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New features in the LAS Moodle installation as of June 8th, 2011

We recently upgraded the LAS Moodle installation and added some exciting new features!

New features include:

  • Elluminate Live! Sessions (recordable, synchronous interactive sessions)
  • By popular demand: Easier grading of discussion board assignments (UI Activity Grader activity type)
  • Flexpage course format (an alternative to dates or topics based course organization)
  • By popular demand: A simple way for students to see their group members (My peers block)
  • Submitting course requests directly in Moodle (Use the new Request a new course setup button)
  • Updated student enrollment system to increase accuracy.

Please browse the previews below, but know that more extensive documentation is forthcoming.


Elluminate Live! Sessions

More information: Elluminate Live! Sessions

Instructors are now able to schedule and create Elluminate sessions right from their Moodle course websites. Elluminate is a web conferencing system that allows members of a class (both instructors and students) to collaborate in real time. More information about Elluminate can be found at http://www.elluminate.com/.

With the Elluminate Live! Session activity, instructors can set up sessions for their entire class or smaller sessions with selected class participants. Elluminate moderators can also be selected for each session. Contact ATLAS by emailing atlas-tlt@illinois.edu for assistance with setting up student-moderated Elluminate sessions as permissions must be modified. Sessions are also recordable for post-session listening.

To set up this feature:

  1. Create a new Elluminate Live! Session activity.
  2. Select the options from the setup screen for each particular session. (Note: if yes is selected for the “Private session” setting, instructors will then select which course participants can attend the Elluminate session on the next screen).

When course participants click on the link in their Moodle course website, they will be taken to the Elluminate session. A small file will be downloaded to their computer. When they enter the session, they will see their names listed along with those who are already in the session.

Suggested uses for Elluminate include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a place for groups to collaborate in real time over the Internet
  • Presenting material synchronously and allowing students to interact with the teacher and each other
  • Helping students with particular problems they are having in the course.
  • Allowing students to work in Elluminate break-out sessions based on material presented by the instructor.
  • Allowing online students to get to know one another.

UI Activity Grader

For more information: UI Activity Grader

This feature facilitates the grading of discussion forums. Instructors can associate this assignment type with one discussion forum and provide different due dates and point totals for initial posts and replies. The forums are graded very much like the Online text assignment. The UI Activity Grader was based upon the Online text activity type and functions quite similarly.

To set up this feature:

  1. Create a new UI Activity Grader assignment type from the Add an activity menu.
  2. In the description include the exact name of the forum you want to grade. By including the exact name of the associated forum in the description, a link to the actual forum will appear for the students.
  3. Choose the forum associated forum from the drop-down list. (Please note: the associated forum must be created prior to adding the UI Activity Grader. Remember, since the forum will be graded by using the UI Activity Grader; no grade should be selected for the Grade in the associated forum).
  4. Decide whether to grade both posts and replies or just total posts.
  5. Choose the parameters (number of posts, replies and the due dates).

Once the UI Activity Grader is saved, the forum posts and/or replies can now be graded just like the other assignments work.

Flexpage Course Format

More Information: Flexpage Format

A new course format is available that allows instructors to easily put content on multiple pages in the Moodle course. The divisions are up to the instructor, and there are a lot of features that will be presented in the full documentation.

This feature is a bit complicated to set up since there are so many options. To use the Flexpage course format:

  1. Go to Settings from the Course Administration menu.
  2. Under course format, choose Page Format.
  3. Name the first page of the course website and be sure to publish it. If it is not published, what seems to be an error message will appear. If this happens, just turn editing on to continue working on the course website.
  4. Select a width for the three columns in pixels. Make sure they add up to no more than 1000 so that there will not be a problem with participant screen resolutions.
  5. Add the Administrative block to the course website's first page.
  6. To create new activities, go to the Manage Activities page.

Please see this YouTube video for more information. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcmwIDKLA3g

My Peers Block

Adding this block to a course website will automatically display a student's group members. Students can also email members of their group from this block.

To set up the My peers block,

  1. Turn editing on in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Select the My peers block from the Add a block drop-down list.
  3. Click the edit icon (a little hand holding a pencil) to configure the block.
  4. Instructors will also need to unhide the groups so students can see their groups and group members.

Other changes

  • Course requests are now submitted directly within Moodle. Just login and use the Submit a course setup button to request another course website. This new feature will streamline the course request process!
  • The student enrollment process has been updated to reduce the number of reported errors.