From Left to Right: Yolanda Columbus and Amber Icke

At the TxDLA 2010 Conference, I had a chance to listen to Amber Icke and Yolanda Columbus (pictured above) from Texas A&M share some of their lessons learned regarding Moodle Implementation. While much of the presentation was spent sharing the growth of the Moodle initiative, and the challenges they faced, I really enjoyed some of the take-aways. While I encourage you to listen to the whole presentation, here are some of take-aways that I wrote down from their presentation:

  1. As a university, they decided to move from online lectures (narrated powerpoints) with exams offered in face to face settings to Moodle, although the transition wasn’t so direct (they used an intermediate product, SiteForum).
  2. They tried to use Blackboard but switched back to Moodle.
  3. They began with about 14 academic courses years ago and ended up with about 32 academic course in Spring 2010.
  4. Challenge they faced was integrating Moodle into their existing projects
  5. Virtual servers for Moodle did not work well for them
  6. They had to more clearly define what constituted a site-wide emergency for Moodle implementation…if it wasn’t site-wide and failed to affect multiple students, it did not constitute an emergency.
  7. Simultaneous Online exams on virtual servers (up to 180 plus logins) caused major problems until they switched to dedicated Moodle server running Red Hat Linux.
  8. Educating users involved helping them understand the different between a Help Request (where something isn’t working and needs to be fixed) and a Project (a desire for a new feature that will be a project).
  9. 30 minute response time for users was essential for their Help Support staff in responding to students.
  10. Instead of Linking to content outside of the Moodle, it was important to place it as a Moodle Resource since it makes it easier to track resource usage when running reports.
  11. Use Labels in Moodle to organize content.
  12. Rather than use Single upload for documents, use advanced upload since you will always want to take advantage of multiple uploads.
  13. When setting up True/False questions, don’t use the True/False question in Moodle. Instead, use Multiple Choice. Regrading is easier as multiple choice if you have to make an adjustment as to what is True/False
  14. Take advantage of Random questions with quizzes/exams
  15. Make sure to dedicate time for each employee on your Moodle support team to provide that support and work on Moodle.
Some of the impact for teaching:
  1. Student generated activity reports
  2. Allow for a variety of online assignments and activities
  3. Customization can occur (using Moodle) as compared to other Course Management Systems
  4. In-house college controlled rather than dependent on an outside vendor
  5. Moodle allows us to provide the unique experience I want my students to have.
  6. Course menus were customized for our use (using an existing Moodle module)
  7. Documentation of standards and procedures is important.
  8. Established advisory board
  9. Point person to communicate between instructors/students and technical team
Creative application of Moodle in use at Texas A&M:
  • Course management system usage
  • Document repository
  • Advising services
  • Training
  • easy web site
  • Grant tracking
  • Reservation system (e.g. rooms)

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure