Partnership & Collaboration in Moodle Development: Making it Work
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Partnership & Collaboration in Moodle Development: Making it Work

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Presentation by Kathy Fernandes (CSU Office of the Chancellor), Andrew Roderick (San Francisco State University), and John Whitmer (CSU Office of the Chancellor)...

Presentation by Kathy Fernandes (CSU Office of the Chancellor), Andrew Roderick (San Francisco State University), and John Whitmer (CSU Office of the Chancellor)

US West Coast MoodleMoot 2011 (July 2011, Rohnert Park, CA)

As an open source application, Moodle has strong potential for collaborative partnerships, support services, and code development. This presentation will describe one year in the life of California State University Moodle Collaborations. Over the past year, the CSU has developed a governance process and established a new organizational culture while working on code development, training materials, migration tool, and expertise collaboration. We will discuss the balance of central coordination and campus leadership, technical issues and opportunities, and plans for the future.

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  • Looking at the trend over time, the pattern in clear: Moodle is growing in popularity and adoption across our system.If you’re interested in what we are doing as a system to coordinate efforts, can attend our session tomorrow afternoon


  • 1. Partnership & Collaboration in Moodle Development: Making it Work
    Kathy Fernandes, Director, System-wide LMSS Project, CSU Office of the Chancellor
    Andrew Roderick, CIG Chair and Manager of Technology Development, San Francisco State University
    John Whitmer, Associate Director, System-wide LMSS Project, CSU Office of the Chancellor
  • 2. Outline
    Moodle in the CSU System
    Strategic Campus Coordination
    Implementing Governance
    Services Created / Delivered
    Lessons Learned
    Crystal Ball: the future
  • 3. Moodle in the CSU System
  • 4. The California State University
    23 campuses
    412,000 students systemwide
    43,000 faculty and staff systemwide
    LMSS efforts “coordinated” since 1997, within decentralized academic technology leadership
    Moodle coordination started with “Moodle Consortium”, transitioned to formal Moodle Governance in 2010
  • 5. Campus Location & LMS in 2012
    San Francisco State – 2007
    Humboldt State – 2007
    CSU Monterey Bay – 2009
    CSU Maritime – 2009
    CSU Northridge – 2010
    CSU San Marcos – 2010
    Sonoma State – 2011
    Cal Poly SLO – 2012
    CSU Fullerton – 2012
    CSU LA - 2012
  • 6.
  • 7. Diversity of CSU Campuses
    (1,000 FTES)
    Focused on Maritime trades/careers
    take Moodle “on the boat” with them each summer
    one staff member for Moodle tech support
    (25,000 FTES)
    diverse metropolitan university
    1,000+ simultaneous quiz attempts in a single course
    3 development staff for open source app development
  • 8. CSU Budget Crisis
    2011-2012 will reduce budget by at least $650M (reduction to $2.1B), 23% single year cut
    2009-2010 cut $625M (partially restored in 2010-2011)
    Increased tuition, reduced enrollments, doing less with more is status-quo
    Synergies, cost-savings, cost-avoidance all major motivators
  • 9. strategic CAMPUS Coordination
  • 10. LMSS EnvironmentLMSS = Learning Management Systems and Services
  • 11. System-wide LMSS Strategy
    LMS Futures Group (Provosts, CIOs, Faculty) prepared 4 documents:
    LMS Critical Elements
    External Scan of Market & Higher Ed Systems
    CSU System-wide Recommendations
    LMS Governance Recommendations
    Organize stakeholders to implement recommendations, starting with Moodle
  • 12. LMS Futures Recommendations
    Recommendation #1: Provide an “opt-in” services approach to supporting the LMS with the baseline services being a collection of bext practices vs. minimal services
    Recommendation #2: Provide a centrally hosted “safety-net” LMS for campuses that are at risk. A system or consortium LMS service can result in significant cost savings, especially for small campuses currently using proprietary systems such as Blackboard
    We recommend having a limited production available by July 2010. During spring 2010 we will need to determine the specific services available for this first production.
    Moodle is the first LMS application that would be provided, followed by Blackboard
  • 13. Approach: Decentralization / Coordinated Autonomy1
    “California is not only a state, it’s a state of mind” (John Ittelson, CSU Monterey Bay)
    Focus on social/strategic aspirations, above functional requirements
    Consistent with higher ed. culture: individualism and autonomy within open, public, and engaged environment
    Principles: mass individualism, robust flexibility, undirected direction, persuasive standardization, open privacy
    Approach adopted from UCLA’s CCLE project
    1. Term coined by Jim Davis, UCLA CIO Published writings at: and
  • 14. Stages of CSU Moodle collaboration
  • Implementing Governance Processes
  • 17. LMSS Governance KeyElements
    Standards & Practices Group
    Common Interest Group
    Chancellor’s Office Staff
  • 18. Standards and Practices Group
    10 members, 1 member from each Moodle production campus (either current production or announced migration)
    Diverse membership: Directors of Academic Technology, Chief Information Officers, and Faculty Development Directors
    Focus: strategic and policy decisions, vision-setting, prioritization of tasks and collaborative practices
  • 19. Moodle Common Interest Group
    Open membership to any interested CSU staff
    25-30 attendees per meeting, Programmers, Sys Admins, Instructional Designers, Faculty Support
  • 20. Chancellor’s Office Staff
    • Meeting coordination and documentation
    • 21. Project planning and activity management
    • 22. Vendor management and research
    • 23. Communication, communication, communication
    • 24. “Glue” that holds together campus-driven activities and priorities
  • Implementation Strategy Documentation
    LMSS Project Scope Document
    Shared Code Base (SCB) Project Scope
    SCB Development Principles
    Baseline assessments of technical environment and faculty/staff/student perceptions of Moodle
  • 25. Services created & delivered
  • 26. CSU Moodle Shared code Base
  • 27. CSU Moodle Features
    Remote Import
    My Courses Tabbed Block
    Analytics Block
    First iteration
    Still more features to add
    Files Area
    CK Editor
    And more…
    For more documentation on each feature, visit
  • 28. SharedProfessional Development & Support Materials
    Webinar Series
    Moodle Administration
    Moodle Architecture and Performance Tuning
    Moodle 2.0 Evaluation collaboration environment
    QuickGuides Tutorials
    170 guides
    Customizable by campus instance multimedia tutorials for faculty and students
    Available via Shibboleth login, or campus network
  • 29. Vendor Management & Collaboration
    Co-lab Pilot Hosting Environment
    Shared Technical Account Manager
    Common Shibboleth & Conduit integrations
    MoodleMoot !!
    Other 3rd Party Licensing & Integrations
    Migration support and information sharing
  • 30. Lessons Learned
    Clearly define and over-communicate deliverables and timelines
    Campuses have very different timelines, deployment approaches, staffing, etc, so
    Document and formalize campus expectations
    Keep it simple and agile, especially considering assessment and planning efforts
    Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • 31. What’s coming next
    Test, refine, and launch SCB into production
    Define requirements for SCB development in 2011-2012
    Create resource model to distribute development activity across campuses
    Continue plans for migration to Moodle v2.0
  • 32. Contact Information
    Kathy Fernandes ( of System-Wide LMS Initiatives
    Andrew Roderick ( Chair, Technology Development Manager at San Francisco State University
    John Whitmer ( Director of System-Wide LMS Initiatives