Background in 7-12 as a teacher, technology coordinator, and administrator.
M.Ed. in Ed. Leadership and Educational Technology
Currently manage the Information Systems Technology Training Team (ISTT) for Information Technology Services at Northern Arizona University.
Current interests include blended learning, workforce improvement/staff development, developing learning objects, and applying principles of cognitive psychology to computer-based instruction. http://inform.nu/Articles/Vol8/v8p263-279Sorden34.pdf
Outline of Presentation
Why Open Source?
Moodle in Mexico.
Setting Up Your Own Moodle.
What is Open Source Software?
Open Source software is software that is released in a way that allows users to modify it according to their needs.
Open Source software is usually supported by a community of users who donate their time and work to a project.
The Open Source business model is to make money by providing support to users of the software, not off the software itself.
Open Source software is generally available at no charge, but being free is not a criteria of Open Source software.
Even when Open Source software is available at no charge, an organization should never think of it as free software. There are many hidden costs.
Examples of Successful Open Source Projects
Linux (Fedora, Redhat, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Suse, etc.)
The Apache Web Server
PHP for dynamic Web pages
The MySQL and Postgresql database projects
The Sakai Project
Open Source Portfolio
K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project
And of course - Moodle!
Why Open Source for Education?
If you have the budget to hire a professional technical staff with expertise in educational technology, Open Source can save a school or district a lot of money – but significant costs will be incurred in human capital.
The money you save by not paying licensing fees can be used to increase staff and teacher salaries, and ultimately, increase technology options to your students.
Open Source is catching on in higher education. This means that K-12 can increasingly benefit from educational applications that trickle down.
So what is Moodle?
Moodle is a “free” learning management system that enables you to create powerful, flexible, and engaging online learning experiences. - William Rice
It is a tool that can enhance your teaching – both online and as a supplement to the traditional classroom.
Moodle might be thought of as the open source competitor to Blackboard/WebCT.
It was created by Martin Dougiamas, an Australian doctoral student. Today Martin continues to direct the project, but it is supported and used by a large community of developers, educators, and organizations.
Learn more about Moodle at http://moodle.org
The Sakai Project (a quick side note)
If you are considering an open source learning management system, you should also be aware of the Sakai Project - http://www.sakaiproject.org
Sakai is an online Collaboration and Learning Environment. Many users of Sakai deploy it to support teaching and learning, ad hoc group collaboration, support for portfolios and research collaboration.
Sakai seems to be oriented more toward higher education and appears to require more technical expertise to run than Moodle, but it is an option.
Why I decided to work with Moodle
It is a great system for K-12 education.
It is designed for the LAMP (Linux, Apache MySQL, PHP) environment, which is a common platform found in many school districts and hosting companies.
It is easy to learn to use and does not take a high level of technical experience to set up and administer. However administrators should have a good understanding of Web servers and Web pages if they are going to run it on their own server.
It is based on the PHP scripting (programming) language, which is relatively easy to learn and makes it easier to modify Moodle and understand how it works.
The Moodle community is thriving and very active.
Our Moodle Project
I am currently administering a Moodle instance for the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Sonora in Hermosillo.
Approximately 700,000 inhabitants.
Almost exactly a 500 mile drive from Flagstaff.
Department of Foreign Languages (DLE)
Offers general courses in English and other foreign languages.
They have a very successful undergraduate program in Teaching EFL
Details of the DLE-UniSon Moodle Project
Now in our second year. I pitched the project to DLE faculty in April of 2005 and started the project on a server hosted out of my office at NAU the following month.
The project was hosted by ITS at NAU the first year. I now host it for them on a private server.
My goal was to introduce it and support it from Flagstaff while the department slowly adopted it. I plan to completely turn it over to them by June of 2007 and move on to new projects.
The project currently has approximately ten active instructors, with nineteen courses, and more than 200 students.
The URL is http://www.dleuson.org
Support for the Moodle Project
I traveled to Hermosillo once to promote the project and then conducted two, week-long workshops on site in June 2005 and 2006. Other than that, the project was supported entirely from 500 miles away.
Setting up your own instance of Moodle
There are several ways to get started:
Have the technology-support person in your district install a copy for you on the district server.
Find a hosting company that offers Fantastico to easily install an instance for you.
Find a commercial company that specializes in hosting Moodle
Use a search engine to find a Moodle demonstration, sandbox, or play area.
Download the latest version of Moodle from http://download.moodle.org
You'll need to set up a server running Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This can be done on a computer running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.
Ubuntu Linux Server version can install a complete LAMP server in less than 20 minutes. Then install Moodle using apt-get or aptitude. “sudo apt-get install moodle”
Probably the easiest way to get started on your own computer is to download and install the Complete Install Packages (Moodle+Apache+MySQL+PHP) found at the bottom of the Moodle download page - http://download.moodle.org . There are versions for both Mac OS X and Windows.
The official Moodle site is always the best place to start: http://moodle.org .
Moodle Documentation - http://docs.moodle.org
Sites using Moodle - http://moodle.org/sites
Moodle Statistics - http://moodle.org/stats
Comparison of Blackboard vs. Moodle - http://www.humboldt.edu/~jdv1/moodle/all.htm
Sample Chapter on Installing and Configuring Moodle - http://www.packtpub.com/files/Moodle_SampleChapter.pdf
Moodle news and publications from around the world - http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?id=6140
Wikipedia on Moodle - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle
Books on Moodle
Moodle E-Learning Course Development by William H. Rice IV (2006)