This summer IT Services is working hard behind the scenes to make sure all our campus systems are running well. Part of our necessary maintenance is upgrading our Learning Management System, Moodle to increase security and add functionality. We will be upgrading the entire SMC campus to Moodle 2 this coming February 2014, so please make sure to stop by one of our Fall and Jan Term training sessions in the Keck Lab (located in Sichel and the Department of Communications. A list of classes and course descriptions will be advertised after the first two weeks of class, Fall 2013.
We will be upgrading hosting a “Moodle 2” Faculty Tech Camp for the first two weeks of Jan Term, 2014. Be sure to mark your calendars if you would like to join us for any of the trainings . Please note, you are also welcome to request a Moodle 2 sandbox site in advance of the February 2014 transition to Moodle 2 in order to get a feel for the new system and see how your materials will look. If you are interested in a sandbox site, please let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you. In the meantime, here is a brief list of the main NEW features of Moodle 2. We hope you will find this update useful and more user-friendly than our current version, Moodle 1.9.
New Features in Moodle 2 for faculty:
- Docking tabs on the side of the page
New Features in Moodle 2 for students:
- How to upload a file to a post or within the assignments area of the course
- Advanced Discussion Forums
- “Files” vs. “Personal Files”
The first thing you will notice about the upgrade to Moodle 2 next February are the docking panels that host the “administration” and “settings” blocks. You can unhide the blocks so they appear to the left side of your screen, or you can keep them open in the docking area. Docking these blocks is convenient if you would like more space to view the content of your course.
The second major change is the way data is stored. You may recall that in Moodle 1.9 all files associated with a course are located in the “administration” block > “file”s area. When we upgrade to Moodle 2 and import your course materials to a new course site, you will see that the content transferred over are called “legacy files”. If you plan to do an “import” of the content from your previous class, you will see that the files from your previous course still appear, however, if you start building your Moodle 2 course site entirely from scratch, you will notice that your (resource) files no longer appear in the same area. Moodle 2 stores resource files behind the scenes. This makes navigating the system faster, and more, user-friendly. Moodle 2 also has a new, “personal files” area where you can upload any files you would like to have associated with a course but do not need in the main content area of your course site. This area is a great place to store handouts you will present during class or notes regarding student participation.
The last major change worthy of your attention at this time is the addition of “advanced forums.” Advanced forums have increased ability to mark posts, allowing instructors to signify posts they consider “substantive” The feature is especially welcome for members of hybrid courses or professional programs that rely on discussion outside of class as a feature to engage student’s with course content outside of class.