You have spent nights, maybe going into weeks, polishing your Moodle course. You launch your course, students sign up, introduce themselves in the forum. They begin with the first lecture and assignment. So far so good. Then you dive into week two, and something is not right. Submissions are not on time, forum activity dwindles. You start thinking about the next weeks activities, fearing that engagement keeps drying up.
If you nodded in agreement at the screen, fear not. As a teacher in online courses, keep in mind that your audience is fickle and has a lot to distract them. You are competing for attention and, a 2014 survey reported that, high percentages of students refer to their courses as “tedious” (76%) or “boring” (38%). However, a solution may be closer and easier than you think. Instead of tweaking content, you might want to spend some time in the visual design.
Moodle consultant Neela Bell recently posted 12 tips about how to keep your Moodlers engaged. They are organized by the students’ stage on the Moodle course:
First Impressions Matter
1. Make your course logo (the most looked at visual piece) compelling.
2. Choose a memorable palette that compliments your content.
3. Keep it tidy. Apply the Collapsed Topics Plugin.
Keep language and resources modern
4. Avoid dated graphics.
5. Use Moodle’s Random Glossary Block to show new content at every new log in.
6. Use the “Restrict Access” setting from Labels to unlock new activities.
Embracing the online world
7. Add an RSS feed to the Sidebar.
8. Reduce text and make it more visual.
9. Embed a Twitter Feed.
10. Gamify your Moodle Course.
11. Use more engaging titles on your headings and assignments.
12. Add a personal Welcome Video.
Read Neela Bell’s article for details on each of her tips and many useful links, and check her blog for inspiring ideas on e-learning engagement.