Create a History course in Moodle packed with lessons and activities to make learning and teaching History interactive and fun
Approaching the lesson
We plan to introduce our Year 7 History class to the idea of the Doomsday Book as a means by which William reinforced his control over the country. William was naturally curious about the country he had just conquered. He was particularly keen to find out how much it was worth. He despatched officials to every village with detailed questions to ask about the land that they worked on and the animals that they farmed with. He also sent soldiers who threatened to kill people who lied. All of the records from these village surveys were collated into the Doomsday Book. Many Saxons detested the process and the name of the book is derived from this attitude of loathing towards something they regarded as intrusive and unfair. William died before the process could be completed.
Clear lesson objectives can be stated at the start of the lesson.
Students would be expected to work through each page and answer questions identical to those found in the Quiz module.
The lesson gives students the opportunity to return to a page if the required level of understanding has not been achieved. The lesson questions help students to reach an understanding at their own pace.
The short video clips we intend to use will come from the excellent National Archive website. It has links to short sequences of approximately ninety seconds in which actors take on the role of villagers and commissioners and offer a variety of opinions about the nature and purpose of the survey that they are taking part in.
At the end of the lesson, we want the students to have an understanding of:
- The purpose of the Domesday Book
- How the information was compiled
- A variety of attitudes towards the whole process
Our starting point is to create a flow diagram that captures the routes a student might take through the lesson:
The students will see the set of objectives, a short introduction to the Doomsday Book, and a table of contents. They can select the videos in any order. When they have watched each video and answered the questions associated with the content they will be asked to write longer answers to a series of summative questions. These answers are marked individually by the teacher who thus gets a good overall idea of how well the students have absorbed the information. The assessment of these questions could easily include our essay outcomes marking scale. The lesson ends when the student has completed all of the answers. The lesson requires:
- A branch table (the table of contents).
- Four question pages based upon a common template.
- One end of branch page.
- A question page for the longer answers.
- An end of lesson page.
The lesson awards marks for the correct answers to questions on each page in much the same way as if they were part of a quiz. Since we are only adding one question per page the scores for these questions are of less significance than a student’s answers to the essay questions at the end of the lesson. It is after all, these summative questions that allow the students to demonstrate their understanding of the content they have been working with. Moodle allows this work to be marked in exactly the same way as if it was an essay. This time it will be in the form of an online essay and will take up its place in the Gradebook. We are, therefore, not interested in a standard mark for the students’ participation in the lesson and when we set the lesson up, this will become apparent through the choices we make.
Setting up a lesson
It is important to have a clear idea of the lesson structure before starting the creation of the lesson. We have used paper and pen to create a flow diagram. We know which images, videos, and text are needed on each page and have a clear idea of the formative and summative questions that will enable us to challenge our students and assess how well they have understood the significance of the Doomsday Book. We are now in a position to create the lesson:
- Enter the Year 7 History course and turn on editing.
- In Topic 1, select Add an Activity and click Lesson.
- In the Name section, enter an unambiguous name for the lesson as this is the text that students will click on to enter the lesson.
- Enter the values as shown in the following screenshot:
- In the General section, we do not want to impose a time limit on the lesson. We do need to state how many options there are likely to be on each question page. For multiple choice questions, there are usually four options.
- In the Grade section, we want the essay that they compose at the end of the lesson to be marked in the same way that other essays have been marked.
- In the Grade options, our preference is to avoid using the lesson questions as an assessment activity. We want it to be a practice lesson where students can work through the activities without needing to earn a score. We have turned off scoring. The students’ final essay submission will be marked in line with our marking policy. Students can retake it as many times as they want to.
- In the Flow control section, we have clicked the Show advanced button to see all of the options available. We want students to be able to navigate the pages to check answers and go back to review answers if necessary. They can take the lesson as often as they want as we intend it to be used for revision purposes for a timed essay or in the summer examination. We have ignored the opportunity to add features such as menus and progress bars as we will be creating our own navigation system.
This section also concerns the look and feel of the pages if set to a slide show, an option we are not planning to use.
- We are planning to create a web link on each page rather than have students download files so we will not be using the Popup to file or web page option. If you are concerned about the stability of your Internet connection for the weblinks to videos you plan to show, there is an alternative option. This would involve downloading the files to your computer and converting them to .flv files. They can then be uploaded to the file picker in the usual way and a link can be created to each one using the Choose a file button shown here. Moodle’s video player would play the videos and you would not be reliant on an unstable Internet connection to see the results.
- The Dependent on section allows further restrictions to be imposed that are not appropriate for this lesson. We do however, want to mark the essay that will be submitted in accordance with the custom marking scheme developed earlier in the course. The box in the Outcomes section must be checked.
- Clicking the Save and return to course button ensures that the newly created lesson, The Domesday Book, awaits in Topic 1.