A few minutes before Emma Richardson delivered her speech, Moodle CEO Martin Dougiamas showed a slide she wished she had come up with:
“Don’t be a whim, join the Moodle Users Association!”
Under the humor and casual tone of the improbable slogan, Emma’s stage presence signals a new energy for MUA. The organization, a completely different entity from Moodle Pty Ltd, is run by volunteers who believe in the importance of giving voice (and more importantly, agency) to Moodle users in any capacity from all over the world.
True to the spirit of participation, the recently appointed MUA Committee reflects the Moodle global user base. Interestingly enough, many of the Committee members have moved between continents, making MUA, in Richardson’s view, “extra valuable” for Moodle and the Moodleverse.
The simplest way in which she could describe the role of MUA would be “to effect change in Moodle.” It is not the only way to do it, though. “You can come to these Moots and bug the Moodle HQ guys: ‘You really need to do this!’” There is also the Moodle Tracker, where technical issues can be identified, addressed, and discussed. But in MUA, anyone has the ability to submit a project, get it voted in and funded, have their idea put in front of Moodle HQ, and turn it into reality, as has already been the case in at least three instances. All of that for what “comes to about 75 bucks US for an individual.”
The plea for joining MUA, however, is not limited to entrepreneurial types keen on making their mark on Moodle. Many members, among which Richardson counts herself, feel perfectly at ease with just getting to know about exciting ideas for future versions of Moodle before anyone else. These types also like to sponsor Moodle development in a simple, yet effective, model where voting is tantamount to funding. But even though not all projects can be chosen in every cycle, Richardson will make sure no effort is wasted. Starting with the next Project Development Cycle, Richardson promises the process will take place in the Moodle Tracker. That way, even if a project is not chosen to be funded and developed, anyone can still take a look at, discuss, and even help build it. Many of Moodle’s most dependable features have been the work of voluntary, often anonymous, heroes.