My goal in incorporating an online learning space into my classroom, aside from the pragmatic need to house course materials in an accessible format, was to create an online space that that encouraged students to construct new knowledge about writing through community interaction. I found that Moodle strongly supports this type of approach on both a philosophical and pragmatic level.
One of the features that originally attracted me to Moodle was the description of its philosophies about online educational interaction and the place of a CMS. According to the Moodle website, Moodle is built on four underlying philosophies: constructivism, social constructivism, constructionism, and connected and separate. The heart of Moodle pedagogy argues that all participants in a learning environment can be both teachers and students—and its design reflects that through commonly created content in Moodle such as wikis, forums, glossaries of course terms, chats, and so forth. The philosophies of Moodle are, I think, well reflected in its design and features.
Each of these philosophies also has a home within rhetoric and composition and is compatible with the underlying theories in many writing classrooms. Common writing classroom activities, such as discussion, collaboration, and peer review are consistent with the views of social constructivism, invention as a social act and a de-centering of power in the writing classroom (See LeFevre 1987 , Berlin 1992, and Bruffee 1984 for more on these topics). Moodle’s philosophies allow for online writing pedagogy that focuses both on developing individual writers and also a community within the classroom, and hence, I found were highly compatible and effective.