Book Image

Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques

Book Image

Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques

Overview of this book

Moodle is the world's most popular, free open-source Learning Management System (LMS). It is vast and has lots to offer. More and more colleges, universities, and training providers are using Moodle, which has helped revolutionize e-learning with its flexible, reusable platform and components. It works best when you feel confident that the tools you have at hand will allow you to create exactly what you need.This book brings together step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions and learning theory to give you new tools and new power with Moodle. It will show you how to connect with your online students, and how and where they develop an enthusiastic, open, and trusting relationship with their fellow students and with you, their instructor. With this book, you'll learn to get the best from Moodle.This book helps you develop good, solid, dynamic courses that will last by making sure that your instructional design is robust, and that they are built around satisfying learning objectives and course outcomes. With this book, you'll have excellent support and step-by-step guidance for putting together courses that incorporate your choice of the many features that Moodle offers. You will also find the best way to create effective assessments, and how to create them for now and in the future. The book will also introduce you to many modules, which you can use to make your course unique and create an environment where your students will get maximum benefit. In addition, you will learn how you can save time and reuse your best ideas by taking advantage of Moodle's unique features.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques
About the Authors
About the Reviewer


Congratulations on your decision to use Moodle as your course management system! If you're new to Moodle, you'll be delighted with its ease of use and the flexibility. You'll also appreciate how easily you can reuse your course content and the instructional materials.

After you've used this book to help create and launch your first course, you'll see just how motivated students are when they take a well-designed course in Moodle. They'll be excited because they'll feel connected to each other as they share their own perspectives and ideas from the text.

You'll inspire confidence with your approach to e-learning because it will be easy for students to navigate the course and to take charge of their own educational progress. Your course design will help them develop an "I can do it!" attitude, and they'll feel self confident after going through different ways to learn the material, practice, share, interact, review, and demonstrate their competence. A well-designed course in Moodle creates solid learners, and it also gives you a great advantage as an online instructor.

What makes this book different than a typical software tutorial

If you follow the procedures in this book, you'll be getting the best of many worlds. First, you'll have the chance to have clear, step-by-step guidance as you start working with Moodle. You'll be able to work with screenshots rather than trying to sift through text instructions.

Second, you'll have clear guidance on how to use the different activities and resources in Moodle, and how to modify them to meet your specific needs. You'll love how Moodle accommodates all kinds of learning needs and settings. You'll also like the open architecture that allows you to reuse content and to modify it easily. This feature alone is an incredible timesaver, and this book helps you build your own reusable course templates and also helps create your own repository of instructional materials.

Finally, and in my opinion, most importantly, you'll receive guidance about how to create highly effective courses that help you create a truly dynamic and exciting learning environment. Your students will learn in a collaborative way, and you'll have the flexibility to meet the needs of students with diverse learning styles and preferences.

How Moodle can help me in ubiquitous learning

Ubiquitous learning comprises of e-learning, mobile learning, and hybrid delivery. So, can Moodle help one work with the growing need for ubiquitous learning? Moodle is a true open source solution. It has been around since a long time, as learning management systems go. It has never become obsolete, as opposed to other learning management systems.

Why has Moodle stayed relevant? The answer has to do with its flexible architecture that allows you to use an object-oriented approach, with instructional content that you break down into manageable, reusable instructional chunks, or learning objects.

Moodle also moves with the times. You can easily embed HTML code that allows you to pull in feeds and other dynamic content. Much like a blog, you can use Web 2.0 applications and integrate them. For example, you can let students embed HTML code that integrates an image repository such as Flickr (, and they can update their portfolio whenever they upload their images to Flickr.

This is not to say that you're limited to juggling mash-ups and thinking of ways to integrate Web 2.0 applications. Moodle is much more powerful than that. The key is to think of how and where your students will learn, and then to think of the ways they currently use their laptops, smart phones, and handheld devices. That knowledge will guide you as you develop "real-life" applications.

For example, you can encourage interactivity and ubiquitous learning by structuring your course so that students can post from their handhelds (smartphones, cellphones, handheld devices, and so on). In this way, they can perform field work and share it at the same time. There are other applications, as well. For example, for a journalism course, they can conduct interviews, which they could post to say YouTube, and which can be made accessible in the Moodle course you've designed for them.

I don't want get into too many details about how to develop courses in the preface. I just want to inspire you to dig into this book and to explore it. Let yourself be creative and don't stop your flow of ideas just because you think something can't be done. Chances are that you can do it with Moodle.

I've been developing and administering online courses and programs since the mid-1990s, and I have to say that the reason that I've never lost my enthusiasm for e-learning, and why I'm continually refreshed and reinvigorated is because of the constant emergence of new technologies and software. I love the way that new tools allow me to experiment and develop new, enhanced courses.

Moodle is the perfect platform for experimenting with new and emerging technologies, applications, and tools. You can create the kind of learning environment that suits your needs, and you can expand it to make it an enterprise-wide solution that can power an entire college, business, or school.

Before we move on to the next section of this book, I would like to point out that this edition builds on an earlier version, which was written by William Rice. It has been a pleasure to have the chance to expand his text, and to provide a foundation of learning theory, instructional design essentials, and solid, "road-tested" instructional activities and strategies.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Developing an Effective Online Course, covers Moodle's advantages, core philosophy (the power of many, we learn from each other), and foundational learning theories. It explains the learning object "Lego™" idea of course construction, and why saving and reusing content can be useful. The chapter discusses how people learn in an online course (social learning, emulatory learning, schemata, communities of practice, experiential, and so on), and explores creating conditions of learning. The chapter closes with an overview of the course-building components in Moodle.

Chapter 2, Instructional Material, focuses on selecting and organizing instructional material for your course, using Moodle's strengths (interaction/collaboration), and developing a forum-based approach to course development and instruction. It covers recommended forum titles and functions, and provides step-by-step guidance for creating forums, enrolling students, guiding and motivating students, and creating a learning environment.

Chapter 3, Collaborative Activities, tells you reasons for interaction and collaboration in an online course and explains types of collaboration (discussions, shared files, chat, test preparation, and online study groups). It covers step-by-step instructions for using chat, using chat to review papers, and discusses using chat for foreign language practice. You learn how to save chat transcripts, and receive tips for successful chat, and for customizing your chat (with HTML).

Chapter 4, Assessment, provides keys to successful assessment, and discusses taking the fear out of assessment, reviews, and quizzes. It explores distributed practice provides step-by-step instructions for creating and managing quizzes, and explains creating quizzes to function as learning tools. The chapter discusses keys for creating an effective quiz for review and final assessment, and proctored exams.

Chapter 5, Lesson Solutions, shows you how to plan the lessons (content and sequencing), create conditions for learning, and employ scaffolding. You are given guidance on building confidence, and providing feedback, and you will explore the need for sequential activities, grading, flow control, and lesson formatting. You will also learn how to create flashcards.

Chapter 6, Wiki Solutions, discusses using a wiki to achieve learning objectives. You will explore the use of a wiki while comparing a wiki to other Moodle components. You will receive step-by-step instructions for creating and managing wikis, and will review wiki etiquette, as well as the wiki process.

Chapter 7, Glossary Solutions, covers schema building, and provides learning theory support for glossary activities. You will learn how to create collaborative memory aids to glossary entries, as well as step-by-step instructions for creating and managing glossary entries.

Chapter 8, The Choice Activity, tells the use of the Choice activity, and provides step-by-step instructions for creating and managing this very flexible capability of Moodle. The chapter ties that activity to learning styles and self-regulation.

Chapter 9, Course Solutions, focuses on building the course design document and discusses how to plan your course. It provides a rationale for the use of a course plan and gives strategies for overcoming course anxiety. You will receive step-by-step instructions for creating and managing the entire course and an online calendar.

Chapter 10, Workshop Solution, gives a workshop overview and basics, and covers listing learning objectives. You will learn how to develop a learning strategy, and will receive step-by-step instructions for creating and managing workshops, peer-assessments, and peer collaboration.

Chapter 11, Portfolio/Gallery Solution, explores the benefits of workshops and galleries and discusses the way they are ideal for developing a portfolio or capstone project. This is a project-based assessment approach, and you will learn the best uses of project-based assessment. This chapter incorporates learning objectives, collaboration and cooperation, and provides examples of portfolios and galleries. It discusses using the portfolio approach to encourage creativity. You will be guided through a sample assignment called "My Hometown" that involves a creative writing e-portfolio. This project includes instructions to students, and explores the idea of developing collective conversation, in which you emphasize creating a supportive environment for intellectual risk taking. The chapter provides tips for a successful experience, and gives a final view of the workshop experience and collaborative learning.

What you need for this book

  • Access to a server with Moodle installed on it. If you are an individual educator who wants to set up a course in Moodle, there are services that offer Moodle hosting. Free space is available for teachers at (, while MoodleRooms ( charges a modest annual fee for small users.

  • Instructor or administrator access to Moodle.

  • A computer with Internet access. It is useful to have as much memory as possible.

  • A new web browser.

  • Anti-virus software, especially if your students will be doing document sharing and checking students’ links for online research projects.

Who is this book for

This book is written for educators, corporate trainers, university professors, and others who have a basic knowledge of Moodle. If you don't know how to create basic courseware in Moodle, you can still use this book. But, you will need to learn those basics as you build the solutions in this book. You can use the online help, the forums on the official Moodle site (, a basic Moodle book, and trial-and-error to fill in the gap in your knowledge.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text are shown as follows: "Moodle opens the Course Files folder for you, and you can immediately restore the backup chat to your current course".

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in our text like this: "From the View menu, select Normal (for Word) or Draft (for WordPerfect) or Web Layout (for OpenOffice)".


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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