NDSU Extension Innovation


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Moodle Users Group Meeting - Aug. 5, 2020

Moodle User’s Group – Initial Meeting – Aug. 5, 2020

Becky Koch introduced the discussion by sharing the Moodle is a learning management system hosted and offered at no charge to member institutions by eXtension. Since Blackboard can’t be used by non-NDSU students, Moodle is a good option to pull together content, add interactivity, etc.

eXtension Moodle courses are at https://campus.extension.org/, and a Getting to Know Moodle course is at https://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=719.

Pesticide Program – Andrew Thostenson and computer science student Jarrett

Use Moodle for two purposes: delivering content and carrying out exams.

Create an account then ask eXtension to set up a course shell for you.

Pesticides has four or five courses – two exams where an applicator logs in to take the exam online; Moodle allows grading and a certificate of competition.

Jarrett logged in as an administrator and demonstrated the backend. If you don’t want everybody to take your course, set up an enrollment key so only people with that key can get in. Collect basic contact info and signify they’ve read and will follow the honor pledge. Andrew doesn’t like some Moodle default settings that aren’t easy to change – for example, can’t change “quiz” to “exam.” Don’t want them to see the correct answer so set to go to next question.

Moodle is a little more cumbersome than it should be.

Recertification course – didn’t know how to train people when we couldn’t do face to face, so have this in Beta, and it seems to work just fine. Includes video clips of a live training then a short quiz for review. He uses Vimeo for videos for more control. Vimeo URLs are embedded. Set so can’t go to next section until complete review questions correctly.

Users can print the certificate of achievement.

Need to pay for exams so set up in eMarketplace to pay first. Had to develop a portal with map to each county so pay then send link and instructions.

Users must set up an eXtension account, though we’re not sure if that’s true for all courses.

Most pesticide videos 5 to 25 minutes.

Master Gardener – Shannon Uecker

Shannon said Moodle is similar to Ag CMS, with some things you can and can’t do.

MG uses Moodle for course lectures, documents, supplemental learning tools, videos link to Vimeo. Esther creates courses and gives Shannon administrative rights so she can see who has logged in and actually used it. Can see last time they were in the course. Can compare eMarketplace list with enrolled list to see if somebody has trouble logging in. She created a PDF with screenshots on how to create their accounts.

MG requires an enrollment key, which they receive after payment. Search for course then enter enrollment key/password. Require minimum 80% pass on every quiz.

Can create course and have it go live on certain date or can hide content when done.

Shannon thinks Moodle is a little more intuitive than some LMS systems.

Virtual Communication Camp – Bob Bertsch

Bob showed VCC, which used similar templates with segments rather than weeks since it was designed to be asynchronous. Chunks can be collapsed instead of a long list. Can add images or videos or similar content into the “home page.” VCC lists activities and resources below each video.

VCC also has a forum for student discussion.

Lots of options we haven’t tried.

Bob said Moodle has been around forever and is open source so free and used by quite a few universities – not proprietary like Blackboard, which probably gets more updates.

Ag Comm worked with two contractors on this course who were distance ed designers so hopefully sound adult learning, such as learning objectives.

Ability to have triggers – can only see a segment if have completed something else.

Basic Radio 101 for North Dakota Emergency Responders – Becky Koch

Ag Comm received a grant from the ND Dept. of Emergency Services to develop the packaged program for live delivery and online program for independent learning to help volunteer and paid emergency responders learn how to appropriately use their radios.

Save photos in low resolution in Moodle so they’ll download faster.

This course is totally asynchronous, and no interaction among students was needed. The videos are stored on an Ag Comm site. The evaluation was especially easy to set up to gather feedback. The certificate set-up was challenging. Except for the last quiz, the others are simply reviews, so it’s set to tell them if they selected the correct answer or not and allows them to try again.



Bob thinks the recent upgrade helps Moodle work on a smartphone. Shannon said quite a few MGs use a tablet.

eXtension allows you to charge for a course, and we think they can send a check every quarter. This would be an option instead of NDSU’s eMarketplace.

NDSU also uses eXtension for digital downloads, where people can pay then download the electronic file of a curriculum, workbook, etc.

Carrie is going to think about how to do Design Your Success Plan for Business. Pick apart workbook and put in Moodle, or sell book separately? Synchronous and asynchronous? Fee for course itself and get the book?

This is the site for fee-based courses: https://catalog.extension.org/

You can share a web address for your course to get users right to the enrollment screen, for example https://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=247

Shannon loves the MG discussion boards. It's a great way for students in close proximity to one another to meet/make plans for projects, and it's a great tool for Q&A.

MG applicants pay through eMarketplace, then NDSU does their background screening, then sends them the enrollment key.

Stacy was using Versal, which went out of business, so is looking at options.

Can load videos right into Moodle – recently switched from Kaltura to VidGrid.

MG needs a new course every year, but some content doesn’t change so can copy and move content. You also can copy the whole course. After requesting a new course, it’s basically a sandbox until you tell Larry Lippke you’re ready to go live. Tell him up front if this will be a paid course in case that makes a difference.

Bob has experimented a bit with Google Classroom, but it’s very geared to K-12 teachers.

Bob also uses Moodle for North Central ANR Academy, and RLND uses it – both supplement live experiences.

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