Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Feb 19 | Moodle Moot Japan Okinawa | Day 1 Report

2014 Moodle Moot Japan in Okinawa
Moodle Moot Japan 2014 was held in Okinawa International University and was a myriad of excellent presentations, keynote speeches, and workshops. In addition to the development material, we were also treated to some delicious Okinawan food culture as well as traditional performances of various Okinawan taiko (drum) and shamisen music and dance. Overall, the experience was excellent as was the warmer weather despite the rain. There is something special about Okinawa and the people there extended us their renown hospitality. These notes recap some of the things that went on during the conference as well as highlight the contributions I made to the Moot.

Day one - Pre-Conference Workshops

I attended the workshop organized by Peter Ruthven-Stuart of Future University in Hakodate. He offered a series of choices to the participants for the Intermediate/Advanced Workshop and per usual he really knows his stuff.

The first topic we dove into was the use of Groups, Groupings, and Cohorts in Moodle. Overall, we learned that groupings are collections of groups and a cohort is a large group of students which transcends all courses. The cohort feature in Moodle is useful for lumping students together from certain years and/or majors.

Groups can be made from students within a specific cohort either by hand or automatically. Peter also demonstrated how by keeping the course-level settings set to "separate groups," this would allow for individual activities to then be configured as "visible groups" if needed. This keeps the number of groups shown in certain screens to a manageable level.

Throughout the 90 minutes, Peter was skilled in giving us every opportunity to try out the features being discussed on various live demonstration Moodle sites.

Following Peter's workshop was my (Thom Rawson of the University of Nagasaki in Sasebo) first presentation; an Intermediate/Advanced Workshop on Moodle Server Administration and Installation using GIT version control. With a live Moodle server running in the classroom, I proceeded to give access to the participants for the purposes of creating databases using phpmyadmin. We then did a live installation of Moodle using GIT before time eventually ran out.

During my presentation I was surprised and honored to discover that two core MoodleHQ people were in attendance - Moodle's Community Manager Ms. Helen Foster, and one of the core developers of Moodle Mr. Adrian Greeve. It upped the ante for me being under their scrutiny but they both participated professionally in the workshop. Turns out they are just really nice people to boot!

Three Legends of Moodle!
The final part of the day was spent in Helen and Adrian's Workshop on the Moodle Workshop Module. We participants listened to the presentation and then each of us contributed to the workshop by writing a short essay on our hometown including uploading a picture.

From then on, Helen guided us through the assessment phase of the project (grading formula for assessment found here). There are two grades - one for submission and one for assessment.

Basically for having a project which involves students in all aspects from creativity through assessments, the Moodle Workshop is the modification one should master at all costs. You can have a peer-assessed activity, with text or file uploading. You can include various grading strategies including defined rubrics. And lastly, you have the ability to publish selected projects deemed worth of viewing by other students! Very cool and thank you Helen and Adrian (and also to Eric Hagley for seamless translation for our Japanese participants!)

2014 Moodle Moot Okinawa Schedule

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