March is for Moodle!

I’ve posted several times about Packt Publishing and it’s book offers along with some reviews I’ve done and now they’re offering a great deal on Moodle books for the month of March!

To celebrate the forthcoming publication of the a series of attractive discounts on all Moodle


  • Buy any Moodle print book and get 20% off
  • Buy any 4 Moodle eBooks from Packt at an unbelievable price of $60 / £38 / €45


Check out Packt Pub’s latest Moodle books now!



“Moodle 2.0 First Look” book by @moodlefairy

Moodle 2.0 First LookHi Moodlers! Who’s excited for Moodle 2.0? I sure am..that’s why I’m happy to say that I will very shortly begin reading “Moodle 2.0 First Look“, by review on the book, by the author! : )


Have you nominated for the 2010 Open Source Awards yet? @packtpub

Nominations for the 2010 Open Source Awards on Packt Publishing ends on Septemember 17th.

The Open Source Awards is an annual online event held by Packt Publishing to distinguish excellence among Open Source projects.

Now in its fifth year, the Award, formerly known as the Open Source Content Management System (CMS) Award, is designed to encourage, support, recognize and reward not only CMSes but a wider range of Open Source projects.

Here is the Open Source Awards timeline:

August  9 | Nominations Open

September 17 | Nominations Close

September  27 | Voting Begins

November 5 | Voting Ends

November 15 | Winners Announced

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Review of Moodle 1.9 Theme Design on @moodlenews

Check out my review of Moodle 1.9 Theme Design on Moodle News.

Two book reviews coming! @packtpub

I’m very excited to read and review two books from Packt Publishing.

Moodle 1.9 Theme Design: Beginner’s Guide

  • Create your own Moodle theme from the graphic design stage right through to the finished complete Moodle theme
  • Offers design examples and ways to create appropriate themes for different student age groups and styles
  • Effective planning for creating and modifying new themes, customizing existing themes, and enhancing them further
  • Clear focus on beginners with ample screenshots and clear explanations to facilitate learning

Moodle 1.9 Extension Development

  • Develop your own blocks, activities, filters, and organize your content with secure code
  • Thoroughly covers key libraries of Moodle and best practices to use them
  • Explore the Moodle architectural concepts, how it is structured, and how it works
  • Detailed examples and screenshots for easy learning

These two books are probably the most exciting to me to begin reading out of all the Packt Publishing books I’ve read. I’m currently into the 3rd chapter of the Theme Design book, which I will be reviewing on It should be posted on Moodle News within a few weeks and the Extension book I will be reviewing on this blog.

Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques – Book Review @packtpub

Moodle 1.9 Teaching TechniquesI 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.  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.

Wrap Up

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.

Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques – Preview & free chapter online!

I’ve recently been asked to review the book Moodle 1.9 Teaching Techniques by William Rice and Susan Smith Nash published by Packt Publishing. This book is about “creative ways to build powerful and effective online courses”.

I’m especially excited to read this book and learn more about classroom applications. I know quite a bit from an admin/techy role, now what I need to learn more about is not how to use the features but how to integrate it into a lesson to create an effective activity for students.

Check back in a few weeks for my review!

To hold you over check out an extracted part of the book called “Instructional Material” for free!

Book Review – Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner’s Guide

It took awhile for me to finish reading “Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner’s Guide” by Ian Wild but definitely not because I did not enjoy it, I have simply been very busy! I recently read and reviewed “Moodle Administration”, which is also from Packt Publishing, and like that book I was impressed with this one as well. I was actually a little more impressed with the Course Conversion book!

One reason why I enjoyed reading this book so much is because it did a good job of covering a lot of topics without overloading your brain. It guided the reader from start to finish – creating a new course to backing that course up and everything in the middle. Of course the book could not explain every single feature in depth but I thought it did a great job of covering the main, important topics.

Another reason why I enjoyed this book is because it put the reader in the teacher role where I am used to being in the administrator role. The author told you his own experiences and it was good to know that he’s been in that teaching position so he knows what it’s like. The book even gives the reader web sites and resources to use within Moodle like Voki, Odeo and

A big reason why I think this book would be so useful for Moodle users is that it shows the reader real classroom applications. It goes through many common tasks that teachers will more than likely run into like working with PowerPoints, taking images from a Word document, how to zip files so you can upload multiple files at once to Moodle, using video in Moodle and more. Instead of focusing only on the “how tos” and explaining the actual Moodle features it showed how to use the features by using real examples such as embedding a YouTube video with “compose a web page” or transforming a project into Moodle assignments.

It would get very boring and probably overwhelm a reader if it were to give you step by step directions on “how to” use a Moodle resource or activity, so by giving the reader an example on when and how a feature could be used is much more engaging and memorable. It may also spark some ideas for the reader or they could even use that very example in their own Moodle course.

Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

To sum it up, I would highly recommend this book for any teacher that is planning to start using Moodle with their class. This book gives you the knowledge and power to create an engaging Moodle course from start to finish by taking you along his own journey of converting his course into Moodle. If a reader were to read this book and follow along by creating their own course I would be confident that it would be a success. Being a Moodle admin/trainer/support I can greatly appreciate this book for showing me the “teacher side” of a Moodle course. What I’m also taking from this book is the knowledge of other resources to use in a Moodle course, some great ideas and information about Moodle feature settings I never knew (wikis, gradebook, scales, lessons). Finally, it has helped me and will continue to help me form and structure our district’s Moodle help page. I have always struggled with how to display and give Moodle help and support to users in an online format because there is just so much information. This book has given me a few ideas on how to structure online Moodle help.

I could go on and on about the specifics in this book and the interesting things I found but I would really recommend buying it so you can read for yourself and refer back to it in the future – I know I will! Now, I must get back to all of the post-its I stuck in the book to try out and explore on my own Moodle site!

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