- Numerous features that are useful for both teachers as well as students, for example, tests, forums, documents. Even tests themselves offer a lot of opportunities, for example, you can ask an open question or you can ask a question with a specific answer expected and students can see the results right after they hit "Submit" - students don't have to wait to find out how they did and teachers don't have to spend precious time grading :)
- Its drag-n-drop lesson creation is amazing and so easy to use. For a perfectionist, who wants everything to look nice and pretty, it's a good feature :D
- Its mobile app is great because it allows using the system even when you don't have access to your computer.
- I enjoy Moodle and to be honest, I think the very few things I have stacked against Moodle are mostly related to how the system is configured for my university. Otherwise, it's a very useful tool and I love the opportunities Moodle presents for education.
- Moodle is able to keep track of student data per course.
- Moodle is able to integrate outside programs such as Panopto that you can use within your course.
- Moodle is user friendly for the most part. Everything is self explanatory and it doesn’t take a lot of researching to find actions, activities, how to setup your course, etc. When editing your course, it’s very easy to add activities/resources to your course and Moodle explains, in detail, what each activity/resource is and how it will function within your course.
- Sometimes Moodle has issues “communicating” with certain outside sources such as Lockdown Browser.
- When upgrading to the 3.4 version of Moodle, the campus is noticing that some activity plugins are not upgradable.
- Provides a space for faculty to share course content and feedback to students.
- Has an intuitive design, so new users don't face a steep learning curve.
- Facilitates students engagement and collaboration outside of the classroom.
- Helps students stay organized for multiple courses.
- Moodle lags behind more sophisticated Learning Management Systems, such as Canvas and Sakai. Outside integrations are typically clunkier and less evolved than those for other LMS options.
- There is more unused white space in several of the most popular Moodle themes, such as SNAP and Boost than is necessary. This means there is a lot more scrolling and visual work demanded from the users than there should be.
- There isn't enough flexibility in course organization for several Moodle themes. The text editor is clunky, and the overall editing options are limited.
- It was extremely customizable.
- The layout, while not for everyone, was great for students - having everything clearly laid out.
- We were able to add photos to user profiles very easily - something that is not so easy on Blackboard.
- The options were overwhelming to users sometimes.
- Grading was difficult to understand.
- Discussion forums were a step behind those of other LMS providers.
- Content management - Moodle has a strong database structure that allows for content to be stored locally and used in multiple instances without corruption of the data.
- Customizations - Moodle is highly customizable, with over 1000 plugins available, a very transparent API, and customizations available directly inside the platform, such as language, themes, and structure.
- Notifications and reminders - With the ability to customize who, when, and how notifications are sent and the ability to write custom notifications, students are always kept in the know.
- Static pages - One area in which Moodle is not very strong is acting as a website, meaning not a CMS, but instead presenting static pages, such as faculty information or help documents.
- eCommerce - Although there are many add-ons and plugins available, many of which are inexpensive, Moodle does not come out of the box as a full fledge eCommerce site.
- Integration - Moodle has over 1000 plugins and you can write using their API relatively easily, however, Moodle does not, out of the box, integrate with other systems, such as how Sharepoint LMS or Oracle does.
Moodle is great for college and corporate settings alike. I have yet to see an instance where Moodle could not be customized to fit a particular need, all while not having the overhead of other LMS systems and still having the ability to be managed centrally by the agency deploying it (meaning you are not reliant on another company to manage). Moodle can be installed locally for testing, on a server farm, or in the cloud, depending on the need and scalability.
Moodle does require nesting of activities, which can be time consuming, however, this is by design to offer the most custom and specific learning and setup outcomes.
- Moodle provides a vast variety of using technology in ways that the instructor or student with little experience with technology is able to use it. All of our instructors received beginning training in how to use Moodle before we switched over to it, so that they felt comfortable with the switch. They could come to the training more than one time if they chose to.
- I give all of our instructors more advanced training when they choose to teach the fully online courses, and they also receive training in additional software. They also receive a webcam and they can also receive a document camera if they are a math or an accounting instructor.
- They have also received Camtasia and Snagit which work well with Moodle. They may basically use any software and are able to upload their own videos, videos from the Internet, any sort of PowerPoints that they create with their own voice or video, extra technology, notes, etc. for the students.
- The instructors use a variety of modules within Moodle. We have available for their use BigBlueButton, which is a webinar. It provides guests appearances and provides office hours for our instructors who have strictly web based courses. They also have Turnitin, which is the plagiarism tool, Turning Tech that is the linked in tool that provides a quiz taking that links to Moodle and to the gradebook. We also use Tegrity that delivers the instructors and the students with an additional tool that permits them to do a video, or a PowerPoint or allow the instructor to link to anything on the computer and to upload it into Moodle. We also have the Attendance module, which allows the instructors who take attendance in the classroom to give the students "points" for attendance. We are adding the Ebsco reading list for the library this summer, which lets individual instructors to add certain reading lists from the library for their individual classrooms.
- Right now, our Moodle is not working with our Banner product in being able to bring our grades in from Banner directly into Moodle. This isn't a problem with Moodle, it is a problem with the integration with the product.
- There are issues with the gradebook being difficult for the instructor to use because there are so many different ways to use it, however Moodle is working on a new gradebook component.
- We make extensive use of MNet and there are many ways to use it, but again Moodle is in the process of improving it.
American Cybersystems is an international staffing and solutions company. This means we have an accounting department, a billing department, vendor managers, recruiters, salespeople, customer service associates, and a solutions group. Our training department is responsible for the learning and development of the entire organization. There are many different skill sets that have to be taught and therefore there are several different mediums our training department likes to use in order to maximize the training effectiveness. Moodle has several different supports for all the different learning objects we like to use.
- Reporting: Moodle does a great job of keeping track of all the users in the system. There are several different layers of reporting in Moodle. One can track user login time, interactions with course objects, activity logs, eLearning course (SCORM) scores, views of discussion boards, badges and more. Tracking in a training program is a chief concern for many reasons: ROI, engagement, improving future trainings, and insights.
- SCORM packages: Loading a 1.2 SCORM package is easy and simple to do in Moodle. Also, the features for reports are really helpful if you have a course that needs to report variables. In many different LMSs it is nearly impossible to report variables (especially numeric ones) from a SCORM package. However, because Moodle reports "interactions" you can even create a survey and get the answers populated into Moodle for easy export to an Excel file. Not only is the reporting great, but all of the authoring tools that I have used are compatible with Moodle: Captivate, Articulate Storyline 1 & 2, and Lectora.
- User Upload and Creation: In Moodle it is a snap to upload a ton of users. I have encountered other LMS programs that make user creation a burden. This is not the case with Moodle. All one needs is a username, password, first name, and last name in order to create a new user. A large group of users can be uploaded and created through a simple csv file. This has come in very handy when trying to load an entire department into the system. I just ask the department head to send me the csv file and press a couple of buttons and viola! Also, I can batch upload users to a cohort, so if it is a new department that is getting loaded because there is a new course created for them, I don't have to try to find each of the new users I just created and enroll them one by one. Instead, I can enroll the new cohort with the 'enroll cohort' button in the course. This has saved me so much time, so many times!
- Support: Moodle is big and only getting bigger through the support and enthusiasm of the open source community. Anytime I have a question or an idea that I am not sure how to implement in Moodle I can always find an answer. There is the entire knowledge base of Moodle online, there are Moodle enthusiast sites, there are Moddle blogs, and there are instructional designers (corporate and higher education) who write, demonstrate, and talk about Moodle. There are also developers and tinkerers who create plugins, skins, and other applications to integrate specifically with Moodle. This means, if I have an idea and the function is not already in Moodle there is someone who has already created a solution and a plugin. There are even entire companies that are dedicated to making Moodle slick, like Moodlerooms.
- Hosting: Hosting Moodle yourself is difficult. I wouldn't want to mess with all the things involved with hosting and maintaining Moodle on my own server. Hosting Moodle requires a web server with PHP and a database. However, this weakness is also a strength. Although it would be cumbersome to manage Moodle on one's own the fact that it can be done and freely really sets Moodle apart from all other LMSs.
- Scheduling: The basic version of Moodle (no plugins) does not include a scheduling component. What I mean is there is not a way to schedule in person or webinar training sessions in the system and then track attendance. Unless of course it is all done manually and no one wants to do that. There is a face-to-face plugin that does just what I am talking about, but because of the way I have Moodle hosted plugins are not an option for me without going through a few hoops.
- Cloning a Course: For one of my trainings there is a course that uses the local branch Director as the instructor. Therefore, I have to create the same course over an over again for each branch across the company. While there are a few ways to duplicate a course, there is only one way to duplicate the course and include all the badges, a backup file. This means I have to backup a course, create a new course, upload the backup, then go in and turn on all of badges. I want a magic wand button that clones a course exactly as it is; is that too much to ask?
- Also, if I have to fix a typo in a SCORM package I have to reload that file to every single course that contains the file I fixed. My second wish is to have one place to load SCORM packages and then just point to them in the courses so there is only one place I have to go in order to upload a corrected file.
If you want an easy interface that is intuitive then Moodle might not be for you. When you are looking to use Moodle you should ask yourself a few questions about your needs.
Who is going to host your LMS? Is it going to be in-house or through a vendor? The answer to these two questions will answer several other capability questions for Moodle. For instance, if you will need to add a bunch of plugins in order to make Moodle customized to meet your needs, you will probably want to go in-house because several of the cost efficient Moodle hosts like mdlspot.net do not add plugins for you. Also, if the majority of your training is face-to-face, then you might want to consider the LMSs that cater to that type of instruction.
- The new grade book is well received by our faculty. The new version is easy to set up and the improvements of viewing the grade book i.e names moving across the grade columns is a welcome improvement.
- The attendance feature with the ability for teachers to comment on the reasons why a student is late, absent or sleeping is a bonus. The visibility of these things as part of the student grades view has reduced the number of "discussions" between teacher and student over attendance grades.
- Our online faculty love the ease of use of the forums.
- Our HR Dept uses Moodle for compliance training and makes use of the certificate module for proof of participation.
- Faculty teaching cross-listed courses are able to link the multiple courses into one course for the ease of posting content.
- The lesson module, while easier to use than previous versions, still causes our faculty to shy away from it.
Many Moodle features were useful, including the ability to stage content with MultiMarkdown or plain text formatting. Other products often present either a MSWord-type interface or a raw HTML editor. AFAIK, Markdown content wasn't directly uploadable and converted, but had to be composed in (or cut/paste into) a text edit window.
Moodle has a number of open source modules that looked interesting, but I have not directly used them. These include integration with the content management system Drupal. Moodle's weakest point would seem to be the management of content, something which is readily solved with a CMS. In my opinion, a learning management system without adequate Content Management support somewhat defeats the purpose of a true LMS, since content can easily go stale without adequate management tools to update and leverage content across multiple courses.
Rubrics are present, but the management tools for rubrics are inadequate. Most grading criteria should be reusable across courses and instructors, for consistency. Using rubrics in Moodle seems to result in their being duplicated for each assignment, which became unmanageable across 4 classes with a couple dozen graded tasks per course. Rubric management for assessing instruction quality does not appear to be present in the default installation, but would be strongly encouraged. You do use consistent criteria for grading each assignment, right?
More advanced LMS features such as adaptive release for learning content, SCORM integration are present, but awkward to use. Moodle isn't a content creation or content management tool, and default integration is cut and paste. Adaptive release and SCORM content are very prohibitive without effective tools for creating content.
Like most open source projects, Moodle is free, as in the same sense as "free puppies". For a budget-strapped organization, free is very appealing. Keep in mind that the product doesn't run itself, so adequate staff skill is required to keep it running. The real value of Moodle would seem to be in customization to integrate with the organization's existing IT assets. If you don't mind learning an API and writing PHP code, there is an extensive amount of customization possible, that commercial products like Blackboard do not allow. If adopted, Moodle support and maintenance must still be budgeted.
For a non-education sector use, I believe Moodle is still a valuable asset, if used in conjunction with a content management system and adequate staff support. Alternative tools I've previewed seem to be excessive and less economical in terms of delivering instructional content. Internal training is necessary in all organizations, and an inch thick employee manual isn't always the best way to accomplish this. But, building useful learning content is a skill in itself, but a valuable one to develop.
- Availability of third party open source modules to extend functionality. The stand-alone Moodle product is useful, but limited by the effort in setting up courses and content. The ability to integrate with Content Management systems (or possibly Document Management systems) is critical, and provides additional benefits to managing employee training and productivity.
- Use of rubrics. These are external, explicit grading criteria to improve communication between instructor and learner regarding expectations and ways to improve performance. A management plan for rubrics is necessary, and not readily done internally within the Moodle default installation.
- More complex learning schemes are supported, such as SCORM and other adaptive learning systems. However, for non-trivial course development, external tools for building this content is required.
- Rubric Management. This may have been addressed in a plugin module.
- Better tools for examining outcomes from exams and rubrics across a class, course, or organization. This may have been addressed in a plugin module.
- Improved content management within the default installation. While there are modules that support products such as Drupal, building into the default product would ease adoption.
- It is Open Source, meaning the deployment is cheap, relative to other LMS systems considered.
- There is a TON of documentation out there and support from a huge community of users from universities, corporate and other not-for-profits
- There are later versions out (2.6) that solve problems and bugs of earlier versions and the interface changes are in favor of all users, (admin, facilitator and student)
- Users can create their own profiles, and courses can be protected with an Enrollment Key set by the course creator.
- It has a consistent interface that is fairly intuitive and easy to use.
- Forums have been greatly improved in the later version. I am in hopeful anticipation of upgrading from 1.9 to 2.6 soon, for that feature alone.
- Groups in 1.9 are clunky, but much improved, according to online users in later versions (2.2 and above).
- Restore and Backup are sometimes irregular to the point that you may want to save a basic copy of a course in addition to depending on backing up a course to restore as a new course moving forward.
- Not loving that we have to use a 3rd party for chat rooms (we use Flash Chat) and the chat history is stored in Moodle.
- It allows me to put my entire course calendar and syllabus onto a visual space that is accessible for all students. It enables linking to documents and multimedia.
- It provides a protected system to store grades online.
- It enables members of a group or course to communicate and share information in a protected environment.
- It occasionally glitches when editing to add documents.
- The grade book cannot be seen on one screen, you need to use two arrow buttons to scroll over and it is easy to lose track of the student's name/your place in that process.
- Not everyone grasps the idea of Moodle and how to access it.
- It is easier to customize when compared to other LMS options.
- It is easier to integrate other products when compared to other LMS options.
- It works well with video.
- Moodle requires an advanced level of technical expertise to maintain.
- Advanced support usually relies on peers. Lack of formal support when deployed as a low cost solution.
- Benefit of low cost can be eclipsed by cost of maintenance in the long run.
- Easy to upload Captivate learning modules.
- Reliable reports.
- Good security.
- Easy to upload user accounts.
- Locked into a general appearance. Templates are available, but they are all basically variations on a theme.
- Have to go through the back door to clean up European spellings, so you need to be comfortable editing database objects.
- Moodle is generally built for academia. To make it more a corporate tool, you have to massage the product quite heavily. It's important to know HTML to do this.
Its academia background is very apparent, so corporations should know up front that there will have to be changes made to it so it fits their world. This will require a Moodle developer who is knows HTML and PHP.
Corporations are drawn to Moodle because it's "free." But they have to understand that downstream costs such as database personnel and HTML developers will add costs throughout the project.
They must also understand that there is no help desk. Moodle developers must be able to find answers through the Moodle community and other resources, then put the "fix" in place themselves.
- Features like drag and drop and moving items around - these features make the course setup pretty easy.
- Various types of activities and resources. We had faculty to use the Moodle "book" with video recording to meet the accommodation needs. "Page" could save space and help with content organization.
- Customized course import. This makes the course import very simple. You can select the content you want to carry over to a new course.
- Third party service. We work with a vendor to make Moodle communicate to different systems used in the institution.
- Cohort admin. Creating cohorts for classes and faculty/staff groups helps with the admin side of the LMS usage.
- "Log in as a user". This function reduces the burden of the trouble shooting process. Love it!
- Planned upgrade. Instead of upgrading every month and having surprises, Moodle is in our hands.
- Grade book. We encountered the problem of system locking student grades so the overall calculations were not accurate. Not sure if bulk edit has been implemented or not. We started to use another system to deliver grades to students.
- Mobile app. Great try but still needs improvement.
- Log file. We had hard time tracking course activities because the log file was not accurate.
- Moodle is pretty intuitive to use and the popup text helps explain functions well.
- There are lots of plugins that may improve Moodle's functionalities.
- Relatively low cost always makes Moodle an affordable option if your IT team is fairly robust.
- Course organization - Moodle allows faculty members to organize their courses either by week or by topic so students can access their course materials in a logical chronological order. Additional blocks allow students to access content based on type, such as assignments, handouts, or quizzes.
- Ease of use - Moodle 2.9 supports drag and drop features for many of its modules, making organizing/reorganizing a course, or building a course from scratch much quicker. It also has a fairly consistent set of controls across several content types which act in a consistent manner, so you can expect actions in one context to behave in the same manner as they do in other contexts.
- Customization - Moodle allows a lot of customization with its plugin architecture, as well as custom themes, to help give Moodle the right look for your organization.
- Restrictions - Restrictions allow you to powerfully manage who has access to what content and at what time. This is particularly useful for controlling the flow in which course materials are accessed. Content might be available only if a student receives a passing grade on a previous assessment, might only be able to see something if they are in a certain group, or might not be able to view some content before or after a set date.
- Strong Community - Because Moodle is so widely used, it is fairly easy to find answers to most questions you may have.
- Lack of drag and drop in some places - While drag and drop support is offered throughout, there are a few places where it is notably absent. The primary one is in the gradebook, and another is in the question bank. They make sense there, but have not been implemented yet.
- Lack of support for some issues - Moodle's community is one of its greatest strengths as well as one of its greatest liabilities. While you can usually find an answer to questions you have on Moodle's community message boards, it is also possible that you have a more unconventional question that might not get answered at all. If you want to use Moodle for your organization, you will definitely need some tech savvy people to solve some of the trickier aspects of using Moodle. Likewise, support materials on the site don't cover all environmental variables and settings you might run across, so it requires some testing on your end to figure out what things do.
- Modifying functionality can be difficult - Moodle is open source, which means that it can be modified by you. This is great, but as mentioned previously, the support materials and developer documentation can be lacking. It is very easy to shoot yourself in the foot if you make the wrong changes, so you should always make your modifications on a test server and make backups before deploying to your production servers. I know that's good advice for any kind of software, but it can be critical in Moodle, particularly if you use it for storing student grades.
I have seen other institutions use Moodle as their Content Management System as well, but it seems less well suited for that task. I would not personally choose to use it as a portal for an educational site without some better integration for Student Information Systems. Better/easier SIS integration might change my opinion on this in the future.
- In short, it's tried and true. Too many newer learning management systems look snazzy but many of their claimed features turn out to be "in development," i.e., vaporware. Moodle has been around and had time to learn what works and what doesn't, and make numerous improvements (and can be expected to continue to do so).
- The extensive, active, and robust Moodle community is a huge point in Moodle's favor. You can count on plugins being tested, and if you realize you want to do a particular thing, chances are good that someone else has already thought of it.
- Though we don't use it that often, the item analysis for quizzes is a terrific feature that isn't as readily available in many learning management systems.
- We're believers in open-source products whenever possible.
- There are so many features it can be easy to forget exactly where things are sometimes.
- Newer learning management systems may have more elegant out-of-the-box UI. Moodle has extensive design capabilities, but extensive customization can prove complicated.
- Like with any learning management system, there are always features you'd like to see, e.g., the ability to enroll cohorts in multiple courses at once.
- Customizable - I have had the chance to explore many LMS providers and no provider seems to come close to the ability to customize as Moodle does. Since it is open source, anyone can build code to find solutions to challenges and share them with others. I am not sure there is a larger community working on any other LMS-type system.
- Ease of use - the system is very easy to use for the end user. If organized properly, you can do just about anything that you might dream up.
- Cost effective - Moodle is open-source and free. The only cost you might have is the cost of someone managing the administrative side and possibly add-ons that you purchase to enhance the experience of the end user.
- Customer Service - If you would like customer service straight from Moodle, that is more challenging to receive. If you are ok with finding your own answers searching through Moodle forums and such, then this might be ok. It really helps to have an expert on staff that can manage the site and take care of the back-end logistics especially if you are a larger school/company. There will be questions and challenges that you would never imagine.
- Starts as bare bones product- There are numerous ways to customize but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to do it. The most basic product is not as dynamic as what other LMS options might be. However, given that, the upside can be greater.
- Gradebook - One of the largest complaints we had from teachers was the way the Gradebook was set up. It is not user friendly and includes more technical pieces than it needs to share with an end user in most cases.
Questions you might ask include:
1) What are your needs as a school or organization?
2) Do you plan to build your own content or import content from elsewhere?
3) What professional development will I need to get everyone off to a smooth start?
4) Does it work with the systems that you might currently have in place?
5) What level of support do I need from an LMS provider?
- Users have the ability to create a wide variety of question types. (Drag and Drop, Missing Words, Matching, Multiple Choice, etc.)
- Because users are able to password protect their courses, copyrighted textbooks and other materials can be placed online. (unlike an open web page)
- Moodle is easy to install and administer. Best of all, there are no real costs associated with Moodle other than IT time and space to host locally or in the cloud.
- Because it is open source you need to be comfortable in a forum environment for help. Support also comes in the form of online help files.
- Moodle releases several versions each year and makes it difficult at time to stay current. Not really a big issue however.
- Moodle does require some IT expertise for the initial install and configuration if you choose to host your own instance.
- I have found Moodle to be an easy LMS to learn, especially the basics. It only takes about an hour to get a faculty member to the place they feel comfortable with Moodle and to be able to engage the learner. The multiplicity of extra tools can be taught according the need of a course.
- There is ease of administration for incorporating textbook publishers. Several publishers had detailed instructions for integrating course content within Moodle and protect the integrity of both products.
- Faculty can add additional content easily. The university owns the content and maintains a uniformity of each of its courses. However, if an instructor finds additional content to enhance the class, such as Youtube or an article online, it is quite easy for them to add the link into the session.
- Moodle is constantly changing for the better. Moodle itself is on version 2.7 and MoodleRooms is now releasing 2.6. One area that is a struggle for instructors is the grading of file attachments. Files must be downloaded, comments made, and then uploaded back into the file dropbox. Version 2.6 will make this better, if the student saves files in PDF.
- One of shortfalls that frustrates me the most is the gradebook. It is easy to do quick grading within the assignment but if you go to the gradebook it is set up as a giant spreadsheet. This format is fine except that you are constantly scrolling either up or down or sideways to get to where you want to go. If you forget the column for the assignment you have to scroll to the top and hopefully you will not forget the row of the student you were working with. It would make it a lot easier to lock the assignment names and the student names, similar to what can be done in Excel.
- A nice tool is that you can bring up an individuals grade sheet to show their marks on each assignment. However, it has no edit feature. I often award bonus points but not everyone will earn them. It would be much easier going to this individual grade sheet and make the adjustment.
Moodle has so much to offer and the best Moodle people are those who love to tinker, tweak, and look for modules that make Moodle the exceptional tool that it is. It can be tailored to work with about any industry, if you take the time to research all the the bells and whistles that are out there.
Once a SCORM package (training) has been added to Moodle, there is little administrative work to be done.
- Overall the administrative tools are easy to use, and with some experimentation it’s easy to get it to customize and setup your course. I’ve not taken a single course, or done any extensive reading and I’ve been able to use the tool. Like most, there are some points where I get stuck, but a quick search on the internet and I’ve got my answer.
- I love the restrict access feature. Most courses have a certificate of completion module available. With the restrict access tool we can control when users see the option of obtaining the certificate and if a grade condition is required. It’s easy to manage the settings and it can be applied to each activity or resource that’s been added to a course.
- The certificate module is excellent! It was easy to add to Moodle and easy to customize and add to each course. Previously we include certificates as part of each SCORM package. The problem with that was that if a user came back to download/print their certificate they had to launch the SCORM package/training and then navigate to it. With the certificate module, users can obtain it on the homepage of the course.
- When adding blocks to the site it’s sometimes difficult to tell what is viewable as an admin vs a teacher or student.
- The admin and navigation blocks are either on or off and can’t be customized unless you are willing to dig in and modify the code. It would be nice to be able to identify which links within each of those blocks is available to the student.
- While there are themes to choose from, I would like to see more, and it would be nice if each theme had more built-in options for customization. Additionally, while you can choose a separate theme for mobile, it would be nice if you could apply the same theme to mobile and desktop, but with different levels of customization. For example, for the desktop I’d like a fixed width, but on mobile I want something fluid. Again, unless you’re willing to dig in to the code, this can’t be accomplished.
Aside from the back-end student tracking I like Moodle because I can "stack" a course. For example, I might start out with a single SCORM package as my course, but I can easily add new elements such as another SCORM package a discussion forum.
One of Moodle's greatest strengths is the high level of customization afforded to each course, but that can also be a weakness for someone completely new to elearning. For example, a course can easily be built without an external tool like Lectora or Articulate, but without an understanding of the user experience it would be easy to design a course that would be difficult to navigate and confusing to the user.
- Free and Open source, so it's free to try out and you can customize the look and feel of it, provided you have the technical expertise.
- Well-documented and community driven. Makes it easy to find solutions to problems.
- It's gotten better, but it takes a while to learn the innards of the system if you are brand new to it.
Our mission is to deliver high quality online learning experiences for degree-seeking adult learners (median age: 35, more women than men, most working fulltime + families). Moodle enables us to achieve this in a financially feasible way compared to the costs associated with Blackboard.
- Moodle is open source, so it is "free". It can be installed locally or on a typical Web hosting service.
- In the hands of people with the right skills, it is flexible, and has a lot of reporting capabilities if the administrator knows how to query the system.
- With built-in LTI (Learning Technology Interoperability), it can connect to and exchange data with any third-party system that is LTI compatible. This is HUGE. Using LTI, however, is imperfect at times, so one must tenor expectations.
- Moodle interface design and organization is inconsistent and sometimes labyrinthian. For most online instructors, the interface is not intuitive at all. We answer many support questions for simple things where good design would have made it self-evident to users. There are often far more choices and options for users than are needed, so there is some disorienting clutter.
- No one understands the Moodle gradebook. No one. It is a total mystery. It is only with constant everyday use against multiple kinds of problems will anyone understand how to make the gradebook work properly. Most of our support calls center around this. However, I understand that the Moodle 2.8 gradebook will be significantly simplified.
- Moving instructional content around in Moodle is clumsy. Instructors often make a total mess of their course content requiring Ed Tech staff to clean it up.
- Moodle is great as a teaching tool for enhanced face to face, flipped, hybrid and online teaching formats. The discussion forum feature remains the foundation of Moodle's success, but newly developed course formats like Grid Layout and Collapsed topics make the student user experience much more enjoyable and productive.
- Badges in 2.5 and above enable administrators in our school to use the Moodle LMS as an in-house training site for faculty and staff. Moodle will help us create, monitor and maintain baseline standards for faculty and staff online course competency.
- Moodle allows administrators and faculty course designers, for example, multi-section course coordinators, to create collaboratively, maintain and deploy course throughout departments.
- Moodle provides flexible development of virtual learning communities that can be used for a wide variety of purposes including teaching, training, knowledge base, committee work and communicating resources and events to student cohorts (e.g. an upcoming faculty performance for all dance majors).
- Some of the course activities can be difficult to learn including the lesson and workshop activities. However, I would highly recommend taking the time to learn using Lessons as this makes self-directed learning a breeze if that is your desired intent for an online training course.
- The Attendance activity is a third party module that we use extensively at Columbia and it is difficult to set up and requires custom coding to have it accept U.S. date formatting. In addition, importing the Attendance activity from semester to semester is not advised as the sessions are not cleared from the previous semester leading to more work than should be necessary. While these issues make the implementation difficult, it works very well as an attendance taking tool once configured.
- The grade book has been a consistent trouble spot for many of our faculty. Moodle provides so many features, options and settings, that many users are overwhelmed, confused and intimidated by the interface and language. If no changes are applied, Moodle will default to a perfectly acceptable aggregation method called, "Simple Weighted Mean of Grades". However, once the user starts to change the aggregation method to Weighted or Sum of Grades, for example, other settings will need to be adjusted. For the experienced user, it is an effective and full-featured tool set, but an "easy" button would be welcomed by most users.
Moodle is used by our four coordinate campuses, including Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester/Twin Cities. Across all campuses, Moodle is used with approximately 65% of all courses, and approximately 70% of all enrolled students use Moodle for at least one course.
In addition to our academic use of Moodle, it is also used by departments across the University for employee training, housing and sharing resources easily within departments, and in some academic units for tracking promotion and tenure materials for their faculty.
Blackboard was an expensive course management system, and during the recession in 2008 the University was looking for ways to cut costs as much as possible. Moodle was a clear choice as a course management system because it is an open source software with an active development community, which allowed our developers to seek fixes and enhancements developed by other institutions, as well as providing our own back to the community.
- Facilitates asynchronous interactions through tools such as Forums.
- Creates a platform for instructors to reach out individually to students on coursework through the Assignment tool.
- Allows for extensive and varied quiz questions, from standard multiple choice to complex calculated answers.
- Gives our students one centralized place to access all course materials, helping them keep on track with their courses throughout the semester.
- The Gradebook is an area that could use significant improvement. There are many different aggregation options, which makes the gradebook a very powerful tool, but it also makes it very inaccessible to beginner and intermediate users.
- Forums should allow for both anonymous responses, as well as private responses.
- The terminology can be improved for greater clarity. One example is "Common Module Settings". This is a setting which exists on all activities and resources. The function of these settings is to restrict by groupings and control visibility. "Common Module Settings" does not clearly indicate the actual functions in this section.
Because Moodle is Open Source software, a key question to ask during the selection process is "Do we have the development resources to maintain our instance of Moodle?". Moodle.org and the Moodle Tracker forums allow for community crowd-sourcing of solutions, but home-grown solutions are necessary.