ESSEC’s Digital Pedagogy on Display at MoodleMoot Global

By Natalie Berkman, Instructional Design Manager at ESSEC K-lab

Every year, “Moodlers” from all over the world meet up at the MoodleMoot Global Conference to share best practices, explore new solutions, and design learning experiences together. Given ESSEC’s commitment to pedagogical excellence and more specifically to Moodle, our LMS of choice, several members of the ESSEC staff attend every year. This year marks an important milestone for our team: the first time we shifted from being inspired to inspiring others. 

ESSEC K-lab team photo
ESSEC team: Natalie Berkamn, Nadia Kelmouss, Erwan Thomas, Marion Marx

This years’ MoodleMoot Global took place in Barcelona from September 18th to 21st. We were able to present the work we have carried out on our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), entirely online, asynchronous courses that all pre-experience students at ESSEC are required to take. These courses represent a fundamental part of ESSEC’s Strategy, training 6000 pre-experience students every year in key topics such as Responsible Leadership, AI, Entrepreneurship, Climate Change, and Diversity and Inclusion. Our presentation consisted of 3 main parts, each a key aspect of the recent revisions we made to the SPOCs: Design, Assessment Strategy, and Data Analysis. In terms of Design, we made use of the fact that Moodle is an open access platform to create a clear visual identity for each SPOC resulting in a very welcoming visual design. 

The Tile Theme at Play in our AI for Business SPOC
Figure 1: The Tile Theme at Play in our AI for Business SPOC

To make this design as learner-centric as possible, we included an Onboarding tile that includes an interactive presentation that introduces the student to the Course Structure, Learning Outcomes, Assessment Strategy, and includes general advice as well as a FAQ. We preserved this structure across all the SPOCs, so that once a student has taken one, he/she implicitly understands where to find all information, content, and assessments in any other SPOC. 

By using pedagogical theories such as Bloom’s taxonomy, Fink’s significant learning models, and a skills-based approach, we put the learner first in our revisions. In Figure 2, you can see a screenshot of our interactive presentation (made with Genially), which we created so it can be read linearly (like a book) or so that the student can navigate freely, accessing the information he/she wants directly. Each tile (module) also begins with an interactive presentation (made with Canva) that informs students about the recommended time commitment for each module and about what the student needs to complete in order to receive a passing grade. 

Finally, within each tile in our new design, we tried to make the content more interactive. Most of the content in our SPOCs is video content, and as we know, watching a video is a relatively passive activity for students. Our design makes use of H5P, a technical solution available in Moodle to create interactive books which group specific topics (videos, readings, and other resources) that track completion progress. 

The Cover Pages of Interactive H5P Books from the AI SPOC
Figure 2: The Cover Pages of Interactive H5P Books from the AI SPOC

In the original SPOCs, the assessment strategy was based on exclusively summative assessment activities that lend themselves to an automatic correction (multiple choice and peer review). While we are conscious of this necessity (one teacher can’t grade 6000 essays for just one course), we tried to adapt this strategy with the concepts of mastery learning, significant learning, and competency-based training in mind. Our resulting assessment strategy now makes use of both formative and summative assessment. It even includes an original character (Evalubot) to help students understand when they are facing an assessment activity and the nature of said activity (formative or summative, and how to approach it).

As part of our revision process, we reconfigured the multiple choice quizzes in H5P for a few reasons. First and foremost, with the advent of ChatGPT and more specifically the browser extension GPT4Moodle, students can now have ChatGPT directly in Moodle giving them the answers to traditional Moodle tests/quizzes. This extension doesn’t work with H5P, however. The second reason is that we could personalize the look and feel of these quizzes to fit in with the new visual identity of the SPOCs. Additionally, with the goal of building learners’ soft skills through these courses and receiving feedback on learners’ progress/reaction to the course, we also integrated self-assessment into the engagement grade at the end of each module. We set these up using a new tool, FeedbackFruits, which is also the tool we are using for the summative assessment. All the formative assessment does make it into the final grade in the form of an “engagement grade.” The summative assessment, on the other hand, made up of a variety of activities (peer assessment, final exams, simulations), contributes to a traditional grade. 

Overall, we are thrilled with the turnout who came for our presentation on the very last day of the conference, with a few minutes at the end for some very interesting questions about how to improve the impact of our H5P. We even had a fascinating discussion with the CEO of a Moodle partner about our overall SPOC strategy, which allows all students to not only be aware of ESSEC’s strategy, but to become actors within it. This latest development in these innovative online courses was the result of a fruitful collaboration between professors, programs, and the K-lab Instructional Design Hub. Our revisions to the SPOCs have already begun to reshape students’ online learning experience at ESSEC, with students already enjoying the new design and the professors/assistants taking advantage of the analytic potential of Moodle and FeedbackFruits to streamline assessment and ensure student success. Finally, our presentation of this project at the MoodleMoot conference demonstrates ESSEC’s continued commitment to sharing best practices and being a leader in innovative pedagogy. 

The presentation made at MoodleMoot Global:

Moodle Moot Presentation