Getting Started with Moodle – Posting #2

I now have a Moodle learning site set up through Ninehub.com and chose a site name:

http://jacbird.freewebclass.com

I chose a theme by clicking on Appearance → Themes → Theme Selector,

and a fully functional Moodle site was ready!

 

My next stop was browsing through the Moodle documentation for teachers, located here:

http://docs.moodle.org/en/Getting_started_for_teachers

You can also experiment on the Moodle demonstration site, which is wiped clean and restored back to normal every hour on the hour:  http://demo.moodle.org

I found that the next step was to Turn Editing On, and Add a New Course.  This takes you to the course settings page where you can define yourself as an administrator and name your course.

Jacbird Test Course

    • Click on the course name, and you will see the administrator settings at the left. Administration area_left
    • Click on the Settings link to edit the course settings, and use the top navigation bar to navigate back to the main course page. Top Navigation Bar

In order to add or alter course activities, you have to Turn Editing On which is a button located at the top right.  Then use the drop-down menus in the centre window to add a resource or activity:

  • Add an activity such as a Forum, Chat, Wiki, Glossary, or Survey
  • Add a resource such as a Text Page or Web Page

Getting Started with Moodle – Posting #1

This posting is meant to be the first in a series, as I learn how to work with Moodle.

Moodle is a free open-source content management system (CMS) or also known as an LMS or Learning Management System.

I am interested in setting up and learning Moodle to use in a corporate setting, but Moodle is also used widely in academic settings, and by independent educators.

 

I work at a company where the software product is made up of various modules.  One of those modules, which is electronic health records (EHRs), is quite complex in nature for a novice user to learn.  So, in order for the trainers who work at this company to become experts themselves, they need a general place to view training videos and be able to discuss ideas in open forums.  With an LMS, I feel this can be accomplished easier, and what is great about Moodle is that you can learn it for free!

These postings aren’t meant to re-create the existing Moodle documentation, as they have their own extensive documentation which can be found here:  http://docs.moodle.org/

Instead, I plan to describe my personal experience in getting up & running with this program.

If you are like me, and you don’t want to install Moodle on your own web server, then you can turn to the various free hosting services that are available out there in cyberspace.

This site compares some of them:  http://orwinconsulting.com/free-moodle-hosting-companies

I chose NineHub.com mainly because I had already tried Key To School in the past, and was having trouble reactivating my learning site.  So the first step for me was to register with NineHub.com and create my learning site, which you will see in the next posting.

Popular eLearning Tools being used Today!

Note:  all articles on this site are written by Jacqueline…

The goal of this article is to give a brief overview of some popular eLearning tools that I have used or have heard of.  First off, there are some great web resources that rate and compile eLearning technology, such as:

Top 100 eLearning Tools and

Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day

And here is my own short list of good eLearning choices:

Audacity:  is a digital audio editor and recording application that can be used to create podcasts.  It has a simple tool set that works well, and allows to you apply simple audio effects

 

Download audacity free here:

http://audacity.soureforge.net

And read a review here:

download.cnet.com/Audacity/3000-2170_4-10058117.html

SharePoint:  allows you to create a collaborative work environment and helps with communication between remote work groups.

Features include:

  • a shared workspace
  • a document management system
  • built-in customizable wiki & blog
  • lists and document libraries
  • built-in search functionality

Learn more about it here:

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/Pages/Default.aspx

Articulate Presenter:  is a slide show tool that allows you to convert your PowerPoint presentations into an interactive Flash format.
Visit the Articulate site to learn more, and tune into the informative rapid eLearning blog hosted by Tom Kuhlmann.

http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning

Adobe Captivate:  this is another screencasting tool similar to Camtasia Studio.  I have not personally used it, but the product does generally get good reviews.  Try it out at

http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate

and read a review here.

I would be interested to hear from readers who have used both Camtasia Studio and Adobe Captivate.  How do the two products compare?

Moodle:  is a free and open source “virtual learning environment” also known as an LMS or Learning Management System.  The environment is made up of different modules such as Assignment, Chats, Choices, Glossaries, Lessons, Quizzes and Surveys.

Learn more about it, and try out the demonstration site at:

http://moodle.org/about

Take note that the product needs to be installed on a web server, but there are some free Moodle hosting providers available such as www.keytoschool.com

Survey Monkey:  this is a free survey and questionnaire tool with good reviews.

Try it out at www.surveymonkey.com

Camtasia Studio:  I use this product to create online training videos, and show users how to do something that is easier to learn by watching, rather than reading.  This program is easy to use and you can render your video into various formats such as wmv and Flash.  You can also import audio and images, and add effects.

Try it out here:  http://www.techsmith.com

Jing:  this is a free screencasting tool also developed by TechSmith.  It is compatible for both Mac and Windows, and is ideal for quickly sharing vidoes online via the free hosting service www.techsmith.com/screencast.asp

Learn more about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_(software)

An Overview of Document Types….

I thought it would be helpful to write about the different document types I have encountered while working as a technical writer in various industries (environmental, telecommunications, medical software, medical communications, etc.).

I have made an attempt to define the documents based on my own ideas about them. The text in red was added in after googling the search term define: [document type].

White Paper: almost like a marketing piece / proposal type of document. Its purpose is to outline in great detail new technologies or existing technologies in order to present the information to some third party who usually has a stake in funding for that project. “Used to educate readers and help people make decisions.” “A purpose to educate industry customers.”

End-User Manual: aimed towards end-users of a software program or other piece of technology. The audience can vary in technical aptitude from absolute beginner to advanced.

Release Notes: outlines all new features of an updated version of software. Usually with a table of contents and brief paraphrase of all new features. From Wikipedia: “A release note is usually a terse summary or recent changes, enhancements and bug fixes in a particular software release.” “Not a substitute for user guides.”

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions. A compilation of questions about a piece of software or a system in a question & answer format. Best if based on real life questions asked by customers / clients.

Data Sheet: OK, this one I haven’t actually ever had to do before……but it seems to keep popping up. So from Wikipedia: “A document summarizing the performance and other characteristics of a component (i.e. an electronic component), a sub system (i.e. a power supply) or software in sufficient detail to be used by a design engineer to design the component into a system.”

Online Video: These, I absolutely just love! A short segment, usually running from 3 to 6 minutes in length with a purpose to demonstrate / visually show how something works. This could be how to use a component of the software, how to carry out some kind of procedure or function, or really anything under the sun where the user could get a better idea by watching rather than reading about it.

Find me on Twitter: @jacbird and @masitblog