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Migration to Moodle at Dawson College: Customization and Lessons Learned
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Migration to Moodle at Dawson College: Customization and Lessons Learned


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  • 1. AQPC 30th Annual Symposium
    Migration to Moodle at Dawson College: Customization and Lessons Learned
    Rafael Scapin, Ph.D.
    Coordinator of Educational Technology
    Office of Instructional Development
  • 2. Topics
    • History
    • 3. Migration
    CMSs Analyzed
    WebCT to Moodle
  • Dawson College Overview
    Dawson College is an anglophone CEGEP located in Westmount (QC)
    • First anglophone CEGEP (Fall 1969)
    • 8. Students: 10,000 (7,000 day students and 3,000 night students)
    • 9. Teachers: 600
    • 10. 50 fields of study
  • Course Management Systems History at Dawson
    2002: WebCT 4 was introduced
    2005: Upgrade to WebCT 6
    Database issues. Two versions running in parallel
    2008: Survey: students and faculty had many
    concerns about WebCT.
    No support for WebCT after 2011
    Creation of the “CMS Advisory Group”
    Analysis of 7 different CMSs
  • 11. CMSs Analyzed
    Open Source Proprietary
    And the
    was ...
  • 12. Who Uses Moodle (Québec)
  • 13. Who Uses Moodle (World)
  • 14. Migration: WebCT to Moodle
    Automatic Migration Script Developed by Université de Sherbrooke
    Start from Scratch
    Manual Migration
  • 15. Migration: WebCT to Moodle
    WebCT 4 Course
    (Created by Rajesh Malik)
  • 16. Migration: WebCT to Moodle
    Example of a WebCT4 Course Migrated to Moodle Using Université de Sherbrooke’s Script
  • 17. Migration: WebCT to Moodle
    Some Migration Issues
    No script to automatize migration from WebCT 6 to Moodle
    Manual Migration (time consuming)
    Quizzes migrated manually (WebCT 6)
    Final layout (different than WebCT)
  • 18. Customization and Integration
    Theme: Dawson’s website look and feel
  • 19. Customization and Integration
    Load Balancer
    (CentOS + Apache) Moodle 1.9.8
    Database + (Moodle Data) (MySQL)
  • 20. Customization and Integration
    Authentication: Teachers, Staff and Students
    Authentication modules: ldap_faculty, ldap_staff, ldap_student
    The custom authentication modules connect to our Novell LDAP server.
    Three similar modules which distinguish between faculty, students, and staff.
    A cron job that runs daily and creates new users in Moodle if they don't already exist. (faculty & students)
  • 21. Customization and Integration
    Authentication Modules
    Novell LDAP Server
  • 22. Customization and Integration
    One Single Login and Password
    Teachers, Students and Staff use the same Novell Login/password to access Moodle
    No need of a specific Moodle password (no resetting passwords anymore!)
    Also integrated with My Dawson Portal (Single Sign On)
  • 23. Customization and Integration
    Student Login (First Time Access)
  • 24. Customization and Integration
    My Moodle Page (Students)
  • 25. Customization and Integration
    My Moodle Page (Teachers)
  • 26. Customization and Integration
    Creating a New Course
  • 27. Customization and Integration
    Enrolling Students
    We can merge 2 or more sections into 1 course OR create separate courses for every section
  • 28. Customization and Integration
    Unenrolling Students
    We can unenroll 1 or more sections
  • 29. Customization and Integration
    List of Enrolled Students
    Teachers can reuse their courses every year by unenrolling old students and enrolling new ones.
  • 30. Customization and Integration
    Admin CEGEP Module: How it Works
    Student Information System (CLARA)
  • 31. Customization and Integration
    A Moodle Course Shell
  • 32. Modules and Plugins
    Moodle has a great number of plugins and modules developed by its community of users
    Pros: Diversity, flexibility, do-not-reinvent-the-wheel approach
    Cons: Compatibility with a newer Moodle version (when upgrading), some plugins/modules have not been reviewed, and the quality and/or suitability for a working Moodle site has not been checked.
  • 33. Modules and Blocks
  • 34. Omnivox Integration
    Omnivox is a gradebook system used by Dawson. Developed by Skytech (Montreal)
    We didn’t have permission from Skytech to make a real integration between Moodle’s gradebook and Omnivox.
    We have developed a module that creates a 2-column Excel file compliant with Omnivox. Teachers need just Copy and Paste these 2 columns into Omnivox.
  • 35. Omnivox Integration
  • 36. Statistics
    Google Analytics
    September 2009 – May 2010
    Spring Break
    Holidays’ Break
  • 37. Statistics
    September 2009 – May 2010
    Students: 4350
    Teachers: 260
    Courses Created: 308
    Unique Accesses
  • 38. Lessons Learned
    • Explain to the teachers why the migration will be done
    • 39. Detail how the content of the former CMS will be converted to Moodle (emphasize the content won’t be lost!)
    • 40. Show examples of how courses will look like in Moodle
    • 41. Help teachers to create courses from scratch (if necessary)
    • 42. Have a Migration & Communication Plan
    • 43. Explain the migration plan, with the deadlines (WebCT missing course)
  • Lessons Learned
    • Test the Migration Tool (if used any)
    • 44. Create a FAQ (text and video, if possible) and an email and phone Helpline
    • 45. Training workshops should be available when Moodle is released.
    • 46. Personal Moodle Trainer
    • 47. Technician to support Moodle (programmer)
    • 48. Have a test server with the same configuration as your real server: test new plugins, modules, configurations
  • Lessons Learned
    • Receive constant feeback from teachers  constant improvement
    • 49. Create your own “Moodle Flavour”!
    • 50. Stay up-to-date to what other people are doing with Moodle all over the world (, websites like,, feeds from Twitter (Moodle), etc
  • Special Thanks
    Office of Instructional Development
    (Dawson College)
    Mathieu Petit-Clair (
    Programmer & Moodle Expert
    JérômeCharaoui(Collège de Maisonneuve)
    Programmer & Moodle Support
    Jason Maur (Dawson College)
    Programmer & Moodle Support
  • 51. Questions
  • 52. Contact
    Rafael Scapin
  • 53. Thank you very
    uch !