Summer 2020

On Thursday, June 4th, Moodle will receive an upgrade from version 3.6 to 3.8.  

This upgrade contains just a couple new features and improvements. Please contact askIT@amherst.edu if you'd like help trying anything out!

Improvements to Forums

  • Forum Grading: Instructors can now assign a grade for the entire forum to students.
  • Private replies: Instructors can reply privately to students' forum posts.

H5P Interactive Content

H5P allows faculty to add interactive learning activities to their Moodle sites, such as videos with embedded quiz questions and images with pop-up notes. New in 3.8, H5P content can be embedded into any text area on Moodle. 


Spring 2020

This semester we have a couple new features and improvements. Please contact askIT@amherst.edu if you'd like help trying anything out!

Google Assignments

Google Assignments is a Google/Moodle integration that lets students submit Google Drive files (docs, sheets, etc) as assignments in Moodle. The submitted files remain “live” in Google and all the great collaborative features of Google Docs, such as comments, are preserved. The grading interface has a useful "comment bank" feature. We had a few faculty members test it out last semester and it was generally well-liked. 

H5P Interactive Content

H5P is brand-new to Amherst this semester. It allows faculty to add interactive learning activities to their Moodle sites, such as videos with embedded quiz questions and images with pop-up notes. 

Adjustment to Email

Email messages sent via Moodle will no longer appear in your Gmail “Sent” folder. This is in response to community feedback we received last semester.

For email messages sent through the Participants List or Quickmail Block, the “from” field of an email will now contain the sender’s name, but the email address will be “noreply@amherst.edu”. If you reply to the email, however, the sender’s correct email address will appear. Emails generated from forum posts will also contain the sender’s name and the noreply@amherst.edu address in the ”from” field, but to reply in Gmail you will need to re-enter the correct email address.


 

Fall 2019

    1. System-Level: Cloud Hosting & URL Change
    2. Navigating Moodle & Finding Your Courses: The Dashboard and Navigation Block
    3. Classroom Assistant Enrollments
    4. Course-Level Improvements: Quickmail and Course Formats
    5. Other New Features to Try: NameCoach and Audio/Video Recording 

System-Level: Cloud Hosting & URL Change

In order to ensure the best service and experience for everyone who uses Moodle, Moodle has moved to a cloud-hosted provider effective July 29th, 2019. Moodle users should not notice any difference aside from a few changes and improvements noted below. 

The base URL for Moodle has changed to the more intuitive “moodle.amherst.edu”, from “lms.ats.amherst.edu”. Old links will redirect to the new system, but we recommend updating any links to specific Moodle sites or activities that you may have on the Amherst website, in documents, or as bookmarks. 


Navigating Moodle & Finding Your Courses

The new Moodle Dashboard provides a customizable home page with several useful features to help you easily access and organize your Moodle courses and activities. Anyone logging into Moodle after the upgrade will see an interactive pop-up tour of the different features. 

We strongly encourage everyone to try the “Filter” feature in the Course Overview block. To find your Fall 2019 courses, for example, select “Future” in the filter menu. Note that on the first day of classes, Fall 2019 courses will switch to appear under “In progress”. Faculty are welcome to add custom thumbnail images for their courses.

dashboard

For more information, please check out Moodle's videos on the Course Overview block and the Dashboard in general.

Navigation Block

The Navigation Block will contain an improvement where courses are grouped by semester. Note that Moodle bumps semesters with hidden courses toward the bottom, and semesters with visible courses bump toward the top, so if the sort order of the semesters seems off, this is why.
Navigation block

 


Classroom Assistant Enrollments

In order to streamline workflows surrounding Moodle enrollments, faculty and ADC’s can now enroll classroom assistants (such as TA’s) directly into their Moodle sites. While the Classroom Assistant Request form will remain available for the time being, we encourage everyone to try this new method. TA’s are added instantly to Moodle, with no wait times!


Course-Level Improvements: Quickmail and Course Formats


Other New Features to Try

We also encourage you to check out these features that were new to Amherst last year.

NameCoach

The Amherst Moodle has an integration of NameCoach, a service that aims to solve the common problem of name mispronunciation. Here's how faculty can add NameCoach to their Moodle sites. 

Audio/Video Recording

Wherever you can type in Moodle, you can record video or audio. This means you can have students record videos in forum posts, assignments set to accept online text, quiz essay questions, etc. Here’s more info on how it works and supported browsers. Note that instructors can also record audio or video to leave as assignment feedback!

Thanks and as always, please contact AskIT with any questions!