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August 9th, 2016

Moodle App Could Be a Game Changer for Community Organizations

Many free and open source projects put power into our hands that once was reserved for elite players with deep pockets. A great example is the Moodle mobile app, which could be a big game changer for all sorts of small organizations.

The Video Screening Room

Moodle is a very popular free and open source learning management system, like Blackboard, used extensively around the world. Back in 2004, a very smart friend of mine, Gina Russell Stevens, explained to me that Moodle is so useful it could be used for many purposes beyond education. Her comment stuck with me. When I noticed that Moodle now has a free mobile app available for Android and iOS, it occurred to me that this app could be customized for many civic communication purposes.

Lo and behold, you can easily find a YouTube video explaining how to customize the Moodle mobile app.

For example, a community could customize this app to distribute their local monthly newsletter — shifting it to a weekly newsletter to be more up to date and bypassing the annoying space constraints of print. Community members could download the newsletter with their mobile app and read it offline. So someone whose sole Internet access is via their mobile phone could stay in the loop with civic matters. Lots more is possible too. It’ll be interesting to see which communities will be the first to pursue using open source software in this way. Where are the digitally daring communities located do you think?

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at

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