To Moodle or not to Moodle

Moodle is a free course management system. Great, what is a course management system?

The basics:

  • a web site
  • teachers log in to manage their course website
  • students log in to interact with their courses’ websites

Doesn’t sound like much, but stay with it. This tool is powerful for teachers. Why? Mainly, because it is powerful for students. Student love Moodle. They are so compelled by the interface and the activities, that they spend time on your website rather than other, let’s say, less helpful ones.

Some of the great features: discussion boards, electronic assignment submission, online journals, chat rooms, wiki’s, glossaries and more. These are just tools, but the way in which Moodle uses them is the real beauty.

You as a teacher add an assignment. Automatically, when students log in, the assignment shows up in their calendar. You create a glossary in your Economics course. Students are responsible for entering 10 terms that you assign. They each enter their definitions, and other students + the teacher can comment on their definitions until collectively an agreement is made. Now the beautiful part – any time you use a word from the glossary, say “interest rate” for example, it is automatically linked to the glossary entry. If you create an assignment with the sentence, “Calculate the currently available interest rate,” interest rate shows up as a link to the glossary. How great, no more, “what does {fill in the blank term} mean?”

Ok, not sold? Well, just try it, it’s free! Your students will either love it or hate it, and you can move on. Easiest way to try it. Get a

I use Site5 to host this website and have been very happy with them. Their tech support is 24/7 and they generally respond within a few minutes! If you want to help support this site, sign up through Site5.

Have your own web server already? Even cheaper, just follow the Moodle install instructions. Would love to hear your findings with Moodle…

arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (, a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.