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!

More higher-ed institutions are delving into the world of Moodle because of the cost factor. So, chances are if you’re interested in e-Learning or DOING e-Learning, you’ve heard the word “Moodle” – and if not, you are now.

If you’re an instructional designer – welcome to the fold! This has to be exciting for you. ALL of this information is relevant. Check out the different tags as needed. Occasionally there will be one singled out just for you: “ID”.

If you’re a “trainer” (and don’t design your own courses) – well it sure helps to understand the bigger picture too. Check out the different tags as needed. Occasionally there will be one singled out just for you: “trainers”. Most information pertaining to the tag “instructors” will also serve you well.

If you’re an instructor – check out the other posts on how to actually build your courses in Moodle. They’re tagged “instructors, Moodle”.

If you’re a systems administrator – check out the posts on building and maintaining a Moodle system. They’re tagged “sysadmins, Moodle”.

And, if you’re an enlightened “administrator” type (one of those that actually selects an LMS system and supports the instructors using it) – then check out the posts on selecting, implementing, and deploying a Moodle or other LMS system. They’re tagged “admins, policy, moodle, lms”.

This is ground zero for your adventure…welcome to the pool!

- Mary