[Olpc-open] CMS, Moodle, etc

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Thu Dec 6 13:23:44 EST 2007

gnome wrote:
> This is the first issue on the forum I can address as something other 
> than a rank amateur.  :-)

This stuff is so new that most of us are amateurs...bring it on!

> 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.

SF State, where I work has over 31,000 students and uses Moodle
exclusively. We used to be a Blackboard shop, but after careful
(http://www.sfsu.edu/~etac/ETAC_Report-iLearn-Bb-final.pdf) we switched
over a 100% to Moodle. We had tons of problems with Blackboard with
randomly losing courses, student info etc. We now have a dedicated team
that runs our Moodle shop and currently hosts the CVS for North America.

> 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.

I concur on this point. Apart from the tech support forum, the community
is very active. I was at a Moodle Moot (convention) in Albuquerque
earlier this year. They had a huge turnout and it was amazing that we
were able to connect with so many universities looking for a place far
away from Blackboard :-) We (SF State) now have a consortium of schools
that rely heavily on shared experiences, hosting, etc.

> 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.)

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