Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Feb 20 | Moodle Moot Japan Okinawa | Day 2 Report

Jennifer Claro answering questions
during her presentation on
International Video Exchange using PoodLL.
On day two of the conference, I participated in a number of presentations. I also contributed to the Moot by staffing the Moodle Genius Bar which is always a great place to meet Moodlers and help out. There were a lot of ideas generated during the day 2 sessions including making use of multimedia in Moodle as well as a nudge to get more involved in the Moodle community.

In this post, I'll recap the happenings of the day.
Day two - Workshops/Presentations/Genius Bar

The first presentation I attended was given by Ms. Jennifer Claro from Kitami Institute of Technology. Ms. Claro has worked hard these past few years building up a video communication collaboration course with students in a Canadian university. Using the ever-growing, ever-popular PoodLL Modification for Moodle, students created video in a shared forum for each other. Since the students in both countries were studying each other's language, the forums were split into English and Japanese. Then a few times throughout the semester, these students would record and upload a video message (including the transcription) for each other to practice a foreign language and to help their colleagues overseas study their native one.

Dubhgan Hinchey presenting
After Ms. Claro's presentation, I stopped in briefly to listen to the presentation given by Dubhgan Hinchey of Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. His topic was titled Correlation of Time on Task and TOEIC Change. I didn't make it in until the Q&A section of the presentation, but he seemed to have fielded all the questions.

Next, I attended the first of the keynote presentations given during the conference. Ms. Helen Foster, the worldwide Moodle Community Manager addressed the audience in her speech entitled "A Guide to Participating in the Moodle Community." Here are some of the highlights:

The first part of her talk openly encouraged the Japanese community to increase it's involvement in the community. Although Moodle has been 100% translated into Japanese, there is still more work that can be done - for example in the Japanese for Kids language packs and also the Moodle Mobile Application which has yet to be translated into Japanese. As for improving the uptake of Moodle in Japan, she advised us to use the Moodle Hub which offers free courses for download. In particular, the Japanese Demo Course for Moodle Features should be helpful in encouraging adoption in Japan.

She next went on to talk about how to look up issues in Moodle tracker. Although at times when an issue with Moodle is found, it is difficult to know if someone else has found and logged the same issue. After showing us various ways to look up existing issues, she finalized her comment on this part of the Moodle community contributions as even if an issue is logged twice, it is better than not being logged at all.

The next topic was Moodle Research (research.moodle.net) - papers and journal articles can be contributed to this site. It was obvious from how she described the research aspects and opportunities in Moodle that this is one area that is of particular importance for her. Many people might not be aware of the research sides of Moodle and it was good to receive this information. The 2014 Moodle Research conference is scheduled on June 19, 20 in the USA, however she was also quick to encourage the Japanese Moodle Community to encourage the Moodle Research Conference to come to Japan in the future.

Ms. Foster then went on to discuss Moodle MOOC - The first Moodle MOOC was hosted by MoodleHQ - in September of 2013 and the 4-week-long course drew 9,000 enrollments from over 200 countries. There were 2,000 practice courses made and much was learned for improving the Moodle courseware for better use in MOOC. The course from last year is now in read-only mode which is accessible at learn.moodle.net. The MOOC is the source of a currently being written research paper on her experiences.

In the closing of her keynote, Ms. Foster directed us to the Moodle Community Home. She encouraged us to join in the discussions and help out and contribute wherever possible. To recap the locations of the various places in the Moodle Community, here is a comprehensive list of the Moodle community sites:
Following the first Keynote, I worked in the Moodle Genius Bar and answered some questions. Here is a short-list of some of the issues I covered during that time:
  • How to install the new Attendance Module: (in Japanese)
  • How to re-open submitted assignments once submit button clicked by the student: (in Japanese)
  • How to send messages through the Moodle messaging system to different groups of students: (in Japanese)
  • How to install Ubuntu Linux in a Virtual Machine on an Apple Computer: (in English - partially complete)
  • How to find the elusive Moodle Reader ordering question required for installation: (in English)
And in the final part of the day, I attended a presentation by Jason Hollowell from Musashi University entitled the Ongoing Modification of the Face-to-Face Module. Mr. Hollowell has been developing the Face-to-Face module which is an appointment scheduler with some tracking benefits. They have modified this feature for use in tracking a non-credit English study program which allows students to schedule face-to-face meetings with an instructor. The modifications can be downloaded from here.

The last and probably most thought-provoking meeting of the day was the presentation by Syun Tutiya from the National Institution for Academic Degrees and Universities. His keynote address in Japanese (with English slides) really stimulated the thought and future of Higher Education given the creation and implementation of MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). He pondered whither higher education will continue to exist in its current form given the availability of information and access to that information being ubiquitous. It was the first of two really excellent Japanese keynote addresses on the subject.

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