Style vs. Usability

With the start of this school year, I had planned to implement Moodle, a learning management systems that allows teachers to broaden the range of online activities to include forums, chat, etc. It also allows me to easily include documents (readings, powerpoints, worksheets) and links. After eight years of a traditional classroom web site, I have grown tired of using Dreamweaver to constantly edit documents. Just yesterday, I linked a powerpoint to my AP class calendar in Dreamweaver, updated the calendar online, but then forgot to upload the powerpoint – until a student (desperately studying for today’s exam) sent me a panicked e-mail.

Back in August two barriers finally derailed me from installing and using Moodle. First, I couldn’t easily customize the design. I could use their templates, but other then this blog, I don’t use templates (and even this will have a new look within a month). I like putting my own mark on my web pages. Heck, I have made a number of web pages as side jobs and have made a decent amount of money doing it. Designing web pages is one of the things I love to do. In many ways I traded my young adult semi-professional hobby of photography for web page design. Both allow we to compose a frame of some sort and be creative, without actually have to draw or paint (for which I have not talent). Every time I start a new class I spend a considerable amount of time designing the web page for the class (i.e. CP World History, AP World History, Humanities, CP U.S. History). I know I can do some customization, but I just don’t have time to figure it out right now.

Second, it doesn’t have blogs. I have wanted to implement a blog-based activity for some time and thought Moodle would be the ideal answer. I can register people, easily keep track of their posts, and easily delete anything inappropriate. I can close the system off to just my classes or keep it open for the world to see. Either I will put off my idea, use another service like Blogger, or adapt the idea to the Moodle forums.

So now, three months later, I have accepted that it won’t look as cool as my other sites and that I can live without blogs, for now. I am officially a Moodler. I think I can even buy a t-shirt. Cool.

One thought on “Style vs. Usability”

  1. I started working with Dreamweaver, because I am interestd in doing web-based course design. But this Moodle of which you write might obviate the need to do so. Thanks for putting this up!


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