At the time of the new coronavirus disease outbreak, when schools and universities are temporarily closed to prevent further contagion, thousands of students have to abruptly switch to learning remotely to ensure educational continuity.
To facilitate the learning process outside of school, it is possible to use different online platforms and tools. However, there are plenty of suitable solutions for remote learning, and teachers and students can easily get confused when trying to find a tool or platform for their educational needs.
This article is an overview of top five tools that can be used to take advantage of remote learning making it more efficient and seamless.
Moodle, a time-proved classic learning platform for creating educational courses
Moodle is a classic example of content management system for remote learning. It is a free open-source online platform that enables educators to create their own private website with dynamic learning courses. Moodle can meet various educational needs because it is highly customizable and comes with a lot of standard features. In other words, Moodle has almost everything you expect to see in an online learning platform.
- The Moodle interface looks quite modern and user-friendly and is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices.
- Moodle provides users with a personalized dashboard designed for displaying details of their progress and upcoming deadlines, so it’s really easy to track activities and filter courses.
- Moodle has a wide array of tools and activities so that users can work and learn together in forums, wikis, glossaries, database activities, chats, etc.
- Moodle’s all-in-one calendar helps users keep track of their academic calendar, course deadlines, group meetings, and other personal events.
- Moodle provides an easy way for teachers to present materials to their students. Using a convenient file management system educators can drag and drop files from cloud storage services including OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Moodle’s easy-to-use text editor enables users to format text and add media or images and works well across all web browsers and devices.
- Teachers and students may send and receive private messages and also receive automatic alerts on new assignments and deadlines, forum posts. etc.
- Educators and learners can track progress with a set of options for tracking individual activities or resources.
- The Moodle functionality can be considerably extended with plugins. For example, using the BigBlueButton you can add a web conferencing system for online learning, or you can download and install the plugin for creating dynamic PDF certificates with complete customisation via the web browser.
- Moodle is not the most suitable solution for educators who don’t have a lot of experience in server administration. Basically, you need a web server with PHP and a database to install and deploy Moodle.
- The free version of MoodleCloud, a cloud-based solution by Moodle, has reduced functionality (for example, no automated backups and extra plugins are available) and the number of users is limited to 50.
Nextcloud talk, a secure self-hosted audio and video communication platform for online classes
Nextcloud Talk is a fully self-hosted open-source audio/video and chat communication service. It features web and mobile apps and is designed to offer the highest degree of security while being easy to use. At first sight, Nextcloud Talk is not a traditional learning platform and is more likely to be helpful for small and medium enterprises. However, it can be suitable for remote learning enabling teachers to give online classes.
- Nextcloud Talk is a free communication service that allows its users to stay connected anytime, anywhere and on any device via audio/video calls.
- Users can make private, group and public calls, invite external chat participants with an URL into public rooms on the Nextcloud server.
- While communicating via video/audio calls, users can easily exchange messages, links and notes.
- Nextcloud Talk allows holding webinars and presentations with a great number of participants. During a webinar or a presentation, you can share the content of a single window or a full desktop screen. Managing participants by inviting, muting or removing them is also possible.
- The platform can be closely integrated with Nexcloud which allows sharing documents and files directly into a chat and making them available to all participants, both users and guests.
- Nextcloud Talk is a security-oriented service. All calls are end-to-end encrypted, so no communication can be intercepted. The privacy of communication and its metadata are reliably guaranteed.
- The main difficulty with using Nexcloud Talk is that it requires a server for installation. Not all users have experience in server administration, so installation and configuration of this solution can be a challenge.