Today I received some good news about presenting at the Moodle Moot in Brisbane. This is a conference for all things Moodle. Haven't heard of Moodle? Here's a little tour of the Moodle need to knows.....
Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS). To quote the Moodle website:
"Moodle is a course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities. You can download and use it on any computer you have handy (including webhosts), yet it can scale from a single-teacher site to a University with 200,000 students. This site itself is created using Moodle, so check out the Moodle Demonstration Courses or read the latest Moodle Buzz. "
I have been using Moodle for a couple of years now and the best thing about it as far as I'm concerned is its sheer usability. It is very easy to get a genuine class happening in a short space of time. Places like Tafe SA have seen the merits of Moodle and have moved to it from Janison (another LMS) in a migration similar to that of the great bison migration (i.e. a mass movement but with a few stragglers being left behind to be devoured by the predators).
We have been working on the BJ Network Consulting Australia Moodle site and are proud of the results so far. Richard Wallace from Wallace Web Design and Development has been generous with his time and support for the Moodle installation. Richard is one of the few truly Moodle literate educators/consultants around and has been a mentor for me in my short e-learning career. If you are in SA, you are a moodle user and you haven't heard of Richard you are really missing out.
So enough smoke blowing. Why is Moodle so user friendly? I believe it has a lot to do with flexibility. As a Trainer/Lecturer it doesn't take long to take digital resources and get them into an online environment using Moodle. Now I know the purists out there will say "But what about Instructional Design?" It's my belief that a good trainer knows instructional design instinctively. So use the same principles you use in your face to face classroom in your Moodle classroom, test it out and see how it runs. Get yourself a Moodle classroom and start playing.....there are so many freely available resources and hundreds of widgets, modules, blocks and cool web applications available to brighten up your classroom. I will run a future blog post about my favourite bits and bobs that I use in course development.
If you still can't figure it out then talk to someone who has played with it before. Like me, or Richard Wallace, or Michael Coghlan (who is the guy to talk to if you're at Tafe SA). Or better still join me at the Moodle Moot in Brisbane in October. Here is a link to my spot at the Moot "Breaking the Scene with Barely a Bean".
See you there?