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Published April 12, 2017 | Multidisciplinary

Looking back on the Open Symposium of the ADTE 2017: Moodle as a Collaboration Tool in Chemistry

Note from Profweb

Amandine is registered in the program Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) en enseignement collégial at Laval University and she is presently undertaking an internship at Cégep Garneau in Biology. She participated in the open symposium of the ADTE on March 15, 2017, at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon of her own initiative and braved the snow storm to do so. She reviews for us one of workshops that she attended.

The 2017 symposium of the ADTE was entitled “Open access to educational resources, for publication of scientific research, for open data and software for higher education.” During the symposium, I attended 2 presentations that I found extremely interesting. I will share with you this first article about the workshop of Josée Debigaré entitled Moodle as an organizational and collaborative tool in chemistry [PDF] (workshop slideshow available in French only).

Participants had the opportunity to experience the presentation in the brand-new active learning classroom at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon, inaugurated on February 27, 2017. Interactive televisions, white boards, laptop computers and consoles are all organized in islands and available for students. This certainly makes you feel like developing pedagogical activities using the best technological tools available!

The new active learning classroom at Cégep Lévis-Lauzon.

Josée Debigaré, Teacher and Chemistry Department Coordinator at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon, explained that Moodle allows teachers:

  • To organize their courses
  • To present activities in the format they prefer (by chapter, by week, by lesson, for example)
  • To save and monitor student activities
Good to know! Moodle is used in more than 230 countries around the world. This free software offers a digital learning environment. Its force being that it is dynamic and adaptable.

Three Pedagogical Uses for Moodle

Josée told us that in the Chemistry Department of the Cégep, teachers use Moodle to offer 3 different types of activities to students:

Student Evaluation

The test module offered in Moodle allows for the creation of a bank of questions that can be easily reused and shared. It is also possible to add global feedback or feedback for each question. The question formats can vary and can have images, charts and sub-questions. Tests are created from the bank of questions and can be used in different contexts, such as:

  • Formative or summative evaluation
  • Review of notions prior to a class
  • A control step so that students can make sure they have carried out the preparation assignments for laboratories correctly

Follow Up of Students during Internships

Josée presented a second type of activity on Moodle that is used by her colleagues: discussion forums for the follow up of students during internships. The forums serve as a communication and conversation tool between students or even an internship journal to which only the student and their teacher have access. The triple interest in forums, she told us, lies in:

  • Simple access management thanks to the creation of user groups
  • The possibility of uploading documents in various formats
  • The simple way to monitor dates of submitted documents and written messages.

An Electronic Laboratory Notebook

The third Moodle activity used by teachers in chemistry is the Wiki Open University (Wiki OU). This allows for monitoring students in the laboratory thanks to the development of an electronic laboratory notebook. It brings all the information related to laboratories and experiments to the same place, including photos, videos and hyperlinks. The electronic version makes consultation and annotation by the teacher easy and also includes temporary monitoring with the existence of a history feature.

All of these advantages also permit the use of this function of Moodle in the context of an internship journal or activities in the active learning classroom. If you wish to learn more about the use of Wiki OU as a laboratory notebook, this subject was discussed in a greatly appreciated Real Life Story by Josée Debigaré in 2016.

Finally, Josée mentioned one other use of Moodle for teachers of her department and students: the chemistry directory. Created under the format of an open course with an enrolment key, it regroups and organizes all useful information, facilitating the sharing with different users, teachers and students.

As a future teacher, and for all the participants, this presentation on Moodle as a pedagogical organization and collaboration tool was an occasion to discover the great wealth of pedagogical uses that are possible with this platform.

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