Introduction Moodle is a Learning Management System (LMS) – software developed to augment traditional learning methods, enabling instructors to enhance their students’ learning experiences or replace traditional face-to-face classes with online instruction. It was originally designed by an educator to engage learners and promote collaborative, studentcentered learning. Moodle is like an interactive website for your class material with many features and activities that enhance both teaching and learning. “Moodle” is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. The word “moodle” is also a verb that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, non-purposefully, doing things as they occur to you, or enjoyable tinkering often leading to brilliant insight and creativity – eureka moments. At Veterans Upward Bound, Moodle is used in the following ways: 1. Partnered with a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting 2. As part of a hybrid class - 50% or more of the class is in the classroom, the rest online 3. Exclusively in a class taught completely online In this guide, we will explain the basics of using and interacting with Moodle. It is assumed that users have a basic familiarity with computers and are able to navigate the Internet, create and read files, open and interact with PDF files, and access VUB email. When using Moodle, it is critical that your VUB email account is regularly checked. Your instructors will be communicating with you through your email. Most instructors will expect you to check your VUB email daily. Please contact the ITS Help Desk if you need assistance with your VUB email account. Questions or concerns? Moodle has many features that seem daunting to users. If you are having issues with your course content or submitting assignments, contact your instructor. Contact the ITS Help Desk if you are having account or login issues. Your instructor and the ITS Help Desk should be notified if a class is missing from your “My courses” list. Finding Veterans Upward Bound’s Moodle homepage There are a number of ways for users to access Veterans Upward Bound’s Moodle. Many users bookmark the VUB Moodle homepage on their personal computers for future convenience. Here are two of the easiest methods to reach Moodle: 1. From the VUB website home page, click on Login then select Moodle. 2. From any web browser, type: http://vubonline.com . Logging into Moodle Once you have reached VUB’s Moodle homepage, your screen will look very similar to Figure 1, seen below. To log in, enter your username and password at the left hand side of the screen. Figure 1: VUB Moodle home page before logging in. Once a valid username and password have been used to login, Moodle will appear very similar to Figure 2, seen on the next page. In the center, you will find the list of Moodle courses. Figure 2: Moodle home page. Underneath “My courses,” you will find all active courses you are participating in. For help with missing courses, see “Questions or Concerns?” on page one. Navigation Basics Once you enter your course, you will see the front page, also called the Moodle class home page, divided in a three column layout; the center, where most of your course activities/content will be located in a topic-based or week-based format , and two columns of menu items (referred to as “blocks”) on either side. Many blocks can be added, removed, and relocated by your instructor, meaning, that each of your courses may appear slightly different. You should become familiar with the features that appear as part of the average course. See Figure 3 below, which breaks down the key features for each section of the side menus. Figure 3: Above is the typical layout for block menus, though some classes may differ slightly. 1. Navigation The Navigation block is an expanding menu including My Home, Site Pages, My Profile, and Courses. “My Home” takes users to their personal dashboard, showing course overviews for Moodle pages tied to that account. “Site Pages” expands to show resources and help guides for the entire VUB Moodle site, including this help guide. “My Profile” will take the logged in user to their public profile, a minimalistic page showing a user’s enrolled courses, including past courses which will appear in gray, and a few basic user details. Profiles can only been seen my logged in VUB users. “Current Course” will also appear as an item in this block when viewing a course. This allows the user to quickly move between weeks or topics on the Moodle course page. Finally, “My Courses” is an expandable menu listing all courses a user is or has participated in, making moving between courses fast and easy. 2. Administration The Administration block adapts and changes depending on what the user is viewing. When viewing a course, enrolled participants can view any visible grades by clicking Grades, located underneath a submenu heading “Course Administration.” The Administration block will house a submenu called “My profile settings” when viewing profiles or profile-relevant web pages. Within this submenu is “Edit profile,” which is where users click to update their user photo, location, time zone, and other profile settings. It is highly recommended that users keep their profiles up to date, including a current and identifiable photo. 3. Activities When an instructor adds an activity or resource to a course (see Commonly Used Activities and Resources Icon Legend below), the Activities block will update when viewing that course to include a current list of all visible activities and resources. This can be great help users navigate to assignments much more quickly, especially in a more extensive online-based course. This block only appears when viewing a course, and includes activities and resources from that course exclusively. 4. Quickmail Though not universally used, many instructors communicate with students through the Quickmail feature. Inside the Quickmail block are four links: “Compose New Email” allows users to create a new email communicating with any VUB Moodle user; the “Signatures” feature is where users can create custom signatures, much like those found in an email client; “View Drafts” shows all messages in the drafting stage; “View History” shows users their past communications with other users. 5. Course Evaluation Course Evaluation is a tool that allows students to evaluate classes and instructors by completing a short survey. The block is hidden until the end of a term or session. Evaluations are available one week before the end of the class. Evaluations are anonymous, and not made available to the instructor until all grades have been officially submitted. Please take a few minutes to fill out these Course Evaluation once your course has completed. 6. Search Forums The Search Forums feature provides an easy way to search with key words within forum postings. This is especially helpful in more feedback-based classes where Forums are more regularly used. The Search Forums function is limited to the course that the user is actively viewing. 7. Latest News Recent posts made in the News Forum will display within the Latest News block, as well as a link to view older posts. Some instructors choose not to use the News Forum feature, making Latest News less informative. 8. Upcoming Events This block displays approaching events within the specified course. Due dates, holidays, and any event listed on the course’s calendar will appear in Upcoming Events is sorted chronologically. 9. Recent Activity Recent Activity is an optional block that shows users what has changed or been added since their last login. Instructors often choose to leave this block turned off.