I have recently been speaking to a Training Manager for a retail organisation regarding their need for adding some value to their induction courses. The senior management team had been trying to raise their profile and become more approachable to staff, so I suggested that they use a Glossary activity and link it to the Random glossary entry block.
The Glossary is an activity which allows course developers and/or learners to create and maintain a list of keywords (termed concepts) and their definitions (information relating to the concept). It can be a very useful activity in facilitating “on-demand” learning as concepts can be configured to become link text within a course which, when clicked, makes a pop-up appear with the definition.
The Random glossary entry block pairs with a glossary in a course and displays entries from that glossary. These entries can be shown randomly or you can configure them to be shown with different behaviours, e.g. in alphabetical order and changed at different intervals, for example once a day. While not useful in short courses like in my scenario, having an entry of the day could mean that you could have a thought or inspirational quote of the day.
Back to the Induction course and setting up one of these blocks. The first thing that is required is the glossary in which we are going to add our senior management team entries. One thing to watch out for here is that, by default, the student role can create glossary entries. As we wouldn't want them to do this here, the permissions for the “Create new entries” capability would need to be amended for student role .
Once the glossary contains the entries you wish to show on your course, add a Random glossary entry in the usual way to the course page. At first it will not show any glossary information so you must configure the block. It is here that you must choose which glossary the entries are going to be found, how often you want to change the entries in days (note, 0 means the change occurs whenever the page refreshes). You can also choose how the entry is chosen as in what order they are shown and whether or not the title is going to be shown. Going back to the quote of the day, chances are you would not show the concept as you would just want the descriptive text.
Using the settings from the image above, this particular block will show entries from the Senior management team glossary, ie. an image and description of each manager, that would change each time a learner went to the course page (or refreshed it).
All in all, this is really useful functionality as it is showing information which is not part of the learning content as such, but as it is shown on the course page, learners do take note of it much in the same way as when in a training room, learners will have a look around and see posters on the wall.
While the block is not specifically covered in our Course Creator Essential course, the glossary activity certainly is, as it is an extremely flexible and effective learning tool in the Moodle arsenal.