Friday, September 11, 2009

Moodleposium Day 1

The moodleposium was a great success. I had expected about 100 participants from around Canberra. There were almost 300 participants from all over Australia and New Zealand.

Te first substantive session had Denise Kirkpatrick PVC OU UK talking about the implementation of Moodle at OU. The talk was interesting about how a large distance university dealt with an LMS selection and implementation. Most of it was not relevant to UC's situation though.

The second session I attended was by Amanda Burrell. Amanda talked about group work and the methods she uses to get it to work. She spoke with a lot of energy and showed some interesting examples of her students' work. Some of the things she used was to get students to submit, weekly, their evaluations of the performance of the other group members along with their journals. She said that this required 90 mins of marking per week. She also monitored team performance by using a 2 hour weekly class session for work on the group projects. I am not sure if Amanda's techniques can be applied in my discipline.

Also in the second session was a presentation by Kerry Trabinger from CIT. I found Kerry's talk very useful. The big ideas I took from Kerry's talk were:
  1. You never get a second chance to make a first impression
  2. Training and induction are vital
  3. Facilitators need to manage the conversations initially by replying in positive ways that encourage further posts
  4. Actively need to pursue lurkers to make them participants
The third session was by the founder of Moodle, Martin Dougiamis. His talk focussed on the improvements coming Moodle 2.0. He promised a beta in December and production release in time for 2010 academic year. The big improvements were in integration and facilitating the creation of mashups. He also promised a focus on pedagogy through the Moodle 2.x life cycle.

The fourth session I attended had presentations by James Strong and Martin Dougiamis and it dealt with technical issues. James covered the hardware and software requirements for hosting, development and testing environments, backups and disaster recovery and service level agreements. Martin talked about the technical issues involved in Moodle 2.0. The bad news was that all hacks written for 1.9 were going to break.

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