintain a sense of normality, or whether you would like to adapt your teaching more fully to the online environment. Office hours and discussion times can be booked on Moodle with the face-to-face or scheduler tools.

Whatever you decide, you will need to provide a lot of regular tutor feedback and engagement with Moodle to encourage student participation and reassure students that they are not just being left alone.

Content

The use of Moodle allows you to deliver content in a variety of ways – videos of yourself (recorded in Panopto), clips from video providers or Open Educational Resources, as well as linking to papers/readings from the library. Making use of different formats is helpful because students may find it easier to understand different explanations and can consider issues from different perspectives. This also makes it easier to break the resources down into bite-sizes: people find it hard to concentrate on one format for too long, so try to make videos no more than 10 minutes, even if that is your lecture in 3 videos! If you prefer a written format, you should consider using the book tool or lesson tool, as this breaks the material down and allows for interactivity. This is preferential over Word documents or Pdfs as you will need to consider the accessibility of such files. Word and PowerPoint both have tools to help you check the accessibility of your files which can be found in the 'Review' tab within the respective application.

If you would like some help on best practice for laying out your Moodle pages, please make yourself familiar with these Module Layout Guidelines.

Organisation

Remember that students will need help understanding the purpose of the resources you provide, so you should provide an introduction to what they should gain from them and consider setting questions for them to consider as they watch/read. It is also easy for them to get lost or overwhelmed, so where possible use folders and labels to organise your materials and consider using a checklist for students to work through. You may also want to experiment with different course formats to check which one suits your needs best.

Activities

You will want to include the same opportunities to interact and engage with the material as you would do in class. There are several ways of doing this, from creating chats or forums to discuss issues to ask students to post their pictures and thoughts on Lightbox Gallery. Be aware that students are usually not used to using forums to the extent you may want in this context, so make sure you initiate and sustain the discussions there. There is also guidance available on using Skype for Business to host discussions with your students.

You may also want to give students the opportunity to self-assess their learning by setting up quizzes, choice or workshop activities. You can point students back to the resources that would help them to answer a question where they get something wrong. We would recommend using the dialogue activity so your feedback can be given in private.

Teaching on Moodle is also a great opportunity to encourage students to be more active in their learning. Students can be asked to find relevant resources and post them onto a wiki or a glossary in the Moodle site. These can then be critiqued by the class on a workshop, forum  or chat, enabling students to develop their research and criticality skills as well as hopefully finding some useful resources! Alternatively, you could use the wiki to encourage students to make collective notes on the materials they have looked at.

Workload

The danger of delivering online is that you can easily get the workload wrong. You will need to estimate the length each activity should take and check this aligns with the workload for the module. You may want to include a feedback or a survey activity to check on workload and how the students are engaging with the material.

And finally…

Try not to make assumptions about your students' Moodle literacy and confidence levels – they are likely to need reassurance and you may want to ensure that they know you are still on email to help, if all else fails!

Feel free to experiment using some of these Moodle activities but work within your own comfort levels. We have created some new Moodle tours that we hope you will find helpful.

For pedagogical support, GLT have set up a forum for each faculty in Teams:

If you need any technical help, please book a slot in our online Moodle Clinic.