Posted on June 25th, 2009 in Information, Resources | 1 Comment »
I’ve finished the book, Moodle Administration, by Alex Büchner! It was a very easy book to read and I read it surprisingly fast considering how busy I have been lately.
Overview & Thoughts
This book started off giving an overview, a rationale for using Moodle and it explained the uses of Moodle. From there, it took you all the way through the installation of Moodle to more advanced features like Moodle Networking and Third-Party Add-ons. You can view the complete table of contents here.
What I liked about this book, which I have already mentioned, is that it’s easy to read. It does not overload your brain with so much text and information that you forget it two seconds later. Also, the chapters and topics covered were very well organized. Already being in the position of a Moodle administrator for our district for a year, I was impressed with the topics covered because during my first year working with Moodle those topics and issues were exactly what I had encountered. The book did a good job of explaining how to do things on different platforms. I found the instructions and explanations easy to follow and very concise. However, I had already done a lot of the processes before, so I may have been more aware than a user learning about it for the first time.
After the main chapters there is a nifty little “Moodle Health Check” and “Configuration Settings Reference” section. I am going through the Health Check now with our site. The Configuration Settings Reference section is great! It describes the different settings in the config.php file that can change the look and functionality of Moodle. Now I just need to get read/write permissions on the config.php file!
Overall, this book did a great job of explaining a lot of different topics and issues that I know from personal experience you will run into while implementing Moodle. Being a nerd, I do wish it was slightly more technical and talked more about the code and manipulation of code. The book also failed to have have a “themes” section, which I think would been beneficial to users.
Who is this book for?
Well, like the book title says.. I would say it’s for Moodle administrators : ) You don’t have to be a techy nerd to understand most concepts in this book. You don’t need to know all about networking and servers. This book is perfect for the person who will be maintaining your Moodle site and who will be taking questions about Moodle’s functionality and customization.
I would also suggest this book for your networking person (if they are willing to read it!). The reason being, just like any other software, there are settings and ways of doing things that are specific to Moodle. If your network admin can understand how Moodle operates I think it can really help you and your network admin to get things done. For example, I do not know much about networking so there are some things in Moodle I am unsure about. When I ask our network admin he is not familiar with Moodle so it’s hard to get on the same page. If your network department has a basic understanding of Moodle (which this book gives) I think it would help a lot.
After reading this book I would highly recommend it. I really wish I would have read this book before we implemented Moodle. The topics covered in the book were exactly the topics we ran into and spent hours researching about. I think this book would have helped me out tremendously. However, even reading it after working with Moodle for a year was beneficial in that it really reinforced the important concepts and confirmed to myself that the correct settings were set (or not set!). Towards the end of the book the topics got a little more advanced. I learned a lot about the Moodle Networking piece and I’m excited to try it out. I’m also excited to try the Mahara/Moodle integration. I didn’t realize that the integration was so popular. So, in conclusion.. I would recommend this book to any type of future or present Moodle administrator.
What’s coming next!
I will be reviewing the book, Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner’s Guide, written by Ian Wild. I’m eager to read this book because it looks like it will cover more “teacher” stuff. I love the technical part of Moodle but I need to learn more about the teacher side of things. If I don’t know the teacher perspective of things it would be pretty hard for me to make Moodle the best it can be for the teachers. Keep an eye out for my review.