Wondering how Moodle can be used to enhance instruction? Well, here’s a list that came my way via Ken Task in Texas. It was too good to pass up and if I bookmark it, I’ll forget it…but blogging it will keep it fresh.

The following is a list of some of what you can do with Moodle, the free, open source course management system. The list comes from Ken Task, who cites ISTE Moodle Ning and Susan Sedro. I liked the list so I’m re-printing it here with some minor modifications–spelling, grammar, readability corrections–but you can always read the original online.

I’ve also taken the liberty of adding my own scenarios at the end and welcome feedback via comments or on your own blog/wiki!

Scenario 1:
I want my students to use a blog to record their impressions/reactions/etc. to events/activities presented throughout a semester/year course. The students and the instructor are the only ones that can see the blog entries. In other words, students cannot see other students’ blogs. This activity will be graded on a rubric and after the grading, students will be able to see other student blogs.

Scenario 2:
I have several forums setup in a course. To facilitate notifications concerning new information in each of them, I want my students to be able to subscribe to an RSS feed for each of the forums.

Scenario 3:
I teach English as a Second Language or Languages Other Than English (LOTE). My students have iPods as portable learning devices. I desire to use an online LMS to not only provide digital voice (either recording or playback) in such a fashion that students can integrate their personal learning device … ie, the IPods. This involves a “podcast” – which could be audio and/or video. Using the podcast module in Moodle, both students and teacher can post podcasts that can be subscribed to in iTunes or via RSS readers (e.g. GoogleReader).

Scenario 4:
I teach English/Language Arts. I want students to write a short story and have peer review where students are placed into collaborative groups and each student reviews the short stories of the other members in their group. Each student is allowed to critique/offer suggestions to the other students (their critiques/suggestions are part of the assignment and will be graded). I then desire the students to be able to revise their work should they deem a peer review to be of benefit.

Scenario 5:
I have an online class that’s blended in format. I keep after school “office hours” for an hour in the evening where students can, should they seek individual attention and extra help, communicate directly with me via Instant Messages or via Chat in a safe online environment where the “conversations” are recorded for later review.

Scenario 5.1:
Using the same situation above, parents often seek information about helping their child in something. I want to allow parents of my students to be able to access my online class, see their childs work ONLY, and interact with me online during after school office hours. I want to do this inside the online system.

Update to Scenario 5.1 by Dan McGuire (Skype mcguiredan):

This is one of the most practical features of Moodle. Last year I taught a 4th grade class. One of our standard weekly assignments was to use each of the twenty words from our weekly spelling list in a separate sentence. Students had the option of creating a story with the sentences or not. I would vary the particular requirements depending on the skills we were working on that week – two subjects in each sentence, two verbs, more than one adjective, etc.

Using Moodle for this exercise is particularly helpful for students who want a little extra help from parents or siblings. It allows parents to know what the assignment without worrying about lost papers, etc. Students don’t need to worry about hauling paper or notebooks back and forth from home to school. I showed the students how to use Google translate which was useful for a few ( There were several Somali speakers in my room and the translation capabilities for Somali aren’t very good yet, though. It worked great for the Spanish speakers.)

I also took advantage of the relationship our school has with the U of Mn I was fortunate to be able to work with the great grad students in the Teaching Smart program. Several of the grad students took on tutor roles and made comments on student work. This was particularly useful in the science writing assignments we did, which were a variation of the above. In the science assignments students were to describe the activities of a science experiment that we did.

Scenario 6:
I teach Social Studies (American and Texas History). I want my students and students from a “sister community” (any where in the US or foreign country – like England or Austrialia) to be able to access a single History course via the internet where they can contribute a local multimedia history of their community and share that information. In the course, my class will concentrate on the local history of my community. The students of the sister community will concentrate their publishing efforts on their own community. Students in each are to work collaboratively in constructing the local history and the associated digital content. The local histories can (should) include a photo gallery, a podcast, as well as video clips of historical places/events within their respective communities. The students from either sister community will be able to ask each other questions and share information (as well as files) in a safe online environment.

Scenario 6.1:
In the context of an Introduction to the project, weekly planning/sharing, or a culminating activity, I desire to have an online conference with collaborative ISD classes through our learning management system. Since there is only one video conferencing system (lab) in my ISD (which is booked all day long for dual credit courses of older students), the conference has to be conducted without the VC system. We desire the collaborating teachers to able to “take control” of a portion of the online conference – ie, become the teacher of students in the other ISD.

Scenario 7:
I teach at the secondary level and use a web site for some curriculum content which includes quizzes and test. I also sponsor a student teacher every year. I want my student teacher to be able to participate in my online curriculum content, but in a limited role. I want them to be able to see student work, but NOT grade student work.

Scenario 8:
I am a campus administrator who is responsible for not only behavior of students but also evaluating teachers on my campus. All my teachers do a portion of their class online (blended) using a variety of “social tools”. I want to be able to access each of their online classes with access rights to see all, but remain “stealthy” … ie, hidden to students. I can check on student online behavior (bullies, etc.) but I can also acquire insight into a teachers ability to teach and interact with students for evaluating them.

Scenario 9: Interactive Writing Feedback
(A scenario adapted from Susan Sedro’s posting)

Students can draft their writing in a word processor, then paste it into the Assignment module. As a teacher, I can score it and provide feedback–all done online.

Update to Scenario 9 by Dan McGuire:

As above in spelling example, and I also took advantage of the relationship our school has with the U of Mn I was fortunate to be able to work with the great grad students in the Teaching Smart program. Several of the grad students took on tutor roles and made comments on student work. This was particularly useful in the science writing assignments we did, which were a variation of the above. In the science assignments students were to describe the activities of a science experiment that we did.

Some ideas of my own or adapted from my work with Moodle in my work experience:

Scenario 10: Learning Diary with Teacher Feedback

Using the Learning Diary module, students can write about a particular assignment and I can respond and provide feedback without other students seeing that exchange. This replaces the old paper journal where students write questions, reflections and the teacher writes back.

Update to Scenario 10 by Dan McGuiere:

This worked well with in conjunction with particular reading assignments. I would usually post the questions that I wanted students for student response. It is especially useful to then ask for volunteers to let me show their work on the projector and make comments in writing on the screen. This is one of the best writing teaching tools since the invention of the pencil.. Most students at this age are eager to have their work critiqued in front of other students. I’ve found they actually enjoy doing editing, which is certainly not the case when you ask a nine year old to rewrite 200 words they’ve just struggled to get on paper with a pencil. The computer gives them a power with making words that they don’t have with a pencil and paper.

Scenario 11: Online Literature Circles
When you think of literature circles, we think of kids sitting in a circle reading books and sharing their thoughts on it based on the role they are assigned. Discussing books helps children build connections, sets a purpose for reading beyond the intrinsic motivation we all prize, and motivates them. It also helps them, read, observe, question, discuss, answer questions, and write about what they are reading. It’s a fantastic activity, rich with opportunities for reflective learning.

Students can post online book talks to persuade other group membes to choose their book for literature circles, vote on book selections, and they use the Moodle discussion forums to discuss their book, upload images, etc. More on this online here.

Update to Scenario 11 (Contributed by Dan McGuire):

I used both the forum module and the workshop module to do writing circles. The forum module is a little easier to manage. I found setting up the workshop module to be still a bit cumbersome. I hope to practice with it more this year because I think it has tremendous possibilities.

The trick to using the forum module was that students were required to write something new about each of the prompts that were the forum topics. This forced the students to read what others had written and then got them back into the text because I insisted on quotes from the text to support their opinions. Students were only permitted to disagree with another student if they proved their point with quotes from the text.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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