Workaround for some LMS insanity

It has been a horrible first two days of the semester. Last Thursday (!) our college connected the already poorly-designed enrollment system automatically into Moodle.

Everything has gone wrong. The courses couldn’t open till Thursday afternoon, so no trouble-shooting was really possible. The log-in links on every page linked to the old wrong log-in page, so students thought they were locked out. Then we discovered Moodle won’t log itself out so students can’t log in from another location without getting an IP warning. And now many students cannot get in at all because they are automatically being added to a Suspended Student role (for dropped students), so Moodle thinks they have two roles and will only let them in as Guest, and not them post or work on anything.

Class started yesterday, and one of the worst things that can happen in an online class is happening: the system is screwing up so badly that students are getting lost and frustrated. Several have dropped.

Desperate to help students not get horribly behind, I remembered that only the interactive stuff (quizzes and forums) have to be done inside Moodle. All my lectures, readings and presentations are linked out of the system, because I know better than to enter much into a system that might go down. The information pages for my classes are on the open web anyway. So I added links to the readings to these pages, but did it in a visual way that might help them once they can get into Moodle. Click on the image to see one live:

Workflow:

  • Go to Moodle site, change to student view, and take screenshot of first three weeks’ work.
  • Open in image program and change to Grayscale 256. Save.
  • ¬†Change back to Color and put blue boxes around areas I can link out to, with big note at the top in the same color.
  • Save and add to page in Dreamweaver, then make Image Map hotspots for all linked areas and link out to those pages.
  • Post and email all students.

I really hope it helps.

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