Archive for the ‘Cool things about Moodle’ Category

How to give a single student access to a closed Moodle quiz

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

There are a few ways to give a student access to a closed quiz.

Re open it and trust that other students who may have missed the test don’t jump in and complete it too.  You can check the logs to catch them, but this is a pain, particularly in our case with units of 600+ students.

Re open it and set a password.  Of course the student may choose to share it, in which case you’re checking the logs again just to be sure.  You also have to remove the password when the unit rolls over in the following semester.


Set a User Override

This will just give access to the selected student.  There is no need to check logs and no need to reset any quiz settings.

  • Click on the quiz and select User Overrides from the Quiz admin block

Quiz override

  • Click on Add User Override

Quiz override1

  • Search for a student and click on their name
  • Set a new closing date and time for that student
  • Click Save

Quiz override2edit

Download Multiple files from Moodle

Friday, March 27th, 2015

This is a video I made a while ago, but I’ve had a few queries lately so I have posted it to YouTube.

Basically you get the Firefox add-on DownloadThemAll


Downloading multiple files from Moodle

New to Moodle, or want some design ideas for your course?

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Moodle Course

If you want to see how you might use the various Moodle  Activities in your unit have a look at this site.   It is an online course for teachers new to Moodle, using the Moodle as the vehicle.

The content is mainly in ‘Books’.  It uses Databases, Wikis, Forums, Surveys, Quizzes Lessons and Pages.

You can look at the resources any time, but if you want more help you can enroll in a scheduled course.

Personally,  I think all our sites should look something like this.  Just add in some f2f interactive tutorials/lectures and workshops.

Colour matching between Moodle and Photoshop

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

A little tip for Moodle site developers

Photoshop and many other graphics programs  tend to use RBG as the primary way to identify colours, unfortunately Moodle uses HEX

I wanted to create an image with a background the same colour as my table background.  So I looked at the table properties and found the colour.

moodle hex

Then I went to a HEX to RBG conversion site and put in the HEX codes

hex to rbg

I then took the RBG code and set the colour in Photoshop


If I had a preexisting image and wanted to match the Moodle colour could use the colour picker (most graphics program have this) to identify the RBG

colour match

I would then run RBG through a RBG to HEX converter . That would give me the HEX code to set my table background colour.

Mobile devices and Moodle

Monday, May 26th, 2014

I spotted this on eCampus News

5 ways mobile devices have (and haven’t) changed studying

Okay, the first thing is, this study was done by Study Blue who are in the business of mobile education, but having said that, I agree with the findings.

1. Students are working together, and improving their grades
2. Students still cram
3. Students still like pen and paper, but move between offline and online with ease
4. Students are turning idle (and bathroom) time into study time
5. Students are no longer getting out of bed to study

The main take away for me is need to make sure our resources are designed appropriately for smart phones.  I think we are at the point where, for some (all?) resources, we need to prioritize design for phones over design for laptops.

I’m not a person who thinks the LMS has outlived it’s usefulness (I think that just shows a lack of imagination), but I do think the inherent design of our LMS’s needs to reflex the needs/wants of everyday 21 century students.  I’m not sure that adding an app is the way to go, Moodle has a few mobile apps, but I don’t see them used much (at Monash we can’t use them at all).   Moodle needs to work with browsers, and automatically adjust its design for mobile screens, like so many other sites already do.  It also needs to reflect the design imposed by the academic, not just be a content delivery system.

If anyone has created an addon to do this I would be interested in having a look.

If you want to have a look at some Moodle mobile apps have a look at this page on Moodle News.  Of course, unless your organisation is set up for them they won’t work.

Guide to Moodle Tools

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Want to try to support your students learning and want to know how Moodle can help?

Have a look at this.


(If you’re a Monash person and you want to know how to do it have a look at the Moodle Learning Topics or contact the Help desk.  AccFin people can contact me)

Moodle 2.5 and 2.4 Videos

Friday, August 30th, 2013

2.5 should be coming to Monash later this year, most of the features are useful, but mainly cosmetic.

One I particularly like is the ability to drag and drop images into your site.  There are also new Folder settings that make viewing the files easier.

The thing in 2.5 that has people in a bit of a froth is ‘badges’, which I’m a bit indifferent about.  They might be useful to encourage engagement particularly in the K-12 sector, but I’m not sure there is enough pay off for the average academic (see more info here) but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

This video has more about 2.5

For us the the big over due feature (which is actually in 2.4) is the Group submission for assignments, which means you can now (at last) automatically give one mark and provide one feedback to the entire group.

This video 2.4 is quite good

Moodle in-class quizzes – tips to make your life easier

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

A strength of Moodle is its flexibility and range of options, its weakness is the simplest solution can sometimes get masked.  Learn from our mistakes.

What do you do if you want to use one Moodle quiz for a f2f  classroom test on different dates or times?

Don’t be tempted by all the options on the Settings page aim for the simplest, sensible option.

First, my recommended things to avoid (unless you really want to)

1. Avoid the Groups option

This is only useful if you have accurate groups.  Our Allocate+ class lists in Moodle typically are not.  Students often switch tutes, particularly when the lecture is a 8.a.m.  You’ll run around trying figure out why some student can’t open the quiz while others can.  Despite instructions some will attend the wrong session, and you’ll have to deal with it.  Also any students in the group can do it, even those at home.

2. Avoid Timing settings

Setting the Timing means the student can see the Quiz link (and available Date/Time) on their home page, but they can’t access it until the nominated date/time.  It’s good for online quizzes.

quiz timingIt’s not so good for Class tests. The assumption is that your classroom time management is so impeccable that can you absolutely guarantee that you and all your students will be ready to go at the nominated time.  If it’s not, then you have to fiddle around resetting the time.

3. Avoid the Restrict Access settings

With the Restrict Access setting the student won’t see anything on their home page unit the nominated date/time.    The same assumption as above applies (never ever use both).
restict access
4. Avoid the x2 option to create a duplicate quiz for each cohort.

At the very least it gives you multiple columns in your grade book that you will have to reconcile later.

5.  Avoid the Grade condition option in the Restrict Access section.

It just means you have to create some other tute specific activity to be the gatekeeper for the quiz.  (OK, I have used this once.   We created a feedback survey quiz for each tute group and they couldn’t access the quiz until they completed it).

Dos for Classroom tests with multiple cohorts

1. Use the Hide/ Show button

Hide the quiz until  you are ready for students to do it.  Then hit the hide button at the end.  It’s a click of the mouse at a time of your choosing instead of fiddling with dates and times.

2. Use the Require Password option.

When you Un-hide the quiz all students in all cohorts can see it, but if a password has been set they cant do it.  Write the password on the white board so only students in class can see it.
3. Use the Time limit.

The easiest option is to hit the Hide button which will close the quiz, but it’s safer and fairer to use the Time Limit and it’s not hard to set.quiz timing time

At the end of the quiz click Hide and change the password, and you’re all ready for the next Classroom test.  As reminder, I create a hidden label with the instructions it just below the Quiz.  Only the the Tutors and lecturers can see it.

Moodle – Negative marks in the gradebook

Monday, July 29th, 2013

This won’t apply to many people, but given the difficulty I had tracking down an answer to what should have been a simple question I thought I would post the solution here, so there is one more place to find it (honestly Moodle docs needs a total overhaul by a decent technical writer).

Certainty Based Marking can be a quite useful feature in a Moodle quiz. But it can also result in a negative mark.

question behaviour

Unfortunately while the negative marks will appear in your quiz results they wont appear in the Grade book.  The Moodle Grade book doesn’t automatically recognise negative marks,.  It gives the student a zero.

To change this go to the Settings block and click Grades.

Select Categories and Items from the top menu, then click the Edit icon

Grades categories

Now set the Minimum Grade to the desired negative mark.  Click Save Changes.

Grades categories2

Moodle Grade Book navigation tips

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Moodle has it’s strengths, but gradebook view isn’t one of them.

In line with good assessment practice, we have units with multiple formative assessments (usually in the form of quizzes).   Depending on your monitor and screen resolution this usually means you can only see 5 columns, and you have to scroll to the bottom of a very long page to get to the sideways scroll bar (sloppy programming).

So that’s enough whinging, on the to the tips.

  1. If you have 2 monitors hit the re-size button
    adjust screen
    and drag your screen across both monitors.
  2. Only one monitor and your last column is just out of view?
    Maximise the your screen width by docking the Navigation and Setting Blocks.  This will get you another column and a half. dock blocks
  3. For the rest of us, scroll using the sideways arrows.  Click anywhere in the grade area (e.g. in the row of a particular student) and the keyboard arrows will become active
    gradebook navigation
    keyboard arrows
  4. If your eyesight is up to it you can reduce the text size on your screen to fit more in.  Hold down the Ctrl button on your keyboard and press the minus button(-) on the number pad.  Press the + to increase it.
  5. If you want to get bottom of the screen quickly to use the scroll bars, click the End button on your keyboard.

If you have any tips of your own please pass them on.