Student Centered Moodle

Here is a rough draft of some ways that Moodle can be used for student centered learning. This is in response to criticisms that Moodle is teacher/course centered and not student centered. I am also presenting a session “Moodle: Your Web 2.0 One Stop Shop” in Napa in November and wanted to get some brainstorming going. Please comment so I can improve the list. Also see some great links at the end.

Quiz- Wait a second! A quiz can’t be student centered!

  • Free your mind grasshopper. Think about the importance of self assessment in independent learning. How does a student know what they have mastered and what they need to learn? Sure authentic peer assessment is ideal (see the workshop module). However an adaptive quiz with high quality feedback can promote learner independence. Also, research has shown that “assessments” are actually one of the best tools for learning. (a study mentioned in the article linked about) If we are serious about being progressive educators, we need to use the best tool for the job (and often a quiz is a great tool for learning)
  • Adaptive quiz used for instant feedback personalized instruction OR multiple attempts allow for ongoing personal assessment of learning
  • Pre assessment (based on results kids do different activities)
  • Have students write quiz questions in Aiken format then the teacher uploads those questions to create a class study quiz
  • Even a summative test is more learner centered if the student gets instant feedback (instead of waiting for the teacher o grade and return)
  • While a teacher still usually creates the content on a quiz, by using the ability to give instant feedback (which can be customized to each answer choice in a multiple choice question) is one of the best student centered learning strategies.

Forum/Chat

  • It doesn’t get more learner centered than this
  • Moodle.org (and just about any active online help/community forum) is a great use of an online space for learners to connect in a community of practice to gain and share knowledge and discuss. There is very little “course/teacher center” to the Moodle.org forums. If you have motivated students with a goal and a project then they can make great use of this online tool.
  • However, if you need to provide more structure than “Learn from each other” you can still use a forum as a learning centered tool.
  • Discuss current events (controversial topics in social studies and science are a great way to get students active in a forum applying content knowledge to real world questions)
  • Homework forum-encourage students to become online homework tutors for other classmates
  • Social forum to share their personal lives and opinions.
  • Class Blog/Journal-Have a student be the class blogger and record the days events from their point of view (for absent students and as another window into your class)

Assignment:

  • Advanced upload-give students an online file locker, just never grade the files they store there
  • Online text-Personal student journal which can be reviewed occasionally by teacher

Workshop (peer grading)-

  • Sure you need to be an expert (or at least willing to read the help pop ups) to set this up in Moodle 1.9, however once it is set up I have had 13 and 14 year old students peer assessing their work using an online rubric
  • The beauty is you can choose the weight that student assessment gets in the actual grade of the assignment.
  • Students can also get a grade for how well they assessed (how close to the average assessment they were)
  • The workshop in Moodle 2.0 looks vastly streamlined. Also there is an even simpler Peer Grading module available in the plugins database.

Wiki

  • Very open ended student learner can occur here
  • Give each student a wiki and have then document a project or a unit.
  • Divide the class into groups to create an online textbook

Glossary

  • Students define terms which then can appear in a side block on the course page (students are now directly contributing content to the main page of your Moodle)

Database

  • Very similar to glossary, but can be even more flexible. Students can add entries to create a shared space.

Choice

Super easy way to let students pick their own topics and groups for projects

Upgrade Student’s Permissions Using Roles

  • Using roles you can easily allow students to rate (ie grade) forum posts, glossary, and database entries
  • You can even give students teacher rights over a particular assignment (but not the whole page) so they can assess their peers.

Catspajamas great handout on the uses of different activities

Teaching and Learning with Moodle-Tomas Lasic is as student centered as they get. Check out the recipes.

The teacher progression from Moodle.org

Social aspects (student messaging, blogs, tags, profiles)-blog post about our school’s use of tools in Moodle to create a student hangout.

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