I am not new to Moodle but I am new here. In the forums I have seen that a Moodle hub for Language teachers has been discussed and one or two people would like to put together teacher groups for material and course creation. This got me thinking... (this idea is probably not new) Wouldn't it be great if there were a Moodiversity? By this I mean a universal, diverse educational institution based on Moodle for all subject areas, for all age groups - real life-long learning. I think I'll make this my New Year wish - not likely to be fulfilled - but people can dream...
I wonder what it would take to make such an idea a reality - I'd love to work on such a project - who wouldn't?
Happy New Year One and All
John, Happy New to You as well!
and as you mentioned being not a new idea, I am sure plenty (this plenty must be in hundreds) must have thought about this, but what I personally believe using Moodle for a diverse educational platform open to everyone would be an overkill for Moodle is a purposely built learning management system, whilst something like that involving global audience and just for learning purposes, a content management system like WordPress or Joomla would be sufficient for plenty of similar sites serving global community are built on WordPress.
Where in Moodle there are many additional things that wont be required, like Assignment submissions, calendar, chat, activity etc, so installing a system based on 300 tables (of Moodle) vs setting a system that can achieve similar goals with 12 tables (Wordpress) would be wastage of resources and thinking of putting moodle for a global platform, you are asking for 4 times the cost of putting in similar system using WP.
I would really like to see Moodle in future with options to install modules, like not everyone uses everything available in moodle, like calendar, chat, etc call it Moodle-lite, so it can be used for purposes like you mentioned.
As I said unreal I was probably being even more wasteful of resources than you imagined too. I was thinking in terms of a number of linked moodles - differentiated by discipline and/or language - a bit like a university having different campuses.
What you said about Wordpress is interesting to me as it is not something I have previously used. I will investigate it - not for this purpose, of course, but as a possibility for future projects.
All the best and thanks for the response!
On a second thought where I often quote "With Moodle possibilities are endless", and this holds true, if considering a proper learning environment out of mare video tutorials or simple text based tutorials, then nothing can beat Moodle for sure, and despite all the extra coming in, I am still preferring Moodle over any other CMS possibility for very high level of customization options, and as you used the word Moodiversity, then nothing will come close in terms of providing learning possibilities that Moodle can provide.
Yes I would still love to see further customization options during install process where users/admins can choose which modules to install and which ones to not but I don't think that will effect the overall performance of a Moodle.
Just FYI, if you want to further investigate other learning based sites built on WordPress offering courses, then its I believe Alison.com based on WordPress also tutorialspoint.com is for sure based on WP. But then there is possibility of integrating Moodle with WP too
Yes, as you said, an Unreal Wish. Because it is based on the assumption that teaching material makes education. No, a small detail has gone unnoticed. A Teacher, I mean flesh-blood-and-odour, is in the room - brick-and-mortar and virtual. I know, there is something called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_dynamics as seen in the social media. But learning, at a tertiary level, is something different.
An interesting and undoubtedly true observation regarding the presence of a teacher. I am a teacher and a teacher trainer and I would not seek to attempt to deliver education at any level without the involvement of a good teacher, nor do I think it a small detail. As you correctly point out, teaching material alone, no matter how good, is not sufficient.
However, just as not all learners are good neither are all teachers, and even those that are good are not always effective with particular individuals. Wouldn't it be great if we could offer all learners the opportunity to study with good teachers no matter where they are located? Further, would you agree that a good teacher will, on most occasions, deliver a good lesson irrespective of the room they in which they are teaching? Assuming you do agree, I would suggest that this belief could be extended to the virtual classroom.
It was never my idea that Moodle should be restricted to delivering only asynchronous learning. Moodle's flexibility is, in my opinion, its most valuable asset - as Usman (I hope that is his first name and not his family name) says in his post above, "With Moodle possibilities are endless." Moodle in conjunction with software such as BigBlueButton or WizIQ can provide an effective, focussed, 'live' learning experience. In fact, I use (and have used for some time) Moodle to deliver blended and wholly live classes for both one-to-one and group formats in addition to my F2F classes.
My idea is unreal not because I wanted to do it without teachers, but because of its sheer scale. Maybe one day... who knows?
Anyway, thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify my post.
I wish you and yours success, health and happiness.
Well, in fact there is at least one project that bears some similarity to your new year wish John.
www.FreeMoodle.org does provide completely free Moodle hosting for courses that are free, open to all, and feature collaboration between teachers.
In fact the collaboration requirement was added at the end of last year, because we felt that the new MoodleCloud provides a basic provision that will suit many individual teachers.
These types of projects are not without their challenges. Last year we had whole Universities (who shall remain nameless) telling their staff to use FreeMoodle - instead of setting up their own University Moodle site! Not exactly in the spirit of what FreeMoodle.org is about.
If you are keen to get involved in such a project, we would be more than happy to have your enthusiasm, ideas, and time
As you suggested, I went to freemoodle.org and explored it. Clearly, it has a lot of potential and you have made a great start. I tried to register, but fell foul of your blocked email provider list and so was unable to do so.
I would like to help out, although, for the next 7 months my time is a little limited owing to projects of my own and my plan to relocate to Spain next summer. That said, I can spare a few hours a week and would be happy to become involved. I have been moodleadmin for our company Moodle sites for about 8 years and have also been involved in designing and developing teacher training programmes (TESOL). I have delivered ESOL F2F classes, online courses and blended/hybrid learning through Moodle and through other platforms. I also speak Russian to a reasonable standard. if you think I might be of use to you, let me know.
All the best
Hi everyone, Happy New Year, and thanks for starting an interesting discussion John
My $0.02: In the media and on social networks for the past 5 or so years, there has been a lot of talk about organising education online as "self-organising systems," i.e. set up to be run almost entirely by large numbers of learners (10,000+) themselves and with minimal input from professional teaching staff. It's a utopian idea, certainly, and as history has pointed out to us on many occasions, "an unreal wish."
The rates of student attrition on such courses are jaw-dropping and many don't even bother to measure the learning gains of the small minorities who do complete courses. And, of those who do complete courses, it turns out that the vast majority of those are expert learners themselves and already hold Masters and Doctorate degrees or are "auto-didacts" who would've learned the subject matter themselves if they'd just bought a few books, visited the local library, found free resources online, and or joined special interest groups to discuss themes and topics that interested them, thereby deepening and extending their knowledge.
From what I understand about the psychology of learning, and the necessary and sufficient conditions for significant and substantial learning gains across the spectrum of learners' personalities, views, attitudes, and beliefs that we're likely to encounter as educators, teaching presence and effective mediation, i.e. helping learners with their individual needs while they're learning, are aspects of effective learning environments and experiences that we cannot ignore. In other words, we need more teachers rather than more teaching tools.
How about bringing together a network of volunteer teachers to give up their time to help others to learn? Would that be a realistic wish?
Thanks for your response and a happy and successful New Year to you and yours too!
I believe your network of volunteer teachers is a realistic wish. I remember watching Sugata Mitra's TED talk entitled Build a school in the cloud - I have no doubt you caught this but include a link anyway. This TED Talk is probably the root of my 'unreal wish' I was particularly impressed with his idea of pressing retired teachers into service add these to your volunteer network and perhaps with a bit of funding this idea could become at least something we could seriously investigate?
Initially, the main thing would be to get the organisation right - fail to do that and the whole thing collapses. In other words, the project has to be professionally and properly planned, funded and set up.
I also firmly believe that among the first learners should be teachers - especially those teaching in remote areas. This is something I am planning to do myself - in a small way - for non-native ESOL teachers. I want to provide free support for their English and help them to update their teaching skills. I think that many non-native-speaker English teachers suffer a lot of uncalled for criticism and receive little support from the native-speaker ESOL community. However, that is my hobby horse and I digress.
My idea for a Moodiversity is still unreal, but perhaps a group of like-minded, dedicated teachers could go some way towards attaining it.
I wonder how the folks at https://moodlecloud.com/en/ would feel about ESL & EFL teachers creating their own accounts there to set up their own courses to create micro-communities of up to 50 participants? Or http://www.freemoodle.org/ ? Or any of these: http://blog.matbury.com/2014/08/23/free-low-cost-moodle-hosting-options/ ?
Participants in these micro-communities could then network with participants from other MoodleCloud micro-communities. A platform like https://elgg.org/ , https://diasporafoundation.org/ , or https://buddypress.org/ would be suitable for this (Commercial social networking sites are poorly set up for purposeful collaborative learning).
To start with, I'd recommend connecting non-native (NN) teachers with each other so that they can share their experiences, discuss issues, share resources and ideas, etc. in English (Thereby improving their English communication skills as well as developing their understanding of learning and teaching ESL & EFL).
However, moderating even small numbers of participants in forums is time-consuming and difficult to get "right" so you'll need to delegate the work out to several people and have clear, concise, carefully designed moderation policies and ways to help would-be moderators develop their moderating knowledge, skills, and abilities.
I think one of the biggest obstacles to such a project succeeding is, as you put it so well earlier, "I would like to help out, although, for the next 7 months my time is a little limited..." I think you'll find this is a common response among many teachers. We lead very busy lives!
I hope this helps!
Hi Again Matt
Actually, the main reason I have so little time for the next few months is that I am currently involved in setting up a project to help Brazilian teachers in remote locations - as it happens through a moodlecloud site. I hope the Moodle people are OK with that At the moment, I am working closely with 2 Brazilian language teachers and an American teacher who are involved in teacher training. Their project is a little different from mine, but we are expecting to hold our first 'live' free classes in February. I also have a cheap 'paid for' moodle hosting but I will have to upgrade that when I am ready to go with my own project.
However, I am inclined to agree with you about the difficulty of finding people who are actually willing and available to give up their time for such a project, which is why Sugata Mitra's idea of using retired teachers interested me so much.
Your idea of connecting non-native speaker teachers before beginning my project is a good one and I could use my existing site for that along with social networking apps - I shall look into it. Thanks for that thought.
I just spent a happy half hour going through your blog thanks for the link - you have a new fan . May I be a little impertinent and ask a question? Some time ago I attempted to set up an instance of BigBlueButton on a LAMP server and failed miserably - nginx it seems clashed with Apache. I have little doubt that I went about it the wrong way as apart from setting up the LAMP server (not the most difficult thing in the world with Ubuntu) I had no experience of dealing with servers whatsoever. So here is the question - can I run the two on the same physical server or would I need to get a second server for BBB? My question no doubt displays my total lack of knowledge - Btw I have no intention of trying to do this now, but I was so frustrated at the time that this question is burned into my brain :D
Thanks for your thoughtful responses
Hi again John,
I think you might find Communities of Practice an interesting avenue to explore: http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/
Re: BBB, have you checked out the installation docs, specifically this? http://docs.bigbluebutton.org/install/install.html#before-you-install Apache uses port 80 by default so if you try to install BBB alongside it, it won't have access to that port and so won't work.
Also, BBB is a media server and so has very different requirements to a web page server. It's generally a good idea to use separate servers. If you're not an experienced sysAdmin, I'd recommend going for a managed hosting service. They'll probably be able to set BBB up for you as well.
I hope this helps!
Thanks Matt! I checked out wenger-trayner.com and signed up for their newsletter.
Port 80 was undoubtedly part of the problem. I am far from being a sysadmin - I should probably do a course if only because it interests me, I might even learn enough to become a real threat to the system :D
Thanks for your feedback John.
Yes indeed, how to handle spam accounts in a totally open Moodle site is one of the technical challenges we have encountered. And as 99% of these are from gmail accounts we've blocked that as an email address for registering - figuring most people will have a school or alternative email address they can register with, and once the account is validate they can change their email address to .gmail on their Profile
I would never see FreeMoodle.org as a repository of self-paced course, because everything I see, read, and experience tells me that a course supported by a teacher (although not necessarily led by a teacher) is the most effective experience, I guess I'm agreeing with Matt's perspective very strongly.
Sure, if you would like to become involved in FreeMoodle later in the year that would be great! On the Admin side would be excellent, as that's where a lot of our volunteer time goes.
As to whether these models are sustainable, well FreeMoodle has been going 5 years now, but it is worth noting it is financially supported by HRDNZ, a commercial company, a Moodle Partner. From a commercial perspective, we hope that people using the site become aware of our wider services, and we can at least cover costs by teachers taking online courses with us for example. I am 100% in favour of this approach, and 100% against going down the 'easy route' that Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. take - which is focussing on advertising revenue via data mining.
I still think in the most challenging thing is building effective networks of teachers, or more rightly I might just term them contributors, to such an environment, where the focus is on collaboration (not competition), and where the content can indeed be open and free to all (without creating issues around IP, and employment contracts etc.)
Actually, I failed with all three of my accounts I don't want to use my company email because 1. I am on holiday at present and have no access. 2. I will be leaving the company in about 6 months anyway. I will try with one of my site addresses.
I didn't say I had no time. I said I had little time and am able to spare only a few hours at present (4-6 per week). I am quite willing to start now if I can be of use. My experience has been that if people don't start things immediately, they rarely start at all.
Regarding freeMoodle, your idea for collaboration is a good one as this should lead to more courses being completed. Do you provide a space (forum) specifically for would-be collaborators to find each other? If not, it seems to me this would be a good idea.
I'm going to try to sign up now.
All the best
Hi Again Stuart
I am happy to report that I successfully registered.
Glad you found it helpful. Simply knowing about Communities of Practice puts you ahead of the pack ;)
You may also find Jean Lave's ethnographic work on apprenticeship interesting as some practical background of what led up to Wenger's CoP work. I think Lave was his Ph.D supervisor but I'm not sure. They co-authored this book: http://www.amazon.com/Situated-Learning-Participation-Computational-Perspectives/dp/0521423740/ However, it's not particularly accessible if you're not used to academic writing.
I think this is more accessible:
Everyday Life and Learning with Jean Lave
Thanks again Matt! very useful info.