what did i do?
First i created my course information documents and tried to get them laid out in a location on the moodle coursemap that makes sense. I am using the course summary pane for that. I am having to use things in ways i don’t think they intended to get this to look and feel like i want. I don’t get the long center topic thing… it gets too long…you need advanced organizers to visually chunk the information… i am still trying to figure it all out. also, they call dicussions “forums” and respond-reply and modules – topics… so i ‘ve had to map, try to map analagous features and functions to what i am used to.
Then i started to try to outline the modules just to get a structure in… Along the way i have discovered better ways to do things… For example it is better to create a web page than to upload a file, cuz you can’t edit files on the fly… and they don’t contain the built in moodle page nav bars…you have to use your browser back button and you have to edit the original word file save it, upload it to the files folder, then create a link to that file… etc. with a web page you can just create it as a draft and edit easily. I started out using the glossary tool for the shared references, but decided to move that to diigo instead.
I started to think about the class community areas and decided that the main pane should be used as a newsflash area… you can’t move it and you can’t put anything above it, so i have now also also created a table in it as a navigation bar to some additional help type resource that would be too buried course info area… i will change the newsflash often and archive them in the news forum, which i renamed Bulletin Board… the way the news forum works is that you have to be “subscribed” to it which means you will get an annoying email anytime one is added, and you only get 30 minutes to add/edit anything to it, you can’t change the dates, so all my standard “announcement” type documents can’t really go in that space… it is hugely annoying… I have had to create a Bulletin Board to serve that function… its fine. I will live with it.
The other things i have learned or decided to do are to use the topics as Modules that outline the content of each content “chunk” of the course. I also will have a question area and links to the main course reflections blog in each module. I have learned to hide “topics” so i am putting documents in there and then linking to them where i need them… i really don’t get the label function for setting up the topic … seems like a lot of energy for text that does nothing. I am bummed that i can’t get a private discussion area with individual students easily… i am ending up using the coursemail feature for that… there may be another way to do this that i am missing, but i am not sure. I thought i might be able to use the assignment form for that, but none of the features that allow for private submission to the instructor result in the ability to reply back and forth in a forum type way… so i have to work around the private functionality of course mail to retain that needed privacy aspect… cumbersome!
I have also closed all the blocks that are extraneous and reorganized them into locations that make more sense to me… the news is in the upper right. under that is the people block, then the calendar, then the upcoming events… you can’t move blocks above the center block which is irritating… so that is why i made the nav bar table in that center block…
I created my class community module with links to the bulletin board and participant profiles. Oh, i have also begun to set up my exemplar course activity – link to a course for observation with MP3 files attached to use as side commentary as the participants tour the course… pretty cool. I have been figuring things out little by little in this tool as i go along…
Have i said i hate the subscribe thingy… at first i thought is was so stoopid, you know …i don’t want emails from my course management tool, every time an entry is made…errrrrrrrr. But i have reconsidered. I am not sure, i will have to ask the students. Now I think it will help keep track of the discussions. So, i have them all set to force subscribe…. we shall see.