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1.1.1 Settings

This allows you to change the look of the class. If you click on the “Settings” link, you should see a screen like this:

1.1.1

All of the individual settings have “?” next to them to explain what they do. Any fields in red and marked with an asterisk are required to be completed. Detailed explanations of these fields are as follows:

GENERAL SETTINGS

Full name – This name will appear at the top of the screen and in the course listings throughout the Moodle system. I recommend that you use some sort of consistent naming scheme throughout your installation. For example, at Sweet Briar, this should be COURSE ID#SECTION# - COURSE NAME – SEMESTER YEAR
(e.g. PAN101.01 – Elementary Spanish I – Fall 2008)

Short name – This name will appear in other areas of your course, where the full name might be too cumbersome. Again, I recommend you use some sort of standard. At Sweet Briar, it is:
CourseID#.Section#.SemesterAbbreviation.LastTwoDigitsOfYear (e.g. SPAN101.01.F.08)

ID number – this field is used to create a number that can be used to interface with other programs. Moodle itself does not use this number internally, so in many cases, this field can be left blank. However, at Sweet Briar, we just use the same information as our short name.

Summary – this can be anything. If you have HTML editors enabled, you can use full formatting, including superscripts, subscripts, emoticons, etc. At Sweet Briar, we use the same course description that is in our published course catalog.

Format – this is an important field. There are three different formats for the class – Weekly, Topic, and Social. The weekly format organizes the class into weeks, with assignments, discussion boards, tests, etc. all residing in a week-by-week block. The Topic format organizes everything by topics (or units), regardless of how long they take. The Social format is built around a forum (bulletin board), which is good for announcements and discussions. I find the Weekly and Topic boards to be the more useful, but someone may come up with a creative Social format use.

Notice that the Weekly and Topic formats look very similar, but they are organized very differently. Weekly format lends itself to classes that are structured in a regular format, and Topic lends itself to classes that have units that are chronologically dynamic.

For the rest of this manual, I will be using the Topic format, but all the functions work in the Weekly and Social formats as well.

Number of weeks/topics – this displays the number of weeks or the number of topics displayed on your class page (the default is 10 weeks or 10 topics).
Course start date - This is where you specify the starting date of the course. If you are using a 'weekly' course format, the first week will start on the date you set here. This setting does not affect courses using the 'social' or 'topics' formats except in the display of reports, which use this date as the earliest possible date you can display. In general, if your course does have a real starting date then it makes sense to set this date to that, no matter what course formats you are using.

Hidden sections – this setting controls how hidden sections appear (or don’t) in your class. You want to hide a section in your classroom if you are making changes on it, or if you do not want the students working ahead (on a future topic). If you hide a section (a topic or a date), a small bar will normally appear to let the student know there is a hidden section there. The students cannot see anything in the section, but will know it is there. If you set this control to “Hidden sections are completely invisible,” then nothing shows up in the class for the students to see.

News items to show – this sets how many news items to show for your class. Any time you post something in the News forum (at the top of the classroom), the title will appear in the “Latest news” box (at the top of the page by default). The number you set here limits how many news items to post before old ones get dropped. If you enter “0” for this menu, the “Latest news” box will not be displayed.

Show grades – this item sets whether or not students can see the grades you give them on any assignments that support giving grades (which is most of them). By default, this is set to “Yes” so the student can see the grade you gave. If this is set to “No,” then students cannot see the grades that were given.

Show activity reports – this feature defaults to “No.” If this is switched to “Yes,” then students can see their activity log (logon times, what they did while on, etc.). Note that this can put a strain on a server if this is turned on for large classes. The teacher can always see the activity log of a student, no matter what this feature is set to.

Maximum Upload Size – this lets you choose how large of a file you want users to be able to upload within your site (the upper limit is set by the administrator of your Moodle installation).

Is this a Meta Course? - In Moodle, you can create Meta Courses which are designed to be a shared space for multiple regular courses. In the Meta Course, you can provide information... without having to duplicate it in all the other courses. Instead of enrolling students in the Meta Course, you enroll sub-courses. All the students enrolled in those sub courses have access to the data provided in the Meta course. An example is illustrated below:
meta
In this example, all the students enrolled in CHEM 201, CHEM303 and CHEM313 would have access to any content created in the Chemistry Department site. Obviously this is an excellent way to share information, without having to re-create it for each class!

Default role – this lets you choose the default role of each user when they enroll in your course. We will discuss roles in detail later.

ENROLMENT SETTINGS

Enrolment Plugins – Moodle is a flexible system that allows for many methods of enrolling students. The default (and the only one currently used at Sweet Briar) is internal enrolment, where users enroll themselves into courses. Other enrolment options include: Authorize.net Payment Gateway, External database, Flat file, IMS Enterprise (1.6), LDAP, Paypal, OSCommerce. These options will only be available if your administrator has enabled them.

Course enrollable - Whether this course is enrollable or not. With a third option of llowing enrolment within a range of date.

Enrolment duration – This sets how long a student can be enrolled in a class from when the student registers. After the time set here, the student will be unenrolled from your class.

ENROLMENT EXPIRY NOTIFICATION SETTINGS

Notify – If set to “yes”, this will notify you if a student’s enrolment period is about to expire (obviously this doesn’t matter if the enrolment duration is set to unlimited)

Notify students – If set to “yes”, this will notify the student if their enrollment period is about to expire.

Threshold – this is the point at which notifications will be sent out if either of the two above options are set to “yes”. (e.g., if set to 3 days, a student would receive notification that they are about to be unenrolled three days in advance)

GROUPS SETTINGS

Group mode – This is the default setting for groups for the course. You have threesettings to choose from if you use groups:

No – if this is set, the class is one big group. Everyone can see everyone.
Separate – if this is set, each group is separate – the groups cannot see each other (can not see other groups’ postings, assignments, etc.).
Visible – if this is set, students belong to groups, but the groups can see each other.

Force - if this is set to “No,” then groups can be assigned for each module added (each assignment). In this case, the class group setting is the default setting, but that can be changed. If this is set to “Yes,” then the group setting cannot be changed at he assignment level – the setting for the class level is always the setting.

AVAILABILTY SETTINGS

Availability - This option allows you to "hide" your course completely. It will not appear on any course listings, except to teachers of the course and administrators. Even if students try to access the course URL directly, they will not be allowed to enter.

Enrollment key – this is the classroom password. If you fill in this field, students will have to put in the password the first time they log in to the class. This is to keep people who are not in your class from joining. The enrollment key can be anything – a word, numbers, or a combination. This can be changed as many times as you like in case the password gets spread outside of class. Again – students only need to put this key in the first time – after that they do not have to. If someone from outside of the class joins and then you change the key, they do not have to put in the new key because they have already joined, but they can be kicked out by you. Once they are kicked out, they would have to know the new key to rejoin the class.

Guest access – this controls if people without accounts can get into your classroom. This is set to “Do not allow guests in” by default, but it can be changed to allow guests in who have the classroom enrollment key (the password) or to allow in any guest, even if they do not have the enrollment key. Note that guests cannot change anything in a course – they can only read or see what has been done.

LANGUAGE SETTINGS

Force language – this feature let’s you pick the language for your course! By default, it will be in English, but you can select another language instead. Then, all the buttons, and system files will appear in the language you chose. (This is an excellent use for foreign language instructors!)

When done modifying the class settings, click on the “Save changes” button.

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