Being involved in the diffusion of Moodle at university, I'am interested in following the teaching changes that can occur on users and also how Moodle is appreciate by the community. Do you have any experience about this process ?
Another positive thing that Moodle does for me is that it allows me to send a quick reminder or message to a student who forgot to turn in an assignment or deserves some type of recognition. I can go online and send the student a message rather than waiting until I see the student and then forget what it was that I wanted to say to them. This is not a substitute for face-to-face meetings. Actually, I will sometimes use Moodle to let a student know that I wish to speak with them in person and give them an idea of what it is about. Students will frequently ask if I have received their Moodle message to me and I think it helps them to send a question or check on something when they are thinking about it.
We have a 1000 students and this is the first year the entire campus is using Moodle. We average 250,000 hits on the Moodle webserver and 1.5 GB of traffic. I go online and typically see about 20 concurrent users. As I see how Moodle has been utilized, I cannot help but think "that is a lot of learning going on". I believe Moodle helps students learn how to use the internet in a way that promotes education and their own personal development while simultaneously building community.
I have recently set up moodle at our school, the uptake by most faculties is slow, however my staff (computing studies) all use moodle.
I have found that the quizzes are excellent and not too difficult to set up (after initial teething prtoblems).
1 other faculty is using moodle extensively as well.
We find that as students can access from home this saves time. Also once a course is up re-using it the following year requires minimal upgrading.
Although time can be saved by having course work on moodle , the initial time spent putting courses up (especially, copyright free material) is extensive.
Try thinking of it as a space for activities, and let the students find and create most of the content themselves (they all have google ).
For example: Using Moodle.
Re your post that suggests "students find and create most of the content themselves" ...can I just say a huge Thankyou?!!!
I have been using Moodle to create online activities with Performing Arts students, and find that discussion fora, wikis, blogs etc help to enrich their learning experience through collaboration and reflection.
It seems that there are not so many users here involved in special needs and learning difficulties, so maybe my experiences are of interest too.
I teach in a special school in Switzerland. Some of my colleagues have limited PC skills and are a little reticent to use Moodle or even unwilling. However, I've found that by co-ordinating with the traditional classroom materials they use when setting up sample activities, I can coax some staff to let the kids loose on the system. In my own lessons, I'm using classroom time more for open discussion and then switching to Moodle for assessment on the subject matter. This works really well and I believe is at the heart of sucessful "proximal learning" as described by russian psychologist Vygotsky. That is linking learning in one envirnoment to application in another or even better, learning and then teaching someone else.
Some of my older students are even creating their own materials in a "Student Projects" category where they have individual "trainer" rights. We've been using Moodle now for two years and a student yesterday found the answers to his question in the project of a student who left last year. Of course he put much more value on the work of a colleague than simply accepting what a teacher tells him!
I tried an interesting experiment with a younger class of seven pupils, most with severe restricted verbal code and writing difficulties. As a treat I allowed them to have 15 mins of chat in Moodle using dialect and SMS abbreviations in which they where all quite fluent and able to use creatively. I'm not suggesting that we should accept SMS-Speak in schoolwork but the process whereby they had learnt the use of SMS messaging from friends and peers is highly interesting and indicative of the possibilities in Moodle.
It's taking time to set it all up and convince the staff, but we're getting there!
Alan Hess- Switzerland
I see the power of moodle by getting a better picture of my students level of understanding. By using the forums, specifically the Q&A Forums, I can pose a question and have all of the students reply to my question. Sometimes as teachers we fall into teacher call back questions and the advanced students drive the lesson. The Q&A forum allows all of the students to show exactly their level of understanding and once they've submitted an answer, they can see other collegues responses. I like the fact that I can just browse responses and can taylor reteach class lessons.
This is just one aspect. You really need to try many different activities to determine what works for you.