06. August 2011 · Comments Off on What I learned from writing tutorials · Categories: Accessibility, Moodle
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This week I’ve been busy creating tutorials for learners on how to use Moodle. I looked on YouTube and couldn’t find any generic enough to suit my needs. As I explored what students were likely to need to know and some ideas for tools instructors weren’t using, I found that some of the ways we had things set up were making things harder than they had to be. Other things have been fixed in Moodle 2.1 which we’re moving to in January. Two things that really struck me were: 1) Inconsistencies not only in themes between courses (which might not present a big issue as students only take one course at a time in adult ed) but in the language used. In one course you Find files. In another you Browse for them. Makes writing support documents for a centralised student Moodle support area challenging. 2) The tiniest simplest thing: accessing one’s profile page. In one of our course themes, a nice Edit Profile link is built into the theme. In another and in our site theme, it is not. This means students need to learn to go up to the very far top right to get to their profile and have enough dexterity to be able to click on 8 point font. The first issue will have to wait to be solved. There isn’t enough time to change out the themes as one of the courses has created web pages with manually created linked icons and has only displayed the first topic in order to do away with the text-heavy, scroll of death, vanilla Moodle course outline page. The second issue I was able to solve. First up, I ensured that all learners arrive at the My Moodle page when they log into the Moodle site.  Adding sticky blocks to the My Moodle page means I can ensure they are getting course announcements and see their site Messages when they log in. Next, I created a simple linked button. After checking the Moodle.org site for a block,  I put a call out to my fabulous Twitter PLN (personal/professional learning network) asking if there were a block already created or if there was some link I could use. There was not a block. But there is code that can be used that is relative to the session. In Moodle 1.9  is: http://domainname.xxx/user/view.php In Moodle 2.1x it’s http://domainname.xxx/user/profile.php (view.php works but resolves to profile.php anyway) Before, had to remember clicking on name goes to profile. Now, click button that says View Profile. So, to make profiles easier to get to from the MyMoodle page without hacking the site theme:
  • As a site admin, go to to the Admin settings > Modules > Blocks > Sticky Blocks.
  • Choose MyMoodle
  • Add an HTML block
  • Upload the icon/button image
  • Link it to the profile link
DONE! If you’re not a site admin but you want your learners to have easier access to their profiles than your current theme allows, just do the last three steps in your course.  

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