Moodle 3.6 New Features and Theme
A new version of Moodle and a new Moodle theme
Moodle was updated on 24th April 2019 to version 3.6 and a new theme applied.
New features available in 3.6 include:
- - an improved course overview
- - useful new dashboard blocks
- - a new messaging interface
- - clearer privacy links in your profile
- - the ability to message your groups
- - the ability to record audio feedback for assignments
You can find out more about all these features on the Moodle YouTube Channel.
See our blog post series relating to the new Moodle theme:
This evolutionary update focuses on communication and enhanced usability and accessibility, including:
• New Moodle Theme – brand new responsive design, with support for new course formats, such as Collapsed Topics, Grid or Buttons, and bootstrap elements such as Accordions or Tabs within courses.
• Improved Course Overview - Sort, favourite, hide and display courses more efficiently thanks to the welcome Course overview improvements on your dashboard.
• Useful New Dashboard Blocks - Keep up to date with the Timeline block, the Starred courses block, the Recently accessed courses block and the Recently accessed items block, all available for the dashboard.
• Moodle Mobile - A new improved Moodle app (available right now for iOS & Android).
• New Messaging Interface - Messaging enhancements bring greater control over who can message you along with the ability to favourite messages and engage in group messaging.
• Directly Record Sound & Video - Buttons in the text editor allow you to record directly into Moodle.
• Record Assignment Feedback - Media and other file uploads are now permitted when grading assignments.
• Quiz Improvements - The drag and drop markers question type is easier to edit, the Quiz statistics report has improved usability, and you can now specify accepted file types for the Quiz essay question.
• Badge Improvements - Award badges based on other badges, award badges based on new criteria, such as user picture upload or previously awarded badges, and add more information to your badges, such as endorsements, with support for Open Badges v2.0.
Moodle Mobile App
As more and more students access their learning from their smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices, it is increasingly important to ensure your learning materials and activities in Moodle are mobile-friendly.
According to our Student Digital Tracker Survey in 2018, 93% of YSJ Students are currently using a smartphone to support their learning.
We have now made accessing Moodle even easier for staff and students at YSJ by enabling the Moodle mobile app, which can now be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store. This app will give students greater control over their learning. Students will be able to:
- - easily access course content
- - check upcoming deadlines
- - receive instant notifications of private messages, forum posts, calendar events and
- - assignment submissions
- - attempt quizzes, post in forums
- - view grades and feedback
Download the Moodle App from mobile devices
How to set up the Moodle app on your device
Moodle is the University's VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments. Moodle provides us with a flexible tool-set to support both blended learning and online courses.
Moodle delivers a powerful set of learner-centric tools and collaborative learning environments that empower both teaching and learning. The pedagogic design of Moodle includes a constructivist and social constructionist approach to education, emphasising that learners (and not just tutors) can contribute to the educational experience. Using these pedagogical principles, Moodle provides a flexible environment for learning communities.
Because it is open-source, Moodle can be customised in any way and tailored to our institutional needs. Moodle is web-based and so can be accessed from anywhere in the world. With a default mobile-compatible interface and cross-browser compatibility, content on the Moodle platform is easily accessible and consistent across different web browsers and devices.
What is Moodle?
Combining traditional learning theories, such as constructivism, cognitivism and behaviourism, with contemporary theories such as connectivism, gives us the foundation on which to develop successful models for online and blended learning.
The design and development of Moodle is guided by a "social constructionist pedagogy". This page attempts to unpack this concept in terms of four main, related concepts: constructivism, constructionism, social constructivism, and connected and separate.
The pedagogic design of Moodle includes a constructivist and social constructionist approach to education, emphasising that learners (and not just tutors) can contribute to the educational experience. Using these pedagogical principles, Moodle provides a flexible environment for learning communities.
From a constructivist point of view, people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environments. The heart of Moodle is courses that contain activities and resources. There are about 20 different types of activities available (forums, glossaries, wikis, assignments, quizzes, choices (polls), databases etc) and each can be customised quite a lot. The main power of this activity-based model comes in combining the activities into sequences and groups, which can help you guide participants through learning paths. Thus, each activity can build on the outcomes of previous ones.
Constructionism asserts that learning is particularly effective when constructing something for others to experience. This can be anything from a spoken sentence in Theatre, or an internet posting, to more complex artefacts like a painting in Fine Art, an item of furniture in Product Design, or a software package in Computer Science. The Empower element of our 3E Framework refers to the developed use of technology that requires higher order individual and collaborative learning that reflect how knowledge is created and used in professional environments.
Social constructivism extends constructivism into social settings, wherein groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artefacts with shared meanings. When learners are immersed within a culture like this, they are learning all the time about how to be a part of that culture, on many levels.
The connected and separate idea looks deeper into the motivations of individuals within a discussion:
- Separate behaviour is when someone tries to remain 'objective' and 'factual', and tends to defend their own ideas using logic to find holes in their opponent's ideas.
- Connected behaviour is a more empathic approach that accepts subjectivity, trying to listen and ask questions in an effort to understand the other point of view.
- Constructed behaviour is when a person is sensitive to both of these approaches and is able to choose either of them as appropriate to the current situation.
In general, a healthy amount of connected behaviour within a learning community is a very powerful stimulant for learning, not only bringing people closer together but promoting deeper reflection and re-examination of their existing beliefs.
Consideration of these issues can help to focus on the experiences that would be best for learning from the learner's point of view, rather than just publishing and assessing the information you think they need to know. It can also help you realise how each participant in a course can be a teacher as well as a learner. Your job as a 'teacher' can change from being 'the source of knowledge' to being an influencer and role model of class culture, connecting with students in a personal way that addresses their own learning needs, and moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively leads students towards the learning goals of the class.
Reseach into Moodle
Kear, K., Chetwynd, F., & Jefferis, H. (2014). Social presence in online learning communities: the role of personal profiles. Research in Learning Technology, 22. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v22.19710
Meadows, C., Soper, K., Cullen, R., Wasiuk, C., McAllister-Gibson, C., & Danby, P. (2016). Shaping the future of learning using the student voice: we’re listening but are we hearing clearly?. Research in Learning Technology, 24. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v24.30146
Mei, L., Yuhua, N., Peng, Z. and Yi, Z. (2009) ‘Pedagogy in the Information Age: Moodle-Based Blended Learning Approach’, International Forum on Computer Science-Technology and Applications, Computer Science-Technology and Applications, 2009. IFCSTA ’09. International Forum on, p. 38. doi: 10.1109/IFCSTA.2009.247.
Theohari, E. (2019) ‘Analyzing the efficacy of Moodle towards in-service EFL teachers’ development: the case of the HOU’, Research Papers in Language Teaching & Learning, 10(1), p. 265. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com.yorksj.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=135460280&site=eds-live&scope=site
There are many useful resources available to help you with the creation of your Moodle VLE courses. Below are links to some that you may find helpful.
When creating a Moodle course you can add what Moodle refers to as Activities. Usually an activity is something that a student will do that interacts with other students and or the teacher. There are a variety of activities that you can choose from including quizzes, assignments and workshops. To find out more about the different kind of activity click on the links below:
A resource is an item that a teacher can use to support learning, such as a file or link. Moodle supports a range of resource types which you can add to your courses. To find out more about the different kind of resources click on the links below:
Blocks can be added to any page in Moodle and appear the on left, right or centre column of the page. When you create a Moodle with the minimum standards template it has two blocks added, the twitter feed and progress bar, you can edit or delete these two or add more if you wish.
Courses are the spaces on Moodle where tutors add learning materials and activities for their students. Tutors can add the content and re-organise them according to their own needs.
Lynda.com is an online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. The University subscribes to the service (using your university login details you can access the library of videos).