elo
25
2017

Lukukausi alkaa, muutama vinkejä / A new semester, several tips

The course year 2017-2018 has gotten off to a start with teachers and students returning in numbers to the campuses of the universities and colleges served by the eLearning Services of Lapland University of Applied Sciences. We hope everyone had a great summer! Those returning to our on-line learning environments now, will inevitably notice a few changes. Notably, the Moodle front page looks different and, even more notably, iLinc has been replaced by Adobe Connect (AC). At the time of writing this article, AC-trainings are in full swing at all our campuses as well as on-line. User guidelines for AC can be found via the eOppimispalvelut page, under Frequently asked (Usein kysyttyä).

iLinc was adopted by Lapland UAS (then Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic) back in 2003 and it has served us well over the years as one of the pillars under our extensive on-line education effort. However, as development and support for the software were withdrawn, we were forced to look for a suitable replacement and management has decided to adopt Adobe Connect. AC will be used mainly via a Moodle integration, meaning that teachers and students will access AC classrooms via the corresponding Moodle courses, without the need for a separate login. Session recordings will be saved automatically in the AC-activity in the Moodle course. Hence, teachers teaching in joint semester environments, should agree on a joint approach to avoid scattering recordings over different classrooms. The eLearning services advise that in the case of team teaching, there should be only one AC-classroom in the course, which is used by all teachers, so that all recordings end up in the same activity. If team teaching cannot be arrived at, each teacher should have their own AC-classroom, clearly identified as such and preferably all these classrooms are listed together for easy overview.

Teachers are reminded that AC-classrooms must be named first after the student group, followed by the course name and then the name of the teacher (if applicable; team classrooms do not need this and neither do classrooms in indivdual Moodle courses where no other teachers are active). Example of the name of an AC classroom in a Moodle course with only one teacher:

K72D17S Introduction to Critical Thinking

For recordings another naming rule is in effect. Recordings must be named after the date (yymmdd without dots) and the teacher with as additional data perhaps the student group and course name. In the case of the above example course, an AC-recording made on 25 August 2017, as part of that Moodle course, would ne named:

170825 Paul Nijbakker K72D17S Introduction to Critical Thinking

It is important to follow these naming guidelines, because it enables us to organise the AC-classrooms and the recorded lectures.

As to Lapinkampus Moodle, the old site theme has been replaced with a more up-to-date one. HAKA login is now enabled via a link on the front page, but remember that this only works for users from universities outside of Lapland. Users from Lapland University and Lapland University of Applied Sciences use Moodle (and thus also Adobe Connect) with their normal LUC network accounts. The main functionality in the Moodle courses has not changed significantly, but some old themes have been removed and new themes and course formats have been added. You could check out what works best for you, now that courses are starting. Note, that the recommended browser for Moodle and AC is (the latest version of) Mozilla Firefox.

Getting ready for the new semester

You may want to do some Moodle house-cleaning at the start of the semester. On your dashboard page (Katsaus kursseistani) you may want to move you current courses up in the Course overview (Työtilan yhteenveto) and the old courses down, as demonstarted in the image below:

Editing dashboard page

Click on the pic for a bigger version.

Maybe you have old courses that you do not need anymore? If so, send the links to these courses to the eLearning Services, so they can be removed and eventually deleted permanently.

Inside you courses, you may want to shake up things as well, but remember it is safer to hide course materials than to delete them, because deleted activities and resources are gone permanently and cannot be brought back by us.

And, as always, remember that the eLearning Services are here to serve you, so do not hesitate to ask for help when you encounter a problem that you cannot solve yourself!

 

huhti
19
2017

Guidelines for simple Moodle Quiz Questions using the GIFT format

The GIFT format is a format for making quiz questions for Moodle as a .txt file (in UTF8 format) and uploading them to Moodle instead of creating the questions one by one in Moodle. Using a question format like this is faster and it does not require teacher access to Moodle to make the questions (although only a teacher or administrator can import the questions to Moodle). The thing to understand about a format is that it makes question creation easy, provided that the layout of the format is observed rigorously, i.e. the text elements like questions, statements and answers can be freely edited, but the layout should remain the same for all the questions. Even a small change in layout will disable the question.

Example:

The capital of Finland is Helsinki.{TRUE}

will create a true-false question (in which the correct answer is ”True”) and

The capital of Finland is Rovaniemi.{FALSE}

will create a a true-false question (in which the correct answer is ”False”), but

The capital of Finland is Helsinki.{True}

will result in an error message because the layout (font size in the code) is wrong.

When making questions with the GIFT format, it is therefore advisable to copy and paste existing questions and simply replace the text elements to create new questions. In the GIFT format questions are separated by a single blank line. You should use separate .txt files for different question types, since it is recommended to create text files containing only one question type (this creates option for creating a question pool made up of different question categories filled with questions of the same type and value from which a Moodle quiz can randomly draw a specified number. The GIFT layout for true-false questions was given above. The layout for multiple-choice questions is given below:

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki ~Rovaniemi ~Tampere }

The answer preceded by ”=” is the correct answer and the ones preceded by ”~” are incorrect alternatives. The correct answer can always be in the first position, because in the Moodle quiz the answers will be automatically shuffled by default. To create a new multiple-choice question, you would copy the string and replace the parts highlighted in blue, as long as the layout remains the same, you can repeat this process to create as many questions as you need.

General Guidelines for Quiz Questions

There are general rules when creating quiz questions. You should, for example, avoid negative questions (i.e. ask ”What is the capital of Finland?” and do not ask ”What is not the capital of Finland?”) and above all avoid having positive-negative combinations (i.e. ”A is B” and ”A is not B”) in the same quiz. Just imagine what students will think when they get the following questions:

The capital of Finland is Helsinki.
True False

The capital of Finland is not Helsinki.
True False

These two questions exclude each other. If the first statement is true, the second is by definition false and vice versa. Therefore, in general, do not create negative statements/questions unless it cannot be avoided.

In multiple-choice questions you should, moreover, make sure to have reasonable alternative answers. This means that if students do not know the answer to the question, they cannot easily guess the correct alternative. For example,

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki ~Rovaniemi ~Tampere }

is a reasonable question (although three answers is really the minimum; it is better to have four answers), because all alternative answers are Finnish cities, and this question

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki ~Stockholm ~Oslo ~Copenhagen }

is a reasonable question, because all alternatives are capital cities in the North of Europe. However, this question

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki ~Train ~Boat ~Motorcar }

is useless, because the alternatives are of different classes. This question does not test whether the students know what the capital of Finland is, but whether they know the difference between a city and different modes of transport. The correct question to go with these answers would be ”Which of the following is NOT a mode of transport?”, but remember, we do not want negative questions and, apart from that, the answer would still be far too obvious.

In addition, the answers to multiple-choice questions should be of somewhat similar length, so as not to tempt the students to pick the longest answer as the most likely. For example,

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki, which was created the capital of Finland by Russia in 1812 ~Rovaniemi ~Tampere }

Would tempt students to select Helsinki, even if they did not know that Helsinki is the capital and likewise

What is the capital of Finland?{=Helsinki ~Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus ~Tampere }

would tempt students who do not know the answer to the question to select Rovaniemi (in this case the incorrect answer).

Furthermore, you should not create trick questions like

Which is the slowest land mammal?{=hare ~snail ~tortoise ~dolphin }

The above question contains in fact two tricks: the fact that the slowest animals listed in the answers are not mammals and that the slowest mammal in the list is not a land mammal. This is again an example of a question in which some of the answer alternatives are of different classes than the one in the question.

Finally, it is good to remember that these are just simple question format examples. There are more question types available in GIFT format and even more in Moodle at large. If you would want to create another type of question than the two described above, e.g. a multiple choice question with more than one correct answer, for instance, contact the eLearning Services at eoppimispalvelut@lapinamk.fi for instructions and template files to use as a starting point.

huhti
5
2017

Coming soon: H5P Learning Content Tool

The eLearning Service of Lapland University of Applied Sciences has over the past few weeks been checking out a relatively new Moodle plugin: H5P Interactive Content.

H5P is a web service that was developed in Tromsø in 2013 for a Norwegian provider of learning content. The service has since been released as open source software and its functions can be used via a Moodle plugin. In the version being tested presently, a teacher can choose to create interactive content such as Interactive Videos, Question Sets, Drag and Drop Questions, Multi-Choice Questions, Presentations and much more. There are 28 different types at the moment of writing, including an option to use the Appear.in web conferencing service (introduced on the ePakki blog!) as a chat room in your course. All materials are in HTML5 and thus have great usability (also on mobile devices). You can read more about it here: https://h5p.org/documentation/for-authors. In addition to being an authoring tool for rich content, H5P also enables teachers to import and export H5P files for effective reuse and sharing of content.

The eLearning Services consider that, since the amount of different content types on offer is quite big (and each content type has many options), the plugin may pose challenges to teachers. However, with support from us, quite varied and useful material can be created with H5P. We encourage teachers to partake of the possibilities offered and contact the eLearning Services when they have settled on interactive material that they want to create using H5P. Teachers could start by making existing material more interactive. For example, if you have a YouTube video that you use in your course (i.e. one that allows such use, maybe with a creative commons license), you can now consider turning that video into an activity containing labels and questions pertaining to the content of the video! (Click on the pic to see a bigger version.)

A detail of the creation of an inteactive video using the H5P Moodle plugin. The wealth of options demonstrates the need for support for beginning users.

The H5P plugin will be installed in Lapinkampus Moodle and Open Moodle before Easter. You will then find it in the list of activities presented in the ”Add and activity or resource” pop up in your Moodle course(s).

Note that there is even an H5P plugin available for Lapinkampus Blog! You can open the video below in full screen if you want.

helmi
6
2017

Automaattinen täyttö-toiminnon asia / The Thing about the Autofill Function

Some teachers, when trying to check the enrolment key in their course, or to set a new key, discover to their dismay that the box of the enrolment key displays their Moodle password!

This effect is caused by the autofill or autocomplete function of the browser that they are using. Autofill is a functionality in modern browsers that allows users to store their log in information in the browser. It makes it easy to log in to sites, because you do not have to remember your username or password, the browser fills them in automatically. However, this poses a security risk and Moodle users, especially teachers, should never allow their browser to remember their username and password, especially those who log in with their school network account that also gives access to all other school services!

Here are instructions on how to turn off autocomplete in the recommended browsers Firefox and Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox security settings

Click on the pictures for a bigger version.

Google Chrome

Chrome security settingsChrome security settings

helmi
2
2017

Uusi Moodle ja uusi näkymä (teemat) / The new look of the new Moodle (themes)

It will not have escaped anyone’s notice that Lapinkampus Moodle was upgraded last year to a new version of Moodle 3 and that this has had consequences for the look of the courses. AO Lappia and Lapland UAS have had to abandon the old look of their courses for something more modern. The look of a course is largely determined by the so-called course theme, which can be set in the Course settings by any teacher in the course.

Setting a course theme

Click on this and other pictures to see a much larger version!

The default theme for a course is detemined by the theme set for the category in which the course is located. Thus, the default theme for all AO Lappia courses is Academi, which is set on the Lappia category. If a course in the Lappia category does not force another course theme, the course will display the Academi theme. Likewise, the theme set for the LapinAMK category is the new LapinAMK theme, a neutral blue theme that works well with the popular collapsed topics course format. The temporary blue Roshnilite theme will revert to LapinAMK Orange (a colour which better fits this theme).

Lapinamk theme

It is understandable that Moodle users are surprised by these ”sudden” changes, but should rest assured that the eLearning services have carried out these interventions in the interest of safeguarding the (new) functionality of Moodle. Nonetheless, as implied above, teachers are not bound by the default theme for their category. They are free to choose another theme that better fits the their topic and teaching plan, just as teachers can choose a course format that supports their teaching, such as the above-mentioned colapsed topics (tiivistetty aiheet), or the grid (ruudukko) format, for example. The eLearning Services will happily advise you in this matter. Below you will find screenshots of a few Moodle 3 themes that were recently added, so as to give you an idea of the choice you have.

Adaptable theme

The Adaptable theme is a green/grey theme which has as its defining characteristic that it uses all screenspace that it can get and it has a button to hide side blocks so as to get the full width of the page at the teacher’s disposal. This is helpful on small screens and on pages with wide tables.

Cerulean theme

The Cerulean theme is a light blue/grey/white theme that saves screen space by using small blocks and small fonts.

Elegance theme

The Elegance theme is a grey/white theme that looks appealing, but it is rather wasteful of screen real estate, as it creates big margins on the course page. This is not so useful in large courses.

Flexibase theme

Flexibase is a dark blue/white theme that has a lot going on. It was designed for courses that use the more advanced functions of Course Completion.

Snap theme

Snap was added already last year, but needs a bit of exposure. It is definitely out there as the most drastic departure from the default Moodle course look. You will hardly recognise your course after you have set Snap as your course theme and the same may go for your students. Therefore, if you intend to apply this theme, make a plan and perhaps enlist the help of the eLearning Services.

tammi
31
2017

Tuo toiminto Moodlessa / The import function in Moodle

In a Moodle course there are diverse import possibilities, such as for quiz questions, but this e-Vinkki deals with the course Import (Tuo) function that is visible in the Administration (Asetukset) block on the course page. A number of teachers have learnt to use this function to move course materials between their courses, which is good and useful. However, some of them go about it in a rather sloppy way ;-), so here is how it is properly done:

First you take look at the original course from which you want to import material and decide what it is that you want/need from that course. In particular, you should check in which topic sections of the course the material is located, for the import tool will import those in the same topic section (osio) in your new course. This means that if in the original course the material is in section 3 and in the new course you want it to go in section 4, you should either temporarily move section three to position four in the original course, or move section 4 in the new course temporarily to position three. Also, if the material in the original course is in section 6 and your new course has only 5 sections, it will not show up after import, until you add a section 6 to the course. Doing this before importing will save you a lot of moving stuff around later.

Then, when you are ready, you go to the Adminstration (Asetukset) block in the new course and click the Import (Tuo) link.

Click on the pictures to see a larger version.

The first step is to select the original course from which you want to import. You can only import from courses in which you are a teacher.

You can search for (part of) the course full name or the short name. You select the course and click Next.

The next step is important. You do not want to import more than you strictly need. Blocks, filters and calendar events can generally be skipped. (For example, if you inlcude blocks, you may import multiple eOppimispalvelut blocks that you do not want in your new course and would have to delete afterwards.) For the question bank, groups and competences, only include those if you are actually going to use those in your new course, otherwise, skip them too. The option to jump to the end saves a few steps, but it implies that you want to import the whole kitchen sink to your new course. With an eye to reducing clutter, it is usually better to select what exactly you need.

When you have selected only those activities/resources that you want (and the sections in which they are located), you can continue.

When you click the Import button, the selected materials will be imported to your target course (after one more Continue/Jatka button). You can then commence to manage the imported materials in your new course as need be.

tammi
18
2017

Moodle 3.1 Uusi Tehtävä-arviointinäkymä / New Grading Page in Moodle 3.1

Of the new functionality in Moodle 3.1, the most notable is perhaps the new view of the assignment grading page. The ambition with this new layout is that a teacher can do all grading activities in one view, including annotating submitted texts, as shown on the picture below (click to enlarge):

Grading page Moodle 31

Click the pic for a larger version.

Note that you can filter in order to see only submission, or only ungraded submissions and then move from student to student. The default view shows the annotation pane on the left and the traditional grading options on the right. Unfortunately, the annotation does not work properly for files other than PDF at the moment of writing this blog, but that will be fixed as soon as possible. In the meantime, teachers who wish to use the annotation pane can require of their students that they submit their work as PDF files. The teacher can also elect to hide the annotation pane and work only with the traditional grading options using the buttons at the bottom right of the page.

tammi
14
2017

Uusi Poodll Lapinkampus Moodlessa / Upgraded Poodll plugins in Lapinkampus Moodle 3.1

What with the upgrade of Lapikampus Moodle to version 3.1, the Poodle recording plugins have been upgraded too. Poodll 3 offers recording via HTML5, which is more suitable for mobile devices. As a result the look of the recorders in Moodle has changed. The picture below shows the MP3 recorder (the Finnish version) as it now looks in the HTML editors in Moodle. This example is from a discussion forum (click on the pic for a bigger version):

HTML5 has been described as the future of the Web (That is probably why it does not work in Internet Explorer!). The Poodll HTML5 MP3 recorder uses recording via the cloud. As a result the recording must be uploaded and converted, which may cause a slight delay before it becomes available. Recording via the cloud has the added advantage that the Poodll video recorder (which uses a very similar pop-up window to the one above) that until now could only record short clips (due to the file size limit in the Moodle server) will now allow recordings of over 5 minutes in length. The exact limit may depend on the device and connection used.

Note that older browsers like Internet Explorer cannot handle HTML5 properly. The recommended browser for Poodll is the latest version of Mozilla Firefox!

tammi
10
2017

Moodlen 3.1. uudet ominaisuudet / Notable new functionality in Moodle 3.1.

Olette jo ehkä huomanneet, että Moodle on muuttunut joululoman aikana. Uusi ulkoasu johtuu käyttöönotetusta uudesta teemasta. Jos teema ei miellytä silmää, niin opettajana voit vaihtaa sen mieleiseksesi asetuksissa.

Muutokset koskettavat vain opettajan roolissa toimivia, opiskelijoiden toiminnallisuuksiin ei ole tullut muutoksia. Tässäpä lyhyesti pääasialliset muutokset:

  • Kompetenssien arviointi tuli mahdolliseksi. Ylläpito lisää kompetenssit Moodleen. Tällä hetkellä Moodlesta löytyy testausta varten LapinAMKin koulutusten yhteiset kompetenssit. Koulutuskohtaisia lisätään tarpeen mukaan.
  • Tehtävien arviointisivu on muuttunut siten, että oletuksena avautuu annotointi/kommentointi-ikkuna. Annotointi on mahdollista tällä hetkellä.pdf-tiedostoihin. Muutamien lähipäivinä tehtävien asennusten jälkeen myös .docx ja .odt –muotoisiin tiedostoihin.
  • Tehtävätyökalusta opiskelijan palauttamista tiedostoista voi nyt valita haluamasi tiedostot omalle koneelle ladattavaksi (aiemmin vain yksi tai kaikki).
  • Jos vahinko sattuu ja poistat tiedoston tai aktiviteetin, voit palauttaa sen roskakorista, joka näkyy Asetukset-lohkossa.
  • Keskustelualueen viestiketjut voi kiinnittää keskustelualueen yläosaan ja viesteihin voi tehdä pysyvän linkin.
  • Global search –toiminto mahdollistaa asiasanoilla sisältöjen etsimisen eri työtiloista (just nyt toiminto ei ole vielä käytössä LapinAMKin Moodlessa).
  • Tageja on mahdollista lisätä blogien, työtilojen ja profiilien lisäksi nyt myös aktiviteetteihin ja aineistoihin.
  • Joukko muita parannuksia navigointiin ja muokkaustoimintoihin.

Jos huomaat Moodlessa puutteita ja toimimattomia asioita tai haluat saada apua, niin ota yhteyttä eOppimispalveluihin eoppimispalvelut @ lapinamk.fi

And the same shortly in English:   

As many of you may have already noticed, Lapinkampus Moodle and Open Moodle have changed a bit during the Christmas holiday. In addition to the default LapinAMK theme change the main changes are as follows:

  • Competencies; Competency frameworks and learning plans can be set up by the administrators and enabled in courses by teachers and attached to activities. Teachers can rate students on competencies, separate from the grading of the activities. Presently, only the General Competencies at Lapland UAS have been added for testing purposes.
  • Assignment grading; The grading page has changed and displays as default an annotation pane where files in .pdf, .docx and .odt format can be annotated. This does not work yet for the last two and teachers can hide the pane if they do not require it.
  • Assignment download; File submissions can be selectively downloaded from the submission overview page.
  • Recycle bin; Erroneously deleted activities or resources can now be restored from a recycle bin that appears in the Administration block.
  • Forum discussion threads can be pinned to the top of the forum by the teacher and forum posts can be permalinked.
  • Global search; A new search function allows users to search for keywords in all Moodle pages they have access to. (This has not yet been enabled on our sites.)
  • Tags; In addition to Blogs, Courses and Profiles, tags can now also be added to activities and resources. Use with caution, so as to avoid a jungle of overlapping tags.
  • Diverse minor improvements to make navigation and editing easier.

If you notice that something is wrong with Moodle, or you just need a little help, do not hesitate to contact the eLearning Services eoppimispalvelut @ lapinamk.fi

 

joulu
19
2016

eOppimispalvelut toivottaa

The eLearning Services wish you

Hyvää Joulua ja Onnellista Uutta Vuotta!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

xmas card