A fellow Moodler (someone who uses Moodle.org’s LMS software) asked where to learn some basic principles about e-Learning and how to get a “demo” course up quickly. It was posted in Moodle.org’s forums. I am reposting what I suggested here, as many have found it quite useful so far:

“Re: E-Learning Training – by Mary Parke – Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 09:03 AM

I’m copying below the resources I point my beginning instructors to. Also, you may just want to try out the demo.moodle.org courses, as well – they have full functionality for testing out the features. The below resources are more on the pedagogy of teaching “online”. However, I’d go to the Michigan State Virtual University website and check it out – they have a great “mental map” of the whole process that is clickable.

What you will want to focus on, is the layout/structure of your demo course, and adding a few tools for your demo instructors to test out. Choose topics or weeks, and know that the top block of your course is where you’d put things like the name of the course, the instructor, contact info for the instructor, a link to the syllabus, and possibly an “iCafe” discussion forum for your students or a “Q/A” forum for your students to ask questions about the course/course materials. Then plan out your weeks. Put a header on the first line (week 1 or the name of the topic) and then add content and resources using “add a resource – choose create a webpage, or link to a directory or file” or if you’ve the book module installed, create a book of the content for the week/topic. Then add a discussion forum, an assignment (online is easiest), or a quiz. This is just the basics…

If you need a template, let me know.

Good luck!

- Mary

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So, where are you? What IS your motivation?

You could be a designer charged with learning the new LMS system and creating “trainings” and helping instructors create courses – and designing templates, too…

You could be an interested instructor – seeking to get ahead of the game and hone your e-Learning or online teaching skills…

You could be an instructor faced with changing LMSs – perhaps your institution ditched WebCT or Blackboard for the lower cost Moodle alternative? You’re faced with learning a new system and hoping that your course migrates to the new one and that you can get it up and running with minimal expenditure of your already sparse time and effort…

You could be faced with the decision to choose an LMS system: you’re an administrator, a faculty member, an IT person, a designer. You’re a chosen one, checking things out and evaluating what’s available and how it will “fit” with your institution…

You may have stumbled upon eLearning and discovered LMSs with the goal of “saving time”, “reducing on-campus time”, “teaching remotely”, and “ditching the physical classroom”- if for no reason other than convenience and reducing or avoiding a commute…

Whomever you are, whatever description, whether it’s one of these or any number of others, fit you…you’ve come to the right place.


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Moodle – What is it?

On September 12, 2007, in admins, ID, instructors, LMS, Moodle, policy, sysadmins, trainers, by admin

Moodle is an open-source learning management system (LMS). It has been around for awhile. Currently, it’s the hot “new” system in competition with other LMS courseware systems – both public and private – such as WebCT/Blackboard, Angel Learning, Desire2Learn, Sakai, ETUDES NG, and various textbook publisher versions of LMS systems.

The draw of Moodle is that it’s low-cost in comparison to the other LMS systems out there – both private and open-source. Moodle is freely distributed to anyone who downloads it with a GPL license. It is relatively easy to set up and start building courses on. “Out-of-the-box” it is meant for non-enterprise deployment. Anyone hosting with a provider who has Apache, PHP, MySQL installed can pretty much get this system up and running. That’s the backend – and indeed, if you’re a geek you can do this yourself at home [but research security first - especially with student data and FERPA or PPRA]. From the instructor perspective, creating courses is relatively simple. The complexity varies depending upon the customization of the system (what bells and whistles have been “added on”) and if your Moodle installation is affiliated with an institution rather than your own “private” hosting. Meaning, if it’s hosted at a school, you’ve got to abide by their systems and processes, whereas if you’re hosting it yourself – well, get in there and just start building!


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Moodle – a flavor for all instructors

On September 11, 2007, in ID, instructors, LMS, Moodle, trainers, by admin

What the heck is she talking about? Flavors?

Well, my experience is the world of the California Higher Ed system – community colleges, the state universities (CSU), and the “university of” (UC) systems. In this world, online instruction has been “compartmentalized” into “delivery methods” for instruction using technology.

Decipher this as: “reduced seat time”. Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. The $.

This concept is neither new, nor original. It’s just antiquated. But that’s another story…[check back later!]

So, using this paradigm, let’s talk “flavors”.

Currently I know of 4 distinct flavors:

  1. web-enhanced, otherwise known as tech-enhanced
  2. hybrid/blended but not distance
  3. distance learning
  4. fully online distance learning (aka – online)

What a mouthful. But really – all of these labels apply to “reduced seat-time” on a campus, which translates into operating expenses, allocation of resources (physical space for rooms, utilities, support staff such as tech and janitorial, etc.), and dollars shelled out for students attending “on-campus” versus virtually – and sometimes, increases in fees when courses go virtual. Yep – it affects everyone.


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