Open Source, GNU General Public License
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Domnic Mendes, who had a positive experience with this tool, thought Moodle would be a good addition to Cool Tools.
Moodle is a software package for producing internet-based courses and web sites. It's an ongoing development project designed to support a social constructionist framework of education.
Moodle is provided freely as Open Source software (under the GNU Manifesto explains the details. In legal terms, GNU software is protected by the GNU General Public License, or GPL, and by the GNU Lesser General Public License, or LGPL. The Linux kernel, which is subject to the GPL, benefits from this project (especially from the tools), but should not be seen as the same thing.">GNU Public License). Basically this means Moodle is copyrighted, but that you have additional freedoms. You are allowed to copy, use and modify Moodle provided that you agree to: provide the source to others; not modify or remove the original license and copyrights, and apply this same license to any derivative work. Read the license for full details and please contact the copyright holder directly if you have any questions.
Moodle will run on any computer that can run PHP, and can support many types of database (particularly MySQL). You can download and use it on any computer you have handy (including webhosts), yet it can scale from a single-teacher site to a 40,000-student University.
The word Moodle was originally an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and education theorists. It's also a verb that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. As such it applies both to the way Moodle was developed, and to the way a student or teacher might approach studying or teaching an online course. Anyone who uses Moodle is a Moodler.
This site itself is created using Moodle, so check out the Moodle Features demos, the Demonstration Courses or read the latest Moodle Buzz.