After my initial Moodle frustration, since part of my flightpath deals with exploring, pushing and manipulating LMS frameworks to do things that aren’t necessarily a ‘typical’ use scenario, I spent a little time hijacking the normal course layout. Once I had set my course goals, I decided to create a sitemap to figure out my layout using a free service called Smaps.
In my graduating project at ECU I did a few general student surveys regarding students’ feelings towards using Moodle and their impressions of Moodle usability (part of the ethnographic research process). The findings of this fueled my approach.
One of problems frequently identified was the ‘endless scroll’ format of all of the weekly modules on one long page. Many students expressed their wish that it behave more like a website or blog, so I wanted to play with this idea. Websites are better at showcasing content and offering snipets of information before providing deep dives. It’s possible to do this in Moodle. Since I didn’t have time to do major coding or modifications I decided to first play with the tools at my disposal. I used a short Youtube video on making Moodle behave like a webpage to inform my approach. I realized that the top section or course “summary” always stays at the top of the page, so it’s a good place to put a static header and navigation that will then display on all pages.
The other thing that I realized is that I can create and link my “pages” to these buttons, then force Moodle to display only one page at a time.
This essentially hides the long list of pages, showing only one at a time when they are clicked on in the navigation. I had to work with them all showing first, then switch to this when I was done to make it behave this way. It’s not an ideal setup but my overall verdict is that Moodle isn’t half as inflexible as I had thought if one is creative. There are a number of ways to work within Moodle to make a course feel relevant and engaging.