Tag Archives: Moodle

Zoom Integration with Moodle and Other Learning Management Systems

Recently one of my team returned from a conference and shared how everyone was interested in how we integrate Zoom with Moodle at Andrews University. I thought then that I’d share here how we do that.

Our Moodle is currently hosted with Moonami, but this strategy should work for you, however you are hosting Moodle. In addition, most learning management systems allow for some HTML in announcement features, discussion forums, anywhere you can post text. So this strategy should work well elsewhere too.

Set up a Recurring Meeting for the Course

First, we recommend our faculty set up a recurring meeting for the course so that students can always use the same link to attend class. This works even if you are sharing the Zoom account across a department, because each course could have it’s own recurring meeting, as long as someone makes sure they aren’t scheduled at the same time. Our departments who share Zoom usually have an administrative assistant keeping an eye on that.

Link the Meeting in an HTML Block

After the link is set up, then we create a little HTML block (in BrightSpace this is a widget) to show prominently within the course as shown:


The block has a link to the meeting room for the course, and the materials are linked to our simple QuickGuide on how Zoom works. (See our other QuickGuides)

The HTML for this block is shared below. The bold sections are where you’ll need to make changes for your situation.

<p><img src=”http://link to your Zoom image here” width=”180″ height=”39″ style=”display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;” /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”>This course features live webinars. <br />Click on “<strong>Meeting Room</strong>” below<br />to connect and participate</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong><a href=”https://link to your Zoom Room here” title=”Zoom Webinar” target=”_blank”>Meeting Room</a></strong><br />

<strong><a href=”http://Link to your Zoom instructions here” title=”Zoom Usage Instructions” target=”_blank”>Support Materials</a></strong></p>

Other Uses for HTML Blocks

And, voila! Now you have an HTML block featuring Zoom on the front page of the course. This little trick is great for many features that you might want to add to your online courses! I like to use the HTML block also for:

  • Contact information and photo for the instructor
  • Student support services info, links, phone numbers
  • A list of important deadlines – withdrawal dates, last day for a full refund, etc.
  • A short version of the suggested schedule for organizing assigned work each week

Your Turn

Do you have a strategy like this in your LMS? Share your tips or questions in the comments below!

Making Web Friendly Link Collections

Lately I’ve been seeing several collections of resources and web links come in from faculty for their online courses. I thought I’d write a few tips on how to make these collections web-friendly and easy for students to use.

First: Why?

First, think about why you are giving these web links to students. What do you expect them to do with them?

  • Are they supplemental resources?
  • Are students expected to complete an assignment after visiting the links? Is there a concept or principle they should be looking for as they peruse your resource list?
  • Should they read some of them? how should they choose?
  • Is it for extra practice? How would students know if they need extra practice?

Think this through, then make it clear in the instructions provided with the links.

Second: Link Specific Words

Note the difference between these:

How to make a web link in Word: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-or-edit-a-hyperlink-5d8c0804-f998-4143-86b1-1199735e07bf


Click this link to learn how to make a web link in Word


How to make a web link in Word

Which one is easier to read? I hope you chose the latter!

  • Write specific words. Either the reason to click the link. Or the title of the website. Something specific. Avoid “click here”!
  • Link the words. Find the URL/web address and copy it. After you’ve written the specific words, then highlight the words, select the link tool, and paste the URL. Voila!

Tips for Links

  • Ctrl K works in many places to jump directly to making a link. In Word, in WordPress, probably in your Learning Management System.
  • Word and PDFs. If you are putting Word files or PDFs in your course, make sure all the links are set up like this before you upload. When you save from Word to PDF, usually your PDF writer will make the links active.
    • Find the URL/web address and copy it.
    • Write specific words.
    • Highlight the words.
    • Select the link tool, and paste the URL.
  • Discussion, Annoucements, Labels. In your Learning Management System, you have multiple opportunities to write content. In all of these places, you can add links. Make a good linking habit. Write specific words. Link the words. Don’t just paste the long and ugly URL!
  • Moodle “Page” In your Learning Management System, there is probably a tool that lets you create content. In this tool, you can also, write specific words, link the words.


Write Specific Words. Link the Words.

Got it? Your LMS helpdesk can probably assist you with this if you need additional help. It’s a simple thing, but it will make your online content look much more professional. It will also increase the likelihood that your students will actually click the links!

Leap of Faith: Trials and Tribulations after Converting to Moodle

Live blogging another session at USDLA 2012

Leap of Faith: Trials and Tribulations after Converting to Moodle
Presenters: Charlene Stubblefield, Stephanie Holmes, Major Stewart, and John Williams from Prairie View A&M University
This is a follow up session to a session they did last year on their implementation process.
They are on Moodle 1.9. Someone in the audience highly recommended upgrading to 2.x.
Leap 1: Deciding on Moodle as the LMS
Leap 2-4: Uploading the student information from Banner into Moodle; Setting up LDAP for single sign-on; They update twice a day at 11 am and 11 pm. They ran into issues as they merged the student accounts for single sign on.
Leap 5-20: Training, Training, Training
  • Training for the office of distance learning staff
  • Training for students – students didn’t show up to the trainings; they had better attendance if the training was embedded into the actual course time (had to deal with students asking for the ODL staff to train the instructor to use it certain ways)
  • Web based documentation online for students and faculty – text with screenshots and Flash video
  • Faculty training: they do certification for teachers to be able to teach online; phone and email support is provided on a regular basis; the provost supports the online certification process for when the faculty are resistant to it; at the beginning of each session they have a 5-10 minute gripe session to let them “get it out” – and then they go on with training; they see the key as building a relationship with faculty of support and technical expertise
  • The web based certification is 10 weeks with 3 modules, but some finish it in a few days; the face to face is the same training, but is in three two-hour sessions
  • They’ve had this certification in place for 10 years; and at the very beginning there was an incentive ($1500); but now the online course is considered part of the regular teaching load and the online certification is considered normal practice
  • There is also a test at the end of the certification that the faculty have to take
  • They do a face to face meeting to see how the faculty use the computer – and then from that they do an assessment to see if the faculty member should go to the online training or the face to face training.
  • They have significant buy in from the provost and the deans for certification for teaching online
  • They have a self-study document for the faculty member to review the course before it is taught online (it’s a 10 page document that includes what should be in the course and what types of learning experiences)
  • Faculty sign a release form that their course materials are owned by the university
After this, they did a pilot with Moodle…
  • They piloted with one course – with a high level instructor – and there were no issues. The problem though was they needed to hear from less savvy faculty members to get better feedback on the issues.
Leap 21: Based on the pilot, they pushed the implementation from the fall to the spring.
Leap 22: Significant work to convert course materials, quizzes, etc. from Blackboard CE6 to Moodle.
Side conversation on why they moved: the major reason was the cost; they also liked the open source model; concerns about the monopoly; interesting conversation through the room on hosting etc.

Leap 23: They worked on adding other plug-ins:
She mentioned a Moodle XML builder as a tool helping with the conversion process.

The benefits of Moodle plug-ins and extras is that faculty can beg for a feature, and then you can find a plug-in or module, install it, and two weeks later you’ve given the teachers what they need. Instead of the vendor saying – well that will be in the next version next year.
They have four instances of Moodle: For courses/production, for development, for outcomes, and for the school of education for NCATE. Very interesting way of using Moodle for multiple uses on campus.
Their hosting company is Remote Learner. They are really flexible; they will offer service whatever you need – training for your IT people; you can create your own contract, etc. (That was feedback from the presenters. Good to know – sounds like a great option.)
They like hosting because the hosting company is very quick to implement what is needed.
It’s so wonderful to hear the trials and tribulations from another institution and their experiences of