Moodle Monday: Using Avatars by @timdalton

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Do you have an avatar as part of your profile? Do you encourage your students to add their own?

WIRIS

I’ve been thinking about creating a sense of community in our Moodle sites this week, will write a few posts on it. Today I wanted to look at the avatar, and some of the things we could do with it.

Adding your avatar

To add an avatar to your profile simply go to the edit page and upload an image. Our users pick a mixture of photos of themselves, little badges, or other images that they relate to. Really easy thing to do, and the graphics help create a sense of personal identity.

Viewing avatars

The avatars appear all over the place, from the online users block to the posts you make in forums. As a Moodle admin you can also view a collage of all the avatars by visiting this link when logged in to your site:

http://youmoodlesite/userpix/

Ours looks a little bit like this (with some blurring of faces added to help protect privacy on a public blog).

While this is quite nice, we could use these images to create something a bit more exciting for your school. I took screenshots of the collage of avatars and then using Glogster I used them to create this poster.

Loads more you could do with this, but not a bad start…

Customising avatars

I then started to think about how we could customise our avatars, if there were other aspects of the school we could bring in.

Many of our clubs/societies and other groups in the school give the students little pin badges to identify themselves. For example, all of our prefects have badges. I did a quick google search for a suitable badge, then using Pixlr.com as an image editor I added my pin badge to my Moodle avatar.

This is a nice easy way to take something from your school and add some continuity into the virtual. Making/copying little badges and sending them to students to add to their avatars would be a quick project for a quiet afternoon. Or, you could think about the kind of ideas used by sites like foursquare and create games/tasks where students earn badges for their avatars.

Twibbon

Finally… I borrowed the idea of adding badges to your avatar from the fantastic twibbon.com. They have built a nice bit of web software to easily add badges to your Twitter avatar. While playing around with it earlier I created a Moodle Twibbon, if you’d like to add it to your Twitter avatar visit this link.

Hope these ideas inspires somebody, and if you are doing anything else a bit cool with your Moodle avatars do add to the comments so we can share with everyone else!

This post originally appeared on my blog. Visit for other Moodle content as well as other ed-tech related ideas. Or, follow me on twitter.