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Published November 13, 2011 | Multidisciplinary

Moving to Moodle

The frantic frenzy of this fall semester's start for the DECclic team can not be communicated in one column. After a year of moderating our experimental Moodle site and collecting user feedback, we had to deliver the goods: deploying Moodle in 30 colleges, managing everything from one location and working in conjunction with the IT Representatives in order to provide quality service to some 700 teachers who put their trust in us.

To start, we had to incorporate the data from our subscribing colleges to allow all teachers to access their courses and class groups in just a few clicks. This very technical first step was essential to the success of all of the operations that followed. Before discovering the full potential of the tool, teachers had to be able to access it easily. This important first step would make us or break us. Luckily, we're still here, and things can only improve from this point on.Serving our users, continuously ensuring that their needs are met and responding as quickly as possible to any request often finds the IT Representative on the front lines.

  • What is the best way to integrate video into my course?
  • How can I set up an activity for my three groups?
  • How can I allow access to a virtual support center for all college students?
  • How can I better structure my online discussion forum?
  • How can I incorporate a course from another Moodle site?

A Broad Community

Above all, I want to highlight the work of IT Representatives in the colleges. Thank you for your patience and especially your infectious enthusiasm during DECclic's move to Moodle. As always, it has been a privilege to partner with you all.

For extremely detailed questions, the answer often is found on the many forums within the vast Moodle community where users are helping each other night and day. In short, you may find yourself doing a video capture of a problem on a Friday night before going to bed (a bad habit, I know) and reading a response to the buzz of your alarm clock the next morning.

To better serve our subscribers, we are also continuing last year's testing on various modules enlisting the help of all our users to increase our tool collection. Examples include Realtime Quiz which can replace the clicker in laboratories or computer equipped classrooms, as well as plugins, such as the synchronous platform BigBlueButton, the application Wiris for math notation and the plagiarism detection tool Compilatio.net. Another experiment is a virtual language laboratory developed at Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta which can facilitate oral exchanges between teachers and their students. In short, with about 800 modules, Moodle promises a wide range of exciting new features.

Customized Training

And to make it all work, we must provide training tailored to the needs of our teachers. Since last spring, 130 people have attended one of our Moodle online capsules called Découvrir Moodle, to learn a little more about this tool. APOP's collaboration in the management of this activity was invaluable. Although courses in English have not yet been presented, they are most definitely on the horizon as we count Vanier College and John Abbott College among our members.

By the end of the session, we will also provide a one-hour online training session on how to create self-correcting assessments, before we focus on the issue of transferring content and assessments to Moodle DECclic II. Obviously, depending on the demand, we can go directly to colleges to provide hands-on training. Membership in the DECclic corporation has its advantages!

Want to learn more about Moodle, our activities and services? Visit us at decclic.qc.ca

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