“Badges, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!” How About A Stamp on Moodle?

In teaching, particularly younger students, they like the rewards given out by teachers. Some may be in the form of a sticker(s), extra credit points, positive punches, or assorted other rewards.  I have found in the past, students who earn points or some other form of recognition that may lead up to extra credit often misplace or lose whatever they use to keep track of the points they earn.
If you’re like me, anything that can help keep track of things electronically works best.  An add-on module for Moodle is the Stamp Collection Module.  It allows you, as a teacher, to give out stamps to students for a variety of reasons, i.e. extra assignments, going above and beyond on a project, etc.
Use stamps for students to earn extra credit, bonus, etc.
Each stamp comes with a text box that allows you to explain the reason that a student received a star.
Text box explains reason for stamp.
You can even allow students to give other students stamps. The good thing is that you can review stamps to make sure students are giving others stamps for appropriate reasons.  If you find a stamp that was given for an inappropriate reason, you can always delete the stamp.  In allowing students to give out stamps, it gives them an opportunity to take responsibility.
So if you are looking for some type of reward system to add to your Moodle, check out the Stamps Collection module.
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Chatting It Up In Moodle

Afraid of your students chatting without being moderated? Have you tried the chat feature in Moodle? Read More…
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Facing the Upload Limit in Moodle

I am using the Moodle frequently for activities in the classroom.  One of the most used activities is the assignment activity.  Here I can have students submit their assignments on-line via a file upload option with the assignment.
Here is the option to upload an assignment.
This is the option I tend to use the most when it comes to assignments. For most activities, the defaults work just fine regarding the file size limit of the upload (usually 2mb or 10mb).  However, there are occasions when a file exceeds the maximum file limit size.  If you have experienced this situation you may wonder to yourself, “What do I do now!”  In a case like this you might grab a flash drive and save it there or just might allow students to use the online text. If their assignment includes video and sound this might not work for you. It may only serve as a temporary fix to a long-term problem.  I came across this situation when I had students upload their digital stories.  Most students’ files were under the 10mb limit of the Moodle.  However, the number of students beyond this limit began to add up and I needed to do something about this problem.
Going online and do a Google search I found the most common solution to this problem was to create a php.ini file.  I use a hosting service for my website, Moodle, and blog.  Within the control panel of my web hosted site, there will be an option to configure the PHP environment.  Once completed it will generate a php.ini file.  When I did it with my service it created a php.ini file with a limit of 2mb for upload size. So the next step was to change the maximum upload size to allow for larger file sizes to be uploaded.
The php.ini file with maximum upload size of 2MB
The first thing I do is download the php.ini file to my local computer.  I then use a text editor to make the changes I need to make.  The easiest way to locate the section of the file that I need to make the changes is to  go to Edit – Find (1) and type inmax_file and click Find Next. I do this until I get to the section File Uploads. I then locate the upload_max_filesize = 2M (2) and change it to whatever I need to change the size to. Now something to keep in mind is the size you choose will determine how large a file you can upload to the Moodle.  If your like me, you may have some videos that are over 100mb, especially if you are flipping your classroom and include video lessons on your Moodle.  So you may want to consider a large number to allow for what you want to upload.  Keep in mind you can always limit the size of what the students can upload, which I’ll get to next.
Ok, you’ve changed the  
upload_max_filesize = (# size)M to whatever suits your purpose. You are one happy person! You go in and create an assignment and go to set the maximum upload size to a larger number and wait it’s not allowing you to go above a certain file size!!! What is going on?!!!!
Locate File Submission under
Adminstration-Plugins-Assignment
There is one final step you will need to complete.  If you go to the Administration (see above) , select Site Administration Plugins – Assignment – File Submissions. You will need to change one more setting.
Changing the file size for maximum upload for assignments.
Once this final change is completed, students now can upload files to the new maximum size that I indicated in the File Submissions setting.  Now there is one thing to keep in mind with this process and that is you need to have admin privileges to complete this process.  If you don’t you need to speak to whoever is in charge of your Moodle to make the necessary changes.  Good luck!
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Part 2: Not a Moodle Plugin But Sure Helps


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Part 1: Not a Moodle Plugin But Sure Helps


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Moodle Activities Plugin – Questionnaire

One of my favorite activities plugin that I discovered was the questionnaire plugin. I use the questionnaire plugin for all sorts of surveys that I take over the course of the year.  For example, at the beginning of the year I have students take a survey as to what technology tools do they have at home and whether that have access to the Internet. Or during the course of the year I may have students fill out survey (questionnaire) on what topic is their first, second, or third choice when completing a project. I may use one to determine the outcome of an activity’s presentation.  For example, students would vote on which presentation gave the most convincing argument.  Some teachers will say to me, “I see there is already a survey activity available on the Moodle. Why not just use the built-in survey?”  The thing to keep in mind is that the Survey module is that it provides various survey instruments (COLLES or ATTLS).  When attempting to extract information from students, as I mentioned above, you need to install the questionnaire plugin.
As with other plugins, I return to Moodle.org and go into the download section of the site. The video below walks you through finding, downloading, installing and adding your first questionnaire.
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Moodle and The Many Plugins

I thought I would spend the next week or so going over some of the handy free plugins that are available to add to your Moodle site.  These plugins add a variety of features that don’t come with the initial installation of Moodle.  But for I get started with them, I wanted to talk about how easy it has become to install these plugins.  Back in the old days of installing a plugin you really had to know where things went in order to get the plugin working. What do I mean where things went?  Well, if it was an activity plugin, you had to make sure it went into the mod folder either by having direct access to the server or being able to ftp into the server. But that wasn’t all! You then had language .php file that had to go into the correct lang folder (in my case the en folder within the lang folder). And if it was a block plugin?  Same procedure but with the plugin going into the blocks folder.   Course plugin? Course folder. You get the general idea.  Of course after doing it over and over again you would get the hang of it and it would almost become a robotic response to adding these plugins.
Now if you have administrator rights it is really easy! Especially after having to proceed as mentioned above.  It is as simple as finding the plugin you want and adding it to your Moodle through a simple procedure.  The video below will show you where to locate the plugins.
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These Are A Few Of My Favoirte Things

As the end of the year approaches and everyone has their top 10 lists for 2012, I thought I’d include my own related to educational technology.  Please note these may not be new for 2012, but just either things I discovered in 2012 or use all of the time. So here it goes in no certain order.
    So here is my list for this year. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some software or hardware that I find indispensable. Look for updates of this list, where 10 may become 11, 12, 13….
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