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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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On August 8, 2007, in ID, LMS, Moodle, by admin

Hey there. My experience is in the field of education – K thru higher ed. Right now, my world is the world of learning management systems (LMS): adaptation, implementation, growth, and sustainability. This blog is about what I’ve discovered through this process – the universals that I believe to be inherent in any adaptation and implementation of an “LMS” system – regardless of the audience (public vs. private; corporate vs. non-profit; no matter what size…).

My experience has been with Moodle, WebCT 4.o, Blackboard, ETUDES, ETUDES NG, and various publisher LMS sites – not to mention being on the peripheral of Sakai, Angel Learning, and Desire2Learn.

My vision, however, transcends what currently exists in terms of LMS systems and is looking towards the future of this movement.

Covered in this blog: systems, processes, policies, procedures, and the nitty gritty of how-to design the system down to the individual courses residing on the system. New technologies, open-source software, open-education resources, reusable content objects, and much more will also be discussed. Additionally, I’ll talk about the law: FERPA, Section 508 (Accessibility – also Section 504 and the ADA), Intellectual Property, Copyright, GPL and Creative Commons, etc.

All of these topics are within the realm of the instructional designer. No one really understands just what we do, or who we are, or what our expertise is – but they sure appreciate the end results.

So, this blog is written for the designer – but also has a larger audience in mind. I aim to reach the instructional designers, IT support folks, the administrators, policy makers, individual instructors, support personal, and techies and non-techies alike. However, those with techie exposure and experience will likely get the most out of my blogs.

All right – let’s blog.

- Mare