Moodle is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, an open source Learning Management System (LMS). The brainchild of the pedagogically informed computer scientist Martin Dougiamas, Moodle was specifically developed with constructivist learning principles, social networking, and the needs of both learners and teachers in mind. As a result, Moodle is naturally positioned to interface with Web 2.0 offerings.
Unlike many other LMS (including WebCT Vista) for which the source code is proprietary and implementation expensive, with Moodle the source code is available and modifiable to any user with adminstrative privileges and is free of charge. This, however, requires such users to have a solid amount of technical proficiency (particularly with coding), as well as the ability to learn in a self-directed manner: for the most part Moodle course administrators reply on manuals and online user for a for technical support and troubleshooting.
If you are interested in garnering a better understanding of the ethos behind Moodle’s development, listen to this podcast interview with Martin Dougiamas.
As an open source LMS, Moodle gives the user/administrator a great deal of control of how a Moodle installation is configured. At the same time, managing a stand-alone installation of Moodle is, in effect, managing a server. So some important questions any potential Moodle user/administrator must ask themselves include:
- Do I have the skills required to set up, administer and troubleshoot this server?
- What sort of institutional support is available to me?
- To what extent do I have access to a community of practice that will provide support and share experience when required?
- Will the time required to effectively use Moodle be worthwhile?
Take a look around the official Moodle Demonstration Site. Be mindful of how you find navigating through each Moodle interface compares with your other LMS experiences.
During these activities you will design a mini-lesson in your MET Moodle course site. For ETEC565A students, Moodle access will be arranged beginning in week 4.
In preparation, familiarize yourself with (rather than read or study) the following resources:
Read the Moodle.org Getting started for teachers wiki page. This gives a good overview of how to get your basic course shell set up. University College London’s quick start guide for teachers is another great resource.
Please note: if you are enrolled in ETEC565A your course site has already been created for you. Scroll down to the "Welcome (web) page' activity
Create your basic Moodle site (For a screencast of this process click here.
- Log onto the MET Moodle server
- Sign in with the user name and password supplied by your instructor
- Click Courses under the Site Administration menu on the left side of your screen
- Click Add or Edit Courses (also in the Site Administration menu)
- Select your section of ETEC 565A (section 66A, 66B or 66C) from the Category pull-down menu
- Enter your name (last name or first and last name) as the Full Name. Please do not give your course a subject name: by using your name we (me and your colleagues) can find your site more easily)
- Enter the same information or something similar as the Short Name
- Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the Save Changes button
Let's start by adding a simple Welcome (web) page:
- Click on your Course Name, just to the left of MET on the left side of your screen
- Click the Turn on Editing button in the upper right hand side of the screen (or in the Course menu on the left hand side of your screen)
- On the top-most Adding a Resource pull-down menu select Page (which is a web page)
- Name your new page whatever the title of your course is (example: Canadian Literature in the 20th Century)!, but skip the Description text box
- In the Page Content box enter whatever text you would like to appear on the page
- Click Appearance settings and make sure Open is selected
- Click Common module settings pull-down menu, in the Visible pull down menu, make sure Show is selected. Leave the rest as is.
- Leave the Restrict Access and Activity completion settings for now
- Click the Save and Display button at the bottom of the screen
Adding a Discussion Forum
- Return to your splash page by clicking the Name of your course near the top left of your screen. Your course's name appears to the right of the word MET.
- On the Add an activity pull-down menu, select Forum.
- Name your forum Icebreaker.
- In the description field give some instructions that include a bulleted list.
- Under Forum type click the pull-down menu and select “A single simple discussion.”
- For now we'll use the default values for the Attachments and Word count, and subscription and tracking sections
- Let's make this a graded discussion. Click Ratings, then click Aggregrate type and select Average of ratings , then select Scale: Excellent/Very Poor 7
- Skip the other settings
- Scroll down and click the Save and Display button at the bottom of the screen
- Click the reply button under your new discussion topic and reply yourself! Click the Post to forum button at the bottom of the screen.
Write an entry for your course weblog about your experience here (on your "Home" page and posting a new entry). How labour intensive was the process? What worked well? What was challenging? What surprised you?
A number of video tutorials are available on sites such as YouTube; these are just a sample:
- Moodle beginnings
- how to create Moodle lessons (note the audio starts approximately 45 seconds into the video)
- How to use the Gradebook
- How to edit a lesson
- How to create a quiz
See if you can find video tutorials on how to add images, PowerPoint, and other files (including .doc, .pdf, .html) to your Moodle site. If you are interested in features such as chat, there are also video tutorials for most Moodle core features.