Ice flowing down the Detroit River

MACUL 2015 kicked off yesterday. I presented a pre-conference session titled “Moodle- Making it Work for you”. This is a session that I co-present with Mr. Chris Kenniburg. We had a great session. The pre-conference sessions are offered at an additional cost to the attendees. We had a solid group. The questions that they asked were spot on.

The session is always a challenge because there is so much material that we could cover. Thus, the first thing that we always have to do is to find out who is in the audience. A teacher is going to be looking for different answers, different tips, different resources than a Moodle site administrator. This is partly why the presentation has been so very different. Sometimes the audience is composed of mostly teachers; sometimes mostly site administrators.  Sometimes, we get people who are both. Our audience this time was a mix. There were slightly more teachers than site administrators, but both groups were in represented.

We began with an overview of why Moodle works and a broad view of how to customize Moodle to work more fluidly. We also discussed how Moodle can do just about anything that you want it to do. However, many people don’t really know what it can do. Part of the presentation for teachers is to learn what is possible so that they can ask the site administrator to set up certain plug-ins, features, filters, themes, etc. We also stress to Moodle administrators that one of the crucial points is to start with the end in mind. Choices should be made for instructional reasons.

We had a nice mix of questions. We were able to cover a great mix of site administrator questions and teacher settings to improve the usability of Moodle. Indeed, it was terrific to get positive feedback at the end of the presentation.

“If I get nothing else out of this conference, I’m happy”

This was my favorite quote from one of our attendees. This quote came from one of the teachers in our session. We had plenty of other positive feedback. One of our attendees  was extremely excited about changing the theme of her Moodle install. She immediately saw the benefits of switching to a two column theme.

I love being able to share some of the tips and tricks that we’ve learned to make Moodle more powerful for teachers and students. The chance to share, to hear from users on how students are learning, to improve the usability for students is powerful.