As contingent faculty I have found that one of the most difficult aspects of bouncing from school to school, semester to semester, is the fact that you often spend hour upon hour creating a course website on the host university’s server for one class, only to have to recreate it at another university the next semester. Further, this different software has it’s challenges. Blackboard is great for basic content, but not very good for interaction. On the other hand, Webct has great interactive devices, but the basic content can be somewhat cumbersome. Worse is the fact that the two systems do not play well together! And worst of all, some schools don’t even host course management software (in this day and age!). Well, I found an alternative, MOODLE!. [I wonder if the free plug will earn me a T-shirt?] It is a nice course software that I host myself, on my own web space for (so far) around 6 bucks a month. I’m not a big fan of taking on the cost and IT support myself, but at least I don’t have to depend on someone with less education, who works fewer hours for more money to take care of my stuff. Here’s a screen shot of my Haydn course:
As you can see, I’ve got listening, readings, scores and such, all protected behind a nice password restriction. I can track use, keep grades, have online blogs, discussions, journals and such, but I’m not quite there yet. If I ever teach this course again, and I think I might, I will already be prepared, as if I were a little more than contingent faculty.