By Pieter van Hiel, Marketing Team

When Erin Courville heard about Remote-Learner’s Idea-A-Thon contest, she instantly knew what her submission was going to be. Courville, an instructional designer at Granite State College, had long been frustrated by a lack of a specific grading functionality in the Moodle LMS Forum activity. It was causing headaches for instructors and students alike at the college.

“Faculty members here at Granite State were always wondering ‘Why can’t I attach a rubric to the Forum? Why can’t I grade a Forum the same way I grade assignments? My solution was to allow the same sort of grading to occur in the forum, and also allow the instructor to select if they want the forum to automatically go into the Gradebook, instead of creating as a manual item,” Courville explained.

Courville’s first-place Idea-A-Thon submission included other ways to improve the Forum based on her experience at Granite State. The college focuses on providing flexible education options. While it has several physical campuses, many of the students are enrolled in online courses. As such, Forum takes the place of classroom discussion.

“Our faculty members want to give great feedback, because when you are working online the Forum is your class interaction. They have to jerry-rig the system to make that happen,” said Courville.

To work around the limitation, teachers at Granite State are creating fake assignments so they can give their students personalized feedback. According to Courville, this work-around is tedious and time-consuming. She wanted to keep the feedback within the forum instead of the Gradebook.

“The second piece was for those using ratings in the forum. It would be a text box that would indicate how many points have been assigned to that student within a given forum. So instead of just a drop down box issuing more points, you’d know how many had been issued so far. And then there would be a private text box between the instructor and that student so they could write their feedback to that student right on screen,” said Courville.

Courville was excited when she heard about Idea-A-Thon. Now, she’s looking forward to the chance to work with Remote-Learner’s team to make her idea a reality.

“Finally! We’ve wanted something like this for forums for so long. I’m excited for my school. It gives us great PR as far as the cool things we are doing here. It’s also cool for my team and shows off the things we’re doing here to make things easier for faculty members,” she said.

Courville is now working with Remote-Learner’s development team to bring her idea to life. We’re excited to work with her and will share updates on development progress

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