The following tools can be used to facilitate conversation and community among faculty and students within the classroom.
Discussion forums can be a great way for an instructor to keep students connected in their course(s). There are many different types of discussion forums to choose from, but there are a few that are popular for facilitating conversation and community within your Moodle course.
The Announcement Forum has been automatically added in each Moodle course. The Announcement Forum is a forced subscription forum that will send an email to all enrolled members of the course for every message posted. A benefit to this allows the ability for students who are added to the course late to review previous messages posted to the forum.
Standard Forum for General Use
This is an open forum where anyone can start a new topic at any time. This is the best option for a general-purpose forum where students can create threaded discussions (similar to a blog format).
This forum allows the instructor to post questions that they want their students to answer. However, students cannot see their peers’ responses until they post to the forum.
We have more information available on our Adding and Using Forums in Moodle help page about the different types of forums as well as how to add a forum activity in your Moodle course.
Quickmail is a messaging tool built within Moodle that allows instructors to send a message to the entire class or to select students. Students can send messages to other students using Quickmail too.
Google Groups can be used as a messaging tool for instructors to stay connected with students in their class. Every Moodle course site in the fall and spring semesters as an accompanying Google Group with enrollments that match those in Moodle. Google Groups can also be used to manage access to Google Drive resources such as My drive folders, Shared drives, and individual Google Docs. You can also use Google Groups as a way to manage access to a Google Calendar event by typing the name of the courses’ Google Group name in the Guests field rather than individually adding students to the event. For more information, see the help page on Google Groups for Courses.
Google Chat is a communication tool for messaging amongst the Lafayette community either through direct messages or group messages using “Spaces”.
- Attach files from either your computer or hard drive, Google My Drive and Shared drives
- Create a new Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide on the fly.
- Start an impromptu Google Meet or see everyone within the Chat or Space Google Calendar.
Benefits of Using Google Chat to Facilitate Conversation
- A good solution for asynchronous communication with students such as Q&A or for synchronous communication such as Office Hours (see Managing Virtual Office Hours).
- The ability for instructors to create a Google Chat Space to message students in a course. Instructors can easily invite students to join the Space by adding the Course Google Group to the membership. See Google Groups for Courses for information on adding your entire class to a Space.
- Students can create one-on-one discussions with each other or create a Space to connect with a group of students in a class.
- The ability to add threaded discussions in a Space.
Google Slides offers a Q&A feature where presenters can start a live Q&A session in their presentation and present questions at any time. Viewers can ask questions from any device. For more information, see Google’s help documentation on Accept and Present Audience Questions using Google Slides.
One of the many ways to facilitate conversation and community within a class is to create welcome or introduction videos to become more acquainted with each other. Using Kaltura, Lafayette’s streaming media platform, members of Lafayette can create, store, and distribute media to the public and internal audiences. Instructors can access their media library within Moodle and can share videos with students in their course as well as create video assignments where students can create and upload videos as part of an assignment. One’s Kaltura media content is available from both media.lafayette.edu and My Media in Moodle.
More information on using Kaltura can be found on the Audio and Video Resources help page.