MoodleCloud is a full-featured online long-distance Learning Management System (LMS) that any NSP Instructor can easily turn on and quickly create a course. It’s FREE for 45-days while you determine that you can set up an effective course (no credit card required).
There are many ways to use the MoodleCloud tool. You can set up your Cloud School — just make up a name — such as Blue Mtn. Ski Patrol:
Teach your course for 45-days, credit your students, and let Moodle shut it down until next year. Or you can layout an OEC course over 12 weeks, with multiple types of student-teacher interactions, guided self-paced weekly lessons, automated assessments that compile a course guidebook, with student management and a well thought out course curriculum model. Moodle brings the automation, you bring the planning and creativity! Pay the $50 annual fee, and benefit from teaching it again, and again in future seasons.
Moodle is the second oldest worldwide LMS. It has the deepest collection of teaching features since it came out of the University Online Learning industry. MoodleCloud has been technologically simplified and re-positioned as a service for nontechnical teachers and built with an intuitive environment for creating courses.
The Eastern Division Moodle Users Group is available to help guide any NSP Instructors interested in exploring a move of a portion (or all) of their OEC courses to a full-featured affordable LMS.
WEEKLY MOODLE SCHOOL COURSE CREATOR’S WEBINAR
NSP Instructors are making plans for new ways of teaching, considering the pandemic. The uncertainties brought by Coronavirus/COVID19 concerns are worrying NSP educational programs. At every level, NSP Instructors are brainstorming ways to prepare for teaching students looking to take courses this season.
Worry no more, Moodle, the preeminent university level “Learning Management System” (LMS) has gone to the cloud with MOODLECLOUD.COM. Their primary goal is serving any teacher in the world interested in moving their courses online, offering an intuitive, easy to manage, feature-rich high-level LMS.
Moodle has distinguished itself as a 20-year-old LMS used by Universities around the world. It would have stayed locked behind university IT department doors if it were not for the emergence of “cloud computing.” As a game-changer, cloud-based apps have democratized online learning by simplifying teacher’s abilities to create their “own” online cloud-based schools. Moodle gives you full operating capabilities limited to 50 students (and assisting instructors) for about $50 per year (Moodle is based in Australia, the currency exchange rate my fluctuate). Build your courses for free for 45-days before deciding if Moodle works for your Patrol’s needs.
However, work it does. We have Ski Patrols managing full online OEC courses on MoodleCloud. The most significant benefit of setting up courses in an LMS is that they are easy to change, iterate, or redesign. Once they are built, next season’s courses go off with ease. Once a course is repeated, the Instructors can relax and focus their attention on student learning. Gone is every year planning because the lessons are ready, the automation built into Moodle runs the course, cutting out the tedium of managing students and their grades. The only thing left is teaching.
Eastern Division has several NSP Disciplines that have moved their courses to Moodle School. Avalanche teaches much of their didactic classroom curriculum for Level One courses using Moodle Online. MTR and Instructor Development are moving students to Moodle Online. Even OET has joined the Division’s Moodle School. Trainer-Evaluator candidates complete summertime instructor training courses using the division’s Moodle Online School.
Let’s take a tour of the online teaching features. Since Moodle is an Online LMS, it structures a set of learning tasks for students that appears on the course page by scrolling from top to bottom. Courses begin with an introduction and objectives. Students can self-pace through the topics of the course, or the learning can be scheduled several chapters weekly as an OEC class might require.
Either way, Weekly Schedule or topic-to-topic, each element is made up of Lessons or Assignments. Lessons run entirely Online in the course and follow an NSP Six-Pack Template. They often end with an assessment, such as a mini quiz graded automatically. Assignments are done by students researching outside of Moodle, possibly outside of the internet. Assignments are uploaded once completed for teacher grading. Common assignments might be to shoot a video of your Patient Assessment every week and upload it for teacher feedback.
Teachers can integrate several different methods of scheduled communications with their students. Chat Sessions can be set up for all students to attend a 40-minute moderated chat discussion. This brings all the students in at the same time. Forum Discussions designed to spark abstract student thinking, similar to chat, are an asynchronous way of discussing. Students get more time to think about their responses, then type them into the forum at their own leisure.
And of course, Moodle had it long before Zoom – The Big Blue Button is a video and whiteboard conferencing bridge that students click inside the course on the required date and time. Teachers can use this as an old-fashioned lecture or moderate an in-person discussion. For example, patient assessment practicals can be demonstrated using the video conferencing tool. Or traditional lectures can be displaying power-point slides and video.
Workshops are another powerful Moodle tool. These are assignments that involve the entire class or groups within the class, which include peer-review. Workshops work well for Instructor Continuing Ed courses where an element of the student’s grade comes from evaluating their ability to provide “positive immediate feedback” – its a hallmark of good NSP Instructing skills, used in Con Ed courses.
Built into Moodle automation is attendance tracking if IOR’s set that as a criterion for grading. The best part of LMS automation is a powerful quiz feature that not only grades students, but it offers instant feedback for missed answers.
The Quiz Tool that Moodle developed is feature-rich. Design your quizzes with traditional text answers, multiple-choice, or try picture-based answers to stimulate a different part of the student’s brain. Multiple choice can be expanded to using “drag and drop” answering, which stimulate a more kinesthetic section of the student’s brain. Instructors who like the traditional quiz tools can still call upon true/false and short answers. Automation is available for grading all of these, except “essay questions.” For teachers who believe in essays, remember you need to grade these yourself manually.
Moodle offers the richest, most versatile, automation-based grading functionalities in the LMS education industry. They are designed to help teachers build sophisticated, university class courses that once created, offer repeatability that shifts teaching efforts from course management to a focus on enhancing student learning. Instead of managing the course, its materials, resources, assisting instructors, and a herd of unorganized students — IOR’s can return to teaching. Teaching is why we became NSP Instructors in the first place!
Moodle courses are not meant to be a way of dealing with COVID19. Instead, Moodle Courses are for the teachers and Patrols who believe that today’s distance learning paradigm, can be leveraged to make all future OEC (or other NSP) Courses into a dream to operate. The investment comes from building courses in Moodle, and the paybacks are the upcoming years of easy teaching.
Take advantage of how easy technology has become with today’s cloud-based benefits. Tap into your unconventional creativity to drive new lesson developments. Experiment with the features Moodle offers. Most are intuitive, but help is available for NSP Instructors already committed to moving a portion of their teaching activities to “Online.” The NSP Moodle Users Group can be contacted by email:
Give it a try, Moodle with a little “support” can unlock course creativity and augment traditional learning. Online is here, it’s easy, and every NSP Instructor can try it for 45-days. Watch Patroller School News for Moodle Q&A Webinars during the summer months, use the QR Code, or type “Bit.LY/moodle-series” into a browser URL bar.
—Orest Ohar is an NSP Instructor Trainer for Instructor Development and OET. He also sits on the Eastern Division Instructor Development oversight committee guiding the ID Program. His mission is to help bridge teaching with intuitive technological solutions such as Eastern Division’s Moodle School.
Outdoor Emergency Transportation, also known as OET, has been chosen by the Eastern Division Board of Directors as the beta testing program for the new Patroller School Event Management System. The system is designed to provide members and affiliates with a simple to search and easy to purchase educational course website. The goal is to help Ski Patrollers locate the type of courses they might be seeking for professional development and to get them registered and into the class with confirmation.
The Avalanche Program will also be participating in this first season beta test. Both programs were chosen because they operate the largest two fee-based educational programs within Eastern Division. One of the hallmarks for smoothing the customer’s purchasing experience is to provide Credit Card processing. This way students do not need to worry about mailing in checks or application forms. Everything related to purchasing and preparing for an NSP course will now be handled instantly online — from selecting choices to finalizing payments. The Event Management System processes participant’s registrations and sends an email confirmation receipt with everything a student requires to get started with their course. Those taking Avalanche courses receive their homework pre-course assignments, textbooks are shipped directly from NSP headquarters, the Instructor of Record is notified, and students receive confirmation and direct contact information for reaching their Instructor with questions when they require help.
The technology for creating a modern event purchasing system came from Eastern Division’s OET and Avalanche Programs testing a similar system operated by New Hampshire Region. Although the inspiration came from watching how effective Eastern Pennsylvania Region (EPA) has been in their management of the Elk Mountain Patroller School over the last five years. EPA produced educational events with the highest attendance and the best customer satisfaction levels across the Division. They implemented friction-free modern e-commerce based tools that helped event managers simplify the logistical headaches that accompany large events that attract over 125 skiers and snowboarders. Their pioneering endeavor paved the way for Eastern Division to take note and realize that the growth of educational offerings can only come from finding simpler ways to attract Ski Patrollers and helping course managers by handling the tedious organizational details that often take up hundreds of hours of Instructors time as they prepare the event.
Eastern Division is committed to making this a successful initiative. Feedback from attendees is welcome. Please detail any failings you may have encountered, as well as your best experiances. This season is like a beta test. We expect to learn and make adjustments. The goal for the 2019-20 winter season is to roll in all the other Eastern Division NSP Programs:
- Outdoor Emergency Care
- Mountain Travel & Rescue
- Young Adult Program
- Certified Program
- Instructor Development
On Sunday, April 29th the Eastern Division Board of Directors inaugurated Patroller School as the official Event Registration website for members seeking Division level training events. PatrollerSchoool.ORG will now be the centralized website where Eastern Division NSP Programs will be able to post their course offerings and event registrations on a single easy to navigate website.
The goal of the new Patroller School site is to help members and the public to review course choices, select options, and experience a simplified purchasing experience. Integrated with a modern e-commerce system, the website is designed to guide Patrollers, offer suggestions for travel and lodging, then send customers to a credit card payment system when ready to purchase.
An email confirmation accompanies each Patrollers purchase. It includes all information required before arrival and sends each student the direct contact info for reaching the Instructor of Record (IOR). Questions about preparation or textbook studying can be answered directly by the teachers and organizers.
Printing your confirmation and bring it to the event to streamline morning registration. If you are participating in an OET Patroller School weekend event with over a hundred other NSP members, check-in could be an easy as bar-code scanning your ticket upon arrival and being directed to your assigned group. Fast, simple and smoothly organized s the goal of Eastern Division’s Board when inaugurating this modern approach to educational course deployment.
During the 2018-19 winter ski season, two educational programs have been chosen to beta test the new Event e-commerce system. Avalanche and OET both teach courses that require paying fees. Between the two departments, over five hundred Ski Patroller members attend a variety of courses. Some events cost as low as $40/day for a Toboggan Training day. High-end Avalanche certification courses can sell for as high as $400.
After the season concludes, Eastern Division is committed to scaling the Patroller School Event Management System to all other educational departments. The goal is to simplify course deployment around the division’s territory for both the Instructors organizing the events as well as for the regular Patroller member looking to join a training event.