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October 22, 2007 / Ben Chun

Moodle

I had my first experience using Moodle today. For anyone not inside the “educational technology” echo chamber, Moodle is a thing that calls itself a “Course Management System”. In essence, it lets you create a members-only web site with discussion boards, live chats, surveys, quizzes, and then makes it easy (supposedly) to grade the participants on these things. It has a million options and settings and seems like it can be cajoled into doing just about anything. It’s open source. I loaded up my kids last night from an Excel file. Pretty easy.

But since I just started using it, all I’ve really got installed is a discussion about an article I had students read today. My goal in using it is to create an “online community” — whatever that exactly means — for the class, and to then use that to teach explicitly about good etiquette, how to write well online, how to get stuff done efficiently / effectively, and basically how to be a positive, productive member of an online group. Wish me luck and send me resources and ideas if you have them. I’m thinking we’ll need to have some discussions in “real life” to help with this.

Anyway, as I was clicking away last night, I came back to one of the themes that’s been a constant interest throughout my teaching career: Open Content. Sometimes that stuff goes by the name Open Educational Resources when we’re talk about curriculum. Whatever. I was thinking: If it’s so easy for me to just load up a quiz module or a discussion board module, how hard would it be for those modules to be pre-populated with questions or readings or activities or whatever else? So, teacher nerds and/or lazyweb, does anyone know anything about this?

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