Best Practices for Supporting Teaching and Learning Online
With online learning now being implemented at the University of Macau, committed teachers are holding classes online with UMMoodle and Zoom. This blog post features some of our colleagues’ tips and best practices. Let’s see what has worked well to support teaching and learning of different disciplines in an online environment.
Moodle Tools Reducing Teacher Load, and Facilitating Student Engagement
By Ms. Stephanie Bowles (FAH/ELC)
We are approaching a month of online teaching – it’s hard to believe the time is flying so fast! In this time period, I have been testing and implementing different Moodle tools (and some outside sources) to aid in my teaching. I have noticed there are certain tools that I have either gravitated towards or that my students have expressed a preference towards. I would like to share them in this post.
I use Page to display the content of a particular day.
We have access to the following toolbar when creating a Page:
With the toolbar, I build my Content page with hyperlinks, images, and embedded videos:
An alternative to Page is the “Lessons” feature on Moodle. However, it takes a lot longer to set up. If you’re setting up a video lecture or instructions that you want students to watch or do prior to/during class, or have recorded your class Zoom session and need a quick and accessible way to display it for students that couldn’t attend, Page is my default recommendation.
I view journals as anything that would have needed “paper” in the classroom, such as handouts or student notebooks. I use journals for all sorts of homework assignments, classwork, brainstorming sessions, and so on. It is quite easy to set up, and just like in Pages, I can include links, images, and other media in the instruction section for students. Moreover, once students have written in their journals, the grading/ feedback process is extremely simple as I can view all their entries within the same page. The journal tool gives us a few feedback options, such as the one on the picture below:
As for students, they also have access to the multimedia toolbar in their responses.
Thus, in some assignments, we do a mixture of writing and audio submissions, or videos, or some other combinations. Here is an example of a student submission with a writing + audio component:
I view forums as a sort of classroom “Whiteboard.” I mainly use it when we do long-term group planning with my higher-level classes or small group work tasks with my other classes. The small group work tasks are conducted during my zoom sessions. I set up a few discussion threads for each group (their personal “Whiteboard” space), like on the picture below:
I assign students into breakout rooms randomly and then I can easily give feedback and ensure individual students are submitting work. At the same time, students get a chance to talk to each other and work towards a common goal.
Zoom, as many colleagues have shared previously on other blog posts, is a great tool to use. I use it in live + recorded sessions, group work, or to record a screencast lesson. I have one stationary link at the top of course set on “recurring meetings” for my students to easily find on our designated meeting times.
I don’t want to repeat what other blogs have said about zoom. Instead, I’d like to introduce two additional features I use.
1. Usage Reports
Usage Reports seems to be available for both pro and basic accounts, and is accessed from the main Zoom website.
When I generate a Usage report, I can see all the names of all the students that attended a Zoom session, their join time, their leave time, how long they stayed in the meeting, and an interesting “Attentiveness Score”:
If you can’t see the “Attentiveness Score”, try turning on “Attention tracking” in your Zoom settings.
I use the report to take attendance sometimes. Other times, depending on the kind of zoom session, I check the attentiveness score and reach out to people that may have had a particularly low score when they should have been attentive.
2. Polling: Pro Feature
If you have a Pro account, Polling appears in an icon as shown below:
Polling allows me to do quick comprehension checks with my students or to get their feedback on anything I wish. I can edit a poll from my zoom meeting, or I can plan ahead and create polls for my lectures from the zoom website. As long as it is a scheduled meeting, polls created will remain saved for future reuse.
If students click to enter the zoom meeting from Moodle, their student names/IDs are automatically displayed and I can easily see who chose a particular answer on the poll when I generate a report.
Students who would like more information should pay close attention to their courses on UMMoodle. Video tutorials on how to use UMMoodle can be found at an ICTO page, A Distance Learning Quick Start Guide for Students.
For teachers and students –
ICTO Help Desk