We took the opportunity to sit down with Mary Cooch, Moodle’s Community Educator, and ask her questions about MoodleNet. With her deep experience of all things Moodle, we were interested in Mary’s perspective on what’s gone before and what’s coming next…
1. Moodlers will know you best as Moodle’s Community Educator and your very visible work with the Learn Moodle Basics Moot, on the moodle.org forums, and at MoodleMoots. However, you also do a lot of work behind the scenes, including documentation and the existing moodle.net service. Could you explain a little bit about how you got involved with that and what it currently entails?
Shortly after I started to work full time for Moodle HQ, our CEO and founder, Martin Dougiamas, asked me to curate the content submitted to Moodle.net. This involves regularly checking the Moodle.net site to see which courses and other individual items are awaiting moderation. Every single item is downloaded and manually inspected. I look at the courses to see if they meet our course approval criteria and if they do, I make them publicly available. (These are courses both which you can download and adapt for your own site, or courses into which you can enrol.) The same applies to individual items – I add them to a test Moodle site to check that they work correctly and that their content is acceptable. New courses on Moodle.net then show up in the Resources feed on the front page of Moodle.org.
2. Some people might wonder why we’re building a new MoodleNet when Moodlers can already share courses via moodle.net. What are your thoughts on that?
Did you know that actually, the concept behind Moodle.net and the site itself date from before 2010? Things move on, technology moves on, and with people doing so much now from their smartphones, I think it’s a good idea that we have a revamp, and also get teachers sharing from their mobiles.
One issue with the current set up has always been that it’s not so intuitive how to submit your course or your content. We used to have a “Publish” button and people would mistakenly believe that by pressing this button it meant their own private course would be made accessible to their students, rather than share with the world. We’ve changed that now, so that it says “Share”. (See What does sharing a Moodle course mean?) Unfortunately, many courses are still submitted in error.
We have some useful content uploaded – quiz questions, user tours, theme and database presets, glossary entries, competency frameworks etc – but it would still be great if we had more educators sharing more content! It doesn’t have to be a whole course – maybe the thought of downloading and having to adapt a whole course is a bit overwhelming. I’d love it if you could simply go to Moodle.net, search for, say, a revision activity in your subject area, quickly find a recommended one, and add it easily to your Moodle. In time for your class!
3. Social resource sharing via curated collections is only the first stage for MoodleNet. What would you like to see next?
From what I’ve seen it all looks very exciting. I just want it to be a hive of activity, an interesting place to hang out, a treasure trove of Moodle content!
Our thanks to Mary for taking the time to answer our questions. As you can see, MoodleNet is both an evolution from what has gone before and an exciting departure based on new thinking and technologies.
Questions? Add them in the section below, for either Mary or the MoodleNet team!