I am slated to give a presentation at the Moodlemoot in Goshen, IN in July. The presentation is about my experiences with helping to design a class with an enrollment of 700+ students. Here at the University of Illinois we are in the process of using technology for more and more large classes, and it is partly my job as the Moodle Administrator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (the largest college at this university) to find the best ways to use Moodle to help with the increasing demand to effectively manage large classes using Moodle.
While there are things that are much improved since we first installed 1.6 (we are now on 1.9.8) and it looks like there might be more improvements along this area in 2.0, there are still things that I would like to see that would be a big improvement in managing very large classes.
My presentation at the Moodlemoot in July will cover both what we did in the design of this class and what we wished would have been there.
Here are a few of the improvements that I would like to see in Moodle that would help in the management of large classes.
- Being able to download assignments files in bulk and also be able to upload them in bulk
- Related to that, automatic renaming of assignment files with student usernames prepended to them.
- A setting that would automatically put a score in the gradebook upon completion of an Online text assignment or a lesson that didn't necessarily have quiz questions in it.
- The ability to show all Online text assignment responses on one page and to be able to grade them right there.
- The ability to automatically create groups that is restricted to members of a larger group. So, if we divide the students into groups of 50 I would like to further automatically divide those groups of 50 into smaller groups of 5.
- Better interface on the Grader report. Right now with a lot of students and a lot of grades, it is easy to get lost.
- We use the Attendance module in some of the large enrollment sections and attendance is taken by undergraduate interns. I was able to play around with roles to allow them to do that without being able to look in the gradebook, but it would have been easier to have multiple Attendances in the course that would be restricted by groupings.
- If a large course is divided up into sections that all have the same assignments, it would be nice to enhance the Metacourse functionality so that the gradebooks would be linked. A grade given in a child course would automatically show up in the parent course.
- We would also like to be able to reuse these courses more efficiently. It would be nice if assignment due dates could be set as relative to the course start date so that when you restored the course to the next semester, the due dates would automatically change. For a different reason, it would also be nice if Moodle could be set up to recognize rolling enrollments. These would be for online courses in which students enroll at different dates. The due dates would then be based on the student enrollment date.
- Automatic reminder emails for assignments that are due and/or late. Also, graduated point reductions on automatically graded quizzes for late work up to a certain date.
- Ability to give access to a quiz for just one student or a group of students (I think this might be a feature in 2.0 using groupings).
I also look forward to seeing many of you in Goshen.