Moodle Monday: Use groups to share information with parents by @timdalton

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One of the schools we work with was looking for a way they could use the existing Moodle structure to share their end of day report for each student with their parents. The school write a short report about the progress of each student at the end of every day, and wanted to know if Moodle could be used to share this privately with their parent. We came up with a solution using forums and groups, and will be trying it later in the year.

WIRIS

The trick here was coming up with a way to privately share this information with the correct parent, but not beyond there. The forced groups option in a Moodle course seems to offer a way forward.

For our trial tutor group we set up a parents course (so, Group X parents for example). This page contains standard Moodle course stuff, information for all parents/etc. Each parent has been given a username, and on the course we created a separate group for every student. We’re talking small numbers here so not a massive task. The parent was then added to the correct group. With the forced groups option selected for the course we then created a forum for the end of day reports. Using this forum the tutor can post the end of day report, selecting the correct student as part of the process. As parents can only view posts for their own group we have a way to keep this information completely private. As an extension here we can give parents the ability to reply to the posts, so can feedback to the tutor.

If they have submitted their email addresses to the school this was added to their profile, and because forums are setup to email updates to users the information goes out via email too. Again, just using the standard moodle setup.

To keep parents from accessing other areas of the site all courses require passwords to access, and they are banned from messaging and other features we didn’t want them to access (see my previous post for how to do this).

As a setup it would appear to work, but we are going to trial with one group before rolling out any wider. This same model could be applied for other ideas too- grouping parents into yeargroups for distributing letters maybe? Setting up individual groups for every student at a large school would be time consuming to the point where it wouldn’t be a realistic solution, but for small installs this offers a way forward without buying into any additional software to communicate with parents.