The Strength of Weak Ties

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Moodle Love?

I attended a presentation today on Moodle at MACUL, the open source CMS, LMS, whatever you want to call it.

I've been to three presentations on the system at various conferences and they always start the same way. Guess how...

First, Moodle is free.
Second, Blackboard isn't

Stop it.

I would like someone, anyone, to start a presentation by saying that using a system like this is a great way to build online community, it's a great way to help students learn to learn online, and its a great way for teachers to build an online course resource for their kids. So, its about kids and about learning.

Yes, Blackboard costs money. And if it's not for you, so be it. Use Moodle. Or something else. But use something. And if you are one of those individuals who absolutely hate CMS/LMS environments, come work with me in K-12 for a day....

In today's presentation, I asked if you could integrate Moodle with a student information system. Evidently you can. The presenter suggested hiring someone to help with that integration. Suddenly, Moodle isn't so free. And please, before you say it's free to everyone, please consider the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Anyway, my point is that any system that helps structure learning and increases the likelihood that kids will have a better chance to learn within a digital environment is a step in the right direction....


  • At 6:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "And please, before you say it's free to everyone, please consider the total cost of ownership (TCO)."

    Hi David, we've been researching relative costs at Cal State, Humboldt, with the results that Moodle and Blackboard support and training costs are about the same.

    Now when you consider integration with your SIS, you have to pay Blackboard for the Enterprise license (starts at $60,000 USD, per year) to even consider integration. Moodle integrates with systems that use a number of integration standards like LDAP or CAS 'out of the box', IMS Enterprise is available, and other integrations can be done with a similar amount of effort as with Blackboard Enterprise.

    You can hire a partner to do this for you at, or you can 'do it yourself', with help from the support forums.

    John Norman of Cambridge has been researching this, with similar conclusions: WebCT, Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai require similar levels of support.



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