Monday, February 23, 2009

Moodle-Not Just for the Online Course

Recently, I've had the opportunity to participate in a hybrid course titled Extended Learning Practices offered by our local B.O.C.E.S unit. Teachers from 2 local districts are participating in developing strategies to integrate technology as well as developing our own personal learning networks and finally, to commit to a technology integration project. We met face-to-face initially and now are using Moodle for online assignments and we will also be using Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro to hold a virtual meeting.

I decided to use Moodle for my technology integration project. I've set up my elective Psychology class using the free open-source software called Moodle. Moodle is essentially a course management software system. The company Blackboard once sued (unsuccessfully) Moodle because of their similarities.

So why would a teacher want to use course managment software? I once thought Moodle was used strictly for online coursework. In fact, my first 2 experiences with Moodle were of the online variety. However, once I began to take the Extended Learning Practices course, I came to the realization that Moodle could help me organize almost every aspect of my course.
Starting in January 2009, I set up my elective Psychology course in Moodle. I've only been using Moodle for a month but I wanted to share my initial thoughts. Student response has been positive. We've had a couple of issues with students losing work but realized that they were being timed out of their session before they saved/submitted their work. The interface has very intuitive for students thus far. What has been less intuitive have been all the settings and activities that I can set up as a teacher. Some are just downright frustrating. Although I've given a 5 question quiz, I still don't understand the logistics of developing and offering the quiz. I am not sure how all the assignments integrate with Moodle's gradebook either. Overtime, I am confident I will work these out.

Despite these periodic frustrations, I am ecstatic over the possibilities that Moodle offers. My first realization was that I can truly run a paperless course where students can submit all assignments on line and I can easily give feedback online as well. Students can even receive an email notification when their assignment is graded. Students found it very easy to submit their work online. I found it very easy to grade online as I was able to add comments in addition to giving a score or grade. Student work is then archived for the entire course and is accessible any time by the teacher or student.

If you use Moodle, I would love to hear from you. I'd like to know what features you find useful, which features are frustrating to use, and your overall impressions. If you are a student who has used Moodle, I would like to hear about your perspective as well.


Kathy said...

Hi Dave... glad to read this post. I am venturing into Moodle for an online course this summer, and I will be following your experiences in hopes it will help me!

Ells said...

Dave: I just e-mailed you a link about a Moodle sharing session that BOCES did. I think it has a lot of promise, and I love that you are trying it out!

Template by - Abdul Munir | Daya Earth Blogger Template