This article will discuss, individually, the essential characteristics of Moodle and WordPress; it will then describe how the two may be integrated with one another. Both are very new, having been released only within the past ten years.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is a free source e-learning platform (other terms include Course Management System (CMS), Learning Management System (LMS), and virtual learning environment) that saw its stable release less than a month ago; though its first version came out some ten years earlier. The name stands for Modular Object-Oriented Design Learning Environment; the original object of its inventor, Martin Dougiamas, was to find our ways in which open source software can be used to support a “social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning in an Internet community of reflective inquiry.” Computer educators throughout the world have been using Moodle to teach their students how to create dynamic websites, that is sites that change according to their users. Educational hobbyists and primary educators can use it as well.
Features that form a part of Moodle include online quizzes, calendars, news, and announcements; instant messages; file downloads; and a discussion forum. All of these modules are very popular as a way of setting up an online learning community around a subject of one’s likeness. An unlimited number of Moodle servers can be added, as no license fees need to be paid.
WordPress is a Blogging Platform
WordPress is a blogging tool and content management system (for managing the content of several web pages from a single, central one). It was released in 2003. With it, multiple users can share the stored data and even contribute to it; and data storage and retrieval are themselves much easier, as is page content management. Duplicated inputs are vastly reduced; report writing is simplified; and data can be defined as a movie, a picture, a text file, or almost anything else.
As you can see, both Moodle and WordPress simplify many online activities. Now to the question of how to integrate the two.
An example of such integration may be seen in “Esthetics of the Moving Image,” a project done by Louisa Stein, assistant professor of Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College, as part of a course on that subject. She used WordPress for general course information, the public “face” of the site. Moodle she used as her learning management system, for behind-the-scenes file distribution and for her weekly outline. Both programs came together when Professor Stern set up the formats of assignments such as her television credit sequence close analysis, where in this case a link to those credits is provided. Students can go from there to the place where they are to upload the files outlining their assignments. Students type the texts of their assignments “inline” on the Moodle site, and the professor can give in-text comments.
The WordPress site is also where students can exchange information on their projects via blog and share videos, while the Moodle site is where Professor Stern holds online course discussions, collects her student’s final submissions, and distributes her reading homework. The Professor has also set up “blog collectives” in which students are required to comment on those of other students in the same collective. By doing so, she hopes, she will encourage her students to read one another’s work and thus benefit from mutual learning. And some of the blogs are “dual purpose”—one part in which the student writes a response that integrates the screenings and the readings of the question, and a second part in which “anything goes”—that is, as long as the student makes one post a week by Sunday at midnight (and he also has to have determined at the beginning what he is going to post about).
Imagine what the above courses would be like if only one platform or the other were used. With just Moodle, no site content can be viewed publicly at all; with just WordPress, prospective students and others cannot view the contents of the site, and no elements are protected, except for readings that are hosted on Orca.
To perform the integration, the user first creates the WordPress site and gets it listed by the Academic Computing Liaison. He then creates links from one to the other in both directions.
Moodle and WordPress are one of the pairs of technology systems that work the best when used together. And as each platform evolves on its own, it will add to what the duo can be used for.
Author info: This is a guest contribution by Juliana Payson. Juliana is an Online Community Manager businesses based in Los Angeles and is known on Twitter @JulianaPayson and on google plus for her community engagement and Web Hosting advice for people’s website needs. She promotes InMotion Hosting, well-known for their inexpensive web hosting offering, the best VPS for Moodle communities.