LEO Guides

Glossary

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glossary iconA Glossary is a interactive list of topics or words, and their definitions. The Glossary can be used as a collaborative activity, in that students are able to create and maintain definitions; or it can be edited and maintained exclusively by teaching staff. When created collaboratively by teaching staff and students, a Glossary abides by a constructivist or experiential educational philosophy, in that students are actively engaged in the process of creating knowledge, leading to deeper learning and engagement (Kolb cited in Ratz, 2016).

Glossaries have an optional 'auto-linking' feature, whereby anytime a word is written in your course that corresponds to a definition in your glossary, it will link to it. In this way a Glossary can function as both a dictionary, as we as providing sematic context to unfamiliar terms within activities and resources throughout your LEO unit.

If your course or unit makes use of a lot of discipline-specific terminology, you may like to consider using a Glossary activity.

The Glossary tool within LEO can be used for the purposes of both summative and formative assessment. The Glossary activity is integrated with the LEO Gradebook, meaning marks that you assign to Glossary entries can be made available to your students via the Gradebook.

Glossaries have a 'rating' capability, whereby staff and/or students are able to give a 'rating' to entries added to the Glossary. In this way the Glossary can provide a simple form of peer-assessment, giving the student an indication of their understanding of key terms and their definitions. The grade given to students can be an average of the ratings, count of ratings, maximum of ratings, minimum ratings, or the sum of all the ratings given.

The Glossary activity is also integrated with Mahara, meaning students are able to export their own entries into ACU's ePortfolio tool. An ePortfolio can be used for the purposes of assessment.

The Glossary is a flexible activity, which will allow you to create an interactive list of terms and their definitions. The Glossary can be contributed to by either teaching staff, or both staff and students, and may be graded or ungraded. The Glossary has an optional 'auto-linking' function, whereby terms that are entered into the Glossary will be linked to whenever they appear in other parts of your LEO unit.

While the most obvious use of the Glossary tool within LEO is as an ever-expanding dictionary of discipline-specific terminology, other uses include:

  • As a way of getting to know your students - you can ask each of your students to add an entry about themselves in the Glossary, which other students will then be able to access. It will give you an orientation to the skills and interests of your students. You can allow students the ability to comment on each others entries as a way of getting to know each other. This may be useful particularly in the case of blended and online learning, or large cohorts.
  • As a way of motivating your students - rather than vocabulary or terminology, you could use the Glossary activity to share interesting quotes, or a 'thought of the day'.
  • As a way of addressing 'Frequently Asked Questions' - You could use the Glossary to address questions from your students, such as when an assignment is due, or what your consultation hours are.

There are many benefits to using the Glossary activity within your LEO unit. These include:

  • Build community - You can use a Glossary activity to allow your students to write brief bio's, which can then be read and commented on by their peers. This can be a useful exercise for blended and fully online learning, and for large or multi-campus cohorts.
  • Increase engagement - By encouraging your students to contribute to and create the content which will populate the Glossary activity, you are engaging in a Constructivist educational philosphy.
  • Ongoing resource - You are able to export a Glossary from one LEO unit, and import it into another one. Your Glossary can function as an ongoing resource which can be expanded over time.

(adapted from: Moodlerooms. (2013). Best practices: Working with Glossary - Moodlerooms. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.moodlerooms.com/best-practices-working-glossary/ [Accessed 17 Jun. 2016].)

Not only are you and your students able to add Glossary entries which include text, but you can include multimedia elements as well including: embedded videos and social media posts; links to external websites and resources; and other types of embedded files, such as PDFs.

Vocabulary Learning with the Moodle Glossary Tool: A Case Study

In this case study, the author describes and evaluates a small pilot study in which the Glossary tool was used to reinforce vocabulary lessons in a first year German classroom. Students were required to submit thirty contributions every week to a collaborative Glossary activity; these contributions needed to be 'approved' by a memeber of teaching staff before they would 'go live'. A small part of the students' grade was based on this contribution.

While no quantitative data was collected, qualitative data based on students' perceptions suggest that contributing to the Glossary activity, and reading other student's contrbutions, helped to expand the students' vocabulary. A comparison of weekly activity reports and Quiz performance also suggested that engagement with the Glossary improved students' overall performance.

Ratz, S. (2016). Vocabulary Learning with the Moodle Glossary Tool: A Case Study. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 4(1), Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 02/16/2016, Vol.4(1).

Moodle Glossary Tasks for Teaching Legal English

This case study covers the design and implementation of two collaborative Glossaries, executed over two consecutive years, as part of an undergraduate legal English course. In the first cycle, students were required to contribute three entries to a collaborative Glossary, which the entire cohort used for study purposes. In the second cycle, the students were assigned a country with a common law or mixed legal system and required to write a more extensive encyclopeadia type entry for that country. As a part of this second cycle, students were required to complete worksheets which required them to have read the entries of their peers within the cohort.

Qualitiative data collected from students who participated in the second cycle found that many students felt that the exercise had "enabled them to put together knowledge that they had gained in different areas of their law degree" (2014, 121). Similarly, other students noted that the exercise "helped them to understand more about legal systems that were very different from their own" (2014, 121). The author notes that the exercise 'proved fruitful' in terms of "student motivation and satisafaction" and that overall it helped to raise the students' awareness of the world's diverse legal systems (2014, 123). The end of course evaluations supported this claim, with several students noting that the Glossary was useful as a way of "consolidating their knowledge of vocabulary and their understandings of key concepts in common law" (2014, 123).

The author notes that the feedback of teaching staff was critical in terms of quality control, considering that the broader cohort was going to be drawing from the work of their peers for both cycles of the Glossary implementation exercise. It is noted that their needs to be a balance between allowing the students' agency and control over the development of content; and ensuring that the activity was sufficently structured (2014, 126).

Breeze, R. (2014). Moodle Glossary Tasks for Teaching Legal English. In: E. Barcena, T. Read and J. Arus, ed., Languages for Specific Purposes in the Digital Era, 1st ed. [online] Springer International Publishing. Retrieved from: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-02222-2_6 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

Breeze, R. (2014). Moodle Glossary Tasks for Teaching Legal English. In: E. Barcena, T. Read and J. Arus, ed., Languages for Specific Purposes in the Digital Era, 1st ed. [online] Springer International Publishing. Retrieved from: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-02222-2_6 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

Ratz, S. (2016). Vocabulary Learning with the Moodle Glossary Tool: A Case Study. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 4(1), Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 02/16/2016, Vol.4(1).