Monday, June 11, 2007


Many of you have likely used either Oncourse or OncourseCL. These are the default course management systems (CMS) for Indiana University. I too have used both of these and I have found them both severely lacking.

OncourseCL is the newest incarnation of the IU CMS. It has a number of really useful functions, but there is one major problem with the application. The discussion forum functions (there are actually 2 in this system) are terrible. Aside from reduced functionality over the previous application (Oncourse - original), the discussion function in OncourseCL is terribly slow.

I used OncourseCL with an online class last semester for the first (and hopefully last) time. It was a nightmare.

First these reasons, I have chosen to use an outside system (hosted on my own service) called Moodle ( I used Moodle with an ESL methods course that I taught in fall 2005 and it worked great.

I think that you will find this a pleasure to use, once you get the hang of it. We will be using numerous functions build into Moodle. Primarily this space will provide discussion forums, group chats, and miscellaneous documents (readings, Web pages, and wikis) all wrapped up in a neat package.

However, you will also notice that we will not be bound to Moodle. We will be using numerous, free, online applications that will both provide us with opportunities to interact and will give you practice in using these technologies in an educational context.


Cynthia James said...

At my university we are moving from WebCT to Moodle. Therefore, L530-CALL is a learning experience for me. I am still floundering around, but Moodle certainly seems much simpler. The breadcrumbs feature is standard, I guess. But so far I find the "Jump to" feature very handy. It is not so tedious navigating pages. Also construction of material for WebCT was time-consuming. Clicking multiple icons and tabs to get one page set slowed it down considerably. I guess I'll wait and see what Moodle has to offer, but so far it is good, except that there is still so little of the page on the screen especially in pdf. documents. I found the same with Web CT. Is there a way to get documents full screen (so that one doesn't have to keep scrolling down so much)?

Dan said...

I have never done development work in WebCT, but I have to imagine that Moodle will be easier.

There is still a good deal of configuration work that needs to be done, but most of it will probably be done by your tech people.

Overall, I find it very easy to use. It's very flexible. It has a great deal of functionality. Also, it has a great support community (

As for getting documents full screen, I believe that this is a setting in Moodle. If you want to get around it, I think that you just have to save the document. Then open on your computer. It will open in your Acrobat application.

I'll check it out and see if there is another work around for that.

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