Becoming a Moodle Buddy
Perhaps the most interesting line on my Curriculum Vitae identifies me as a “Moodle Buddy.” At the University of Louisiana at Monroe, my job as a Moodle Buddy entailed helping other faculty learn how to use Moodle, as the university shifted course management systems from Blackboard to Moodle in 2008. While I take pride in the Moodle Buddy moniker, I'm just one of many composition faculty who routinely explore the ways free and open source software might benefit the complex task of teaching writing.
In 2007, I served on a committee tasked with redesigning the first-year composition curriculum and designing an assessment plan for that new curriculum. As the leadperson on the English 101 subcommittee, I created a wiki space where the committee could share and store curriculum documents. Word of the wiki spread to the Computing Center and I soon found myself enrolled as a Moodle tester, one of the first faculty to use Moodle to host courses and then to report bugs to the Computing Center. Moodle has a wiki module, so my appointment as a tester seemed rational at the time, especially since I was hosting courses on a wiki rather than using the university-provided LMS: Blackboard.
Naturally, some faculty resisted the move to Moodle and the deadline was extended. That's how I became a Moodle Buddy. A Moodle convert, my job entailed officially helping others learn how to use the course management system (as I already took part in GARNet Working Group, a faculty grassroots initiative aimed at sharing technology tricks). A Moodle Buddy's job was to help the late adopters.
Now that I am on the faculty at California State University, Los Angeles, I may use Blackboard. I prefer not to. After a few semesters of hosting my courses on wikis, I have decided to pay for my own hosting space and to host my courses on my own Moodle shell. Inevitably, of course, the administration found out and I am once again working with university computing personnel to discuss Moodle practicalities and inefficiencies.
One reason to use Moodle in the writing classroom: Workshops.
Next: Read about the Moodle Workshop