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Flexible & Versatile- MOODLE Database Activity

One of my favorite activities in Moodle is the database activity. It takes more set up than most Moodle activities, but is so flexible that it is worth the extra work. The database activity allows the teacher or  students to build a database of information, files, images, etc. in a variety of setups that can be individualized in many ways.  The Moodle Docs page is https://docs.moodle.org/33/en/Database_activity . This will give a short intro and links to the other necessary pages to explain how to set up a good activity.  If you haven’t played with this activity, I encourage you to do so.  The set up can be as easy as setting up the activity edit page then adding the fields you want. The fields can include checkboxes, radio buttons, text boxes, URL’s, file uploads, picture uploads and more. The fields show up on the separate pages of the database activity as setup in the Templates. If you set up all the fields at once they will be in that order on the templates pages in a default setup. You can however change things around to do some very interesting innovation, to add direction or make it more pleasing or more usable.

A place to get an idea of some of what can be done with a database activity is in the Demo site on Moodle.org.  You can login as manager then go to Moodle Resources/Activity Examples. These are some samples from the predecessor of Moodle.net. There are some databases set up for you can look at.  One of them is in the screen capture above.  This is one donated by Ben Here which he used to put daily assignments, journal prompts, etc. up with a projector when students entered the classroom. Any absent students could go into the Moodle course and this database to easily find out what they needed to make up their work.  The pretty display was done with tables and a little bit of HTML in the single view template.  One of the nice things about databases is that the set up can be saved as a “preset”.  This can be uploaded into another database activity and will bring in the fields and templates so that they can easily be shared with other teachers or courses.

Moodle.net has over 20 presets in the database portion at https://moodle.net/mod/data/view.php?id=22 .  The presets include ideas for journals (use privacy settings), Time and Day Trackers, Vocabulary, Course Resource Repository, 6 Image Comic Book Styled Story Page and much more.  Some of these are very fancy using CSS, java script or HTML to help fancy them up, but databases don’t have to be that complex.  The Database Tips and Examples has 14 presets and a PowerPoint presentation from MoodleMoot NZ14 presented by William Lu.  They will give a good starting point for making the database activity meet your own needs.

Hope you enjoy this activity!

Paula Clough
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Paula Clough

A "retired teacher". Thirty two years experience in Education. 10 years with Moodle in K-12 and college levels.

One thought on “Flexible & Versatile- MOODLE Database Activity

  • Yes, the Database activity in Moodle is amazing eh? Sometimes it’s enough to use a Glossary (a glossary being an excellent example of a database of course!). But if teachers want some control over the appearance, and to use more advanced options, then the Database activity really provides this, I am often pleasantly surprised in the creative ways they are used – even though some of the most simple ideas work perfectly too! I actually know William Lu very well, and enjoyed his Database presentation at the NZ Moodle Moot. Maybe we should invite him to ElearningWorld as a writer?


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