by: Kristin Isler, Product Development Coordinator
Instructor’s often use creative workarounds in their course activity and resource types to meet the needs of their learners. It doesn’t always have to be that hard. In this entry of Plugged-In, the focus will be on plugins that expand an instructor’s activity and resource types. These plugins both improve an instructor’s efficiency and allow them to meet learner needs in several new use cases.
The Assignment activity for Moodle or Totara is a common way for learners to upload a document to be graded or to type their answer directly into the LMS. The Online Poodll Submissions plugin, part of the Poodll package, expands this powerful activity by allowing users to upload either video or audio recordings as their assignment submission.
In K-20, this is a great tool for assessments in foreign languages, reading, music, or public speaking. In corporate training, this can be used to practice sales or customer service calls as well as giving customer support instructions. A second plugin, also part of the Poodll package, Feedback Poodll, gives instructors the ability to give audio or video feedback on an assignment. These two plugins work well together to provide more than just text-based options for an assignment.
Book is one of the easiest resource types to use in Moodle or Totara. However it can be a little daunting to transfer large amounts of documentation from a Word file into a Book. Most instructors just upload the document to the LMS instead.
But using the file upload doesn’t allow instructors to take advantage of the logging system built into the LMS. The only information collected is when a learner downloads the file. With a Book, instructors can see which pages of the Book a learner viewed and require the learner to view the entire Book before it is marked as completed. This plugin allows instructors to easily import that long Microsoft Word document into a Book and take advantage of all features of that module.
Instructors often need to use content across module types. Moodle Glossary Entries, also available on Totara, is a popular way to do this. Transfering definitions into a quiz would normally be a manual process. An instructor would need to create new questions in the question bank using the same content that’s in the glossary. With this plugin, the instructor only needs to export the glossary entries and then import them into the question bank.
A favorite of most instructors, the Lesson module is powerful way to create instructional pathways and add review or essay questions throughout course content. However, it’s one of the few resource types that cannot be downloaded in a format for users to access after the course is finished. With the Lesson PDF export, learners can easily export all the pages of a lesson into a PDF document. Now learners can keep the important information in their lessons even after they’ve completed your course.
It’s hard to discuss plugins that expand activity and resource types without bringing it back to the power that Poodll brings to an LMS. Like the assignment submissions, the benefits of adding a video or audio question to a quiz are many. With this plugin, learners can record their answers to a question using either video or audio. Used in many of the same use cases as the assignment submission, the quiz question type allows an instructor to require multiple recordings within a single activity. In the case of the customer service scenario, a learner may be asked a series of questions in a quiz, each one requiring a different answer to be recorded.
The Open Source community is a group of very talented and dedicated individuals. At Remote Learner, we are excited to be a part of this group and to share the great work of not only our developers and designers but all Open Source developers and designers. While the core platform is already extremely powerful, it is the work of these individuals that make Moodle and Totara even better for Remote Learner to use in the design of our clients’ training and learning solutions.
Have some favorite plugins of your own? Let us know on social media!