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4.3. Dialogues

The dialogue tool is a private communication channel between two people in your class. You can set up dialogues to allow student-to-teacher communication or student-to-student communication. Each dialogue you create can host a number of different conversations. You may only need to create one dialogue for the entire class, depending on how you want to use them.

4.3.1. Creating Dialogues

To create a dialogue:

  1. Click Turn Editing Mode On.

  2. Select Dialogue from the Activity menu.

  3. The Introduction text entered in the dialogue-creation screen shown in Figure 4-12 will be displayed when anyone enters the dialogue.

    Figure 4-12. Dialogue creation screen

  4. Set the dialogue options:

    Delete Closed Dialogues after (Days)

    You can close dialogues after they are finished. After they've been closed, the participants can see the transcripts until they are deleted.

    Type of Dialogue

    This setting selects whether the dialogues should be teacher-to-student or student-to-student.

    Allow more than on Dialogue with the same person

    This setting determines whether you can have more than once conversation with a given person within a dialogue tool.

    Mail Default

    This setting selects whether mail notifications of dialogue postings should be mailed to the participants.

  5. Click Save Changes.

Once you've set up the dialogue, you and your students can begin communicating using the dialogue.

4.3.2. Using Dialogues

Once you've set up your dialogue, you can begin conversing with a student. You can set up dialogues with multiple students within a single dialogue tool. To start a dialogue:

  1. Click the dialogue you created above.

  2. Select the student you want to start a dialogue with from the drop-down menu, as shown in Figure 4-13.

  3. Type your subject and message.

  4. Click Open Dialogue.

If you've set email default to Yes, the student will receive an email telling her she has a dialogue message. Moodle won't send her the text of the message but instead will tell her she has a message waiting for her and give her a link to the dialogue tool.

Students use the same interface to send a message back to you.

The main dialogue interface has four tabs that help you keep track of the current dialogues. The leftmost tab allows you to open a new dialogue with a student. The next two tabs track messages awaiting replies from you and messages awaiting replies from the student. The final tab lists the closed dialogues.

Once a student has replied to your initial message, the message will appear in the list of messages awaiting replies from you. Click on the tab and then click on the name of the student to whom you want to reply. The next screen will list the messages sent so far and give you a text area to type your reply. In the upper left of the screen is a link to close the dialogue.

Once a dialogue has been closed, it cannot be reopened. Both you and the student can see the transcript of the dialogue until it is deleted at the end of the time frame you set in the dialogue options.

Figure 4-13. Main dialogue screen

4.3.3. Effective Dialogue Practices

The dialogue tool is designed to aid in communicating privately with your students. If you need such a communication channel, dialogues are a useful alternative to email because you can track all of your correspondence in once place without clogging your inbox.

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