Sunday, June 12, 2011

How should I get started with Moodle

     Recently received an email asking for advice, so I’m repeating - and adding to - my advice here.

     I'd suggest you get a couple of books (Moodle docs are great, but don't make sense to a lot of people until you've been working with Moodle awhile).  I haven't read Moodle for Dummies but it was well reviewed by somebody I respect.  I also read Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 year olds - the age group may be wrong for you, but it goes step by step, which is very helpful when you're first starting out. William Rice has several books - he talks more about pedagogy, less about "how to" but his ideas are very helpful. 

     Some other resources are listed here:  Check into sample courses - they really help give you ideas.

     Consider: are you hosting the course on your school servers (you really need somebody who knows hard-core tech for that, also sufficient network resources to handle the load), or are you having it hosted somewhere (what I do).  If you are hosting the Moodle yourself, you'll need some Moodle administration books, too.  I've found Using Moodle by Cole and Foster, and Moodle Administration by Alex Buchner to be helpful.  There are others – I just haven’t used them yet.

     One way to start designing a course that I have always found helpful is to look at my learning objectives - what do I want my students to be able to do/know How will I know (assessment)?  Then how can I get them there? That leads me to my next point.

     If you get a chance, do some reading about instructional design - there are amazing resources and ideas out there, most of them free.  Here are links (many from an instructional design course I took): go to   All the courses I've taken about teaching online/blended were helpful, but by far instructional design was the most useful for figuring out how to design/lay out the course. I highly recommend Susan Manning’s Instructional Design for Elearning at

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