Book Review: Moodle 1.9 Top Extensions Cookbook

Moodle admins will enjoy this well written “cookbook” which provides ideas for add-ons to the core install.
About the Author:
Michael de Raadt is a lecturer in Computing Science (usually teaching programming), he is a researcher of educational technology and a developer of Moodle modules.  He currently works at the University of Southern Queensland where he is an advisor on teaching and learning matters. Michael holds a PhD which he gained through research in computing education and has published numerous papers in this research area.
About the Book:
Book CoverMany modules which are reviewed for Moodle are created and maintained by large institutions, however most are contributed by individuals, often teachers, who want to share what they have learned.

Sections and some items discussed include:

  • Getting Modular with Moodle: How to add modules to a Moodle instance including how to find and install them, site-wide settings, different languages, and bugs are discussed.  Topics such as getting Moodles that you can trust, as well as removing course format and assignment and questions types within modules are reviewed.
  • Adding Content: How to add modules with various forms of content that a teacher may need, like Flash Video as well as video pages and blocks.  Sharing image galleries and working with books and maps and showing programming examples in Moodle are also discussed.
  • Connecting to the Outside World: Allows students to use real-world resources outside of Moodle such as by allowing simple Web searches.  Setting up the Translate Block and in-course web searching with Moogle are some items reviewed.
  • Getting around in Moodle: How to navigate within and between courses and  improve accessibility. Included  is how to make an easy table of contents, a menu block,  find a course by name,  and get between related courses.  There is even a discussion as to how to make Moodle more accessible to the visually impaired.
  • Effective use of Space: Simplifying single section display with tabs and using monthly sections for longer courses.
  • Assessing Students: Recognizing high performers, giving immediate feedback , extending quizzes with drag-and-drop matching and ordering question types are among some items discussed.
  • Organizing Students: Student nominated groups, identifying peers, helping with time management, and getting feedback.
  • Encouraging Student Interaction: Through quick messaging and drawing students into chats or blogs for example.
  • Informing Students: Locating online students, rating courses, simplifying announcements, and using timely information.
  • Handy Tools for Teachers: Creating information and statistics about students, ability to quickly search for users by using a Quick Find User List.
  • Just for Fun: Make learning more enjoyable by playing with themes, rewarding students and using games are just some ideas explored.

In Conclusion:
This book proves to be not only very informative but also easy to read. It not only breaks down items into organized sections, but within these sections are area such as  “How it Works” as well as “There’s More”.  The helpful “light bulb” section serves as caution for things to watch for so that items are easily followed correctly.
I would highly recommend this book to a wide range of readers who can range from those at small to large institutions. Administrators of a Moodle instance would also greatly benefit, which will serve to greatly help other teachers as well as students. This book is useful with just the right amount of detail, while maintaining an extremely user friendly format.
Further details:
Language : English
Paperback : 324 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : November 2010
ISBN : 1849512167
ISBN 13 : 978-1-84951-216-9
Author(s) : Michael de Raadt

Julie Walton, Pharm.D.  is currently an Intern with The ELearning Site. She teaches for Colorado Technical University and is certified in Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology/Pharmacology and at the Advantages Online Private School. She also enjoys writing articles and reviewing books relating to online learning  as well as course development.

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