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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Moodle and Elluminate: Powerful Webinar Functionality

Users of Moodle have reason to celebrate as yet another powerful tool which enables instructors and students to participate in live webinars and then to archive them for ongoing access. Elluminate, a provider of live e-learning and web-based collaboration tools, has made their products Moodle-friendly.

Instructors and online learning administrators often shy away from using Moodle because they believe that to add synchronous functionality will require extensive and costly programming and support. As is often the case with open-source course management solutions, developing functionality can be a challenge, especially if the product undergoes numerous updates or requires numerous plug-ins.

The difficulties of integrating open-source solutions with synchronous functions is one reason that Moodle users have not plunged headlong into trying to weave Second Life,, or other role-playing collaborative interfaces into their Moodle room.

Granted, Elluminate is not a virtual world. But, the potential for collaboration, role-playing, and innovative interaction are definitely there. Further, Elluminate seems to have taken a lot of the pain, expense, and guesswork out of live collaboration.

Here is how Elluminate describes the process:

Moodle For users of the Moodle open-source course management system, Elluminate Bridge for Moodle™ enables you to easily and seamlessly integrate live, synchronous distance learning and collaboration into your coursework. Developed in conjunction with Elluminate by Moodle partners and Open Knowledge Technologies, the integration module is available from the Moodle CVS repository.

The process appears to be very straightforward. Nevertheless, it would not be a bad idea to have good support manuals in hand. If you are an administrator of Moodle for your organization, it would be a good idea to provide instructor training, and also to have several demonstrations first.

As always, it is very important to look at what you're doing with the overall design of the course and to make sure that your activities and collaborations reinforce learning goals and objectives.

Symphony Kinematica

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