My Review of Moodle Course Design Best Practices

moodle course design coverLike any powerful system, Moodle offers a daunting array of possibilities to a new course designer and knowing where and how to begin can be a challenging – if not paralyzing – proposition. Moodle Course Design Best Practices offers a cure for that paralysis, providing clear pathways through activities and resources that will enable you to reach your educational goals. It is a book that I wish I had years ago, and one I will recommend to colleagues who are developing new courses.

I mentioned new course designers, but this book has just as much utility to a seasoned veteran of Moodle course development. We all develop habits and shortcuts that get the job done. But in the rush to get things done our habits and shortcuts can do a disservice to our primary educational goals. Moodle Course Design Best Practices can serve as a touchstone for those of us who work with Moodle on a daily basis, helping insure that our learners are navigating through clearly designed and thought out courses in order to reach clearly established goals.

Ideally, I would introduce this book to new course developers along with a volume that digs deeper into the how-to of using Moodle activities and resources. Moodle Course Design Best Practices provides a higher level view of Moodle while supporting a structured and pedagogically sound guide to developing a course. But to be employed effectively these course design strategies have to be matched by an understanding of the technical “how-to” of creating quizzes, workshops and so on. (Packt Publishing offers a companion volume in Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course Development)

Mobilizing Moodle – a review of “Moodle for Mobile Learning” video course

Being forward thinking I installed a responsive theme for Moodle when we upgraded to 2.0. I tested the site on an iPad and my phone and the page displayed, I could login and access course content. We were all set for the mobile age. I hadn’t spent much more time thinking about mobilizing Moodle until I had the opportunity to view the video course “Moodle for Mobile Learning” from Packt Publishing.

9123_Video (1)This video course, authored by Graeme Boxwell, revealed a whole world of customization that needs to happen to truly make Moodle mobile friendly for learners. “Moodle for Mobile Learning” covers issues such as reshaping content forĀ  effective delivery on mobile devices, using the audio and video capabilities of mobiles for education and integrating social media in your course. Graeme clearly explains, and illustrates, methods and pathways through Moodle that will insure that your well crafted course becomes an engaging and well crafted mobile learning opportunity.

The video modules of this course are short (generally 3 to 5 minutes), focused and well scripted. Graeme has a deep knowledge of Moodle and uses it well, filtering out the extraneous and stepping the viewer through each process patiently and efficiently. Packt has developed a reputation as a reliable source of learning and this addition to their offerings reinforces that reputation.

Section 6 alone, which addresses Mobile Assessment, is worth the cost of this course. Some points raised in this section are seemingly self evident but (speaking from experience here) easily overlooked. This section also reinforces the point that there is some actual work that has to happen to make a course engaging for mobile learners. It (and the whole course) also points towards a deeper understanding of the potential of mobiles to enliven education, if a course is approached with intent and understanding by the course creator.

I was surprised that the module on “Fostering Reflective Learners through Mobile Blogs” (8.3) made no mention of Mahara. The integration of Mahara with Moodle would seem to naturally recommend this combination as appropriate for reflective engagement. And while Mahara may not yet have the range of mobile flexibility that Moodle has, I find it hard to imagine that it will not catch up soon.

Having worked with Moodle for a almost a decade now, I look for new learning resources that can deepen my knowledge in a usable way. “Moodle for Mobile Learning” is a treasure chest of new learning that will help me as I work with instructors and course creators to reshape their courses for a mobile world. If I had any kind of consistent rating system I would give this video course five stars (out of five).

More information, including a complete listing of course content by section, is available online at http://bit.ly/1b5Mhvi