Learning Technology

4 answers to common questions about setting up Moodle modules for the coming year

September 15th, 2016

1. I can’t see my module in my Module Overview list

Check that all the modules you are enrolled on are shown on your list:

  1. At the bottom of the list of modules, if you have hidden modules, it will say “You have XX modules not shown”
  2. You can click ‘Show all modules’ or customise the whole list as shown below.

If it’s still not there, go to Site Home and search for the module code or full name.

If yous till can’t see it, contact us – it’s probably there but you need to be enrolled on it. We do our best to enrol the right staff on modules, but sometimes we have to rely on you to tell us.

More information I can’t see my modules in Moodle (staff)   and How can I change the order of the modules on my My home page?

2. I can’t seem to work out how to delete sections from previous years

If you need to delete the content of a whole section, each item must be deleted individually.

You can hide sections: click the eye icon in the top right of the relevant section. You can drag and drop that section at the bottom of the page and hide it.

More information : Hiding sections

You can change the number of sections visible on your page:

  • Turn Editing On
  • At the bottom right of the page click v to add a section (one at a time)
  • or ^ to remove one section at a time

NOTE: If the sections which have now gone had content in, the content will still be visible to you as “Orphaned items” unless each item is individually deleted.

3. I need my colleague enrolled on my module

If you are an Editing Teacher you can enrol others in your module up to the level of Editing Teacher (but normally don’t enrol students – they are automatically enrolled through the student record system).

  • In the module go to Administration > Module Administration > Users > Enrolled Users
  • Use the Search filter to check that the person you want to enrol is not already enrolled on your module.
  • Click Enrol users on top right to enrol a new person onto the module.
  • In the Assign roles drop-down menu at the top (Editing Teacher or Editor for someone who just needs to add and edit content but not see students’ marks, or Teacher for a Teaching Assistant or marker who does not need to edit or add material)
  • Enter the name of the person you want to enrol and click on the Search button.
    NOTE:  Search for a firstname or surname first, as, for example “Will Sheppard” will not retrieve William Hartley Sheppard.    You can also search for Will%Sheppard (where % is a wildcard)  which will get Will Henry Sheppard or Will Sheppard or William Sheppard
  • When the user comes up find the correct one and click Enrol next to their name
  • When you are finished click on the Finish enrolling users button

If you definitely can’t find them, and it’s likely they do not have an account in Moodle already, please contact us with their name and username to create their account.

More information: Enrolling a fellow staff member

4. How do I make my module visible to students?

Modules are invisible to students by default. When you’ve finished preparing it, make it visible and available to them:

  1. In the Administration block, select Edit Settings 
  2. Look for the Visible field (third  item down)
  3. Click on the drop down options for the Visible field and select Show
  4. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page.

More information: How can I make my module available to students?

More questions?

There’s lots more Help available at the Moodle Help website

or contact learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk

Gamification in Moodle (Sally Chappell)

September 14th, 2016

Sally Chappell in the School of Life Sciences is our guest today, posting about gamification in her Moodle modules.

This project aims to introduce game-based elements to the “Molecular Basis of Genetic Disorders” module, which is part of the MSc Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics, a 1-year, full-time course. The module is currently being redesigned to include several “flipped classroom” sessions, where independent learning is provided via screencasts and other resources, and the timetabled sessions are spent on more applied exercises and data interpretation rather than didactic teaching (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015).

Although the design of the applied exercises should encourage students to engage with the material provided for their learning, experience has shown that not all students will spend as much time on this as we would like. It is also apparent that students lose their initial enthusiasm for certain approaches if they are used all the time across all modules, even if initial engagement was high, suggesting that a variety of approaches need to be used across the course.

The Moodle design includes several game-based elements in order to encourage active participation and engagement with the learning material to ensure that the students are fully prepared for the timetabled interactive sessions and allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the module material. This will use key elements from games in general (eg levels of achievement), but also elements from specific games such as geocaching and crosswords. Student engagement with the activities will also be rewarded by the award of badges for particular achievements, as well as reward in terms of the instant feedback provided by individual activities which is vital for learning.

An example of a game which is embedded throughout the Moodle space is the “DNA collector” activity. There are 20 icons representing flasks of DNA hidden throughout the module, which students have to click on to collect. These icons can be within any of the resources provided in Moodle, e.g. quiz questions, lesson pages, Moodle books, forum posts etc. The hope is that this will encourage students to look at all resources provided.

The students will be rewarded throughout the game-based activities in a variety of ways. This will include immediate feedback when completing quizzes (either in the Moodle lessons or as standalone activities), or other activities where feedback can be automated and delivered upon activity completion. Students will also be able to acquire electronic badges as they complete particular tasks, to serve as recognition for their efforts. The acquisition of badges has been shown to increase user activity (Hamari, 2015), although some have raised concerns about whether this actually translates into better performance in course assessments (Dominguez et al, 2013).

There will be 5 badges available for the students to collect as they progress through the module, as well as a bonus section which is released when they complete a particular set of activities (Figure 1). The criteria for the bonus section will not be explicitly stated, with the aim of encouraging students to complete more of the activities than just targeting the ones that they know from the outset will result in a particular consequence.

Badges and bonus sections available within the gamified Moodle space. Badges and other descriptors use language taken from game environments (e.g. “Your current level”) as well as providing acknowledgement of their contribution (“thanks for contributing so many questions”).


Abeysekera, L and Dawson, P (2015) Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: definition, rationale and a call for research, Higher Education Research & Development, 34:1, 1-14.

Domínguez, A; Saenz-de-Navarrete, J; de-Marcos, L; Fernández-Sanz, L; Pagés, C and Martínez-Herráiz, J (2013) Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education 63: 380-392.

Hamari, J (2015) Do badges increase user activity? A field experiment on the effects of gamification. Computers in Human Behavior. Article in press (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.036).

Moodle training – Key Moodle Basics course dates in late August / September 2016

August 29th, 2016

Key Moodle Basics is an introduction to Moodle as it is used in the University of Nottingham. It’s a two-hour session with lots of hands-on practice and opportunity to ask questions.

This session is suitable for anyone who’s new to Moodle or who would like a refresher.  It’s suitable for academics, administrators and support staff – anyone who might have a need to use Moodle in any way to support teaching and learning.   Those who’ve used Moodle already will probably find that they’ll fill in some gaps.

If attendees then need more details on specific tasks using Moodle or activities available within it, we can organise follow-up training or consultations.  If you have a group in a School or programme we can arrange a customised version of Key Moodle Basics on request.

Key Moodle Basics: An Introduction to Moodle

University Park     31 August 2016     2-4 pm
Jubilee Campus     8 September 2016   2-4 pm
University Park     13 September 2016    10 am – 12 noon



Moodle maintenance 1st September

August 26th, 2016

Moodle will be undergoing essential maintenance on Thursday 1st September 2016 and will be unavailable between 2 and 6 pm UK time (9 pm to 1 am China and Malaysia). Please ensure you have completed any urgent tasks before this time.

This is for updates and software improvements and is unlikely to affect functionality for users.

Are you tired of being shackled by cables while teaching? Demo

August 23rd, 2016

The User Experience (UX) team in IS are currently evaluating two apps that untether you from the lectern/teacher PC and let you share your screen with your students.

The team are inviting any staff interested in trialling this technology to see it demonstrated on Thursday 25th August at 10am in C15 Pope Building.

If you’re asking how you might use this, http://education.splashtop.com/ is a great source of inspiration.

Splashtop Mirroring360

Splashtop Mirroring360 http://www.mirroring360.com lets you show your phone or tablet to students in the teaching room without the need for any extra hardware or cables.

You can try it free on your own computer by downloading the free 7 day trial of Mirroring360 from http://www.mirroring360.com. It’s available for both Mac and PC.

There are tutorials to get you started here: http://www.mirroring360.com/video-tutorials

Splashtop Classroom

Splashtop Classroom http://www.splashtop.com/classroom allows teachers to share their desktop and applications. Once connected, you can allow students to view, control and annotate over lesson content directly from their own devices.

Sally Hanford

Google+ Hangouts on Air move to YouTube Live

August 18th, 2016

Google has announced a big change to Hangouts on Air: Hangouts On Air moving from Google+ to YouTube Live

Many online courses such as MOOCs, as well as meetings and collaborations use this tool, so it’s worth looking at the changes. Hangouts On Air will move from Google+ to YouTube Live on September 12 and events can only be held or scheduled on YouTube Live after that date.

YouTube Live has built-in events scheduling which is similar to the Google+ and Calendar integration users know from Hangouts On Air.  Most other features seem to have an equivalent – however, the one thing that isn’t going to be available any more is the Q & A feature. So with YouTube Live we’ll all need to use other mechanisms to comment and interact during a session, such as Twitter, Moodle forums/chat or the forums feature on your MOOC platform of choice.

Assessing students with video #3: Examples from HE

July 5th, 2016

In the third in our series about assessing students by asking them to create videos, we look at three examples from other HE institutions in the past few years.

Professor Marcos Martinon-Torres, UCL Archaeology, used video to boost student engagement in an undergraduate archeaometallurgy module. In the blog post Would a student travel 270 miles to write an essay? How video assignments can boost student engagement the results of his experiment are explored. Students were asked to create a five-minute documentary on a topic relevant to the module, and the video was aimed at the general public.  The technical side of creating videos was far less of an issue than expected, and while video took much longer than the average essay to produce, the students enjoyed it and many gained much higher marks than they ever had for an essay.

The Prof’s advice? “I would encourage anyone to consider doing this. As well as the advantages to the students, it is also much more fun to oversee and mark than yet another essay. And in terms of challenge and difficulties, I’ve been surprised by how easy it has been.”

Dr Vikki Burns from the University of Birmingham asked her third year undergraduates in an Exercise and Behavioural Immunology class at the University of Birmingham to make three-minute videos that summarized a recent relevant scientific article. They were judged against the FameLab criteria of Content, Creativity and Charism.

One used Darth Vader to explain how exercise affects asthma, one created fruit juice cocktails to show how aging and exercise influence thymic function, and another used hand drawings to illustrate the effects of bereavement on immunity. In her blog post Why more students should dress up as Darth Vader in class, Vikki says: “It really unleashed their creativity, forced them to think deeply about what they understood and how they could explain it, and also gave me the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings that were revealed by these short videos.”

At the University of Derby, the Business School have tried to extend the use of online assessment and feedback through the use of video submissions, employing both screen capture and ‘live action’ technologies. Based on projects from local SMEs, students are asked to produce a video for the company directors which explains how the students would address the issue concerned. Vic Curtis and Rob Moon conclude that “the most important consequence of this video approach to assessment is the depth of the learning achieved” See more at: The use of video in assessment of business and enterprise modules, 

At the University of Nottingham, if you’d like to add a video assignment to your module (or use video in any way) you can get help from the Learning Technology Consultants and the Media Production Group. Contact us at learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk in the first instance.

There is Help material available as well:

How to add a Media Assignment activity to your Moodle module

Part 1 of this series: Assessing students with video 1: video presentation on a topic

Part 2 of this series: Assessing students with video #2: two-minute video pitch

eLearning Forum Asia

June 30th, 2016

Michelle Zheng, Roger Zhang and Chao Meng, learning technology colleagues from the Ningbo campus of the University of Nottingham report: From 13th to 15th June 2016, we attended the eLearning Forum Asia 2016 in Shanghai. The theme of this forum was Linking learning technologies with learning science. The conference topics included several recent developments in ICT-enabled learning innovations; analytics and adaptive learning; computer-supported collaborative learning; ubiquitous, mobile and hybrid learning; learning technologies in education; and social media and social learning. Around 400 education-relevant staff and technologists attended this forum. In the 3-day forum, through attending the keynote sessions, parallel sessions, and workshops, we had excellent opportunities to connect and learn about experiences and approaches in open education.

In the forum, we learned about diversified e-learning tools to motivate both in-class and out-of-class learning activities. For example, we learned Kahoot! is a quite good and simple Students’ Response System. In class, the teacher can create fun learning games In Kahoot!, students answer on their own devices, and the results are displayed immediately, which increases the fun of the class and encourages students to engage more with the teacher. In addition, we learned about Powtoon, an easily-used tool to make animated videos to enhance students’ understanding and interest in the topics. Moreover, we learned Echo 360 has the functions of letting students ask questions, take notes, flag issues and respond to in-class questions. All of these tools and functions we have brought back to UNNC to consider showing our colleagues.

In the meantime, since the usage of multiple learning technology tools, the traditional lecture-oriented pedagogical model has been changed. Instead, flipped classroom has been put forward. In the forum, many researchers and practitioners shared their implementations and experiences of flipped classrooms. We would also like to encourage our teachers to try flipped classroom model more in the future.

Assessing students with video #2: two-minute video pitch

June 28th, 2016

In the second in our series on assessing students using video, Jackie Andrews reports on using a two-minute video presentation exercise as part of the assessment for a Nottingham Advantage Award module, Enactus Nottingham.  As part of this, students work on social enterprises, building and running projects and businesses. They put a lot of work and effort into the projects and most will do well over the 100 hours required for an NAA module. As this  is all voluntary we did not want to make assessment too onerous. The students have to do a reflective journal about their participation in the programme and a two-minute video.

The brief for the video is as follows:

The video should be a brief description of your project outlining the connection it has to the Enactus criteria as well as how this helps to optimise the impact of the social business. We also want you to outline the sustainability and scalability of the project and whether there can be any improvements that you would make, and if not, if you could outline the importance of the project being sustainable and scalable and the impact it allows the project to have. We would also like you to include the impact that your project has/or will be achieving in the areas of society, the economy as well as the environment.

Is it useful?

I think it is good to have a different method of assessment than the regular ones, it give the students an opportunity to do something in a different way. With the regular use now of videos interviews for recruitment  it is good practice for them and helps to develop a key skill. They usually put a reasonable amount of effort into doing it as they can see themselves and that can be harder than written responses.

Do you use the Moodle Media Assignment activity? Would you use video assessment if this were not available?

Moodle makes it easier to have this type of assessment: it may be difficult to work out another method of submission so I probably would not do it.

Are there any issues with the assignment?

Some students do not want to video themselves, but that is fine: they can use pictures or Powerpoint etc.,  and just have a voice-over, as shown in one of the examples. The students were asked for two minutes, but there was a great variety in the times submitted. Getting a clear video can be an issue, quality is not always great. You need to be clear what you are looking for from the piece of work. It is not as easy as a written piece to flick back to see if they covered something, but if it is short that is not a big issue. It is something different for the module convenor to mark and gives a good insight into your students. Obviously it can’t be marked anonymously!

Help and support for University of Nottingham staff

If you’d like to add a video assignment to your module (or use video in any way) you can get help from the Learning Technology Consultants and the Media Production Group. Contact us at learning-technologies@nottingham.ac.uk in the first instance.

There is Help material available as well:

How to add a Media Assignment activity to your Moodle module

Part 1 of this series: Assessing students with video 1: video presentation on a topic

Giving credit to the author [Moodle images #2]

June 24th, 2016

Angelique Bodart writes: Someone once told me about a time they went to a conference to learn about others’ research on their subject of interest, only to hear their own research spouted back to them by one of the speakers, without any acknowledgement.  When you put hard work into creating something, the last thing you want to happen is its re-use without any acknowledgement: it feels a bit like theft.  That’s unless of course you’ve made it available in the ‘public domain’ allowing anyone and everyone to chop and change and share it as they wish with no reference to you at all just to get it out there, far and wide.  But most people don’t do this.

Most people want a little credit, even if they give you freedom of use and amendment.  So, how can you acknowledge the work of others, particularly when it comes to images? Or ensure your own copyright is protected?

In Moodle there’s an attribution tool as part of the image upload process – where you own the image – that allows you to enter your details as the copyright holder, the date it was put out there, and the type of copyright associated with it.  It’s a quick and easy way to ensure you get credit. You can also give acknowledgement to the author of any uploaded image and avoid the copyright police. For Flickr we have developed a Flickr public plugin which allows users to search Flickr and automatically applies the attribution data to the image. Even simpler!

If you want to know more about copyright, here’s a post made by a UK law firm that explains it further in a reasonably user-friendly way and the University of Nottingham’s guidance on copyright.

Below is a video about how to add an attribution to your images in Moodle, particularly for images you obtain from Flickr, and how to check the copyright licence associated with them so you know exactly how you can use and best acknowledge them in your module.

First post in this series: Enhancing your module with images

Angelique Bodart