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Preface > How to Use This Book

How to Use This Book

This book is written for instructors learning how to use Moodle. It's not just a how-to manual, however. Every chapter includes suggestions, case studies, and best practices for using Moodle effectively. Using Moodle won't make your course better by itself. Only by applying effective educational practices can you truly leverage the power of Moodle.

The Moodle interface is customizable by instructors and the system administrator. The descriptions and screenshots are of the default interface without any customization. If you have changed the order of the blocks in your course or the system administrator has changed the look and feel of the main interface, your system will look different from the screenshots here.

Chapter 1 discusses Moodle as a CMS and surveys its tools and features. We'll compare Moodle to the big commercial systems and see how it stacks up.

Chapter 2 gets us started using Moodle. We'll sign up for an account, review the basic interface, get used to some of the conventions, and start a course.

Chapters 3 through 12 cover individual tools in the basic Moodle package. We'll discuss how and why to upload content, use forums, give quizzes, peer review papers, give assignments, write journals, develop shared glossaries, create pathed lessons, collaboratively develop documents, and record student grades. Each chapter will cover how to add the tool to your course, discuss the options available, and give you some creative ideas for effectively using it in your class.

Chapter 13 delves into the management of your course, including adding and removing users, creating user groups, and backing up your course.

Chapter 14 covers Moodle's built-in survey functions for assessing your class.

Chapter 15 pools all the disparate tools into a comprehensive whole and will show some of the creative ways teachers have used Moodle.

Chapter 16 covers how to administer an entire Moodle site. A system administrator will usually handle these function, but if you're on your own, there's a lot of power behind the curtain.

You can use this book in a couple different ways. First, you can read it cover to cover. Hopefully, you'll find it so compelling that you won't be able to put it down until you've finished it. Or you can use it like a reference manual. The beginning of each tool chapter covers the how-to's and the options. If you get lost, flip to the appropriate chapter and take it from the beginning. If you're looking for inspiration, Chapters 3 and 14 and the end of each tool chapter should fuel the creative fire. Happy Moodling!

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