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.
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.
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
- The interface faculty use to email students through Moodle has changed very slightly and has a couple new features. Please see our write-up here for instructions and info for the new Quickmail interface.
- Faculty now have the option to customize the look and feel of their Moodle site with two additional options for course formats: “Tiles” and “Buttons”. Please see our write-up here on using a different course format.
Other New Features to Try
We also encourage you to check out these features that were new to Amherst last year.
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.
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!