Here are a few questions I asked Jenny.
How do you use Moodle at the moment?
The NCMHS is a full time course and students are expected to come onto campus one day a week for face-to-face teaching. I have always had to be creative with how I deliver content in the face-to-face classroom and give students a lot of 'take-way' resources. So at the moment I am using Moodle as a repository for information and resources. But in the future I am hoping to develop online learning packages.
What do you feel are the challenges to online learning and the use of Moodle?
At the moment I use my one day a week of face-to-face contact for activities such as role play, which are designed to help students engage, explore and integrate content. Now I am thinking about how to replicate the high energy that we have in the classroom into the online environment. I have found the Graduate Certificate of Tertiary Learning and Teaching a great support for learning how to design flexible, online teaching activities and resources - I have a vision and plan, and the GCTLT gave me the theory and learning to back up my plans.
I am very excited about the wonderful resources that are already online so one challenge is to work out how I can integrate them into my teaching. It does take time to research and find what I want but I love doing it, and I think it is well worth taking the time to find quality resources - it is valid work and needs to be recognised as such.
What tips do you have for teachers who are designing courses in Moodle?
I think it is really important to take time to think about how you want to set things up. If you have a course that has been migrated over from Moodle, you can feel horrified when you see the mess. I start from scratch with empty, white space and start from there.
- Organise content into topics, not weeks - this gives you more flexibility.
- Presentation is really important so use lots of visuals
- Keep the design of the course clean and uncluttered
- Allow plenty of time for students to have a 'play' in a computer laboratory at the beginning of the course, so they overcome their anxiety about something that is new - remember how you felt when you first started to use a computer
- Don't overwhelm students with technology - take the time to introduce activities and resources gradually.
The feedback I have received about Moodle from students has been very positive so far. They find it very simple compared to BlackBoard - much easier than having to follow lots of clicks and folders. I haven't had to do any follow-up tutorials for students like I have in the past.
A big 'thank you' to Jenny for these tho0ughts and tips. If you'd like to leave a comment or question for Jenny, please feel free to do so in the comment section here.