Moodle CMS - Why Bother ?

Course Management System (CMS) can provide a number benefits to students, as well as teachers, administrators, parents and the community best considered under 2 criteria
  • Effectiveness - Doing a better job
  • Efficiency - getting things done easier, faster or cheaper
Main areas and justifications for use
  • Admin <-> Staff <-> Staff communication:
    • Areas of need:
      • Increasing complexity of regulation/ organistaion
      • Less time to meet/ need to reduce meetings
      • return on notebook investment
      • "natural" encouragement to staff skill development
    • CMS can help
      • forum better than noticeboards
      • wiki better than staff manual
      • courses for KLA groups of staff can specialise info sharing and decision recording
      • etc
  • Staff <-> Student <-> Parent communication:
    • Areas of need:
      • Increasing complexity of course structures
      • increasing interruptions to studnet attendance (from home and other school programs)
      • Increasing cost of photocopying as courses change so rapidly that texts are not available -> increased clerical managemnat demands on taechers
      • Increasing desire from parents to be informed but no matching technique to allow them to take responsibility for being informed
    • CMS can help
      • Course structures can be maintained online by incremental and continual adjustment rather than being reprinted periodically an dtherefore always a bit confusing and out of date
      • Course materials can be complete through a CMS so that they interlink resources rather than rely on all referring to resources that may or may not be available to the student
      • Parents can see curricula and class sequence and actul activities as well as their on child's responses and assessments. Responsibility forcommunication can be shared rather than fall on the teacher.
      • etc.
  • Information is increasingly in digital format
    • Most texts are prvided in digital format as well as paper with many additional resources
    • Many more resources are ONLY accessible by online links
    • Many activities that were previously physical can be delivered virtually allowing far faster and deeper learning. Simulations allow studnets to "play" with a rule system
      (one of millions of examples e.g. Bathtime with Archimedes allow students to play with a model of a physical systems and see it described with a graph)
  • Other more superficial reasons (potentially powerful in some contexts)
    • Students consider digital communication to be more acceptable/ fashionable/ "cooler" and therefore react more positively to course content
    • many administrators and teachers consider digital communication to be a good PR for the school and good CV material (sometimes regardless of proved curriculum benefit)
    • etc

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This post contains some responses to questions that I have been asked by various people over the last few years. In most cases, I have also posted the information on relevant online community forums such as moodle.org. I hope that you find this useful. Stephen Digby