Moodle as a Pedagogical Tool


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Moodle as Pedagogical Tool: Engaging Students on Sensitive Issues
2010 ETUG Spring Workshop Presentation by Kate Butler and Donna McGhie-Richmond, University of Victoria
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Moodle as a Pedagogical Tool

  1. 1. <ul><li>Donna McGhie-Richmond & Kate Butler </li></ul><ul><li>ETUG Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>June 7-8, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>University of Victoria </li></ul>STIMULATING STUDENT COLLABORATION & ENGAGEMENT: CONTRASTING CASE STUDIES IN MOODLE
  3. 3. Challenge: Student Engagement <ul><li>Key question: How can I encourage student engagement with course material? </li></ul><ul><li>Reason this question emerged: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sociology: translating private troubles into public issues (Mills 1959) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty in getting students to engage with material in class – resistance to various exercises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Struggles in talking about controversial issues – both because of the contested nature of these topics and also because of the complexity involved </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Context <ul><li>‘ Traditional age’ university students – known as millennial learners : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Characteristics: digital, collaborative, experiential learners, immediacy, connected, emotional, diversity, and choice (Oblinger 2003: 37) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The students also tend to know one another (at least by face) as we meet in person as well as online </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle as a requirement for the course </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of Moodle for information dissemination as well </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Moodle as pedagogical tool in encouraging student engagement <ul><li>Time and space to discuss issues </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration with peers </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement outside the classroom </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1. Time and space to discuss issues <ul><li>Time to think ideas through – and to write out responses </li></ul><ul><li>By discussing issues on Moodle, students seem to bring up things that they might not have brought up in class – strengthening of critical analysis skills </li></ul><ul><li>Students who do not usually contribute to class discussions seem to feel more comfortable discussing topics on Moodle – encourages diversity of voices </li></ul>
  7. 7. Rahim <ul><li>“ Cooperatives are a good way to include people in the production of goods, but the issue that I have with Mondragon is the fact that they are a transnational company... The basic idea of Mondragon is commendable, but I think that the claims that this type of system reproduces the same power relations that exist within the current economic system is absolutely correct. The focus is still on making a profit, though this may be tempered by the democratic processes involved in making company decisions.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Kim <ul><li>“ ...I think that how fathers define success for their children differ based on their gender or it may be so for my culture (Japanese) or my own family. My father wants his children to be healthy and happy individuals, but he focuses on my brothers future career more than mine, while he focuses on my future relationship with a partner. He tells my brother the importance of a career and being financially secure and speaks to me about the importance of family AND having a career. I think my father's thinking corresponds with how our culture expects women to be, in that they must have a successful career while balancing a family life.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. 2. Collaboration with peers <ul><li>Informal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forum discussions – set up to encourage students to interact with others ideas (not just my questions) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Formal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis – contributing together on projects or setting class expectations (not just for the sake of using a wiki) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Group’ review sessions – getting students to review for tests together </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Collaboration with peers (informal) <ul><li>Jenna: “Sam and Lauren, you both made some significantly important claims about the value of collective identity but I will have to agree with Shawn here that concerning the emphasis on the effectiveness of a social movement, the action rather than the defined conception is paramount.” </li></ul><ul><li>Tina: “I would also have to agree with Rachel's comment on the Ancient Rome's acceptance... of prostitution of their time” </li></ul>
  11. 11. 3. Engagement outside the classroom <ul><li>Engagement not just in classroom but in community </li></ul><ul><li>Students can access different materials on Moodle (podcasts, links to articles, videos) as forum or wiki </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical and practical relevance of topics being discussed in class or text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I can provide examples that might not have been covered in class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students can also provide and link to examples to illustrate how class material connects to broader context </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Engagement outside the classroom <ul><li>Launch of Positive Space Network </li></ul><ul><li>G8/G20 Events for Young People: Engaging with the system rather than outside it </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate Honours Students Poster Day </li></ul><ul><li>Guerrilla gardening </li></ul>
  13. 13. Engagement outside the classroom <ul><li>Melanie: “Canada could exist as a nation with other nations. It would just be more of a politically complex piece of land with its persons separated within its boundaries. Also, some of Canadian identity would have to be altered. For example, if all Indigenous Canadian persons were to separate from the nation of Canada, Canada would have to consider not holding such a large piece of its identity to aboriginal cultures, which was recently represented in the 2010 Olympics” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Engagement outside the classroom <ul><li>Jorge: “It is funny that you bring up the 2010 Olympics in this thread only because an article in the Montreal Gazette recently mentioned that “nearly one-third of Quebec residents say the province should have its own Olympic team separate from Canada's, according to a survey conducted in the days following the Vancouver Games”. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Challenges with using Moodle as a tool to engage students <ul><li>Casual nature of Moodle – similarity to Facebook... </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation of Moodle responses? </li></ul><ul><li>Two-way communication? </li></ul><ul><li>Practical constraints </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time - not being able to respond to every single comment; time required to come up with questions, comments for Moodle discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resistance - Some students just don’t use it </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Concluding Thoughts <ul><li>Feedback from students </li></ul><ul><li>Student comfort and competence </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of use (from my perspective...) </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle as a helpful tool in encouraging engagement and collaboration – but good teaching requires more than simply relying on particular tools </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><li>Mills, C.W. (1959). The Sociological Imagination . Oxford University Press, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Oblinger, J. (2003). “Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials: Understanding the New Students”, EDUCAUSE Review. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Discussion <ul><li>Moodle vs Blackboard vs something else: Are other course management systems as useful in encouraging collaboration and engagement? </li></ul><ul><li>Marking Moodle responses: Thoughts or suggestions on marking/grading Moodle responses </li></ul><ul><li>Best practices: when is it best to use a wiki? Or a forum? Or an in-class discussion? Or something else? </li></ul>