Moodle Makeover

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5 min read

What we will do, is:

  • Do more than make each topic a long list of resources. Use the label resource and Moodle’s indenting tool to change this:
  • Moodle Makeover

    To this:

    Moodle Makeover

  • Find out where we can get lots of free images for our courses.
  • Explore different ways to use HTML to make our courses even more engaging.
  • Include a talking character—an animated avatar—using Voki.com:
  • Moodle Makeover

Arrange Your Resources

Why is it important to spend a little time arranging resources in a topic? Isn’t it all eye candy? Let’s take a look at my Topic 1:

Moodle Makeover

I’ve got a nice colorful title, some text to introduce the topic, and then a long list of resources—which, quite honestly looks just like the list of files in the shared drive I already use to distribute my documents and handouts to students. What if the topic looked like this:

Moodle Makeover

This is much more the effect we need. I’ve reordered my resources and included some labels, so that it is much easier for students to find a resource. In this section, we’re going to learn how to bring some order into our topics.

Putting Your Resources in Order

One obvious difference between a shared drive and Moodle is that in Moodle, you can put the resources in the order you want, not the order the computer insists on (usually, numerical/alphabetical). However, in Moodle, any new resources you add are simply queued on to the end of the topic. This has meant that resources in my Getting Things Flying topic aren’t exactly ordered in a sensible way—just the way I added them. I’m going to take action to remedy that now…

Time for Action – Arrange Your Resources

  1. Remember that you need editing turned on before you start.
  2. Moodle Makeover

  3. Choose the resource you want to move. I’m going to move my Backyard ballistics links resource to the end of the topic. To start the process, I need to ‘pick up’ the resource. I click on the Move icon:
  4. This causes two things to happen. Firstly, the resource I want to move disappears. Don’t worry—imagine you have it in your hand and you are ready to place it back into your course. Secondly, the boxes that have now appeared represent all the places to which you can move the resource that you are holding:
  5. Moodle Makeover

  6. Choose where you want to move the resource to. I want my list of links at the end, so I’m going to click on the box at the bottom. The boxes disappear and my resources have been shuffled:

    Moodle Makeover

What Just Happened?

A list o f resources in Moodle isn’t simply a list of files, like you would find on a shared drive. One obvious difference is that in Moodle, you can arrange your resources to be listed in the order you want, and we’ve just seen how easy it is to achieve this.

You can’t find the Move icon?
Your site may be configured so that you can drag and drop resources. In that case, instead of the Move icon you will see crosshairs next to your resource. To move the resource, click on the cross hairs and, keeping your finger pressed down on the left mouse butt on, drag the resource to its new location. Look for the line in the background—this tells you where your resource is going to be dropped to—then let go of the mouse butt on when you have found the spot.

Now I’ve got my resources in the order I wanted, I have to say that my topic looks like just another resource dump—which is what I am trying to avoid.

My resources would be much easier to use if I could introduce each of them with a short piece of text:

Moodle Makeover

Introducing a resource with a short introduction is a great way of improving the visual appeal of your course. The tool to achieve this is called a Label resource, and here’s how to use it…

Time for Action – Insert a Label

I’m going to start the process of arranging my resource by having a short piece of text introducing the Backyard ballistics links resource.

  1. Make sure editing is turned on, click on Add a resource, and choose Insert a label.
  2. In the Editing Label page, enter your label text. When you are done, press the Save and return to course button.
  3. The new label is added to the end of the list of resources—which is obviously the wrong place for it. Click on the Move icon, next to the label you have just added:
  4. Moodle Makeover

  5. The page is re-displayed. Your new label disappears and lots of boxes have appeared. These boxes represent the places where your new label can go:
  6. Moodle Makeover

  7. Click on the relevant box to place your label. You’re done!

Moodle Makeover

Remember: If you don’t have a Move icon, you’ll have crosshairs next to the label that you can click on to drag it to the right place.

What Just Happened?

After all the experience we have had with Moodle so far, using the label resource will be fairly straightforward. Judicious use of labels means our course topics don’t have to be simply a long list of resources. Remember to treat labels as a way of leading the student towards and into a resource. Labels are not designed for content, so try to keep labels short—perhaps two or three sentences at the most. Labels are like the glue that holds topics together. You don’t want your glue to be too thick.

It’s looking better, but my topic is still looking a little flat. You can indent your resources by clicking on the Move right icon next to the resource:

Moodle Makeover

Below is how things now look with a little indenting:

Moodle Makeover

Seeing the course from a student’s point of view
As a teacher, you will see a lot of options on the screen that your students won’t. To get a clear idea of how a student will see the course, use the Switch role to… option at the top right of the screen. Choose Student from this list, and you will see the course as students see it.
When you’re done, click Return to my normal role and you’ll get your normal view back. You will also need to Turn editing on to get the edit controls back.

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