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VLE Effective Practice

Moodle is the University VLE platform. Academic and professional service departments use Moodle to deliver teaching materials and activities.

The education strategy tasks us with the support of "good practice in the use of Moodle for modules, programmes, and departments”. This guidance supports that ambition. It is a living document shaped by student and staff feedback.

Five principles for effective use of the VLE

    1. Clear layout and structure will help students navigate your materials and important information.
    2. Including important information will help students orientate. Understand the expectations and requirements and get help when needed.
    3. Support and enhance face-to-face teaching with a variety of learning materials and activities.
    4. A consistent approach to communications will ensure students engage with important information.
    5. Varied assessments with clear requirements will enhance learning and reduce anxiety around assessments.

    1. Structure, Layout and Presentation

    Clear layout and structure will help students navigate your materials and important information.

    • Use an appropriate course format optimised for accessibility
    • The topic/section structure reflects the way the module will be taught
    • The topic/section names clearly describe what a student will find in that section/topic
    • A description is included to introduce the topic, learning materials and activities
    • Headings, sub-titles and file names are used consistently throughout
    • Headings and sub-headings are used to structure text
    • Use no more than two readable fonts with strong colour contrast
    • Fonts are large enough to read (min 10pts)
    • Use colour, shapes and bold text to convey meaning
    • Images, except those used for decoration, include ALT text

    Go further

    • Develop and use a department template
    • Use restricted access and groups to scaffold your learning materials

    2. Organisation

    Including important information will help students orientate. Understand the expectations and requirements and get help when needed.

    • Include the Module Outline
    • Provide staff information, including contact details and office hours
    • Link to department policies and procedures
    • Include a module feedback questionnaire that includes the 6 University recommended questions

    Go further

    • Department block containing links to important information.

    3. Learning Materials and Activities

    Support and enhance face-to-face teaching with a variety of learning materials and activities.

    • Material and activity names clearly describe the content or activity
    • A TALIS Aspire reading list is available
    • All learning materials adhere to copyright
    • All materials (PDFs, PowerPoints etc.) are accessible
    • Make lecture recordings available, where appropriate, so students can review the material and take notes at their own pace
    • Use eStream to host and stream video content
    • All links (URLs) are descriptive
    • All links (URLs) are set to open in the same window

    Go further

    • Where video and audio are used, a transcript, subtitles or alternative formats are available
    • Create interactive content and activities (H5P)
    • Enable students to participate in peer review activities (Workshop)
    • Use weekly formative quizzes, for students to check their understanding (Quiz)

    4. Communication

    A consistent approach to communications will ensure students engage with important information.>

    • Provide information on the best way to contact you
    • Use announcements to alert students to key module information and urgent notifications
    • Provide a discussion forum for students to communicate with you and one another

    Go further

    • Create a module FAQ with a forum where students can ask you questions
    • Post a weekly discussion topic or question, using the Q and A forum, and discuss the responses at the next face-to-face teaching session.
    • Give students a contribution grade to encourage participation

    5. Assessment

    Varied assessments with clear requirements will enhance learning and reduce anxiety around assessments.

    • Provide an assessment schedule for all assignments
    • Assessment criteria for all assignments is available
    • Departmental submission guidance is available
    • Link to guidance on academic writing skills
    • Provide guidance on the method of submission (Moodle or Tabula)

    Go further

    • Create opportunities for formative assessments
    • Create opportunities for peer review
    • Enable students to use a draft Turnitin submission point to improve their academic practice
    • Provide a variety of assessment opportunities

    Last updated 19th September 2019

    FAQs

    Actions that you can apply to your VLE spaces support each principle. Whilst presented as a checklist, it is not prescriptive. Adapt and apply this guidance to suit your teaching practice, style and discipline.

    Departments are welcome to adapt this guidance to create bespoke effective practice guidance.

    We encourage you to apply this guidance where it is relevant to your teaching and discipline.

    We have included ‘go further’ guidance to show what else you can do with Moodle.

    The Academic Technology team will not check whether VLE spaces follow this guidance.

    We held two workshops in 2019. The input from those workshops shaped this guidance. Feedback will be sought from students and staff over the 2019/20 academic year.

    Yes, the Academic Technology team are available to support you to apply this guidance.

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