Moodle – no I don’t mean doodle

This weekend (between parades, church, and general weekend chores) Julie and I worked on getting the course materials ready.  I say ‘we’ but mostly this is Julie’s work as she has been pouring through her existing lecture materials on physiology and revising them for deployment in Liberia.  She has had two objectives in her efforts, and they are critical to the overall success of implementing the Moodle LMS on the new system.

Her first efforts have been to make sure that everything in her course materials has been either authored by her, credited correctly, has permission for use, or is from an ‘open source.’  It is surprising what everyone assumes when they are creating ‘new’ content.  How many of us have copied a cute picture from a website for a posting or a quote from somewhere?  How many have ever put a citation in the posting?  Well, since we will be delivering learning content to a different country, we need to be sure that we have the rights to do so.  The last thing anyone wants is for the University to have to remove some content after we leave!

The second thing Julie has been doing is to review her materials and make sure they are relevant for Liberia.  I have been astonished by the change in scope of her lectures she has had to do.  She gave me a lay-person example.  Thyroid disease.  in developed countries this is caused (if I remember correct) from an adrenal problem but in a poor country this might be caused by something as simple as lack of iodine.  We all get enough of this either through seafood or because iodine is added to salt here.

Towards the end of this weekend we began to finally put the material into the Moodle software and of course there was a problem.  It seems that there is an upload limit for course builders to add materials.  The limit is a paltry 2MB.   Most of Julie’s pdf’s were bigger than that (let alone the video files!).  So after much Googling and trial and error I was able to apply the configuration changes and get past that issue.  The video is another issue so a little more research and viola, I have file sharing running which lets Julie copy files to a folder from her MAC.

So, that’s what I suspect this will be like the whole time.  A few steps forward, a little struggle then a few more steps.