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O’Reilly Releases "Using Moodle," Second Edition: Extending the Chalk-and-Talk Classroom with the Open Source CMS


Sebastopol, CA--In recent years, Course Management Systems (CMSs) have matured to the point that they’re now considered critical software for many colleges and universities. Moodle, the popular open source CMS, has emerged as one of the leaders in the field. Used in more than 190 countries with support for more than 70 languages, Moodle can scale from a single-teacher site to a 50,000-student university.

“Moodle is the fastest growing CMS in the world, and a lot of people are just learning how to use it,” says Jason Cole, coauthor with Helen Foster of the new edition of Using Moodle (Second Edition, O’Reilly Community Press, US $39.99).

Moodle gives teachers and trainers a powerful set of web-based tools for an array of activities, such as forums, messaging, quizzes, assignments, wikis, blogs, and databases. Available for free on the web, its tool set and features are comparable to those of the leading commercial packages, and the system has the added benefit of being built on a sound education philosophy with a huge, active community that supports and develops it.

The book is written for teachers who use Moodle to teach or enhance their courses. It covers Moodle 1.8 and is tied to the Moodle Teacher Certification standards, making it the ideal reference for teachers interested in Moodle. Using Moodle is more than just a how-to manual; each chapter includes suggestions, case studies, and best practices for using Moodle effectively. It also exposes little-known but powerful hacks for the more technically savvy users.

According to the authors, applying Moodle’s tools opens up new possibilities for learning that simply weren’t possible a few years ago. For example, instructors can use the online environment for content delivery and save course time for discussion, questions, and problem solving. “While Moodle’s install base will continue to grow, the way Moodle is used will also continue to change,” notes Cole. “As more instructors become comfortable with the basics, I hope we’ll see more creative uses to help us learn how to effectively use Moodle’s capabilities to enhance learning. I hope the examples and stories inspire teachers to use it to enhance their teaching.”

Using Moodle, Second Edition, is part of the O’Reilly Community Press series, which spurs the development of interesting technologies by making online documentation available in print. Key players in technical communities create and edit the content of O’Reilly Community Press titles, and O’Reilly manufactures and distributes the books. Each book reflects the knowledge and voice of the community that has created it.

Jason Cole is currently the academic technology manager at San Francisco State University, where he’s responsible for managing a Blackboard implementation that has over 15,000 users. A member of the Moodle community, he has developed a student data integration tool for the system, and contributed to discussions regarding a document management system and object model for version 2.0. Jason earned a Ph.D. in educational technology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Helen Foster is the documentation steward for, the largest Moodle site at more than 300,000 users. She is a facilitator for the Using Moodle course, which provides free 24-hour support for users worldwide. Helen has a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of London and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Cambridge.


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