When we decided to create the Pass GCSE English course, we knew that we would need to find a platform on which it could evolve. Our idea was to create a platform that was driven by the learner, who could choose what to do and when to do it as often as possible. So, we had to find one where we could create a course that learners could join at any point in the year - you can see the result above (click the image to zoom in).
It didn’t take us long to find the right one. Moodle is a platform for online learning. It enables the creation of online courses and fortunately, we had some experience with it in our careers as English teachers. Moodle is a global platform but in the UK it is widely used by universities. The costs to course creators (that’s us!) vary according to the number of students doing a course, so we could start with a fairly inexpensive option in line with our expected startup numbers of learners. Moodle courses can contain many activities, including interactive lessons where students progress at their own pace. There are questions embedded throughout the lessons (automatically marked with instant feedback) to ensure that learners are on the right track.
We already have lessons online for most of the questions in the GCSE English exam – the plan is to have them all up and running by December 2022.
Quizzes are also a big feature of Moodle sites with a variety of different question types – it isn’t just multiple choice by any means. Once a student completes a quiz, it is automatically marked by the system. These can take a long time to set up but once the activities are online, it means that they can be attempted as many times as students wish.
Assignments can also be created so learners can submit work to be marked by us. Feedback can be sent back to the students, detailing how to make their work even better. This is a feature that you probably won’t find elsewhere online unless you employ a personal tutor (which can get very expensive).
All of the assignments are ready on the site to be attempted by learners. We focused on getting these up as we think this is where a lot of the interest among students will be. There are other activities on the course. We curate the best contemporary fiction and non-fiction texts we find. This means that students don’t have to, for example, search for ages for a great short story to read. We link to websites which contain tips about the exam questions. Then there are the Kahoot challenges (timed low-stakes online quizzes – catnip for learners!) that we make available on a weekly basis.
These are just the core features of Moodle, but the ones that we are currently using the most.
Hopefully this will have answered any questions you have about the software platform we use. Moodle is proving both powerful and versatile – we hope you agree when you sign up for the course.