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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Develop and Host Your Course for Free: MoodleCloud Hosting

-->If you enjoy the flexibility of Moodle, but find that most hosting packages are too expensive for development and start-ups, or that you just do not have time to constantly add the updates, Moodle now offers free hosting through MoodleCloud ( I used it when I was writing Moodle 3.x Teaching Techniques, and I can say that the experience was very positive.  

Here are some of the highlights of my experience using MoodleCloud:

Latest version of Moodle:  I've worked with Moodle in a locally hosted setting, and also I've used cloud-based hosting solutions available online. was far superior. MoodleCloud has the advantage of using the latest version of Moodle, and all the updates are present. Not all the third-party plugins are available for the free version, and since you're not administering this installation of Moodle, you can't add them, but that is a very minor detail when considering all the benefits of Moodle and the solutions. 

Generous Package for Free:  The free version of MoodleCloud allows you to have up to 50 users, and to develop as many courses as you'd like. 50 users gives you enough flexibility to really try out a course, and to see how things will work once you start adding users. For example, using BigBlueButton for web-conferencing and webcasting works seamlessly and smoothly within MoodleCloud. This is not always the case using other hosting options.

Plenty of Bandwidth:  One problem with some hosting solutions is that they do not have enough bandwidth, or there are other routing issues that cause annoying slowdowns and time-outs.

Accommodates a Wide Range of Media: I wanted to include videos, audio, and also photos I took for the course I developed on Trends in Tourism. I wanted to focus especially on the Mexican Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Villages), which are very successful endeavors by the Mexican government to preserve historical, cultural, and natural landmarks while also stimulating economic development by means of tourism. Here's an example of a unit focused on saving endangered sea turtles. 

 Mobile-Friendly: The Moodlecloud hosting solution is mobile-friendly, which is extremely helpful since so many people now access courses using their mobile devices (phones, tablets, iPads, etc.).

Scalable:  The free solution is perfect for beta testing new courses, and also for trying out some of the plugins and features of Moodle. If your course or your institution's e-learning takes off, you don't have to change solutions. You can scale up quite easily by subscribing to a larger plan, which are quite affordable.

The only downside that I can see to MoodleCloud is that it is in a beta mode, and it's possible that they may discontinue it. I hope not! But, that said, Moodle is very popular and I think that it's possible that it will be the first-choice solution of many users.

Moodle 3.x Teaching Techniques - Now available!

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