I just finished a week training teachers to build course web pages. For the first time, I introduced other options than Dreamweaver: Moodle, Plone, and Nucleus blogs. Moodle was the runaway favorite, winning over five of the eight teachers there, most of whom had never seen it before.
Dreamweaver provides much tighter control over page layout and presentation of information, but teachers were excited by the potential to quickly update a site and provide students with places to produce work in their Moodle courses. Much of Moodle’s appeal is grounded in its pedagogically sound roots. Moodle was invented by Martin Dougiamas, a Ph.D. student in Australia who wanted to design a better e-learning platform. Many of Moodle’s activity modules were carefully designed to encourage students to construct knowledge.
On the technical side, I upgraded to the latest version of Moodle this year, improved my modifications to the graphic design, changed the default language to U.S. English, and improved the registration process so that it would automatically complete the user’s profile using information from Blackbaud.
I am excited to see whether this group of teachers constructing courses develops into a critical mass this year.