I recently read the book, Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques by William Rice and Susan Smith Nash which was published by Packt Publishing. This book discussed creative ways to build powerful and effective online courses.
When I began reading this book I was expecting to learn a bunch of “real-life” classroom applicable examples of using specific Moodle features. While it did list many of those examples, it really focused on learning theory and creating a positive learning experience and community. The book mentioned many educational psychologists and philosophies of teaching and learning. Each time the authors explained a feature or gave an example of classroom use of a Moodle feature they also reminded the reader to make sure the activity was tied with the course outcomes and the learning objectives.
I thought the discussion about learning styles and effective teaching practices was interesting as my education has been in technology and not k-12 education. One thing I liked about the book is that for each feature example the authors gave a variety of ways to accomplish the same thing, giving the reader an option if they prefer one way or the other. Another thing that the authors provided were tips or recommendations on using each feature. For example, effectively running a chat and chat etiquette, taking the fear out of assessments, how to create and maintain exciting and engaging forums, etc. I guess you can call it “best practices” of the Moodle features.
As I mentioned before there were some awesome ideas on using Moodle features – without going into detail here are a few:
- Using the Chat module with a guest speaker
- A self-assessment practice quiz using the Lesson module
- Creating a flash card activity with the Lesson module
- Guided note-taking with the Wiki module
- Using the Glossary module for student submitted quiz questions
One note to mention is if you’re expecting to come away with created activities as you follow this book you should have some basic Moodle experience.Â This book does not go into step-by-step, detailed instructions for most of the modules. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to know Moodle already in my opinion. This book did a good job of convincing the user that Moodle can create a learning community that is easily adaptable to different learning styles and offers some great teaching strategies to accomplish this.
As with all of the other Packt Publishing Moodle books I’ve read I wish the screenshot images were in color. Another thing I noticed is a difference in our district’s Moodle (v 1.9.7) settings page for some modules and the screenshot images in the book (I believe the Choice activity looked a *bit* different). I was also made aware that the Gradebook is out of date. As always, take into consideration the frequent updates.
In the end, I enjoyed the book and learned the most about having an “effective” course and what that even means. As I mentioned earlier, I am a techy person not a teacher, so I am at a point where I need to understand more about theory and teaching and learning strategies. This book had me nodding a lot and just “made sense” (if that makes sense!). It put things in perspective as each and every activity was tied with the course outcomes and made me aware of some of the things that are needed to create an effective learning community such as student confidence, fear of assessment, feeling comfortable with their peers, etc. And don’t get me wrong I am talking about the “theory” stuff becasue that is what interested in but there are many cool ideas and tips to using the modules. I only listed a few above. Visit Packt Publishing for more details on the contents of Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques.