August 5

Free Moodle Hosting

These past weeks, I have talked to several people inquiring about using Moodle.  This summer, I attended a conference where the facilitator of a workshop attempted to sell people on the benefits of Moodle (although he never really explained what Moodle was & implied that it was an app you run from your local hard drive like MS Office).  Anyway, some school systems around here are actually getting on board with Moodle.  It looks like word is finally getting out about this free LMS (Learning Management System).  If you are not familiar with Moodle, check out this earlier T4T post.

One hurdle to using Moodle for most teachers is that it requires a web server capable of running PHP scripts and MySQL databases.  Most teachers do not have easy or affordable access to these services.  Some school systems have the capabilities to install and run the web server software required by Moodle.  However, most SysAdmins either do not know what Moodle is, do not have the time to administer Moodle and its required web services, or do not want to open their system to extra apps out of fear of compromising network security.  As a part-time, SysAdmin, I cannot blame them for this (for many reasons that are better suited for a separate post).

KeyToSchool offers a way around these hurdles.  KeyToSchool is free.  Although they do accept donations.  KeyToSchool hosts your Moodle site for you.  So you do not need space on a PHP enabled webserver.  You do not need to convince your district’s SysAdmin to allow it on the network.  KeyToSchool handles all of the server administration for you.  Once you sign up for a free account, you are given a choice of multiple web domains to choose from.  You can also choose to tie this to a domain name you already have registered.  Most people will choose to use one of their domains.  If you do so, your website would be something like http://myclass.eduspoke.com

If you choose to go with KeyToSchool for hosting your Moodle site, remember your data is residing on someone else’s server.  As a precaution, I suggest you not use your students’ full names.  I use my students’ first names and last initial only.

Also, if you are wondering what the catch to getting this free option is, you can read KeyToSchool’s explanation here.

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Posted August 5, 2009 by bk in category Cloud, Learning Management Systems, Teaching Tools, Web-based

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