Monday, 25 July 2016

Embed a Google Doc or editable spreadsheet to a Moodle course

Google Docs is a widely used service for managing documents online. This guide will show you how you can easily embed your Google document or spreadsheets into Moodle by obtaining the HTML embed codes allowing users to view real time edits by other users or make their own additions (spreadsheet).

Navigate to Google Docs
If you are already logged into your Gmail click on the Google Apps icon situated in the top right corner (see below) otherwise navigate to https://docs.google.com

Within Google Drive open the desired document and then click File (top left corner) and Publish to the web…:



Click the Publish button:


Click OK when you see the pop up message:

Click on the Embed tab and then copy the HTML code:


Google Drive
It is also possible to obtain the embed code from a document viewing directly from Google Drive (https://drive.google.com):


For example, a PDF from Google Drive, right-click the document and click Share.


Make it public by clicking Get shareable link from the pop up window:

You will need to make your Google Docs file public otherwise if it set to private, you will be the only one who can view it. To change your privacy setting click on Anyone at xxxx with the link can view:


Click on More…

Select either Anyone with the link or Public on the web. If you intend to insert an editable Spreadsheet in your Moodle course then ensure that you change the Access option to Can edit then click the Save button to finish:

From Google Drive double click the shared document, which should open up a preview. Click the pop-out button from the menu bar situated along the top of the preview:


Click Embed item from the options menu (vertical bar with three dots).


Copy the code and paste the HTML code into your Moodle course or website


Spreadsheet
To embed a spreadsheet from Google Docs, open the spreadsheet you want to embed and under the File menu select Publish to the Web.

Click the Publish button:


Then click the Embed tab and copy the HTML code to your Moodle course:


The editable Google spreadsheet will now allow students to enter data to view changes in real time.

Presentation Slides
To embed Presentation slides into your Moodle course, open the presentation and as before click File and from the options select Publish to the Web… then click the Publish button.

Click the Embed tab. Before copying the HTML code amend any of the available options to control the size and speed of the slides as necessary:


Google Forms
To embed a Form, open the form and the from the File menu select Embed:

Then copy the HTML embed code into your Moodle course:



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Monday, 6 June 2016

Manage your projects including dissertations with Gantter (Gantt chart tool)

With dissertations now on the minds of final year university students I began searching for web for a simple yet effective tool to plan a project. 
I recalled from my university days how useful a Gantt chart was to plan out my dissertation. For those of you who are not familiar with Gantt charts, it is one of the most commonly used in project management as a method of showing activities (tasks or events) displayed against time. Along the left of the chart lists activities associated with the project and along the top the duration for completion of each activity. Each activity is represented by a bar, whilst the position and length of the bar reflects the start date, duration and end date of the activity. The benefit of using a Gant chart allows you to see at a glance:
  • What the various activities are
  • When each activity begins and ends
  • How long each activity is scheduled to last
  • Where activities overlap with other activities, and by how much
  • The start and end date of the whole project
Source: www.gantt.com

I came across Gantter, which is a free cloud-based project management tool that offers a variety of features including integration with Google.
Gantter offers the similar functions as most popular desktop scheduling applications however with the added advantage of being able to access it from a web browser and storing files online. Microsoft Project users will be pleased to see that projects can easily be migrated to the application as well as being able import existing MS Project files into Gantter.

Registration

Registering for an account on Gantter takes a few minutes. Start by navigating to www.smartapp.com then click on the Start Now green button (situated top right of the page):

You will then be taken to the login page. If you don’t have an existing Google, Facebook or LinkedIn account, click on the New to Gantter? Register now! link on the right hand of the page:
If you have a Google, Facebook or Linked in account the process if even quicker, simply click on the icons at the bottom of the Login button. For example clicking the Google icon will pick up my Gmail account (I am already logged in to my Gmail in a separate tab) and will ask me to confirm (clicking the Allow button) that I am happy to share some of my details for Gantter to create the account:
Managing Your Projects

Once your account is created you will be taken to a blank project page:
Start by naming your project by clicking Untitled (situated in the top left):
Enter a project name, then select a start and end date (deadline) of your project:
















If you plan to utilise the whole week then I would suggest that you change the default value for Days in a week from 5 to 7 as well as the number of Days in a month.
















You will notice from the main view that there are 5 fields:
Name, Duration, Start, Finish, Predecessors, and Resources:







From the menu above I would recommend that you have
Autosave switched on.

Creating activities is quick and easy, simply provide a name and then complete the timescales and any resources you may require to complete the activity:
Where the tool excels is the option to set the predecessors, i.e. activities that need to be completed before you can begin the activity. Very much like MS Project, Gantter automatically schedules out all of your activities based on what you need to do and when you need to do it leaving you to think about one task at a time. For example, my dissertation cannot start until the project proposal has been completed.

On the left hand side under Tasks icon you will see an option for Resources which allows you to insert additional notes for each task.
As Gantter is solely a web-based tool, projects can be viewed by teams or collaborators in real-time without having to meet physically to get a status update on the project.

Saving your project

Gantter offers a number of ways to save or download your project from Google Drive, PDF or PGN. For MS Project users you will be interested to see that you can either save (offline) the file or export it to MS Project.  





















Collaboration

To share your project or add collaborators, click on the Share option from the menu above. You can either obtain a web link to your project which you can share or alternatively you can type in the person’s email in the People field and then specify what level of access you wish to grant them:
If you intend to share the link with others it is recommended that you explore the Advanced option in the Share with others window. This allows you to specify how the project can be accessed using the shareable link:
Final thoughts

Over I would recommend that you give Gantter a try if you are considering carrying out a project or starting a dissertation. Gantter reproduces a lot of Microsoft Project experience in a solely web-based application without the need for any installations of applets or plugins, it offers a simple yet feature packed tool all for FREE.


You can find more in depth video tutorials on how to use Gantter - http://gantter.com/help/videos

Friday, 6 May 2016

Organise your tutorials with Moodle Scheduler


The Scheduler module helps you to schedule one-on-one appointments with your students. You can specify the periods during which you are available to see the students and the length of each appointment. The students then book themselves into one of the available timeslots. The module also lets the teacher to record the student's attendance, add notes and grade the appointment.

1. Create a Scheduler Appointment

1.1 Navigate to your Moodle course and select Turn editing on 










1.2 Decide where on the course page you would like to display the link to your scheduler. Click on the Add an activity or resource, then select Scheduler, then click on Add.

1.3 You will then be presented with the following screen:

Name – add a name for your appointment
Introduction – insert a description of your appointment.
Role name of the teacher - The role of the person who will attend to the students.
Mode – this allows you to set the way appointments can be taken:
·         in this scheduler - students can only book a fixed number of appointments in this activity. Students are not allowed to book further meetings once they have attended an appointment.
·         at a time -  students can book a fixed number of appointments. After attending an appointment students can book further appointments.
Guard time - A guard time prevents students from changing their booking shortly before the appointment.
Default slot duration – length in minutes for each appointment slot.
Grade / Grading strategy – set a grading type and how grades are aggregated if you intend to mark appointment.
Notifications - teachers and students will receive notifications when appointments are booked or cancelled.

Once you have setup your schedule click on the Save and Return to Course button.
2. Add an appointment slot


Once the schedule activity has been created it will contain no appointment slots.
2.1 Click the scheduler you just created:




2.2 Near the Actions menu Click Add slots which will provide you with two options either add multiple slots or single slot: 



3. Add multiple slots


Repeat time slot until
– set an end date for your appointments. If your appointments are available for a single day then leave the option on default (Enable unchecked).
Add appointments on – if you have set Repeat time slot until then you will need to specify which days the appointments are available.
Start Time / End Time – set the times at which the first and last appointments are available for booking.
Divide into slots – ensure this setting is switched to Yes as it will divide the Start time and End time into appointments.
Duration – specify the length of each appointment in minutes. 
Break in between slots – if you require breaks between each appointment enter in the number of minutes.
Force when overlap – ensure this option is set to No so appointments do not clash.
Allow multiple students per slot –if you wish to allow students to book more than one appointment change to the desired number otherwise the default is set to one appointment per students.
Location – enter the location of where the appointment will be held.
Teacher – select the teacher that the students are booking to see.
Display appointment to students from – determines when students can start making appointments from.
Email a reminder – a useful option to automatically send a reminder about their appointment.

























You will then see the list of available appointments once you click on Save changes button:





















4. Add a single slot

Refer to Add an appointment slot (above) and select Add single slot option.

Date
– the date when the appointment will take place.
Duration – length of the appointment
Ignore scheduling conflicts – leave this unchecked as it may lead to overlapping appointments for some teachers or students.
Allow multiple students per slot – select how many students are allowed to sign up for the appointment.
Location – enter the location of where the appointment will be held.
Teacher - select the teacher that the students are booking to see.
Display appointment to students from – determines when students can start making appointments from.
Email a reminder – a useful option to automatically send a reminder about their appointment.
Comments – you have the option to provide comments for the appointment. 




















When creating a slot you also have the option to assign the slot to a particular student. If you have already met the student then you can check the Seen option and provide comments:























Click the Save changes buttons once you are done.

You should now see the single slot displayed with the student (if you decided to allocate the slot to a particular student):











This is the student view of the appointments available for booking and the slot that has been allocated to them:
















6. Managing Appointments

Under My Appointments tab you can view all the list of slots you have made available and which students have booked each appointment:


















Alongside each appointment you will notice some icons in the action column:


Delete - a slot and any students that have signed up for the appointment.
Change - amend details of the slot, such as start time, location etc as well as adding notes that you wish the student to be able to view.
Exclusive slot – by default the slot is only available for one student. This can be changed so a group of students can book for an appointment.
Revoke – allows you to remove a student from the slot and make it available for other students to book onto the slot. Please note this option will only appear once a student has booked for an appointment.

There are two ways to mark an appointment as taking place.  The first method is to check the box next to the students name:







The second method is to click on the yellow pencil icon (located under the Action column) then check the ‘Seen’ option and to finish click the Save changes button:











7. Student reminders


Towards the end of your appointments you will see a list of students who have yet to make an appointment. You will notice there is two options at the end that allow you to send either an Invitation or Reminder email to those students who have yet to book an appointment: