U.S. Moodle Conference To Focus on Open Source in Education

The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota will be hosting a Moodle conference sponsored by the main organization behind the Moodle project. "MoodleMoot US" will run Aug. 4-6 in Minneapolis and feature Moodle founder Martin Dougiamas as well as speakers from higher ed and K-12 sharing how they use open source tools, including the Moodle open source course management system, in education.

Dougiamas wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the use of open source software to support teaching and learning and eventually developed a free content management system that evolved into Moodle. He was instrumental in persuading the U.S. Patent Office to revoke a patent it had issued to Blackboard, which had claimed it had created the first Internet-based education support system. Dougiamas currently serves as the lead developer of Moodle, through an organization based in Western Australia.

"A MoodleMoot is where the community comes together to share and grow technical and design skills, network with friends, exchange best practices and drive the Moodle project forward" said Dougiamas in a prepared statement. The August gathering is the first "official" Moodle event in the United States, he noted.

After the conference ends, organizers will be running a one-day "hackfest," where developer participants will work together on future Moodle improvements using specifications from Moodle working groups and other sources.

Besides Dougiamas, other notable speakers will include David Ernst, CIO for U Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development and director for the Open Textbook Network; and Charlie Reisinger, IT director at Penn Manor School District, which, in 2013, launched Pennsylvania's largest high school 1-to-1 program using Linux and open source software.

Early-bird registration for the event ends June 30.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.