Table of Contents
The purpose of a courseware system is to help instructors teach courses by providing a flexible, easy-to-use Web site for course-related materials and communication.
Martin Dougiamas, an educator in Perth, Australia, invented Moodle because he was frustrated by the inflexibility of the WebCT courseware system. First released in 2002, the open-source Moodle product currently serves over 60,000,000 users worldwide.
It's entirely up to you whether you use Moodle for your courses. Moodle has a modular structure so you can choose only the parts that fit your teaching style.
We recommend the gradebook, calendar, and assignment tools, in particular, to save you and your students time and pain. The gradebook, in particular, has these virtues:
Because it is vital to make it easy for students to track their own progress, as soon as you or a grader posts a grade, the student can see it without any more work on your part. The student can always see their overall course average and the individual grades that are used to compute it.
Moodle works with the Starfish site to help advisors track student progress, especially in critical early courses like Math 103 and 104. You may, at your discretion, opt in to the Starfish program, and specify what grade average you consider a danger level, and when you have reached the point in your course where grades are significant; Starfish can then look at your gradebook without further action on your part, and flag students with grades below that level.
In this document we describe only the most commonly used features, but you will find abundant online documentation, and lively support resources, at the Moodle community site. In particular, see the Moodle 2.2 documentation page.