I would use our local facility, a computer room with about 30 computers and a video projector (that I actually would like to use as little as possible).
The objective is that the teachers learn how to build and manage their own courses whithin the site. I don't think that they will stand more than a single session of about 90 minutes.
I imagine that there is a lot of experience around, but I could not find any reports.
What is the best strategy?
What is the level of knowledge/skill that can be reasonnably attained within such a limited time?
It is feasible to let each one to build a separate course, or that is likely to put too much stress on the system, having so many courses built at the same time?
Or what would happen if several teachers will exercise creating activities on the same course at the same time?
The server is Apache on a standard reasonnably powerful desktop, a 3GH Pentium with 1G ram and plenty of disk, with mysql on a separate networked machine. The OS is ecomstation (I might be the only one in the world running moodle on it , an evolution of IBM OS/2 which is usually somewhat more efficient than windows XP. However, I already see some significant delay when 30 students connect at the same time from the same computer room.
Maybe it would be better -as a first approach- that I enroll all of them in a single course, showing them how I create different activities on the screen projector and then leaving them to exercise as members of the same course?
My basic idea is to show them:
1) how to start a course (looks easy)
2) how to add resources (still easy)
3) some basic activities (forums, assignment and quiz seems a good start)
4) how to manage students (that looks harder: any ideas?)
5) what else?
I cannot speak to server load, but I have trained about 20 instructors simultaneously in this same manner in a single lab, and I can pitch in about the training part.
If your instructors already understand the online course management concept--say they're switching over from Blackboard or something--then I'd have them jump right in like you're planning. If they don't, I'd start instead with just showing them what moodle is from a student perspective, and spend the first session on that. Let them learn how to chat, or post to a forum, or simply how to navigate a course, before you start teaching them how to build. Until they "get" moodle, get how relationship-oriented it's designed to be, their courses may stand at odds to the ethos behind the tool. Maybe your group is more tech-savvy. Our instructors would not make it through your list in 90 minutes. They would make it to number 3, max. This is because of all the settings that must be gone over for each item.
One thing I now do with instructors ready to start building is that I have an "awful" course, hard to navigate, with nasty huge text in the labels, really nasty from a usability perspective, and I assign groups of instructors student tasks to accomplish in the "awful" course, and let them struggle for a while, so they start thinking from the student perspective before they start building a course. Then I show them a demo "ideal" course: well organized, navigable, appropriate font and activity modules.
We've developed a kind of setup for all the courses our program offers (with lots of consistency between weeks using the weekly format), and I try to emphasize how the instructors can execute that as appropriate to their content area. Often times they are not quite sure what to do with the new medium, and, without a baseline or some guidance, the less creative types can flounder.
Another tip: always take handouts. I take copies of the printable handbooks provided here on moodle.org, and also some of my own quick-reference handouts. It's counter-intuitive and annoying to me, but my instructors have always wanted something to hold in their hands.
I hope this helps.
Thanks--if we IMPROVE it, we will post back!
- lots of unecessary blocks with 'clip art' that does nothing
- lots and lots of html text that goes into much too much detail and clogs up the main screen
- Angry postings saying things like 'READ THIS OR ELSE!!!!' in a bright red. Doesn't do any good and spoils the atmosphere
- lots of links to things that then have 'page under construction' at the end
- stop scrolling in a pop up window and then have the media too big for the window (one of my mistakes )
I could go on all night...
I guess all my taste is in my mouth.
I don't know why you call this a bad course. In my training courses I show your course as an example of how to use Moodle for intercultural communication. I'm sure your students will be very well prepared when you all come to Germany.
While the course does have some of the stuff in it that has been described in this thread as awful, I think the course is fine for my students.
There is an old expression saying that you bait the hook to suit the fish, and that is what I have done.
- I noticed that you have a SKYPE icon as a discussion item in your image. How does that work? Is it a module in Moodle? I am interested in that.
- Also, what is Yack Pack? I found the answer to this one in a Moodle forum.
- Do you have a template for your advertisement activities? I may be able to adapt that to my science classes as an activity.
You can get the code for customized Skype buttons from http://www.skype.com/share/buttons/. Very cool, but none of my students has taken advantage of this yet.
The advertisement was a very vague sort of thing: Compose a one-page advertisement in MS Word "selling" yourself to your prosepective host family as though you were a product like laundry detergent or toothpaste. No template, though. Sorry!
BTW, I've put the skype button in 2 boxes, one with the 'real' button that detects if I'm online and one with a dummy 'I'm not online' button, I toggle their visability on and off this enables me to turn off the skype button if I'm online but I don't want any calls from students. I think this is OK ethically but its a fine line.
I think that is brilliant, actually!
This is a great idea - from a respectable tradition see http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/
They have something interesting things to say about how these bad sites inform web design.
Other sessions are shorter and more focused on a single or couple of tools.
I had a session that was wikis and glossaries. We did the wiki on movies--I set up a main page listing the genres and they all picked one and started making links and building pages for comedies, classics, horror, western, romantic, action, etc. Then we did a glossary on superheroes. I told them what information we needed, and they filled in a couple of entries each. Then, we go back and look at the settings and talk about how these tools can be used in class. They always like the stories of my spectacular failures. . .
We had a separate session for forums, and we had a furious discussion on whether or not we should rename our school mascot.
I create a course that I use to introduce each training topic (everyone self enrolls when they come to the session, so I don't have to do that before hand). I also make a sandbox course where all the instructors are teachers. Each one gets their own topic, and they can build things and invite the people sitting next to them to go in an try an activity. They use the sandbox after the class is over to work on things as well. They don't have to worry about "messing up their course" that way. You have to make sure they know how to use multiple windows and switch back and forth if you do that.
Quizzes and gradebook are some topics I haven't done yet, and have planned soon. I think they should be separate sessions.
I encourage new faculty members to start "small", concentrating on adding resources first and then branching out to other types of activities later on (like maybe the second semester). If they try to do too much, they will get overwhelmed and may give up. If you set up a variety of sessions, keep them short and active, they will sign up for the things they are interested in.
Good luck to you!
And I agree with you about starting small. Many of our on-campus faculty want to start out with an ambitious, multifaceted Moodle shell straight off. Unless they are very comfortable with web applications, I advise them against it (especially because we don't have much money for course development, and they'll build as they teach). This also saves support time on the back side, because when faculty start small they have fewer mid-course emergencies related to a missed setting or a wrong date, and their students have fewer emergencies. I am also the entire Moodle support team on campus, so this is an important factor for us.
I just finished my first "Moodle Training" for instructors at our campus and Amy has some great ideas. I like the "awful" course idea I will use it!
I am planning lots of changes for the future but I thought the basic structure worked well for working professionals with limited time. So I thought I would share what we did in case it might assist you:
8 week course, with, one, 1-hr online synchronous training session each week (we used Elluminate, and recorded the sessions) and then instructors completed "Anytime" work on AVTEConline.org which involved lots of "moodling", completing a demo activity using whatever new module or feature we were learning about so they could experience it from a student perspective, watching recorded step-by-step demos (not more than 1 hr of recording per week and each recording was usually not more than 15-20 min) and completing course creation tasks that they designed in their "sandbox" courses. Participants were encouraged and could earn an additional credit for delivering their "Unit" of instruction to "real students" when they were finished. A ton of work but very successful, although I think I overloaded their "noodles" a bit but they knew it was my first shot and I got great feedback and we learned a lot together.
I am about to launch a "Moodle Boot Camp" that will be a two-week total moodle immersion course, 4 LIVE meetings. No wimps allowed.
Would love to hear other tips that folks have!!!!
My audience are teachers who are not used to working in a web environment at all. This is how I do it.
Stage I (30 min) :
Schools invite me to show moodle during one of their regularly scheduled staff meetings - so there is no 'escape' - every teacher has to be there. I just explain to them what moodle is, show them some examples from my own classes and also my students' improved grades. This is what I call 'the Tupperware session' - at the beginning, everybody frowns because they don't think they need it - at the end everybody wants more - they can sign up for a How-to-Moodle course.
Stage II (2 hrs):
This is for a limited group (no more than 20 since we need the computer lab). It' s the 'teachers are students' course. I have a dummy course set up with fake students. The teachers get little index cards with a username and password and off they go. I always tell them to pretend to be one of their not-so-good students. The activities are limited to web link, uploaded files, moodle quiz, hot pot quiz, assignment, choice and forum. At the end of the session I show them what I can see as the teacher and we always have lots of fun comparing our 'not-so-good students'. Now the teachers are so curious that they want to learn how to create a course.
Stage III (up to 2 days):
Teachers are course creators. Day 1: They each get a topic to work on and are shown how to create the activities they have already experienced as students.
Day 2: They get an entire sandbox course which they can use for several weeks.
I really like the idea of the 'bad course'. I will use it for my Moodle&More course (a course for teachers who are already very comfortable with the basic functions of Moodle).
Boot Camp sounds great, too. How long are the live meetings? I would like to learn more about it.
Always happy to get new ideas for teacher training,
You definitely would have been a GREAT salesperson! Your initial "sale" sounds great! I am getting ready to do a "sale" this summer in France, and am looking for ideas on how to get the point across. My audience will probably be more like one or two teachers at a time, and I am trying to sell them on being a partner in forums. Any ideas? Dos and Don'ts?
I think France has the same problems as Germany. Most teachers are not used to working in a web environment. Just show the teachers your Moodle courses. That will convince them instantly. Remember, that's how I got hooked - just by looking at your courses.
OK, thanks! Hopefully they will have your vision.
Showing sample courses is sort of what I had in mind, but I was afraid it wouldn't be convincing enough. Maybe it will. Wish me luck. I promise to share any new recruits!
I am interested in your students' improved grades. In what way did they improve? What was your benchmark? In what area did they improve?
Thanks for now
My students have improved in all language skills. Their grammar is better because they can practise with numerous Moodle and HotPot quizzes at their own pace.
They understand better because they can listen to native speakers in podcasts. I always had trouble getting them to write, but they love posting in Moodle forums.
Since they do a lot of pattern drills with Moodle outside the classroom, I have more time in the classroom for communication skills like role-plays.
Their behaviour has also improved (we are an inner-city school with lots of problem students). All I have to do is threaten to kick them out of Moodle and they are back to normal.
Hope this answers your questions,
All of my sessions are 90 minutes and we have been doing one per week. From the beginning, teachers have been experiencing Moodle from both sides of the interface, both as a studnet and as a teacher. They have been doing student related things in the actual Intro to Moodle course and then each of them received a sandbox course to play in on the first day. Most have just used their course as a sandbox but last week one of them went live with his Marine Science students and did some pretty cool things. It was a huge success! The sessions have been organized in this way:
- Session 1: The Moodle Interface - We covered account creation, logging in and out and then basics of the interface like breadcrumbs, turn editing on button, moving blocks, using settings to configure a course and what the various resources are, although we did not get into creating resources.
- Session 2: Resources and the HTML Editor - We covered the creation of the various resources and how to use the html editor. Students were assigned the task of creating resources in their sandbox sites and experimenting with the editor.
- Session 3: What are all those blocks for? - We covered the most common blocks found in a course. Again teachers were asked to go into their own course and experiment with the different blocks.
- Session 4: Oh the choices we make! - This session covered the choice activities and the various ways that you could use a choice activity.
- Session 5: Asynchronous communication using forums - We covered forums in great detail and some of the ways that forums could be used.
- Session 6: The assignment module
- Session 7: Glossaries (I actually taught this session from my home via the chat module because I had oral surgery the day before and couldn't drive because of medication, nor could I talk. Some of the class attended the regular lab where we normally met but some of them joined us from home. It was actually a very successful class!)
- Session 8: Who wants to be a millionaire? - The quiz module (actually doing this one today)
- Session 9: Either the wiki module or the feedback/questionaire module depending on the choice activity from today.
- Session 10: Student management, backups, restores and other management types of things.
We won't touch on gradebook with these folks as they will transfer grades to existing gradebooks and we just don't have enough time.
Throughout this whole process teachers have been doing lots of forum activities, assignments, choice activities, quizzes, reading various resources and doing lots of tutorials that I have created using a product called Wink (creates flash videos, free by the way), all from a students perspective. At the end of each session we spend about 30 minutes discussing actual use of the module in a classroom setting and then continue the discussion via forums the rest of the week.
All in all it has worked extremely well!
This sounds like a better approach than what we do. We have 2 full 8-hours days for teachers.
How do you do it? Are all the teachers from one school or do they come from different schools and meet in one central place for the course? Are the meetings after a regular school day? If so, how do you get teachers to participate?
Thanks for sharing the information,
2 full 8 hour days would overload my teachers. I did a single 6 hour day last August and my teachers just couldn't handle that much information. My current version of Moodle training, which is being paid for by a grant, is set up so that we meet once a week for 90 minutes. We spend 15 minutes or so discussing questions from last weeks class and then spend about 45-50 minutes introducing a new module and then finish up with 30 minutes of discussion on the use of the module in an instructional setting. Over the next week I will give the teachers a few tasks to do, like forum postings about how that module could be used in their class, or choice activities to help guide me as to which module I should teach next. I also post quite a few tutorials for them to review.
My school district has 7 schools and I have people from each school attending the training for a total of 13 people at this point. They cover grade levels from kindergarten (5 year old children) all the way through seniors in high school (18 yrs old).
We meet in a centralized place and have even, on one occasion, met via the chat module when I was ill. We do meet after school from 4:00 PM until 5:30 PM. The class is currently being funded by a grant so I pay teachers for their time and the get what we call "clock hours" towards an increase in their salary. If they weren't getting paid it would be much more difficult to get them to attend after school hours. On the one hand it would be nice if I had a captive audience during the regular day.
Are your teachers paid for their two days and do they occur during the school year?
Thanks for explainig how you teach these courses.
I have the same problem with long days - that's just an overload for the teachers. Another problem is that only 2 teachers per school are allowed to attend - since the courses are taught during regular school days. I think 8-10 afternoons will be more effective. We just have to think of an incentive to get teachers to sign up.