Thursday, June 15, 2017

Moodle 3.2 Sneak Peek - Boost Theme & Tours

Coming soon (July 6) to a Moodle system near you - Version 3.2 with Boost Theme and User Tours!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

All About ZOOM

Zoom is Linn-Benton Community College's official webinar/online meeting tool for academic and administrative uses. Its full-featured, yet simple interface works great for video/audio or audio-only live and recorded meetings and screenshare sessions.

If you don't have an LBCC Zoom account, make sure you are logged in to your LBCC Gmail account in another browser tab, and click here.

Below are some helpful videos on how to get started using Zoom in your teaching, and/or administrative workflow. Want to try a practice session first? Schedule some time with me. I'll get you up and running in Zoom in 15 minutes!

Zoom Meetings & Webinars Training Page

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Private Replies in Moodle Advanced Forums

An instructor posed a question to me:

"I… would like to give my students feedback on their initial posts. Do you know how I can set it up so that I can interact with the students about their posts in a private way?"

I knew there was a way to enable private replies in a Moodle forum, and I found it.

NOTE: This feature is only available in the Advanced Forum, and not in the "standard" Moodle Forum.

Navigate to the Advanced Forum settings, and look for the "Post options" section. Check the "Allow private replies" checkbox, and then save your changes at the bottom:

When you want to make a private reply to a forum post, be sure to click the "Private reply" checkbox at the bottom right:

And that's all there is to it!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Moodle Calendar Export Issue

In my quest for delivering solutions that help students GET on track, and STAY on track (one of the biggest challenges in my own academic career, right up there with "life getting in the way," but that's another story), I have spent many hours over a number of years trying to design an elegant method for instructors to sync a calendar from a course they are teaching in Moodle to a calendar that more students tend to actually use, such as Google Calendar.

I'll boil it down here: You're taking 3 or 4 classes, each with specific due dates and times for various assignments, quizzes, forum posts, etc. That sounds pretty typical, right? What is also typical for college students - especially lots of Community College students? Life getting in the way. They want… ok they may not know they want, but they need the ability to see all of the events they need to do in the context of all of the things they want to do. If you have ever missed an important deadline because you got caught up in a fun, but lesser-important activity, you know what I'm talking about. And with the easy mobility of cloud-based calendars on our smartphones, we really are running out of excuses. And no, the dog really didn't eat your homework, because we all use Google Docs, right?

Every time I visit this Moodle-Google Calendar project, I discover tiny bits of progress in Moodle, but no complete solution. One aspect I really wish would come about relates to the fact that the Moodle Calendar export still seems to relate only to a user account, with no option to relate strictly to events within a Moodle course. From

"Note that this may be more or less useful. The calendar will be relative to the Moodle user. That is, if the user who generates the URL is enrolled in several courses, it is this information that will appear in the calendar. There is no way (at this time) to generate a URL that only applies to one course."

Having that option would enable instructors to create Google (or other) calendars specific to their courses, without also including other events happening in other courses in which they are enrolled.

Can we please get there, Moodle?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Importing Publisher test Questions Into Moodle

This short video covers how to import Moodle XML publisher-provided test questions into your Moodle course.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

GMAIL: How to Create a Filter for PUBLIC-LB replies

New Year's Cybersecurity Resolutions

Make your cyber life a little more safe and secure with these New Year's Cybersecurity Resolutions:

  • Delete your unused accounts
Got an old account you never use anymore -- like Yahoo, MySpace,
or AOL? Delete it to eliminate the possibility of it being hacked.

  • Change and strengthen your passwords
Many online services don't require you to change your password,
but this is no reason not to change them yourself.

  • Check your backups
You have backup copies of your important data, right? Are your
backups current and complete, or have they fallen behind?

  • Uninstall unused apps
You'll have one less app for a hacker to hack, one less password
to remember, and more space on your device.

  • Check for updates
Outdated apps (like Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office) and operating
systems (like Windows) provide hackers with easy targets, and account
for 85% of targeted attacks!

Password Security & LastPass

Password Security
On any given day, most of us are prompted for several IDs and passwords. With so many to remember, it is tempting to use one or two simple passwords. Simple passwords are easy for hackers to crack, however. For instance “1234fido” can be hacked in less than a minute!

Make your passwords more secure by following these recommendations:
  • Use a minimum password length of 12 to 14 characters if permitted.
  • Include lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters, numbers and symbols if permitted.
  • Generate passwords randomly where feasible.
  • Avoid using the same password twice.
  • Avoid keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors' names or dates).
  • Avoid using information that is or might become publicly associated with the user or the account.
  • Avoid using information that the user's colleagues and/or acquaintances might know to be associated with the user.

Several unique, complex passwords are very difficult to remember and type correctly. That is why Information Services recommends the use of LastPass -- a free password manager.  Password managers like LastPass perform the following tasks for you:

  • Remembers all your passwords
  • Suggests very lengthy, complex passwords
  • Types your ID and passwords for you, based on your preferences
  • Re-prompts you for your LastPass password, based on your preferences
  • Stores other proprietary data like credit card information, policy numbers, etc
  • Has Form Fill features that offer to fill out standard forms for you

For more information, check out these LastPass Videos.

GMAIL: How to MUTE a conversation

MUTE a conversation when your LBCC Inbox is filling with replies to a conversation you'd rather not see. Once muted, additional replies are instantly archived. Only replies specifically addressed to you will appear. HINT: if a message mysteriously goes missing,​ you may have muted it accidently with the  m  keyboard shortcut!
How to Mute/Unmute a conversation:
Option 1:   open a message, select More, then select Mute (or Unmute).

Option 2:   use *keyboard shortcut  m .
                 (*you must have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Settings, General)
How to locate muted conversations:
Type  is:muted   in the Search box.