What Is Moodle and What Do I Have to Do?
Moodle is the online part of our class where we will do many of our practice assignments, writing tips, test-taking strategies, and larger projects–basically, anything you want to learn in preparation for the May Exam and more. There will be chances to work together and on your own to improve your writing and thinking skills. The simulation is divided into chapters, each two weeks long (though there will be an “emergency week” built in to accommodate tight schedules). The “due dates” for most of the Moodle assignments are therefore flexible: you can complete them any time within the unit due date. You can expect that Moodle work will account for about 25% of your total class grade.
RO APLit: Welcome to The Academy
Current Chapter Time Remaining
What is The End of Theory?
The End of Theory is the online role-play game that leads you through the Moodle course. Each of you has been recruited by The Academy to learn from the great Masters, but there seems to be something else happening behind the scenes. As you study, there will be challenges based upon the Moodle assignments, connections to make to uncover the game’s secrets, and even some danger to your character as you work to advance in levels and skills. While the game is fun, its story line is also working to help teach you another dimension to our class curriculum. There will be some overlap between the game, chisnell.com, and our live classroom, so don’t think that The End of Theory only happens when you’re logged in! Doing well in the game can sometimes grant you additional opportunities to learn some fascinating things or to modify some of the assignments I offer. Finally, though, if you’re not into the gaming/story part of Moodle, know that only the Moodle assignments count towards your grade, not the game aspects of the course. If you decide to ignore the game events (or even if you are injured in the game!), your grade cannot be affected in any way.
What’s On Moodle?
- Practice exercises and projects of all kinds
- Summative standards to meet
- Content to learn
- Helpful strategies and tips
- Most of the simulation activities
Think of Moodle as you might daily homework in a math class or similar. It’s designed to give you the practice and materials you need to succeed on the May Exam and beyond. The practice you do there will help prepare you for the more formal projects. About 25% of your total class grade will be based on your Moodle work, your practice, either in Standards or points for productivity.
That said, there is far more to “do” on Moodle than you are required to do or–more accurately–there are more opportunities for practice and learning than are technically required to score 100%. This is because the learning and practice are more important than the “points” you receive.
Finally, by practicing well, you earn skills and experience in the End of Theory simulation. The more skills and experience you receive, the more likely you will succeed in the storyline (and the less likely you will die in it!). In addition, the more practice you do, the more likely you will “unlock” benefits that other players do not receive. Likewise, successful game play will likely teach you more than the mere activities will!
Note: At no point will your End of Theory successes and failures negatively impact your class grade. Successful quiz scores earn you game experience, but being trapped or losing a fight cannot prevent you from practicing the quiz for class credit.
Also, note that the key word for all of this is “successful” points. Game points which fall below a certain threshold of success do not count toward either score. This prevents “point scrounging,” moving brainlessly through the activities to pick up a few quick points here and there. The goal is to earn success by learning.
The threshold for success is set fairly low early in the game, but it increases as the year moves on. The success threshold will be posted with the activity, where applicable. Therefore, if a Vocabulary Quiz has a posted success threshold of 60% and you earn 40%, you know you have earned no points towards the denominator with that effort (but most times a new opportunity will arise).
In addition, each chapter is open one additional week–an “Emergency Week”–if you need more time. Be careful, though: a new chapter will open during that Emergency Week and you will find yourself doing twice as much work if you procrastinate.
Take this Advice to Heart: Work routinely, with others, and consistently, planning to meet the regular deadlines. Students who procrastinate to the Emergency Week always end up failing more assignments and feeling rushed, pressured, and even angry.
Finally, note that game activities and choices (challenges, builds, trades, questions, auctions, etc.) always and without exception work on regular deadlines; there is no Emergency Week for these.
- Log on frequently, if for no other reason than to double-check due dates. Missing a Workshop deadline, for instance, can be really damaging. The right sidebar of the Moodle page notes upcoming deadlines. You can also Export the calendar to your phone or subscribe to it.
- Review all of the new assignments when a chapter opens. Procrastinators have been surprised to find that the higher-point projects actually take a little planning to do well, sometimes with other students.
- Watch for new opportunities:
- Success on some assignments (or combinations of assignments) can open new opportunities, clues, side quests, and other resources.
- Additionally, even failures at some assignments can offer you additional opportunities to learn the material, second chances to pass a quiz, etc.
- Review the rubrics carefully when they are attached to assignments. If an assignment requires that you reference two readings and you only reference one . . .
- Print out poetry and other readings that you will be quizzed on. Annotate them in advance of the quiz, too. That way you will know the reading well and score higher, and it’s a lot easier to refer to the page than to switch back and forth between screens, especially on a timed quiz.
- Didn’t do well on something and want another opportunity? Ask! The assignments here exist largely because they were requested by students earlier!
Remember that the goal of the Moodle work is to practice and learn in order to prepare for the larger assessments for the course later. Cheating–whatever that means–seems like a self-defeating strategy designed to grub points, instead. Since there are so many points available each chapter, “gaming the system” doesn’t make a lot of sense. More, it’s an approach that has backfired on many.
But can you work together to help each other learn? I wish you would! That doesn’t mean offering quiz answers (see above, and this strategy is often impossible–you’ll see), but helping each other understand the ideas will always benefit all of us!
When you enter the Academy in the fall, you will be entirely safe from harm. “Safe as Hogwarts,” say its alumni. However, once you leave the Academy, any number of dangers await.
The World of End of Theory
As the world appears to be somewhat contemporary in technology, weapons and equipment employed are often more primitive in nature. Rather than puzzle over the logic of this, think of it this way: the items you see and use, the characters you meet, are not so much logically or rationally real, but more conceptual or even symbolic or mythological in nature. A sword does more damage than a dagger; whether it is an automatic weapon vs. a pistol or an ICBM vs. a grenade, it is the representation that matters here.
And, like all things literary, you may be better advised to think of the events in terms of their literary value than their physical ones.
Therefore, play it for fun. Or, if you are cautious and thoughtful, you might also make an entirely new set of connections between literature and our class concepts that the classroom experience alone will never approach. The characters are not speaking idly, and your choices in the game are not merely “game consequences.” The End of Theory is another curriculum sitting on top of (or beneath) AP Literature. Good luck.
What Can I Do?
Limited Actions are those offered by Choice Activities, Meetings, and other Activities on Moodle that offer you multiple choice options. These become clear to you when you open them intentionally (or unintentionally!) and are compelled to choose. These choices most often work to determine storylines, which vary year to year depending on how students choose. Think of it, perhaps, as a giant individual- or class-sized Choose Your Own Adventure progress chart.
Open Actions are from a wider array of choices you can make. These are in equipment purchases and use, attacks and defense against other characters (players or otherwise), and possibly a few surprises along the way.
Finally, communications to the other players and to the non-player characters (NPCs) offer a wide range of options and teaching. Often these NPCs are represented by real people that aren’t Mr. Chisnell, so think carefully about how you interact with them! (Yes, the game has “guest actors”!) Communications in the game are almost always done through Moodle Messenger.
Don’t worry too much about these actions for now–each area of action will be taught to you in the first few chapters of the game.
The Moodle App
Each version gets better, but timed activities, in particular, are problematic. I do not recommend using it for timed quizzes or any activity where you are required to write lengthier responses.
Instead, perhaps use it for reading and watching videos on your phone.
“The cave you fear to enter
holds the treasure you seek.”
“Every story you tell
is your own story.”
What is Karma?
Karma (K) is something you gather for your thoughtful, provocative, or spirited work on chisnell.com. It may be found through posting regularly to the forums, through class contributions, or perhaps some other ways. Karma is good energy, and your karma points on chisnell.com may be spent on equipment to assist you on your journey.
Equipment? Why do I need it?
- Offensive weapons (for use against game villains and even other players);
- Defensive gear (to defend against game villains and other players!);
- Surveillance Equipment (which offers you extra options for assignments); and
- Miscellaneous gear which has a a variety of functions.
What are Professions?
- Fights best with Stealth
- When attacking, cannot take damage.
- Score + 10 + (5 x LEVEL)
- Fights best with direct force
- In Attack and Defense: Score + (3 x LEVEL)
- Fights best with Verse
- In Attack or Defense: Score of Poetry or Author Studies or in Voice Lessons x 2) + LEV
- Fights best with Suasion
- Ability to shift the field/activity of attack or defense 1x / LEVEL to one of her choosing..
- Fights best with Technology
- Devices and Icons are used to 2x the regular effect
- Fights best with Philosophy and Reason
- In Attack and Defense, (Score x 2) + LEVEL for all Forum activities