[Olpc-open] CMS, Moodle, etc

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Thu Dec 6 11:43:08 EST 2007

gnome wrote:
> This is the first issue on the forum I can address as something other 
> than a rank amateur.  :-)
> I've used Moodle, WebCT (now Blackboard), Blackboard before they merged, 
> and have looked at Sakai.
> Moodle seems to me to be the clear winner.  Not so much necessarily on 
> technical grounds, although a good case could be made for that, but because:
> 1) it has by far the highest rate of adoption in schools.  In 
> universities, it's a close second and gaining on WebCT/Blackboard fast.  
> If OLPC adopted Moodle, they'd be plugged into what is already the 
> widest network of educators.
> 2) It is open source, and has a truly excellent set of support forums.  
> My simple questions have been answered within hours -- the advantage of 
> a global community is that someone's always awake ;-) -- and more 
> difficult questions take a few days.
> 3) Technically, it is full-featured course management software.  In some 
> ways, such as uploading some content, it is easier than WebCT.  I have 
> yet to find a way in which it is harder to use.  WebCT has some new 
> whiz-bang features not available in Moodle, such as the ability to hold 
> quizzes in class where the questions are projected onto a screen and the 
> students choose one of the multiple choice answers with remote 
> clickers.  While this is very nice, it's hardly essential, and is rather 
> unlikely to be very useful outside of a fully electronics equipped 
> classroom.  (At our college, I think we may have two.)
> Sakai looks very interesting, but from what I've heard, there will be an 
> institutional fee in the thousands of dollars, and it's not yet widely 
> adopted.
> Speaking of institutional fees, WebCT charges us $65,000.  That's per 
> year.  An individual license is a few hundred ($300?).  Support is 
> somewhere in Pennsylvania.  Or something.  Like most commercial tech 
> support it's similar to a cardiac defibrillator.  When you need one, 
> it's never there, and you hope never to need it in any case.
> Cheers,
> quixote.
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I'm also a happy Moodle user. We are talking support servers, right -- 
not running Moodle *on* the XO? :)

But seriously, folks, there is a lot of work involved in administering 
and securing a Moodle site. A number of the large hosting companies in 
the US have it -- my own site, borasky-research.net, is hosted on one of 
them, the name of which I've forgotten at the moment. Perhaps the thing 
to do is contact a few of them and see if they'd be willing to donate 
support (Moodle and Jabber servers, for example) to the foundation.

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