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AsULearn (powered by Moodle): Implementing an Open Source CMS ...


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AsULearn (powered by Moodle): Implementing an Open Source CMS ...

  1. 1. <ul><li>Implementing an Open Source </li></ul><ul><li>Course Management System </li></ul><ul><li>at Appalachian State University </li></ul>AsULearn (powered by Moodle): Steve Breiner Jeff Church Elaine Gray MB McKee Greg Simmons Learning Technology Services, ASU
  2. 2. … a bit of history <ul><li>In 1999, Appalachian adopted WebCT 1.2 as its official course management system (CMS). </li></ul><ul><li>Until 2002, WebCT offered reasonably-priced version upgrades, with no need to “migrate” courses. </li></ul><ul><li>Many faculty were happy with WebCT, but found the interface difficult and unintuitive. </li></ul><ul><li>May 14, 2002: WebCT announces the release of WebCT Vista 1.0, higher education's “first and only Academic Enterprise System (AES)” and it becomes clear that 4.x’s days are numbered. </li></ul>
  3. 3. … a bit of history <ul><li>March 20, 2004: SB/GS attend Vista training at UNCC. Came away thoroughly disappointed, recommended to our CIO that Appalachian not migrate to Vista. The Vista training at the WebCT 2004 IMPACT conference didn’t change our opinion. </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 2004 – July 2006: We re-evaluate all available CMS solutions, both corporate and open source. Attend 2 Sakai and 2 Moodle conferences, complete training on each. Ultimately, recommend a migration Moodle. During this period, we continue with WebCT 4.1. </li></ul><ul><li>Oct. 12, 2005: Blackboard acquires WebCT in a cash transaction for $180 million. </li></ul>
  4. 4. … a bit of history <ul><li>July 26, 2006: Blackboard files a patent infringement suit against Desire2Learn. </li></ul><ul><li>Aug. 2006: In conjunction with NCCCS, Appalachian takes the lead in administering , a pilot instance of Moodle for UNC institutions generously provided by Bill Randall of the NCCCS. </li></ul><ul><li>Summer 2007: 22 faculty participate in an eLearning Institute at Appalachian, committing to teach a course in Moodle in Fall 2007. ASU contracts with Remote-Learner for hosted Moodle instance, branded ‘AsULearn.’ Training for AsULearn becomes generally available; training for WebCT discontinued. </li></ul>
  5. 5. … a bit of history <ul><li>Fall 2007: AsULearn formally deploys at Appalachian, in tandem with WebCT 4.1. The Institute faculty talk to their colleagues, and we quickly rise from 22 to 154 active courses, with 3025 users. Successful Banner/LDAP integration. Training/migration continues. </li></ul><ul><li>Spring 2008: 321 active courses with 4929 active users. Training/migration continues. </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 29, 2008 at 11:59PM: Appalachian’s license agreement with Blackboard/WebCT expires and WebCT 4.1 is at “end-of-product life.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. … timeline <ul><li>LTS admins </li></ul><ul><li>Teach in Moodle </li></ul><ul><li>Develop training material </li></ul><ul><li>Plan workshop series </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT support continues </li></ul><ul><li>Continue migration & training </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle courses become available for general faculty use </li></ul><ul><li>154 courses/3025 users </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT support continues </li></ul><ul><li>eLearning Initiative (22 faculty) </li></ul><ul><li>6 live courses </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT support continues </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT training discontinued </li></ul><ul><li>Continue migration & training </li></ul><ul><li>321 courses/4299 users </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle as “official” CMS </li></ul><ul><li>Last suggested WebCT use </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT support continues </li></ul>Fall 06/Spring 07 Summer 07 Fall 07 Spring 08
  7. 7. … we evaluated: ?
  8. 8. … we settled on:
  9. 9. … expectations management <ul><li>Facing the fears: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of functionality (esp. gradebook, selective release) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Migration (“…you mean I have to start over?!? ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training & Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3-semester Open Source “road show” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaged the faculty in the process through several presentations around campus (within depts., library, faculty dev. center) in 2006/2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cashed in some of the social/professional “capital” we had accrued over the years </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. … (perceived) pros and cons Commercial <ul><li>Stable(ish) </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Supported/”someone to sue” </li></ul><ul><li>Documentation/Training </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of “safety & stability” </li></ul><ul><li>Turn-key solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of customization </li></ul><ul><li>Mandated patches/upgrades </li></ul><ul><li>Proprietary content </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibitive cost </li></ul>Open Source <ul><li>Customizable </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrade/Versioning autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Faster integration of new technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Open standards </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with other services </li></ul><ul><li>NCCCS/corporate/homeschool tie-in </li></ul><ul><li>Substantial cost savings </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of some functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Fears of instability & scalability </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support/”someone to blame” </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden costs – hosting, support, new hires? </li></ul><ul><li>Requires developers, programmers </li></ul>
  11. 11. … training & support <ul><li>Given the demise of WebCT 4.x, we were going to have to retrain (ourselves and our faculty), period. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Job responsibilities in our shop had to change to deal effectively with our evolving situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LTS hired a programmer and a web-developer; 3 instructional designers via transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LTS tech consultants created/piloted workshops, then focused on admin/dev of AsULearn </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. … training & support <ul><ul><li>LTS instructional designers took workshops over, and delivered training, consulting, and support to faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The summer 07 Faculty eLearning Initiative provided structure and 22 great “evangelists” for our cause </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open source downside: No one else to call. No one else to blame. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hosting services like MoodleRooms, Optimized Learning, and Remote-Learner can help ease the transition and provide admin support. Remote hosting of services also fits in the PACE initiative. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. … integration <ul><li>Given the demise of WebCT 4.x, we were going to have to seek an integration solution for our new CMS, period. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Losing integration would be regarded as a step backward by our faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We “faked it” for a while by doing manual batch imports twice a daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “community model” saves the day! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eric Merrill at Oakland University shared his LMB module for Moodle </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Similar solutions in place for Datatel (CPCC), PeopleSoft, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The forums host a vibrant community of users/ admins/developers, all of whom believe in the open source model </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. … integration <ul><li>On our campus, we had to create a working coalition of IT professionals from various areas (LTS, Luminis admins, Banner admins, Network admins, Registrar’s office, Remote-Learner) to help the integration succeed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Believe it or not, this was a stimulating (if sometimes frustrating) experience </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. … migration <ul><li>With the demise of WebCT 4.x, we were going to have to undertake a migration, period. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently, we’re using WebCT’s “CMU for CE6” to export from WebCT; and Dan Stowell’s WebCT CE4 Moodle import script to import in AsULearn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One would not want to teach from a ‘raw import’ </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. … migration <ul><li>Faculty migration needs are diverse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I just want my files.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I have 2800 questions in a database, and 25 quizzes.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Can’t you just move my entire course? All I’ve posted is a syllabus.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Migration tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Zip/Unzip </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respondus IMS_QTI personality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WebCT CMU Moodle Import </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SFSU’s Blackboard Moodle Conversion Tool </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. … administration <ul><li>LAMP experience is good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linux </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apache </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MySQL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PHP (in this case) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cPanel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>phpMyAdmin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dir layout is logical, if you like SSH and command line </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has required some professional development on our parts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning new skills = always a good thing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having to solve the problem yourself = always a strong motivator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Larger community = more shared solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A “ we can make this work ” attitude = indispensable </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. … now for the roundtable Questions? Comments? Concerns?