Saturday, 25 September 2010

Using Soundcloud to store MP3s

Soundcloud is a fantastic free website which allows you to store and discuss music online. Better still, you can embed a Soundcloud Player into any HTML section of Moodle, including Assignments.

This could be considered as a viable option to storing music on the network.

Create a Soundcloud account


Go to and create a new account

Follow the instructions...


Simply follow the account instructions and sign up!

Edit your Profile


Give Soundcloud some information about you!

Upload your Music!


Click on the Choose a File button and locate your MP3.

Fill in the blanks


Whilst the song is uploading, give as much information as you can.

The More Info section includes content such as VIdeo links, iTunes Store links, artwork, keywords and more.

The bottom of the screen gives you a countdown to completion. Once uploaded, click Save.

Your song is online!


Now your tune is uploaded, and you can see it in all its waveform glory.

Once people start listening, you'll see a play count on the right hand side (1) and, should people leave them, comments about your track (2).

To add your song into an Assignment or Forum post, click on (3) - </>Share

Getting the Embed Code


Click on the </> Share icon and a dropdown menu will appear.

To get the code for Moodle (and any other website) click on the code that starts with <object height=81"> and copy it (cmd+C on a Mac)

Notice you can also easily add your tracks to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and more! The instructions are straight forward on how to do this, so I wont be covering them here.

Adding it to Moodle - Step 1


Please note: This works for Assignments (such as Online Text), Forums or anywhere that uses the HTML text box area (recognisable by the toolbar above the text box).

Firstly, introduce your song.

Then, click on the icon < >. This takes you into HTML mode.

Adding it to Moodle - Step 2


Now simply paste the code you copied from the Soundcloud page.

It may look a bit messy, but don't panic!

Once you've pasted it in, click on the < > icon again to return to 'Normal' mode.

Please note: After pressing < > you may not see the player immediately. It will appear once you have saved your work/forum post.



The Soundcloud player has now been successfully integrated into the Moodle assignment or message board.

You can now click Save at the bottom of the page and return to your normal view.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Using Activity Reports to monitor student involvement

This lesson demonstrates some key tools for seeing which activities your students are engaging in (or not as the case may be!) and how to address this issue. You can also view the activities of your tutors too.


With so many resources, activities and assignments availabl, it may appear to be difficult to keep track of what your students and tutors are doing and how they are engaging.

In fact, it's really very easy to see how your students and tutors are participating - either as a whole class or on an individual level.

Access the Reports


The first thing you need to do is click Reports on the Admin Panel.

Choosing a Report


You now have a large area at the top and then four options to choose from, each showing a different report.

Let's look at each one.

'Choose which logs you want to see'


Each of these drop down boxes allows you to choose various features that you may want to see.

1 = Allows you to choose which Unit or Course that you teach on
2 = Allows you to choose whether you want to see the actions of everyone on the course or certain individuals (both students and tutors)
3 = Choose a specific date to view (you can also select 'All days')
4 = This gives you a list of the activities on that course - for example Forums, Assignments, Quizzes etc
5 = All Actions refers to whether they have viewed or participated in that activity. This can be left as is.
6 = This allows you to determine whether you just want to see the results on screen or download in various formats. This can be left as is.
7 = 'Get these logs' does exactly that!

So in this instance I am going to stick with the course above, choose a specific student as the participant, look at Monday 9th November and keep 4,5 and 6 as their default settings.



I can now see the three activities that the student has engaged in. He viewed the course at 4:55, he looked at a resource at 4:56 and then looked at the Forum at 6:33. which ties in with my lesson structure for that day.

Give it a go!
Why not look at one of your courses and view all your students actions for a specific course on a specific day? And then just look at one particular student for that day too!

More reports


Let's go back to our original reports screen and look at the four other options.

1 = Live logs from the past hour does exactly that - it lets you see what's been going on in that course over the last hour. This looks at all students and tutors and all activities.
2 = The Activity Report gives you an overview for all actives on a page, including how many 'hits' it's had and the last time it was accessed (see below)
3 = The Participation Report lets you see the activity of groups of people (such as students) in relation to a specific activity (more below)
4 = Statistics are currently off and cannot be viewed.

Please note that these Reports only provide information on the course you are currently working in.

Assuming that Live Logs from the past hour makes sense, let's look at 2 and 3.

Activity Report


The Activity Report is very useful in that it gives you a quick overview of every activity and how 'active' is has been.

This Activity Report, for example, is taken from the 'How to use Moodle' style course. You can see that some Resources are clearly more popular than others and that the Message Board at the top hasn't been that well used.

If this was a course which required active involvement from the students, you could easily feed this information back and use it to assist your planning and guidance.

Compare this to the Activity Report for the course we looked at earlier:

Activity Report for a different course


Here we can see that the Discussions board has been very popular and used extensively, where as some of the resources from Week 1 have had very little activity.

Participation Report


Returning to the first course we looked at, I now want to look at how students have been engaging with Resources and Activities in more depth.

Having clicked on Participation Report I'm given the following options to choose from.

1 = Activity Module. Here I can choose which aspect of the course I want to look at, for example Assignments, Resources, Quizzes, Forums etc.
2 = Look Back - choose how far back you want to look (days and weeks)
3 = Who are you looking at? This could be tutors or students, but usually you would choose Students
4 = There is no need to change this option

Now click Go!

In the following example I want to see which of my students accessed a Video about the Combinator in Reason, something I asked them to do over a 2 week period.



The Participation report tells me that only three students have watched that video via the Resource available on their course page. It even tells me that the first student in the list has viewed it six times. You may want to discuss this with your students in case they are struggling with a specific aspect.

From student 4 downwards, every student is listed as No. And, as a tutor, you can now address this.

At the bottom of the screen you need to choose Show All and this will display all students on one page.

Take action!


By clicking (1) you select all students with No next to their name. You can then choose to 'Add/send a message' (2) and then simply hit OK (3)

Have a go and explore the Activity Reports as much as you can - they really are a great way to keep track of what's happening on your course!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Making a course with Collapsed Topics/Weeks

This lesson will guide you through how to edit and manage a course using the Collapsed format (weeks and topics).

It assumes you have chosen Collapsible Topics/Weeks in the Course Format under the main course Settings.

Turn Editing On


Click Turn Editing On in the top right-hand corner.

Click on one of the Topics/Weeks


Edit the Topic


Click on the pencil icon to edit the Topic name. Weeks are automatically named (determined by the start date in the course settings).

Enter your Title and Save


Your title appears!


Add a Label


Now click on Add a Resource... and choose 'Insert a Label'

Enter your label text


You can now type in your content into the label. If you find the window is too small, click on the expand window icon (circled in red).

Using the Expanded window


The bigger window now gives you more room to enter your content.



Here it is!


The text has now appeared in the label! However the title is a bit squashed. We can fix that.

Using Heading format


Edit the label (click on the pencil) and highlight your title text. Now choose a different Heading option. Each Heading has a different look and feel. Also set the font size to something suitable.

Much better!


Now the title is less squashed and looks a lot better.

Moving topics can sometimes be awkward in Firefox, however the move arrows do appear in Safari and Chrome. You may want to switch between browsers but if you're using Firefox, this is the easiest way to do it.

Click Settings


Change the Format to Topics Format and Save


You can now move the sections around


If you do not see the crosshairs, you may see two black arrows which, when clicked, allow you to move the sections to your desired area.

Once you've done this, change the Settings back to Collapsible Topics/Weeks and you're good to go!

Importing Resources and Activities

This guide shows you how to import Resources and Activities from courses you have previously taught on.

An empty course...


I have created an empty course. There are no Resources or Activities, however I want to Import some from a course I taught on last year.

Admin > Import


Go to the Admin panel and click on Import. Please note - you must be set up as a Teacher in order to do this.

Choose a Course


You now have 3 options. You can choose a Course you have taught (1), Courses in the Same Category (2) or you can Search a Course (3). You are unlikely to need option (2) so choose the from the drop down list in (1) or search for a course.

Once you have chosen your Course, click Use this Course/Search Courses.

Choose what you want to Import


A list of Resources and Activities now appears. Simply tick the ones you want to Import across.

Clicking All/None does just that.

Here's my selection. Now go to the bottom of the page.

Choosing Course or Site files


If you want to Import all the files but only show those you have ticked, select Yes for both these options (this will become clear later).

You should also choose Yes if you are importing a Quiz.

Once done, click Continue.

Lots of info will appear...


Scroll down and click Continue


Keep following the instructions...


Almost there!


And we're done!


We have now imported some Message Boards, a web link and some files (PDF and zips).

In fact, we've actually imported many more, but only those we ticked are visible in the Course.

So where are the other files?


There they are!


You can of course now add these into your Course any time you like.

And that's it! Have a play - it's really not too tricky!

Composing a Text Page or Web Page

One of the most useful resources in Moodle is being able to add a Text or Web page, as it helps de-clutter your page and provide quick and easy information for your students. This lesson demonstrates how.

Choosing a Resource


The first step is to choose whether you want a Web or Text Page.

Hint: Web pages give you more flexibility, as described below.

Editing a Text Page


If you want to add a page of plain text, choose the 'Create a Text page' option.

Now you can give it a name, a summary (not essential) and enter your text in the square box.

Editing a Web Page


The Web Page works in exactly the same way, but notice that the Text area now has an HTML editing panel, so you can add images, music, YouTube, weblinks and more.

Text/Web Page window options


Common to both the Text and Web page are the Window options. These allow you to specifiy what the web or text page will do.

For example, you may want your text box to be a small pop-out window. If so, you would change Window from Same Window to New Window.

You can then edit the window width and height (try experimenting!) and also choose what aspects of the window are on show, such as the toolbar or location bar.

Finish and save!


Now you've added your Text or Web page you need to save it!

1 = Saves the resource and takes you back to your Course page.
2 = Saves the resource but immediately shows it on display.

Web Page pop-up example


You can see that, my clicking on the 'Example' resource a small pop-up window has been launched.