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Moodle Checklist

Check out the top ten recommendations that will help you get ready for your Moodle course to go live this term. This quick checklist is designed to help you build a good Moodle course. Each of the ten points below is linked to one of the four key features of Brookes’ Framework for Digitally Enabled Programmes: coherence, community, consistency, and choice. Further, each point has links to how-to guidance from TEL Support at Brookes documentation.

  • Choose a good course format.
In order to ensure Consistency across modules within a programme, think about how you choose a good course format?
  • Choosing a good course format will help ensure Consistency.
  • Does your module run linearly (week-by-week)? Try the Topics format, with the option to show one ‘topic’ (i.e. section) at a time.
    • What is the benefit to choosing this format? All materials for different weeks and/or units will be displayed separately, reducing confusion on what is required each week.
  • Does your module rely on a different type of progression? Try the Grid format.
    • What is the benefit to choosing this format? If you choose consistent imagery for the course cards you’ll create a course with a slick, professional appearance. If you’re looking for images, Undraw.co has free customisable images.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

  • Follow this recommended structure to ensure consistency of formatting.
In order to ensure Consistency across modules within a programme, think about the basic structure of your course.
  • Following the recommended structure below will help ensure Consistency.
  • In Section 0:
    • include all resources and activities you will need for all weeks. This will put the links to Zoom, recordings, and more on every page of the Moodle course.
    • What should be in this section:
      • Course/Programme Handbook
        • Often the Programme Handbook has been made available centrally by the Programme Administrator and you can insert a URL link.
      • Zoom LTI Activity is one of the choices when you add activities and resources. This will make sure all of your Zoom meeting links are in one place.
      • Panopto LTI Activity is one of the choices when you add activities and resources. This will make sure all of your recordings are available in one place.
      • Announcements
        • An Announcements forum is added automatically to all new courses.
      • Evaluations
        • Note: The Official Evaluation will be added by IT Services.
  • In Section 1:
    • include all resources and key information for this Moodle course so that all guidance documents, help resources, and support are in one section.
    • What should go in Section 1:
      • name this section ‘Key Information’.
      • Module Guide
        • It is recommended that you add the Module Guide as a File resource (such as a Word Document).
      • Student Support Plan
        • It is recommended that you add the Student Support Plan as a File resource (such as an Excel Spreadsheet).
      • Information on the Teaching Team (include pictures and research interests).
      • Additional Resources/Course Materials/Learning Materials
  • In Section 2:
    • include all information for assessments, so that students don’t have to search inside the different sections for where to submit their work.
    • What should go in Section 2:
      • name this section ‘Assessment Information and Dropboxes’.
      • details on Assessments and rubrics,
      • information on how to submit work,
      • information on how to find feedback,
      • all dropboxes and submission points.
  • Add the Panopto Block to ensure that all students and staff have access to your video library.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance to start adding resources and activities.
  • Make sure that you have followed the above instructions for course formats to ensure that Section 0 shows separately. This will give you a section to include essential resources.

How to add resources:

How to add activities:

For Section 2, the following tutorials may be useful to add as URL resources.

  • Use Headings and Subheadings make a Moodle course easier to navigate.
In order to ensure Coherence within a Moodle course, think about whether students will understand what they need to do and where to find resources.
  • Using headings and subheadings to organise your course materials will help ensure Coherence.
  • Think of all of your activities and resources as a bulleted list of items.
    • There need to be headings and subheadings for different sections of the list. For example, instead of just adding a PowerPoint file. First add a Label named ‘Lecture’ then add the PowerPoint file beneath the label.
    • Items that are indented below the associated label are more easy to follow.
  • Add section headers and headings so that all activities and resources are clearly titled, and described.
    • Organise content using clear labels for different sections and collections of resources so that it is obvious what students need to access and why.
    • Use full description to make it clear what students need to do and when.
  • Avoid adding long lists of URL links and files without sufficient headings as these are difficult to understand.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

  • Reduce scrolling by using Page resources and Moodle Books.
In order to ensure Coherence within a Moodle course, think about whether students will understand what they need to do and where to find resources.
  • Using Pages to organise your course materials will help ensure Coherence.
  • If you have a lot of resources to introduce, make use of the Page resource to organise content.
    • For example, use the Page resource to introduce the week’s preparation.
    • Use the page to organise long lists of URL links, to introduce themes and new information.
    • By using a Page resource in Moodle, there is only one link to click rather than a long list.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

  • Increase interactive content.
Use more diverse content types in order to provide sufficient Choice in a module, including following inclusive design principles for all learners and delivering a high-quality student experience.
  • Use multimedia and interactive content to help ensure Choice.
  • Consider using authoring tools, such as H5P, and audio/visual content when appropriate and relevant.
    • Choose wisely, so that the interactive content appropriately conveys the meaning of the material.

When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

  • Include course team images with general biographies, including research interests.
In order to build a Community across programmes and within modules, make sure that the course teaching team’s information is easy to find.
  • Add full details of the teaching team, including images and research interests to help build a Community.
  • There are two places that you can add this information:
    • In the Section 1 ‘Key Information’ section, the support details for the teaching team would be held alongside other key information such as the Module Guide.
    • As an HTML block in Moodle, the teaching team pictures and contact details would be easily available on the main dashboard for the course.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.
  • First add a block and choose HTML.
    • The HTML block includes the standard Moodle text editor, which allows you to add text, images, video and more.
    • You can have as many HTML blocks as you need in your course.
  • Click on the cog wheel in the right-hand corner of the block, then Configure HTML block.
    • Give the HTML block a descriptive name in HTML Block title.
    • Add content, including:
      • inserting images of your teaching team,
      • add the teaching team’s research interests,
      • add contact details including email addresses.

  • Add a Social Forum for Q&A and informal discussion.
In order to build Community within a module, and encourage students to ask more questions and engage with the course materials, and peer-to-peer support.
  • Add a social forum to your Moodle course to help build a Community.
  • Asynchronous messaging can be achieved by adding a Forum underneath the announcements forum.
  • In a blended learning or distance learning module adding a social forum and encouraging discussion that is informal helps to build a feeling of the cohort and inspires collaboration.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

  • Use Imagery.
Use images and multiple types of media to to ensure you are building an inclusive Moodle course for all learners and delivering a high-quality student experience with sufficient Choice.
  • Use multiple types of media and imagery to help ensure Choice.
  • Include strong, striking, images that convey meaning and provide extension to course content.
  • You can also provide ‘branding’ like a logo, decorative banners, to introduce your course to your students and offer Consistency of experience across a programme.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.
  • In the text editor of any Label resource, you can add an image by clicking the down arrow for More buttons and then the Insert or Edit Image button.

Image Properties

  • Add a URL to an existing image.
  • Browse repositories to upload an image file.
  • Describe this image for someone who cannot see it so that when the image is not viewable the content and meaning of the iamge will be clear.
  • If the image is purely decorative (i.e. just a image to include fun or interest to the course content) then you can select Description not necessary.
  • When you choose an image, the Size will populate automatically. You can then change this to make images smaller by ticking the Autosize tickbox and reducing the Size manually.
  • Click Save Image to continue.

For more information on image choice and visual identity guidelines do visit Corporate Identity and Branding‘s handy documentation.

  • Include Colour.
In order to ensure Consistency across modules within a programme and Coherence within modules, consider evaluating your use of colour.
  • Following the recommended structure below will help ensure Consistency and Coherence.
  • Colour can be used as a good ‘sorting’ device and provide interest and greater understanding to different sections in your course materials and resources.
    • Choosing an accent colour to highlight different parts of the course materials can make the content more striking and interesting.
  • Be careful not to use too many different colours, 1 or 2 at most as including too many different colours will be distracting to some users.
    • Be careful not to use too many different colours, 1 or 2 at most as including too many different colours will be distracting to some users.

It is very tempting in Moodle courses to start with bold vibrant styling and introduce colour into the environment. Yet, before you start introducing new colours, think about what those colours will be adding to your environment. Are you colour coding assessments and resources so that it is easier to see the difference at a glance? Are you marking which assignments are applicable for different cohorts?

When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.
  • The current Brookes theme was introduced partially as a means to make our Moodle environment more accessible. It is for that reason that there are a limited amount of colours for you to choose from from the colour pickers.

Colour Combinations and Suggestions

  • You should be aware of the colour combinations you are using and try to use only one or two primary colours with one other used as emphasis or for styling (borders, bold text, etc).
  • A good combination would be a Light Grey Background, Black Text, and a single accent colour for styling.
  • If you are signalling emphasis, do not use colour alone. Screen readers generally recognise bold and italics. They adjust the voice to indicate such emphasis. They do not recognise colour change as a change in emphasis.
  • Avoid highlighting text for emphasis. This can make the screen quite cluttered and difficult to see what is being highlighted. Instead use bold text.

To change font colours in Moodle:

  • While in a tab or section, click ‘Edit’ at the top right.
  • Select ‘Edit Section’
  • Highlight the text.
  • Click the Down Arrow Icon on the taskbar (first icon on left) to reveal more icons.
  • Click the Highlight Icon. (The Lightbulb icon in the last group of icons, hovering over this will reveal the word ‘Background colour’.)
  • Click the Font Colour Icon. (The Paintbrush icon in the last group of icons, hovering over this will reveal the word ‘More Font Colors’.)
  • Scroll down and click ‘Save Changes’.

  • Be aware of accessibility concerns and guidance for web-content.
Accessibility helps Consistency and Coherence across programmes and within modules, assists us in meeting the diverse needs of our staff and students by facilitating Choice, and contributes to our Community building.

These four tips apply to all learning materials including documents, presentations, websites, and your Moodle courses. If nothing else, remember to follow these four rules.

  1. Use styles. Styles indicate the different ways that text is rendered on a screen. Screenreaders and other softwares use these styles to indicate when text has been marked as ‘bold’ or as a ‘Title’ or ‘Heading’.
  2. Use colours that have high contrast. A high contrast between colours makes certain that there is a clear difference between the text colour and the background colours. For example: Do not use White Text on a Light Grey background as that would be harder to read.
  3. Provide Alt-Text for images. Alternative text or ‘alt-text’ is the text that is read by screen readers or that is shown in place of an image. All text on an image should be included in the alt-text. Likewise a full description of the image should be included.
  4. Give all links descriptive full-names. A descriptive full-name should indicate what the resource is and what information it contains.

Some final thoughts:

  1. Use a standard font like Arial as that will be read on all types of devices.
  2. Never use Capslock, text in all caps is more distracting than it is providing emphasis.
  3. Use bold to emphasize content rather than italics or underlining. Italics should not be used unless it is for a book title or foreign words, and underlining should only indicate URL links.
When you’re ready, use the following documentation and guidance.

Updated on January 19, 2021

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