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Learning Management Systems - Do you use them?

 
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Matty



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 52
Location: _ Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:06 am    Post subject: Learning Management Systems - Do you use them? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm getting into using Moodle, a learning management system, for use with a small 'guineapig' group of volunteer students.

I think the needs of EFL students are a lot more demanding of media that your typical university/college course and I'm wondering what experiences other people have had with this kind of thing.

My students are all at around Upper-Intermediate level and some of them are taking the Cambridge CAE exam this summer. Moodle's great for practice tests and submitting written compositions for review and marking. It has some major drawbacks for handling multi-media though, especially Flash based materials.

What experiences are you people having out there? Got any tips or tricks or things that have worked well for you?

Looking forward to reading your replies!

Matt Smile
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iLearner.eu



Joined: 29 Feb 2008
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Learning Management Systems - Do you use them? Reply with quote

Matty wrote:
Hi all,

My students are all at around Upper-Intermediate level and some of them are taking the Cambridge CAE exam this summer. Moodle's great for practice tests and submitting written compositions for review and marking. It has some major drawbacks for handling multi-media though, especially Flash based materials

Matt Smile

I've been using Moodle for 3 years. Haven't noticed any problems with flash. I especially like media filter. My students don't need to download anything. File sharing in 1.9 though needs some improvement.

There is a service for language teachers who need a "virtual" class but don't want to bother about installation, databases and hosting.
http://www.iLearner.eu

Have you tried Q&A forum?

Contact me if you need help with Moodle
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Matty



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 52
Location: _ Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi iLearner.eu,

Thanks for the offer of help. I'm a Flash developer working in eLearning so I'm used to working with databases, dynamic content, etc.

Moodle has got a Flash plug-in of sorts that was written in the early days of Flash MX2004 (version 6) for the Universitat Autonima de Barcelona to a very strange set of specifications that they wanted. It's not compatible with subsequent versions of Flash. I'm currently in touch with the author, Jamie Pratt, working out the specifications and schematics for an entirely new Flash module for Moodle. Don't hold your breath though, we're both very busy and it's gonna be a few months before we get anything together.

The only other way of including Flash learning interactions in Moodle is by using its SCORM simulator, which isn't working at the moment. They're advertising for a SCORM specialist to help them sort it out, I believe. If you want to use SCORM you're better off using the University of Cologne's ILIAS system which is SCORM certified.

All LMS's have their pros and cons but I think Moodle has got the most potential for CALL since it aims to keep students in touch with each other and allows them to work collaboratively and a number of different ways. It's especially good for students with a high enough level to be classified as 'independent users'.

I'd be interested to hear your and other people's thoughts on this.

I like your site. It's a nice idea to make Moodle available for people to try it out. It's a good way to get people into taking CALL more seriously and include it in their EFL courses.

BTW - there's a typo on your front page: "Demonstrarion"
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fractal



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been using Drupal, and am quite happy with the options provided. I am sorry I cannot provide a link as for copyright reasons the learning centre is only available on the university intranet. Basically, it functions more like a self-access centre, and contains mainly units for self-study and self-assessment supplemented by snippets of multimedia (audio, video, animation) here and there.

I would definitely prefer Moodle for course-management.
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Matty



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 52
Location: _ Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drupal's a content management system isn't it? I've heard of it but don't have any direct experience with it.

Moodle is more like a CMS than an LMS (an LCMS?) - it doesn't profile students' performance, it only records their results for each activity independently.

How does your system work? How do you record students' activities?
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fractal



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Matty - blame it on the vampire shift, as it was rather late and I must have been half-asleep, and was thinking CMS, rather than LMS when I replied the first time (or on the blonde streaks... there!).
Drupal - for an obnoxious newbie it was very easy to manage; as I mentioned, the intranet locus is much more of a self-access centre. Different courses are separated into subsections of the site; students can navigate in a linear way, or jump to the nodes that are of particular interest. The stats are pretty basic, I haven't discovered yet a way to conveniently visualise the paths, all I have is who spent how much time doing what - but this is barely enough. There is no way to monitor individual or group progress, let alone gather data for analysis. What can I say... it was more about getting my feet wet. As CMS I love Drupal; as a teacher - I hate what I did. It took a lot of time, a lot of effort, some students like it and use it a lot, but I wouldn't award myself a Pass. It is not as attractive, intriguing and motivating as I had hoped it would be.
I am fooling around with Moodle now, and hopefully by next September I will have at least a basic site running.

Btw, I did experiment with dictations too, in flash; but I would just upload the file without depending on any integration specific to Drupal; what is the FlashMd?
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Matty



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 52
Location: _ Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dictations I created, one for essay type recordings like news items and lectures and another for dialogues i.e. two people having a conversation so you have to listen and write either one or both sides of the conversation.

I've tried them out on volunteer students and ex-students of mine to get some detailed feedback about them, and they were pretty well received overall and I got some really good suggestions and criticisms.

The FlashMod is a project that looks as if it is finally beginning to get off the ground. It's basically a module that plugs into Moodle which deploys Flash interactions (i.e. lessons, quizzes, presentations, tests, etc.) in Moodle courses and then sends any student data recorded to the Moodle database. There's currently a module that already does this to a degree but it's out of date and very restrictive. Actually, it was never really finished because the money ran out for the development funding.

You can check out the proposal, schematic and (very basic) PHP code on my Wiki: http://matbury.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page#Moodle_FlashMod

I have to stress that I'm not a PHP developer. I'll only be doing the Flash side of things and advising on the best ways to integrate Flash and Moodle. I'm currently liaising with the founder of Moodle, Martin Dougiamas. Let's see how far it gets!
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fractal



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Matty; I do need to look into it in more detail.

My dictations were 1 - word dictations (like, fill in the gaps type); 2 sentence by sentence dictations (or fragment by fragment) with immediate feedback; 3 - maybe what you mean by essay dictation (a bigger chunk of text). The data is controversial, to say the least.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience; I will keep an eye on this thread, and will post when I get something useful to say. Right now, I am pretty much down and desperate. But will try to get to the happy-puppy state soon. Sad
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matbury



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Brighton, UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again fractal,

I've set up a demo course on my Moodle LMS with a few of my Flash activities. Feel free to check them out and comment on them. You can login as a guest so there's no need to set up a user account:

http://matbury.com/moodle/

The FlashMod has take a new turn and a new name. It's now going to be set up as a web service allowing it to hook into Moodle's API. This basically means that once the module's service library is set up, it'll be much easier to adapt and extend for more advanced Moodle - Flash interaction. It'll also use Flash remoting (AMF0 and AMF3) to communicate with Moodle which is much faster and more powerful than XML, RTCP, JSON, etc.

I've got a demo up and running of hooking up Flash with the Google Maps API on my blog:

http://matbury.com/wordpress/?p=49

Have fun! Smile
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a_ibrahim



Joined: 25 Jun 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:27 pm    Post subject: Using Moodle for Pre-Service EFL Teachers Reply with quote

Hello

My name's Amal. I teach in Saudi Arabia. In the fall I'll be teaching an educational technology course. I came across Moodle and wondered if it would be feasible to have my students create their own site with mini-lessons. Have you ever taught anything like this? I really want my students to get as much as they can out of the course.

Thanks
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matbury



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Brighton, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Amal,

I'm teaching a class of Saudi students in the UK at the moment! Smile

I'd certainly recommend Moodle for trainee teachers and course designers to learn how to use learning management systems. As far as I know, it's the most widely used open source LMS in the world so your students would be getting an introduction to software that they're more than likely to use in the future.

It's easy to install either on a testing computer or on a server. It takes a while to learn how to use it but there are plenty of books about it and the on-line documentation is generally helpful, as are the user forums.

You can find out more about it on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle

I run versions 1.8 and 1.9:

1.8 will run on standard shared hosting websites and doesn't require any extra PHP extensions.

1.9 has higher performance requirements from servers and requires PHP extensions.

Good luck!
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a_ibrahim



Joined: 25 Jun 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: Moodle Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. I'll be looking into it more over the summer as I prepare for the coming semester.

Amal
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