We’re teaching the topic of Rivers and Flooding; so to start with, we’ll need to introduce our class to some basic facts about rivers and how they work. We aren’t going to generate any new stuff yet; we’re just going to upload to Moodle what we have already produced in previous years.
Putting a worksheet on Moodle
The way Moodle works is that we must first upload our worksheet into the course file storage area. Then, in that central section of our course page, we make a link to the worksheet from some appropriately chosen words. Our students click on these words to get to the worksheet. We’ve got an introductory factsheet (done in Word) about the River Thames. Let’s get it into Moodle:
Time for action-uploading a factsheet on to Moodle
We need to get the worksheet uploaded into Moodle. To get this done, we have to follow a few simple steps.
- Go to your course page and click on the Turn editing on button, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Don’t worry about all of the new symbols (icons) that appear. In the section you want the worksheet to be displayed, so look for these two boxes:
- Click on the Add a resource box (I’ll go through all its options when we have a recap, later).
- Select a link to a file or web site.
- In Name, type the text that you want the students to click on, and in Summary (if you want) add a short description. The following screenshot gives an example of this:
- Once you’re done with the above steps, click on Choose or upload a file. This takes you to the course files storage area.
- Click on Make a folder, and in the dialog box that is displayed, choose a suitable name for the folder all your worksheets will be stored in (we’ll use Worksheets).
- Click on Create.
- Click on the folder that you just created (It will be empty except for Parent Folder, which takes you back to the main course files).
- Click on Upload a file. You’ll be prompted to browse your computer’s hard drive for the worksheet.
- Find the worksheet, select it with your cursor and click Open. It will appear as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click Upload this file. Once the file has been uploaded, it will appear as shown in the following screenshot:
What just happened?
We just uploaded our first ever worksheet to Moodle. It’s now in the course files. Next, we need to make a link on the page that students can click on to get to that worksheet.
I know what you’re thinking! Thirteen steps, and there’s still no sign of our River Thames worksheet on the course page in Moodle. Is it going to be this long-winded every time?
Don’t worry! There are only two—at worst three—steps left . And although it seems to be a lot of effort the first time, it gets much quicker, as we move on. We are also trying to be organized from the start by putting our worksheets neatly into a folder, so we took a couple of extra steps that we won’t have to do next time. The folder will already be there for us. Ofcourse, you can just click on Upload a file and get your worksheets straight into the course files without any sort of order, and they will display for your students just as well. But when you have a lot of worksheets loaded, it will become harder and harder to locate them unless you have a system.
Time for action-displaying our factsheet on our course page
To get the Moodle course started, we need to create a link that—when clicked, will get the course started, carrying on from where we left off :
- Click on the word Choose to the right of your worksheet. (We are choosing to put this on Moodle.)
- The River Thames worksheet now shows in the Location box, under Link to a file or web site. We are almost there!
- Scroll down and make sure that you have selected the New window option in theWindow box, as shown in the following screenshot:
- At the bottom of the screen, click on Save and return to course. Done!
The option Search for web page would take you to Google or another search engine to find a web site. You could put that web site into the location box instead, and it would make a clickable link for your students to follow.
What just happened?
Congratulations! You’ve now made a link to the factsheet about the River Thames that will get our Rivers and Flooding course started! By doing the final step above, we will get taken back to the course page where we’ll see the words that we wrote in the Name box. They’ll be in blue with a line underneath. This tells us it’s a clickable link that will take us to the factsheet. If you can do that once, you can do it many times.
Have a go hero-putting a slideshow onto Moodle
It’s important to go through the steps again, pretty quickly, so that you become familiar with them and are able to speed the process up. So why not take one of your slide shows (maybe done in PowerPoint) and upload that to Moodle?
Start by creating a folder called Slideshows, so that in future, it will be available for any slideshows that you upload. Or, if you’re too tired, just upload another sheet into our Worksheets folder and display that.
Putting a week’s worth of slideshows into Moodle
Now let’s suppose that we have already prepared a week’s worth of slideshows. Actually, I could say, a month’s worth of worksheets, or a year’s worth of exam papers. Basically, what we’re going to do is upload several items, all at once. This is very useful because once you get used to uploading and displaying worksheets, you will very quickly start thinking about how tedious it would be, to put them on Moodle one at a time. Especially if you are studying ten major world rivers, and you have to go through all of those steps ten times. Well, you don’t!
Let’s use my River Processes slideshows as our example. I have them saved in a folder on My Computer (as opposed to being shoved at random in a drawer, obviously!). Under normal circumstances, Moodle won’t let you upload whole folders just like that. You have to either compress or zip them first (that basically means squeeze it up a bit, so it slides into cyberspace more smoothly).
We first need to leave Moodle for a while and go to our own computer. I’m using Windows; for Macs, it will be slightly different.
Time for action-getting a whole folder of work into Moodle in one go
To view the slideshows, we need to upload the folder containing them from the hard drive of our computer into Moodle.
- Find the folder that you want to upload, right-click on it, and select Compressed (zipped) Folder within the Send To option.
- You’ll get another folder with the same name, but in ZIP format.
- Go to your Moodle course page, and in the Administration box, click Files.
- As we have done before, click on Upload and upload the zipped folder (it ends in .zip).
- Now click on Unzip, which is displayed to the right of your folder name (as shown in the following screenshot), and the folder will be restored to its normal size.
We’re in the course files storage area—this is another way in, if you ever need one! You can upload anything straight into here, and then provide a link to a file or web site.
What just happened?
We put a bunch of slideshows about how rivers work into a folder on our computer. We then zipped the folder to make it slide into Moodle, and then when it was uploaded, we unzipped it to get it back to normal.
If you want to be organized, select the checkbox displayed to the left of the zipped folder, and select delete completely. We don’t need the zipped folder now, as we have got the original folder back.
We now have two choices. Using the Link to a file or web site option in the Add a resource block, we can display each slideshow, in an orderly manner, in the list. We did this with our Thames factsheet, so we know how to do this.
Alternatively, we can simply display the folder and let the students open it to get to the slideshows.
We’re going to opt for the second choice. Why? Bearing in mind about appearances being vital, it would look much neater on our course page if we had a dinky little briefcase icon. The student can click on the briefcase icon to see the list of slideshows, rather than scrolling down a long list on the page. Let us see how this is done:
Time for action-displaying a whole folder on Moodle
Let us upload the entire folder, which contains the related slideshows, onto Moodle. This will require us to perform only four steps:
- With editing turned on, click on Add a resource and choose Display a directory.
- In the Name field, type something meaningful for the students to click on and add a description in the Summary field, if you wish.
- Click on Display a directory and find the one that you want—for us, RiverProcesses.
- Scroll down, and click on Save and return to course.
What just happened?
We made a link to a week’s worth of slideshows on our course page, instead of displaying them one at a time. If we looked at the outcome, instead of the icon of a slideshow, such as the PowerPoint icon, we get a folder icon. When the text next to it is clicked, the folder opens, and all of the slideshows inside can be viewed. It is much easier on the eye, when you go directly to the course page, than going through a long list of stuff .
Making a ‘click here’ type link to the River Thames web site
Let’s learn how to create a link that will lead us to the River Thames web site, or in fact to any web site. However, we’re investigating the Thames at the moment, so this would be really helpful. Just imagine, how much simpler it would be for our students to be able to get to a site in one click, rather than type it by hand, spell it wrong, and have it not work. The way we will learn now is easy. In fact, it’s so easy that you could do it yourself with only one hint from me.
Have a go hero-linking to a web site
Do you recollect that we uploaded our worksheet and used Link to a file or web site? We linked it to a file (our worksheet). Here, you just need to link to a web site, and everything else is just the same. When you get to the Link to a file or web site box, instead of clicking Choose or upload a file…, just type in, or copy and paste, the web site that you want to link to (making sure you include only one http://). Remember that we saw earlier, that if you click on Search for web page…, it will take you to Google or some other Search Engine web page to find you a web site that you’d like to link to.
The following screenshot shows how to link a file or web site into our Moodle course :
That’s it! Try it! Go back to your course page; click on the words that you specified as the Name for the web page link, and check whether it works. It should open the web page in a new window, so that once finished, our students can click on the X to close the site and will still have Moodle running in the background.
Recap—where do we stand now?
We have learnt a lot of interesting things so far. Lets just have a recap of the things that we have learned so far. We have learnt to:
- Upload and display individual worksheets (as we’ve worked on the River Thames)
- Upload and display whole folders of worksheets (as we did with the River Processes slideshows folder)
- Make a click here type link to any web site that we want, so that our students will just need to click on this link to get to that web site
We’re now going to have a break from filling up our course for a while, and take a step to another side. Our first venture into Moodle’s features was the Link to a file or web site option, but there are many more yet to be investigated. Let’s have a closer look at those Add a resource… options in the following screenshot, so that we know, where we are heading:
The table below shows all of the Add a Resource… options. What are they, which is the one we need, and what can we safely ignore? You might recognize one or two already. We shall meet the others in a moment.