Section outline

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  • How to Guides

  • How to: Connect

      Create connection, create community 

    Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa - Let us keep close together, not wide apart.

    How can we make sure our learners know we’re there? How can we ensure they feel a sense of manaaki in the online learning space? a sense of belonging? It starts with establishing a teacher presence, and creating space for students to feel connected.

    Go to glossary

  • Add a welcome message


    A welcome message, usually posted on the home page of your course, contains orientation and housekeeping information that is often presented during the first day of a traditional, face-to-face course. See this welcome message example

    A detailed welcome message will: 

    • help students become familiar with the learning outcomes and purpose of the course. 
    • set the stage for continued, positive interactions between you and your online students. 


    1. Create a label on your home page. 
    2. Using the text editor, write a short outline of the course purpose and what skills students will gain from completing the course.

    Variation: See below for how to wrap a welcome message in a tutor note

  • Using the 'tutor note' to add your voice


    This visual addition to your course helps important messages – like a Course Welcome or a Tutor Voice – stand out. 
    Tutor note example

    1. Add a label to your homepage. 
    2. Copy and paste thTutor Note class code into the label.  
    3. Add your welcome message text.  
    4. Save changes. 
    Note: You can also ask the LiiT team to personalise your note by replacing the icon in the circle to the left with your profile pic.  

  • Introduce teaching staff


    Learners need to know who is teaching the course, who to contact and how. Having this information laid out clearly on the home page helps establish that connection from the first time that learners log in. See this tutor introduction from Arts and Media, and how we have used a table to display our team's contact details in the 'Talk to the LiiT Team' section of this course. 

    1. Create a label on your home page.
    2. Upload a photo of each person teaching on the course. 
    3. You may wish to add a short bio.
    4. Make sure to contact details for the main contact(s). 

  • Create a course query forum


    A query forum is used for general questions or discussions regarding the course.  Learners can post questions and the instructor or other students can respond in this public forum. 


    1. Set up a forum on your homepage  
    2. Make sure that students can post new topics by allowing students to post discussions 

  • Create an introduction forum


    In the online learning environment, collaboration is essential. Given this, it is important that tutors and students get to know one another while communicating online. Use a forum to introduce yourself and allow your pupils to communicate with one another to develop human connection. Here is an example of a tutor using introductory forums to enhance her social presence. 


    1. Set up a forum on your homepage  
    2. Write an example, including aspects you want students to also use (i.e., add photos, key information you want to share)  
    3. Make your expectations for the forum clear using forum guidelines  

  • Create a welcome video


    A video is a great way to welcome students into the online space. It gives them a sense of who you are, and can stir up enthusiasm for your course before it even begins. Consider this edited video from the lecturer of an online course [1:01]While you may not have the software or experience to create something as polished, you can create an intro that is equally effective in what it achieves, as in this video by an NMIT lecturer [3:08].

    1. Watch the clip Tips for Course Introduction [5:01] for inspiration and/or read these 12 Simple tips.
    2. Plan what you will say, and rehearse if it will help.  
    3. Record your welcome video.
    4. Save the file to your device as an mp4. 

    Uploading your Video 1: 

    1. If your video is short and not very large you can add it Straight to Moodle. 
    2. Create a label in Moodle and use the insert media icon to embed your video.  

    Uploading your Video 2:

    1. If your video is longer or is a large file size you can add it to Microsoft Stream before adding it to your Moodle.
    2. Go to and make sure you are logged in with your NMIT email.
    3. In the top menu, click on create, then upload video and follow the instructions.
    4. Once your video is published, you can share it by embeding it in your Moodle, or linking to the video, like the second video example above.

    Variation: You may prefer to create a screencast instead, particularly if you are camera-shy.

  • How to: Communicate

      Create effective channels for communication

    Mā te kōrero ka mohio, mā te mohio ka marama, mā te marama ka matau, mā te matau ka ora - With communication comes knowledge, with knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes wisdom, with wisdom comes wellbeing.

    How can we set up and maintain effective online communication with and between learners? Moodle offers a number of tools that can help, including messaging, announcements and forums. What matters most, however, is how we put these tools to best use, and that we are consistent in our approach to communicating online.

    Go to glossary
  • Display communication protocols


    Putting communication protocols where students will see them brings them to the forefront. Learners will know when and how they can communicate with you, and with their peers. This helps mitigate the barriers that can impact communication online.

    Consider this example of clearly communicated protocols. 

    How (basic):
    1. Add a label to a prominent area of your course (e.g. home page).
    2. Edit the label, outlining how you will communicate with students. Set clear parameters re. your availability. Outline how students can communicate with each other. Add your online office hours if you have them.
    Variations (advanced):
    1. Create a table to display your online office hours.
    2. Create a page for 'Communication' to make it stand out right alongside e.g. the 'Assessment' or 'Course Schedule' page tabs
    3. Add a side block with key details, e.g. ‘If you have a question, add it to the course forum, or email me and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.’

  • Use Announcements


    One of the most effective and simple ways of interacting with students online is by posting in the Announcement forum. 

    As these linked examples from NMIT courses show, announcements are a great way to: give students an overview of the week ahead, provide timely lockdown communication, provide assessment updates, or provide details of an upcoming fieldtrip.


    1. Go to the Announcement forum in your course. By default, it appears on the Home page. 
    2. Click to open the forum, then click ‘Add a new topic’.
    3. Give your announcement a subject and type your message. 
    4. Click 'Post to forum'. Students will be notified via email to their account.
    1. Schedule an announcement to be posted at a certain date and time.

  • Make use of forums

    This topic is covered in Create a forum discussion or task on the Prepare online activities page. If you want to jump straight to the technical know-how, see Forum (set up) in the glossary.

  • Enable groups to chat in Moodle


    If you are using Moodle groups, you can change a setting to allow the students in a group to message each other. This gives small groups a private space to communicate. If you add yourself to a group, you can also join the group chat.

    Note: you must first set up Moodle groups to enable this function.

    1. Go to 'Participants', click the cog to the right, and select 'Groups'. 
    2. Select a group from the box on the left.
    3. Select 'Edit group settings'.
    4. Change 'Group messaging' to 'Yes' (from the default 'No').
    5. Advise students they can now message within their group in Moodle messaging
    Note: If you (the course teacher) want to participate in a group chat, you need to enrol yourself in the group first.  

  • Message students in Moodle


    Sometimes, rather than sending an announcement to all students, you'll want to send a private message to one student, or a small group of students. 

    There are two ways to send students messages in Moodle:
    If you have Moodle groups set up, you can also send a message to a group.

    Note that by default, a student will receive an email notifying them of a message sent in Moodle. This goes to their email address, so remind them to check it if that is how you choose to communicate with them.

  • Customise notifications


    Setting up your notifications to suit you will ensure you're neither bombarded with student activity in forums or group messaging, nor out of the loop. 

    1. xxx

  • xxx


    1. xxx

  • How to: Prepare online activities

        Encourage active learning through engaging content and activities

    Whaiwhia te kete mātauranga - Fill the basket of knowledge.

    Whether our students are online or on campus, they need activities that require them to apply what they're learning.

    If we take an activity-based approach to building a Moodle course, it becomes a space to guide students through a series of connected, engaging activities that they can work through autonomously, and with peers. This is more likely to prompt active learning than a content-based approach, in which Moodle too often becomes a repository of information. 

    Go to glossary
  • Create a forum discussion or task


    Forums provide a flexible discussion space. Students don't need to be online at a certain time or day to participate, and they have time to think about what they want to say before posting. It helps if the purpose of online discussions is clear and relevant, and if they are 'normalised' as a form of interaction. Why not make it a weekly routine, for you and your students?

    1. Choose an appropriate discussion topic, or design an achievable task. 
    2. Set up a forum, calling it e.g. Weekly Tasks.
    3. Add a new forum topic, e.g. Week 1 Task.
    4. Type the instructions, and save.
    5. Let students know - add a hyperlink to the forum  in the Week 1 content, or create an announcement, reminding them when it's due. 
    6. Participate in the forum, e.g. provide whole class feedback at the end of the week.
    Invite students to share a video, file or image to the forum. By default, students can attach files up to a total 100MB.

  • Add a reading as a PDF

    Readings added to Moodle as PDFs are easy for students to see and access. They can click to read the PDF online, or download it.  

    1. Ensure the file is in PDF format.
    2. Go to the course page where you want the PDF.
    3. Follow the instructions to add a file
    • See the next topic Insert a link to an online reading.

  • Insert a link to an online reading

    Where a reading is a blog post or web-based article, it can be helpful to direct students to it by linking the title within an activity e.g: "Read the article Getting your students to engage with course readings (Hunt, F. 2020) and reflect on the strategies you have tried and tested."  

    1. Add a label or edit a label to house your reading activity.
    2. Write the instruction and give the name of the reading you want to link.
    3. Select the text you want to link. 
    4. Click the link icon and as prompted enter the URL. See Hyperlink 1 (link to URL) for more detail.
    • Instead of providing a link to an article you can add it as a URL (object).

  • Add a video


    Well-curated video content helps engage students, and saves tutors reinventing the wheel. There's a lot of great content on YouTube and LinkedIn Learning that can be embedded in a Moodle course.

    Add a label and use the insert media icon to embed a YouTube video or mp4 file OR create a hyperlink to a LinkedIn Learning video. (See Embedding videos for detail.)

    • Design an activity to accompany the video. Is it an opportunity for reflection? Stimulus for a forum discussion? 
    • Embed both the video and the activity instruction in an activity block - see: Activity blocks (all).

    1. Add a colourful Activity block


      Activity blocks wrap activity instructions in a colourful border, making them stand out on the page. They're also colour-coded to highlight different activity types.

      1. Add a label to the course section you are working on.
      2. Follow the instructions to copy and paste HTML code for an activity block (basic).
      3. Add activity instructions, and save changes.
      screenshot example

    2. Pre-record a voice-over PowerPoint


      Pre-recording voice-over PowerPoint is good for delivering 'lecture style' content. You can record when it suits you, and students can watch when it suits them. Flexibility is the distinct advantage it has over Zoom, or even face-to-face lectures.

      Think 'mini-lectures': 2-8 minute recordings that focus on key concepts or skills; and which will help students grasp ideas they often struggle with on their own. Avoid the idea that you need to record a 2-hour lecture. Boil it down to the essentials, chunk it into parts, and deliver it well.

      1. Prepare your PowerPoint(s) and plan what you will say.
      2. In the open PowerPoint, go to Slideshow.
      3. Go to Record Slideshow.
      4. Choose Record from beginning (or current slide) and start recording.
      Watch this NMIT screencast [4:55] for a demonstration.

    3. Record a screencast


      Screencasts enable you to demonstrate what you are doing on your computer, with voiceover. This can be particularly helpful when teaching students online, to point them to helpful resources in Moodle for example. They can also be a useful teaching tool in disciplines such as Design, Tourism and IT, where students need to learn to use industry software.

      1. Install the app Screencastify on your computer. 
      2. Open the app and click the Screencastify icon.
      3. Choose whether what you want to record: your Browser Tab, entire Desktop, or Webcam Only.
      4. Click Record, and Stop when you have finished recording.
      5. Save and share the recording so you can upload it as an mp4 file to Moodle.
      See this screencast [4:21] for more detail:

    4. Set up Moodle Groups


      Moodle groups allow students to collaborate online in groups or pairs. Perfect if they are working on group assessments or projects, and good for encouraging informal discussion and peer review (in a private group forum).

      1. Go to Participants
      2. Click the cog to the right and select Groups.
      3. Choose Auto-create groups and work through the settings to create groups based on number of members or groups OR Create a group to add participants to groups manually.

      For more detail see: Groups (set up)


    5. Create a quiz (Moodle)


      Quizzes can be used to check understanding of key concepts. They provide students with opportunity to check their progress, and offer instant feedback.  Quizzes are best used as a learning tool, without grades attached.


      1. Add a new activity or resource to the page you want the quiz
      2. Choose Quiz as the activity to add.
      3. Name the quiz and work through the quiz settings (see below for reference).
      4. Add questions to your quiz. Start with a multiple choice (MC) quiz, as they are the simplest to build.
      If you are new to Moodle quizzes, watch the video below [5:39] and/or contact LiiT for support.

      Useful resources:

    6. How to: Facilitate (online classes)

      Te tohu o te rangatira, he manaaki. The sign of a chief is to support, protect, provide hospitality and care for others.

      Moving your classroom sessions to a virtual environment, such as Zoom video conferencing, creates new opportunities for active learning and student involvement. We'll look at some easy ways for combining active learning principles with online resources so that students can encounter and engage with material and ideas while also reflecting on what they've learned.

      Go to glossary

    7. Set up a class Zoom link


      Setting up a Zoom link that is always active allows your students to be able to connect at any time. It means you do not have to schedule a meeting every time you want to hold a class and simplifies the student experience for joining online. 

      1. Log in to Zoom. If you do not have an existing account, contact Paul Devine to arrange a license. 
      2. Schedule a meeting and set up NMIT standard settings for Zoom meetings. 
      3. Join your meeting when your class is scheduled. 

      Watch this NMIT screencast [1:07] for a demonstration. 


    8. Record Zoom sessions to the cloud


      Lectures, tutorials and practicals can be fast-paced and in-depth. Recording these sessions ensures that students don't miss anything important. It can also help you improve your practice as you or a colleague watch them back and reflect on the teaching. 

      Why should I record to the cloud instead of my computer? 

      If you are recording your zoom sessions to your computer and there is no room available on your hard drive, the recording will not be saved. It is much safer, easier and more accessible for the LiiT team (if you have trouble) to record to the cloud. 

      1. Launch your Zoom session as a host 
      2. Click the Record  button.
      3. Select Record to the Cloud to begin recording. 
      4. To stop recording, click Pause  / Stop Recording  or End Meeting.
      Note: If you are muted, a Recording Alert pop-up window will appear indicating You are muted.

      Note: Once the meeting has ended, the recording must be processed before viewing. Zoom will send an email to the host's email address when the process is completed. There will be two links in the email, the first will be for the host, only to manage the recording. The second link will be for the participants. 

      Watch this video [1:36] for a demonstration.

    9. Share your screen in a Zoom meeting


      If you have a PowerPoint, reading or course page to share you can.


      1. Join or start a Zoom meeting.

      2. Click share screen along the bottom set of Zoom tools. 
      3. Choose the screen you want to share. Click the screen on your computer that you want to share.
      4. Click share.

      Note: Be aware that participants can see everything on your screen - including email notifications. 

    10. Add a Zoom class link to your course


      Adding a zoom link to your Moodle page establishes a digital learning space that students know to access at any time.

      1. Schedule a meeting
      2. When you first set up a meeting it will automatically generate an Outlook calendar event. Copy the meeting link from the location section of the meeting occurrence. 
      3. Add a label or add an HTML side block
      4. In the text editor type your text (i.e. SRE411 Zoom Link) and create a hyperlink
      5. Paste the meeting link into the URL field. 

    11. Use Zoom breakout rooms


      Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting into up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host or co-host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, or they can allow participants to select and enter breakout sessions as they please. 

      1. Start an instant or scheduled meeting.
      2. Click Breakout Rooms .
      3. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms. Follow the options for breakout rooms.
      4. Click Create Breakout Rooms.
      5. Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. Click Open All Rooms to start your breakout rooms. 

    12. Glossary