Mary “MoodleFairy” Cooch,

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This past weekend, Moodle Mayhem Podcast co-host Diana Benner (Twitter: diben) and I had the opportunity to chat with the incomparable Mary “MoodleFairy” Cooch. While it was 3:00 PM in Texas, it was 9:00 PM in the United Kingdom. Mary spoke to us from her kitchen, having banned her family from that room!

Many thanks to Mary for her willingness to share her insights into using Moodle in elementary classrooms, as well as professional development. I am also grateful to my co-host, Diana Benner, for her work in preparing for the podcast. Alas, any editing problems/oversights are mine alone.

You will certainly notice some as you listen to this podcast, which enjoyed two or three disconnections. We were using a Skype Conference call–that’s what I was familiar with–and it worked fairly well. My apologies for those!

Other Resources relevant to this podcast are available online at the Moodle Mayhem Planning page for this Podcast.

My hastily scribbled–and incomplete–notes on the podcast appear below:

  1. Moodle empowered Mary Cooch as a teacher. When she first started with Moodle, it wasn’t her choice…but the choice to learn how to use it to help her organize her work was.
  2. Advice for teachers new to Moodle is to get interactive. One way to start is with forums.
  3. Hot Potatoes is great, starting with matching exercises, Gap-fill for younger students (provide hints) as well as older students.
    1. Allows you to embed video/audio components
    2. For teachers, Hot Potatoes quiz is easier than Moodle 1.9’s Quiz feature.
    3. Significant revisions to Quiz module in Moodle 2.0 make it a lot friendlier.
  4. For her campus site, her school uses Moodle. See it at
    1. Open Courses for parents enable parents to access event notes that are actually Book module pages.
    2. Using Moodle for the campus web site has brought the campus together in new ways
  5. When doing training with teachers, Mary starts with Forum, shares the difference between compose a web page vs MS Word upload. She also introduces teachers to unlined text assignments (Assignment module). This assignment type enables 7 year old students to get going very easily submitting poems online for grading. 
  6. Another module Mary likes to share is the Choice module. It works well for doing learning assessments. After a unit of work, students complete the choice.
  7. Lesson module: This is more for advanced Moodlers but some ideas for using it include geography teaching, scenarios that involve making decisions that affect what happens next. This really reminded me (Miguel) of “Choose your Own Adventure” books. I’d honestly never thought of using Lesson module this way. She also shared it as a way to have conversations with Historical Characters and independent learning.
  8. For independent learning–using Lesson module–she creates a tutorial for Hot Potatoes usage that new teachers can complete on their own.
  9. Topics for a Basic Moodle Course of 1 hour in length:
    1. Forum
    2. Compare a web page
    3. Uploading Word Docs
  10. Topics for a 5-6 hour Moodle class:
    1. Forum
    2. HTML Editor to embed content from a variety of Web 2.0 sites (such as,,,
    3. Upload documents. Some teachers like to think the best assignment for students to summarize what they’ve learned is to create a Powerpoint…using the Assignment module, students can upload their document and the teacher can grade it.
    4. Match up and Gap fill
    5. Choice Module
  11. While sharing this with her workshop participants, she like to do the activities as a sample student.
  12. She usually doesn’t cover the following until later:
    1. Quiz
    2. Blocks
    3. RSS Feeds
    4. Vokis
    5. Embedding Vokis/GoogleMaps
Mary’s explanation of the Lesson module was really inspiring, as were her other examples. 

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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