The developer and creator of EduMessenger and ConfMan for Moodle- Robert Schrenk is one busy man.
He has been an educator since a decade and half and still continues to work for promoting better learning practices across the schools in his country. Robert enlightened us with his vision and goals in an online interview which is shared below for all readers-
First of all, a very happy new year to you! Do you have any specific goals to accomplish in 2018?
Thanks, wish you a happy new year too. I am working in the field of eLearning since 16 years. Over the years I saw many trends, tools and technologies that changed my teaching and understanding of learning. But there was one tool that I used over the 12 years unceasingly – Moodle.
After discovering many different ways of how technology can enhance learning, I think that technology has to change the way we learn by enhancing the way we interact. Using an outstanding learning management system like Moodle plays a key role as it combines learning design, communication and learning analytics. Therefore I started to focus on the development of Moodle in Austria some years ago.
My latest two projects concerning Moodle are the development of eduMessenger, which should enhance the communication and help to develop connectivistic assignments, and eduvidual, which is a centralized Moodle platform that can be used by a huge amount of organizations at once and hence extend the standard moodle.
Currently Austria has around 1,500 Moodle Installations in schools, which is a lot, regarding the fact that we have around 6,000 schools in total. In order to propagate the central Moodle instance and generate synergy I work together with the Austrian Ministry of Education. Concerning eduMessenger I want to improve it technically and find partners to make it a working business.
“1,500 out of 6,000 schools in Austria use Moodle- which is a lot.”
You have been a lecturer and a teacher as well. Which of the modern teaching techniques have you adapted in your teaching style?
“My students like the fact that the learning process and grading is transparent.”
“It is important that educational institutes are open to new ways of learning. Being limited by technology feels horrible as a teacher.”
Tell us about ‘Elearning cluster’ for which you worked at the Austrian Ministry of Education.
The eLearning Cluster was a project of the Austrian Ministry of Education for vocational schools that had the goal to help schools develop with change. Schools that wanted to implement technology had the chance to meet regularly for exchanging Know-how and got some money to carry out individual projects. The eLearning Cluster was continued as “eEducation Austria”. This new initiative covers all schools from primary to upper secondary in Austria.
You have developed EduMessenger and Confman for Moodle. Are you planning to develop any other plugin for Moodle?
I have many visions and ideas for the future. I learned that many good projects do not turn out well if there is no concept of how they can proceed for a long lasting period of time. What I mean is an appropriate business model.
Making software and publishing it as open source is easy, but if OS projects are discontinued they are becoming unsecure and buggy. This is not a good thing for the open source community as a whole. Behind every project there has to be a concept how development can be assured.
“Many good business ideas do not work out in the long run if there is no appropriate business model”
Why was Moodle your choice in the first place?
Which was your favorite tool while creating online courses?
Lastly, what is your typical work day like?