Spicing up Moodle
finding solutions for learner centered modification of moodle
Moodle is a widespread platform with loads of functions to ease up the learning process and structuring the daily live in digital education. Still, there are things that need to be spiced up a little bit. Find a long description of the spices we would use down below!
Team: #Spicy Moodle
Team membersLeonore Franz, Diana König, Veronika Weiß, Rebekka Kreisel
Members roles and background
Leonore Franz - Idea fascilitator, problem statement and input from teachers perspective
- academic background: B.A. in Social Work, M.A. in Public Policy, research associate
Veronika Weiß - Idea fascilitator/ design input/ support
- academic background: M.A. Interaction Design, Research associate
Rebekka Kreisel - research and solutions,
- academic background: student (M. Ed.) special education for deaf and hard of hearing children
Diana - input and solution ideas,
- academic background: student (M. Ed.) special education, dipl. Social Worker
The problem statement was brought in by two teachers organising collaborative virtual student projects using moodle as a central learning management platform. Several issues concerning usability, learning progress and group were criticised by the students over the years. Especially during the digital semester we saw that more and more teachers and students had to depend on one or the other learning management platform, as it helps them to organize tasks, connect students and supports the technical organisation of seminars and lectures. Therefore, we connected as teachers and students to tackle the lack of motivating and transparent process illustration.
During our discussions, we examined the needs of two both types of users – teachers, who develop and structure courses, and students who participate in these courses and who work with the provided structure and materials. In our approach, we focussed on the learner-centered usability of moodle and how it should be amended to support students in mastering the digital semester.
As visualised in the mockups, we propose to add a module to the dashboard displaying a list of current courses and additional information, such as individual learning progress. Here, students would also have the possibility to import their timetables from other organizing tools. The panel should link directly to the courses, so students will be able to find further information and materials easily.
Inside the course view of moodle, we added two tabs. The first links to the general course organization, as known from recent moodle versions. This can be modified by teachers and is used for teacher-student interaction, where material, dates, homework can be provided.
The second tab is intended for group work. Here, group members can make modifications themselves. This tab is intended to facilitate group work – it allows students to discuss in chats and work collaboratively on online documents (a feature, that we understand is so far not integrated in moodle). Also, an overview of the group’s progress in comparison to other groups is integrated.
One important thing we noticed during the hackathon: a lot of functions already exist but are NEVER used by teachers, most likely due to lack of knowledge and reluctance to use digital tools in general. Moodle should at least provide functions for the universities so that they can agree on ONE university-wide design so that all the lecturers use the functions such as pinning the ZOOM-Link to the top or linking the meetings to the digital calendar the same way.
Moodle is a widespread platform, organizing the daily life in various universities, schools and other organizations in germany and in other countries. Being built as an open source website, the aim has always been to provide a space, that is free for everyone to develop and create. Best thing! This is our chance! Moodle is just waiting for a multi-perspective team like ours, giving the platform it’s spice, just out of our daily experience.
Solution target group
Our team is a union of teachers working in academic education, as well as students who use the platform as participants. Since two of our members organize an international research project of students from germany and austria, they noticed some things that might need a “spice up” to make group work within or between universities more comfortable and easy. This applies to the teachers, who wish to have a better overview over the progress of the different groups, as well as for the students, who often have difficulty building groups on their own and experiencing a lack of a “group space” which they can modify and adapt to their own needs and requirements.
Shortly said, the target group is huge. Students as well as teachers, academic education as well as schools, germany as well as international. Just everyone, who is dependent on moodle to structure and master their digital studies.
Our solution aims at providing a better learning experience for students. Our solution supports students self-organisation, and helps to keep an eye on all activities and due tasks.This includes an improved visualisation of the work process in group settings.
Once the solution and the design is developed to a prototypic state, we will apply an evaluation questionnaire for users (students and teachers) to measure the success of the dashboard. For the evaluation we plan to take into account the following elements (a selection from https://ueqplus.ueq-research.org):
In a comparative before-and-after-study we can then measure the impact of the changes. This user-centered evaluation will also help to further improve the layout and visualisation of the moodle functions.
Solution tweet text#spicymoodle: creative heads stuck in a digital semester, fully dependent on #moodle to be as user-friendly as possible, for it dictates our daily lives. Our aim: fascilitated #groupwork possibilities and #taskoverviews so that no one EVER forgets anything again! #semesterhack2.0
The idea of this project is to connect existing solutions (Moodle plugins) and create new ones where needed (for example for group cooperation). Most important, we are looking to educate teachers and students in the advanced use of Moodle to the benefit of online-learning, group cohesion and self-organisation.
Moodle is not only used at universities, it is applied in a variety of contexts ranging from schools to adult education. Here, we can find a multitude of scenarios for application. At this point, we hope that Moodle developers and education enthusiasts will support our idea.
In this hackathon, we were able to discuss students needs and to develop a first sketch. The next step will be a thorough evaluation of existing plugins, that could be adapted to our needs. Then, we plan to look for development support (ideally via Moodle, e.g. https://moodle.hu-berlin.de/login/index.php and https://www.academic-moodle-cooperation.org/module/) and begin prototyping. The resulting plugins will be available as Open Source to universities and schools worldwide. As our intention is to support group cooperation and self management, we assume the plugin will be useful for a multitude of Moodle users, with no need for changes when transfering.
Solution team work
With a definite idea to make the existing Moodle platform more efficient and sustainable, companions were won for this project.
We worked in a small team of two idea-givers and two participants. As we are all users of this platform, some from the viewpoint of learners, some from the viewpoint of educators, we were able to share observations and discover new ideas. Within two days, we managed to create a simple mockup to convey our idea. We hope this will serve as inspiration for developers, as our future work would greatly depend on programming support.