Quick start

Tips for setting up your Moodle unit

Consider planning out a clear flow for the unit and the students’ learning experience. This means that a good Moodle structure needs to:

  • Chunk and scaffold content to guide students through the unit
  • Have clear headings and instructions for students
  • Create a clear flow and navigation throughout the unit
  • Use images, colours and fonts consistently
  • Use clear communication

Layout, navigation and visual considerations

Unit format

  • Decide whether you want a grid format, collapsed topic, topic or weekly format (see how-to guides for details)

Instructions

  • Provide clear instructions to direct students though the week and activities
  • Use labels (Moodle resource) to chunk the activities (e.g. pre-class, in-class, post-class) and provide scaffolding within and between activities so students can see the links between them.
  • Provide clear deadlines and expectations for the task

Layout

  • Create a simple clean layout
  • Use headings to define and break up information
  • Decide on a learning pathway and make it consistent for every topic/week
  • Try to limit scrolling pages

Visuals

  • Keep colours consistent throughout
  • Use icons and images of the similar style (See related resources for a list of sites to get free images and icons)
  • If using images for grid format, select images or icons within the same style

Section/topic/week structure considerations

Sections (topics/ weeks)

  • Decide what sections will represent for your unit. Are they weeks? Themes? Perhaps something else? Be consistent with what sections represent through your unit. Name each section appropriately.
  • Decide if you will have sections or topics visible from the start of the teaching period orif you will hide sections and reveal them at appropriate times in the semester.
  • If you put information in the top section of the Moodle page it will be visible across all pages. It is recommended to limit what you put in this space to minimise scrolling and to not detract from the course content.

Overview section

  • Add an overview/introduction section for the unit with the following information:
    • Key information about the unit (can be done via text or a video)
    • How to navigate the unit (could be as a screen capture video), e.g. “Orientation to the Moodle site”
    • List the learning outcomes for the unit
    • Unit coordinator and lecturers bio and contact information
  • Make sure to use Announcements as the main form of sending key messages to students.

Assessment section

  • Have a dedicated section for assessments
  • Set clear expectations and guidelines for the assessments and due dates
  • Consider providing a video overview with assessment expectations
  • Provide opportunities for students to ask questions

Activities/ resources

  • Have activities and resources that target the what, why and how of learning. This can be done following the Universal Design for Learning principles.
    • What: Provide a range of resources and activities to be inclusive of all students (e.g. A video lecture, reading, an infographic)
    • Why: Target multiple levels of engagement where students need to interact with the content or their peers (e.g. Knowledge check, quiz, group work, reflection)
    • How: Create activities or assessments where students need to do or perform a task or action (e.g. Writing, designing, analysing, building)

Accessibility and tracking considerations

Accessibility

  • Add ALT text to your images. Moodle has a built-in feature for all its images to add an alternative text so a screen reader can read the image description.
  • Provide transcripts or closed captioning to your videos. Panopto has the ability to add closed captioning to make it easier for you.
  • Avoid uploading scanned PDF documents as these are not searchable or readable by a screen reader
  • Use colours that are accessible (See Colour blindness simulator to check your colour choices)

Moodle tracking

  • Decide whether you want to have activity completion tracking for the unit
  • Set up tracking both at the unit level and state when and how an activity will be marked complete so that the information is transferred to the completion progress bar. For example, when an activity is viewed, a grade is provided or other such Moodle settings.
  • Consider using a Moodle completion progress block so that students can have a visual of their progress

Blocks

  • Decide which blocks you will use and what benefit it provides students
  • Utilise the different Moodle blocks to provide quick access to videos, activity types, library readings and such
  • Consider using a Calendar block to list due dates so students can have a quick access view of when things are due

Draw inspiration

Behavioural Science meets online Learning

Dr Erin Leif uses the science of Behaviour Analysis to promote student engagement and knowledge transfer from classroom to professional practice, in a primarily asynchronous online learning environment.