My two worlds have collided! About time too. In fact, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
I’ve been learning Russian for four months now, from books and CDs, from Youtube and from a face-to-face course at UCLAN (where they use Blackboard, not Moodle!)
Moodle is my day job, but I did wonder what it would be like to learn -or practise- Russian on Moodle. Now I know..
I signed up to some online exercises from Red Kalinka – note I don’t know them; they don’t know me; I have no affiliations with them at all, but I have previously bought some of their products and blogged about them here. Well, Red Kalinka, your marketing emails worked, because I was intrigued when I read about the “thousands of questions of all kinds” so I registered. I knew it was Moodle as soon as I go to the log in page and saw the new user message. It’s Moodle 3.1 (very good) using what I believe is a purchased theme, Kallos30. After logging in you’re taken straight to the dashboard where you clearly see Beginner or Intermediate options. I’m assuming users are either enrolled into all courses on registration, or there is an auto-enrol plugin once you click on an option (course).
There’s the Completion Progress block – wonderful! That said, it’s pretty daunting when you see so many blue (not yet started) activities there to be done. These activities are all quizzes with a variety of questions. If you pass the quiz, the blue turns green; if you fail, it turns red. You can see I failed the second one in Beginner Grammar and Vocabulary – here’s my result:
I got 95% because I put “station” for вокзал instead of train/railway/railroad station. OK, I’m fine with that, but it does show 95% is not good enough to pass – you need a clear 100% 🙂
As well as being divided into beginner and intermediate/advanced, the quizzes are divided into grammar and vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension. I liked the Reading comprehensions – read a passage and do some multiple choice questions based on it. Perhaps I liked them because I found them easier. I was less taken with the Listening because I found them harder: you listen to several clips and have to put them in conversational order. This is a very good task, but I got disillusioned because I’m sure I got a question all correct but it told me I did not! Red Kalinka, if you’re listening, perhaps you can enlighten me?
And, Red Kalinka, if you are listening – I have to say I respect and admire all the hard work which has gone into these quizzes. Someone has put a lot of thought into this site. Having made many Moodle quizzes myself, I appreciate the effort that goes into them, not only devising the questions but also thinking of all the possible alternatives people might put (for short answer questions). All this has to be done manually, by a human… I empathise!
It’s always interesting to see Moodle from a student point of view. On this Moodle site, there’s no interaction with other participants – the navigation and adminstration blocks have been hidden (although you can still view participants if you know where to look!) but its function is to provide the quizzes, and it does that very successfully and with a professional interface. Red Kalinka admin, you might think about enabling mobile access so people could do the quizzes from the Moodle mobile app. Learning Russian on the move!
I’m going to go back and try a dictation now.. using the Russian stickers on my laptop 🙂