Posted by & filed under moodle, mosomelt.

Because I am getting questions a lot now that Unitec is going to upgrade to Moodle 2, and one of the questions I get is around the files area (or lack thereof).

Here are two little slideshows I think you should watch if you are struggling to understand the whys and wherefores of the behaviour of files in Moodle 2.



Thank you so much, Mark, for creating these!

Posted by & filed under moodle, mosomelt.

Yep, it’s been all quiet in here. I think I detect an echo, and maybe some tumble weeds. This is my usual thing where I only get around to posting if I’m really procrastinating doing something else (which at the moment is writing my NaNoWriMo novel, developing some themes for a Moodle client, mowing the lawns…).

I have been trying out some pretty neat Moodle stuff. Let’s see if I can find it all again.

Sloodle for Moodle 2 – I tried and broke the Sloodle Alpha for Moodle 2. Seems that the ports on my domain are locked down just a little too tight, but the Sloodle team were making noises that eventually they would look at a work-around for that. Otherwise, the Sloodle tools installed just fine on my Moodle 2.1 site, and the new Sloodle rezzer is just… brilliant. This is a definite MUST TRY!

Drag and Drop upload block – This looks and works so great, the only drawback is that when you drag and drop files into your course using this block, they don’t appear anywhere in the file viewer, and there was something else I couldn’t do with the files because they just didn’t seem to ‘be’ anywhere. Don’t remember what, though. But a definite time-saver for teachers to upload resources to a course.

Flexii_ii theme – I had a play with this on my Moodle 2.1 site, and it looks great. Does not seem to work too well on IE, but I haven’t had a proper play to see if it is specific to the version of IE or operating system or a combination of both.

MobileMoodle theme – Not much to say here except that it is great. Yep.

Moodle Mobile App – I managed to scrounge an iPad off work (borrowed, of course) to install the Moodle app and have a play. I got it all working with my Moodle 2.1 site and had a play. There’s not a lot to it yet, but I have hopes for the future of this app.

Grid format – a Moodle custom course format that hides all topics and creates a grid of images, which when you click on them it brings up a lightbox-style popup with the resources. I tried this out on my own Moodle site and I like it a lot. I can see how this can make a course page so much more appealing!

I think that’s all for now… so perhaps not so quiet on the western front, after all…

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

Evaluation from peers

Received after I asked for some feedback on my web page.

Hi Matt,

Had a quick look at your great website and I am very impressed, but I will need to have a more detailed look in the next few days.

One thing I have noticed is that your link to stakeholder support is for the existing programme. Would stakeholders think that your proposed changes would improve student learning? How do you know? I don’t need letters of support, just a reflection from you that shows you have thought about it, and maybe talked to a few people about it, especially some students.

I’ll get back to you asap – but it looks as though you have addressed most of the requirements of assessments 3 and 4.

Cheers, Terry


hello Matt

good on you trying out a web page. For the work involved do you see advantages in using the website over your blog?

I see you have asked for feedback on your website. I see Matt that while I prefer a pale, clear design, you are obviously a fan of a dark background and bright colours. Whatever you decide on, the ultimate goal is to please the target audience and make it easy for them to navigate and read as well as interesting and presented in a way which captures their attention. There has been quite a lot written about web design and best practice and there are some good books in the library on this.

You might like to check out the web style guide at:

this outfit also mention a preference for subtle colours:
“Subtle pastel shades of colors typically found in nature make the best choices for background or minor elements. Avoid bold, highly saturated primary colors except in regions of maximum emphasis, and even there use them cautiously. ”

Also see general design considerations at:

What I have found useful when deciding on web design is to look at a few websites and evaluate the features I like or don’t like. That way you can establish a checklist about the design features such as: interface, navigation, clarity, readability, ease of understanding, etc.

It is important to have consistent styles as too many colours and different fonts can distract when what you want to do is attract the readers eye to the elements on the site.

Some examples of what I regard as best practice design: – clean looking, eye drawn to graphics and text. good use of fonts to gain attention and wide range of media. – some use of bright colours to gain attention, overall clean and easy to read, good use of text ‘chunking’. – busier, but still clean, good use of graphics, use of italics draws the eye but sometimes if too much it detracts. – a bit of scrolling and this works here. really like the layout of this one.

I have a feedback sheet I use to evaluate online materials on Blackboard which yoo may find useful. I will make it available to the class.


Hi Matt

Very impressive. Is this your final plan the one that we are meant to see. One of our final assignments? It looks like you have put a lot of work into it and thought it out. What you need to do, who you need to ask, moderation and timeline as well as the cost of everything.


Lyn Blair


Community Learning Centre

Forth Street


Phone: (03) 479 6987

Fax:      (03) 479 6988


Posted by & filed under Builders, Constructing Courses to Enhance learning, flexible learning practice, mosomelt.

Learning outcomes.

After students have finished this course they will have built on prior knowledge to produce more advanced outcomes. They will provide the building industry with people that can read and interpret drawings. They will be able to make decisions based on sound knowledge and having the ability to communicate at another level. 

  1. control and enhance the quality of building and related projects.
  2. ensure projects achieve technical objectives.
  3. They will be able to establish the basic character of the building representing the requirements of the client.

Elements From NZQA

  • Determine work to be done from given working drawings for a building of two storeys.
  • Determine materials required from given working drawings and specifications for a building of two storeys.
  • Why it isn’t working and how to make it work.

    These are two simple elements but have been so badly over assessed by the BCITO in the past the students have been left dazed and confused for some time afterwards. The current BCITO assessment activity takes about 10 -14 hours. This time frame is ridiculous and it doesn’t allow any time for teaching along the way.To criticize more, the questions in the assessment are often open ended and need a lot of defining for the student to correctly answer them.

    The students that we a teaching are apprentices that have been in the industry for over three years. The type of prior knowledge that they bring to the class is very good but still they find the assessment very difficult.

    So I have established that the current system does not work and the reason is that it is complex, the assessment takes too long and the questions are not clear in their wording. To fix the course I want to-

    1. Sharpen up the teaching material by adding in some hands on examples and trying to use actual real situations.
    2. Include some video of classes that we are already teaching live to apprentices.
    3. Videos on how to sketch assembly details. (article about open poly)
    4. Have some narrated power point presentations of examples of drawings, symbols, examples of scale, line-work and how to read and reference working drawings.
    5. Have a set of house plan to complete the assessment.
    6. Re write an assessment that could be used by distance and face to face students.
    7. Resources required for the assessment.

    Ways to market the course to others outside carpentry 

    Terry explained to me the benefits of breaking the unit standard down into usable parts that could be sold to other institutes or polytechs. The advantage of this is that for example a polytech in Australia may wish to use the part of the package to teach students about architectural symbols. Australia and New Zealand like in many things share the same symbols and even have to conform to the same standard, so it makes sense to use the same teaching material.On this advice I think that the CD ROM files could be  separated in the teaching resource so it could be broken down into smaller subjects. Another use for this is that the architectural draughting department might like to use the same teaching resource. There could be a data base of teaching material for many subjects and then the teaching material for each course could then be put together for each course.

      Article about qualifications that meet industry needs

      Learner analysis.

      At the present time in the building industry changes are happening in the way that the public will perceive a qualified builder. Currently the public sees builders as ‘trade qualified’ and sometimes members of a professional organization e.g. master builders or certified builders. That will all change in November 2009 when buildings that require consent to build will need a licensed person to carry out that work.  With the extra responsibility of holding a professional license there will be recognition of qualifications and prior knowledge. There is to be changes to the National certificate and one of them is to move a unit standard that we currently teach to another qualification.  

      a)      I am going to teach this unit standard about reading plans and specifications to qualified carpenters.

      b)      These students want to go on from the national certificate and get the leading hand site   supervisor qualification.

      c)      In three years no one coming out of the qualification will be credited with this unit standard.

      d)      I teach this unit standard currently

      e)      I will be teaching nearly all young men.

      f)       Age group to be 21 years old – approx 30 years old.

      g)      Prerequisite National Certificate in Carpentry. (level 4)

      h)      Geographically spread out through out NZ

      i)        Motivated go getters. (foreman potential)

      j)        Hard workers e.g. long hours and not a lot of time to read or concentrate for long times.

      k)      Young family or about to start having kids.

      l)        Knowledge to be from either a residential, light commercial or commercial background.

      m)    Usually not a mixture as firms aim at specializing in a field to save on setting up costs

      n)      Excellent for the polytechnic to be recognized as experts teaching expert builders in the industry.

      (this is from my Blackboard entry it is a pity I just couldn’t link it)

      Learner context

      The type of learner that we will be teaching are already familiar with the construction industry and will already hold a national certificate in carpentry. They may not be familiar with online learning or using a CD ROM. Face to face tutorials and an availability of a lecturer by phone and or email will be available during office hours. An orientation session to the use of the CD ROM will be timetabled  in the first face to face session. Learning support for the CD ROM and the material will be available after that.


       Balance of face to face and flexible learning content.

      With the same teaching material we are going to teach two separate groups of students. The full time students that attend the course live currently will still be here but we want to be able to deliver this course to others at a distance. I expect there to be a lot of live students that would also tend to want to take up the opportunity to do some distance learning.

      There will be lectures of a serious nature that will deliver information about the course and how the students could partake in it.

      Most of the course will be delivered using the material on the CD ROM and then working through assessment by them selves on in a group. It suit some students to do it in their own way in their own space. We encourage students to partake in group work for there own developmental benefit. Because a lot of the students doing the course will be in employment they tend to work very well in a group just as a building site works. The group dynamics are just the same and team leaders seem to naturally take control and divide up work loads and organise.

      Course intro – live or distance

      Plan reading, symbol identification, scale drawing, working drawing, projections and views, aabreviations – flexible delivery

      Assessment – group work