E-Learning Proverb – The bait must suit the fish, not the angler.

It was a RT (re-tweet) that passed through my Twitter feed over the weekend that struck a cord. Thinking over the Moodle teachmeet presenations and looking through my moodle courses, I wondered if I had in fact structured and designed courses that would appeal to me, that I would like to complete rathern than course students would like to complete? @JamieMichie showcased courses with primarily forums and quizzes, with few resources. This style of course struck a cord at the time, perhaps that has more lure than my bait. Is it time to review course structure?


  1. Thanks for the mention Kristian. Course structure is something that I have spent a considerable amount of time considering since I have been using Moodle and my courses have gone through a wide variety of manifestations.

    While there is a place for putting lessons and resources online (for students that have been absent for example) this is simply a less labour intensive practice than say copying the presentations on to a student’s USB or emailing a parent with the work that was missed.

    This is an important factor in why I have come to the conclusion that the courses need to be as interactive as possible. Both to engage students but also to make best use of the facilities that Moodle has to offer. You only have to look at the depth of activities available to see that this where time has been invested in putting Moodle together.

    In fact when training other teachers in how to use Moodle I begin with forums and online assignments. I come to resources later. Partly because of my personal Moodle philosophy but also because activities provide a more interesting route into exploring the capabilities of the Moodle platform than simply looking at resources. Perhaps, there is message there? If the activities interest the teachers more during training sessions then they will probably interest the students more also.

    This methodology is no different then for me when greeted with a new class. The first thing I do with students after showing them how to login is how to use a forum. Spending time on how to communicate, praise, be critical etc, in preparation for discussion and peer assessment activities.

    I am now trying to investigate how I blend the best of Moodle with the best Web2.0 tools (Google Docs, Twitter, Lino It, AudioBoo, Blogger) that I enjoy using with my students for a more seamless experience.

    Let me know if you decide to restructure your courses Kristian. I would be interested to know what the outcomes are.

    1. Kristianstill

      I think it was your presentation and the quote that got me thinking…. designing for the students. The issue I am struggling with is the role(s) a VLE plays in the learning process. IMHO the VLE is not the lesson, but from our teaching perspective James, a component part? Right? Agreed?

      The VLE course should therefore be much more than a collection of resources used during the lesson / teaching process (although useful for absent students). A VLE often reveals student talents / learning but I want to design it in such a way that it also fertilise the classroom learning? Forums are a powerful learning fertiliser I agree sincerely, choice activities, chats, checklists, all fertilisers. What other fertilisers modules are out there? Quizzes? Great assessment tools but classroom fertilisers? The grades might well be but I need to give quizzes more thought.

      Finally, I am not discounting the more complex / pure Moodle tools. I can not wait to use Workshops for example, but these are for the more seasoned Moodler and Moodle student.
      Quizzes are powerful assessment tool, here the grade the fertiliser.

      I thought I would come up for air, otherwise this reply would be longer than the original post. Perhaps a summer conversation / flashmeeting for some Moodlers?

  2. Yes, I think a flash meeting on this very topic would be well worth the time. Perhaps we could add it to a future #ETRU meeting to get the opinions of fellow Moodlers and other educators who are not using moodle itself but may have an insight into what we are trying to achieve.

    As I was saying at #TMMoodle, I really wish the wiki module was more dynamic as I like to work from within Moodle and setting a wiki up is not a time consuming affair but the poor functionality kills the opportunity for collaboration (the fertiliser) inside the classroom, limiting it to be a tool that works well for a “1 person at a time” collaboration outside of school hours.

    This to me is a real shame as I believe it could be the next best fertiliser next to forums!

    1. Kristianstill

      An open conversation sounds good. Maybe a think tank of staff and learners?

      Wiki – having developed a whole course wiki over 2 years BM (Before Moodle) – I am a big fan of wikis. OU Wiki module is a very quick install and much ‘friendly’ but still single user I believe. Who organises and leads your Moodle installation?

  3. I haven’t seen the OU Wiki, I will have to check it out.

    The single user issue is one of the catalysts that led to me jumping into Google docs this year. However, neither a document nor a presentation offer quite the same experience or output as producing a wiki.

    We do not have a leader for our Moodle installation. We have have a person employed to manage things like overall structure and student usernames etc but no one person holding it all together. When something significant needs to happen we go to Ian Usher who helped us set up and maintain our Moodle installation. I think that we need a well trained Moodle tech who support a small Moodle steering group that reviews more than just practice and training but also the form and functionality of our Moodle. This is something that I will try to address in the new school year. It’s a little late at this stage to enter into.

    As for the open conversation, yes it would be great to get learners involved as well. Need to think about how we do that in a way that keeps them engaged with the conversation. They could have a specific slot for example. And we could have focused questions for them to get the most meaningful information out of them.

    1. Kristianstill

      We have an excellent colleague at Hamble. Mike leads on all E-resources, thats websites(5), Moodle installations (2) and Laptops4Learning. As a non-teacher he has much greater flexibility. We are always keen to share good practice and in this case (Mike willing) a short term secondment, a few days / week?

      Next one to discuss is getting students chatting between the schools. One to continue forward with the conversation.

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