Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Creating the Lesson Activity on Moodle

When the COVID-19 situation came to the fore and lock down was declared, universities began to think about how they could continue teaching their students.
While there are various tools available to teachers, I found solace in the use of an activity tool that is found on Moodle. It is called the Lesson activity. I first did not know how to use this Moodle activity.

I had watched a video developed by fellow academic Mr. Bernard Yegiora which he shared on his youtube channel. Check out his blog here.

After viewing the video, I began practicing the outline of the lesson activity on Moodle. Eventually, I began to develop lessons for my final year students. One of the earliest lessons I learnt through the use of this Lesson activity is the importance of Lesson Planning. Lesson plans are a key aspect of a teaching strategy. The plan has a topic, learning objectives, list of materials, specific timeframes for each section, subtopics, review activities and exercises. I consider doing the lesson plan as much more of a difficult thing to do than developing the actual Lesson Activity on Moodle. So much time is spent on creating content for your students, placing yourself in their shoes, thinking about baby steps they can do in your lesson before moving onto the much complex areas of your topic. At the end when the lesson plan is done, you get excited as you now begin to transfer what is on the lesson plan onto the Lesson Activity on Moodle.
This image below shows the Lesson activity being implemented. As you can see, the lesson has subtopics with a menu and each topic is displayed in the centre. 
Students have go read and go through each page. You have to click a link to go to the next page. They do that until they reach the last page and the lesson ends. Once a student reaches the end of the lesson, you get a notification of that student's completion.
I found that after developing the lesson, I could post it on Moodle and let the students go through the lesson pages at their own time. Thus I found that if you designed the lesson properly, you could develop it as a self paced activity for the student. This means that students can do it at their own time and pace during the week. You could also assess students through the lesson activity too if you wanted.
One of the better characteristics of the Moodle lesson is that one could develop review questions after each subtopic. For example you could develop Multiple Choice Questions or True/False questions as well. This enables the students to answer the question, get back the answers and continue through the lesson.

After developing some of the lessons during the lockdown period, I decided that I could help other academics learn about this activity as well.
I ran two sessions for staff members from my faculty (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) and both sessions took roughly around two hours.

It was hectic and draining after each session but I got through it and was blessed to pass on the little knowledge I had to others. I guess this is part of fulfilling the Divine Word University theme for this year 2020: 'It is in giving to we receive'. 

Someone asked me about why I was so intent on running the sessions for my colleagues as they had the internet to 'self learn'. I said that my belief is that by sharing, I help my fellow colleagues improve the way they teach. In this way, the academics, as a group, progress and move forward. For example, if I was only one person with a skill like this and didn't share, it helps no-one, because it creates a burden for myself as no one else will understand how to improve or find better ways for that particular skill I have. That is how I feel about sharing knowledge like this. Let me explain this in another way. If you are a fisherman from a fishing village and you develop a new technique on how to catch fish better, you have to share this new knowledge with other fisherman. You may keep your new technique a secret and catch more fish than everyone but soon or later when you get into trouble or get stuck with your new fishing method, nobody will know how to help you because you are the only one who knows how to help yourself get out...hahahahaha!

Anyway, if you ever get to use Moodle as a learning management system in your organisation or school, try this activity as it will help you greatly. One thing that I have seen is that though it is really hard work to develop the lesson plan for your Moodle lesson activity, in the long run it makes you, as an academic, become efficient with time so you can do other things like research, administrative tasks and even have time for family too.

Before I get out of here, I's like to say that, an event has forced us to change how we have been doing things. We must embrace the change, find the good in it, adapt to the changing times and help others climb up as well. 

Em tasol!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Bright new days ahead...

Sometimes we forget that when the sun rises in the morning sky, God paints the air with magical colours to wish us brighter days ahead. When I woke up this morning and walked around the campus, the air was so crisp and light so breathtaking. Enjoy these photos!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Reading COVID-19 messages on campus

During the evening, when I took the kids around the campus, we came upon the messages developed by staff and students. It was certainly great reading and discussion material for the kids. They looked at the pictures and followed diagrams and had questions for me

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Papa God tasol still keeping us intact

Many people who know a little bit about the WHO health systems Building Blocks that the PNG health system has adopted, will agree and say that our health system is fragile (too many problems at different levels at national, provincial and district levels among the six building block areas).

We, as a country, have been exposed to the virus for around 3 months now as people move from China and other places into PNG. Seriously, we could have been one of the first countries to be hit. Even ol pasin blo yumi lo wokim nating nating and combined with our cultural practices would be the best breeding grounds for this virus. 

But just think about this: In that time period, we have not seen community transmission of the virus. I was thinking that maybe we were not doing enough testing. But even if we didnt do enough testing, the health surveillance system could have picked up the severe cases already in the different provinces. Maybe the disease will come and hit us hard, I dont know.

There has to be something else that is keeping us safe, dont you think? Every evening when i watch the news on tv, other countries are fighting and fear is winning. For us, right now, the only thing keeping us intact em bikpla marimari blong God bikos planti man meri insait lo PNG wok lo pray istap. Oh yes, these people are not on facebook! They dont have internet and they dont have access to regular media but they are on their knees in that chapel, in that closet, beside the river, up on the mountain or in that silent room.....

Ino gat narapla samting gen, em God tasol yah na yumi stap yah!

Tonight mi harim displa song gen na mi tingim yumi PNG na how yumi save stap yah....

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Research Conversations

Today, I attended a research conversation. It was a small session led by Professor Collin McDougall from Flinders University. The FMHS staff attended. One of the things that I liked about these research conversations is the sharing of experiences from other members of the faculty about challenges and issues they have faced as researchers. Having been here for a while now, I can honestly say that research is hard work, not because its difficult to do, but because of the time and effort one must put into to produce something that is worthy to be read by others.
I guess academics must publish work regularly in quality journals and research that can help our country too! Olsem na wok blo research mas go het!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Some old files

Well its the beginning of the new semester!
You know as I was rummaging through stuff I noticed a few old items on the shelf. I took them down and dusted the. Lo and behold, there was some old student projects from some years ago. What a pleasant sight it was to glance through them.
I know for sure that students who write them are now working in great jobs throughout PNG!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Logitech R400

This particular PowerPoint presenter device (Logitech R400) has been helping me teach for the past five years. When it went kaput, I wanted to find someone to help me fix it since I had no idea about IT stuff.

  But the internet provided the solution. People around the world share how they fix things and post it on forums and discussion pages online. I found such a site and followed instructions using a kitchen knife, opened the device and fixed the tiny switch. Now the device is working again.