I recently spent 2 weeks at XJTLU in China supporting new staff with the CPS programme, and with their institutional VLE, ICE (Interactive Collaborative Environment). Is uses the Moodle software rather than Blackboard which we use to run VITAL. After years of supporting staff here to use Blackboard it was a very illuminating experience to support a new set of staff, in a new country, with a new VLE system!
New staff at XJTLU learning to use Moodle.
Moodle, for those of you not not come across it is an ‘open source‘ VLE system (Blackboard is a commercial for-profit organisation) developed in Australia, but now widely used in many schools, FE & HE institutions across the world.
Moodle is a very straightforward and easy to learn system. Most of the staff (70) that we worked with at XJTLU picked it up very quickly – most not having used a VLE before. Some of the immediate key differences between Moodle and Blackboard include:
- the ability to create visually & graphically more engaging modules.
- easy to structure modules in different ways to suit different pedagogical purposes. For example, you can structure a module by topics, time (sessions etc.), social networking or linking to learning design software such as LAMS.
- all across the software you can see small features which indicate that teaching staff have had an input to the development of the software. For example, it has a built-in ability to change roles to a student to take tests etc. without having to enrol and login with a student test account.
- it just worked! We didn’t come across any major bugs, admittedly we only supported staff with some of the functions of the software.
Watch this short 5 minute video for an overview to ICE at XJTLU. This video includes examples of online study skills modules development by the XJTLU’s English Langauge Unit. These modules extensively use multimedia, quizzes, coursework submissions, Tunitin etc. to support their English language development.