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How can I set up a private 1-1 (professor-student) dialogue exchange in Moodle?

“I would like for the students to post their interpretations, journals and comments and for me to be able to give my individual feedback without the whole class knowing. As of now, I use Forum, but all students are able to see the content there.”

To create a private and individualized document and feedback exchange with students you can try the Forum + Separate Groups Approach:

Step 1.  Create a Forum and change the Forum Settings Group Mode to “Separate.”  

The forum module is an activity where students and teachers can exchange ideas by posting comments.

The group mode setting in the forum module has three options:

  1. No groups (default)
  2. Separate groups – (for privacy) each group can only see their own group, others are invisible
  3. Visible groups – (for collaboration) each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups

Adding a new discussion topic to a forum set to separate groups

If the group mode is set to separate groups:

  • Teachers are given the option of adding a new discussion topic for all participants or for a selected group. If a teacher adds a new discussion topic for a selected group, then only group members can view and reply to it. If a teacher adds a new discussion topic for all participants, then students can’t reply to it. (This is to ensure that groups are kept separate.)
  • Students can only start discussions within their own group.
  • Students can only reply to discussions started by other group members or discussions for their own group started by a teacher.

So, using the groups function with discussion forums allow teachers to restrict interaction between students. Separate groups mean only students in the same group can see and participate in discussions within a particular forum. Visible groups allow students to see other group’s discussions, but only participate in their own group’s discussions. Source: Moodle Docs

STEP 2. Create the Groups

In this teaching case, the instructor should create a Separate Group for each of her students.  The members of each group would simply be the student and the professor, herself.  So, if there are 10 students, then the instructor would create 10 Groups.  Members of each group would be a single student and herself.  Groups should be named by using student last names for ease of reference.

  1. Click the ‘CREATE GROUP’ button in Settings > Administration > Groups
  2. Add a group name and optional description (displayed above the list of group members on the participants page)
  3. Click the ‘SAVE CHANGES’ button; rinse and repeat if creating multiple groups
  4. Next, select the group to which you want to add participants, then click the ‘ADD/REMOVE users” button
  5. In the “Potential members” list, select the user(s) you want to add to the group. Multiple users may be selected using the Crtl key.
  6. Click the ADD button to add the users to the group

 STEP 3. Re-visit the Forum

Separate Group mode in Forums

Instructor’s view of Forum with Separate Groups enabled.

Instructors can view student posts to the Forum by scrolling through the “Separate Groups” drop down menu in the upper left corner.  Replies to individual students are also managed here.  Replies to All Participants can also be drafted here.

Note: If students will be posting course assignments to the forum, e.g. Word docs or other course files like MP3 (audio) files, the instructor should also be sure to increase the maximum attachment size to ensure that the files are upload-able.

To make changes to an existing forum, click the “UPDATE THIS FORUM” link in the upper left corner of the Forum.

Why can’t students post to discussion forum in my iLearn course?

Discussion Forum postings may be blocked due to Group Settings in your iLearn course.

To repair the problem check these settings in each of your iLearn courses:

  1. Go to the Administration panel on the left side of your course then click on Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Groups.  Check to see if it is set to “Separate Groups”.  If it is, and you are not actively using the Groups function in iLearn to manage student access to resources and activities, then you should change this setting to “No Groups” and Force to “No”.

How do I delete the News Forum that comes standard in my Moodle course?

Permanently deleting the news forum takes two steps:

  1. Go to course settings and set the number of ‘news items to show’ to 0; Save this setting.
  2. Return to the course home page and delete the news forum.

If you don’t set the new items to 0, the forum comes back because the settings indicate that you intend to use it.

Alternatively, hide the News Forum by clicking on the eyeball next to it.  This will change the visibility of the forum for students.

How do I insert a label for an audio file in Moodle?

Step 1: Click the Add a resource drop down menu and select Insert a label.

Step 2: A new screen will open up called Adding a New Label to Topic #. Add your label text in the text box, highlight it and click onto insert a link to your audiofile.

Step 3: Click on Browse to choose the resource.

If you have already uploaded your resource to Moodle, checkthe title and click on the file, e.g. . If you have not yet uploaded your resource, click on Browse to upload it.

Step 4: Enter a title and click on OK

Step 5: Save your changes.

You are now back on your main Moodle page. Your labeled file will look like this (black label with triangle to click on):

What should I do if my students cannot view a videoclip properly using Moodle?

The following issue was described by a faculty member:

I’ve posted a video clip (QuickTime Movie) on my Moodle, and although I can view it fine when I click the link, my students are having a hard time viewing it. I have posted other video clips in the same way before, and had no trouble. One student said that after he installed the program Flip4Mac or used another program called VLC, he was able to view it. However, I don’t understand why this extra step is necessary for this particular video clip.

The students who couldn’t watch the .mov file, probably did not have Quicktime player installed on their computers. Quicktime player is a freeware program and works both on PCs and Macs.

Flip4Mac is a freeware program that allows Mac users to view windows media files (.wmv or .wma typically).

VLC is another freeware program which allows users to view a variety of media types.

This is another reason why streaming files in YouTube or other video streaming service can be helpful – you do not need a local (on your own computer) player to access the files – you simply need Internet access and a web browser with the appropriate browser plugin (usually Flash, which is another freeware).To learn how to add a link to a video, open the quick guide How do I embed a Youtube video into my Moodle site?

What should I do if students are being kicked out of my Moodle course?

Step 1: Click on Settings in the Administration panel on the left-hand side.

Step 2: Scroll down to the area called Enrollments — this is the second section, just after the General course settings at the top. In the following screenshot, it is set so that there are specific course enrollment dates. Note also that the enrollment duration is 17 days, meaning that students will be automatically UNenrolled 17 days after they first join the course.

For normal 15-week courses at MIIS, the safest best is to keep the default settings that allow for unlimited enrollment (they will never be kicked out). Here’s an example:

Be sure to save your changes at the very bottom of the page.

What should I do if Moodle’s message system does not seem to function?

How to check if students have included an email address in their profiles:
  1. Open your Moodle site.
  2. Go to Participants at the upper left corner on your main page.
  3. Look at your course participant list.
  4. Check who does not have a picture associated, or a city associated with their profile. Those students need to update their profiles.
  5. Directions on how to update profiles: http://elearning.miis.edu/mod/book/view.php?id=16533&chapterid=393 This is a six-minute video that students should watch to learn how to log in and set up their Moodle profile.
Another useful quick guide can be found at:
Open the quick guide How to give students access to your course to see how participants can update their Moodle profile.

How can students publish Moodle blog posts or keep them private?

Step 1: Go to Participants in the upper left corner.

Step 2: In the participants list, click on your name. Open the “Blog” tab.

If you’d like anyone on this site to be able to read your blog, choose “anyone on this site.”

If, however, you’d prefer to keep it private, choose “Yourself (draft).”

Step 3: Don’t forget to click on “Save changes” at the very bottom of the page.

How do I overwrite an existing resource in Moodle?

Step 1: Turn editing on. Go to the resource that you want to replace by a newer version and click on Edit.

Step 2: To replace the old resource, click on Choose or upload a file.

Step 3: Click on Upload a file but make sure that your new (updated) file has the same name as the existing resource file.

At this point, your old file will be overwritten without warning! The old resource file is no longer available now. The links to this resource remain unaffected though.

Step 4: Check the box and click on Choose.

Important: For these changes to become effective, you need to click on Save changes at the very bottom of a new screen.

Note: If the new version does not appear on your main page, it may be necessary to click the “refresh” button on your browser. This resets the “cache” in your browser and will also reflect any changes made to the database which is underneath the Moodle interface.

How do I embed a Google map in Moodle? How about a video?

This is used to embed a video into your Moodle site instead of having the students click on a link to open up another window like Youtube. They can watch the video right from the Moodle site by clicking on the arrow in the middle.

Step 1: Click the Add a resource drop down menu and select Add a label.

Step 2: A new screen will open up called Adding a New Label to Topic #. It will look like the screenshot below. At this point do not add any text.

Step 3: Before adding any text, find a video to embed in Moodle such as a You Tube video like the one below. On the You Tube site there is an embed code on the top right hand side. Copy the embed code. Embed codes usually begin with a description of the width and height of the video box such as <object width=”420” …>.

Step 4: Go back to Moodle and click on the icon to turn on the Text Mode in order to embed the code for the video. Then paste the embed code in the text space. It should look like this below. Click Save changes.

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.