Thursday, February 10, 2011

Engaging students with discussion forums

Today I attended "Engaging students with discussion forums", the second in a series of Education Innovation Workshops being run during February 2011, by the Educational Development Group, College of Engineering & Computer Science at the Australian National University. These are short, sharp hands-on sessions intended for those developing courses with ANU's "Wattle" (Moodle based) Learning Management System. Dr Peter Evans, visiting the ANU from USQ, took us through Moodle groups and how these interact with grades. I thought I knew Moodle, after having used it to teach for several years, but I learnt how to set up a "scale" which will save me considerable work with the Electronic Document and Records Management course I am running at the ANU, starting on Monday. Previously I rated each student posting to a forum each week. Moodle added up all the marks and calculated the average, but reported it to five decimal places. I then manually rounded the grade for each student each week. Scales can be used to limit the grade to a short fixed range of values, so it rounds automatically.

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