Porterville College

hand on keyboard

Jan 12 2016

12 Jan 2016

<<TLC Blog Home

Automate Regular Course Announcements


time to work smarterComing back from the holiday season and starting off a new year always feels like a time of decompression. It’s a time to let go of clutter, take a deep breath, and let out a long exhale. Starting off a new semester of classes at this same time brings to mind the need for organization, and relief from as many pressures as we can cast off. So in the spirit of simplification, I’ll share with you a tip that I hope will make your course management go a little more smoothly this semester.

Have you ever had one of those weeks, where you feel like you’re running just to keep from falling behind; then, when you finally feel like you’ve gotten caught-up, or worse yet after the week has ended, you realize that you forgot to post your weekly class announcement? If this sounds even vaguely familiar then you might want to take advantage of a fairly new feature in Moodle—timed release of course announcements (or News Forum topics if you stick with the default “News Forum” title). If you haven’t already been doing this, then you don’t know what you’re missing.

Most instructors that I talk to post a variety of class announcements, including spontaneous ones dealing with particular issues that arise in the course, spontaneous ones dealing with timely events, and regularly scheduled announcements that are pretty similar from term to term. Weekly seems to be the most common interval for these regularly scheduled announcements, based on my conversations. So over the course of a typical semester, that would be sixteen announcements that you have to remember to post. On the surface this may not seem like a big deal, but when you add to that all of the other learner guidance duties and course management responsibilities that pop up at random times, it can become daunting. By removing one additional task that you have to remember to do each week, that gives you more time to devote to students.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Gather your regularly scheduled announcements together, or open a new browser tab to a previous semester’s course so you can see your course announcements.
  2. Have a calendar handy.
  3. In your current semester’s Moodle course, click on your News Forum (or whatever you happen to be calling it) from the course homepage.
  4. Copy the text of your first announcement.
  5. Now back in the current semester’s Moodle site, click on the “Add a new topic” button.
  6. Type a subject for the announcement.
  7. Paste the text that you copied earlier in the “Message” box.
  8. Include any attachments if desired.
  9. Click the “Enable” box next to “Display start,” and select the day, month, and year that you want the announcement to be released.
  10. If you wish to force the announcement to become hidden at a certain time, then click the “Enable” box next to “Display end,” and select the day you want to hide the announcement.
  11. Finally, click the “Post to forum” button.
  12. Repeat this for all of your regularly scheduled announcements.
  13. Then put your feet up and relax for a while. You’ll no longer have to remember to push out your weekly class communications.
Kern Community College District