Moodle (http://moodle.org/) is a free and opensource software which you can use to build your online academy. I have been playing with Moodle for the last few days for a non-profit project and I am amazed with its capabilities to build online learning solutions.
To start with:
- Moodle is a free and open source solution written in php with mysql back-end.
- Moodle is as easier to install as WordPress is on a cheap, shared hosting account. So for small setups, no expensive servers or technical knowledge is required.
- Extensive inline and online documentation.
Moodle offers complete life cycle of a typical learning place. For example:
- Students can self-register with "the academy".
- Student can view which courses are being offered and can enroll themselves automatically, through an offline distributed key or manually by a teacher (Once they have paid the fee for that course, for example.)
- Students can collaborate with each other on a particular course through forums and wikis.
Once registered and enrolled, students can learn from variety of teaching material available which can include lecture notes, audio and video resources as well as other resources like links and webpages. This teaching material is prepared or compiled by you, the teacher, in advance.
Students can submit/upload their assignments in a number of ways. Moodle’s Quiz module can be used to build question papers. These question papers can have multiple choice questions, true/false and short answers among other possibilities.
Quiz module is one of the powerful tools in Moodle. Once a student has attempted a quiz, it can automatically calculate grades. Correct answers and grades can be optionally shown to the student right away.
Last, but not the least, you can date and time limit every activity. You can also allow only one attempt or multiple attempts for each course.
You can try Moodle on its demo site here (http://demo.moodle.net/) I shall share more details and experiences here once I complete my small project based upon Moodle.