01 March 2010

Moodleshare

I posted a couple of my courses (Frank Herbert's Dune & The Hobbit) on MoodleShare a few days ago. Since then I've seen mention of it spread like wildfire across the Moodle community.  The site traffic on my Moodle page has greatly increased with hits from all over the world from people viewing and downloading the courses that I have shared.  I've checked out available resources on the various Moodle sharing sites and on MoodleShare (which I helped start) and there really aren't that many courses available for download.

Considering the number of worldwide Moodle users I find this a little frustrating.  I can think of a few reasons why teachers may not want to share their courses:
  1. Proprietary content- Teachers like to "borrow" from all over the place so they may not want to open themselves up to any potential trouble by using content that doesn't fall under Fair Use. Solution: Make copies of your course where you delete questionable content and wherever possible you should create links and use embed code to outside content.  At this stage, any little bit helps.  Even the shell of a class could save a teacher out there hours of outlining/organization when developing their own Moodle course.
  2. Embarrassment- Teachers may really like what they use in their classes, but are not quite so confident that other teachers will think it is quality as well. Solution: Get over it.  Your class will never be finished in the same way that no poem is ever finished.  Every time you look at it you will want to see something you'll wish was better or that you want to change. It may be that when others see the course they'll offer you feedback and resources of their own that you could include.
  3. Too much trouble- Teachers are overworked.  Putting content into Moodle takes time, or taking your Moodle course to the world seems like a hassle.  Solution: Creating Moodle environments for your classroom is time-saving.  Every time you add something to your course you are saving yourself more time in the long -run.  If you have anything in your course then it's worth sharing with others.  If you don't want to write about it on a sharing site then send me the link and I'll promote it on MoodleShare for you.
  4. Sense of ownership- Teachers like to get credit for what they have done and just giving their hard work away to someone who may be new to the field or doesn't work as hard just doesn't feel right. Solution: Consider creating a license to add to your course from the Creative Commons. Select a level of copyright that you are comfortable with.  I know that in Moodle it's possible to remove it, but we can't worry about that.  Let someone take what you have done and build upon it rather than constantly recreating the same thing each generation.  Since I first started teaching 10 years ago, I've heard the phrase Recreating the Wheel more times than I can recall. Enough already, it's time to do something about it.
I'm sure there are other reasons, but if every teacher just shared one course that they teach can you imagine how much time that would save thousands of educators around the world?  If you don't have an entire course share a unit; lesson or assignment.  Anything so we can start building up instead of sideways. I've put some courses where my mouth is; there will be more on the way. And if you're one of those who have seen and downloaded them for yourselves,  I can't wait to see what you come up with. I have no doubt they'll be even better than mine.