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Moodle 1.9 E-Learning Course Development
June 27, 2008
Week: 139 All time: 226
Mauricio Garcia Nascimento"Moodle 1.9 - E-Learning Course Development" book describes the main and most common features that Moodle users need to know to install, configure, create online courses, post materials, manage users accounts, user role assignments and other Moodle's procedures.
Let me take a moment to explain to first-timers what Moodle is. According to the official Web site, "it is a course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities".
Moodle currently has a very large community composed by users and developers from more than 190 countries around the world. That fact demonstrates that this system is widely spread and adopted by a wide range of online learning courses and CMS-based Web sites.
Currently Moodle's book market has very few titles. Fortunately, this book by William Rice can fill this gap. Rice is a well known consultant and author of online learning titles.
I already read his previous Moodle book. I can surely say that this new book is the real Moodle guide. It is more comprehensive and has plenty of well designed illustrations.
He also avoids technical jargon throughout the text, so anyone interested in the field of online learning can understand what he says, even non-geek users.
This book can be a very interesting source of information to everybody, from first-timers to intermediate level online learning system audience, including students, teachers, and last but not least system administrators.
It can be very useful for training classes too. Trainers can also develop specific classes, for all kinds of Moodle uses or purposes.
The book is divided into logical and sequential sections: system overview, installation, online pedagogical materials, course creation, user administration and Moodle advanced features.
Chapter 1 gives an overview of the book and what we can do with Moodle. Although it is an interesting introduction for beginners, it can also become very complex for them, because Rice described so many features in just one chapter. I recommend reading this chapter even if you already have a previous experience with Moodle and you want to refresh your knowledge in some of topics.
Chapters 2 and 3 describe how to install and configure Moodle. These are the most technical sections of the book. It is a must read chapter if you are a system administrator. A deep understanding of major Moodle configuration details is essential for you. I also recommend these chapters for advanced course creators and for those who would like to know how the system and its rules work. Other readers can jump to chapter 4.
Chapter 4 delves inside the creation of online courses, categories (a tree structure for course organization), and standard Moodle blocks. It is very interesting for course creators, teachers and system administrators, who want to manage courses content. Course configuration involves many features, so read this chapter carefully.
Chapters 5, 6 and 7 are indicated to all readers. With more than 120 pages, they contain a comprehensive explanation about most online course materials, including their creation, configuration and usage.
As you should know by the time you reach this point of the book, Moodle provides means to manage static materials (files, labels, pages, etc), interactive materials (assignments, lessons, quizzes, etc) and social materials (chat, forum, wiki, etc). The author describes each of them with a great level of detail. Many illustrations that follow his explanations are very interesting and can improve our reading experience.
Chapters 8 and 9 explain how to manage user accounts, privileges, authorization system and user roles. As you might expect, Moodle offers a wide range of configuration and customization, including regular users authentication and system look and feel. A set of tools designed for teachers is also described in chapter 9, including reports, user logs system and Moodle grading and rating system.
Chapter 10 introduces some advanced Moodle topics, including getting and installing external system modules, managing course backups, and working with user roles and privileges.
In my opinion, I would not recommend this book to advanced system administrators nor for those who expect a complete guide about Moodle extensions, core development or internal system tricks. Sadly, there is not yet a Moodle book directed to this audience, like it is Packt's "Joomla extension development" book about complex Joomla CMS features.
On the other hand, it is the best book choice for all Moodle regular procedures, like installing, configuring, using, administering and teaching Moodle techniques. I work with Moodle for 3 years. From now on this is an essential Moodle guide on my personal bookshelf.