While video may be the first option that many of us think about using to create online lectures, there are actually many other options out there for communicating content to our learners. We will discuss a few of those options in this post.
Moodle offers several ways that you can share content with your students. One way is to upload a file (Word doc, PDF, etc.) for your students to download and read. This is a great option for articles, white papers, or even handouts you typically use in class. Tip: when you upload the file, there is an option in the settings to force download when students click on the link.
A second option is a Moodle Page. If you have a short amount of content to share, for example, a two-paragraph introduction to the unit, you can post that in a Moodle Page for your students to view. A Moodle page is also a great way to post a link to an outside resource (web article, TED Talk, etc.) along with a few comments from you pointing out the key points that you want your learners to pay attention to as they interact with the outside resource.
A third option is a Moodle Book, which is basically a linked series of pages. Moodle Books are a great resource to use when you want to write out the lecture content and organize it for your learners. Moodle Books have a navigation bar on the side where students can see the page titles and hierarchy (i.e. the Table of Contents). Once you have your first page of the book created, you can create subpages to go underneath it. Any time you have more than a few paragraphs of content, Moodle Books are a great way to share it.
A fourth option is a Moodle Lesson. Lessons are similar to Books in that they are a series of linked pages. Where they differ is that they also include the option to intersperse questions to the learners as they progress through the material. For example, after reading a page or two of content, you can include a true/false, a multiple choice, or an essay question that students have to answer before moving on to more new content. You can even direct which page students will see as a result of their answers to the objective questions. For example, you might want to direct students who get a comprehension question wrong back to the page that explains the concept, while students who get it right move on to the next page of new content. Moodle Lessons also offer branching capability if you are feeling very creative!
If you have been teaching in the classroom for a while and have lots of PowerPoints that you have used over the years, Slidedocs might be an excellent option for you to consider using for your online lectures. A Slidedoc is basically a standalone PowerPoint presentation that learners read through on their own. This means that you have to think about crafting it a bit differently than the PowerPoints you use while presenting. You do not usually want all of the text you are going to say out loud on the screen for a presentation, but for a Slidedoc, everything that you would have said to go along with your material needs to be included as text in the presentation. If you have a fairly comprehensive set of PowerPoint slides and know your material well, it doesn’t have to take long to create a Slidedoc. You just need to read through and think about what is missing from it that you usually say out loud, and then add that text in. You might want to add those comments in as textboxes on the side in different color font from the main points on your slide. Tip: Here’s a free resource to help you get started with Slidedocs.
If you have extensive presenter notes written for yourself already, or if you have more extra content to add than you can easily fit on a slide, another option to consider is to create a PDF handout that incorporates the presenter notes section of PowerPoint along with your slides. PowerPoint gives you the ability to customize the look and feel of the handout page, so you can adapt the size of the slide and the layout of the content in the notes section.
If you have a lot of visual content (charts, maps, graphs, etc.) to share, infographics are another option to consider. Canva (a content creation program that offers a free Pro account to non-profit institutions) has lots of infographic templates to choose from. Piktochart is another program that with lots of infographic templates that make it easy to design content. (Piktochart offers their Pro account at a reduced rate to educators and non-profits).