Moodling Masters of Ed Tech: Best Practices for Online and Blended Learning As a culminating project for their degree, Masters candidates in the Educational and Instructional Technology program at National University create a four-week unit of online instruction. The projects demonstrate evidence of online pedagogy and the creation of purposeful, well-structured content. For many, Moodle is the preferred system for constructing this final, digital project. While there are many learning management systems, few are as flexible, few are as robust with built in learning objects, and even fewer are open source. Moodle has been used in K-12 institutions, both public and private as well as in community colleges and universities. As of June 2013, Moodle had a user base of 83,000 registered and verified sites, serving 70 million users in over 7.5 million courses with 1.2+ million teachers. Skills developed while constructing these Masters projects are transferable to other learning management (LMS) and content management systems (CMS). Projects are stored in the School of Education Moodle portal and accessible as a portfolio of work. Students from the MSEIT program enter the job market as instructional designers, online learning managers, and curriculum development leaders. What is critical to the success of building these dynamic projects is that these students are engaged in a cohort, where they collaborate and share tools, best practices, and tips on what works and what doesn’t. Using Moodle, the students apply a social constructivist model/framework addressing four major elements: 1) Design and Technology, 2) Pedagogy and Instruction, 3) Student-Centered Learning, 4) Assessment and Evaluation. Design and Technology: The course design is comprised of instructional and aesthetic (visual, auditory, and graphic) design. In Moodle there are additional built-in technological instruments that add structure to the instruction. While the templates found in Moodle limit some of the aesthetic choices such as instructional design (ID) elements of color, placement, and selection of just the right graphic the systematic design structure of the Moodle allows input Dick, Cary, and Cary (2005) refer to as. Students learn how to apply C.R.A.P. principles of contrast, repetition, Alignment, and proximity (Williams, 1994) the pedagogical model being followed, while technology supports the new teaching paradigms of the information age. Pedagogy and Instruction: Instructional methodology uses pedagogy and appropriate instructional tools to insure effective learning outcomes. Though there may be some differences across content areas, the role of the instructor as an active participant, mentor and model with expertise in understanding and meeting the needs of learner is key. (Sistek-Chandler, Tolbert, & Amber, 2012)Student-Centered Learning: This approach to education and developing instruction focuses on the needs of students as central in the education process, having many implications for the design of curricula, course content, and interactivity within the online learning platform. Student centered learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their online learning process. (Sistek-Chandler, Tolbert, & Amber, 2012) Assessment and Evaluation: Assessment is integral to the production of useful, effective feedback and plays an essential role in the achievement of quality learning outcomes. Evaluation, guided by high-level standards and coming from experienced and knowledgeable sources, helps compare student achievement and various instructional methods. Tools in the LMS or CMS assist the course designer (masters students) in developing quizzes and outcome based, interactive materials for the online learner. Dick and Carey's detailed model also applies to assessment and evaluation since it is based on the idea that instruction can be broken down into smaller components as measurable knowledge and skills (2005). There is an art to developing effective online content. The growth of social constructivist perspectives within the field of education is strengthened through learning online in the cohort model. Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2005). The systematic design of instruction (6th ed.). New York: Allyn and Bacon. Jonassen, D. H. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design theories and models, Volume II: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 215-239). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Sistek-Chandler, C, Amber, Tolbert, D. (2009). Interactive Learning: Taxonomy for Application and Analysis in Online Environments. http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Research/NECC_Research_Paper_Archives/NECC2009/SistekChandler_NECC09.pdf Sistek-Chandler, C., Amber, V.K., Tolbert, D. (2012). Online learning is not flat: an analysis of online learning that promotes interactivity, Distance Learning, Vol. 9,4.
As of June 2013, Moodle had a user base of 83,000 registered and verified sites, serving 70 million users in over 7.5 million courses with 1.2+ million teachers.
Moodle Resources Millions of users.
Basic Design Guidelines- Taken from Robin Williams' Non-Designer's Design Book.The CRAP PrinciplesContrastCreates an organizational hierarchy for readers/viewersAvoid elements that are merely similar (make them identical OR very different)Adds visual interestDon’t be a wimpRepetitionRepeat some element of design throughout the piece such as color, shape, texture, bulletsAdds consistencyHelps to unify all parts of a designHelps to organize informationAlignmentEvery item should have a visual connection with something else on the pageNothing should be placed on the page arbitrarilyFind a strong line and use itHelps to indicate relationships between elementsAlignment helps to create order which generally makes us feel better about the quality of a page/documentProximityGroup related items togetherGrouping implies a relationship between pieces of informationProximity organizes information and reduces clutter
Using Moodle, the students apply a social constructivist model/framework addressing four major elements: 1) Design and Technology, 2) Pedagogy and Instruction, 3) Student-Centered Learning, 4) Assessment and Evaluation.
Constructivist Learning Environments http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/w/x/wxh139/Jonassen.htmThe problem manipulation space: meaningful learning needs to be a mindful activity, in which the learners are provided opportunities to manipulate objects and interact with the environment. The problem manipulation spaces exactly provide such opportunities. They can be the causal models for students to test the effects of the manipulation by receiving feedback in the changes of the physical objects or the simulation, or they can be the students' argumentation to support their solutions to problems.Interactive Teaching and Learning (ILT)
Take into consideration the student throughout the process.
Moodle Best Practices from EdTechMasters Students National University
eLearn Las Vegas, 2013
Cynthia Sistek-Chandler, Ed D, firstname.lastname@example.org
National University Online Masters Program
Learn a little about Moodle and why we are using it
Moodle Project, “Introduction to Astronomy” Middle School
Share Best Practices
Theoretical Underpinnings: Constructing Knowledge
Q & A and Sharing
What is Moodle?
Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning
Content Management System
Learning Management System
Server Upload and Download
Interoperability when extracted and uploaded
Educators need a system that when they create their
content they can easily move to another location
Many tools are built in
Have a Moodle Server
Have a Moodle Manager who maintains uploads, back-up
All skills learned with Moodle are transferable to other
systems such as Haiku, Blackboard, eCollege, and others
Clifton, T. (2013). Astronomy Course, National University Masters
of EDT Capstone Project, La Jolla, CA.
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2005). The systematic design of
instruction (6th ed.). New York: Allyn and Bacon.
Horton, W. (2012).E learning By Design. Wiley and Sons, San
Jonassen, D. H. (1999). Designing constructivist learning
environments. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design
theories and models, Volume II: A new paradigm of
instructional theory (pp. 215-239). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Sistek-Chandler, C, Amber, Tolbert, D. (2009). Interactive Learning:
Taxonomy for Application and Analysis in Online Environments.
Sistek-Chandler, C., Amber, V.K., Tolbert, D. (2012). Online learning
is not flat: an analysis of online learning that promotes
interactivity, Distance Learning, Vol. 9,4.
Williams, R. (2012). The Non-Designers Design Book (3rd Edition),
Peachpit Press, Berkeley, CA.