Using Moodle to Manage Online Teaching
Moodle is a perfect platform to house paid and free courses.
Teaching online differs from teaching face-to-face in the traditional classroom. Online courses in blended and fully online formats require a learning management system (LMS) and a virtual class. Engaging in online instruction and learning can potentially transform both the teacher and learner as they engage with the content, each other, and the other members of the course. For me, Moodle is the perfect platform to connect for learning because it allows students to teach as a way to learn.
As an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher, engaging my students in communicative language skills is of paramount importance. That’s the reason I follow a method that allows students to learn by teaching others. Learning by teaching provides my students with the skills needed to practice reading, speaking, and writing. Teaching and learning a foreign and second language has never been easier as a result of the Internet and personal devices than it is today.
The Internet and technology facilitates the process of teaching as a way to learn. I’ve been using the Internet with my EFL high school classes since 1992. In 2003, I developed my own Moodle site so I could teach in a blended learning format at a public high school. The course provided me with the tools I needed to connect my students with kids from around the world, collaborate with other schools, and watch students practice authentic English language skills.
I started offering free professional development courses for teachers on how to teach with technology and create WebQuests in their classes on a Moodle website in 2004. In 2009, I started charging for the courses. Moodle is a course management system with a built in tracking system that helps both teachers keep track of students’ progress.
Asynchronous communication allows for ongoing learning 24/7 because it’s not time-based. However, having a synchronous real fixed time communication enriches the learning experience. Synchronous interaction allows the teacher to provide immediate and the students to respond to each other. I began using WizIQ for my virtual synchronous learning environment in 2007 because it was free. The combination of Moodle learning and course management system and WizIQ live virtual class (integrated plugin in Moodle) helped me learn about my students and improve how I managed my online teaching business.
Students can engage in active learning on Moodle. This is done by giving students editing rights so they can document what they learn by teaching it. Teaching as a way to learn with editing rights as a teacher empowers students as they take responsibility for the content they must share with the rest of the class. Moodle allows the teacher to give rights to the students because the system is based on a hierarchy of roles from the highest to the lowest. The lowest is the authenticated user or guest with only viewing rights. Next in the hierarchy is the student with reading and writing rights unless given a higher rank. Teachers are next on the ladder with or without editing rights. The highest rank on the scale is the manager of course. The manager can edit the setup of the course and promote students or teachers to lead activities.
Having a successful online teaching business begins with a good course and learning management system such as Moodle and WizIQ virtual class is very rewarding. I was so impressed with Moodle and WizIQ, that I started offering Moodle for Teachers training courses in 2009. The participants learn about the content (resources) and activities available in a Moodle course and try out the features as teachers (TPA) and managers (MPA) of a course. Members of the course discuss best practices in teaching online and apply these to the resources, activities, and blocks in Moodle. The ultimate goal of the course is to engage the learner in authentic learning. This is done via teaching as a way to learn. The participants learn and develop Moodle teaching skills as they use Screencast-o-matic and Slideshare to document and reflect.
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