Talk:Teacher role

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Enrolling teachers category or site-wide

Under some conditions (such as for homeschool parents) you may want to assign a user the role of teacher within a category or for your whole site, instead of manually enrolling them into every course. Only modify the default Teacher role if you are certain you need to. It is preferable to create a new role and assign it to the category or site context. To understand the idea of roles in category and sites contexts, see Assign roles and to assign a teacher to a category, see Category enrolments.

Comments on Mary's revision

Mary, you were kind enough to leave my writing in tact as we discussed it. Consequently, I don't want to mess up your revisions, so I've copied your revised text below here so that I can comment on it while leaving your version in tact. Since we don't seem to be using bold in the document, I'll put my comments and suggested revisions in bold text, so they are both easier to see.--Stephen Winters (talk) 11:09, 19 April 2014 (WST)

Enrolling teachers category or site-wide

Under some conditions (such as for homeschool parents) you may want to assign a user the role of teacher within a category or for your whole site, instead of manually enrolling them into every course. Only modify the default Teacher role if you are certain you need to. It is preferable to create a new role and assign it to the category or site context. To understand the idea of roles in category and sites contexts, see Assign roles and to assign a teacher to a category, see Category enrolments.

Mary, to me, this last section is missing some necessary parts. And I'm not comfortable with just cutting out the whole rest of it from here down. I understand the concept of keeping the documentation for each specific function on it's own page, and linking to it. That's a good practice. It makes it a lot easier to keep each section updated because it's not duplicated at various sections in other parts of the docs. I understand all of that. But here is another viewpoint. Make it easy for the reader. When a reader, such as myself, has to flip here and there, back and forth, trying to trace out and understand what I'm supposed to do to make something work, it gets very confusing, at least for me.

When I compare what I wrote about assigning "Role Archetype" in this section, it seems to me a lot easier for the reader to understand what the different choices are and what to do. (I'm writing it as a new user and everything might not be accurate, and it could be written better and condensed.).

Now, where's the balance? How to make it easy for the reader and easy to maintain? Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

Anyway, I'm not in the mindset to think any more about this right now, so will sign off.

Best Wishes, Stephen

More about Enrolling Teachers

Mary, I've been looking at the Enrolling teachers category or site-wide section that you rewrote. I've also been looking at the Assign roles and the Category enrolments pages that you linked. Here's what I'm thinking. When a newbie is trying to set up a piece of software, he/she is just look for some step-by-step directions of what to do. He/she is not wanting to know all the ins and outs of the whys and wherefores. Over a period of almost 30 years of installing hundreds of software, searching for instructions, looking through many user forums, I've learned to appreciate good clear step-by-step instructions mostly all on one page. A new user is focusing on just trying to get the software up and running and set up correctly, then put it to the desired use. Having him/her read through pages of instructions trying to explain about each function becomes useless clutter. I know, I've been there myself many times.

In looking the Assign roles and the Category enrolments pages I'm thinking, this is way more information that an average newbie is looking for. I think it is more helpful to have all the basic steps all on one page. (and with each simply written step could be a link to more detailed information about that step, function, or role.)

And here is another challenge. As a writer I try to respect other people's writing and not mess with it any more than necessary. If I do make changes to their writing, I try to use as much of their words as possible, even if I think I have a better way of saying it. Why I want to make a lot of changes to their writing, I try to add to their wordage, if possible, and to explain why the change if I can't use their words. For instance, when I first found this Teacher page there were only one sentence and a few words at the bottom, as you can see here. Rather than just delete the one sentence and start afresh, I left that sentence in place and just added to it. Also, on the part of the sentences at the bottom, I just completed the sentence to the thought that was intended.

Now, getting back to the Assign roles and the Category enrolments pages, if I were to make it easy for the reader of this Teacher Role page to understand my directions on this page, then I might have to edit those pages as well. And then, would the editors of those pages approve of my changes, or would they just delete them. In this case, it seems a lot safer and easier to put all the instructions on this one page.

And another thought. Writing documentation is not my main focus. When I write something it is because I either discovered a new way to do something, or to fill in a lack in the documentation. Trying to link various ideas to this page and that page is often quite tedious for me because I want it to be accurate. If the process becomes overly complex, then I won't have the time to put the effort in, and thereby put off doing the whole thing. and the documentation stays as it way.

Perhaps another reason I'm putting so much thought into this is because I'm new here and am not use to co-editing things and don't know what the procedure or co-writing ediquette is. I do a lot of writing on my Upholstery Resource website, my upholstery business website Winters Sewing. With both both of them I just write out my thoughts in stages as I have time and the thoughts. The first stage is just to get the general content out. Later, hopefully when I have time, I go through and make changes and improve the way it is said. It's an ongoing process.

Mary, one reason that I'm writing so much on this is I'm trying to explain my basic philosophy to see whether contributing to the Documentation would be a mutual benefit or an ongoing irritation. I don't want to someplace that is not a good fit.

I haven't tried to rewrite the Enrolling Teachers section because I wanted to explain my above thoughts before attempting that. I would be rewriting it with one purpose in mind and you probably have another.

Best Wishes, Stephen

Mary's reply to Stephen

Hi again and thanks for working on the best phrasing of the docs - it's great to have someone willing to contribute! So I do hope you continue the process. Although the documentation is a wiki and for anyone to add to, most times these days it is just me. To clear some space on this Talk page, I have pasted onto the main page the bits you thought were ok and I have just left the final paragraph -assigning teachers category or site wide for further discussion. So a few points from me here:

  1. You ask would the editors of those pages approve of the changes or would they just delete them. Well, you can see the history shows that several people have edited them over the years but most recently it has been me and I am happy to go over any changes with you. I'd be the first to spot changes to the docs so I don't believe anyone else would delete your stuff first before I saw it. Therefore not a problem if you wish to do some editing.
  2. You say you are new here and not used to co-editing. Well you are doing much better than I did when I first started!! I was too shy for years to write anything and was under the impression that the docs were edited on a daily basis by hundreds of users who watched my every comma and turn of phrase -not true! I also thought you had to "get it right" first time, and it took me a while to realise you can add something, reflect upon it and then change it afterwards. The ongoing process you talk about on your website (which I will shortly take a look at!) is spot on for docs editing.
  3. Now for our sticking point over the final paragraph and linking to those other two pages. Assign roles and Category enrolments Your use case - as a home schooler who wants to have the teacher role throughout the site is actually an unusual instance which would only happen in a small percentage of cases. Similarly it is fairly uncommon for teachers to be assigned to a category -although that does happen. You need to have a very good reason to assign a teacher site wide or category wide and you need to understand why you are doing it. In earlier versions of Moodle it was much easier to make teachers site wide and it ended up with people posting in the forums confused as to why they were receiving hundreds of emails from students in courses they didn't teach - Maths teachers getting emails from students in French classes for example- and why their list of courses on the front page was so long. For sure, if you are a single teacher with one or a few pupils, or a teacher in a tiny elementary school, it makes sense, but for the vast majority of users, they don't need to know how to assign teachers other than within a course. Therefore the thinking was to keep this information off the main Teacher role page (a) so as not to clutter the page with information that only applies to a small minority of cases and (b) to ensure that if they did want to go down that road, they were aware of the consequences - because they have to read the information about contexts! People often come to Moodle thinking there is a "teacher" role that they can give to -er - teachers, and they need to have it explained that you can have different roles in different courses and so you might only be a teacher in one course and a student in another. So while I understand your desire to have all the explanation on this Teacher page, my own opinion is tempered by my own desire not to complicate matters for the newbie you talked about at the start. To refer to your first paragraph, you say a newbie is just wanting to get the software up and running and not having to read through pages of instructions - my point exactly for keeping the teacher role page shorter.

Anyway I will leave it up to you to take another look at the last paragraph to rework it. One thing I did remove (forgive me) is your reference to the "user" context, as it is wrong and not relevant to assigning teachers to courses or categories. You could mention the 'System' context which will give teachers access throughout the site however and which may be your own home schooling solution.

It is 0.45 now and I should try to sleep :) All the best Mary PS -just saw your site - what lovely children! Mine are 22 and 24 and long fled the nest...

Homeschooling Instructions for Moodle - Special Use Case Section?

Hi Mary, After reading your explanation I can better understand your thoughts. It is becoming clearer that instructions for homeschoolers and the like, perhaps, doesn't belong here. So I guess we can just add your last paragraph(s). That's fine. But, as for my reasons for wanting it set up another way, Is it possible to put those type of instructions in another place that don't interfer with the regular Documentation (i.e. Moodle for Homeschoolers, etc.)? Perhaps even have a special section of the Moodle Documentation dedicated to Special Use Cases in general. If that was possible, my reasons for making this page Homeschool friendly would be irrelevant. --Stephen Winters (talk) 03:33, 22 April 2014 (WST)

Do Any Homeschoolers Have an Interest in Moodle?

I did a search to see what the interest with homeschoolers might be towards using Moodle, and here is what I found: Homeschooling Using Moodle There do seem to be a fair amount of websites connecting Moodle with Homeschool. One significant reason might be that some Homeschoolers are looking for things to help them better plan their homeschooling activities.

The Need for a Plan

One thing I've experience with homeschooling is if we don't have a daily plan things don't do well, in fact things begin to fall apart. Over the years I've tried out various software and methods to set up a daily plan for homeschooling. For example, my wife had tried a number of times to just write out the lesson plan, with a limited amount of success, but more failure. Since I'm more computer minded I have repeated researched to find useable software. For example we used Homeschool Easy Records, a spreadsheet, etc. In recent times we have used Homeschool Skedtrack with some success. And for sure, it would probably be useable to continue. It has a lot of nice features. One of the things I really don't like about it is you can't link any online lessons or videos in the lesson plan.

Making Moodle Work for Homeschooling

One big advantage for Moodle is that it is widely used and has been around for years. Homeschool lesson planning software come and go. This year's favorite my be out of business next year. I like the concept of using a software that will probably be around for years to come. One thing I really like about Moodle is that you can link all the online sites and lessons, etc., if we so choose. Using Moodle for homeschooling has the potential to add a lot of useful content in a scheduled way that might not be possible otherwise.

Some Challenges

Rescheduling Lessons: One of the toughest challenges in using moodle is that homeschooling doesn't follow the traditional school calendar. A requirement in homeschooling is to have some way to "bump" or reschedule the ALL following lesson dates. Homeschool Easy Records had that feature built into it. But that software bit the dust and is no more. Mary, Do you know of a way or a module to use that can easily reschedule Assignment/Lesson dates. (I do have the Date module installed, and combine that with the Duplicate Assignment feature may make a workable method, if nothing better can be found.)

The Amount of Work to Setup: I say all that to say that the tradition Moodle methods may make Moodle overly complex for many homeschoolers UNLESS there are some detail instructions written specifically towards homeschoolers. I think that Moodle may be usable for a lot of homeschoolers, however the amount to work to set up courses and classes in the tradition Moodle methods may be overwhelming to some. For example, look at a homeschool mom who tried Moodle: Nothing Personal - Why Moodle didn't work out for our homeschool. In her article she said " The amount of work that went into designing the course, making the assignments, setting up the quizzes, then recording all the grades was overwhelming with just one student - I really couldn't imagine 25 students of varying abilities all needing this level of attention." And her assessment seems true, IF you set everything up according to standard Moodle Documentation and procedures.

Special Use Case Scenarios

Part of my internal make-up is I like to explore things to figure out what will work. I like to find the simplest ways to accomplish objectives. Consequently, I've been experimenting with Moodle to try to discover a more workable plan to use Moodle, with some success. Only, homeschool moms are busy. The don't have the time or the inclination to try to read through all the regular Moodle Documentation to try to figure out what will work for them.

My thought is this. Is there a place, OR can a place be made to accommodate documentation for Special Use Scenarios, such as using Moodle for Homeschooling? I might be wrong, but it seems to me that Moodle might be more useable and acceptable to some more homeschoolers if there were simple step-by-step instructions of how to set up Moodle for a homeschool environment.


Mary's reply about HomeSchooling

Ah! Yes!How about we set up a page about Using Moodle for Homeschooling and then you can write the page using your personal experiences? I will check it for technical accuracy but other than that, it could be your oeuvre :) If you are Ok with that I will sort this out tomorrow (UK tomorrow, Tuesday) --Mary Cooch (talk) 03:56, 22 April 2014 (WST)