Home Learning Management & Course Management Systems Learning About Moodle (Part 2 of 2)

Learning About Moodle (Part 2 of 2)

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Continuing my look at this popular open-source Learning Management System

Last week I started learning about Moodle by browsing Moodle.org and Moodle.com and summarizing what I learned. This week I continue this effort to learn about the application, searching out and reading through many different web-based information sources, and passing on findings of interest.

User Opinion
There's plenty of positive commentary out on the web about Moodle – the platform has a lot of fans. After last week's post, reader “Smaragda” commented:

“I had been reading about Moodle for a few months before I actually decided to give it a try. I can’t live without it since then, students love it too! It seemed impossible at first, but now it’s a breeze. I have even taught teachers not into technology how to use it. The possibilities are endless. Apart from the activities that Moodle offers, you can also create activities using other applications and add them to your course.”

In this “10 Things To Like About Moodle” slide deck presentation, Hans de Zwart provides reasons such as freedom, forums, community, adaptability, large user base, support, and transparency, for why he likes the application.

It's not hard to find happy, appreciative Moodle users, and reasons why they like the environment.

Installation & Implementation Support
The Installation page on Moodle.com is just one of many places to find Moodle consulting and hosting services providers that will help you through your Moodle implementation and integration efforts. For those of us here in the US, these three Moodle partners are recommended vendors: Classroom RevolutionMoodlerooms, Inc.; and Remote-Learner USA.

As an open source software application, the savings on licensing costs (versus paid solutions like Blackboard, eCollege, etc.) are a clear win, but implementation is going to cost you – for paid service providers, for time invested by your own staff to learn, install, and integrate the environment, or maybe for a mix of these things, depending on your chosen approach.

I did a little web searching for information on return on investment analysis for Moodle implementations, but found little (there was commentary on Moodle.org, but I couldn't consider this unbiased so I didn't pursue it further). I'd love to hear from any readers who could provide insight into this important consideration.

Additional Learning & Community Resources
Reader Joseph Thibault suggested taking a look at these three resources sites:

  • Moodletutorials.org: While this site still refers to itself as being in “beta”, it appears to have been put up almost 3 years ago, and is rich with tutorial videos. Some popular videos here include, “How to design an online quiz” and, “Importing Moodle Activities and Resources into other Courses“.
  • Moodlecommons.org: This is a site where users exchange Moodle courses, but while it appears to have been in place for several years, there's hardly any courses here. Mr. Thibault is an open source software advocate, and in an article titled “Moodle: open source, closed doors“, he discusses the fact that while untold numbers of courses have been developed in Moodle, almost all of these courses are proprietary – very few have been made publically accessible. This would seem to run somewhat contrary to the spirit of the open source movement. It appears that thus far, Moodle has not succeeded at becoming a tool that facilitates open sharing of developed work.
  • Moodlemeet.ning.com: This community site uses the popular free Ning Network application and appears to be pretty active. Ning sites can be used in many ways, and Moodle Meet site appears to leverage many of the possibilities – here you can meet other users, participate in forums, find event info, share video tutorials, and more.

Looking ahead – Moodle 2.0 (coming soon)
Last week, Joseph Thibault put up this post, previewing the Moodle 2.0 beta release. Two comments from this post that particularly caught my attention are:

  • “It contains a huge number of core changes to the platform, most of which are designed to give 3rd party developers more flexibility, scalability and safety.” 
  • “Perhaps the biggest news of this release is that 2.0 will create a new community sharing resource for courses materials.  The Community Hub has a two-fold mission:
    • Create a Moodle-based market place of courses and learning objects available for enrollment (paid or not) world wide.
    • Provide a means for teachers to post, review, appropriate and remix Moodle course templates from the community at large.”
Conclusions
Moodle looks like a serious LMS solution and one that should be a consideration for institutions looking at new installations or migrations off of an existing platform. I've come away from my brief learning efforts feeling that the open source aspect of the solution is not one that should eliminate it from consideration – it is just another aspect to weigh. 
 
I'd really like to learn more about Total Cost of Ownership and ROI for Moodle versus proprietary solutions. If you have any feedback about TCO or ROI, or anything at all that you want to share about Moodle, please comment and share your insights with us. Thanks!
  

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Dallas – this is a great point and something I find very interesting. The potential for delivering course content in virtual classrooms, and other ways in which these technologies could be combined, is really pretty fascinating!

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