I spent about 10 hours of my summer learning to use a program called Moodle. If you haven’t heard of it, it is kind of like Blackboard, but it’s essentially free to use. If you haven’t heard of either, well, it’s sort of like a combination of Google Docs, Blogger, and a wiki site, plus a grading option. You can realistically facilitate an entire online course, or supplement your face-to-face class with online activities, chats, or links. So, it begged the question:
If I use Moodle or Blackboard, would I really need Google Docs or Blogger?
The short answer is no, not really. Both platforms offer the same types of options, more or less.
The longer answer would be maybe, maybe not. If you already use Moodle exclusively, chances are you wouldn’t need much more, but you could certainly blend the two (and other) programs nicely. The thing I learned in my Moodle class is that it does a lot of things in a fairly plain or mediocre way, all in one place. So, yes, it is all there on one page, so to speak, but the experience is not as rich as if you used other programs more specialized in what they do.
For instance, you can create a quiz in Moodle, might take about a half-hour to do 10 questions. And it will score it for you. The same quiz could be created in Google Docs Forms in about 10 minutes, comes with a fancy-looking theme, and places all of the answers by name in a spreadsheet. Easier to use and more fun to take, but doesn’t exactly grade it for you.
Collaboration is difficult by possible with Moodle. Wikispaces and Docs are far superior.
I like that Moodle has a chat area that can be opened by the instructor, but it really is as functional as using the chat area in Google Spreadsheet, but in the Spreadsheet, you could be using the fields to show text or other data as you message and chat. About a horse apiece.
The blogging on Moodle is very basic and boring compared to Blogger or WordPress, but again, it’s right there.
So I guess I would say it comes down to taste. Sure you can go out to different restaurants and get all sorts of cuisine prepared by the best chefs, or you can go to a buffet and have a little taste of everything, even though no one food is necessarily top quality. So it is with Moodle and these other 2.0 applications I discuss in this blog.