Friday, November 10, 2006

Is MOODLE a Useful Tool for Teachers?

MOODLE software has been available for some time. I decided I'd like to know more about what we can do with MOODLE and how others are using the software. So, I decided to do some research on the web…

Martin Dougiasmas originally developed MOODLE--Multi (or Modular) Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environments--in 1999. It is currently used in more than 160 countries in over 75 languages.

MOODLE is a type of software called course management system. Teachers can use this software to create online courses or to supplement traditional classroom activities and provide opportunities for student interaction. (Blackboard, WebCT, and Learnwise are some of the commercial products that are considered to be course management system software.)

A MOODLE web site can facilitate
ο the posting of materials and instructions by teachers and
ο the accessing of teachers' postings and the uploading of completed assignments by students.

It is not difficult to find MOODLE web sites designed and used by teachers and their students. What is challenging is finding ones where we can see the contents. Teachers are using MOODLE software for their classes. However, their sites are most often gated communities for their students only.

As I've been researching on the web, I read about one teacher who decided to try vocabulary quizzes using MOODLE and about another who set up a forum discussion for his students and a guest lecturer who would soon visit the school. And I did find a site where you can view some content:

MOODLE has many capabilities. Go to to see examples of the many features and content types available with MOODLE…
ο assignments… grade homework which has been submitted electronically,
ο chat… discuss (real-time) topics with participants,
ο choices… take a poll,
ο forums… discuss (asynchronous) topics,
ο glossaries… maintain a list of definitions,
ο lessons… share information on “pages,”
ο resources… upload files to share (e.g., images, mp3 files, Office files, PDFs, web pages, web links),
ο quizzes… create quizzes which are automatically graded,
ο survey… gather data about the students, and
ο wiki… create a wiki web page.

I use course management system software for the classes I teach. I am able to provide lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, Word or Excel documents, links to web sites, and graphics images to supplement classroom activities. My students and I can email, journal, and chat with each other. Both synchronous and asynchronous discussions are possible. If I provide an online quiz or test, the software will grade the objective answers. And, if the quiz or test consists only of objective questions, the software will mark incorrect answers and record the score in the gradebook. After my students post an assignment in an electronic dropbox, I grade the assignment, write any comments I want to share with the student, mark the grade, and then electronically return all that to the student. When the student receives his assignment back, he can view his portion of the gradebook and see his grade which was electronically recorded by the software.

Using the course management system software speeds up some procedures. It facilitates interactive communication between the instructor and the students and even amongst the students! The students are very comfortable with the process. You can use some of the capabilities of the course management system software the first year you use it… and then add other features in subsequent years. I have found the use of course management system software to be very helpful... and I'm looking forward to using additional features.

Atomic Learning ( has introductory and intermediate tutorials that you can use to learn how to use MOODLE. The tutorials are available for both Macs and Windows-based computers and you can view the Mac tutorials close-captioned, if you wish.

I'm convinced that using MOODLE can definitely enhance what we're already doing in our classrooms!

No comments: