Course Design and Usability

Some thoughts as presented at the Sydney Schools Moodle Moot. These are based on the course that Nina Pollock and I designed in one day at the New Zealand Moodle Moot. A related course is viewable at Open Learning NZ: (logon as a guest).  This automatically enrols participants in two versions of the course: a vanilla example and our completed course.

We chose the topic of City Vegetable gardens as that seemed to be something we could get information on and complete in a few hours. Nina developed a nice, clean graphical interface with plenty of whitespace and added the simple but effective graphics.

We used the forum, quiz, page, book and glossary modules. We included hidden elements such as a small achievement badge and cyber eggs – each one is designed to be harder to find than the previous ones.

The achievement “badge” – we didn’t have time to design a nice graphic – only appears when a couple of things are accessed and both 1 post and 2 replies have been made in the forum.

This was a “Thanks for being an active member of our community” button.

One of the eggs was hidden conditionally until one particular resource was accessed and another was in the glossary so would only appear when one of the random glossary entries was shown.

Due to shortage of time we linked these cyber eggs to existing material in the Book module. With more time we would probably use pop-up “rewards” – links to other garden examples.

The forum was seeded with a number of topics to encourage audience participation. The glossary and garden examples book are deliberately orphaned to reduce clutter. The quiz was used a checklist for participants to determine their readiness.

With more time, the feedback responses to “wrong” or “not ready” responses would have included a link to the relevant resource or resources.

The “false” response to question 1 shows an example – the more information link throws up an existing resource in a pop-up. The pop-up method was chosen as it would allow participants to continue the quiz after closing it.

The quiz has no penalties, multiple tries, a fixed question order and immediate feedback.

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