Interesting. And thanks for asking!
I was developing browser-based apps for second and foreign language learning and needed an online platform to manage them. I ended up trying Moodle (installed Moodle 1.8 on a localhost server - XAMPP) and developing a plugin to do that. That saved me many hundreds of hours of development time.
Then I started experimenting with Moodle and learning more about Martin Dougiamas' thesis and ideas about collaborative online learning; He called it social constructionism - after Seymour Papert? One thing led to another and eventually to Vygotskian sociocultural theory and many of its offshoots/branches, which also helps me to understand the affordances and limitations of online learning and teaching.
Thanks Martin Dougiamas!
Wow! In 2005 I'd heard teachers on a teaching forum talk abou this thing called 'Moodle' and in 2006 I heard my school was getting it. I then by chance won an online competition that offered a year's free webhosting - so I asked if they would install me Moodle, so I could learn about it in readiness for when my school started with it. And then I got addicted (It was 1.6 by the way)
As an aside, the Moodle sites of all of Lancashire and Cumbria schools were managed by Lancaster university network services, two of whose employees now work for Moodle HQ (Dan P and Andrew N) and I had my formative years with their school Moodles - so that makes three of us out of the 30 something HQ people from Up North
I think I should add that at the time I was teaching (ICT) and working as an 'eLearning co-ordinator' and the school was looking at various platforms to fulfil the functionality. One solution took forty five minutes to achieve what I was then able to do in two with Moodle.
Before Moodle, I updated the intranet pages and had a link to my own internal web site where I could put links to the resources for the lessons for all my classes. Being on the intranet I could not do this from home over the weekend during the planning time, so everything was a mad dash about 7:45 on a Monday when I got to work to ensure it was ready for the week. The disadvantage was that students could then not access from home. That's where Moodle has such a benefit. Both I and my students could access the same 'resource' from anywhere at any time. Perhaps then the hardest transition was to make it such that it was a learning environment an not just a list of resources.
From then onwards I identified the need to 'collapse' topics of a course for students who only needed to see a given topic at any one time. And so I created 'Collapsed Topics' and 'Collapsed Weeks'.
Kingston thumb drive. Brings back many memories. One day in 2009, the Academic Director of the college had a meeting with the staff. I was in that meeting and recall hearing him say "You should try Moodle". I think it was related to some discussion on online resources. I had never heard of this strange fish until that day. That's how I started with Moodle 1.9.6.
I am an architect in Canada (now semi-retired) and have been teaching Eco Design at two colleges part time for 6 years. I was looking for a platform that would enable me to streamline quizzes and other repetitive course work. I have a website on a shared server and after searching learning tools learned of Moodle. I had a difficult time getting it up and running and have experienced many frustrations along my learning curve - however I think Moodle is fantastic and recommend it at every opportunity. My coding skills are about negligible but the forums are very helpful.
A big thank you to all those who support the forums and the moodle development!
Like Mary C., in 2005 I was a contractor to a state agency and learned they were going paperless with some program for their onsite trainees. Early in 2006 I received a 20 minute instruction on how to insert images of PowerPoint slides into a lesson activity for offsite learners. My instructor suggested I go to Moodle.org to learn more and it was OK to spend some of my time as the agency's contribution (instead of money) to the free program.
I thought one way to learn about Moodle was to read the documentation. Moodle.docs had just started and was a little "rough" in spots. After two months of prowling, I got the courage to write Helen an email suggesting changes that should be made on a specific page. She told me how to create an account and that this thing she called a wiki was all about user edits. That was the very polite, 'you fix it, if somebody does not like it, they will change it.' With my XAMPP Moodles, I learned.
Moodle became a serious hobby outside of my work environment. MoodleDocs editing led me to checking forums with my first cup of coffee. It all started with the dull task of inserting images into Lesson pages, the suggestion to check out Moodle.org, and Helen's gentle nudge to join the community. Evidently it is still a hobby I refuse to give up
I have not really got started yet.
Maybe I never will. After all, I might get disappointed when I start putting it to use.
But to answer what got me to this stage.
1. Disappointment with corporate LMSs. Be it the fault of vendor or procurer, either way they always give me a hammer and a set of screws, and deny me access to nails and screw drivers.
2. Rumours over a number of years about this open-source LMS called moodle.
3. The realisation that an LMS can provide a number of features which I cannot reasonably implement with static web pages.
I was seconded to my local education authority to train teachers in the use of interactive whiteboards, but it was at the same time that the authority (Cardiff, Wales) was rolling out Moodle (1.8 I think) to all its Primary schools (Secondary schools already had it) so I got involved in the project, mainly as a user and as somewhere to be putting my training resources.
After the secondment I went back to a brand new school as a Deputy Head and IT coordinator and installed Moodle 1.9 as our school website and began tinkering with the theme to match our school colours. At the time I had virtually no html/php/css knowledge, but was just beginning to discover FOSS and Linux etc. and setting up my own local installs of Moodle to play with was such a great way to learn.
Asking 'how do I...' on the themes forum (with a VERY helpful and supportive Mary E!) soon led to me realising I could answer other people's questions based on what I was learning and using myself. One thing led to another until after leaving teaching, I got a job running the upgrade for my university from their (outdated by then) 1.9.3 to Moodle2.3 and essentially being the 'Moodle Ninja'.
I still don't really class myself as a developer, but a user and moodle administrator who develops a bit. Certainly I still consider myself a Moodle Learner - and I hope I always do!
Old thread but a good one just the same.
10 years ago, I looked into Blackboard because it is what is strongly being "suggested". I was shown Moodle by the department secretary. Never looked back....
We were looking for a platform to set up a homework help facility and I came across Moodle. I tried it out on an old computer I had at home. decided it would do the job and got our IT people to install it. Of course, as the guy who found it I got the job of working out how to use it and it all snowballed from there.
That's about right... But Ssh! Don't tell my wife - I think she already suspects
I started with Compuserve and graduated eventually to building my own interactive site with html, Java and a Macromedia (now Adobe - ugh) flash-based e-learning product whose name escapes me. Worked quite well for a while.
When I came to NZ in 2002 I came across Moodle looking for a solution to distance engagement with potential scholarship students and installed 1.2 (I think).
Never looked back.
I was building course material 'by hand' cobbled together with bits of xml and lots of ropey custom Java. I'd looked at Moodle around v1.2 but wasn't especially impressed (can't remember why) and didn't particularly want to learn PHP.
I gave in and stuck it on a server around version 1.4. By the time version 1.5 came out we had about 15,000 users. It's kept me in gainful employment ever since.
It's look like a Modem. I have had this one before years ago 2012. I can clearly remember now it served 2G speed at that time. But it was much better and reliable. Though the internet speed wasn't too fast.
I did a CELTA course back in 2013 and the university had Moodle,
Now I teach nearly 400 students at a time and the work load on marking a simple test is horrendous. I have Moodle on shared hosting, set a weekly test from a randomized question bank and my homework problems are over. 30% of the marks are now based on Moodle and my students tell me the exercises are actually useful for learning.
In 2005, my agency was trying to coordinate recertification for 300+ staff on a risk assessment. Certification involved trainers reviewing a 1-3 hour video and assessing it (using a 3 page assessment)...which took anywhere from 2-5 hours each. Us trainers said no way to using video reassessments as we had too many other responsibilities. And our IT offered us Moodle to do on-line recertification. I got voluntold that I would be managing the project in Moodle. No one in IT really knew much about Moodle so I got to teach myself. I think it was 1.4. We updated to 1.6 at some point and then 1.9 in 2009. We finally joined Moodle 2.x mid-2013. We're still there (2.8). We use several plugins that we cannot do without, and upgrading gets complicated when the plugins don't get updated...
Gremlins decided I should be the admin in 2008 (this was literally what I was told when I logged in and found out I was the administrator--no warning, no training, no 'hey, be careful, you have permission to burn the system down if you screw up'). This was (I still say) a bad idea. I'm a 'what does this button do?' kind of person...and when they give you permission to do anything and to access the background database with a Dump button....mmm. Very dangerous. I've managed to only destroy a couple major things. It's been a while since the last big crisis...But being a part of the Moodle community, participating in Moots, iMoots and learning has been so fantastic.
Back in 2003, I was trying to look for a old Perl script that allowed me to build online quizzes. It would do multiple choice, fill in the blank, and it saved everything to a flat file. Oh it was a pain to set up quizzes though. You got one part of the file format wrong and the entire thing would crash.
Well, found out that the person who made that script decided to not give it away free, and created his own online quiz company. Searching the net for anyone that was still using it, I had tracked the old script to a professor at UCLA. He told me he wasn't using that perl script anymore, - he was using something called Moodle that was so much better at quiz systems.
Well, that got me into PHP, MySQL, hosting... and probably that experience gave me more job opportunities.
I've been using it since 1.7 days... *sigh* back when Moodle ran really fast and required little server resources compared to the beast it is now.
One curious thing. Martin wasn't the first in moodle.org. This guy Lou was there an hour before: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=37.