Friday, 20 December 2019

Creating your own learning site

One of the fabulous things about teaching in an institution is access to the systems to set up online learning, such as Moodle. 

In my teaching, I use Moodle all the time as an information bank. I create and use glossaries to store participant questions, and to provide a searchable way for learners to find answers to their burning questions. I can write an introduction so that learners know what each element is for, then link to different websites, pdfs, files, or videos which will increase their understanding, or smooth their path to mastery.

However, what I wasn't aware of is that, as a private individual, I can create my own Moodle site, using MoodleCloud (here). I had thought that - while Moodle is open source software - that you had to be running your own server in order to have a Moodle site. Instead, MoodleCloud acts as the cloud server for your site, meaning that any of us with the patience to learn the software can set up our own courses.

Whether that is showing people how to navigate a new HR system, or setting up a bug reporting service, or creating our own courses, MoodleCloud can help us get it done.

I am currently setting up one of the free MoodleCloud sites to share resources with my post-graduate supervisees, supported by a glossary to answer many of their common questions. In taking this approach, I am showing a philosophical difference to some of my fellow supervisors, who don't think we need to provide such resources to assist Master's students. However, I feel that, as I have many of the resources already developed from my undergraduate teaching, there is no harm in making them available to help post-graduate learners plug knowledge gaps.

By creating my own MoodleCloud site, my supervisees can access all of the material I have developed, in an environment they are familiar with, while my resources remain separate from the "official" Moodle site. 

The development will take some time, and, as there is an overall size limit of 200 MB on the free sites, I have to get quite clever about linking my materials in from off-site. I am considering setting up a separate Google drive to host these additional resources, but I haven't quite decided yet. I will need to do some more research. Additionally, the sites don't look that flash. It seems likely that there are an underwhelming number of plug-ins activated, probably to keep the platform more stable, but it does make the site very plain. 

I am looking forward to exploring the site's potential. 

I will keep you posted on progress :-)


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