It’s the end of teaching for another year. Over the past few months you’ve put a significant amount of effort into creating useful and accessible material for your module—lectures notes, PowerPoint slides, supplementary reading, quizzes and even an interactive forum—all uploaded to Moodle at least 24 hours before your lectures and seminars. But how can you be sure that your students have engaged with this content? That your efforts to provide the best learning experience and outcome have not been in vain? Well, Moodle has some powerful reporting features that you can use to explore when and how often students view and post to your module.
There are three basic reports you can run at Kent: Logs, Activity Reports and Course Participation. A fourth report type, Statistics, which allows you track views and posts graphically over specified time periods has unfortunately not been included in the Kent implementation of Moodle. All of these reports are run from the Administration panel, which you’ll find on the left-hand side of your module’s page. If you can’t see the full list of reports, click on the arrow next to Reports to expand the selection.
These come in two flavours—one is a highly configurable report on past use and the other is a continuously updated record of current activity. To access the configurable report, click on Logs then simply choose the options you want. By default, the report will cover all participants, all activities and all actions for everyone associated with the module, including teaching staff, since the log was last reset (at the time of writing this blog entry the Moodle log was last reset on 25 June 2014). By selecting some of the configurable options, you can look at the activity of particular students on specific days for selected content. For example, Figure 1 shows part of a report listing students who viewed the module outline for SP301 on 29 September 2014, the first day on the 2014-15 academic year.
This provides a useful summary of the number of views for each activity and resource on your module page. There are no configurable options—all you need to do is click on Activity report to receive a complete and up-to-date listing. Figure 2 is a partial view of a report for SP500 since 25 June 2014. Each module activity is listed along with the total number of views to date and when it was last accessed. As a convenor, you can quickly see from this report that the module outline has received 2195 views and the news forum has been quite active with a total of 855 views. Scrolling down the report this data is provided for every lecture, seminar, how-to guide, reading list and other resources you have uploaded to Moodle and made available to your students.
A course participation report allows you to see who has completed a certain action, like a quiz or submitted a piece of coursework. Using this report you can also send a mass email to all students who have not participated. Figure 3 is a full participant report on the TMS lecture slides uploaded to SP850. Of the 18 students registered for this module, all but five have viewed these slides in the past ten months, several of them more than once. If it is an important part of the SP850 learning experience for every student to review these slides, then it is a straightforward task to click on the Select all ‘No’ button and send all of the students who have not engaged with this material an email reminder. This is a configurable report for which you can change the resource or activity reported, the number of days/weeks/months the report will cover and the type of Moodle user included in the report—typically this will be Student (SDS) but equally you might be interested in the degree to which your Associate Lecturers (these may be Teachers or Non-editing teachers, depending how staff on your module have been assigned) engage with your Moodle resources.
In summary, the reporting feature of Moodle is a powerful tool to help you assess when and how frequently your students use the material you have painstakingly produced to support the learning outcomes of your module and clarify the complex concepts, theories and research underpinning your particular topic area. It identifies the material your students engage with most often as well as the activities and resources that are underused. It also enables you to quickly identify students who are not using your module’s resources and provides you with a route to remind them to do so.