Teachers, students begin to utilize Moodle

Moodle was one of the most talked about topics during the 2010 fall semester. However, what many people do not realize about STA’s Moodle page is that it has been around since 2008. This timeline chronicles the events that have led up to the school-wide use of Moodle at STA.

  • Spring 2008- Ms. Renee Blake first uses Moodle in some of her classes
  • Dec. 2008- STA begins to assess the possible uses of Moodle
  • Fall 2009- construction on STA’s Moodle hardware begins
  • Jan. 2010- Blake’s classes continue to use Moodle, while other classes begin to use it in order to test it further
  • June 2010- President Nan Bone, principal for academic affairs Barbara McCormick and a group of teachers attend the International Society for Technology in Education conference in Denver
  • Summer 2010- STA decides that the use of Moodle would benefit students and teachers, especially in conjunction with the new netbooks
  • Aug. 2010- teachers are expected to have a page for each course they teach.
  • Sep. 2010- Moodle crashes, leaving it completely down for one day and in low quality for three more; Moodle messaging reaches its current peak during this month: 52,208 messages sent
  • Dec. 2010- The Dart publishes a story about the use of Moodle messaging and how it has become a disciplinary issue

2010 could be considered the year when STA finally entered the 21st century. Technological changes included netbooks, Powerschool, and the #6 story of the year, Moodle. Functioning as a homework forum for STA, Moodle quickly became one of the most talked about topics during the 2010 fall semester. But what many people don’t realize about STA’s Moodle, is that it has been around since 2008.

It was first introduced to STA by science teacher Renee Blake as a teaching tool and a way to do online testing. The administration got on board in the fall of 2009 and started to build the hardware that it would take to maintain a school wide Moodle page. Then, in the summer of 2010, the administration decided that implementing Moodle would be beneficial to both students and teachers, especially with the introduction of the new netbooks.

Moodle has proved to be beneficial for the STA community. Principal of academic affairs, Barbara McCormick, said that one of the main uses of Moodle is communication. Students can communicate with teachers, other students and entire classes through the use of Moodle messaging. STA’s network administrator, Matt Stewart, said the use of Moodle messaging was widespread at the beginning of the school year because of the excitement surrounding it. This excitement over messaging has been steadily maintained. Over 200,000 Moodle messages have been sent since December 2008, and recently as much as 50,000 messages have been sent monthly.

2011 will not see many major changes in Moodle, but there will be a few small scale upgrades. Stewart said that he will be updating the software to allow for future growth and McCormick said she has recruited a group of students to change the appearance of Moodle’s front page to make it more unique to STA.

I believe these minor changes will make Moodle more visually appealing, but the day-to-day use will pretty much be the same as 2010. That’s good news for many students though because it means that Moodle most popular feature, messaging, is here to stay.