My department developed a slew of online quizzes for students to practice their vocabulary in Japan before arriving at our school using Hot Potato. But now we needed something more powerful to actually assess what they had learned from the online training. My system administrator suggested a truly groundbreaking piece of software called Moodle. So I gave it a whirl and man, was I blown away.
From wanting to put one assessment tool online, suddenly I realized my whole department and even the whole academic side of the college could be managed from one simple solution. With only weeks to go, I started introducing Moodle to the other instructors who would each be hosting their courses online. Now we had a way to test students for placement, post syllabi, give timed essay questions, blog, audio record, show headline news, create glossaries, edit profiles, conduct item analysis, calculate our grades, have e-portfolios, you name it, I'm serious, go ahead and try.
I had heard of such programs like Blackboard or WebCT, but Moodle was a free open-source solution with great documentation. It is now only the third week that our curriculum has been running with Moodle and as coordinator of the department and as an instructor I can say that I will never run a class without Moodle again. Two Thumbs up and five gold stars.