I am passionate about Moodle, instructional design & eLearning technology. This blog is here to document my learning & progress through applying constructivist & cognitive learning theory to the design of online courses using the latest & greatest web 2.0 tools & social learning concepts. Relevant experience of mine includes a B.A. in Child Development, 5 years of supporting the Moodle LMS, & a certificate in Online Teaching & Learning (M.S. Ed in Spring 2010). I currently do documentation & online course development for Moodlerooms, a hosting, development & support solution for Moodle. My opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.
Gina Minks reflected recently on how she got into and stayed with technology as a career. She has a call for women in technology to share their stories in an effort to show others why they should join us.
I'm currently wrapping up the graduate course EDUI 6707: History/Culture of Online Learning Communities. Twitter has been at the focal point of my personal learning network since January, and I felt compelled to make this topic of my midterm paper, Tips to Twitterfy your Teaching. A part of our assignment was to submit the paper for publication, and thus it was just published over at the California Virtual Campus site. I'd like to share it with you here as well. The final project for this class is a group effort (and extension of this midterm) that I will soon publish on Scribd entitled Twittaptation: Twitter Techniques for Learning Professionals.
Click "Read More" to finish reading Tips to Twitterfy your Teaching.
The Online Teaching Conference is happening this Thursday and Friday, June 11 & 12 in Aptos, CA. Luckily for those of us who can't attend in person, about half of the conference is being offered online for free. It's not too late to register to participate in the live sessions, and all archives will be made available by next week.
I had the pleasure of designing and constructing the portal for the online portions of this confrence, which just launched today. It is using the Moodle Flexpage format with a combination of other Moodlerooms customizations such as the Central Resource System (the Sponsors region on the left that appears on every presentation page is controlled by a single, editable resource); the Coursename filter (the buttons you see to access the presentations); and the mrsite theme (the header & footer is actually located in & editable from the Central Resource System). If you have any questions about the design of the portal, I welcome them in the comments.
I offer a monthly free Introduction to Teaching with Moodle class on Edufire, and have recently scheduled June's edition. It's happening Monday, June 29th at 5:30pm PST. I will be developing a few more classes on Edufire about Moodle topics this summer, too. What would you like to see?
Some feedback about my course:
Very informative class packed with useful information. Allisun provides expert demonstrations and useful lecture material that gives an excellent overview of Moodle.
Lisa on Monday Apr 13
I thought Allisun did a wonderful job of introducing Moodle to the class. She kept the class engaged with questions and answered them as the arose but stayed on track with the presentation. I will say, there were times when I was experiencing lags in the video and audio but overall a good experience. The lags may have been due to the fact that I am in Japan and she was in the US. I will look into other class/course by Allisun and other instructors as well. Good job to Allisun and EduFire.
Bill on Tuesday Mar 17
Allisun ran a huge class really well and shared lots of interesting information. I humbly suggest some student activities might be good for future sessions - possibly a short time 'playing' with some live Moodles via own browser outside eduFire. A great class though, and definitely recommended.
Mair on Tuesday Mar 17
Very nicely run class. I was more interested in an overall view of how one might use Moodle and felt this was definitely delivered. Also appreciated reading several of the informative chat q&a on the sidebar including from some who clearly weren't seeing Moodle for the first time. Learners helping learners - nice!
Mark on Thursday Mar 19
the 1.5 hr presentation was a generous hands-on tutorial on moodle's general features and usability. the intro course shares moodle as an all-in-one teaching application that unburdens the teachers load with its simple system of monitoring and organization. thanks again, allisun! an online tutor who actively responds to spontaneous queries is a world of a difference to an embedded powerpoint. thank you for sharing us your time. ^_^
ana on Tuesday Mar 31
Highlights from the eLearning, edtech & Moodle links I reviewed this week.
- A visual of Bloom's Taxonomy applied to Web 2.0 - this illustration, created by Mike Fisher, has actually been my desktop image for the last two months. Two other great links discussing Bloom's as a digital taxonomy can be found here and here. This is a topic I am in love with & can't wait to apply more in my work.
- Looking for a conference to attend this summer? The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research (CIDER) has compiled a list to easily locate events by month. They welcome suggestions for anything not on their list as well.
- Seventeen Interesting Ways to use Voicethread in the Classroom is a great Google Docs presentation featuring tips for use and ideas for assignments with Voicethread. Voicethread is a free collaboration/presentation tool. The Voicethread environment allows you to mashup powerpoint, videos, and images with Voicethread-recorded commentary (audio or webcam) and a text/doodle/comment whiteboard-type tool. Take these creative ideas & easily embed student's Voicethread work in Moodle.
- Free eLearning White Papers. Epic, a UK eLearning development company, provides informative white papers on the subjects of eLearning benefits, blended learning and learning design theory, pedagogy and motivation, innovation, implementation, and more.
- The 2 Minute Moodles channel on Vimeo was launched recently, featuring bite-sized Moodle tutorials created by Tomaz Lasic - currently at 33 videos!
- Future Trend Report: SLOODLE is an informative news-style video on Moodle, Second Life, and their love-child SLOODLE. The beginning is a bit long and talking-head, but stay with it for a great demo of SLOODLE features and their cute take on a virtual news-reporter video. It was created by graduate students in the Educational Media Design and Technology Masters Degree Program at Full Sail University - looks like a cool program.
Are you Ready for an Online Course? A live recording of Michelle Pacansky-Brock's 60-minute workshop to students at Sierra College that discuses the differences between face-to-face and online learning, requirements to be prepared and tips to support success.
Intelligent Video: The Top Cultural & Educational Video Sites. A goldmine of links for those on a quest to find relevant video resources to education, culture, society - anything deemed "intelligent." Currently lists 40 different sites with a promise to update as more are contributed by readers.
Welcome to my new weekly link roundup!
Every Friday I will feature eLearning and ed tech links I've just discovered during the week, as well as revisit and correctly annotate the resources I have already amassed at my Delicious account (700 as of today!).
Many of these gems have been discovered via my favorite Personal Learning Network, Twitter. Others are uncovered in my own research & reviews of the literature (something I'm doing a lot of right now as a graduate student).
And without further ado....my eLearning Link Love for the week of 5-22-09!
What would Angel users really like to see in Moodle? Moodle's creator, Martin Dougiamas, began a discussion on this topic over at Moodle.org. Anthony Borrow has contributed some solid suggestions put together from his experience with a Angel university. Tune in & put in your own two cents to see how this conversation evolves.
My first encounter with Kineo was in January, when I stumbled upon their eLearning Green Room through an eLearning Pick of the Day from Jane Hart. I was impressed with the quality of material shared in the Green Room interviews with eLearning professionals, & the ingenuity of their presentation of said interviews. Since then, I have uncovered many rich resources from Kineo - most recently, a compilation of their eLearning Tips - they're at 23 now and there's no end in site for the growth of this resource, so definitely one worth watching!
Technology & Project/Problem-based leanring - the iSchool. Students at this New York City school are using social networking, video conferencing, digital acctivism and media creation to engage with and learn from peers and professionals around the world. Their interdisciplinary curriculum is based on what they call learning modules with projects focused on real-world issues. And yes...they use Moodle. The article is an inspiring look into the work these students are doing & is worth signing up for to read it in entirety.
New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development, from the MacArthur Foundation. This research sums up important characteristics of youth today. It will not come as a surprise to many that one of the main conclusions is that learning is increasingly peer-based.
Two Twitter-related gems: ZaidLearn is compiling a list of the juiciest learning professionals and Moodlerific recently started a list of Moodlers on Twitter. The Moodle list is a bit short at the moment so if you Tweet and Moodle, speak up over there.
BMW's current research project presents the ultimate interactive job aid. I am beyond excited about the possiblities of technology like this, also exhibited in MIT student's work to turn the internet into a sixth sense and the coolest toy I've seen yet - interactive tiles known as Siftables (also an MIT grad student project).
Are you one of the many wanting to see examples of best pratice use of Moodle courses? There is a Wikispace devoted to this topic. I've been slowly bookmarking these myself, and will take the time soon to update this Wiki with anything I have that they've missed. I totally sympathesize with the comment there about open access, and am always impressed when I find a good Moodle example site like this one on technology skills that lets you in without a login screen (this is not impossible to do with Moodle but institutions vary widely in their configuration of how this is handled).
One more on the note of example Moodle courses - Miguel Guhiln also has particular interest in this issue for the K-12 sector. He just launched his own project to compile example Moodle classes, aided by a plea to the Twitterverse to share classes with the #mymoodle hash tag.
I recently registered for the MoodleMoot in San Francisco, which coincides with the Sloan-C conference June 17-19. I'll be attending many exciting presentations, but the one I am most eagerly awaiting to hear is from Martin Dougiamas, Moodle's creator. He recently spoke on the developments being made in Moodle 2.0 as part of a presentation on Using open source to support education at the Educause conference in Australia, and published his slides.
Moodle 2.0 details start around slide 20 of the presentation. They are a tanatalizing sneak peek into what promises to be the most exciting, impactful developments made in Moodle core in....well, since Moodle's inception, in my opinion. But they are only slides, and I can tell the real treasure of details lay in Martin's speech - the one I'm so eager to hear : )
Highlights include a mock-up of new sticky block menu-based navigation, improved messaging controls, and a greatest-hits list of new features - with much-needed make-overs of the old (hello new Wiki, Blog, and HTML editor! I can't wait to meet you). New features in Moodle 2.0 include a central content management repository, outcomes & course project tracking, tagging of content, activities & courses, and more.
So, when can we expect Moodle 2.0? My personal estimation is early 2010. You can keep a close eye on the progress by taking a peek at the Moodle 2.0 Planning Document, a frequently-updated Google Spreadsheet.
Find out more about the details of Moodle 2.0 features in the Moodle Roadmap, and stay tuned for more information here.
UPDATE: Martin is not speaking at the SF Moot. Bummer!
When Humboldt State University moved from Blackboard to Moodle, I was responsible for the coordination of the conversion of hundreds of courses & the retraining of dozens of faculty. One of the key projects I worked on after the dust settled was the development of their Moodle FAQ database.
Some of the topics are specific to their installation & circumstances, but there's over a 100 questions in there, so check it out - you may just find an answer. For those wondering, I built the site with Drupal (also the platform of my blog) which I think is an excellent choice for building an FAQ.
I have been offering a monthly webinar class through Edufire that introduces Moodle & applications for its tools. The turnout has been awesome, with 99 enrolled (the maximum allowed) in my first class, and 85 in the second. I'm very appreciative of the incredible feedback I've been getting in the form of Edufire comments on the course (nice feature, Edufire!), and I'm enjoying the challenging of making this class even better each time.
My next one is on a Sunday morning the first week of May. You can enroll at this link. I've been having a great time teaching with Edufire and am getting better with the tricks of handling a webinar course with their platform, Adobe Connect. I am looking forward to the free Adobe eSeminar on Secrets of Webinar Production & Management. There's another in May titled Making your Webinars as Engaging as In-Person events. I will be sure to recap my takeaways here. Register here: http://tinyurl.com/adobewebinars
Web Conferencing Systems: I find all the intricacies & differences between webinar platforms interesting - so far I've worked with WebEx, Adobe Connect, and DimDim and have participated in sessions with Elluminate & Wimba. While the ultimate features are very similar, certain administrative tasks can be very different. For instance, managing roles & microphone rights in WebEx is very smooth & easy to work with, and one can view the chat room while screensharing. I haven't looked into this deeply, but I did not see an apparent way to screenshare and show a presentation at the same time. Adobe Connect's roles are a bit more confusing yet their blocks interface allows you to easily set up a slideshow & application share. However, during my second Moodle class session, the full screen button for my application share which I had grown so comfortable using was disappearing & failing to work. This caused a bit of a bumpy ride, but I now have a clearer strategy of handling the interface if this happens again.
Moodle Tip: Every one of the webinar systems above has an integration of some sort with Moodle, and a free one is available so you should be seriously considering the use of a live web meeting system to enrich your online & face-to-face courses. These integrations typically offer the ability to create, schedule, and access the web meeting - with connections to Moodle's calendar and gradebook. I will be writing more on strategies & practices for employing webinar software soon. You can find some links to get you started below, and I plan to update this list with further details, links & info.
Adobe Connect: An Adobe Connect Reseller, RefinedData, offers an integration. There is a review of this posted on the Moodle community, and a Powerpoint of how this has worked for Lubeck University in Germany.
DimDim Web Meeting: The only free solution of the bunch. This is an easy to download & install 3rd party module for Moodle 1.8 & beyond.
Elluminate: Remote-Learner's integration with Open Knowledge Technologies involves a module and a block, with an option for an ELM version if you're hosting Elluminate yourself, or an SAS version if Elluminate is hosting for you. Elluminate offers documentation, a quick reference guide, and a free one-year full use license to any K-12 school.
WebEx: A WebEx module & integration will be available soon with Moodlerooms. I recently documented this feature & am excited for its release! More information will be posted to their documentation site as it is available, which I will announce here.
Wimba: Wimba has a lot of support for this integration - they occasionally offer a live demo, provide a documentation guide for versions 1.6 through 1.9, and have a showcase and sandbox area you can play in. Moodlerooms offers a Wimba integration which Michael Penney will be speaking to in a webinar on April 28th.