May 12 2011

Following Up From Moodlemoot Canada

Written by Jim Yupangco

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We had a great time participating at the Moodlemoot Canada conference in Edmonton this month. It was a real pleasure meeting our fellow Moodle enthusiasts, presenting some of our own findings and learning from online learning and Moodle development experts from across the land.

We see that some of our colleagues have beaten us to the punch in blogging about the Moodle conference. Here’s a quick roundup:

Some Random Thoughts presents an excellent drilled-down description of Martin Dougiamas’ Keynote at Moodlemoot Canada. Martin is the guy who pretty much got Moodle off the ground. He’s got some interesting statistics showing that Moodle is increasingly becoming the Learning Management System of choice:

  • 54,000 verified sites worldwide.
  • 41 Million users
  • 97 language packs (17 fully complete, the rest are in various states)
  • 54 Moodle Partners who fund the project and its going very well ensuring the project will continue into the future. (such as Remote-Learner who I work for)
  • USA still has the highest raw number of installations and Spain has half of that with much less population.
  • Brazil is now 3rd in the world and has overtaken the UK now in total installs.
  • 3 of the top 10 are English speaking
  • per head of population, Portugal has the largest number of Moodle installations.

Moodlemoot Keynote Presenter Stephen Downes offers an audio podcast of a panel on “Talking About All Things Open”. This interesting discussion focused on “the opportunity associated with the convergence of multiple related "open" initiatives. Imagine an education future that combines open source software, open access research publishing, open government/data, open educational resources, open pedagogies and open networks.”

Moodlemoot attendee Amy Perrey took extensive notes throughout the conference on several days. She seems to have live-blogged a whole bunch of sessions, leaving a great resource for those who couldn’t make it to every session. Here’s an example from her notes from day 1 of Moodlemoot on “Soft is Hard, Hard is Easy: Getting the Right Balance” – a presentation by Jon Dron and Terry Anderson.

What is a pedagogy using Moodle?– Teaching online is different than teaching in the classroom, you have to think outside the box. Text on a screen doesn’t necessarily translate well. You have to use the tools that you are given.  Moodle is a suitcase for content, feedback. Looking at assessment – more project based assignments, need really good questions for forums (how to craft a good question). Needs to be interactive, not just using forums but more online interactive activities. Need to keep students engaged through a distance, being organized is very important, students can use chats discussions.  Participation is keep for online learning.

Educational technologist and online instructor Shelley Friesen pointed out a big part of what we liked about the Moodlemoot conference:

The absolute best thing about conferences are the people you meet and reconnect with. Whether la mesdames from Quebec, the college employees from Ontario and British Columbia, or those in secondary education right here in Alberta, the people made the experience all the more interesting.

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