Improving two-way communication with moodle chat and forum module

Việc sử dụng nền tảng Moodle để hỗ trợ công tac giảng dạy tại khoa Công

nghệ thông tin và trường Đại học Hà Nội đã được ứng dụng nhiều năm nay. Tuy nhiên việc

ứng dụng chủ yếu vẫn dừng ở mức giao tiếp một chiều như là thông báo đến sinh viên, đăng

bài giảng và các tài liệu học tập cho các môn học. Mặc dù Moodle có cung cấp một loạt các

công cụ hỗ trợ giao tiếp hai chiều và xã hội hóa qua các mô-đun như là trò chuyện trực tuyến

(chat), diễn đàn (forum), nhưng tính năng chưa thể so với các phiên bản diễn đàn hay trò

chuyện trực tuyến chuyên nghiệp khác, cộng với việc khó sử dụng nên hầu như đang bị bỏ qua

không sử dụng đến. Việc sử dụng các phương tiện khác lại dễ gây sao nhãng và khó quản lý

tập trung vì vậy giải pháp gói gọn các công cụ hỗ trợ giao tiếp này lại trong một nền tảng là

Moodle là cần thiết. Bài báo này sẽ đưa ra giải pháp để khai thác các tính năng của trò chuyện

trực tuyến và diễn đàn nhằm đáp ứng nhu cầu giao tiếp hai chiều và xã hội hóa hiệu quả trong

học tập.

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111 IMPROVING TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION WITH MOODLE CHAT AND FORUM MODULE Luyện Thu Trang Trường Đại Học Hà Nội Tóm tắt—Việc sử dụng nền tảng Moodle để hỗ trợ công tac giảng dạy tại khoa Công nghệ thông tin và trường Đại học Hà Nội đã được ứng dụng nhiều năm nay. Tuy nhiên việc ứng dụng chủ yếu vẫn dừng ở mức giao tiếp một chiều như là thông báo đến sinh viên, đăng bài giảng và các tài liệu học tập cho các môn học. Mặc dù Moodle có cung cấp một loạt các công cụ hỗ trợ giao tiếp hai chiều và xã hội hóa qua các mô-đun như là trò chuyện trực tuyến (chat), diễn đàn (forum), nhưng tính năng chưa thể so với các phiên bản diễn đàn hay trò chuyện trực tuyến chuyên nghiệp khác, cộng với việc khó sử dụng nên hầu như đang bị bỏ qua không sử dụng đến. Việc sử dụng các phương tiện khác lại dễ gây sao nhãng và khó quản lý tập trung vì vậy giải pháp gói gọn các công cụ hỗ trợ giao tiếp này lại trong một nền tảng là Moodle là cần thiết. Bài báo này sẽ đưa ra giải pháp để khai thác các tính năng của trò chuyện trực tuyến và diễn đàn nhằm đáp ứng nhu cầu giao tiếp hai chiều và xã hội hóa hiệu quả trong học tập. Từ khóa— Moodle, chat, forum, two-way communication I. INTRODUCTION Moodle is a learning management system platform which has been using to support teaching and learning in Faculty of Information Technology and Hanoi University for many years. However, the use of Moodle as communication tool still has many limitations despite the fact that Moodle provides users various facilities for communication, such asynchronised communication support as forum, message, wiki and synchronised communication support as chat (docs.moodle.org). Kakasevski et. al. (2008) stated in his research on usability in Learning Management System Moode, that "80% of students having significant problems with features of online chat" and the features of discussion forum is also incompetent comparing to other standard forums. That is a pity indeed, because Chat and Forum modules are peer interaction learning tools which can make the course more interesting because students can participate in sharing their knowledge (Nash & Rice 2018: 287). Oproiu (2015) in his study about using Moodle in university teaching, also recommended that good communication and socializing among students or between students and instructors could be enabled by the means of chat and forum. In this paper, these two overlooked features are to be utilized in such a way instructors and students improve thier two-way communication by effective usage of the existing Moodle platform. The focus is not only on the usage of the system but also when to decide which activities to use. II.FORUM AND CHAT MODULE IN MOODLE One of the problem we have to face are students do not automatically use the 112 forum or chat without being informed and encouraged by the instructors. Therefore, setting up the forum and chat module to facilitate the students with optimal condition to learn from each other is important. Nash and Rice (2018) suggests a strategy of making the course structrured around forums and chats. This can be done by using forum for making instructional materials available, asking instructional material- focused discussion questions, posting drafts for peer reviews, posting current controversies, links to articles and multimedia for arousing interests in discussion real- world problems. Besides, the way instructors do to encourage students to participate in socializing learning is also important. First, you can encourage peer review by asking students to share their works and give comments to other students’ works. It is an effective way for the students to acquire knowledge. Second, you can raise a question that stimulate curiousity of the students, a current situation for example, so they will be more eager to join the conversation. Third, you can make the students feel more engaging in conversation activities by allowing them to share their experience and thoughts of current events, for example, a hot topic in current Internet security threads. Finally, you can use the communication module to prompt the students about the deadlines of assignments, weekly to-do checklists or the tasks they have to completed. Even this simple thing can make the students feel more involving in the course they are learning. The following section are dedicated to the teaching techniques for instructures to improve the communication with their students and among their students by using the built-in Forum and Chat module of Moodle. A. Using Chat module The chat is more about informal way of communication. There are many chat applications but this Moodle chat module is not a redundant since it offer an experience in academic learning. First, the module allows all chat content to be saved within Moodle. It is important for the instructors if they want to ensure the required students participate in the conversation or to grade the students based on the quality of the discussion. Second, when students post something in the chat room, their real name are shown, the instructors can link to the participant’s account and directly contact all the participants in the chat conversation. The chat module is ideally for conversation of a group of students. Actually, this activity is not suitable for the entire class that have many students. This module can be used most effectively when students doing assignments or projects in group and the instructor want to check their conversation to determine the contribution level of a student to a group works. The process of separating the chat rooms by groups are (1) creating the groups, (2) assigning students to the groups, (3) create a different chat activity for each group and choose the group to join. On the other hand, you can combine (1) and (2) by using Auto- 113 create group. Here you can create groups automatically by assigning students to groups randomly based on the number of students per group. 1) Creating the groups Go to Administration panel  choose Groups under Users section. Here a dialog will appear to set up the group name and other optional attributes such as group ID, group description, group avatar and enrolment key for students to join in a group if you don’t want to assign manually. Figure 1 – Creating group 2) Assigning the students to the group When you already have a list of groups, you can assign students to separate groups by clicking on the group name then click on button Add/remove users. Figure 2 – Add users to a group After assigning students to groups, when you click on a group name, you can see a list of students under that group. 3) Create a different chat activity for each group A chat can be added in editing mode by click on Add an activity or resouce  114 choose the Chat in activities list, then the create chat dialog is opened. Here you also set the name and the description of the chat room. This module is quite different from other chat application because you can set the schedule for chat session, choose the frequency to reapeat a chat or not, choose to period to save the chat conversation, set permission who can view past converstion and finally assign separate group to the chat room. Figure 3 – Chat room settings The procedure of creating a chat room for discussion in group is not difficult. However, the instructors have to involve the students in the conversation by marking their participation as compulsory. This method of learning by communication help the students to fully join into the project or the problem they have to solve and offer the students a complementary of learning by learning from each others. B. Using Forum module Even though the Forum module are often overlooked when an instructor creating and managing a course, it is a powerful features that Moodle offer with many ways of using underlying this feature. 1) Create a forum-based course You can create a forum-based course—the course is a forum consists of only discussion topic. It is quite different from the usual weekly format. To turn the course to a forum, you can go to Administration panel  choose Edit settings, then under Course format section, choose Social format. Now your course will turn out as a single forum. Actually, you need to plan carefully when you use this course structure. The content of each discussion topic should correspond to a unit, a chapter or a weekly lecture/tutorial as you usually do under weekly format. You also have to make each topic consistent in format because adding the content of a discussion topic has no preformating. By using forum-based courses, students can freely discuss under every materials posted. This course format also suitable for doing peer review assignments. 2) Create a forums under a course Not every instructors find it convenient to create a forum-based course because they want to use other activities of Moodle than just enabling the discussion forum. Actually, Moodle allows instructors to create multiple forums under a course so you can use your familiar weekly format setting of the couse while creating discussion forum for the purpose of communication. There are also different approaches for creating forums to acompany other activities, we can use one of these approaches as well as combine these appoaches. They are, as suggested by Nash & Rice (2018), forum-based content delivery, forum-based assignments, forum-based peer review, forum-based peer review and link to assignments, general purpose forum and using news forum to send notifications. 115 III. CONCLUSION The built-in Forum and Chat module of Moodle are interactive tools which encourage students to communicate and collaborate in learning but they can not be optimized without the role of the instructors. In Moodle, the role of the instructors are giving the students opportunities and finding the acordant way encouraging the students to join in discussion activities. This can be done by correctly setting up each chat and forum activities as well as having some bonus system to reward students who are contributing to these discussion activities. REFERENCES [1]. G. Kakasevski, M. Mihajlov, S. Arsenovski, S. Chungurski, “Evaluating Usability in Learning Management System Moodle,” IEEE Journal on Information Technology Interfaces, vol. 30, pp. 613-618, Aug. 2008. [2]. S. S. Nash, W. Rice, “Moodle 3 E-learning Course Development, Forth Edition,” Packt Publishing, pp. 287-302, May. 2018. [3]. G. C. Oproiu, “A Study about Using E-learning Platform (Moodle) in University Teaching Process,” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 180, pp. 426-432, May. 2015. [4]. W. Rice, S. S. Nash, “Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques,” Packt Publishing, pp. 49-67, Jan. 2010.

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