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Moodle as a Curriculum and Information Management System

Moodle as a Curriculum and Information Management System


by Jason Hollowell

Release date: January 6, 2011
Publisher: Packt Publishing

Added to this database by Helen Foster - Saturday, January 8, 2011, 2:06 AM
Last updated - Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 7:06 PM


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  • Transform your Moodle site into a system that will allow you to manage information such as monitoring attendance records, managing the number of students enrolled for a particular course, and inter-department communication
  • Create courses for all subjects in no time with the Bulk Course Creation tool
  • Create accounts for hundreds of users swiftly and enroll them in courses at the same time using a CSV file.
  • Part of Packt's Beginner's Guide series: Readers are walked through each task as they read through the book with the end result being a sample CIMS Moodle site

Comments

  • Ben talking on the phone beside a monitorben reynolds - Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 3:49 AM
    The two books I wish I had had when I started Moodling are this one and Mary Cooch's "Moodle for Teaching 7-14 Year Olds - Beginner's Guide" http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=55&rid=2275 Both are in the "Beginner's Guide" series by Packt Publishing, and both would have reduced considerably the learning curve to building a Moodle site and building Moodle classrooms. In fact, Mary Cooch has written a longer review of Jason Hollowell's book, which is located here: http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=55&rid=2275 In her usual, methodical approach, Mary goes chapter by chapter through "Moodle as a Curriculum and Information Management System." I'm just going to "gee whiz" about some specific parts.

    I wish I'd known that I could install a test Moodle site on my computer. It's a fairly simple process, and Hollowell takes readers through it with great clarity and simple prose. If you're new to Moodle, this is the very first thing you should do: read his Chapter 1, and start playing to see what Moodle can do. He's also very clear about how to build a course, create categories for courses, and -- holy grail for large programs like mine -- use the Bulk Course Upload tool to create courses in, well, bulk. My institution had considerable floundering -- which I see among Moodle newbies on the discussion boards at Moodle.org -- about how to bulk enroll users, but had we had Jason's book, we would have saved ourselves several months of explorations.

    The real meat of Hollowell's book, however, is in the last 5 of its 10 chapters. Here, we begin to see the true power of open source and of the "modular" part of the Moodle acronym. We learn how to make Moodle function as an information portal, how to add supervisory and parental roles using the Mentees block, how to add and use the Enhanced User Administration and Custom SQL blocks. These are "pieces" you can add to Moodle but that do not come built in. The addition is not complicated, and, as always, the installation and use is explained in simple terms for beginners. The true power of open source software is access to the database. Unlike a proprietary system in which users are walled off from the data and only allowed to make preset queries, open source allows users to pull any data they want. Even if you don't know how to write SQL queries (I don't), you can pay someone else to write the query, then plop it into the Custom SQL block, and teachers can run the query with a simple click any time they want.

    One of the two concepts in Moodle hardest to wrap your head around is the meta course. Hollowell takes beginners through the creation of a meta course and demonstrates how it works with considerably less confusion than the Moodle documentation. He shows how metacourses can be used for efficient communication, especially in the context of an advisory or counseling system.

    Finally, the last chapter shows off another virtue of open source software. With a grant from Nihon University, Hollowell designed the Registration Enrollment plugin and had the programming done by a Moodle Partner, Moodlerooms. The plugin was then contributed back to the Moodle community for use by anyone. This is a pretty sophisticated plugin while at the same time being simple to operate.

    All told, this is a great beginner's guide book. Even if you use only half the chapters, you'll be well off for reading it.