Thursday, April 14, 2011

Keeping track of all that writing/talking

    I used to go to the Moodle discussion forums every day to read new posts, but that got time-consuming, especially when there were multiple forums with threads to check. And I wanted to be immediately responsive to "help me" posts.

    I learned a better alternative - to be sure I'm subscribed to each forum.  How?  Set auto-subscribe in your profile, as shown in the screen shot, to "Yes, when I post subscribe me to that forum."  You just have to make sure you post at least one thread to the forum.  (You can always unsubscribe to a specific forum later if you need to.)

    Why subscribe?  Because Moodle sends me an email for every post a student makes to a discussion forum.  The emails have an easily recognizable subject line so I can distinguish these from other emails until I can look at them.  Since students tend to do their work at night, I tend to get this work in a clump first thing in the morning when I open my email account. 

    As I read through I quickly see posts that need action - usually posts outrageously full of sloppy errors. I flag these just like other emails that need to be addressed further.  The rest I read through and delete. I can click on a link in each email that will take me right to the post, which is handy if I'm replying or if I want to see the post in context. I've noticed that images in posts aren't visible in the emails, but I suspect that's a function of my email server.  

    When I see a post that needs action from the student - especially if it contains errors that need correcting.  - I just print the email and hand it right to the student.  This works much better than emailing the student (middle school students don't check their email much), or posting a reply to the post (the student might not return to this post and so won't see it).  Being able to return work for correction in person is one of the advantages of a blended class.  And I have email flags to remind me to follow up if necessary.

    In the past I didn't use the emails for grading, but went back later.  Now I'm working on getting into the habit of grading at the same time.

No comments:

Post a Comment