Moodle offers a variety of means to interact and communicate with your students:
The chat activity module enables participants to have text-based, real-time synchronous discussions.
The chat may be a one-time activity or it may be repeated at the same time each day or each week. Chat sessions are saved and can be made available for everyone to view or restricted to users with the capability to view chat session logs.
The forum activity module enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time.
There are several forum types to choose from, such as a standard forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time; a forum where each student can post exactly one discussion; or a question and answer forum where students must first post before being able to view other students’ posts. A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.
Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.
Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook.
Announcement forums (or news forums) are set up to enable only coordinators or admin staff to post messages. These forums have the added functionality of generating an email to students for each post, and feeding content into the Latest News block that appears on the home page of units.
Adobe Connect (set up and accessed through Moodle)
Adobe Connect enables synchronous discussion with the added benefit of being able to screen share documents (powerpoints, spreadsheets etc) so that students can view what you are discussing while you are ‘meeting’ with them.
Some activity tools enable comments to be added for student contributions:
The glossary module enables participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary. Glossary entries may be automatically linked wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the site.
The database activity module enables participants to create, maintain and search a collection of entries (i.e. records). The structure of the entries is defined by the teacher as a number of fields. Field types include checkbox, radio buttons, dropdown menu, text area, URL, picture and uploaded file.
The wiki activity module enables participants to add and edit a collection of web pages. A wiki can be collaborative, with everyone being able to edit it, or individual, where everyone has their own wiki which only they can edit.
A history of previous versions of each page in the wiki is kept, listing the edits made by each participant.
Of course, you can also communicate via email, phone, blogs, Skype, Facebook, Twitter etc.
While we realise that email and phone communications are valuable for personal contact with students, if information is applicable to all students, posting it in Moodle makes it available for everyone. The same applies for social media use as not all students will access these platforms. Further, with social media, we advise setting up your own spaces that enable you to be in control of posts by students.
For more information, feel free to contact us.