Moodle: An Online Teacher’s Dream
We have run into some challenges as more and more universities and high schools move to e-learning. First, cost. The traditional e-learning platforms are expensive. Secondly, usability. Other platforms I have used have been cumbersome, awkward, and quite frankly confusing for many of my students (and I teach graduate school). Additionally, many people who are currently teaching either are resistant to embracing online learning, or have used the other platforms and gotten frustrated. Moodle is a “What You See Is What You Get WYSIWYG) sort of program, It is intuitive, point and click.
Last year, I started developing an online master’s program for the University of Florida’s Department of Counselor Education. After wrangling with other popular online teaching programs, we came across Moodle. It was a dream come true (especially for my Department Chair because it was free). For those of you old enough to remember, going from WebCT/Blackboard to Moodle was like going from using DOS (remember the black screen where you had to type cd/ all the time) to Windows. I was thrilled!
Moodle is GPL (General Public License). That means you can download it for free forever. Within each lesson you can link to specific websites (like www.aolatschool.com), .pdfs or Word documents. This lets your students/children go exactly where you want them to go. You have a built-in grade-book and can add auto-scored quizzes (set them up by filling in a pre-designed form), writing assignments, forum posts, wikis (i.e. wikipedia.com) etc. I have yet to find something you cannot do with Moodle. There is even a plug-in so you can build virtual chemical elements and one that you can use to create podcasts, rss feeds and more! Get the feeling I am excited?
You can even have it customized for a reasonable price (including free if you do it yourself-it is not that hard) see www.themegurus.com. I liked Moodle so much I even had Theme Gurus design my business website-logo, paypal integration and all. Himmat Singh and his associates from ThemeGurus provided unparalleled customer service and personal attention (and a really reasonable price) while customizing my site see www.allceus.com .
If your school district is thinking about going to e-learning and you want to really make it easy for your faculty and students, Moodle is the way to go. It has the three things I look for in a program-free, easy and customizable, oh, and it really is stable.