Moodle

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Moodle
Moodle-logo.svg
Moodle 2.0 on Firefox 4.0.png
Moodle course screenshot with Firefox
Original author(s) Martin Dougiamas
Developer(s) Martin Dougiamas
Moodle HQ
Moodle Community
Stable release 2.7 / May 12, 2014; 3 months ago (2014-05-12)[1]
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Course management system
License GPLv3+[2]
Website moodle.org

Moodle (acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) (stylised in lower-case as moodle) is a free software e-learning platform, also known as a Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of June 2013 it had a user base of 83,008 registered and verified sites, serving 70,696,570 users in 7.5+ million courses with 1.2+ million teachers.[3]

Moodle was originally developed by Martin Dougiamas to help educators create online courses with a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content, and is in continual evolution. The first version of Moodle was released on 20 August 2002.

The Moodle project comprises several distinct but related elements, namely

  • the software.
  • Moodle Pty Ltd (also known as Moodle.com and Moodle Headquarters, based in Perth, Western Australia), an Australian company which performs the majority of the development of the core Moodle platform.
  • the Moodle Community, an open network of over one million registered users who interact through the Moodle community website to share ideas, code, information and free support. This community also includes a large number of non-core developers, with Moodle's free source license and modular design allowing any developer to create additional modules and features that has allowed Moodle to become a truly global, collaborative project in scope.
  • the Moodle Partner network, which forms the commercial arm of the Moodle environment and provides the bulk of the funding to Moodle Pty Ltd through the payment of royalties.

Features[edit]

Moodle has several features considered typical of an e-learning platform, in addition to some original innovations like its filtering system.[4] Moodle is a learning management system (LMS). Moodle can be used in many types of environments such as in education, training and development, and business settings.

Some typical features of Moodle are:[5]

  • Assignment submission
  • Discussion forum
  • Files download
  • Grading
  • Moodle instant messages
  • Online calendar
  • Online news and announcement (College and course level)
  • Online quiz
  • Wiki

Developers can extend Moodle's modular construction by creating plugins for specific new functionality. Moodle's infrastructure supports many types of plug-ins:

  • activities (including word and math games)
  • resource types
  • question types (multiple choice, true and false, fill in the blank, etc.)
  • data field types (for the database activity)
  • graphical themes
  • authentication methods (can require username and password accessibility)
  • enrollment methods
  • content filters

Many freely available third-party Moodle plugins make use of this infrastructure.[6]

Moodle users can use PHP to write and contribute new modules. Moodle's development has been assisted by the work of open source programmers.[7] This has contributed towards its rapid development and rapid bug fixes.

By default Moodle includes the TCPDF library that allows the generation of PDF documents from pages.

SCORM Compliance[edit]

The SCORM standards define e-learning systems and make them interoperable. Moodle is SCORM 1.2 compliant, but does not support SCORM 2004 or Tin Can. [8]

Deployment[edit]

Users can install Moodle from source, but this requires more technical proficiency than other automated approaches such as installing from a Debian package, deploying a ready-to-use TurnKey Moodle appliance,[9] using the Bitnami installer, or using a "one-click install" service such as Installatron.[10]

Some free Moodle hosting providers allow educators to create Moodle-based online classes without installation or server knowledge. Some paid Moodle hosting providers provide value-added services like customization and content development.

Interoperability[edit]

Moodle runs without modification on Unix, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X, NetWare and any other systems that support PHP and a database, including most webhost providers.

Data goes in a single database. Moodle version 1.6 could use MySQL or PostgreSQL. Version 1.7, released November 2006, makes full use of database abstraction so that installers can choose one from many types of database servers such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

E-learning systems can have many dimensions of interoperability. Moodle's interoperability features include:

  • authentication, using LDAP, Shibboleth, or various other standard methods (e.g. IMAP)
  • enrollment, using IMS Enterprise among other standard methods, or by direct interaction with an external database
  • quizzes and quiz questions, allowing import/export in a number of formats: GIFT (moodle's own format), IMS QTI, XML and XHTML (NB although export works very well, import is currently not complete). Moodle provides various types of questions: calculated, description, essay, matching, embedded answers, multiple choice, short answer, numerical, random short answer matching, true/false.
  • resources, using IMS Content Packaging, SCORM, AICC (CBT), LAMS
  • integration with other Content Management Systems such as Drupal, Joomla or Postnuke (via third-party extensions)
  • syndication, using RSS or Atom newsfeeds; external newsfeeds can be displayed in a course, and forums, blogs, and other features can be made available to others as newsfeeds.

Moodle also has import features for use with other specific systems, such as importing quizzes or entire courses from Blackboard or WebCT. However, these import tools are not perfect. As of February 2010, Moodle will not import Blackboard courses, apparently due to changes in php code-releases. Some available utilities help convert Blackboard courses to a Moodle-friendly format.[11]

In March 2012 Blackboard acquired two companies based on Moodle's software including Baltimore-based Moodlerooms Inc. and NetSpot of Adelaide, Australia.[12] Moodlerooms Inc. is located in the same building as another online education company called StraighterLine and has close relations.

Background[edit]

Origins[edit]

Martin Dougiamas, who has graduate degrees in computer science and education, wrote the first version of Moodle. Dougiamas started a Ph.D. to examine "the use of open source software to support a social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning within Internet-based communities of reflective inquiry." Although how exactly social constructionism makes Moodle different from other eLearning platforms is difficult to show, it has been cited as an important factor by Moodle adopters.[13][14] Other Moodle adopters, such as the Open University in the UK, have pointed out that Learning Management Systems can equally be seen as "relatively pedagogy-neutral".[15]

Pedagogical approach[edit]

The stated philosophy of Moodle[16] includes a constructivist and social constructionist approach to education, emphasizing that learners (and not just teachers) can contribute to the educational experience. Using these pedagogical principles, Moodle provides a flexible environment for learning communities.[17]

Origin of the name[edit]

The acronym Moodle stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. (In the early years the "M" stood for "Martin's", named after Martin Dougiamas, the original developer). As well as being an acronym, the name was chosen because of the dictionary definition of Moodle[18] and to correspond to an available domain name.[19]

"Moodle" is a trademark in many countries around the world registered to Martin Dougiamas. Only Moodle Partners may legally use the trademark to advertise any Moodle-related services such as hosting, customization, training and so on.

Moodle statistics and market share[edit]

By 31 August 2011:

  • Moodle had a user-base of 55,110 registered sites with 44,966,541 users in 4,763,446 courses in 214 countries and in more than 75 languages.[20]
  • The site with the most users, moodle.org, has 66 courses and 1,090,234 users. Following a £5 million investment in 2005, The Open University, UK is the second-largest Moodle deployment by user-base, with 714,310 users and 6,093 courses. A comprehensive list of the top ten Moodle sites (by courses and by users) is maintained at moodle.org.[21]

Development[edit]

Moodle has continued to evolve since 1999 (since 2001 with the current architecture). Major improvements in accessibility and display flexibility were developed in 1.5. The current version can be seen at the top of the table of releases, below. It has been translated into 82 different languages and is accessible in many countries worldwide.

Not having to pay license fees or to limit growth, an institution can add as many Moodle servers as needed. The Open University of the UK currently uses a Moodle installation for their 200,000 users.[22]

It is often known for individual departments of institutions to use the unlimited feature, such as the maths department of the University of York.

The development of Moodle continues as a free software project supported by a team of programmers and an international user community, drawing upon contributions posted to the online Moodle Community website that encourages debate and invites criticism. As of 11 July 2012, Moodle is developing Moodle Mobile on HTML5 and PhoneGap. It is planned to be released at the end of 2012.[23]

Users can freely distribute and modify the software under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 or any later version.[2]

There are many vendors that host Moodle such as Remote-Learner and MoodleRooms—which was recently purchased by Blackboard. Because Moodle is an open source software, Moodle can be customized to fit academic needs for students, instructors and the Moodle administrators. Remote-Learner provides their flavor of Moodle called ELIS and MoodleRooms has their own flavor called joule.

Releases[edit]

Branch Original
release date
Version Version
release date
Support Model Release notes
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 20 August 2002 1.0.9 30 May 2003 EOL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.1 29 August 2003 1.1.1 11 September 2003 EOL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.2 20 March 2004 1.2.1 25 March 2004 EOL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.3 25 May 2004 1.3.5 9 September 2004 EOL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.4 31 August 2004 1.4.5 7 May 2005 EOL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.5 5 June 2005 1.5.4 21 May 2006 EOL URL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.6 20 May 2006 1.6.9 28 January 2009 EOL URL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.7 7 November 2006 1.7.7 28 January 2009 EOL URL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.8 30 March 2007 1.8.14 3 December 2010 EOL URL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.9 3 March 2008 1.9.19 9 July 2012 EOL (Maintained from March 2008 to June 2012. Third-party extended support until December 2013)[24] URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0 24 November 2010 2.0.10 9 July 2012 EOL (Maintained from November 2010 to June 2012) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1 1 June 2011 2.1.10 14 January 2013 EOL (Maintained from June 2011 to December 2012) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2 5 December 2011 2.2.11 8 July 2013 EOL (Maintained from December 2011 to June 2013) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.3 25 June 2012 2.3.10 11 November 2013 EOL (Maintained from June 2012 to December 2013) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.4 3 December 2012 2.4.7 11 November 2013 EOL (Maintained from December 2012 to June 2014) URL
Older version, yet still supported: 2.5 14 May 2013 2.5.3 11 November 2013 Active (Maintained from May 2013 to November 2014) URL
Older version, yet still supported: 2.6 18 November 2013 2.6.1 13 January 2014 Active (Maintained from December 2013 to June 2015) URL
Current stable version: 2.7 12 May 2014 2.7.1 14 July 2014 Active (Maintained from May 2014 to May 2017) URL
Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release


Certification[edit]

Since 2006 there has been an official certification available for teachers using Moodle. Initially called the Moodle Teacher Certificate (MTC), this was renamed in 2008 to the Moodle Course Creator Certificate (MCCC). MCCC is available only through Moodle Partners, and through Central Certification Services. Discussion is ongoing regarding an official Moodle Administrators Certificate.

Moodle conferences[edit]

MoodleMoot is the name given to the meetings held by the Moodle community.[25] Such conferences take place regularly all over the world and are normally hosted by a university or other institution. They are typically supported by a Moodle Partner and some are preceded by a technical Unconference.

Moodle Conference Center[26] has announcements of Annual Meetings and open MoodleMoots.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Releases". Moodle. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Moodle License". 
  3. ^ "Moodle stats page". Moodle.org. 
  4. ^ "E-learning". http://www.cpce-polyu.edu.hk/itu/new/: Information Technology Unit (itu). Retrieved 2011-03-01. "Moodle is a well-known e-learning platform in tertiary institutions. Many universities and colleges use Moodle as the online learning system in their daily teaching and learning. Moodle is a free source software it means developer can make modification based on their needs. CPCE decides to use Moodle as a e-learning platform for HKCC and SPEED from 2009/10 academic year onwards." 
  5. ^ "E-Learning Features". http://www.cpce-polyu.edu.hk/itu/new/: Information Technology Unit (itu). Retrieved 2011-03-01. "Moodle serves as an online e-learning platform to facilitate the communications between teachers and students. Some typical features provided by Moodle are listed below." 
  6. ^ "Modules and Plugins". Moodle.org. 
  7. ^ "About Moodle". Moodle.org Documentation. 
  8. ^ http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/SCORM_FAQ#Supported_Versions
  9. ^ "Moodle Appliance". TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library. 
  10. ^ http://www.installatron.com/moodle
  11. ^ "Blackboard migration". moodle.org. 
  12. ^ "Blackboard makes Moodle acquisitions". bizjournals.com. 
  13. ^ Weller, M. (2006). VLE 2.0 and future directions in learning environments. Proceedings of the first LAMS Conference, Sydney. 
  14. ^ McMulli & Munroe (2004). "VMoodle at DCU". 
  15. ^ Sclater, Neil (2008). A Large-scale Open Source eLearning Systems at the Open University. Educase. 
  16. ^ Moodle Philosophy
  17. ^ "Open-Source Learning Management System". Moodlerooms. 
  18. ^ "Moodle definition". All Words. 
  19. ^ "The chicken or the egg". Moodle.org Lounge. 
  20. ^ Current Moodle Statistics
  21. ^ Moodle Statistics
  22. ^ Case study in Linux Pro magazine
  23. ^ Dougiamas, Martin Dougiamas. "Martin in black and white Mobile Moodle app moving to HTML5". Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  24. ^ Marsden, Dan (2 April 2012). "Moodle 1.9 Long Term support". Moodle. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  25. ^ MoodleMoot at moodle.org
  26. ^ The Conference Center at moodle.org

External links[edit]

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Other[edit]

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