Instructor Update - June 2017
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AEA Learning Online
Instructor Update

Date Change for New Registration System

We have been experiencing some issues with the new registration system and its ability to connect with Heartland AEA's financial system.  Unfortunately, we are now moving back the date for transition.  If you have a course that starts before September 4, you will use the current system to propose the course (and, the current instructor center to send out the welcome email and submit grades).

If you have a course starting September 4 or afterwards, you will use the Performance Matters/True North Logic system.  We reviewed how to update your vita and create a proposal in past newsletters; you can access them above with the link to them.

Fordson is Coming

We have some big(gish) changes coming to the Moodle server, including a new site theme called Fordson.  But before we show you some of the features of the theme, some important things to remember:

1. You do not need to use Fordson as a theme; you can continue to use Essential or whatever other theme you have used before.

2. You do not need to use Fordson as a theme.  Yes, it is worth repeating, as we want to avoid any possible panic attacks you might be having.

Fordson is a theme that is built off Boost, so if you have used the Boost theme before, this is almost identical.  Just like Boost, it has the administration and navigation block in a menu bar on the left side that opens and closes with what is called "The Hamburger".  It is an icon with 3 horizontal lines on it.

You can preview Fordson with this link here:  If you want to end your preview and see Moodle with the essential theme, you might need to either quit your browser or click on this link:

On Monday morning, July 9, we will be changing the main theme to Fordson.  Your individual course shouldn't be changed to the new theme automatically; this will only affect the home page.  You can change your theme to Fordson if you would like, as we feel the new look is cleaner and more conducive for learning.  To edit your theme, go to your course, into the Course Administration area, and then click on Edit Settings.

Big Change #1 - Course Codes

We will look at features of Fordson as a class theme that make it our recommendation in our next newsletter.  But for now, let's discuss two things that will impact you even if you continue to use your current theme.

The biggest impact is Course Codes.  You can see on the screenshot of the home page that there is a big area for entering in a course code.  This is not an enrollment key, but it works fairly similar.  A student can enroll into a course (including into the correct group within a course) if they enter the correct 6-digit code that you give them.  This makes it one less step than having to enter in the Go To Course number, and then enter in the enrollment key.

Course codes are not in your course by default; you need to add them to use them.  Here is how to do so.

1. Go into your course, and then go into your Course Administration area to Users to Enrollment Methods

2. On the next screen, add Easy Enrollments as a method

3. When you do so, it will bring up a screen which will show the 6-digit codes for your course as a whole and whatever group that you have.

Now, you probably noticed that Self-Enrollment (with an enrollment key) is still an option, and if you leave it as an option for your course, students could use the enrollment key to enroll the old way.  The course code, however won't work for that place, much like the enrollment key won't work in the course code area.

If you would like to continue using the old method, please note that your directions for students will change slightly starting the 9th.  The Go To Course block will not be on the home page anymore.  Instead, students will need to click the Go To Course button, then enter in the 4-digit course code, and then enter in the enrollment key.

Big Change #2 - Course Headers

After the top area of the home page, there will be some additional changes.  First, the blocks that are on the page right now will not be there on the 9th.  They are only there because removing them now would remove them from the Essential theme too, something we don't want to do.  Also, the part that says "Once you have logged in..." will be gone as well, as we are moving our Partners Area into its own button.

Below that, we no longer have the folders of all the categories in the system.  Those folders were more clutter than what we would like, and they weren't applicable to participants anyways.  Instead, there is a My Courses area.

Up to 12 of your enrolled courses will appear here via these tiles, and there will be a button to access additional ones if you are in more than 12 (instructors are typically the only ones this applies to).  You will note that the current courses in my screenshot are all using the same default header image.  As you might guess...

You can change that.

When you are in your course, go edit your course settings.  You will see a field we haven't discussed before, called Course Summary files.

You can see I've added a stock image here.  It then updates the image in the course preview tile:

Now, you obviously don't need to do this.  However, we are finding the more visual we can make the online learning experience for students, the easier they find to navigate it, and the more they seem to enjoy it.  This can help make your class easy to find and memorable.  Plus, that image can appear in the course tile that is in the Portfolio as well as within the course itself... if you use the Fordson theme.

More on that coming up.
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