Coming 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.