How to Use Moodle – 5 Tips to Take Classes Online on Moodle

Setting up your courses online can be a challenging switch, given the effort needed to figure out it all. We agree it is overwhelming to manage the entire transition and get an error-free LMS completely up and running. 

As the demand for taking classes online shoots up in this post-pandemic situation, it’s a great idea to set your courses up on Moodle. But this needs a bit of thinking and planning on both technical and functional fronts.

Once you successfully set up your Moodle LMS, the next logical move is to check a few things off this list we are about to give you for a smooth shift from offline to online. 

A little friction is expected and that’s why we are here with some tips to help you make this switch effortlessly.

Key Moodle Tips – An Effortless Changeover to Your Moodle LMS

#1 Be ready to handle high traffic situations

It makes sense to think about how you will deal with the sudden spike in traffic on your Moodle LMS. You definitely don’t want your LMS to crash. Also, learners today are fast-paced, smart and have low attention spans. For optimal student engagement, it is important to consider having a speedy LMS that is capable enough to handle a high load of users, especially concurrent users.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Consider investing in load balancing to spread your traffic among multiple servers in case there are a large number of concurrent users – good to tackle a large number of users or requests during peak traffic times. You can try out the AWS Load Balancer
  1. To reduce the load on the server, your quizzes should have 4-5 questions per page instead of 1 question per page as in Moodle, quizzes are the most resource-intensive part
  1. Uploaded videos should be small in size else bandwidth issues can occur
  1. Never turn off javascript caching and never turn on theme designer mode on production sites
  1. Consider using a CDN such as Cloudflare to speed up loading times
  1. Only use necessary filter and plugins and resize images using the Image Optimizer plugin
  1. Consider compressing the images and videos before uploading, or upload HD videos instead of full HD. Use Amazon S3 to upload videos instead of directly uploading them
  1. Cut down on unwanted activities and resources. The more the number of activities and resources, the more time and RAM the LMS consumes that in turn affects your load time. Instead, you could use folders or try different Moodle tools such as Wiki, Database or the Book module

Also, thinking about your hosting resources is crucial given your exhaustive course content will have multiple forms, formats or media types and the fact that it will be accessed by a huge number of students simultaneously. 

Here are some popular hosting providers that we would recommend

  1. Moodle Cloud – Moodle’s very own hosting platform and the most reliable solution for hosting
  2. ScalaHosting – Well-known specialist for Managed VPS cloud solutions
  3. Lambda – One of the most popular names in the Moodle space that can even handle 1000+ active users at any given time

You can check out our article on top Moodle hosting providers for more information, to help you choose the right hosting provider for your Moodle LMS.

#2 Use groups or cohorts  in Moodle to effectively manage your students

Managing so many students can get really difficult at such times. This is the right time to make the most of your Moodle features that target to improve efficiency in the student management process – Groups and Cohorts are some of them

Cohorts are a group of users throughout your Moodle LMS (site-wide set of users) or in a particular category. You can enroll this set of users easily in a course or multiple courses in one simple action. They are key to manage course access in Moodle, improve efficiency, save time and streamline your course delivery.

Cohorts can be easily created manually or with a file upload. The steps below would come in handy in case you want to create them.

Manual method:

  • Click on Site administration
  • Click on Users
  • Click on Cohorts
  • Click on Add a New Cohort 
  • Assign a name to the cohort
  • Choose whether you want this cohort to be available site-wide or a particular category
  • Give your cohort an ID and description (optional) 
  • By default, teachers in that course are able to see this cohort, to restrict access you uncheck ‘Visible’
  • Click on Save changes
  • Click on assign icon and move users displayed on the left to the right side
  • Click on Add to include them in the created cohort

Alternatively, you can also use the CSV File method.

CSV File Method:

  • Click on Site administration
  • Click on Users 
  • Click on Cohorts
  • Click on Upload Cohorts tab
  • Drag and drop the Cohorts file
  • Assign users manually or upload through a CSV file using the cohort ID 

There you have it, you have easily created a cohort and added students to it. This is ready to be used right away!

You can refer the documentation for more details

For teachers to be able to add cohorts to their courses, make sure you have the Enrolment plugin Cohort sync enabled, from the Manage enrolments screen of site admin.

Groups in Moodle are only available within individual courses. A course can have multiple groups (can be created by the teacher or uploaded by admin through a file). This too can be used for managing your students and controlling access to your courses in an optimal way.

#3 Create a good online support system for productive Communication with your students

Since you as well as your students are completely new to this entire set-up. It is important to ensure that there are no communication gaps between you and your students. 

You should try to bridge them as quickly as possible to prevent unnecessary drop-offs.

This transition will come along with its own set of issues in your Moodle LMS. Make sure you are available to your students to resolve their queries. 

There are many ways how you can communicate with your students. Forums can be added in Moodle as part of your activity to interact with teachers or other students or a group of students. 

Chats in Moodle can help you with synchronous real-time discussions to discuss course queries, course activities or other relevant projects. These chat sessions can also be recorded for future reference.

You can use the Feedback activity for students to evaluate a course or topic (or evaluate their teacher) by answering questions designed by the teacher.  It can be kept anonymous and you can also get the graphical analysis of the responses automatically created.

The Upcoming Events widget can be used to announce the scheduled events. If you plan to conduct webinars, you can include them as events using this widget.

To start with, you can even host a webinar to briefly introduce them to this new set-up and make them familiar with what to expect as things move forward.

To make it easier for you, here are some videoconferencing tools for Moodle that you could use for making sure the overall journey is super-smooth.

#4 Make the Most of the Videoconferencing Tools

The videoconferencing tools we just mentioned, are great to connect with your students, have face-to-face discussions in real-time and learn in a collaborative environment.

Remember, convenience and learning anytime-anywhere will take priority as you embark on this initiative. So, make sure you are utilizing the best possible webinar and videoconferencing options available out there for seamless learning. 

There are many free tools online that you can experiment with, to interact with your students’ community before you make the final call and opt for a paid or premium alternative. It is advisable to test out the free tools first. 

BigBlueButtonBN is a free videoconferencing plugin that you can try out, to begin with. However, keep in mind that it is a resource-intensive application as it requires ample amounts of RAM and CPU power to operate. 

Another option you could use is the free version of Zoom. Zoom is a popular cloud-based videoconferencing platform that also integrates with Moodle. You can use Zoom for free to test it out and ensure if it does the trick for you. A major plus is that it allows you to conduct unlimited meetings. But group meetings with multiple participants have been restricted to a time limit of 40 minutes. So, we’d advise you to utilize this tool accordingly.

A good thing about webinars is that they can be repurposed and recorded – great for asynchronous learning and student retention. With this, your students can bank on you anytime in case they miss your lectures. 

Besides, it is affordable 🙂

Pro Tip – You can even earn some cash from your webinars by conducting paid webinar events. Ensure you come up with really good, high-value, heavily -researched content to host such webinars

#5 Use New Avenues or Methods to Deliver Course Content

Explore the internet ecosystem to initially share relevant training material or content to get your students started. 

To maintain consistent engagement with them, coming up with different ways to deliver your courses is of paramount importance. While learning-on-the-go, you don’t know if your students are tuning in well as you cannot capture their facial expressions every time. Maybe the constant isolation can induce a lot of boredom too. 

Therefore, it is advisable to try new avenues of learning. For instance, the Recognition Block in Moodle allows students to share their achievements in a particular Moodle course directly on social media. This can motivate students and help them stay on track. Further, it helps with effective communication too.

Youtube videos or other relevant learning resources can be shared via emails. This is a good starting point for those who are still getting used to the new platform and the new way of learning.

As things progress, you can experiment with improving interactivity and delivery through the following methods:

  • Moodle H5P plugin to make responsive presentations, interactive teaching videos, text-based turning cards called Dialog cards to help retain learning and make it more interesting
  • Create and upload scenario-based simulations using Adobe Captivate
  • Use the Interactive Video Editor to embed videos and add relevant interactions
  • Enrich your videos with interactive elements such as pictures, MCQs, bookmarks, tables, etc. to improve the learning value

In Closing

So, these were some tips that will effectively help you take your entire training online on Moodle. We know COVID-19 is giving all of us a hard time. On top of this, the process of going online is a time-consuming and conscious activity that requires a lot of effort. But we can assist you to find your way out. No stress, you can get in touch with us here for your requirements. Our products will make your online teaching and moodling experience a breeze. Your students are going to love it 🙂

Let us know what you think about this article in the comments sections below.