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What About Moodle

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Moodle is an open source web application designed to create a collaborative online environment for students and teachers. There still are many questions that come up when considering a move to any …

Moodle is an open source web application designed to create a collaborative online environment for students and teachers. There still are many questions that come up when considering a move to any open source product. This presentation by Floyd Saner at the December 2008 SLATE meeting will give a brief overview of Moodle and provide a first had user experience to evaluating and incorporating Moodle at the institutional level.

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  • 1. What About Moodle? Floyd E. Saner Director of Instructional Technology Goshen College Goshen, IN 46526 [email_address]
  • 2. Goshen College
    • Small private liberal arts institution
      • Located in northern Indiana
      • ~ 1000 students
      • Very competent IT dept w/ ~ $1M annual budget
  • 3. Goshen College
      • LMS use: web enhanced and blended courses
      • 1998 - Started with CourseInfo Blackboard
      • Bb Learning System - Enterprise license
      • Ran on Goshen College server
    • 2006 – began to investigate other options (cost driven)
    • 2007 – focused on Moodle; began pilot projects
    • 2008 – decided to drop Bb and use Moodle
  • 4. Decision Process
  • 5. Features Commercial vs. Open Source Enterprise vs. Learning Mgmt Outside-hosted vs. Self-hosted Fixed Features vs. Customizable
  • 6. Constraints & Drivers Cost Use/ Features Req’d Resources Req’d Support Faculty & Student Experience
  • 7. Constraints Decide Features Commercial vs. Open Source Enterprise vs. Learning Mgmt Outside-hosted vs. Self-hosted Fixed Features vs. Customizable Cost Use/ Features Req’d Resources Req’d Support Faculty & Student Experience
  • 8. Feature Ranking Learning Mgmt Enterprise System Open Source Commercial Self Hosted Outside Hosted Most Important Least Important Can Be Customized Fixed Features
  • 9. Process Overview
    • Consider:
    • Moodle
    • Sakai
    • Jenzabar
    • Haiku
  • 10. Process Overview
  • 11. Process Overview
  • 12. Testing Moodle
        • Spring 2007: 8 faculty 12 courses
        • Fall 2007: 20 faculty 33 courses
        • Spring 2008: 24 faculty 40 courses
  • 13. Faculty: How Do You Use Moodle? Faculty n=14; May/October 2007 combined Frequently Few Times Not At All Upload/post course documents 79% 21% 0% Send email to students 79% 0% 21% Grade book 71% 7% 21% Assignments (other than Turnitin) 57% 21% 21% Link to external web sites 50% 50% 0% Compose text or web page 50% 43% 7%
  • 14. Faculty: How Do You Use Moodle? Faculty n=14; May/October 2007 combined Frequently Few Times Not At All Discussion forums 36% 29% 36% Quiz or Test 36% 0% 64% Turnitin assignments 29% 0% 71% Upload/post/link multimedia files 7% 50% 43% Upload/post pictures 7% 43% 50% Survey 7% 7% 86% Blogs 0% 7% 93% Wikis 0% 0% 100%
  • 15. Faculty: Satisfaction With Moodle Faculty n=14; May/October 2007 combined Satisfied Neutral Not Satisfied N.A. User interface/navigation 93% 0% 7% 0% Link to external web sites 86% 7% 7% 0% Upload/post course documents 79% 21% 0% 0% Send email to students 79% 0% 7% 14% Discussion forums 50% 14% 0% 36% Compose text or web page 43% 21% 14% 21% Assignments(other than Turnitin) 43% 21% 0% 36% Upload/post/link multimedia files 43% 14% 0% 43%
  • 16. Faculty: Satisfaction With Moodle Faculty n=14; May/October 2007 combined Satisfied Neutral Not Satisfied N.A. Upload/post pictures 29% 36% 0% 36% Grade book 14% 36% 29% 21% Quiz or Test 14% 14% 7% 64% Turnitin assignments 7% 0% 21% 71% Survey 0% 7% 7% 86% Wikis 0% 7% 0% 93% Blogs 0% 0% 7% 93%
  • 17. Faculty: Which Do You Prefer? Faculty n=12; May/October 2007 combined Moodle Better About Same Blackboard Better N.A. User interface/navigation 64% 27% 0% 9% Upload/post course documents 42% 42% 8% 8% Link to external web sites 27% 55% 9% 9% Compose text or web page 27% 27% 0% 45% Discussion forums 27% 18% 9% 45% Upload/post/link multimedia files 18% 36% 0% 45% Send email to students 17% 33% 25% 25% Upload/post pictures 17% 17% 8% 58%
  • 18. Faculty: Which Do You Prefer? Faculty n=12; May/October 2007 combined Moodle Better About Same Blackboard Better N.A. Assignments (other than Turnitin) 9% 36% 9% 45% Grade book 8% 17% 42% 33% Turnitin assignments 8% 0% 33% 58% Quiz or Test 8% 0% 17% 75% Survey 8% 0% 8% 83% Blogs 0% 0% 0% 100% Wikis 0% 0% 0% 100%
  • 19. Students: Satisfaction With Moodle Students n=110; October 2007 Satisfied Neutral Unsatisfied N.A. Access posted documents 87.3% 7.3% 3.6% 1.8% User interface/navigation 82.7% 12.7% 2.7% 1.8% Keep track of information 81.8% 12.7% 3.6% 1.8% Access external web sites 50.0% 13.6% 0.0% 35.5% Assignments(other than Turnitin) 40.9% 14.5% 8.2% 36.4% Discussion forums 34.5% 24.5% 1.8% 39.1%
  • 20. Students: Satisfaction With Moodle Students n=110; October 2007 Satisfied Neutral Unsatisfied N.A. Grade book 30.9% 20.9% 10.9% 37.3% Turnitin assignments 30.0% 20.0% 8.2% 41.8% Send email 22.7% 16.4% 4.5% 56.4% Wikis 19.1% 22.7% 1.8% 56.4% Survey 18.2% 20.0% 0.0% 61.8% Quiz or Test 18.2% 19.1% 0.9% 61.8% Blogs 12.7% 22.7% 0.0% 62.7%
  • 21. Students: Which Do You Prefer? Students n=110; October 2007 Moodle Better About Same Bb Better N.A. Keep track of information 52.8% 24.5% 20.8% 1.9% Access posted documents 48.1% 30.6% 19.4% 1.9% User interface/navigation 47.2% 23.1% 26.9% 2.8% Discussion forums 29.2% 24.5% 12.3% 34.0% Assignments(other than Turnitin) 26.2% 24.3% 16.8% 32.7% Access external web sites 24.3% 29.0% 16.8% 29.9%
  • 22. Students: Which Do You Prefer? Students n=110; October 2007 Moodle Better About Same Bb Better N.A. Grade book 16.7% 23.1% 28.7% 31.5% Wikis 16.2% 20.0% 5.7% 58.1% Turnitin assignments 15.9% 24.3% 24.3% 35.5% Quiz or Test 15.9% 15.0% 7.5% 61.7% Blogs 13.1% 18.7% 6.5% 61.7% Send email 12.1% 18.7% 14.0% 55.1% Survey 9.4% 19.8% 5.7% 65.1%
  • 23. Comments
    • Faculty:
    • At this point, I'd choose Moodle.
    • I think that Moodle is pretty good and if it saves the institution a lot money we should consider going with it.
    • I like the format of Moodle so you can look at the whole semester and see what has been done, but the grade book really needs rework.
    • Given the overhead I think it is a good move.
    • Switch to Moodle.
  • 24. Comments
    • Students:
    • I've found that things are much easier to find and access on Moodle than on Blackboard. With Moodle it's all right there … while on Blackboard things take much more time to find.
    • I have enjoyed using Blackboard. What would be the point in switching?
  • 25. Comments
    • Students:
    • I would switch, Moodle is simpler and easier to use. Blackboard is too menu driven and people often miss things because they got confused in the menu system.
    • Moodle helps much better because it actually lets you see a schedule of what you're going to be doing for the up coming weeks.
    • Do not [switch]. I find Blackboard much more user friendly than Moodle.
  • 26. Comments
    • Students:
    • I do not mind which of these programs should be used, but I think that only ONE should be used as soon as possible.
    • I would definitely recommend changing to Moodle. I do not enjoy using Blackboard.
    • I think the interface of Moodle is much more convenient because everything I need is readily visible, whereas using Blackboard necessitates a lot of digging through menus and such before finding what I want.
    • Free!!!
  • 27. Comments
    • Overall …
    • Faculty fully expressed a preference for Moodle.
    • Students expressed a preference for Moodle or supported a move to Moodle (more than 2:1 margin).
  • 28. Issues Of Concern Concern Long-term viability of the product Resolution There is a strong user community supporting Moodle. We are convinced Moodle is here to stay, will continue to be free open source, and will continue to be developed.
  • 29. Issues Of Concern Concern Third-party software availability and support. Resolution Rapidly improving: course packs, McGraw-Hill, Elluminate, Turnitin, Wimba, … We used Respondus to create exams for Moodle. Moodle is SCORM compliant.
  • 30. Issues Of Concern Concern Migration of material on Blackboard to Moodle. Resolution Most of our faculty develop materials outside Blackboard and Moodle. We have no fully online courses in Blackboard. No requests for complete course conversions.
  • 31. Issues Of Concern Concern Difficulty of training faculty and students. The Moodle user interface is quite different from Blackboard’s user interface. Resolution Faculty and students have adapted very quickly and report they prefer Moodle’s user interface.
  • 32. Issues Of Concern Concern Moodle’s grade book is very difficult to use. Resolution Moodle 1.9 grade book (released after our evaluation) has greater capability, but still some usability issues. Grade book continues to be improved, with a lot of user input.
  • 33. Issues Of Concern Concern Advanced features such as whiteboard, live classroom, etc. Resolution We currently do not use these features, but need to determine their importance for us. 3 rd party options are available – Elluminate, Wimba, WizIQ.
  • 34. Issues Of Concern Concern Integration with our administrative system – especially for automatically creating courses and maintaining rosters. Resolution Essentially the same as for Blackboard. We create simple scripts that pull information from our administrative system and load that into Moodle.
  • 35. Process Outcomes
    • The Academic Computing Committee decided to end our Blackboard contract June 30, 2008.
    • Faculty were paid a stipend to attend Moodle training the first week of June, 2008.
    • Additional faculty training was provided in August 2008.
  • 36. Process Outcomes
    • The IT department archived all Blackboard courses and extracted grades.
    • Software that will extract course documents and discussion board exchanges is available from UNC – bFree http://its.unc.edu/tl/tli/bFree/
  • 37. Current Moodle Configuration
      • Moodle 1.9.3 (Build: 20081016)
      • Running our own server
      • Looking at Moodlerooms hosting this year.
  • 38. What Moodle Has…
    • Secure login and authentication via LDAP
    • Course announcements and messaging
    • Links to documents, websites, videos, etc.
    • File directory (upload files, control student access)
    • Assignments (upload, online, offline)
    • Forums (discussion boards)
    • Online tests, quizzes, and test generator
  • 39. What Moodle Has (cont’d)
    • Lessons (a form of adaptive release)
    • Grade book
    • Groups for class work and assignments
    • Email (class, selected individuals)
    • Calendar (w/ links to assignments and activities)
    • Wikis
    • Glossary
    • Database
  • 40. What Moodle Has (cont’d)
    • RSS feed capture
    • Course backup and restore
    • Student and course activity reports
    • Customizable roles
    • Administrator role for system configuration and maintenance
  • 41. What Moodle Lacks…
    • Virtual classroom/whiteboard
    • Full enterprise integration with other institutional software
    • Live chat (Moodle has a chat tool, but it is so slow students use other services)
  • 42. Take A Peek Inside
    • Goshen College Moodle Server
  • 43. What Works & Does Not Work? Works Well
    • Controlled release by Martin Dougiamas (Moodle developer)
    • Development is very responsive to user desires
    • Excellent support from competent users
    Can Be Frustrating
    • Interface design lacking in some modules
    • Inconsistent interface
    • Sketchy documentation
  • 44. What Works & Does Not Work? Works Well
    • Easy to make minor tweaks and modifications
    • If something does not work well, users organize and make something that works
    • Many inexpensive Moodle “Moots” – user conferences
    Can Be Frustrating
    • Features can ‘evolve’ – modules are released but may change as users give feedback
  • 45. Does Moodle Scale?
    • Registered Moodle Sites
    • Athabasca University (fully online) 37,000 + students
    • Open University (fully online) 150,000 + students
    • Louisiana State University 30,000 students
    • Humboldt State University 7,550 students
  • 46. What Is The Real Cost?
    • No license fees (GNU General Public License)
    • No server or database fees – runs on Apache, MySQL and PHP
    • Our administrative costs are no more than what we had with Bb - server support only
    • We do not have any developers
    • The cost is what you want it to be – if you want to do a lot of development and customization, then you must support that
  • 47. 3 rd Party Options
    • Alfresco – open source content/document mgmt. http://www.alfresco.com/
    • Elluminate – virtual meetings and classrooms http://www.elluminate.com/moodle_course_management_system.jsp
    • Mahara – open source ePortfolios http://mahara.org/
    • McGraw-Hill Online Learning Packages http://onlinelearning.mhhe.com/index.php?page=course-and-program-catalog
  • 48. 3 rd Party Options (cont’d)
    • Turnitin – plagiarism detection software http://turnitin.com/static/products.html
    • Wimba – virtual classrooms, audio, etc. http://www.wimba.com/products/moodle_integration/
    • WizIQ – free virtual classroom software http://www.wiziq.com/downloads/moodle/
  • 49. Moodle Hosting
    • Run your own server (free download) http://moodle.org/
    • Hosting Options – Moodle Partners
      • ClassroomRevolution http://classroomrevolution.com/
      • Moodlerooms http://moodlerooms.com/
      • Remote-learner.net http://remote-learner.net/
      • Price varies but the annual hosting fee is often in the range of $1-$5/user
  • 50. ClassroomRevolution Annual Cost Accounts Storage Bandwidth $ 150 150 500 MB Unmetered $ 800 500 10 GB Unmetered $ 3,800 5,000 50 GB Unmetered $ Call 15,000 Dedicated Server 2,000 GB/month
  • 51. Moodlerooms $3 and $5 plans include plugins for integration with Elluminate Live, Turnitin, Wimba, WizIQ, and other programs. Annual Cost Accounts Storage Bandwidth $ 1/student Blocks of 500 2.5 GB/block 50 GB/month $ 3/student Blocks of 500 10 GB/block 200 GB/month $ 5/student Blocks of 500 30 GB/block 600 GB/month $ Call Large institutions - -
  • 52. Remote-Learner Annual Cost Accounts Storage Bandwidth $ 795 < 100 1 Gb - $ 1,500 “ several hundred” 12 GB - $ 2,500 ~ 3,000 25 GB - $ 4,000 ~ 4,000 40 GB - $ 9,000 ~ 10,000 500 GB Dedicated server “ hundreds of courses” $ 20,000 ~ 25,000 500 GB Dedicated servers “ thousands of courses”
  • 53. Suggestions For Evaluation/Selection
    • Determine your needs.
    • Determine your constraints and drivers.
    • Focus first on early adopters and ‘evangelists’ who can help drive the process.
    • Take time to ‘bring along’ administrators, faculty and IT personnel.
  • 54. Comments/Questions?
    • Floyd Saner, Ph.D. Director of Instructional Technology Goshen College, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526 [email_address]
    • Paul Ortman, M.S. LAN/Systems Analyst and Systems Administrator Goshen College, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526 [email_address]
    • Brent Graber, M.A. Director of Information Technology Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 3003 Benham Ave., Elkhart, IN 46517 [email_address]