Moodle for f2f courses

While most people associate Learning Management Systems (Moodle for example) with online learning, there are a number of ways that an LMS like Moodle can support f2f instruction.  I'll start off with some of the more obvious ways, and then talk about some that aren't so obvious.

First, Moodle can host all the documents you would normally pass out in class (making your course more green) and providing unlimited copies of the documents to students who lose them regularly.  It can also be a place where you post lecture notes, or even recordings of your lectures, so students can review them later.  But, in addition to these, the LMS can be used in such a way as to free up more time for you to interact with students personally, or in way that allows for a deeper examination of content.

One of the techniques that allows for this is called "front-loading".  When you front-load a course, you provide some course content (that normally would be given in-class) online.  So, in essence, the homework comes first.  The nice thing about having this homework online is that you can literally see who looks at it; and if it requires some sort of interaction with the material, you can see whose done the activity.  For example: it might make more sense to upload a recording of your lecture and require students to watch it before class, then in-class provide an activity that will encourage them to apply the information given in the lecture.  This allows you to walk around and interact with the students, drawing them to a deeper understanding of the information.

Back-loading is a technique usually used with graduate level students.  Students are given the content in-class and then homework that is used to stimulate the application of that material.  So, discussions and group-work (for example) would be moved online.  In the online environment it is easier to monitor discussions for all groups, and can encourage students who might be reluctant to share their opinion in-class, to do so.  If a wiki is used for group projects, it will be easier to see who has contributed to the project, and how much they contributed.

Grading quizzes, providing feedback on assignments, etc, are also facilitated in the online environment.  You certainly can't be accused of losing someone's homework, and the date and time they submitted their assignments will be clear as well.

There are a number of other ways Moodle can support your f2f class, and students will thank you for it.

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