iMoot Mini Presentation – accepted!

Miranda Verswijvelen and I have had our presentation for iMoot Mini accepted. Here is the brief, for those who might be interested:

Game of Negatives

Navigating the confusing waters of double-negatives in Moodle conditional access settings, we’ve managed to come up with some interesting and fun results. Just by using labels on the page, we can make the course look more game-like to the student, allowing them to unlock badges (without needing to use the Moodle badges system if it’s not enabled on your site) and achievements, or discover a treasure map, and access new content at their own pace. We’ll show you a test course which you can explore as a student, and then show you the behind-the-scenes look, how it was all constructed.

I’ll put an update out when we know the TIME of our presentation. Hopefully we know soon as iMoot Mini is on Friday 6th November (that’s not so far away now!).

Looks like there will be some other really awesome presentations. Go check it out and hopefully we’ll see you there.

Week 1 “The power of social media and curation”

Tasks in this post on MOSOMELT.

  • I already had a Twitter account @moodlelair
  • I already had a Google+ account
  • I already had a WordPress account

The task to create a Vine or Instagram video also requires you to have those accounts. I already have both, but they’re for personal use, so I signed up to Vine with my @moodlelair Twitter account to complete this task. It was simple to do.

The only irritation points with the accounts is that despite having linked my WordPress and Twitter, and my Vine and Twitter, the automatic posting to Twitter isn’t working for me. So I’m just posting both manually using the “Share to Twitter” feature on the posts once they’re published.

Edit: Realised the Vine/Instagram thing is week 2… heh. This is what happens when you try to catch up with three weeks.

Vine video

My Vine video. You’re welcome for my scary face.

I recorded this three times. I first had to install Vine on my work phone, then sign up (easy enough to do with my Twitter account), and then work out that there’s no front-facing camera on my work phone so to record my face I had to turn it around and hope I was pointing it in the right direction!

First two times I recorded the video, I ticked the option to share to Twitter on the confirmation page before uploading. They seemed to vanish into a black hole. Third time I thought I’d JUST tick the option to post to Vine (and share manually to Twitter later), and that worked. So something is wrong with the Twitter bit of my Vine app. Harrumph.


First impression… I can’t figure out what to do. Is there a list of tasks somewhere? What is even going on here?

There was a lot of stuff that needed to be known ahead of time to even get to the point of signing up, and I do already have lots of accounts everywhere (which is useful), but I can see that the general populace would be quite… put off.

I THINK I have now signed up properly, and I’ve joined the Google+ community, and I’m writing this entry. Now what?

10 types of online training learners

10 Types of Online Training Learners Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

So I was looking at this and trying to work out where I fit. I think when I start off an online course I’m definitely in the 1 or maybe 2 category. I’m motivated, I’m interested, and I’ll often do extra work because I just want to know more. I then often find at about the halfway mark, or maybe a little later than that, I become a 5. I lose enthusiasm and motivation, often at the point where I feel that I’ve learned the bits I want to learn and so why keep going?

I’m like that in my real life as well. I can play instruments to a certain standard, I can ice skate, snowboard, ski, run, swing fire poi, etc all to a reasonably good standard. I get good at things and then I go “Ok, I can do that, good enough, what’s next?”. I’m a dab hand at a lot of things and master of very few.

What sort of learner are you?

Adobe Education Exchange: Train the Trainer (starting out)

I’m a few days late, but I’ve just started on my Train the Trainer journey on Adobe Education Exchange.

I haven’t actually completed a MOOC before, so here’s hoping this is the first. I usually fizzle out at about 5 weeks (even in courses where I’m really passionate about the content, like the animation course!). This one is an 8 week course. Wish me luck!

I’ll even try and remember to blog here about it as I go.

Posterous is closing down, so I’m moving

Will be moving to over the next few days.

Ok, all posts have now been moved here! Will sort out the look and feel of the blog now.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

About two months ago I started a course on

Before I start on my experiences, I want to make it clear that I absolutely 100% support free education such as courses on and I love the fact that we’re making this information and education accessible to anyone who can get on the Internet – which, to be fair, is pretty much anyone these days. Yes yes, there are still people in third world countries who can’t. But didn’t we recently have an ad on TV saying that the Internet in some rural, out-of-the-way small country was better than what we have here in NZ? And we have it free in our public libraries here. You don’t even need to bring your own computer.

I digress.

Free education is coming to the world, and it looks great. looks really great. There are many universities around the world who are contributing actual, tertiary-level course material. They are building these courses, which include video lectures (which can be downloaded to your computer or device and viewed at your leisure), quizzes, peer assessments, assignments, exams… all the things you would expect from a tertiary level course. And they’re delivered entirely online, and entirely free.

What’s not to like?

So I did a course called Gamification. I have to say that at the start I was very motivated. The content was interesting, I handed in my assignments and got full marks, I got full marks on the quizzes. Yet I never completed the course. I never did the final assignment or the final exam.

Why? What happened?

What happened is the same thing that happens to a lot of students. They come into the semester all motivated, enthused, keen to try something new and exciting. Then about midway through, no matter how exciting or interesting the material, motivation lacks.

In fact, this gamification course talked a lot about motivation.

At the start there was a lot of intrinsic motivation to do the course. I was keen, I wanted to learn new things for myself. I was a motivated student.

When I got full marks on the first quiz I was motivated to continue. A little bit of extrinsic motivation there. Same with the grades on the first assignment, though they took a while to get to me. The feedback on that wasn’t quite immediate enough for the motivation to hit me.

By the time I got to the last week, I had no more intrinsic motivation left, and there was no extrinsic motivation for me to continue with the course.

  • I hadn’t paid for it, so I wasn’t losing any money.
  • No one else was requiring me to do this course for any reason, so I wasn’t letting anyone down.
  • I wasn’t going to get a qualification.

The only extrinsic motivation I could find was, “Oh, it would be neat to put this on my CV and maybe get the certificate.” It wasn’t enough.

So I suffered the same fate that a lot of other students do – I stopped trying. I stopped working. I was interested in the material, but without any further motivation to read / watch it, I found more interesting things to do with my time. I had no investment in completing the course, so I just didn’t.

What could have been done to keep me interested? I’m not sure, but I know what frustrated me:

  • Having to wait so long for feedback on my assignments.
  • Having to watch 10 – 15 videos in one week (the format never changed, I would have liked some variety – podcasts, videos, text, interactive journeys)

And this course was only 6 weeks long.

I signed up to another course called Design. We’re one and a bit weeks in and I haven’t even watched the first lot of videos or submitted the first assignment. I’ve lost this one before I’ve even started. The lack of motivation that I felt in finishing the first course leaked over into this course, causing me to not even start it. And I LOVE the idea of design.

So I will be taking a rest from the free online courses until I can figure out why I lost the motivation so utterly and completely that I didn’t even bother starting the second one, and what I can do to make sure that motivation stays. Perhaps if I figure that out, I can figure out some sort of secret formula that can be applied to the classroom as well!


Moodle 2: Looking Beyond the Online Filing Cabinet

I did a presentation today at ULearn all about looking at what you can do with an LMS such as Moodle other than just upload files to it.

See this course on for further details. Work your way through the course as a student to see what sort of interactive activities are available.

Also, you can view my presentation below, in the form of a PDF. It won’t make a lot of sense unless you were there, really.

Links to the places on the last slide:

Starter Guide to Customising Moodle Themes

At the iMoot this year I did two sessions on how to customise Moodle themes if you don’t have a lot of experience already with PHP and CSS.

This PDF is my presentation, but of course there’s a huge section where I did some demonstration.

Basically what it boils down to is:

  1. Get yourself a theme that has a custom settings page with a custom CSS box. There are quite a few standard Moodle themes that already have this, so you don’t even need to download and install one.
  2. Get yourself Firebug for whichever browser you prefer to use. For theme design, I prefer using Firebug in Firefox, but the browser extension is available for several different browsers.
  3. Watch this quick YouTube video on how to use the Firebug extension specifically with Moodle and a custom CSS box.

Away you go!

Just remember a couple of things:

  • Never, ever make back-end code changes directly to a core Moodle theme. Reasons why are in the PDF presentation.
  • Your changes in Firebug are temporary and will be lost if you refresh the page. To keep any changes, they must be put into the custom CSS box of your theme.
  • If you do want to make back-end code changes to a theme, DUPLICATE it first.

If you want to learn more about Moodle theme design, try our MoodleBites for Theme Designers course!