Students Debate Moodle Update
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 21:09
Students returning to Smith this fall were greeted with an upgraded Moodle page. The new page, instituted over the summer, offers more features for both students and professors.
Moodle administrator Caroline Moore announced the decision to upgrade to a new Moodle site on the old Moodle Web site in mid-August. Administrators kept both versions of Moodle up and active throughout the summer for students in the School of Social Work who still needed to access resources for their summer classes. Fall 2012 courses were slated to open on the new Moodle, with the old Moodle still available for students and faculty until the switch is complete.
Moodle’s look and feel has changed, with added features to increase efficiency and ease of use. Aside from cosmetic changes, Moodle now has the ability to collapse side navigation. Course listings can now either be minimized, or “docked” into tabs on the left side of the screen. These tabs expand when hovered over with the mouse or when clicked on.
“There were some bugs at first because I couldn’t log on for a week,” said Chelsea Bartholomew ’13. “But overall, I think the site interface is really easy to use and figure out.”
Notably, users of Moodle now have the option to upload and store their own files in a “My Private Files” section. Files up to 100MB can be uploaded at a time, though no information is given on the limits of file storage on the site. These files are available for use from any computer, so students and others can use the cloud storage for essays and other work they might need access to away from their personal computers. Professors also have the ability to add files from this section to their course resources. Additionally, there is the option of transferring documents from Google Docs over to a Private Files page on Moodle simply by logging into a Google account.
Many of the new resources available are directed toward professors. These include the ability to easily copy resources and activities to other related course pages, and to add text descriptions to newly added resources and activities. Furthermore, professors are now able to restrict access to resources under certain conditions, and to set specific conditions for marking an activity – such as a quiz – as completed.
While the switch to Moodle for courses has been generally smooth, student club organizations have yet to be switched over to the new Web site. Class pages were prioritized in order to be prepared for the fall semester, leaving many organizations unable to easily reach their members.
“It’s really frustrating to not be able to use Moodle as we used to be able to,” said Gabrielle Martone ’14, chair of Gold Key’s central board. “As an org that uses Moodle for 98 percent of its communications, it has put a serious damper on our ability to communicate with our members and for them to be able to communicate with us.”