Thanks for posting this. I read though the material with interest. I suspect implementing a programme though moodle would be quite time intensive - though effective.
I think a successful system would need to able to get the students away from the PC as well, using portable devices, such as an ipod. Utilising games with characters speaking ancient languages is a great idea, but then, someone has to program them to speak accurate Ancient Greek, &c. Would student use of this facility justify the time spent creating it, and would it lead to results commensurate with the investment of time?
This is a constant conundrum with new technology - just because something is possible, does not mean it should be done, nor is it necessarily the most effective way of doing it.
In terms of administration etc, moodle looks great, it seems to be a good way to integrate a disparate range of resources and media, especially if a number of people are involved in generating the content, which would otherwise be presented in a disjointed way. Most students would, I feel, appreciate the 'centralisation' which moodle affords.
Understood. The value of podcasts is in their portability and in their 24/7 availability. Use the podcasts to supplement your in-class lessons. For example, you might review some points of grammar or a particular theme in Vergil, and then assign some listening homework where students can listen to Vergil read aloud, whether it is the passage they studied in class that day, a similar passage further exploring the theme discussed, or students could listen to a passage that is to be discussed in the next class in order to prepare.
With video podcasts (or enhanced audio podcasts), you can go even further where you can convert a prepared lecture or diagramming exercise recorded from your SMART Board into an .m4v file so students can watch the lesson on the bus. You should also be able to convert PowerPoint slides to be viewable on an iPod which would be valuable for students studying independently for a quiz or exam. You could also create pronunciation exercises where you have a word or sentence display as an image (as opposed to a movie or plaintext) complete with macron(s) and then pronounce the word/phrase while it is displayed.
Even better (and perhaps more fun), is you can convert those class project videos to .m4v format and share with classes both present and future via video-enabled iPods.
I know there's bound to be more use for podcasts in Classics, but this is what came immediately to mind for me.
I am attaching the first paragraph of the paper "The use of Moodle and virtual reality in Classics teaching" which was a joint submission by Dr. Shawn Graham and Dr. Lisa St. Louis of Robert Welch University. Dr. Graham was not able to join me in Nashville for ACL so I did the honors for both of us. The slides which we used are uploaded here and also on the ACL site. The entire paper will be available as part of a book of conference papers which Dr. Graham and I are working on called Classics: An Education for the New Millennium. It will be ready to go to RWU Press once I learn how to use indexing software...
This paper traces the journey of the senior academic staff of Robert Welch University, Dr. Lisa St. Louis and Dr. Shawn Graham, as we created an Associate’s Degree with a classical language component and a BA degree in Classics entirely online. It is a special paper for us because it has been written and rewritten, with new colleagues, at different times, and at different stages in Robert Welch University’s development. Robert Welch University represents the culmination of the knowledge which we have gained from teaching at many bricks and mortar universities, running student Classics clubs, interacting with several different online course management systems and using games and virtual reality in Classics teaching. The two halves of the paper showcase the separate experiences of the authors, but the paper is unified by the idea of the necessity of inspiring a sense of community and encouraging interaction between instructors and students.
I don't know of any places for free. We have 2 different Moodles ourselves, 1 with American Data Technology and one with the Consultants-E in Spain. The first one is just a business website host. The 2nd is a true Moodle host with links to Second Life. I will look around for you though. I know you can also host your own on a USB memory stick for your own courses, but I think it would become unwieldy if it had users beyond just you.. My colleague Dr. Shawn Graham (Canadensis on this site) knows more about this than I do.