Over the past four months, Update articles have highlighted a few of the courses available in Moodle through campus.extension.org campus.extension.org, eXtension’s online course system. Karen Hall explained how Campus has contributed to training Master Gardeners in South Carolina. The next month Cynthia Strasheim and Maureen Burson told of seeking eXtension’s help to put a course online for Nebraska parents who are divorcing, seeking custody modification or never married and seeking custody. Then there was the article describing how Carol Hampton, Laura Sant and Joey Peutz, Idaho Extension educators, partnered with Extension educators in other states to provide food safety and food preservation education to more than 430 people through Preserve@Home. Last month’s article explained how Nevada’s Cooperative Extension employees as well as all employees of Nevada’s higher-education institutions now have online access to required trainings because Vicki Jones, a University of Nevada Cooperative Extension employee, wanted easier access for county employees.
Future issues of eXtension Update will highlight more courses, but this issue looks at campus.extension.org broadly.
Since Campus was launched in 2007, some 32,500 people have created user accounts, with 10,600 of those in just the past 12 months. And this does not include countless “guest” access to many of the courses. Registered users have garnered over 21,000 certificates of completion from the courses in which they enrolled. At present, about 425 Extension educators from over 40 institutions have created 490 courses, 236 of which are available for enrollment. The others are either under development, or have been taken offline because of obsolescence or because the teachers are awaiting a new class cohort. Fifty-six of these courses have been created in past five months, so interest in and excitement about using this platform remains high.
Campus continues to evolve and grow in features and capabilities, making its use even more appealing for Extension education. The underlying software is Moodle, the world’s leading open-source course management system. Some recent changes to this system include:
• A simpler front page using a predominant search box and clickable category buttons to direct users to the courses they are seeking.
• A course community hub (mooch.extension.org) through which course teachers can share and/or advertise their courses more widely, including an RSS feed and linking to Facebook, Twitter, and many other social media platforms.
• A greater set of tools to make courses more interesting and engaging such as conditional access requirements, activity completion criteria, chat rooms, forums, assignments, video, glossaries, tests, databases, and certificates.
• Ability to use repositories such as YouTube, Flickr, Dropbox, and Box for course content.
And, coming soon in an upgrade of Moodle is the ability to issue badges to recognize specific learning achievement, or to guide the learning process.
If you have questions about how you can gain access and begin using it for your own educational efforts, send an email to email@example.com.