Blogging Course Development

26 08 2009

I’m the type who takes pix of the house going up every day to create almost a time lapse of the process.  So, like why not blog as I work with my team to develop this course?  Should serve as a good project log and might even be helpful to someone else some day.

First meeting with my trusty, talented team back in May helped me understand the DELTA way and appreciate all the support I’d be receiving.  I kept pinching myself to make sure this was for real.  To have so much talent focused on this one course is exciting and humbling.  I feel so much responsibility to make the right decisions and get it right the first time.  Gotta make the most of this tremendous opportunity I’ve been given.

So first big decision:  What learning management system do I choose?

I’d assumed that the choice would be easy — Moodle, of course, with Second Life for the book clubs and seminars.

Now after seeing Amanda’s course with the suite of Web 2.0/social media tools she’s using to customize her course, I see thatMoodle may be only the jumping-off point, the homebase.  That’s what I described as “beyond Moodle” when I met our interrim dean, Dr. Picart.  He looked at me quizzically, “What’s beyond Moodle?”

“Beyond Moodle” is a customized suite of tools but there is a real advantage in having a “nursery” where students can safely explore and learn new tools so there is value in a system like Moodle.  Moodle itself is a suite of tools with forums, wikis, blogs, etc.  What I’m not seeing that I need in my suite are tools for social networking (for the book clubs), social bookmarking (like Diigo), a public face to share our work (WordPress), class polls (VoiceThread), and private ePortfolios (Working Wiki Webfolios).

I was ready to make the commitment and use Moodle extended by additional tools when I happened upon ELGG on Jane Hart’s Social Media and Learning blog.  I’d explored ELGG years ago when I was checking out Moodle but saw Moodle as the tool I needed. Now with the recent updates to ELGG, I think it’s time to revisit it.  After two semesters of trying to integrate Web 2.0 tools like Diigo and WordPress for a public class blog, I’ve found that many students get overwhelmed when asked to sign up for several additional tools.  It can work but I just need to provide a lot of scaffolding to guide them through the process and help them see the value of the extra work.

So here’s a comparison/contrast matrix for ELGG and “Beyond Moodle.”

[So much for the matrix — no table function here.  I’ll substitute columns.


PLUS                                                                     DELTA

Groups great for Book Clubs

Nice to have one tool to learn

Profile page with groups belong to

Internal bookmarking  /                                                Eventually need to copy bookmarks to external tool

Internal navigation simple


Beyond Moodle

Teachers would learn tools they can use with students /  Number of additional tools overwhelming




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