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Published May 19, 2015 | Multidisciplinary

A Fourth Moodle Day Full of Activity

The fourth edition of Moodle Day, which can now be considered a kind of annual tradition was made possible by a grant from the Entente Canada-Québec (and the dynamic nature of the Moodle community). The event, which was held at Dawson College on Friday, May 15th, gathered about forty Moodle users (Teachers, Education Advisors and Developers).

The Morning

Marc Couture, an Education Advisor from the Université de Sherbrooke got things rolling with a presentation on their recent Moodle 2.8 update and the new features that are associated with this release, such as the Essential graphic theme template, which automatically adapts its display for smart phones, tablets and larger screens. More and more colleges have adopted this new version. Collège Ahuntsic also worked on an adaptation that is worth checking out. Everything is managed from Moodle’s interface. Marc also highlighted the improvements to navigation in the gradebook – often a source of frustration for Teachers.

Jason Maur then transported us to a new universe. After his mandate as a developer at Dawson, he has moved into a new position at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). This institution also chose Moodle for its learning management system to develop self-paced learning modules (not courses!). In other words, there is no need for the trainer to be physically present. Imagine 7400 employees that have to receive an orientation before the huge move to the Glen campus. This is a departure from the college context where the Teacher has free reign over his or her content. Here, each module is scrutinized by a committee and must be approved before it is posted online. The confidentiality rules are such that discussion boards are not allowed. Moodle is primarily being used as a means of transmitting SCORM packages (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) which mesh together thanks to the “conditional activities” functionality, which sometimes results in a certification. The technical support team’s challenge is to ensure that this rigid framework is respected, while also making sure that everything works… in Internet Explorer 7 (things don’t look so bad for us in the college network after all!.

For her part, Chantal Lalonde, a Professional Librarian from the Centre de documentation collégiale (CDC), offered us a plethora of digital books and some print-based resources on Moodle that can be borrowed by members of the college community. To get started, all you need to do is request a user name and password for Ez-Proxy at info@cdc.qc.ca. Here is a link to her presentation (2 mo).

Nelson Moller from the Collège de Rosemont and Moodle developer at Cégep à distance was next with a demonstration of his college’s WebWorK integration within Moodle. WebWork is a powerful (and open source) tool for learning math. A few articles on the tool have been published on Profweb. The fact that Cégep à distance has adopted the tool is good news since the Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) is also making contributions to WebWorK, which is now widely used in the college network, notably in the French sector’s Mathéma-TIC project.

The Afternoon

Alexandre Enkerli, who has participated in every Moodle Day since the beginning,was on hand to represent La Vitrine Technologie Éducation. He identified some of the data generated by Moodle users, from the number of clicks logged for a given resource to statistical analysis of student test results, while also reminding us of the importance of maintaining student confidentiality. The trail of data left by students (learning analytics) can tell us a lot about their learning.

Our colleague Orzu Kamolova was next with a presentation on how CERACs (Centres d’expertise en reconnaissance des acquis et des compétences) are using Moodle. The colleges are grouped under 4 CERACs that share a common Moodle installation. Here again is a departure from the traditional use of a learning management system, to create a community of practice.

Beyond the richness of the presentations, it is often the informal exchanges between Moodle Day participants over a coffee in the morning or while eating lunch that end up being the most significant moments in these meet-ups. While we’re waiting for the next Moodle Day, we can always get together at the Canadian Moodle Moot, taking place in October 2015.

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