A Hidden, Masterful Moodle Microcosm. Kimberley Kobal At MoodleMoot Australia 2018

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What can be said about online learning in Papua New Guinea that has not been said already? Apparently everything. But a better question is, what can we learn from one of the longest-running Moodle sites out there? In one of those glimpses of places that go under our radar, yet wherein whole cultures of learning thrive, and that only people familiar with Moodle have the privilege to meet, Kimberley Kobal from Divine Word University shared her “ongoing case study” for the Brisbane audience.

Divine Word University is relatively close to Moodle’s home town, in Madang. A 93-strong faculty across 5 faculties attends more than 1,500 undergraduate and post-graduate students across several campuses.

Most of DWU students are enrolled full-time for in-person teaching, and an “undefined” number of post-graduate students are enrolled under the flexible mode. The technological backbone that allows this is Moodle, and has been for over 12 years. Both kinds of students use Moodle regularly: They access resources and undergo standard examinations. A team, within DWU’s Centre for Learning and Teaching, maintains the LMS, provides support and assistance, and provides training to faculty and staff. Every member of the community received Moodle training, usually as part of their onboarding process.

The study

DWU was interested in both studying the learning patterns of the students, as well as the effectiveness of Moodle-mediated learning. Student perceptions about Moodle were also gathered.

149 online responses from self-selected subjects (56% women) have been received to date. All students were and continue to be invited to reply.

  • 89.3% consider Moodle “just fine.” The other options were “Too simplistic” (9.4%) or “Too complicated.”
  • 12% deemed Moodle “Dull,” 37.6% “Pleasing,” 36.2% “Welcoming” and 19.5% “Engaging.”
  • DWU’s Moodle site lets users customize their experiences, hiding blocks and choosing their colors. 65% of the students customize their Moodle.

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