Moodle: Communicating in Moodle Overview

Please note: Documentation is in progress for this article. Please check back periodically for updated information.

Communication in an online course is important for ensuring frequent instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction. These interactions are integral in the online learning experience for keeping students engaged with the course materials and aware of what their classmates are doing. Taking advantage of communication tools in Moodle can help foster a sense of community in a course, which can increase the likelihood of students' success.

Why Communication Matters

Interaction among instructors and students helps students feel more secure in their learning experience. Some benefits of this interaction include:

  1. Community. Making students feel part of a group can have a positive psychological effect and enhance the learning experience. In the face-to-face environment, students are able to form groups and relationships that help them succeed in the class.
  2. Accountability. When students feel that someone is monitoring their progress, academic and behavioral misconduct become less likely. It is also important for instructors to reinforce deadlines, and a good way to do that is to reach out to students on a regular basis.
  3. Quality. Students work better when they are able to reach out and receive guidance from the instructor. Providing opportunities for students to reach out with questions and discussion points is integral to high quality student work.

A good example of why communication in an online course is important is the federal financial aid requirement of regular and substantive interaction (RSI). The Department of Education requires RSI in courses that are designated fully online as opposed to distance learning. Federal financial aid is not applicable to distance learning courses, so this designation has a direct effect on many students. RSI requires that the interaction is:

  1. initiated by the instructor
  2. regular and frequent
  3. substantive (i.e., academic in nature)
  4. with an instructor that meets accrediting agency standards (i.e., the primary instructor of the course as opposed to a TA or grader)

The quality of a fully online course should be equitable to a face-to-face course, which means communicating frequently.

Communication Best Practices (for Instructors)

The following are good ways to initiate and maintain contact with students in an online course:

  1. Send a message before the course begins to introduce yourself. Since online terms are short, it is helpful to share important information with students before they begin working on their first assignments. Send an email or message in Moodle with the syllabus or textbook information so that students can prepare for the first week.
  2. Send regular check-ins to show students that you are monitoring progress. As the course proceeds, touch base with students to highlight important events or specific topics each week. Reminders of due dates and what will be covered during the week can help students stay on track.
  3. Provide timely and effective feedback in as many places and formats as possible. When a student's work is incorrect or misguided, it is important to steer them toward the correct information. This can be done in feedback settings within certain activity types or by responding in discussion forums. It may not be necessary to respond to each student, but redirecting a conversation can help students figure out where they went wrong. This should be timely--select a response window and stick to it (recommended 24-hour turnaround for a 7-week course). To read more about feedback, see GROK articles for specific activity types or GROK article 20208, Manually Grading Quizzes.
  4. Plan for meetings outside of regular office hours. Meeting students where they are is important in an online course. Remember that students may be located in different time zones and unable to meet during set hours.

Communication Tools in Moodle

There are several tools in Moodle that can facilitate communication. Click on each GROK article below to read more:

Other Resources

For more information on editing your profile, read the following documentation from Moodle Docs. Note that the documentation does not show the SNAP Theme, but the functionality of the settings is the same. All links will open in a new window.

Support & Training

The Faculty Technology Center (FTC) provides Moodle support by email, by phone, or live through Zoom. For contact information, please see the article Faculty Technology Center: LSU Overview. To connect through Zoom and for further information on support services and training, see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Faculty Resources & Support page.

The FTC also provides just-in-time faculty training opportunities and recorded training sessions. Attending at least one training session for Moodle upgrades is highly recommended. For a comprehensive list of available workshops and recordings, please see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Technology Training page.

3/1/2024 10:27:34 AM