A Moodle Makeover
After DECclic announced its shift to Moodle last May, IT Representatives in DECclic subscriber colleges insisted on the rapid creation of an experimental site. We have delivered the goods on time. Although still far from the expected platform in view for the start of the Fall 2011 semester, the DECclic Corporation has offered a stable and efficient experimental Moodle environment since last summer.
The first explorers have set off into the unknown and are having a field day with their student groups. Others, more cautious, have made a few tests, feeling out their environment at their own pace and adjusting as the situation requires. Furthermore, we see that Moodle is not an unknown quantity for a number of our users who appreciate its friendliness and flexibility. And we, the DECclic administration, have discovered a lot and especially appreciate Moodle's robust stability.
Of course, because our environment is experimental, some imperfections come with the territory! Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I miss my sessions at the help desk, and I watch, just on the surface, to see how Moodle is being used. Results definitely vary!
In English, Profweb's readers are already aware that my colleague Jamie Bridge, a professor at Bois de Boulogne, is now on the DECclic team and has quickly become a fan of Moodle. In the French sector, in a biochemistry training course in Rosemont, students have to hand over all documents and many formative assessments online. In Social Work Technology in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, forums serve to guide the work teams in a heavily loaded course schedule. At Terrebonne, there is a virtual component in a literature course where students share their impressions in a forum. In Valleyfield, students engage in a weekly metacognition exercise as part of a student newspaper for a very efficiently structured course. In Nursing at Jonquière, we created a programming space for an entire group.
My favorite anecdote is about a simple activity: organizing a career day at Lévis-Lauzon with a few pages of instructions and open collaboration on a wiki, functioning as a digital learning environment. Moodle can be used for an amazing number of educational projects. Noteworthy, as it is an initiative of Lévis-Lauzon, are the ten teachers who attended a course on PERFORMA on InukTIC with Claude Séguin over the last few weeks.
As the potential of Moodle and its modules is vast, this wide range of innovative activities represents just a beginning. One shouldn't let oneself be intimidated by this tool whose function is actually quite simple: a central area divided into sections in which the teacher structures his courses and provides resources and activities, all surrounded by optional features like news, RSS feeds, a calendar, a glossary and others which can be selected as required.
Matthew B. Lanouette on the Notre-Dame-de-Foy Campus used Moodle for the first time this session and opted for a sensible start clearly structuring the introductory course in the history of Western civilization. Each section of the course is a theme for which there are documents grouped into folders, a chat session scheduled for end of session, as well as links to external resources such as one created in Netquiz Pro and a crossword using Crisscross Words.
This course reflects the philosophy of Moodle development, that is to say an assembly of various tools within a single environment, but also a gateway to a multitude of applications, such as those of the CCDMD used here.
The next version of Moodle, available soon, will go one step further by providing gateways to the most popular Web 2.0 tools like Google Docs, YouTube, Flickr or Picasa for pictures, Dropbox for files, etc. without counting the many plugins that already exist and integrating tools like Mahara Portfolio (and soon the project PROFOR), an educational social network such as ELGG (which is used by the Osmose project at Cégep @ distance) or videoconferencing applications.
Matthew B. Lanouette's homepage on Moodle clearly structures his introductory course in the history of Western civilization.
If the possibilities of Moodle seem unlimited today, it is because of the large international community of developers and users behind it, and a new Moodle community is emerging in Quebec's college environment. Judging from our feedback forum since last August, this community will be highly dynamic, and the DECclic team is working to nourish a spirit of openness that characterizes the sharetware community. Finally, I wish to thank those who have chosen to embark on this adventure with us and to acknowledge the valuable collaboration of Rafael Scapin and Anne-Gaëlle Habib, respectively the IT Representatives at Dawson and Ahuntsic. Thanks are due as well to CCDMD, and Profweb and for their technical help as well as to all the IT partners at this very important turn of events for the DECclic Corporation.
Do you want to test Moodle? Create an account in our space and explore our visitors' section.