About Me

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Clarks Summit, PA, United States
My name is Erica Vail and I started Moodling in 2009. My goal as an instructional designer is to use pedagogically appropriate technological tools to deliver assessment online that aligns with learning objectives. I enjoy the world of academia, and I envision working in higher education for a long time. It's where I belong. -bbcmoodler

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Technology for Teachers

This PDF lists common FREE educational technology tools for teachers with a brief description of each.

Click here for PDF

Monday, July 15, 2013

Moodle 2 Quick Guide for Teachers

I put together a comprehensive guide for teachers that includes information about features of Moodle 2 that were not found in Moodle 1.  I have sent it to the professors at BBC&S, but I thought I'd share it with the population at large.  Enjoy!

Click Here for Quick Guide

Monday, June 17, 2013

Using Rubrics in Moodle 2

As you know, a rubric is a grading standard established for a given assignment.  The rubric consists of various criteria.  For each criterion, several descriptive levels are provided.  Have you ever wished that you could have a rubric right inside Moodle and use it to grade assignments that are submitted through the system?  Well, now you can!

Imagine this:

A student submits an assignment via Moodle.
You open the assignment and use a rubric inside of Moodle to award appropriate points for each criterion on the rubric.
Moodle gives a grade based on the points that you select for each item/criterion.
The grade automatically transfers into the grade book!

Why would one do this?
  • It assures that the assignment objectives are tied to particular assessments.
  •  A rubric only needs to be created ONE time and it can be shared across assignments!
  •   It will allow for consistency across courses.  For example, the same rubric that is used to assess a forum discussion in one course can be used in another course as well.
  •  It’s easier!  You don’t have to get out your syllabus and look at your rubrics and switch from looking down at your paper to up at the screen!  You can do it all electronically!
  •  Moodle does the math for you!  

Watch this video to learn how to set up rubrics in your Moodle course:

Conditional Activities: Pedagogical Considerations

Moodle 2 allows you to restrict the availability of activities until certain conditions are met.  These are called conditional activities.  For example, you may restrict all of the content and activities in a particular module until a certain grade is earned on the quiz in a previous module. 

Conditional activities are a way for you to force your students to work through things in a particular order.  It is certainly good course design to make it clear to your students what they are expected to do next, but do you need to force?  Malcolm Knowles and his principles of andragogy would tell us that adult learners like to be in control of their own learning.  So, should you use labels and layout, rather than locks and keys, to suggest the best learning path?  Something to think about, eh?  Here are some suggestions for when the use of conditional activities might be appropriate:

- The idea of restricting access to something until another task has been completed happens to nicely mirror the level structure present in many games.  You could venture into games-based learning.  Just a thought for those who are creative in that way…
Conditional activities are good to use when one week/module builds on the next.  If you need to lead the horse to water AND make him/her drink, a conditional activity might be just what you are looking for.  Suppose you need the students to choose a group for an activity.  You can create a “Choice” activity and then make access to that week’s graded discussion forum dependent upon the completion of the “Choice” activity. 
- If you want to be sure that students have read content before posting in the discussion forums or before taking a quiz, you can set up the forums or the quiz so that the PDFs/URLs (i.e. electronic reading material) must be opened before the activities become available.  This way, the students can’t discuss material that they have never even opened!
-Facilitating self-directed learning is perhaps where conditional activities are the most powerful.  They allow you to automate several paths through content.  Conditional activities make it simple to offer both extension and remedial activities to students simultaneously.  For instance, you might have a practice quiz set up so that students who achieve above a certain score are directed to further exploration activities whereas those who achieve below a certain score are given access to some help resources.

 Watch this video to learn how to set up conditional activities in your Moodle course:

Friday, November 4, 2011


Sliderocket is a great presentation software program.  The "lite" version is free.  Although it has some limitations compared to the $24.00/month "pro" version, it does enough to allow you to create something pretty cool.  It looks clean and crisp.  Check it out for use in your classes or, if you are a Moodle trainer, consider using it as a presentation tool when training faculty.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Collapsed Topics

I would like to introduce a new format for your eLearn courses.  Up until this point, we have used a weekly format and a topics format.  We now have an additional option called “collapsed topics” that will help to organize your courses and decrease the cognitive load for your learners.  We all know that eLearn can be “clunky” and disorderly.  This new feature has the potential to improve the look and navigation of your course!  Here is an example of how it looks:
The new format does not affect your course materials whatsoever and can be changed back to the weekly format or topics format at any time if you find that it is not your preference.  To check it out:
1) Enter your course on eLearn.
2) Click “Settings” in the administration block.
3) Click on the “Format” dropdown menu.
4) Choose “Collapsed Topics.”
5) Click on “Save Changes.”

I hope you find this to be a help!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Renaming Your Files

Each course contains file folders.  You may want to create separate folders for organizational purposes, just as you would on your computer.  If you place a file into a course file folder and then make changes to it later and re-upload it into your course file folder, you must change the name of the file.  If you do not change the name of the file, the system will default back to the original file and the edited version will not be reflected when you link it to the course page.