A virtual learning environment such as Moodle is often perceived as being a one-way communication medium. Lecturers upload resources and make announcements for students to view. However, students can take a more active role within this online space. They can upload files, link to websites, embed videos and working together, create a resource in itself.
Is that risky?
There are fears that without adequate ‘policing’ of resources, some may be inappropriate. To counter this argument is the fact that a Moodle module is a fairly ‘safe’ space (only those enrolled on the module can view activities in which students take part) and the learning process includes both risk-taking and making mistakes. An ‘error’ could be a useful starting point for further discussion.
Moodle activities to encourage co-creation
Here are 4 activities which you can add to your Moodle module to encourage your students to co-create learning resources:
Forums allow students and lecturers to post questions, answers, discussion points and also to add links and files to their posts. They can even embed videos if they know a little html. Some use a group forum as a space for groups of students to plan presentations or to discuss team projects. Scaffolding forum use for students encourages them to take part. So you may wish to make the first post or to provide clear guidelines for forum use. Vague forum titles like ‘Comments’ or which contain one unanswered post are unlikely to succeed in engaging students. Information on how to set up a forum is available on our E-learning website.
Padlet is an online space in which both lecturers and students can add notes containing files, videos, music as well as embedding content from social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Different backgrounds can be chosen for the space (from plain colours to ice-creams – or you can upload your own), and notes can be added with one click. Although not strictly a Moodle activity (it’s a third party tool), Padlet can be embedded in a label on your Moodle module.
Wikis let students create pages and link them together to form a resource. They could be used for students to co-create a resource on a particular topic, with each student creating a page on one aspect of that topic. Or they could be used for group work, with each group editing their own wiki, but with all groups being able to view the work of others. More examples of wiki use and how to set them up is included in an earlier post on Using Wikis in Moodle.
This activity can be used for both students and lecturers to build a glossary of terms or definitions. These not only reduce the burden on lecturers of explaining every new term, but also help students to understand them by researching their meaning. You could assign definitions to individuals or groups of students. or students could provide multiple definitions with the highest rated being added to the glossary. Like a wiki, this content can be rolled over in to a subsequent Moodle module so that future cohorts can refine and add to these resources. Information on how to set up a glossary is on Moodle’s documentation web page.
There’s not enough space here to go through each of the above in great detail, but your Faculty Learning Technologist would be happy to provide more information.