It took Gemma Lesterhuis about 4 years to go from being just acquainted with Moodle to becoming a crucial force for the rejuvenation of the open source LMS in the face of a mobile, restless, and ever-connected world. In an interview for moodle.com, Lesterhuis describes her path, lessons learned, and some insightful views about driving change in technology-aided education.
She had the advantage of being a “liaison” between Moodle’s IT and business departments. It was a highly educational job where she had to become an interpreter between technology and outcomes, personally as well as through developing educational content.
Soon Lesterhuis saw a big opportunity for her future in Moodle. At the same time, she started to become aware, almost painfully, of a couple of things she was not a fan of. “From the moment I started with Moodle, I found the Dashboard clumsy and it has always annoyed me in some way.” She admits she spent maybe too long expecting things would just get better in the next release. It was only after she decided to launch Lesterhuis Training and Consultancy, a Moodle-based startup, that she decided to take matters into her own hands.
As often happens with the inspired mind, a personal vision grows unstoppable, far exceeding one’s ability to materialize it. Lesterhuis’ ideas about a snappy welcome widget that would help get things done felt too big for her to pursue alone. After some research, she found in the Moodle Users Association the kind of support for ongoing development and feedback the perfect venue for her proposal.
It wasn’t smooth sailing from there on either. She realized that to get their fellow MUA members’ attention, she needed to show that she was listening and that she was ready to push through. Making her project gain momentum took her about a year’s worth of full-time commitment. “Even though it was a lot of work to sort out the comments, re-writing the proposal in such a way that it reflected the comments, in the end it was the best thing I could have done.”