By Lillian Williams
Columbia College Chicago offered an excellent online course, Build Your Course in Moodle, during the summer of 2011. The course was offered through the college’s Center for Instructional Technology. As a faculty member, I participated in this six-week class which introduced me to an array of Moodle-based, teaching/learning resources.
Moodle is an open source learning management system designed to assist teachers in developing stand-alone online courses, and, alternatively, hybrid courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with virtual teaching techniques. Through the free Moodle platform, a teacher can set up discussion forums, quizzes, questionnaires, glossaries, wikis, assignments and endless other teaching/learning activities. Moodle also keeps track of grades!
In effect, this summer I was both a student and an online (or blended learning/hybrid) course developer. I worked to develop a prototype for an introductory-level journalism class that I will teach in the Fall. As a student in the Moodle course, I received assignments to build certain portions of the course by appointed deadlines. The course facilitators and students communicated via forums and the Moodle messaging system. The object, of course, was to update teaching/learning skills. Bottomline? This learning management system has expanded the ways in which I teach and assess course outcomes.
As costs for commercial learning systems grow, more and more institutions are turning to free, open source systems like Moodle. Also, adult education and training organizations are utilizing these learning systems.
In upcoming posts, more about how my Moodle-based course is working out this year.