How to get started with Moodle

If you or your school have decided to start using the Moodle LMS then this post may be of some use to you.

Self Hosting or Managed Hosting?

Although Moodle is a free open source Learning Management System downloadable from Moodle.org, it does require some ongoing technical support if you are wanting to go down the Self Hosting track. Even hosting it on a cheap overseas site such as GoDaddy.com or Bluehost.com can incur problems down the track, particularly if your site attracts a lot of traffic such as multiple users logging on and multiple daily emails. Even if your school hosts the site then you will need to be have some good technical assistance.

One option for self hosting is to contract a Moodle specialist such as Catalyst who can set up the site to your specifications. They can then monitor and manage from off-site. This could initially be the safest self-hosting track

Managed hosting is easier but more expensive. Companies such as Catalyst or HRDNZ are both Moodle specialists and would be the way to go. Just be aware that with managed hosting there may be limitations on the number of add-ons that you can install. I chose the managed hosting solution with my classes as my school chose to use Microsoft SharePoint (Ughhh!) and I wanted something more interactive etc (see my earlier post “Why Choose Moodle” for more on this). Managed hosting initially allowed me to gain confidence with Moodle as a learning tool without worrying about technical issues.

Training

  1. HRDNZ earlier this year started a 12 week MoodleBites Course. One important aspect of this is that you take on the role of a student – it is important to see Moodle from the users point of view as you are constructing your course. MoodleBites also gives you training and tips on the many tools that you can incorporate into your online course. You can also interact with other “students” and ask questions in the discussion forums.
  2. Northtec has been running a course called CeLDD (Certificate in Elearning Design & Development) for the last 2 years.
    This course is approximately 12 months but is more comprehensive than MoodleBites. It discusses wider eLearning issues and pedagogy and there are some tasks to complete – it is well worth looking at.
  3. Moodle School is a great website to become more familiar with Moodle. They have free short courses and links to a great range of resources.
  4. Finally, there is an annual conference in New Zealand called Moodle Moot. This year it is in Napier in the second week of these October holidays.
Well hopefully that gives you a few pointers from someone who has been moodling along for 2 years now…

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