Tag Archives: Moodle

New ‘look’ for Glyndwr University’s Virtual Learning Environment

On 1st September we went live with a new look for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), by applying the new BCU theme, developed by Birmingham City University. The new theme is making the VLE more user friendly, easier to navigate and more responsive on devices such as tablets and mobile phones. The video below gives an overview of the changes students can expect:

Key benefits include:

  • Users can get to their courses by clicking on links to their enrolled courses on the front page, or from the My courses dropdown menu.
  • A ‘cleaner’ but more visually appealing interfact (less text and more images).
  • We can associate an image with a course, allowing for personalisation.
  • Within a course there is a dropdown menu This course, with links to People (participants), Grades, and the various resources and activities on the course. Students will therefore no longer need to use the Navigation block or Administration block to access their courses or grades.
  • Dropdown menu of Events will show upcoming deadlines (for online assessment etc.) and other events.
  • Positioning of blocks on the right-hand side rather than on both sides gives more prominence to course content.
  • The Search courses field appears on every page on the top right, making it easy to find other courses or support sites.

So far, feedback from both staff and students has been positive and we hope the changes will enhance the user experience for all of our VLE users.

In terms of managing the BCU theme, we have found it easy to customise – we have just changed the logo and the colours to match colours used in our branding. We had to ask our hosting providers, ULCC, to change the icon that appeared in the tabs of browsers and to do some work on how hyperlinks appeared. A few other initial niggles have been removed by moving to the most recent version of the BCU plugin.


Restricting access to final assignment until feedback has been completed

A common question we get asked is:

How do I prevent students from submitting their final assignment until the course feedback (Student Evaluation of Moodle) has been completed?

Assuming that you are using the Feedback activity in Moodle to carry out your Student Evaluation of Module/SEM (see our video tutorial on setting up SEM in Moodle), and using a Moodle assessment tool like the Moodle Assignment, then you can make use of the Activity Completion and Restrict Access settings to do this:

  1. First, go to Administration > Course administration > Edit Settings.

 Scroll down to Completion tracking, and enable it. Save changes.

  1. Then, when you set up the Feedback activity, set Activity Completion criteria, e.g. Show activity as complete when conditions are met: View as completed if the feedback is submitted.

    Activity completion

  2. Then, when you’re setting up the assignment, on the Edit Settings screen, scroll down to Restrict access and expand it.Click on Add restriction, and then on Activity completion:

    resrict access

    Then, from the dropdown list next to Activity Completion, choose the name of the Feedback (here it is ‘test’), and leave it as must be marked complete. Save your changes.

Technology-Enhanced Learning Symposium

Glyndŵr University Wrexham – Technology-Enhanced Learning Symposium

6th March 2013



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The recent publishing of the videos of the presentations from the technology-enhance learning symposium at Glyndwr University (http://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/video/TEL/symposium2013/) gave me cause to reflect on what was a really superb event.

Organising conferences or symposia is not something I normally enjoy; persuading people that they really do have something interesting to say or that their work is really innovative can be challenging but this time I very quickly got a group of willing volunteers. What was most pleasing was the fact that speakers came from across the university from subject areas as diverse as engineering to therapeutic child care, from nursing to early years. Not only that, their talks revealed how different technologies are being used to support students.

The symposium also attracted two excellent external speakers; Sian Murphy, Training and Development Technology Designer for Virgin Media, opened the symposium with a presentation on how Virgin Media are using their learning platform to facilitate professional development. Our other external speaker, Lis Parcell from RSC/JISC gave a fascinating talk on the challenges and opportunities of Open Education Resources (OERs).

First up of the internal speakers was Mike Bellis from nursing. Mike has been using audio feedback for some time now and he took us through both the process of producing the audio files and the benefits he believes this form of feedback has for both tutor and student.

Our next speaker was Barrie Birmingham from engineering. Barrie and colleagues has been using ‘quizes’ within Moodle to help students check progress and to re-enforce learning.

Liz Sheen, Early Childhood Studies, who has considerable experience of online and blended learning programmes, explained her approaches and how online is quite a different learning environment to the physical classroom.

In an intriguingly entitled talk ‘A stich in virtual time: creative threaded discussions’ Viv Dacre (therapeutic child care) explained her approach to facilitating forum debates and how she uses questioning to stimulate student online conversations.

Our final presentation came from two speakers, Alicia Owen (VLE technologist) and Kirstie Edwards(Business & Management) who are both using screencasting. Alicia spoke about her use of this to provide training materials for both tutors and students whilst Kirstie uses screencasting to provide student feedback.

There was overwhelming enthusiasm from the 50+ attendees for the presentations with one person concluding ‘The best e-learning conference I have attended’.

There is just one problem – now they want another symposium next year; volunteers anyone?

Posted by Clive Buckley