Archive for September, 2010

Hey, did you know that Moodle has groups?

Sometimes it can be difficult for students within large classes to contribute to online discussions due to the audience size. Moodle provides a simple tool to deal with this challenge. All discussion forums and wikis within Moodle have the option to use groups. If a student is in a group discussion, they can only read and respond to posts that have been made by other group members. This reduces their audience from 30+ to only 4 or 5. To set this up is relatively straight forward.

1) Click “Groups” from the administration panel.

2) Choose one of two ways to create the group. If you know who you would like in each group, press “Create Group”. Alternatively if you want Moodle to create the groups for you Choose “Auto-create groups”.

a) Creating a group Manually:

When you click “Create group” a form opens asking you for the name and description of the group. You are also prompted for an enrollment key. If you create a key here, then any student that uses the group key instead of the course key to sign up for the course will automatically be added to the group.

b) Creating a group automatically

If your students are already enrolled in the course, you can very quickly create groups randomly and assign students to them:

For example if you specify as above, Moodle will create groups with up to 4 students in each called Apple A, Apple B, Apple C, etc. By selecting “prevent last small group” Moodle will ensure that the groups are balanced. You can repeat this process using “Banana @” and “Pear @” to create additional groups. Then when you start your conversations just tell your students that they will be discussing in their “Apple groups today…”.

Now all you need to do is create the wiki or forum using one of the “Activity” drop downs. Create the forum as you normally would, then look to the bottom of the creation page for a box that looks like this:

Choose:
– Separate groups: Group members can only see and post to their own group’s discussion.
– Visible groups: Group members can only post to their own discussion, but can view all other groups as well.

Then post away! If the student belongs to multiple groups they (and you) will see a drop box top left in the discussion where they can choose which group they would like to engage with.

Happy posting!
Doug

September 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment


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