- Members of a teaching team, and the students we hope will help us in the design process, often don't have a canonical reference point around which they base their own work to develop teaching content.
- The task of creating Moodle content is in itself cognitively and technically challenging, this may distract us from genuinely considering student and teacher perspectives, and principles of quality learning design.
We can design Moodle spaces in a way that encourages everyone to contribute and to feel included in the design process. This helps us to create appropriate, effective, consistent designs in which intended outcomes, activities and assessments are constructively aligned. Every module in the University has module pages in Moodle (except for WBS, who use their own system). Develop these with your teaching team, and if possible, with students. You might do this for a single module, or a group of related modules. Co-designing these pages has obvious benefits: you get to make sure they make sense from everyone's perspective, and that nothing essential is missed out; you make sure that each member of the team understands their role and how it all fits together. Aim for clarity and consistency. As a team, ensure that learning is framed effectively at all points, and that students can use it to orient and reorient themselves within the module (especially if they miss time through illness). Give the elements of the module clear, simple and consistent names (following a consistent naming convention). Show how activities build on each other to meet the intended outcomes of the module. Make sure all of the obvious questions are answered (to save you time later). But leave room for the module to dynamically evolve if necessary.
- Find out who in your department looks after your Moodle Module Spaces. Contact them to see if there are any formats and standards that you should follow, training courses available, and a timetable for updating your module.
- Treat this as a mini project. Create a project timetable and plan. If the module already exists in Moodle, it will probably be rolled-over sometime between June and mid-August. At that point you have a fresh copy of the Module Space to work on (with last year's students and interactions removed, but much of the content replicated). If you are designing a new module, contact the Academic Technology Team to find out when it will have pages created. Then work out how you are going to tackle the design process - who will lead? what stages will you follow? who will contribute and when? You could use Microsoft Teams as a collaboration platform in which you share the project plan, communicate and develop content (see the recipe Create a Teaching Team Online).
- If the module has run in the past, get together and use any useful feedback information, the archived Moodle Module Spaces, the data from those spaces, and any other evidence that might be of use.
- Get your team together, and once your Moodle Module Space has been created, give them access to it. You should be set up as a Course Leader, and can add others as Editing Teacher, Non-editing Teacher or Student. Find our about controlling Moodle access here.
- Ensure that you have a clear, understandable, appropriate shared description of the purpose and scope of the module (for example, using the principle of constructive alignment.
- Look at a range of examples of Moodle Module Space designs, to choose an approach that works for your module - your department or course may define a set template, but there are still many variations you can use.
- Use the methods described in the recipes collection Design and Plan Programmes, Modules and Activities to collaboratively plan out and review a design, before creating the structure that will contain the content in Moodle. You might use Mindmanager to map-out all of the elements of the programme or module in a simple visual format.
- Periodically review the design together as it develops, and then once it is running with real students. Ensure that you get and share feedback from the students on specific aspects of the design, so that you can collectively evaluate and take action on what you hear from them. Use the tracking and performance data created by Moodle, as a learning analytics approach, to add further insights to your analysis.