Monday, 21 November 2011

Moodle Groups & Groupings

Over the past few months, academic staff have been getting to grips with a range of features within Moodle, and it is apparent that the Groups features are of particular interest. At the same time, the group tools can be a little confusing as they work slightly different to the WebCT equivalent.

So this post hopes to introduce you to the Moodle terminology: Groups and Groupings, as well as what can be achieved and how.

What are Groups & Groupings? 

Firstly, it's important to clarify the difference between Groups and Groupings:

Group release applies to the options within the 'Add an Activity' drop down menu, such as Forums, Assignments and Quizzes, etc. When releasing an activity, for example a discussion forum, you have two options in the groups section:

  • Separate Groups: each group has their own private forum 
  • Visible Groups: each group has their own forum but they can still view other group's forums.

Groupings allow specific content to be hidden from particular students and released to others. Anything from within the 'Add a Resource' drop down menu can be released to a particular set of students within a grouping. For example, you might have a quiz that all students will complete, but you might want to release a separate quiz that is only visible to those students who are entitled to extra time. This is where Groupings come in handy.

The only confusing aspect related to Groupings is that you first have to create at least one group of students, and then add that group to the grouping (don't worry though, we'll run through the steps below)

Creating Groups & Groupings

Now we have clarified what the Groups and Groupings tools can do, it's time to look at how we create them - luckily it's pretty straightforward, and the short video below runs through the steps involved.

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Putting Groups and Groupings into Practice 

So now we have created two groups and one grouping, it's now time to put them into practice. These two videos demonstrate releasing a forum to separate groups and releasing a quiz to a particular grouping.

Creating a Forum for Separate Groups

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As a tutor you can easily see the different group forums, along with the number of replies, etc.

It's also possible to toggle between Separate Groups and Visible Groups from the course page in Moodle. When you hover over the silhouette, the tool-tip confirms which group mode you are currently in, and clicking on it allows you to change.

Releasing a Quiz to a Grouping

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For more information, the CeLT Moodle Training Guides page contains a guide on 'Creating and Managing Groups in Moodle', but of course if you are having difficulty implementing groups and/or groupings, feel free to get in touch.

Also, if you are doing anything interesting with the Groups/Groupings tools, why not share them in the comments....

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This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Turnitin & Grademark

Ahead of the Turnitin Workshop this week, this post hopes to give a quick overview of some of the key features that are offered using Turnitin and it's lesser known companion, Grademark.

As most people will know, Turnitin has been the leading UK plagiarism detection service for a number of years. It can provide a great development opportunity and really help students develop their academic writing skills by enabling originality reports for draft assignments.

For me, the biggest strength of the service lies in the paperless marking capabilities offered through Grademark. In short, managing online submissions through Turnitin allows academic staff to take advantage of the built-in marking features, including QuickMark comments; a feature allowing markers to build a database of comments they commonly leave on student papers. They can then drag and drop these quickmarks onto the paper, potentially saving bags of time from retyping the same things! Also, as you build up your personal QuickMark comments, you can export and re-import them into other units.

Furthermore, this completely online process of submission, marking and feedback impacts upon two huge areas of current interest;
  • Student Feedback, which suggests students want the freedom to submit work online to avoid the time and financial costs of printing and travelling to campus to submit work, as well as receiving more timely feedback that is in a legible format (compared with handwritten feedback).
  • The University's Green Impact Campaign, an innovative program that inspires staff and students to collectively 'green' MMU.
    SUSTEIT suggests the major environmental impacts are related to paper, and that reducing paper consumption is “perhaps the most important feature of a sustainable printing strategy” (James & Hopkinson, 2009). Previous work that I have been involved in with Turnitin & Grademark has saved significant amounts of paper - online submission across just six first-year units saved around 7500 sheets, totalling 15 reams of paper. Imagine if this was scaled larger!
So, come along on Thursday (12-1pm. C1:01) to learn more and get some practical experience in using some of the tools offered by Turnitin & Grademark. If you can't make it, there are some materials available within the Staff Resource Area's 'Moodle Training Guides' page.

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This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. N.B all images in this post are taken from and may be restricted by further copyright licenses.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Training: Assessment Month

November is as good a month as any to turn our attention towards tools to assist in the formative and summative assessment, available through Moodle. 
To this end, the following workshops focus on three of the most common assessment tools:
  • Moodle Assignment tool: to enable electronic submission of coursework files.
    Tuesday 8th November, 12-2pm: JD C1.03
  • Quizzes: can automatically mark answers to multiple choice and drag and drop questions (amongst others).
    Wednesday 9th November, 1-3pm: JD C1.01
  • Turnitin & Grademark: which can be used to manage the entire assessment process from assignment submission, online marking and feedback.
    Wednesday 16th November, 1-2.30pm: JD C1.01
You can use the eventbrite booking system below to register your place on any of the workshops, and if you have any particular interests or questions ahead of the sessions, please do let me know.

Creative Commons License 
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.