Moodle

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What
Moodle is the e-learning platform that has been officially adopted by the University of Minnesota. It is open-source, meaning we get it fo' free. But the University has recently realized that free doesn't really mean FREE. You still need to invest in it to keep it updated and tailored to our environment. In the last year, the U has made an effort and a plan to keep Moodle updated to more modern versions. And this is great news for us, the course creators. Because we love us some features!!

Why

Moodle is one piece in the e-learning tool box. If you are thinking of an online learning environment where you are actively instructing a group of learners, releasing modules and resources on a schedule, tracking progress, communicating en mass, and wanting student interaction, Moodle does exactly that. It is flexible, so you can do some of those things and not do some of them. And by you, I mean you. Yes, I'm talking to you! This is not a tool that you need a professional to set up for you.

As well as being quite functional, Moodle is fully supported by OIT, meaning there is training available for you, your students can direct technical questions to 1-HELP, and enrollment/payment can be done through automated processes. 

Trust me these are all outrageously GREAT reasons to give Moodle a try!

How

Getting started with Moodle is a piece of cake. 
First, request a course to play around with. (specify "Development or non-academic course" on the request form). This is a manual request, you'll get an email when it is set up. Then, dive in! Don't think too hard about it--just play!

Resources:
  • Check out this very cool Moodle "Learning Map" from OIT, a step-by-step resource guide to creating and teaching in Moodle
  • This 4-week Moodle MOOC is inspiring and lucky for you, it just started September 1st!
  • I interviewed Alison Link, Extension's new academic technologist, on the topic of Moodle 2.4 in our latest Quick Bytes Podcast
  • Alison has created on a growing series of Moodle tip videos. Here's just one for an example:


Assignment

  1. Go watch some of the videos Alison Link has created on our new YouTube channel. There are many Moodle tip videos to chose from! Even if the exact tutorial isn't of use, watch anyway to get exposure to an expert navigating Moodle.
  2. Leave a comment here about how you have used Moodle and found it useful... or lacking!



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