The first Moodle research conference took place in beautiful Crete last weekend and I was lucky enough to be in attendance to present Enovation’s work with the Percolate project on providing personalised help to students within Moodle.
- Mark Melia presenting at MRC (credit: Gavin Henrick)
The conference began on Friday with a keynote from Moodle founder, Martin Dougiamas. Martin’s keynote was entitled “Back to the Classroom”. The keynote called on participants to consider why they were involved in education and a call to action on how we can use technology to make education more effective and efficient allowing humanity to evolve. Martin posed the question how can we do this either through Moodle (extending core or through plugins) or perhaps not through Moodle, through some “new thing”. As he says himself of Moodle – it is what it is.
The speakers during the conference could be arranged along the following themes:
- Innovative Plugins – this included our own Percolate search plugin integrating semantic web and social search to track and understand a user’s search intention providing them with personalised help with aspects of learning where they experience difficulties. Also presented was cool plugins such as a language learning tool where students work with a video in the language they are learning.
- Authoring – Authoring especially through Modelling was a key theme. These is an area which I am particularly interested in as its what I did my PhD research on so I was very pleased to see research in this area and to speak with the researchers afterwards.
- Analytics – there were many talks looking at using data mining and analytics to derive new information. Very interesting stuff. This area is really picking up momentum with the LAK (Learning Analytics and Knowledge) community going from strength to strength (http://lak12.sites.olt.ubc.ca).
- Usability and user experience reports. How Moodle can be customized for specific scenarios, for example language learning for children or teaching and learning in Islamic cultures.
- There were also a variety of case-study reports on the deployment of e-learning strategy through Moodle.
Really interesting talks and really interesting people. Just can’t wait for next years event now!
If you are interested in reading the papers from the Moodle Research Conference they are freely available at http://research.moodle.net/MoodleCon_Proceedings_program/index.htm. Be sure to have a read of our paper entitled “Supporting Problem-based Learning in Moodle using Personalised, Context-specific Learning Episode Generation” and let me know if you have any feedback or comments!