Using the Learning Management System Moodle

Moodle helps to organise teaching and enables instructors to present content, implement learning activities, and support students. All the above-mentioned functions can be done in a timely flexible manner (asynchronously). While Moodle has typically been used to accompany classical face-to-face teaching, it has gained importance in the Corona-conditioned online teaching and offers a wide variety of possibilities for designing asynchronous online teaching.

Overview of the possibilities for using Moodle and help & services

Moodle as a Central Component of Online Teaching

Moodle is a central component in online teaching:

The Moodle course represents THE central, digital learning environment for students, where they can find everything they need for their digital studies.

The course contains all the information, learning materials and ideally also opportunities for students to practise and test their knowledge as well as to communicate with each other and with you, the instructor.

Moodle as an addition to synchronous online teaching via online meetings

As is also common in classical face-to-face teaching, Moodle is used in addition to regular sessions that take place via online meeting .

Moodle as a central medium in a mainly asynchronous designed online teaching setting

Moodle can also be used for mainly asynchronous online teaching, in which, for example, recordings and videos are used to present content and are made available on Moodle, whereas learning activities and communication take place via Moodle. Synchronous teaching formats, such as online meetings, are used selectively as needed – when a direct exchange is helpful and necessary.

A well-balanced combination of asynchronous and synchronous online teaching

Regardless of whether you conduct your courses asynchronously, mainly via Moodle, or focus more on synchronous teaching via online meetings and use Moodle only supplementary, make sure that the synchronous and asynchronous phases are well interlinked.

This means that content presentation and learning activities that take place asynchronously via the learning platform can, for example, serve the preparation and follow-up of online meetings. These in turn refer to what takes place in the Moodle course.

It can also be helpful to use Moodle in parallel to an online meeting, e.g., using an Etherpad in a Moodle course to collect questions or to take notes during a meeting.

Here, you will find tips on how to implement a Moodle course in a mainly asynchronous online teaching setting. The following elements are crucial in this setting.

If you have never used Moodle before, we recommend the Basics for Moodle beginners . In addition, the “Do's & Dont's for Online Teaching” (by Alison Yang) is helpful.

Make a decision on how to structure and present the topic sections in your course and make the appropriate settings:

Moodle FAQ: Course formats (in German)
Moodle FAQ: Presentation options (in German)

Tip: In order to create a kind of schedule that is familiar with classical face-to-face teaching, you could make the learning content available on a weekly basis. Combined with scheduled activities (e.g., in the Etherpad) or deadlines (e.g., submission of questions on topic X by day Y in the Forum or within the activity “Hot Question”), you create a certain commitment and more orientation for the students to plan their learning process.
This is especially helpful if there is no weekly virtual face-to-face teaching session via an online meeting.

Tip for making students legally aware of the use of learning materials: you can set up a consent form for students for this purpose, for example, with the help of the “Completion tracking” function.

Relatively easy to implement

  • Provide your students with guiding questions for the learning material – students can check which questions they should be able to answer after working through the material.
  • Make exercises available to your students (also possible as a simple PDF). You can also link to related sample solutions, but set 'prerequisites' for them (settings panel available in Moodle).
  • Post a question that is related to the learning material in forum, to which the students should respond by posting an answer in the forum (it might be useful to set the forum in a way that one can only see other people's posts once one has made his/her contribution)
    Blog post from teaching practice: Using Moodle for reading assignments

more elaborate to implement (depending on prior knowledge)

  • Forum – for general exchange, clarification of queries or linked to a specific exchange assignment (see above “Possibilities for practice, deepening”)
  • Enable FAQ: Group chats for students for direct exchange and communication
  • FAQ: Etherpad for direct exchange and joint development of content (can also be used flexibly in terms of time)
  • FAQ: Wiki activity for the joint and yet time-flexible development of content
  • FAQ: Hot question activity as a feedback channel for the instructor to get to know what was not understood
  • FAQ: Annonymous Feedback as a feedback channel for the instructor, e.g. on the design of the online teaching offer.
  • Integration of polls to ask for students' opinions/assessments

Through a skillful combination of interaction-promoting activities, which you carry out both asynchronously in Moodle and synchronously in online meetings, you can ensure more social inclusion for your students. – It's easier for them to participate, provide feedback, and work cooperatively on assignments.

Ideas to promote interaction in online teaching

Picture: E-Learning Arbeitsgruppe

Practical Experiences

The E-Learning blog regularly updates tips and examples from teaching practice on the use of Moodle at the TU Darmstadt. In the current blog post series “Blitzlichter digitaler Lehre” (flashes of digital teaching), some instructors report on their partly new and creative use of Moodle in the corona-related online teaching.

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