Martin Dougiamas (born 20 August 1969) is an educator and computer scientist who lives in Perth, Australia. He has worked on social constructionist models of teaching and learning online, and led the development of the open source Moodle learning platform.
Dougiamas is the founder and CEO of Moodle Pty Ltd, the company that drives development of Moodle and is financed partly through certified service providers in the Moodle Partner network. Significant related services include MoodleCloud for hosted Moodle courses and the Moodle Mobile App, which extends Moodle functionality to mobile devices. The Moodle project is backed up by a large online community and in January 2016 the crowdfunding Moodle Users Association was launched.
As a child Dougiamas lived for some years in the desert in Western Australia, where he studied at home and through materials dropped off by aeroplane. His family moved to Perth and he attended West Balcatta Primary School and Balcatta Senior High School in the city's northern suburbs. In an interview in 2010 he said that this unusual educational experience perhaps prepared him for developing an Internet-based learning platform. Later, while studying for a master's degree and PhD at Curtin University, Australia, Dougiamas began developing the set of online tools that would become Moodle.
Dougiamas's PhD thesis project is entitled "The use of Open Source software to support a social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning within Internet-based communities of reflective inquiry". Originally Moodle was an experiment within his PhD research but the widespread adoption of Moodle meant that he could not complete that research.
Dougiamas is a defender of open-source software and has been involved in open-source advocacy. He was active in the revocation by the US Patent Office of the patent claim for "Internet-based education support system and methods" (U.S. 6988138) submitted by Blackboard. The application described an Internet system in which different access rights to various course management resources can be granted to different user.
In 2004 Dougiamas was described by Brent Simpson as "one of the rare instances in Open Source software development where the right person with the right personality appears at exactly the right time; Martin Dougiamas is the Linus Torvalds of the LMS world and his software is the Linux of this software."
In 2008 Dougiamas was the winner of the Google-O'Reilly Open Source Award in the Education Enabler category.
In 2016 Dougiamas was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia "for his contribution to open-source software through his leadership of the Moodle platform."
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