Moodle Introduction and Resources

Moodle stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It is an open-source learning platform designed to help educators create and manage online courses. The platform is built and maintained by Moodle Project which is coordinated by an Australian company, Moodle HQ. Moodle is financially supported by a worldwide network of Moodle Partners which offer certified Moodle services all over the globe. The services include consulting, installation, support, theme design, training, courseware creation, and hosting.

Brief History

Moodle was developed by Martin Dougiamas who had personal background experience with distant learning while growing up. During his college years and after having used then standard WebCT, he started investigating alternative methods of online teaching.

His research led him to develop a new courseware platform, called Moodle which was a combination of an acronym, an actual word, and something that hadn't been used on the Internet before.

The first Moodle site was created in 2001, and by the end of the year, the software could be downloaded via CVS. After the initial public release of V1 in 2002, the project expanded quickly.

The turning point was the first MoodleMoot held in Oxford which led to Moodle getting needed attention, and companies applying to become Moodle Partners. Nowadays, the platform is used by more than a million users and backed by over 60 companies. Since 2015, educators can also sign up for MoodleCloud which is a free managed hosting service offered by MoodleHQ. The company is also heavily focused on the development of their mobile app which is available for both Android and iOS platforms.

Features

Moodle comes with plenty of features designed to help educators create an engaging learning environment:

  • Easy to use interface: the platform's interface has been designed with ease of use in mind, on both computers and mobile devices.
  • Collaborative tools and activities: educators can take advantage of forums, wikis, glossaries, databases, and even allow students to keep their journal as a way of tracking progress in a given course.
  • All-in-one calendar: allows users to keep track of their academic or company calendar, course deadlines, group meetings, and more.
  • File management: cloud storage services such as Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive can be used to upload any files related to the course.
  • Customizable and extendable: every Moodle site can be customized in terms of design and educators can develop their own themes and plugins to add even more functions to their classroom.
  • Bulk course creation and backup: courses can be created in bulk with the help of a CSV file.
  • Multilingual capabilities: users can view courses in multiple languages or they can set their own language in their student dashboard.
  • Multimedia integration: educators can embed external resources as well as audio and video files.
  • Peer and self-assessment: students can take advantage of built-in workshops and surveys to grade and assess their own and other course member's work as a group.

Resources

Given its popularity, there is no shortage of resources on Moodle. From official documentation to beginner and more advanced tutorials, here are the best resources to get you started on the platform.

  • Moodle Project: the official website for Moodle Project.
  • Moodle Community: the official community site for Moodle with links to download the software, community forums, and extensive documentation.
  • Moodle Courses and Content: this website contains free courses and content shared by Moodle users all over the world. Courses are free to download and use or you can enroll and participate in courses without downloading them.
  • Moodle 2 Activity Tool Guide for Instructors: written by Sue Harper, this guide compares the functionality and pedagogical advantages of Moodle 2 Activity tools.
  • Quick Online Tutorials for Moodle 2 Basics: a collection of short and to the point tutorials on adjusting Moodle general settings, working with different plugins and managing courses.
  • Moodle Tutorial — How to Install and Use Moodle: this tutorial will walk you through the steps of installing and setting up Moodle on a hosting server. It's suitable for beginners as it explains everything from what Moodle is to how to setup the plugins and work with the platform to manage and deliver your course.
  • Moodle Tutorials: Faculty: published by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this detailed guide covers everything you need to know about Moodle as an educator.
  • Student Moodle Orientation: a very detailed guide for students who want to familiarize themselves with Moodle before starting a course. This tutorial by Learning House covers everything from accessing courses to participating in discussion forums, submitting assignments, and more.

Videos and Presentations

If you prefer the visual approach, the videos below cover not only how to work with the platform but how to use it in teaching as well as general best practices when it comes to e-learning.

  • 5 Basic Steps of Using Moodle: this presentation by Tomas Lazic provides a very basic and quick overview of the Moodle platform.
  • 47 Interesting Ways to Use Moodle in Teaching: although written for Moodle 2.2 version, this presentation still has relevant information on how to encourage engagement from your students and ensure they complete the course successfully.
  • Moodle HQ YouTube channel: the official YouTube Channel of Moodle HQ which releases videos covering latest releases of the software and shows the basics of teaching with Moodle.
  • Nellie Deutsch: YouTube channel of a faculty member at Atlantic University who offers a variety of how-to videos and e-learning best practices, centered around Moodle.
  • Using Moodle 3: A Comprehensive Tutorial for Teachers: Sali Kaceli published a comprehensive tutorial on Moodle 3 that covers how to make the most out of the platform as an educator. The tutorial is three hours long and offers a wealth of tips, covering everything from beginner to advanced usage.

Books

A number of books have been written about the platform too, covering course management, using it in a business setting, and extending the platform with plugin and theme development.

  • Moodle 1.9 Extension Development (2010) by Moore Jonathan: this book is the perfect guide for any educator who wants to add their own extensions to the platform for more functionality. It covers everything from key Moodle libraries and best practices to practical examples and screenshots.
  • Moodle Theme Development (2016) by Hillar Silvina Paola: if you want to customize your course, developing your theme is a must and this book covers the entire process of developing Moodle themes that look good and that your students will enjoy.
  • Moodle 3 Administration — Third Edition (2016) by Büchner Alex: this book starts off with basic tasks such as setting up and configuring Moodle before moving on to more advanced topics, such as: customizing and extending Moodle; managing courses, cohorts, and users; and working with roles and capabilities.
  • Using Moodle in Organizations: Understanding and using Moodle effectively(2016) by Mealor Stewart: if you want to use Moodle in a business or organization setting, this book will teach you the most important concepts needed to use the platform effectively.

Create Your Course With Moodle

Online learning has been on the rise in the recent years. The resources above will help you come to grips with one of the most popular e-learning platforms and take your classroom to the next level.


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