What is Moodle?
Moodle is the leading open source virtual learning environment. Developed by a team led by Australian educator Martin Dougiamas, Moodle provides teachers and learners with all the tools they need to engage in effective e-learning. In use in over 7000 sites worldwide, with more than 70 language versions available, Moodle is making a real difference to the quality of learning in all phases of education, ranging from infant schools, through universities into the world of corporate training and life long learning.
Moodle does far more than present online courses - Moodle is underpinned by a belief that people learn best together, and so it's really about using the web to build learning communities, with all the opportunities for collaboration and communication that that implies. Moodle's extensible modular architecture includes as standard tools for forums, online chat, messaging, online assessments, management of offline assignments, presentation of a rich range of resources including SCORM, and collaborative wiki-based work. Moodle has demonstrated its ability to promote learner engagement, self-reflection and communication, as well as engaging teachers in e-learning.
Online assessment tools save teachers the burden of marking script after script, whilst providing students with immediate feedback, and the chance and motivation to learn from their mistakes. Knowing how a class coped with homework before the next lesson makes for better teaching too. Using Moodle to make a whole range of resources available online saves teachers the queue at the photocopier, and promotes learner independence and autonomy. Peer assessment tools, shared workspaces (wikis), and discussion forums make learning from one another a reality, and can extend the best aspects of classroom practice into the home environment too. Also, having resources, assessment data and lesson plans altogether in one place streamlines the administivia faced by teachers.
Much of Moodle's code has been written by those actively engaged in education, and the international online community of users and developers at moodle.org is one of the most reflective, supportive groups that there is. What's more, because Moodle is open source, you can change it to fit round the way you teach; oh yes, and it's free.
Moodle Community - http://www.moodle.org/