There are three things that I ask students to do when they first log onto our VLE at Rickypedia.
1. Change their password
2. Fill in the profile information (see previous post on customising profile feeds)
3. Create an avatar (an online picture representing them)
The instructions I use for students are publicly available here. Feel free to borrow them and if you improve on them (not hard to do) then let me know so I can borrow yours!
I got some of the ideas for creating avatars from Ian Usher’s blog post on the same subject – it’s well worth reading and discusses online identity forming and whether to allow students to post their pictures as avatars. I told students not to use pictures but a few didn’t follow instructions and I’m still undecided what to do about it!
There are hundreds of websites available for creating avatars, just search and you’ll find plenty on the web. You’ll also find that your students know plenty of places already that they have already used for their Myspace and Bebo profiles.
If you’re a moodle user and an admin on your site you can see a great display of user profile pictures by visiting http://www.yourmoodlesite.org/userpix/ Click the picture below to see what my students look like.