I’ve got a bit behind in my Moodle book reviews so I am planning on doing three in a go this weekend – apologies; therefore, if I don’t go into every chapter in depth as I normally do, but I will still do my best to be constructive yet honest.
OK -first up: Moodle 2 E-Learning Course Development by William Rice.
(Disclaimer: I was one of the technical reviewers of this book) As far as I am aware, this book, in its 1.8 version, was the second major Moodle book to be published, after the “Bible” of Using Moodle by Jason Cole and Helen Foster. It was and will continue to be a very popular introductory manual, suitable for techies who are installing Moodle, Moodle admins and regular teachers developing courses with Moodle. In the earlier incarnations of this book, I felt that the author was writing from the point of view of the installer/admin, whereas often the most active Moodle users don’t have such privileges or knowledge. It’s nice to see in this book, the 2.0 version, that William takes into account more the user teaching with Moodle and is careful to point out what actions need admin rights and what teachers can natively do. He also shows us features from the student point of view and that too is useful.
This book is written for those users who have never used Moodle before and so have no need to know any of the differences between 1.9 and 2. It starts with a “guided tour” of Moodle 2, after which the author goes on to discuss installing Moodle and configuring the site and adding users. I do like the order in which the chapters come – it is logical and well thought through. I’ve been adding some pages to the Moodle 2 documentation recently and deciding where and how best to present information to complete newbies is very difficult, so I appreciate this. The first few chapters are mainly for installers/admins/course creators and then from Chapter 5 onwards we learn how to create activities in Moodle. Once more, I like the way the chapters are set out: We begin with “adding static course material” and this is a free sample chapter available from Packt here We then move on to “adding interaction with lessons and assignments”, followed by “evaluating students with quizzes, choices and feedback”, then “adding social activities to your courses” (chat/forum/wiki/workshop/glossary etc), “blocks” and finally a chapter on logs, reports, grades and so on.
There is certainly enough in here to get a new user up and running and confident, whether they are admin, teacher or both. It is detailed but not totally comprehensive – maybe that’s just not possible – to cover every single feature of Moodle would require a vast tome I suspect! So while you will get the basics of, say, the gradebook, you won’t get info on outcomes or groupings/group members only . While mention is made of the “restrict availability” settings you don’t get to learn about conditional activities or activity/ course completion (see chapter 6 of my book ) However – once you’ve got started with Moodle, these advanced features are options you can explore yourself or find out from other Packt Moodle books specific to your area of interest so I don’t see that as an issue. Conclusion? This book is a sound introduction to the features of Moodle – a “primer” indeed.
Next up; I will post a review of Moodle 2 for Teaching 4 – 9 Year Olds by Nick Frear Watch this space!