Toward Leveraging Open Source Technologies: Training teachers in the use of Moodle (LMS) at the University of the South Pacific

Narayan, Neelam
Panda, Santosh
Seth, Kerishma
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The introduction of the learning management system (LMS) has been a challenge for many educational institutions in terms of providing proper training and up-skilling the teaching staff in the use of LMS and effectively incorporating it in their teaching. The University of the South Pacific (USP) which is owned by 12 island nations and which serves almost half of the 20 thousand students through flexible learning is no exception to this. In this paper, the authors describe the initiatives taken by USP to design and conduct professional development workshops for teaching staff embarking to use Moodle in their teaching. Since 2007, the training workshops have been conducted in several ways to meet the immediate needs and demands of the teaching staff. The training workshops comprised of a series of face-to-face 3-4 hour workshops, online introductory workshops and one-to-one workshops in response to urgent requests. // These workshops focus specifically on enabling teaching staff: • to use Moodle as an adjunct to face-to-face teaching rather than to teach in a fully online or distance learning context; • to get a feel for how their courses could be enhanced using Moodle; • to understand the process of planning, designing and implementing online courses, and collaborate with others to do those tasks; • to create better and active communication and collaboration with their students; and • to design and manage learning assessment using Moodle. // Besides discussing the issues relating to the design and offer of training workshops, the authors critically reflect on the evaluation findings and concerns raised by the teaching staff in regards to teaching large classes with students distributed over the 12 countries of the USP region. Also, this paper suggests alternative ways of training that can be implemented to develop the skills of the teaching staff required for effective use of the LMS.

Access,Skills Development,Learning Management Systems (LMS),Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (MOODLE),Teachers,Training