Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

This is a summary of contextual inquiries completed around content management.  We'll use code rather than real names in order to protect their privacy.

Background & Role (may include demographics)

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • Title: Special Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Business
  • Finished PHD in 2004, started teaching at York afterwards.
  • Using Moodle for 2 years
  • Courses taught:
    • Management 1000 (Fall) - required intro Management course for B.Com students, 8 TAs, 400 students 
    • Course director for 5150 (MBA course) - 400 students,  50-100 students per section
  • Not currently teaching

Context of Work / Work Environment

(Concept:  It is argued that to understand the office work context we need to go beyond tracking superficial physical attributes such as who or what is where when, and consider the state of digital resources, people's concepts, task state, social relations and the local work culture, to name a few)

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • has a special role in the faculty mandated by Dean, to promulgate and advance use of technology in teaching
  • has office in Business School with professional and scholarly books, desktop computer with large screen LCD monitor
  • Management students she teaches have a lot of business background, and technology savvy; motivated, bright
  • coordinates other faculty who teach one week each of the 5150 MBA course, focussing on their respective specialties

Computer Technology Use

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • first member of faculty to use Moodle; early adopter by any definition
  • prior to that, had been using Learning Space (IBM)
  • Introduced Moodle in Winter term (150 students)
  • To move from Lotus Notes to Moodle was considered by the instructor to be tough, but worth the effort.
  • prof has her own "Schulich" version of Moodle separate from the standard York Moodle installation; it is an older version than the v 1.6 installed at York. Was a very early adopter of Moodle at York.
  • prof uses computer for writing, library access, email communication

Goals

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • prof's pedagogical goal is to increase quantity and quality of interaction with course content and amongst students
  • emphasizes constructivist pedagogy; uses technology as a medium for students to create new thoughts rather than convey her own knowledge
  • Uses technology unfamiliar to students to 'provoke' students into self-learning

Teaching Style / Format

Berkeley Instructor #1 

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • We thought that prof spends a lot of time preparing materials for her classes, and more than the typical instructor
  • "Game Show" model of teaching favoured by prof
    • Clicker questions used to engage students in lectures
    • Clickers aren't linked to Moodle (files are incompatible)
  • Students go online as part of her lectures
  • A business game is used in one course (which one?) where student groups compete (BizCafe)

Moodle use

  • Moodle is not used as a place to create content, but a place to aggregate or collect content; prof provides links to content in Moodle
  • Not used live in lectures
  • 2-3 times in a semester, Moodle is shown as a PP slide in class as an introduction to its use
    • prof doesn't give them links to the Moodle help or instructions.
  • Built in surveys in Moodle are used
  • Does not do tests or quizzes though Moodle
  • Calendars in Moodle used extensively to post events, due dates
  • access to Moodle site during exams
  • marker feedback on exams was posted on Moodle
  • Course Announcements: Sticky (always first, top of page)
    • Manual ordering of announcements lets instructor choose what shows up on the first page
  • General Questions forums in Moodle:
    • Allows students to answer each other questions, save instructor time
  • "Weekly schedule" layout used in Moodle (one of several predefined layout options)
  • Discussions are kept with content (within the weekly blocks)
  • Course content from other CMS prof uses for posting content (New Mindsets) can be linked for each week. NMS links back to Moodle as well.  Students go between the two sites.  She makes a point of showing students this early in the semester that there are 2 web sites (Moodle and NMS)
  • Each week in in Moodle corresponds to a chapter in the custom paper reader.
    • Tries to get people to read the book by referring to it online.
  • Course projects (assignments) are kept online
    • Each project has forums for questions about projects
  • With her PowerPoint use and with a remote wireless mouse, instructor is free from podium to encourage student focus and participation
  • HP Tablets used in classroom for note taking; certain students assigned note-taker role for rest of class for every class.
    • Students share these created notes, intent is for students to see connected ideas in each other's notes
  • Assessment: done with open book exams
    • Open laptop exam option was discussed but not yet implemented - This created a dialogue amongst the students. During exams: Web access but only to Moodle, Turnitin.com, My Online Content
  • Teaching Assistants
    • Usually PhD students, new TAs
    • TAs tutor small student groups, face to face
    • Do not grade, except team projects (for which they need to know the team)
      • Separate grading team is used for "blind" grading of independent student work
    • Have access to edit Moodle
    • TAs have their own section in the Moodle forum, and can choose whether to use it for their section.
    • 3 of 8 decided to use Moodle to communicate, others used Facebook or email.

Use Cases / Activities

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

For undergrad management course:

  • Library staff were included as part of online research content
    • Prof gave them access and they added seminar content to the course Moodle.
    • Created their own content and forums as part of the course site
    • Students could see that the librarians were "there"
  • Student Project Groups (undergrad course?):
    • Groups of 5 students used for business planning groups
    • Each group has its own forum in Moodle
    • "Your Space" - private forum for each team. Only their team can see.
    • Students didn't use Wiki

Pain Points / Time Wasters / Opportunities

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

With Learning Space:

  • students could not easily locate content in the IBM system
  • students found retrieving instructor feedback difficult

With Moodle:

  • After a submitted peice of work (assignment, test) has been graded the student can see feedback on it but not the original work.
  • Blind grading: On Moodle this is not possible because it attaches names to student numbers by default.  Cannot turn off this feature.
  • changing order of items on course screen:
    • No drag and drop: have to keep clicking down arrow and wait for refresh to get an item to "the bottom" of the list. Would love drag and drop for reordering items and sections.
      • This was a huge pain point for her.
    • When moving items, after an item is moved, Moodle jumps her back to top of list which she finds annoying.  She has to rethink "where am I in the list for what I'm trying to do"
    • Forgetting what you were doing by the time the page refreshes
    • Boxes are an affordance to show you where they will move to.
    • There is no undo
  • First year TAs hated Moodle (according to prof).
    • Took a while to ramp up with it
    • Didn't like the color scheme, wanted liquid width.
  • Font size was smaller on student laptops then on the instructor's computer
  • Students suggested changes to instructor about skinning
    • Change of theme made a big difference to students
    • Students re-designed the theme and created their own Schulich Moodle theme - elegant, subtle.
  • 100% of students said "use Moodle again next year".

Time Wasters

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Course Material Management Details

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • All the content is selected before the course, and made into paper customized text and Powerpoint applications.
    • Powerpoint presentations are put into Moodle
    • Her text book is coordinated with her online content and readings from the customized text book are listed weekly on her Moodle site.
  • "Edit" mode in Moodle:
    • She has to click button to go into Edit mode. Initially clicked the wrong button when observed - botton too small?
    • Likes ability to directly edit on content
    • After editing, she will switch to "Student Mode" to see how the information looks to students.  She found this feature helpful.
    • Show/hide sections of course
    • Arrows for moving section components up and dow
    • Icons for different functions in Edit mode were seen as helpful
  • entering PowerPoint presentations into the course page:
  • *- Upload size limit on files is a limitation
    • Uses HTML Upload to get powerpoint slide into Moodle
    • Links in PPT go to online content, page numbers in paper reader
  • HTML file upload interface
    • Shows you a list of existing resources (all previously uploaded for course) (pain point: this view is forced, and takes a long time to load)
    • File explorer mode
    • To upload a file from a local drive, gets a new HTML upload Form; uploadign becomes a two stage process
    • Profished it worked like "attaching something to an email"
  • Moodle tools for course content:
    • Tools are broken into "Activities" and "Resources".
    • include: Survey, Forums, Wiki, Quiz (clickers are thought by prof to be better since they are real time), Chat, Assignment (used for final exam)
    • Aggregate views for each tool let you see an overview of the contents of each view.
  • Other online course content - New MindSets:
    • Schulich server has a content management/delivery system installed called "New Mindsets" - Self created CMS
    • A content repository
    • Students have their own account on "New Mindsets"
    • These are linked together with Moodle
    • the library site is linked to Moodle
    • the custom reader has its own website
    • Organization on NMSets is different from in Moodle.
    • Prof: what you want from a content management system is different from the aggregation and social aspects (i.e. NMS vs. Moodle).

Reuse Content

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • Migrating content from year to year is done by editing and then changing the date.
    • Content automatically goes into course calendar.  She found this helpful.

Student Collaboration / Project Work

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Assignments:

  • Everything is submitted online through Moodle
  • Turnitin is used to check for plaigarisms
  • Exams are submitted into Moodle and are browsable by the prof.
  • Feedback is entered into Moodle, and students can view it there.
  • Sortable columns for the assignment listings
  • Assignments uploaded as Word files, uploaded into repository
  • TAs enter feedback into Moodle during grading.
  • TAs can read each others' comments for comparison.

Moodle as "academic Facebook":

  • Students given opportunity by instructor to sample old exam questions and they help each other work them through
  • Senior students can helper junior students through Moodle
  • Students asked for a specific forum to meet new people, form study groups and collaborate; this was provided and used: "Meeting People" forum early in the year (open to all students).
  • Students asked for study group forums, based on location etc (i.e. Woodbridge study group). These were set up.

Student collaboration:

  • HP Tablets are used to allow students to create course content that will be used and entered into the full course in their tutorials.
  • Students see content from course page and are asked to create new content on tablet PCs (visual content). Questions are also developed based on course content (multiple choice).
  • Student content gets put into powerpoint and presented in lectures
  • Questions they develop become clicker questions used in lectures

Project/Research Material Management Details

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Collaboration w/ others

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

  • Students use Moodle in combination with Facebook, MSN, IM etc
  • Live web-based chat in Moodle was not used by students (reported to the instructor to be old fashioned)

Schedule / Organization

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Moodle Calendar

  • prof's favorite feature of Moodle is the calendar
  • uses it for:
    • Due dates
    • Lectures
    • Feedback dates
  • Sections are separate
  • Rollover shows student's topic for the lecture
    • They can click the topic to get to that information
  • Tells students: "Just look at the calendar" - all important dates for the course are in one place
  • Calendar saves her time from answering the same student questions over and over.
  • Content automatically goes into course calendar.  She found this helpful.
  • Prof manages system so each successive week shows up as it happens in student view of calendar (timed release), but this must be done manually every week, cannot be calendared itself

General CMS/LMS/CLE Activities

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Surveys:

  • Results of surveys available to instructor, including graphing of results.
  • Individual answers from students are browsable.

Use of Moodle help system:

  • Prof never uses help button on bottom of page to pull up detailed page-related help, nor consults the general Moodle help docs.
  • Contextual help: sometimes she finds it helpful ("?" buttons besides icons and drop-down menus)
  • Usually learns through trial and error
  • Has gone to Moodle forums but finds them too technical to ask questions in.

Site traffic graphs:

  •  Aggregate site traffic graphs (connections by day) are shown to instructor.
    • On homepage.
    • Prof finds this useful to see if students are reading the Moodle site especially after she's posted something important like information about an exam or project.Other:
  • Instructor can see "student view" to see what that role sees.

Communication 

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1

Other 

Berkeley Instructor #1

Toronto (York) Instructor #1