Moodle at NJIT

My presentation today at the NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase is titled "Moodle: A Free Learning Management System (Free - like free kittens)"

The title is playing off the idea that free software isn't really free - unless you don't have the accountants put anything on the books for the support and implementation of an open source project. Open source is all about support and community.

Like other universities, NJIT feels that it is in our best interest to explore some of the available open source course management systems that are alternatives to commercial products such as WebCT.

The instructional technology team at NJIT first began to look at Moodle (and initially Sakai) during the fall 2005 semester and looked at pilot programs at other schools. Seventeen NJIT faculty ran test courses during the spring and summer of 2006. A formal pilot program using Moodle was instituted this past fall with 24 courses. Participants included current users of WebCT and faculty who were new to using any type of learning management system and for online courses and face-to-face or hybrid courses. This semester we have 12 courses running, and 20 courses and organization sites in development.

My PowerPoint from today is viewable online at my Slideshare site.

What interested me about Moodle back in 2005?

  1. that it was an open source LMS/CMS software
  2. how it might be used in eLearning
  3. whether it might be a viable alternative to a commercial product and if it actually is such alternative
  4. how hard would it be to move courses & faculty over to it from WebCT.
  5. the constructivist philosophy behind it and in the creation of the software.

From the Moodle.org site:

[Constructivism] maintains that people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environment.

Everything you read, see, hear, feel, and touch is tested against your prior knowledge and if it is viable within your mental world, may form new knowledge you carry with you. Knowledge is strengthened if you can use it successfully in your wider environment. You are not just a memory bank passively absorbing information, nor can knowledge be "transmitted" to you just by reading something or listening to someone.

This is not to say you can't learn anything from reading a web page or watching a lecture, obviously you can, it's just pointing out that there is more interpretation going on than a transfer of information from one brain to another.

Some colleges using Moodle to check out:

K-12

Moodle seems like a great fit for K-12 districts with limited budgets and IT staffs, but a desire to use an online learning environment (probably NOT for fully online courses as much as "web enhanced" or blended courses).

I'm impressed that the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia (a new high school developed in partnership with The Franklin Institute) uses an inquiry-based science, technology, mathematics and (you don't see this in too many high schools) entrepreneurship curriculum. So they are using a lot of project-based learning, inquiry, research, and collaboration - and this is their Moodle site.

And right around my own area here in north NJ, we have Montclair Kimberley Academy who puts our Moodle pilot to shame. They have every class K through 12 in Moodle courses.

I'd be interested to read your comments on Moodle and share links to other schools (K-20) using Moodle.

Trackbacks

Trackback specific URI for this entry

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
BBCode format allowed
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
To leave a comment you must approve it via e-mail, which will be sent to your address after submission.