I think it's time IÂ became more informed about this increasingly popular Learning Management System.
I've been hearing a lot of buzz aboutÂ Moodle, a widely usedÂ free, openÂ source, public domainÂ courseware application, for the last year or two, butÂ my interest in it has been limitedÂ becauseÂ I am more experienced and comfortable withÂ the traditional paid application model. My main concern is that Moodle is open source software.
Concerns aboutÂ not having a traditional vendor relationship andÂ support arrangements to rely on make meÂ reluctant toÂ seriously considerÂ open source software, particularly in a smaller institution such as mine. For example, I assume we would need to dedicateÂ a couple support specialists to develop the expertiseÂ toÂ act asÂ sole support for the app, and this could be a real resource stretch.Â But this is an uninformed assumption. I imagine I may like some of what I learnÂ if get a better understanding ofÂ how these solutions really work.Â
I'll start my self education on this topic by looking aroundÂ Moodle's main home on the web – Moodle.org.Â This site is simple and well organized, and it is built using theÂ Moodle application. It is organized into 6 main sections: About, News, Support, Community, Development, and Downloads. Here's a fewÂ brief points about some of theseÂ site sections:Â
- About: The About Page givesÂ a quick overview of the application and it's history.Â Here I learned that “Moodle can be installed on any computer that can run PHP, and can support an SQL type database”, and that “the word Moodle was originally an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment”.Â
- Community:Â The Community pageÂ provides access to a wide variety of resources, including Forums, Events, lists of Registered Sites (institutions who have chosen to share the fact that they are Moodle users), and a Moodle JobsÂ databaseÂ (“Moodle-related positions world-wide”).
- Development:Â â€œThe main development of Moodle is led by the core team at Moodle.com, helped by hundreds of other developers around the world” (more on Moodle.com below). The Development Page includes access to the development forum, Developer documentation, a Moodle Roadmap, a Tracker app where you can “see who is working on what, and contribute to any conversation”. This page also provides access to the full source code, and links to modules and plug ins.
- Downloads: This page is where you'll go to pull downÂ Moodle softwareÂ packages and plug-ins (available for Windows Server or Desktop and Mac OS X).
- Forums: I think it's pretty interesting that Moodle.org's forums are delivered in the form ofÂ â€œcourses” right on the site (note that you have to register in each forum ‘course' to use it). The forums are grouped on this page into three areas: a support and development forum for discussionÂ between between users and developers, the primary forum for Moodle users to communicate with each other, and then all other forums (there are a lot,Â some in English andÂ many in other languages).Â
- Support: The Support Page has links to Documentation, Forums, Books & Manuals, and Commercial Services. I've heard good things about how effective the support community is at helping to support the application.
Moodle.com is an official partner site to Moodle.org, and provides aÂ range of additional information and resources, such as:
- Consulting: This page provides links to dozens of qualified Moodle consulting specialists across the world,Â by country.
- Themes: Professionally designed Moodle themes, to give your Moodle installation your own look and feel.
- Training: Lists of Partners who provide training.
- Certification: Lists of Partners who can provide certification, based on a rigorous and highly-regarded assessment program.
This is a good start, but I've only scratched the surface. We'll continue this learning journey next week, as I doÂ more research, and share knowledge IÂ gain through continued browsing, dialogue with collegues,Â reader responses, and more.Â Please come back and join us.Â
If you are an experiencedÂ Moodle user or administrator, or just someone with informed observations to make about the application orÂ about open source software, please comment and share your insights and experiences.Â Thanks!Â Â
A special welcome to readers of Microsoftâ€™s Teacher Tech Blog!
Iâ€™ve been selected asÂ one of 5 education technology bloggers to guest post this weekÂ onÂ Microsoftâ€™s Teacher Tech blog. They published this post on Friday announcing the 5 chosen bloggers and the series of posts we'll be doing. My post,Â â€œ5 MoreÂ Internet TechnologiesÂ Educators Should Be Aware Ofâ€,Â was publishedÂ on the site on Tuesday, MayÂ 4.Â Please stop by and take a look around this fun andÂ informative blog site.
Etudes.org â€“ a free, hosted Course Management System
Learning about Lecture Capture Technology