Monday, October 02, 2006

Just Moodling around...

As anyone who works at a boarding school knows, the time around the start of school is always hectic and tiring. Make that exhausting. Then we add Trustees/Alumni Weekend less than a month into school, and Parents' Weekend three weeks later and it is a wonder we make it to Thanksgiving in one piece. This year was especially rough, but I'll save the whine about that for another time.

I do want to grab a few minutes to briefly mention a piece of software we have implemented at Vermont Academy. It is worthwhile in itself, but it bears special mention now because of my previous post.

A year ago we switched from a commercial, and very expensive, course management system to Moodle, an open-source system that is coming on very strong in this arena. Why does Moodle bear mention now? Because it beautifully handles the switching between portrait mode and landscape mode! You can see our site for yourself at It is a very young work in progress, but it is getting fleshed out over the course of this semester. Play with the width of the window or switch between portrait and landscape and see what I mean. Other varied and more complete sites can be seen at

I would encourage any school looking for course content management software to consider Moodle, but especially those schools that are using or looking at Tablet PCs. The price can't be beat. The feature set is solid. Development is active and well-managed. There is good support from the community. You get the source code so you can tweak it. The folks at Agilix (makers of GoBinder) are working on an interface between Moodle and GoBinder, so there are even better things coming.

Like all the other course content management systems, it is a web application, which automatically means that pen support is poor to non-existent. (Anyone know PHP and want to tackle better pen interface issues?) Nevertheless, these apps fill an important place in a school's academic support arena and I am able do most of my work with Moodle with the pen. Moodle is a good system; it looks great on the Tablet; and the future is bright for it.