edna uses Moodle


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This presentation as part of iMoot2010 online conference provides an overview of the Moodle-related services offered through Education Network Australia (edna). It takes a tour through adult learning courses, and professional association communities in edna Groups, plus online projects for K-12 teachers and students in OzProjects. It shares what we have learned about Moodle and users in 5 years of supporting Moodle courses and communities.

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  • With thanks to Education Network Australia colleagues: Cecily Wright, Alison Hall, Kerrie Smith and Kerry Johnson for use of their creative content through these slides, Moodle content and documentation
  • Education.au is a national not-for-profit ministerial agency charged with working across the education sectors early childhood, schools, VET, higher education, adult and community education, in the areas of ICT in education. It is a team of technical: developers building national services where there is benefit in national architecture and services Education and information specialists supporting, experimenting in working in new ways and providing professional learning activities face to face and online for the community Strategic advice and research for government, and education sectors, and making links between education sectors and between Australia and international education community About to merge with Curriculum Corporation to form Education Services Australia http://www.educationau.edu.au/2009-consolidation
  • edna has two instances of Moodle which we host on behalf of all Australian governments to make safe online spaces freely available for educators to use as needed. edna Groups is a Moodle instance created with a focus on educator professional development. They are not for use with students, but pre-service teachers are encouraged to set up Groups here, PhD candidates and Masters Degree students in education and information management related fields can and do set up Groups here for group study and research. It is a gathering place for creating, exploring, sharing and developing ideas. Groups are primarily open to Australian educators and information management professionals. If you have an idea for a Group that doesn’t exist and want it to have an international component – it is worth asking - just let us know on your Groups application. OzProjects is a Moodle instance created for use by K-12 educators and their students. Educators can set up Project courses and their students and other educators and students can participate. The Education Network Australia team also develops and supports some projects as a way of helping teachers experience the power of online collaborative projects before they start their own.
  • edna Groups is a free service for communication and collaboration between members of the Australian education and training community The edna Groups environment is based on Moodle 1.9.1 . The edna Groups environment was set up initially in early 2005 with a professional networking focus, and many language changes made to alter the course/learning management system focus of Moodle. It was a replacement of a 4 year old forums service, with a brief to encourage educators to move on from the edna Lists email list management services to make use of the great functionality available in web-based services. The hosting, development and technical support is fully supported by a technical team at Education.au. The user support is provided by a small team (2 – 3 ) of teachers and admin staff who manage the application process for new Groups, membership, communication, training and Group Owner support. Note the integration with other Education Network Australia (edna) services via Single Sign On (CAZ). In particular http://me.edu.au which is itself an OpenID provider. Ongoing challenge to integrate Moodle with our other services beyond authentication, eg search across services, common profile information between services, memberships and permissions. No attempt at content yet, but hoping to investigate this with Moodle 2.0
  • With tools in edna Groups, you can deliver courses online, hold online events or supplement live events, conduct ongoing professional development within your organisation, create an interactive web site for your professional association, plan events, manage projects, create and manage learning projects for students a and build a community around a shared interest.
  • Results of a 2008 survey of edna Groups users provided the following seven major motivations for joining. It is interesting to reflect on the progress of development over the past 5 years. While the original purpose was to offer an enhancement to existing services available at the time with a focus on educators communicating with other educators, and this still accounts for nearly 80% of use, there is a growing trend of applications for groups spaces from a variety of training providers for straight course delivery. Often as a taster, or for sectors/students may not fit traditional models. A major user is the Australian Breastfeeding Association – largely made up of mothers at home with young children undertaking accredited breastfeeding counsellor and education training online in between everything else they are involved with
  • The service is constantly under review on how we can update it or add new features for the benefit of users. A major cleanup of inactive groups occurred during 2008 after 3 years. Group owners reduced as a result. Number of members continues to grow slowly.
  • Difficulty in giving outsiders any idea of the depth, breadth and variety in edna Groups. We do try and highlight Public Groups to give Group Owners a chance to see how other people have solved problems or presented learning materials. This is a big challenge.
  • A public area especially created for members to play, explore, test, experience and learn about the tools available Contains links to FAQs, simplified ‘ how to ’ instructions, ‘ tips & tricks ’ on how to achieve the best with edna Groups Explore this
  • Our newest Group space is to support initiative in virtual worlds, OpenSim and looking towards some Sloodle projects later this year. Contact KerryJ at immersed.net.au
  • Some of the things/concepts we find we need to make clear to new members and Group Owners about edna Groups / Moodle Need to explain open source to many users/potential users Need to explain to non-training users of Groups about Moodle’s intended purpose – and how/why we have adapted that Need to explain to users that Moodle allows administrators to customise the look and feel of their sites and add on plug ins – programs that can work within Moodle. Different groups / Moodle instances have different tools turned on. They choose Moodle does not always look the same . Different instances of Moodle have very different appearances and often different activities e.g. edna groups, OzProjects, DECS If you want things to look good and work consistently, it helps to know something about html, styles etc or work with someone who does We learned this a bit late ourselves – it is not necessary to generate lots of help documentation for users – there is plenty at moodle.org and it makes sense to consolidate there. Also shamelessly push Tomaz Lasic’s 2 minute moodle videos http://www.vimeo.com/channels/44004
  • What do you want to know about edna Groups?
  • OzProjects is for K-12 teachers and students. No under 18 year olds generally in edna Groups, but many teachers asking for somewhere to work with their students when school or education systems did not provide an option for them. OzProjects as a website has existed since early 1990s providing information about how and why to use online collaborative projects in teaching and learning, and providing a database registry of available projects around the world that Australian teachers could join. It quickly dawned on the OzProjects website team that Moodle meant we could actually offer space to teachers to create their own projects. Go live to OzProjects site Sections of site - Support Projects, OzProjects, Global Projects and OzClassrooms Have a look around. OzProjects was recently upgraded to Moodle 1.9.6
  • OzProjects is available for collaboration between classes of students. This project suggests some ways you can celebrate National Aboriginal Indigenous Day Organising Committee in the school environment. The project activities below are based on the ideas from the National NAIDOC website. Some key ideas are: find out about the traditional Indigenous owners of your area, invite local Indigenous elders to come and talk at your school, read and discuss a Dreaming story, learn the meanings of local Aboriginal place names, find out about Indigenous role models and achievers.
  • Moodle was also chosen as a way of extending the functionality of a traditional education website: The Global Education website: http://globaleducation.edna.edu.au manged for AusAID (Australia’s Aid Agency) by the Education Network Australia team. Separating the community/user-generated content from the ‘official’, approved content of the formal website that has strict quality/political policies that cannot be guaranteed Teachers are referred via links from Jahia website launch page for Global Projects directly into a Moodle space themed to match the website. Project activities are frequently based on or refer to content from the website but can also make use of forums, quizzes, glossaries etc and allow students and teachers to contribute their own content and ideas. Each project is identified as a Global Education project by the Global Education banner at the top of the project page. This is the Potato project. It has been created to support 2008 The International Year of Potatoes and includes activities for students from lower primary to upper secondary. International Year of Potatoes http://www.ozprojects.edu.au/course/view.php?id=24
  • Projects are gradually being developed around each of the Millennium Development Goals. Explore some of these projects
  • Projects with an environmental education focus on the OzProjects are popular. Many of these are available for public view. Antarctica Planet Earth in Our Hands We encourage teachers to use the OzProjects website to create their own projects if they are interested.
  • What do you want to know about this implementation of Moodle?
  • Requires more than successful hosting and technical support to make a successful community Moodle implementation. Can’t rely on the motivation of completing a formal course or training qualification. Some groups are successful, others never get past the default template. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way.
  • Tu and Corry (2001) described four constructs of online learning communities as being: Community of Practice, Social Presence, Collaborative Learning, and Knowledge Construction Technology . Tu, C., & Corry, M. (2001). Research in online learning community. Journal of Instructional Science and Technology . 5(1) Retrieved February 15 2009, from http://www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e-jist/docs/html2002/chtu.html They conclude that the use of social software for knowledge sharing and capability development is very much in its infancy with little formal evaluation yet taking place. “Stories show that people using social software tools for knowledge sharing and capability development are informally identifying significant benefits and value.” (Evans, 2007, p. 26)
  • http://www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml
  • On the right hand side of Salmon’s diagram, the social imperatives include marketing (no-one joins unless they know it exists), purpose and motivation Policies If you are thinking of going down this path, obviously a heap of policy questions. Again we are happy to share our experiences and learnings. Statement of purpose: like Collection policy Open or walled garden? Eligibility and registration – who can join, and how are they going to join. Is it moderated, open slather, based on email address, member or non-member User Material & Intellectual property – Creative Commons by default, choice of member, any policing? Personal information and Privacy – big issue: see Bill of Rights for users of Social Media (Smarr and Canter) – must be able to move material in and out Conduct, grievance and termination – how do people have to behave? What is the grievance process and what are grounds/process for termination BUT to summarise our (to this stage un-verified) lessons learned Implementing and administering a social networking system requires attention to BOTH the technical platform, usability etc AND the facilitation of the social process if community building and knowledge construction is going to happen in any sustained way. Until you have real people engaging with each other all you have is a technology tool. Anything can support a learning community if they learners want to connect with each other for some reason. Gray’s (2004, p. 33) key characteristics of a moderator being “technical competence, an understanding of community-building and developing social connections, a learning orientation, and sufficient knowledge of the practice itself to demonstrate credibility.” Gray, B. (2004). Informal Learning in an Online Community of Practice. Journal of Distance Education, 19(1), 20-35. Retrieved February 15 2009, from http://www.cndwebzine.hcp.ma/IMG/pdf/GRAY_article.pdf
  • Salmon emphasises the importance of welcoming and encouraging members if they are to move into Stage 2 which she designates as individual participants establishing their online identities and then finding others with whom to interact. The technical enabler for this stage is summarised as the sending and receiving of messages. Looking into informal education online communities, whether email lists, web-based forums or professional networking services, it is immediately apparent that many members join but do not move beyond Stage 1 Correlates with Nielsen’s (2006) assertion that “blogs have even worse participation inequality than is evident in the 90-9-1 rule that characterizes most online communities.” It seems there is a major facilitation challenge if a community is to have even 9% of its members engaged and participating.
  • Information Exchange is one of the key elements of community groups just as in formal courses. OzProjects finds forums are an ideal place to include special guests. Students can post questions to the forum to have them answered by a special guest with expertise or experience in the topic under discussion. The special guest forum pictured here was from the OzProjects Sea Week 2008 project. Global projects online would be an ideal place for volunteers who have worked in developing countries to share their experiences by answering student’s questions about their work in the field.
  • Another (much drier) example of a Moodle group working at the information exchange level is the Australian metadata for education http://www.groups.edna.edu.au/course/view.php?id=1132 Here people share the metadata standards and vocabularies that are being used around Australian education Very little discussion/social activity – simply an information repository/registry
  • Stage 4, knowledge construction and publication is core to the work of educators. Wikis are online resources which allows users to add and edit content collectively and are ideal for collaborative knowledge construction. We persevere with the Moodle wiki, but understand why lots of educators know move off to Wikispaces for their wiki work. Will be inter The weekly wiki in the potato project encourages students to find and share information about potatoes.
  • At stage five, Salmon says participants look for more benefits from the system to help them achieve personal goals, explore how to integrate this into other forms of learning and reflect on their learning processes. McDermott (2000) has a similar challenge as the final of his ten critical success factors in building communities of practice, which is “to create real dialogue about cutting edge issues” McDermott, R. (2000, March). Knowing in Community: Ten Critical Success Factors in Building Communities of Practice. IHRIM Journal. Retrieved February 15 2009, from http://www.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledgegarden/cop/knowing.shtml Real dialogue about authentic global issues are included as part of the projects on the OzProjects site. For example, the Beijing 2008 project has a forum for discussing human rights issues in China and a forum in the Antarctica project encourages discussion around environmental protection and tourism in the region. Is it too much to hope that if our students start learning and participating this way while at school, that we will find stronger, more powerful online dialogue happening naturally when they come to University Moodle-based courses?
  • A technical component of Salmon’s development stage is providing links to outside the immediate community. RSS feeds are a perfect way to accomplish this, and we have worked hard over the years to demonstrate the power of RSS. Feeds can be included in online projects as a side block. The RSS feed from the Visual Stories Challenge project (outlined in red) is an RSS feed of an edna search. What it means is that every time there is a new resource added to the edna database which is relevant to this topic ( in this case digital story telling) it will appear in this side block. The RSS feed from the Beijing 2008 project (outlined in blue) brings in the latest news from the Australian Olympic Committee.
  • In summary some of the real success factors we see after 5 years.
  • edna uses Moodle

    1. 1. edna’s use of Pru Mitchell me.edu.au/p/pru
    2. 2.
    3. 3. Who is edna?
    4. 5. Who uses Groups? <ul><li>sector based special interest groups </li></ul><ul><li>project teams, consultative groups </li></ul><ul><li>professional associations </li></ul><ul><li>online support for certificate courses </li></ul><ul><li>institution-based groups: school, technical education, tertiary, faculty based </li></ul><ul><li>Australia-wide networks </li></ul>
    5. 6. What can I do in Groups? Deliver courses Events planning Online events Internal PD Professional association website Project management Build community around shared interest Learning projects for students
    6. 7. What do we do? Primary purpose of Group % community of practice/interest around a curriculum area, topic, industry grouping, discipline or educational practice 68% project team defined task or administrative orientation amongst education professionals 10% course delivery with adult students 4% consultative group eg feedback or survey 3% support a conference face to face and/or online 2% special student project subgroup of course, or teacher education students 2% Other eg testing, sandpit, learning the technology 11%
    7. 8. Group numbers
    8. 9. Group characteristics <ul><li>80% are private – using an invitation key </li></ul><ul><li>Most common tools are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources – file upload, directory display, web page creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities – forums, wikis, chat, glossary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocks – recent activity, news forum, RSS feeds, HTML block </li></ul></ul>
    9. 10. edna’s Training Space groups.edna.edu.au/course/view.php?id=140
    10. 11. ImmersED immersed.net.au exploring education in the metaverse
    11. 12. moodle messages <ul><li>free, open source </li></ul><ul><li>course management software </li></ul><ul><li>collection of integrated tools </li></ul><ul><li>doesn’t always look the same </li></ul><ul><li>some web skills desirable </li></ul><ul><li>help & documentation are online </li></ul>
    12. 13. Questions about Groups?
    13. 14. OzProjects Celebrating learning through online curriculum projects ozprojects.edu.au
    14. 16. Global Projects ozprojects.edu.au/course/view.php?id=24
    15. 17. Millennium Development Goals Pictures © UNDP Brazil Poverty Education Gender Child mortality Maternal health Disease Environment Global partnership
    16. 18. Environmental Projects Sea Week Antarctica Photo from Flickr by cloudzilla Picture submitted to OzProjects by William’s Wonders Biodiversity 2010 Planet Earth in Our Hands
    17. 19. Questions about OzProjects?
    18. 20. Successful communities <ul><li>clarity of purpose, focus for activities </li></ul><ul><li>an existing clientele </li></ul><ul><li>shared ownership </li></ul><ul><li>ongoing stimulation, social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>activities in which members can interact and contribute </li></ul><ul><li>commitment and active mentoring </li></ul>
    19. 21. Learning communities <ul><ul><li>community of practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social presence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaborative learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>knowledge construction technology </li></ul></ul>Tu and Corry (2001) Research in online learning community
    20. 22. Salmon’s 5-stage model www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml
    21. 23. <ul><li>policies </li></ul><ul><li>statement of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>open or walled? </li></ul><ul><li>eligibility and registration </li></ul><ul><li>personal information and privacy </li></ul><ul><li>user material and intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>conduct, grievances and termination </li></ul>Access & motivation
    22. 24. Introduce yourself or your team Socialisation 90-9-1 Principle
    23. 25. Special guests in forums Information exchange
    24. 27. Wikis Knowledge construction
    25. 28. Development real dialogue about authentic issues
    26. 29. RSS feeds Development (2)
    27. 30. <ul><li>users don’t have to install software/plug-ins </li></ul><ul><li>available wherever you are, single sign on </li></ul><ul><li>reasonable bandwidth </li></ul><ul><li>support from real people, instant help via [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Group Owner Group (GOG) </li></ul><ul><li>volunteer ‘testers’ and consultative group </li></ul><ul><li>keeping up-to-date to upskill educators </li></ul>Success factors
    28. 31. Thanks