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Supplementary material for all AOU courses

AOU Learning Management System

Copyright © 2004 Arab Open University

User’s Manual
Tutors and students

Contents
Preface........................................................................................2 User accounts and logging in.....................................................2 Browsing through your course ...................................................4 Administering your group ..........................................................8 The weekly outline ......................................................................9 TMA grading ............................................................................12 Grade reports ...........................................................................14 Quiz management .....................................................................15 Teacher Forum.........................................................................17 Forum Moderation ...................................................................17 Changing password ..................................................................18 Updating your profile ...............................................................18 Using Wikis...............................................................................19 Managing dialogues .................................................................21 The Search block ......................................................................22 Additional blocks ......................................................................22

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Preface This manual is written to help the Arab Open University tutors and students use the AOU learning managements to access course related services. AOU learning managements system is a customized version of an open source system called moodle. The information on this document will help you login, manage your account, use the various activities installed for the courses your are enrolled in, and retrieve the learning resources. If your are a staff tutor, a course author, or a system administrator, then you better consult the Administrator ’s Manual. There you will find more information on how to administrate the AOU learning management system as well as other sources of information on managing courses and users. User accounts and logging in If this is you first time to use the AOU learning management system, the you need a username and a password. These should be available in the welcome letter addressed to you from the course team. If this letter didn’t make it to you then contact the one of course coordinators at your branch. Once your account is set up, go to your URL of the AOU learning management system in your branch and click on login in the upperright corner, or click on one of the course names.

This will bring you to the login screen where you should fill in your username and password. Fill in the information and click on Login to enter the your courses area.

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Click on one of the courses you are tutoring and see the next screen which looks like the following snapshot:

Note: The dates and number in all snapshots in this document are NOT to be taken literally. They are given only for explanation and are not meant to be valid dates for any of the AOU courses.

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Browsing through your course The above screen is for the AOU courses so the ones you will be seeing depend on the set of courses you are tutoring; however the structure is standard across all AOU course. Below is a general description of the parts in the above screen along with the underlying services. The People box: This box is located in the upper left corner (unless you are using right-to-left interface or the course author changed the default location). In this box you can perform two functions. First; you can see the list of students in your groups by clicking of the link Participants. The screenshot below shows what you will see when you click on the link Participants.

Second, you can change your profile so you may include your short bio, a photo, change your address and so on. One nice thing about the Participants link is that you
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can see what each student in your group has done. You can do so by clicking on a student name from the participants window. This will take you to the following screen:

Here you can view the activity report as an outline, complete, today's, or all logs with graphical representation of the students’ participation. The snapshot below shows the full activity report for one of the students. Here you can tell what the students have been doing over a period of time (the screen has been modified to fit on the page).

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Tutors also can log into the account of their students by clicking on the link Login as. This feature is important for student help and tutoring. Edit Profile allows you to change information about yourself. Most of the fields are straightforward, but several need special attention: - Email display: this allows you to show or hide your email in the class. You can set it so all users (including guests) can see your email, or so that only other students in the class can see your email address, or so that no one can see your email address at all. - Forum auto-subscribe: This setting lets you decide if you want email copies of posts that are added to forums (bulletin boards). If you set this to subscribe, the system will email you copies of new posts in forums that you join. - When editing text: This can usually be left on Use HTML editor. This allows for text formatting options, but requires newer browsers. If you find your browser is not letting you edit text, change this setting to Use standard web forms. - Description: You short biography. - New picture: If you wish, you may upload a picture to represent you. To do this, click on the Browse button and find the picture you would like to upload, and click on Open. Activities: This block lists all of the categories of the things that are available in your course (forums, quizzes, assignments, etc.). The number and type of categories listed in this block depend on the course. Calendar: The calendar shows events that are happening in your course. Events are added to the calendar, and can be for individual users, for your defined groups, or for the courses. If your course coordinator adds a closing date to assignments, forums, quizzes, etc., these will also show up on the calendar. The calendar looks like the following.

You can view previous or future months by clicking on the left or right arrows next to the current month’s name. Today’s date is always outlined in black (24 July 24 2004
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in the above example). Other events are color coded based on what the event is (the color key is under the calendar). You can hide or show the various categories of events by clicking on the color key. For example, if you want to hide any group events dates (events assigned to groups you create), then click on Group events on the bottom of the calendar. This would hide all the (group) events, and the color code would disappear from the link on the calendar. To show the events again, click on the link at the bottom of the calendar. Hiding group information does not hide it for every member of the group, but only for you. Also, hiding a category of events is only temporary – you will see all events the next time you login. If you click on the month link you will get an expanded month view. To see more detail on an event, you can click on the date in question which will show you the details regarding that even. Below is an example on what you get when you click on the a certain date. This tells that you have a quiz on that day and also the system will sow the remaining months in the semester with links to their events.

Both the daily detail screen and the monthly detail screen have the Preferences button in the upper right. Through this button you can:

- change the time display format. If you choose default, then the format will be automatically chosen according to the language you use in the site. - set the first day of week. Calendar weeks will be shown as starting on the day that you select here.
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- set the maximum upcoming events. If you pick a large number here it is possible that upcoming events displays will take up a lot of space on your screen. - set the upcoming events look-ahead. Events that start beyond this will not be displayed as upcoming. If there are too many (more than the maximum upcoming events preference) then the most distant events will not be shown. Both the daily and monthly detail screens have the New Event button. This allows you to manually add events for your group (remember that the system will automatically add due dates for assignments, quizzes, etc.). You can only add user event is private – no one else can see your user events (a personal date book). A course event is viewable by everyone enrolled in your group; yet you can add course events only if you are the course coordinator. Global events are set by site administrators. To a user event click on the New Event button and fill in the following details: Name: this can be anything you like. Description: this is the full details of the event. Date: this sets the date and time of the event. The default is today’s date. Duration: this sets how long the event lasts. It can have no duration (the default), can last minutes, days, or more (by setting the date in the Until line), or can last a set number of minutes. - Repeats: this field sets if the event repeats weekly or not. If it does repeat, you must set how many events to create. When you are done filling in the information, click on Save changes. You will then be taken to a detail screen of the event you just put in. You may edit the entry by clicking on the hand holding the pencil and you may delete the entry by clicking on the X next to the event title. For any given day, only one color will show. The highest rank color will show – the global event color always shows if it is present, then course events, then group events, and finally user events (the user event colors only show if there are no other higher events on the same day). Upcoming Events: This block shows your group what events are coming up (based on the calendar). It also includes a link to go to the calendar or to add new events (see Calendar for more details on adding events). My example looks like this: Search: The search button allows you or your students to search for any word (or words) that occur in any forums (discussion groups) you have in your group. Administering your group The first thing that you should do as a tutor is to check on you groups participants. You must have received a list by your group names. Check the list against the list of participants in your group. Your group participants are available through the link Participants in the box People.

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The administration tools available to tutors are accessible from the Administration block. This block has links to the grades, logs, help, and the teacher forum. As a tutor you can view and download the students grades in both text and excel formats. You can also check on you students logs individually and as a group. The help link takes you to the help document similar to what you are reading now. The Teacher Forum has resources added by the course coordinator for your convenience. There you find a space for tutor discussions. This forum is accessibly to tutors only. Students have no access to this forum; and presumably all discussions in this forum are confidential to the subscribers.

The weekly outline This is where the majority of things happen in your group. This is where you can access the course forums, journals, quizzes, online resources, chat rooms, dialogues and more. None of the items on this outlines can be modified by you as a tutor; unless you are given permission from the course coordinator; which is uncommon as any changes done to the weekly outlines will affect all groups in the course. Therefore, the change permission is only given to the course coordinator. This might cause delays as will be explained later, but this is the only way to maintain consistency. Later on this manual you be advised on the things that you should do in order to guarantee availability of learning resources in the right times.

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The weekly outline is divided into block; one block per week. Each block contains texts and links to the learning activities and resources for the week. These activities and resources are designated by specific icons. The following table explains the meaning if these icons:

Icon

Meaning Survey – through this activity the students are able to give an opinion on the course and the tutor. Assignment – this allows the tutor to specify a task that requires students to prepare digital content (any format) and submit it by uploading it to the server. Typical assignments include essays, projects, reports and so on. This module includes grading facilities. Forum – the place where group discussion takes place. Forums can be structured to include peer rating of each posting. The postings can be viewed in a variety for formats, and can include attachments. Quiz – This is were your students can take their quizzes consisting of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions, and so on. This module includes grading facilities. Resource – Resources are content: information the tutor wants to bring into the course. These can be prepared files uploaded to the course server or external web pages made to appear part of this course. Compressed resource – this is a link to a course resources which could be a set of files stored as one compressed file. Audio/Video resource Wiki – this a tools that enable a group of students to collaboratively build a website. Dialogue – this is a one-to-one forum which involves only two people. A tutor can open an dialogue with a student, a student can open a dialogue with a tutor, and (optionally) a student can open a dialogue with another student. A tutor or student can be involved in many on-going dialogues at any time. Chat room – it allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussion via the web. This is a useful way to get a different understanding of each other and the topic being discussed - the mode of using a chat room is quite different from the asynchronous forums. The Chat module contains a number of features for managing and reviewing chat discussions. Quick poll – this a tool that allows a group of people to make a vote on a certain issue. A choice activity is very simple - the tutor asks a question and specifies a choice of multiple responses. It can be useful as a quick poll to stimulate thinking about a topic; to allow the class to vote on a direction for the course; or to gather research consent. Glossary – this is a dictionary of terms contributed by the course author and incrementally built by the course participants. Lesson - A lesson consists of a number of pages. Each page normally ends with a question and a number of possible answers. Depending on the student's choice of answer they either progress to the next page or are taken back to a previous page. Navigation through the lesson can be straight forward or complex, depending largely on the structure of the material being presented Workshop – A Workshop is a peer assessment activity with an array of options. It allows participants to assess each other's projects, as well as exemplar projects, in a number of ways. It also coordinates the collection and distribution of these assessments in a variety of ways. Journal – In this activity the tutor asks the student to reflect on a particular topic, and the student can edit and refine their answer over time. This answer is private and can only be seen by the tutor, who can offer feedback and a grade on each journal entry.

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The news forum There is one more resource on the course main page that is useful to both the students and the tutors – the News forum. You will notice that at the top of the course main page there is a forum called News forum. It is a place for you to read news items relating to your course. All items in this forum are added by the course coordinator. Typical items in this forum may include course related announcements such as grade division, academic calendar, and son on. You can search this forum by filling the key work in box next to the button Search forums and then click on this button. The screen below shows what you will see when you click on the link News forum.

The system usually tells you whenever a new item has been added to any of the forums your are subscribed to. The box Latest news is a small notice board which gives little information on new posting with a link that takes you to the full details. The snapshot below shows this box.

Recent activity This box acts as your personal assistant. The Recent activity box lists everything that has changed in the course site since the last time the you logged in. Of course the contents of the recent activity box is different from one user to the other. Below is screen shot for this box.

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The Recent activity box is a the first place to see every thing you login. Explain the benefits of this practice your students so they stay tuned with the course happenings. TMA grading Students will be submitting TMAs through the AOU learning management system. The system will automatically notify you when any of your students submits an assignment. The notification will take place in the Recent activity box as you can see in the screenshot as given below.

In order to start grading the submitted TMAs, click on the link shown in the Activity box. This will take you to the assignment details with a link in the upper right corner (see the screenshot below). If you click on this link you will see the list of submitted assignments.

The list of submitted assignments consists of students details, the attachment (if any), the drop-down menu for the grade, and text box for the feedback. To see the submitted assignment click on the attachment (TMA01.doc in the example below). This will open the assignment using the proper program (Word in the example). Once you finish review the assignment you will need to assign a grade for it. Of course there are guidelines that you should follow. Check the Teacher forum or talk to your tutor for these guidelines. Once the proper grade is decided you will need to put it in the grade drop-down menu. This grade should be an integer number, so you must round your grades. Finally the feedback should be filled. This feedback can be text typed in the box under the work feedback. Type in your text or cut and paste the PT3 form as prescribed in the TMA grading guidelines and marking schemes. The feedback can be either normal text or
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HTML code in case you want to format your feedback according to a certain PT3 form. The easiest way is to use the readymade text format for the PT3 form.

After filling the grade and the feedback for all submitted assignments, the tutor should press the button Save all my feedback. The students on the other hand will be notified on the Recent activity box when their assignments are graded. The screenshot below shows what the student will see when he/she clicks on the link given in the recent activity box. The information on the screen includes a picture (and of course a link to the user profile) for the tutor who graded the TMA along with the grade and the feedback. The information also includes the date and time the TMA was graded, the due date, and an indication on whether the TMA was submitted on time or was late. A link to the submitted TMNA is also included for convenience in case the student wants to double check the tutor feedback against the original TMA. The TMA grading system allows only one file attachment. So, if the assignment requires submitting more that one file, then files should be compressed using any compression software. For more information on file compression see the preparatory activities in your course. Some assignments do not involve electronic file submission. These assignments may run around an offline activity where students submit their end results on paper. In this case the TMA grading system can still be used to record grades and give feedback. The students can still get these grades and feedback as if the assignment was submitted online.

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Grade reports The students and the tutors can get a full report of grades. The students can view only his/her grades and the tutor can download a full list of grades for students in the group in ether text or Excel formats. The two screen below show what the students and the tutor will respectively see when viewing the grades from the Administration box.

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The tutor view for the grades list is given below. The list contains all assessable components in the course. In this example below the grades are missing because no grades are available yet.

Quiz management The automatic tests are managed by the quiz module in the AOU learning management system. The tests are managed by the course coordinator. So the tutor should talk to the coordinator when his/her students are read for the test. Usually the tests are conducted in a predefined time, hence the tutor should be aware of this time. In any case, when the exam time comes the coordinator should notified of the time and the lab number where the test will take place. The course coordinator will set the exam to run on the specified lab at the specified time. The tutor should keep in mind that his/her students need an additional password to enter the online test. This

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password is different than the username and password given to the students at the beginning of the course. The students will be asked to enter this password once they start the test. To enter the online test area, first find the link on the course main page and click on it. This link can be identified by the quiz icon (see the table of icons above). Once you click on the quiz icon the screen below will be displayed. To start the quiz all you need to do is to click on the button Attempt quiz now and then enter the password which was given to by the course coordinator.

As far as quizzes are concerned it is important to know that

- the quiz will be available on the specified time only. So, it the tutor’s responsibility to contact the course coordinator so the quiz is open in the correct time, - the has a password that should set by and obtained from the course coordinator, - the quiz has a time limit after which the quiz will be closed, and - the quiz will automatically close when the time is up. The snapshot below shows what you will see when you press on the button Attempt quiz now. The snapshot shows only one question, however more will be displayed. You will answer the question by ticking the correct answer and finally clicking on the button Save my answers.

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Note: The dates and number in all snapshots in this document are NOT to be taken literally. They are given only for explanation and are not meant to be valid dates for any of the AOU courses. Teacher Forum All forms in a course are open to both students and tutors; except the Teacher forum. This forum is a restricted space for tutors discussion and coordination matters. The posted messages and their attachments are considered confidential to the teaching team for that course. The moderator for this forum is the course coordinator who is entitled to post all necessary documents and tutor resources. The teacher forum can be accessed from the link labeled Teacher forum on the Administration box. Of course this link is not list of the students’ administration box. Forum Moderation Course related forums are moderated by the tutor. Tutors have access to their group’s forums only. A tutor can delete, forward, and reply to any message. Students can delete their own messages and can reply to any message. Note that there might be a number of forums in the course. To list all forums open to you, click on the link Forum from the Activities box. Read the description for each of

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these forums as every forum has its own discussion topic. Hence, send your messages to the correct forum. Every course has at least one form for group discussion. This forum is normally named the group forum. The tutor usually uses this form as a virtual classroom for discussion all matters relevant to the course. Students also post their questions in this forum for the tutor and the other students attention. Changing password It is a good practice to change your password from time to time. Most of the security threats come from this door, so you better change your password every 14 days (a rule of thump). You can change your password from the Administration box. Click on the link Change password. A screen like the one below then shows up where you have to enter your username and current password. The new password have to be entered two time in the last two boxes.

Tutors change their password from a different place. To change tutor password, click on the tutor name from any screen (from the participants list for example) and then click on the button Change password. The same screen above will be displayed. Fill in the information and click on the button Change password. Updating your profile The link Edit profile on the People box allows both the tutor and the student to change information about themselves. Once you click on this link the system will ask to fill several field of information about yourself. Most of the fields are straightforward, but several need special attention. These fields and their meaning have been mentioned early in this document, so please read to them.

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Using Wikis The Wiki activity allows simple collaborative editing and creation of web pages. Wikis in the course page are designated by the Wiki icon (see the icons table above). When clicking on a Wiki link the first page on the Wiki will be displayed for editing. The screenshot below shows what you may see. This is a wiki for the Web Channel activity in one of the AOU courses (the course TU170 Learning Online).

The wiki is organized in a hierarchical manner with a first page (homepage) with links to other pages and so on. To edit the first page just click on or select Edit this page from the drop-down menu to change the contents of a page. In creating wiki pages you can format your pages with Wiki Markup or with HTML (if the wiki has been given that option). You can also search for pages in a wiki by typing a keyword and the clicking on the button Search Pages. Other search options include listing pages according to various categories such as newest pages, most visited pages, most often changed pages, or recently updated pages.

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You create a page by naming it in the text of an existing page. A wiki page is named using CamelCase♣ or by enclosing it in square brackets. For example, we can create a page named My Wiki Page using one of the following two methods: - Use Camel Case: Type MyWikiPage in the body of the first page (the Web Channel in the above example). - Use square brackets: Type [My Wiki Page] in the body of the first page (the Web Channel in the above example). Text that has been given a wiki page name will have a '?' after it. Clicking on the '?', will enter edit mode for that page. Enter your text, save and you have a new wiki page. You can repeat this in any page to build a hierarchy of Web pages. There are a number of functions that can be performed on a page or on the wiki as a whole. The boxes below summarize these functions. Some these function are clear from the name and other need further explanation.

The left box contains three function that act on pages. These are edit, list referring page (the list of wiki pages the have links to this one), and page information. The middle box function to view the site map, page index, list wiki pages according to various criteria, and export wiki pages in html format. The box to the right has function to set page flags, removes and strip pages, and revert changes. The function Set page flags allows to change the type or behavior of a wiki page (e.g. the page contains text, contains binary data, is disabled, is read only, etc.). The function Strip pages purges old versions of all pages stored in the database and just keeps the newest versions. If someone makes a mess of many pages in your Wiki, you may want to automatically revert those changes by deleting all page versions that carry a certain string in the {author} field (usually the IP address or host name). In this case the function Revert mass changes will help. The function Remove pages allows to remove wiki pages.



CamelCase is multiple words, joined together without spaces and separated by changes in case. While language purists hate Wikis for that naming scheme, it is very common in the computing world and well known to most programmers.

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Managing dialogues Dialogues are designated by a special icon (see the icons table above). Once you click on a dialogue, the following screen is displayed.

Dialogue is a simple communication method between pairs of users. A tutor can open an dialogue with a student, a student can open a dialogue with a tutor, and (optionally) a student can open a dialogue with another student. A tutor or student can be involved in many on-going dialogues at any time. A dialogue can have an unlimited number of entries, normally the "conversation" takes place as a set of interleaved replies. This format is not enforced and either party can add to the dialogue at any time. A dialogue can be closed by either party at any time. Closed dialogues cannot be reopened. However, a closed dialogue can be viewed by either party provided it is still in existence. Closed dialogues and all their entries are deleted after a certain time (set by your course coordinator). To open a dialogue with a students of a tutor, click on the dialogue link in the course page and then choose the person you are entitled to dialogue with. The list of people with whom you can open dialogues is available in the drop-down menu next to the

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label Open a dialogue with. Next fill in the subject field and the first message text. Finally click on the button Open dialogue. The system provides information on the (a) dialogues awaiting replies from you, (b) dialogues awaiting replies from the other person, and (c) closed dialogues. You can access any of these by clicking on the relevant tabs. The Search block As the forums grow, locating posts becomes more difficult. The AOU learning management system offers a search tool to help in searching forums for posts with certain keywords. The snapshot below shows how the search tool looks like.

Links to this search tool exists in many pages; one of which is in the course main page. Additional blocks The AOU learning management system contains more blocks which could be added by the course author and/or the course coordinator.

The above snapshots are taken from one of the AOU courses. The first block shows the logged users during the last 5 minutes. This is useful when you want to communicate with someone using the synchronous chat.

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The second block contains a summary for the course as added by the course coordinator. The last block contains Section links which are usually links to the course weeks. This is a useful tool when browsing a lengthy course (32 week courses).

The document is prepared and compiled by Dr. Abdel-Elah Al-Ayyoub. Please send your feedback and corrections to the email address ayyoub@acm.org.

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