Many Moodle administrators learn ‘on the job’ without time to lift their heads above the water…
Are you a Moodle administrator?
Does this sound like you?
One of the challenges for Moodle administrators is that to effectively manage a Moodle site requires two very different skill sets.
- Firstly, there is the technical side of things. Everything from planning and managing upgrades and updates, monitoring the site speed, overall server performance. Possibly security too if self-hosting. Moodle administrators may be responsible for managing user accounts, and organising enrolments. If this is being handled by academic staff, a Moodle administrator still needs to know all the options, because they will need to set Authentication and Enrolment options correctly.
- Secondly is the requirement for a Moodle site administrator to really understand what staff and students need to do on Moodle. That’s because only a Moodle administrator can enable and disable the site functionality. Even the main configuration choices are a site admin job. But how can a Moodle administrator possibly make all the right decisions if they don’t know what teachers and students actually need to do?
The interface between the Moodle administrator and the Academic staff is absolutely key to having a great Moodle site, and happy teachers and students.
On our MoodleBites for Administrators course as well as looking at the technical side of site installation, set-up, configuration, and maintenance, we are constantly trying to bridge the gap between the technical work, and the teaching world, and draw links between the two.
It’s rare to find a Moodle administrator who really “gets” teaching.
The main exception we see is maybe in University settings, where a small teach of people are working in the e-learning arena, and the links between academic and technical are strong.
Conversely, in a typical school, the Moodle admin is often an IT teacher who gets ‘rewarded’ (!) with looking after the Moodle site.
In small companies, it’s often an IT guys who “looks after Moodle”, but often has no background of teaching and education, and how the changes they make, or don’t make, can impact learning.
So, what’s the message for Moodle administrators here?
- Don’t rely on your own judgement about what is important to setup and use on the Moodle site – develop links with academic staff – so they can explain what they need, and you can offer solutions based on what you know from the technical side.
- Get some training. We often hear administrators say something like “I wish I had take this course earlier, it would have saved me so many hours of time!“