June 24, 2019: Workshop update

E-learning and Moodle are no problem to be implemented in Denmark, but it is the practical implementation of the general courses that presents the problem. Additionally, our partners face a challenge: General structure of Moodle with content by teachers being too dull, so we must find a way to make it interesting and engaging.

Another problem is – according to a new Danish study – that reading on a computer is not too good for students with dyslexia, so e-Learning is not the fix-it-all solution that some may have thought it is.

A third problem is engagement with other students which is a social challenge.

Implementation of Moodle: IT/Moodle specialists summon up

In this session Pedro Lobo, from Universidade de Aveiro (UA), Portugal, has given a short presentation on the usage and implementation strategy of Moodle (LMS system) in UA and some of the technical and organizational issues faced to implement and increase its adoption.

The presentation started with the two ways that Moddle is used in UA: as an eLearning platform, for distance teaching-learning, or as a file sharing platform, to provide material to complement presentation learning-teaching.

In the presentation it was shown how Moodle can fit in the information system architecture of the university. Namely its interaction with academic management systems and document repository systems and more specifically what data items are fundamental in order to properly setup Moodle: courses (curricular programs), disciplines, students, teachers. It was agreed that with these data elements a base setup is possible where students can have a single entry point for all the disciplines they are attending, and where free to personalize the disciplines with the contents and the layout they think as more appropriate to disciplines they lecture.

It was considered that the use of a federated identity management system to make the usage of multiple systems more convenient for the users

If the use of profiles for disciplines is considered preferable to increase the adoption, then it is proposed to perform a study on the motivations and preferences of the stakeholders (students and teachers), and to motivate the students to require teachers to use Moodle.

Regarding input plugins, it was suggested that the use of filters of formats and contents of course materials can add an extra value to Moodle in terms of accessibility. However, the group has no knowledge and such kind of plugin. A study can be proposed in order to identify the requirements to such filter. Two possible examples of features for that filter are (i) the production of recommendations or alerts when accessibility problems are found on the format of the uploaded materials and (ii) the use of a tagging system to classify the contents of the uploaded materials.

Challenges to be met:

  • e-Learning in the form of online courses and creating stronger content sharing
  • I-know system: Will have the results of exams, which will be fed to Moodle and saved to an e-diary of exams for courses.
  • Making content available in Moodle to make it more accessible
  • Develop plugins for Moodle, or find plugin in the built-in platform
  • Everything in class should be in Moodle
  • Teachers are responsible of structuring the content, and other teachers should be able to sort material after subject.
  • An issue: Not many students are identified as having disabilities in partner country, so it may not even be financially useful
  • Motivation of teachers: Students naturally creating pressure, making a better platform than I-Know and make it the best possible Moodle that you can use. To do this they need students to create Moodle examples, because they are creative and more open to change.

Discussion on Accessibility:

  • Reading plugins: Not many people think of making plugins that go into Moodle e.g. a plugin that notify people that a PDF is not accessible. Or a plugin that for example notify teachers to describe pictures with text or tags, maybe a plugin that make suggestions for good core structure for courses obviously only advisory. They want to make a better platform for everyone but have decided to concentrate on people that want to move. There was also discussion about going for Erasmus+ K1 project in 2020, which focuses on students meeting.

Summarised by Hüseyin Koc
Photos (mainly) by Asta Slapikaitė