Course management systems are on-line platforms that assist teachers with managing a variety of teaching tasks via the web. Moodle, an OpenSource software module that is freely distributed by its creator for educators, is a dynamic course management system that follows an intense rapid prototyping process. Because I have been using Moodle for several years, am currently training others how to use it, develop code for it, create designs for it, and support technical questions surrounding it, I wanted to share with you some thoughts about it. The following list is simply a top ten list of why I think you should use Moodle for your students.
1. Moodle provides a very organized web-based interface so that you can provide students with content that comes in the form of links, uploaded files, easily created web pages, and content organizers. You can upload most types of files such as graphics, documents, PowerPoints, animations, or you can create links to valuable resources on the web. This common web-based delivery method allows students to access course materials anytime and anywhere.
2. Moodle automatically creates an account for each student. Within this student account, a student can manage their profile, view their own activity reports, and see graded feedback from their teachers. Teachers can view all the accounts in their gradebook and view activity reports from each student or by completed activity.
3. Moodle provides an on-line assessment tool that allows you to post grades in numerical, commented, and rubric format so that each student can see his or her individual assessments.
4. Moodle allows more than one teacher to manage a course, and it allows teachers to share course content between courses. Those courses can even be saved and exported at the end of the term for use the following term.
5. Communication in Moodle is awesome. Students can send messages via the message system, add to forums via the bulletin board system, and they can chat in safe teacher monitored and script reviewed chat rooms. Students can even have Moodle email them on individual updates to an external email account.
6. Glossaries can be created for complex course vocabularies. Students submit terms with definitions and sample contextual sentences that can be searched by everyone after the teacher reviews them for accuracy.
7. Branching stories and lessons can be created that have links to pages for review or advancement.
8. Moodle provides a quiz format that is automatically graded and automatically inserted into the course grade book. These quizzes can be declared as practice quizzes or real quizzes and have a variety of characteristics. Students can also take surveys and give feedback to the course via the feedback forms. The data features in Moodle are highly advanced and will continue to grow.
9. Teachers can comment verbally upon a student’s comments so that writing, editing remarks, and other verbal assessments can be placed upon the student’s work and saved for future reference when writing yearly reports.
10. A group of highly adept programmers are working to make Moodle better for you everyday. Teacher requests and designs are incorporated everyday into the next design which is published almost daily.
Moodle provides a whole host of other activities, resources, organizational possibilities, and communication methods for you and your students, and it is easy to tailor these modules in the user friendly web based authoring environment. If you would like to learn more about Moodle, I have a course at my web site that I would be more than happy to let you see. Just send me an email for the enrollment key or any other questions that you may have about Moodle