Jonathon, there is no inherent difficulty or awkwardness in using Moodle in a strongly traditional, teacher-directed or programmed-learning culture.
The modules which allow direct communication between students can be toggled on/off for the whole Moodle system, or restricted to specific users in specific courses.
This is not even unusual. I find that most teachers use only a fraction of the modules (technologies) available in Moodle. The immediately useful modules in the most deterministic teaching models are likely to be:
- resources (documents or links to websites) for students to read
- assignments (a well regulated assignment submission tool)
- quizzes (which can provide immediate feedback)
Quizzes can be the behaviourist/positivist/modernist extreme of the universe of teaching tools. You can (optionally) present a page of text with diagrams (including links to an external document) and ask for a approximate or exact numerical, option, multiple choice or text answer within a time limit, allow multiple attempts and apply penalties for incorrect tries, weighting questions differently, selecting questions randomly from a large question bank, shuffling the order of questions and shuffling answers if you desire. The quiz can be saved and resumed later and the number of attempts can be restricted. The teacher can view all students' responses to a question, or inspect a students responses, with very little effort, almost in real-time. Quiz scores are automatically aggregated in the built-in gradebook. Students can be permitted to see their own answers, model answers and marks, immediately, on completion, after a closing date or never. In my experience, it takes about as long to create a quiz in Moodle as to prepare the same quiz for publication to paper with a similar quality. (Teachers save time on the automated scoring and feedback processes.)