Well our new Moodle Site (MyColl) has now been going just over 2 months. The idea to replace our school Microsoft File Sharepoint(less) site with Moodle grew last year as some staff started using a “Rebel” Moodle site that I provisioned. By early October I also had a handful of students requesting that we replace it. Two of the students helped me develop a site plan and they came up with the idea of naming it “MyColl” (as Wellington College students often refer to themselves as Coll Boys). I whipped up a Photoshop mock-up of what the site would look like. I was careful to include the integration of Google Apps Education Edition as an essential element. I presented the idea to the school’s Senior Management team Mid October. The idea was that the site would be the “hub” of online activity for the school on top of being a teaching & learning site.
By the end of October the site was hosted and themed for us by Totali. They also provided a tool called TSync which syncs password changes on the school’s Active Directory through to online services. We also made MyColl the browser home page on all computers, plus we enabled SSO (single-sign-on) so that students and staff were automatically signed into Google Apps when signed into Moodle.
Key Features of MyColl
- Students Input and Ownership – they named it and also designed the logo (over 1/3 of the school voted online for the student finalists who submitted their Logo design online)
- The MyTools dropdown provides access to all student Google Apps
- We do not allow students to change photos (their school ID is uploaded for them), First or Last Name, and Email Addresses – this forces them to access school Gmail accounts. If they want to fool around then they use FaceBook.
- A Gmail Block appears (once logged in) on the front page with unread mail headings displayed
- We turned off Moodle Calendar completely – opting instead for the more generic Google Calendar (all departments are required to place assessment dates on the school assessment calendar embedded in the site. We also have our standard Public Calendar embedded and a Sports Calendar was also added.
- School Events and information are updated regularly on the home page (though we are currently in the April School Holidays)
- There are a range of public pages for parental and public access and information. A number of pages and most courses require logins.
The site is deemed to be “under construction” as a number of pages are still to be added over the next few months (we are aiming for one new page/course every week or two).
How successful has it been?
I am presenting the site to the New Zealand Moodle Moot (Conference) this week. My presentation is on the integration of Moodle and Google Apps with a discussion around Google Docs as a teaching & learning tool. As I was putting together the presentation I gathered some statistics on our MyColl site.
Key Statistics Are:
- We are averaging 1200 “Unique” logins per week (out of a school of 1530 students and 120 staff) – From Moodle Stats
- We are averaging about 1500 “Absolute Unique Visitors” Daily – Google Analytics (interpreted this means from a different browser/computer)
- Interesting is that although there is a drop-off of “Absolute Unique Visitors” on Friday and Saturday, Sunday when school is closed sees us maintain the 1500 visitors.
- In the last 15 DAYs of school (since we enabled Google Analytics) we have had 28,400 Visits, 8700 Absolute Unique Visitors with 116,840 Pageviews.
Considering we have been effectively going for only 9 school weeks this is very encouraging. Only about 25-30% of teachers are using it regularly with their students. As training is provided and courses are developed over coming months, we should see the usage really take off!
Why has it been successful?
I believe that the integration of Google Apps with the Moodle Site has been one of the keys. The site is steadily growing to become the communication hub of the school as well as an effective growing eLearning site.
Feel free to explore the site at http://mycoll.school.nz and ask any questions here.