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I'm involved in a cross-cultural project with other teachers at the moment and, after considering our options, have decided to use a Ning to work with our students (rather than (only) a wiki, as we'd considered in the first place).

I'd be interested to hear your opinions on why you'd choose Moodle or a Ning as VLE for students.

Thanks,
Beatriz

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Hi Beatriz,

I'd use Moodle! Five years ago I was asked to participate in two cross cultural projects, an online course, with teachers and students, called CABWEB. Collaborating Across Borders and JILID.

The teachers and students. were faculty from a college in Manchester, UK and in Stuttgart, Germany. It was a great experience! The courses were entitled, Colors and Rock and Roles

. In both courses we were examining culture and race. In the Rock and Roles course which I co- authored with my business partner, Gina Russell Stevens,we were examining how gender and lyrics affected our musical tastes, impressions and lives.

Because we spanned time zones, Moodle's capabilities and features suited us best. You can log in as a guest in the CABWEB course to check it out.

Sheila
Hi Beatriz,
Ning is a great space for social networking, communication and sharing ideas, videos etc. You can build your PLN network with other members via the self registration in groups and it is great for publicising live online events and hashtags and extending conversations beyond an event.

Moodle is a dynamic learning environment which also integrates communication and collaboration but it needs to be setup (Moodle is relatively intuitive and there is a great community which provides help eg on Moodle.org forums). However, it provides a large range of other functionality and tools that Ning does not provide and includes the ability to provide assessment, personal reflection, collaborative activities & peer review, forums, quizzes, glossaries, blog, SCORM objects, assignments including an upload (digital drop box) facility and much more.

It includes the ability to track, monitor, record assessment (includes a gradebook). You can customise, add widgets and third party modules and Web2.0 tools. I think the wiki in Moodle is not as good as some of the popular wikis but will improve in the next version (Moodle 2.0). You can use another wiki and add it as a link if you wish.
You do need to have your Moodle site hosted somewhere whereas Ning takes care of this aspect.

It depends on your purpose.
I love both Moodle and Ning. Your need suggests that Moodle would be the better option. You could check out Tomaz Lasic's 2 minute moodles on Vimeo. Here is one example. And take up Sheila's kind offer.
Goood luck!
Moodle is more of a place for me to host and run a blended classroom...I have used several Moodles all year and have loved the results...obviously, it has some idiosyncrasies, but it will work well with planning and flexibility. I tried to add the Ning to the class, but most of my students so liked the Moodle that they did not want to use the Ning One option I have considered is using the Ning as the students' web presence, so they can access anywhere anytime, but have the Moodle as my classroom site...another option for students would be a Google Sites student page....free with a Google account...and looks more like a traditional webpage...the template looks very easy to use.
Dear Yvonne, Sheila and Ted,

Thank you very much for your detailed advice and huge apologies to Yvonne and Sheila for a very late reply.

Ning sounds like the best environment for this project from your explanations -and Sheila's projects sound really exciting!!! I'll check out the CABWEB course as a guest if it's still alright and watch the video suggested by Yvonne.

@Ted: it seems your students feel a bit like I do; I really enjoyed the courses I've taken on a Moodle and wouldn't probably change into a Ning -but since we'll be working with more than one class and even individual students and teachers, a Ning sounds the way to go. I'll check out Google Sites -I wasn't aware of that feature.

Thanks again for the advice. I'm really sorry it took me so long to reply.

Beatriz

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