Moodle and Other Tech Tips from an Instructional Designer

Cartoon: People work together to assemble a giant lightbulb

Photo: Pixabay/Muhammadnoorridho

A DELTA grant recipient asked me about Moodle tips and tricks that she would not otherwise know; we discussed these, and after years of curating design, LMS, teaching, and general computing hacks, I decided it was time to share my list of tips. You may already use these tips, or you may be thinking you are happy just to have your instructional materials and assignments finally posted in Moodle. Regardless of where you are in the online teaching journey, consider these tips as you plan your next course.

Basic computing

  • Holding down Ctrl + F at the same time creates a keyboard command allowing you to find words or phrases quickly and has many productivity uses. To use this feature on mobile devices, select the tab menu, then “Find in page.” 
  • If a second monitor is not working, unplug the HDMI connector and then plug it back in.
  • If nothing is working on your computer, shut down the machine for a few minutes (or restart if there is not enough time to shut down).
  • Maintain your machine.
    • To avoid the issues above, shut down your machine overnight on a regular basis (opinions vary, but I recommend once per week). Also, ensure that all updates are completed at least once per month.

Internet 

  • If the internet connection is slow, turn off all video and close all tabs except for those that are necessary. 
  • For most video conferencing platforms (Google Meet, Zoom, etc.), there is a telephone option; if you (or students) experience internet issues, you may call into the meeting (details are below). 
  • If students are concerned about internet access, remind them that they can download learning materials and then view them without internet access. This does not help with online quizzes or exams, but it can help to reduce the amount of time students need to spend at a library, neighbor’s house, Starbucks®, etc. 

Moodle

  • Create a document or folder called “Extra” for all the blurbs you delete in case you need them later.
  • Create a document called “When Time” for all the random thoughts you have about improving other courses; this can prevent distraction and ensure that your great ideas are not lost!
  • When copying an image from one Moodle page to another, copy from the non-editing screen into the editing screen (use a new tab). 
  • To view the most recent changes made to your course (similar to Google Suite’s “Last edit” feature), select the Actions menu gear, and then More → Reports → Logs → Get these logs.
  • If you need to test something without login credentials or a customized page (if using a Chrome browser), go to the tab menu and select “New incognito window.” This feature is available in other browsers as well.
  • Unless you are having students open a link during a process that should not be interrupted (like a video or quiz), ensure that pages open in the same tab. Not doing this can cause issues for those using screen readers and mobile devices (Summers, 2019).
  • If you are having issues with Backup/Restore, check out this video.

Zoom

  • Ensure that you position yourself so that you are facing a light source (lamp, window, etc.). This greatly enhances your appearance when video conferencing. 
  • When sharing your screen, select the option that lets you share the document you want to share rather than the entire screen. 
  • Note that anyone who is late to your meeting will not see chat information that was entered before they joined. 
  • For Zoom calls, the telephone option allows you to call in with an analog phone:
    • To do this, go to the event in your calendar or email, find “Dial by location,” and select the correct number. After dialing, you will be prompted to enter the meeting ID, which is listed below the location options.
    • Once you are in the call, select *6 to unmute yourself; when finished speaking, press *6 again to mute yourself. You may also select *9 to raise your hand.

Remember that whatever your computing conundrum, DELTA is here to help

References

Summers, J. (2019). Linking to a new tab vs. same tab. UX Collective. Retrieved from https://uxdesign.cc/linking-to-a-new-tab-vs-same-tab-f88b495d2187