Learning to teach through Moodle


OU instructors are offered free Moodle training courses each semester.

Each semester, OU instructors are offered free Moodle training courses, but many students feel that their instructors don’t use Moodle enough.

Nic Bongers, instructional graphic designer from the e-learning and instructional support department, taught part one of the five-part class on Wednesday, May 6.

The first class teaches how to begin – logging in, adjusting the number of weeks, taking attendance and keeping in touch with students. The second class teaches how to upload files and organize course content.

The third class talks about discussion forums and chats.

“Online discussion is the meat and potatoes of any online course,” Bongers said. “You really need discussions like you would have in a face-to-face classroom.”

The fourth class covers how to set up quizzes, and the fifth class talks about different kinds of assignments and the gradebook.

“I know that students love the gradebook,” Bongers said. “We really try to encourage proper gradebook setup early in the semester.”

“The Moodle gradebook is a multi-headed monster,” Bongers said. There are many different ways to set up a gradebook in Moodle, and professors learn what works best for their class.

OU instructors don’t have to take the class, but instructors get a certificate upon completion, Bongers said.

“Professional development and research is always important to faculty.”

Surveys are given out at the end of the class to make sure that attendees are getting the help they need, Bongers said. Still, classes remain small.

Six people attended the class on May 6. Bongers said five to 15 people usually attend. The class is offered twice in each fall, winter and summer semester.

Some students are frustrated if professors don’t use Moodle enough or at all, said Nick Walter, president of OU student congress.

“Students like Moodle,” Walter said. “I think most professors do use Moodle.”

But for those who don’t, OUSC hopes to make three requirements: use the gradebook on Moodle, allow assignments to be turned in on Moodle, and post power points and notes, Walter said. He said he doesn’t think attending Moodle training sessions should be required.

“Trainings are here if you need them,” he said.

Instructors who teach online courses can take an optional quality online teaching class, said Diane Underwood, coordinator for activities and programs in e-learning and instructional support. The four-week course gives instructors $1,000 upon completion, if instructors teach an online course within a year.

The course talks about how to teach well online.

“The last thing we want is a bunch of text on the screen,” Underwood said. “We want to have something that’s a lot more interactive.”

There are also entire degrees that students can learn online, Underwood said, including three undergraduate, three masters, two doctoral and four certificates.

The e-learning department and instructional support department offers one-on-one help for instructors and is very inviting and helpful, Bongers said.

“We try to hold ourselves to a very high standard.”

Despite all of the help instructors could receive, some don’t use it.

“It just sets students back,” Walter said.