Moodle is an open-source course management system designed to host online courses and facilitate academic interaction between students and their instructors. The program was created by Martin Dougiamas, who formerly worked with WebCT. Because of this the program features many similarities to WebCT, but is more flexible overall due to its open-source nature. Moodle can be accessed via more than eighteen-thousand registered websites and is used by approximately eight million students worldwide.
The program supports sixty-one languages as of November 2006 and is constantly expanding. Students simply download the program, register a username and connect using an enrollment key code provided by their professor. The site can host single teacher classes, or link various classes within an academic institution. Moodle also offers the option of designing complete lessons online, which can consist of class material as well as optional end-of-chapter review questions.
Instructors have a variety of options for posting assignments on Moodle, and can set their own preferences on how student submitted files can be accepted for grading. Teachers have the option to allow students to upload files, including text documents of various formats as well as images. After grading the instructor has the option to post grades directly, as well as leaving comments regarding their response to the assignment.
They can also format assignments for direct editing online, allowing students to type their response directly into the program and submit it for grading. Instructors can also use Moodle as an online grade book for assignments complete in class (offline), so that students can have easy access to their grades. Quizzes can be constructed and assigned to students in Moodle as well, with several format options available. Teachers can design tests consisting of various question formats, including multiple choice, true-or-false and short answer questions.
They also have the option of giving students multiple attempts to complete the quiz, and can set other variables such as time limits (quiz is timed and may only be completed within the allotted time limit), or password protection to limit access. Students have a variety of options for interacting with fellow classmates as well as the instructors via chat, forums and surveys. They can also access course-relevant resources via glossaries (which can be student or teacher-defined) and a fully-interactive Wiki (user-defined encyclopedia).
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