Learning online, ‘Moodle’ style

Mariana Enriquez

At its Dec. 4 meeting, the Pierce College Academic Senate discussed a new program for faculty called Moodle that will help create an easy and effective online learning system for students.

Moodle only became possible due to Title III, a U.S. Department of Education grant in the amount of $370,000 per year for five years that was awarded to Pierce in 2002.

Title III gives an opportunity to strengthen students learning abilities and help them connect with studying, homework and comprehend instructor’s lectures through an online tutorial system.

Project Director Michael Cooperman spoke on behalf of Moodle with two main purposes, one to meet with faculty members and teach them the program and secondly, to help enhance students’ learning experience.

An interactive tutorial for students and a course management system for instructors, “It’s free and the number one course management program in the world,” said Cooperman.

On campus for only nine more months, Cooperman’s goal is to leave Pierce with a functioning program. He will be returning in Spring 2007 to continue speaking on behalf of Moodle and present any further information.

Moodle comes with a complete support system including an audio-narration system that will guide instructors and students step-by-step while working online.

The program is available through Pierce’s Web site by either clicking on the faculty or student link.

It’s also an easy program for instructors to work with and also uses the additional equipment cart for their classrooms.

Enhancing technologies at Pierce, Moodle will provide carts with a DVD/VCR, speakers, overhead projector and other equipment.

The Moodle carts will only be provided per departments and will be used by a check out system.

Only a limited amount of carts, 13, will be provided due to budget constraints.

Some of the programs offered by Moodle online that everyone can take advantage of are lecture notes, message boards, videos, animation, practice quizzes, testing and other programs.

Considering Moodle, Academic Senate President Izzy Goodman said, “We will be looking very closely now as a senate at the whole issue of online education.”

Gail Hobbs, professor of anthropological and geographical studies said, “Very often, students need tutors and tutors are here for such a short time. They’re gone, they’ve transferred out, this may be a way of giving them something, some tutorials or something in addition to just the regular student stuff.”