ITServices conducted a survey of students who used the online learning system, Moodle, between March 22 and April 1, 2013. Invitations were sent to 17,123 student users of Moodle. We heard from 5206 students who completed the Moodle Survey representing a 30% response rate! Our sincere thanks to everyone who responded to the survey.
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The purpose of the survey was to better understand how services and support of the online system could be improved. The survey was designed to elicit the broadest range of participation and feedback possible, such that data gathered could be used as a basis for more in-depth investigation.
- Queen’s students find real value in having web-based access to course resources.
- Most students find Moodle easy to use.
- They believe that their instructor’s level of comfort and experience with the tools directly impacts the quality of their online experience.
- They want to see their instructors provided with support in building out the course content with an eye to both aesthetics and ease of use for students.
- They want their courses all in one place. Students expressed a strong preference in having all their courses in Moodle. Most students who expressed a preference, preferred Moodle over other LMS at Queen’s. Students found that going to multiple websites for their courses was confusing, whether it was an individual course website or a different learning management system.
- Many commented on the value of a common standard for organizing and presenting course content and expressed a strong preference for a week-by-week layout.
- They appreciate and want more feedback about their progress and found the ability to regularly check their grades was an important part of monitoring their progress.
- Students like to review course materials before the lectures and feel it helps them to be better prepared for class.
- Students like being able to access and submit their assignments online and they prefer this to email. They like to receive email reminder notifications when assignments are due.
- Students like the ability to communicate with professors and classmates. They like the opportunity to learn from each other.
- Students appreciate the ability to access course materials anytime, anywhere.
- They found the course resources that professors made available to them very beneficial to their learning.
- Students depend on Moodle resources to help them plan and prepare for lectures and to stay organized.
- Students frequently review their grades when they are available online and they use this information to understand where they can improve and then adjust their study practices accordingly.
- Students like ‘interactivities’ that supplement their learning.
- Most wanted more communication with professors and classmates.
We will be offering additional resources for faculty to familiarize them with the instructional and administrative uses of Moodle including:
- Moodle Mania Fall 2013 Orientation
Monday August 26 – Friday September 13
Drop by Mackintosh-Corry B109 anytime between 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Personalized Workshops
Faculty can request a workshop tailored to their specific requirements for a small group or department
- Individual and Small Group Consultations
Faculty can request individual or small group consultations on a specific topic
- Integrated dashboard
To simplify access to the Academic and Community iterations of Moodle, a Dashboard will be available to display all of your courses on one screen.
- We're giving you more control!
We've developed a method that allows you to create your own Moodle spaces. Instructors of record (in PeopleSoft) can create their own academic courses. The course creation process also allows you to manage your class enrolments and import your content from previous courses. All with a few simple clicks and keystrokes.
- Moodle 2.4 Drag ‘n Drop File Management
With the newest version of Moodle, instructors, administrators, and developers will be able to Drag ‘n Drop files from a desktop/laptop computer directly into Moodle.
- Pearson Publishing content is now seamlessly integrated into Moodle
- Simplified Course Readings Management(ARES eReserves) has been integrated into Moodle and the Queen’s Library will:
- Scan library readings that fall within the Fair Dealing guidelines
- Acquire and process copyright permissions as needed
- Create and provide links to electronic library resources
- Adapt materials to meet accessibility standards
- Make the readings available in ARES eReserves.
While this document identifies some of the significant response trends, it is intended only as a starting point. We will continue the dialogue by reaching out to our constituents in the months to come. The survey has provided much valuable information, and we will return to these results many times over the coming months as we determine direction, effort, impact and priority.
About the Survey
MOODLE - Tell us What You Think
ITServices conducted a survey of students who use the online learning system, Moodle, between March 22nd and April 1st, 2013. The purpose of the survey was to better understand how services and support of the online system could be improved. The survey was designed to elicit the broadest range of participation and feedback possible, such that data gathered could be used as a basis for more in-depth investigation. Fluid Surveys was used to develop and deploy the 10-question survey. No personal information was collected but it did include some broad demographic questions. Fluid Survey invitations were sent to 17,123 student users of Moodle and 5206 students completed the Moodle Survey resulting in a 30% response rate. On completion of the survey respondents were directed to a different web site where they could enter a draw for a free iPad. Following a random draw on April 15th, the iPad was awarded to Klaudia Litwiniuk, Bachelor of Arts (Hon) 2015.
The ten-question survey used a variety of question types including multiple choice, Likert and rating scales, matrix, demographic, and open-ended questions. The open-ended questions were analyzed using NVivo software. The survey responses are described below.
The Survey Questions and Responses
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(i) How often do you use the Queen's Moodle Online Learning system?
(ii) How would you rate your current skill level using Moodle?
Seven broad categories emerged when students identified the things they liked best about Moodle.
There were 4724 open-ended responses to this question. Responses fell into four broad categories: Instructor Experience with Moodle, Course Presentation, Grades, and Assignments.
Instructor Experience with Moodle
Students indicated that the comfort with Moodle varied with instructors and this was reflected in their use of Moodle. Students observed that instructors who were more familiar with the technology gave greater attention to the organization, presentation, and regularity of updates to the Moodle course web site and those who were less familiar tended to add fewer resources for the students and didn’t update the course site on a regular basis. Students indicated that this impacted their engagement with course material. Responses to this question were consistent in their call for more involvement and availability of training for instructors.
Central Location (Moodle): Students expressed a strong preference to have all their courses in Moodle. Most students expressed a preference for Moodle over other LMS at Queen’s. Only a handful expressed a preference for other Queen’s LMS over Moodle. Students found that going to multiple web sites for their courses was confusing, whether it was an individual course web site or a different learning management system.
Common Standard – Weekly Layout: Students found the different organization between courses confusing. The course layout sometimes made it difficult to find course materials: they found it difficult to access resources such as the syllabus, grades, and due dates when they were located in different places in different courses. Some courses had no information about how to contact the professor or teaching assistants. Many commented on the value of a common standard for organizing and presenting course content and expressed a strong preference for a week-by-week layout.
Students indicated that they appreciated and wanted more feedback about their progress. The ability to regularly check their grades was an important part of monitoring their own progress. They used feedback about their grades to prepare for class and to determine where they needed to spend more time studying. Students expressed frustration when grades were not available in a timely manner and they observed that instructors often had difficulty posting grades. Students noted that grades for some courses were available only when course transcripts were released. Students wanted the ability to view all their assignment grades for all courses in one place.
Students wanted some form of notification when new assignments were posted; many suggested an email notification. They also expressed difficulty knowing where to find and submit assignments. And when students did submit assignments they found it difficult to know whether an assignment had been successfully submitted and they wanted an acknowledgement or a more obvious confirmation that they had properly completed the process. Many students wanted course activity and assignment due dates to be visible in the calendar. Some students indicated they were aware of the Moodle Calendar, but others were not.
(i) How many academic courses did you take?
- Most students responding to the survey (83%) were registered in four or more courses
- 89% (4191/4711) of survey respondents were registered in three or more courses.
(ii) How many of your academic courses used Moodle?
- Of the 4,191 students who were registered in three or more courses, 74% (3,112) had an online (Moodle) component in three or more courses.
This was a two-part question:
There were 4623 open-ended responses to this question. Several themes emerged during the analysis. Some themes related to access and course resources were similar to those previously identified in questions 4 and 5. Other themes that received the greatest number of comments included references to grades, assignments, professors and communication.
Many of the themes paralleled responses to Question 4 in which students identified the thing they liked best about Moodle. In addition to 24/7 one-stop access, ease of use, access to course materials, students indicated that the ability to access course resources enabled them to be better organized and prepared for class.
Students indicated that they liked to review their grades often and they used this information to assess their progress and adjust their study practices to improve their standing.
Students liked submitting assignments online and many indicated they preferred this to submitting assignments by email. Students generally found it easy to submit online assignments and they appreciated feedback about their assignments when it was available.
In responding to the question, What Moodle feature has been most beneficial to your learning experience, students frequently mentioned their professors in two different contexts: assignments and resources, and communication.
Assignments and Resources: Students liked, and repeatedly commented on the course resources that professors make available on the course web site. Students used the professor’s annotated notes and slides to prepare for class and study for exams. Students noticed and appreciated the effort when professors posted extra resources beyond the required course materials. Students preferred it when materials were posted well in advance of class and they found this to be most beneficial. Students also noticed when materials were posted only shortly before class and they indicated that this was less useful. Students like digital resources they can download and print (or not) as needed.
Communication with Professors and Classmates: Most students wanted more communication with professors and classmates. Students liked being able to communicate with instructors and their classmates. They found the discussion forums helpful and many indicated that they learned a great deal from comments and questions posted by other students. Students repeatedly noted that the use of forums was an effective learning tool and they wanted instructors to encourage more discussion. Students in large classes did not expect that instructors would necessarily read or respond to all the forum messages, however, they expressed appreciation for some involvement with the discussions. Students emphasized the importance of the discussion forums as a way to learn from each other and indicated that it impeded their learning when no discussion forums were available in some courses.
There were 4616 open-ended responses to this question. The transcript of responses to this question was analyzed in detail until each response was categorized into what ultimately emerged as eight primary themes. This saturation point was reached when all responses had been reviewed and no new themes were evident.
One Campus LMS
A large number of students indicated they would prefer to use one common LMS across campus. They would prefer to log into one system and found it complicated learn how to navigate and use different systems.
All Courses in Moodle
Students wanted to access all of their Queen’s courses on one site, with one login, and they mentioned other Queen’s learning management systems by name: the majority by far, preferred Moodle to other systems. Students wanted all their courses to have an online presence. Fewer than a dozen students indicated they preferred another campus LMS to Moodle.
Students suggested several course administrative functions that could be improved. There was a desire for improved notification of important dates/events. They wanted a calendar they could check for approaching deadlines. Many students also indicated they didn’t know how to contact their professors or TAs and they suggested including this information in a prominent location on the course site. Students wanted the option to choose whether to download or view course files in their web browser. Aligned with some of the responses to question five, many students wanted an email, or some other type of confirmation when they had successfully submitted assignments. Many students felt limited by the 2MB file size limit when submitting assignments. Those who did not have an online course would have preferred submitting assignments online to printing. Students wanted their list of courses in ‘My Moodle’ to be more organized and they wanted the option to customize it to their personal preferences. Some students wanted the ability to access previously completed courses, but many more students wanted previously completed courses to be removed from their ‘My Moodle’ screen.
Communication / Interaction
In general, students expressed a desire for increased interaction and communication with both professors and classmates, whether by email, discussion forums, or through online office hours.
Course Development and Presentation
Aesthetics, organization, and cross-course consistency were identified as areas for improvement. Students expressed the greatest concern about the way their courses were organized. Students who were enrolled in multiple Moodle courses observed many differences across their courses. In general, they wanted their courses to be better organized and more visually appealing. Students noted differences in the way syllabi were presented, either as documents they could preview/download, or displayed week-by-week on the course home page and they expressed a preference for a single downloadable document. Students also wanted the option to preview syllabi as part of their course selection process. Many students wanted to see improvements in the aesthetics, ease of navigation and locating course resources. Students suggested that more specific file names would help them to locate information more easily. They wanted to do less ‘digging’, less scrolling, and less clicking to access their course resources and they wanted instructors to consider these issues when organizing their courses.
Instructional Use of Moodle
Many student comments indicated that instructor and TA training, grades, discussion forums, and course updates were of significant concern. Student comments indicated they were very aware of instructors’ different skill and comfort levels with Moodle and noted that some instructors and TAs didn’t understand how to use the technology. And some who were more comfortable with using Moodle didn’t use it in a way that “makes life easy for students”. Much less often, students indicated that Moodle was being used to its full potential. Students wanted more opportunities for training to be made available to instructors and TAs. Access to grade feedback was one of the issues that students commented on most frequently. They had a number of concerns related to grades including: grade accuracy, timely release of grades, making all grades in a course available and displaying grades for all courses. Students indicated that grades were sometimes not available in some courses or that grades were only available at the end of the term. Students indicated that knowing their current grades was import because it helped them to assess their standing in a course. A majority of students found the discussion forums extremely beneficial to their learning and most wanted all courses to include discussion forums, even if the instructor didn’t post, although they would prefer they did, even if on a limited basis. Students were quite willing to learn from each other and they missed this opportunity when forums weren’t available in a course.
About a dozen students wanted improved access to Moodle using their mobile devices, and in particular, they requested improvements to viewing their grades.
Many students found ‘nothing’ to wish for and were very satisfied with Moodle.
Have you used any learning management systems other than Moodle?
(If yes) Compared with other learning management systems I have used, Queen's Moodle is: