Moodle Review: It keeps on truckin'
Updated July 08, 2015

Moodle Review: It keeps on truckin'

Mitchell Baker | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Version 2.5

Modules Used

  • Course and Tech Support for Faculty and Students

Overall Satisfaction with Moodle

We are a private liberal arts college and use Moodle on campus and in our online program. Our instance of Moodle is hosted by MoodleRooms. I work primarily with the online education sector of the college and thus will respond from that perspective. We currently have over 600 students taking online courses and lead our tech support section for students and faculty. Moodle meets our needs for student engagement, tracking of activities, and of course grading.
  • 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.
  • With our hosted environment it is much more cost effective for us. We cannot afford to have just one person overseeing a Moodle instance. If Moodle is self-hosted, the more you utilize it and the additional features the more a person needs to be dedicated to it support.
  • Don't feed the alligator. Do not jump into an LMS because everyone else is doing it. They do consume resources even if a product is free. It is the cost behind the scenes that can create issues such as the need for a separate server, will you need increased bandwidth, training a second person in case someone goes on vacation, or gets sick.
  • One of the big pluses is the ability for Moodle, or another tool, to develop community within the organization. Multiple studies have been done with regard to best practices. It is worth the time and effort to check into the topic of building online communities.
I have previously used Cold Fusion, Blackboard, ANGEL, and one other product that about physically did me in. Angel was a joy to work with and I had followed from before it was known as ANGEL. ANGEL was purchased by Blackboard. The price increase after being purchased by BB persuaded us to go with MoodleRooms. As things happen, MoodleRooms was bought out by Blackboard a little over a year later. :-)

We find Moodle does meet our needs in the higher education market. There are multiple help sites and a strong Moodle community that transcends personal needs, K-12, higher-ed, and business environments. We all learn from each other and encourage one another in the use Moodle. The user community is the driving force behind the Moodle enhancements. Changes are voted on and put forward for future incorporation into the product.

As with all products we wish there were easier ways of doing things but that is par for the course with any product. The key, regardless of the product is not just buying in but having the users see the benefit and feel that they are contributing for the future of the education or corporate environment.
One of the key questions to ask is whether or not your users need 24 hour access or are you an 8-5 shop. Education needs access 24x7 thus someone needs to be on call or at-the-ready if a server goes down or the internet connection fails. If you elect DIY because Moodle if free, do you have not only a server tech but an internet tech to set up and keep things up? Can you afford someone to stay on top of your Moodle instance anywhere from 10 - 20% of their time per month? These are some of the reasons to look for a hosting provider and there are many out there.

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.

Using Moodle

We have no complaints with the Moodle product or MoodleRooms. Though there are yearly reviews, one should not change LMS more often than three to five years. If that decision is made, will your content easily transfer from your current vendor to the new one? No one really wants the labor and mental cost of having to do everything all over again. If a change is made, there definitely needs to be a transition period for the early adopters who are not afraid of change and for the newest employees to help things move smoothly through the process.

Moodle Implementation

Moodle Support

We use Moodlerooms. I know they work with a triage method but sometimes the things you feel important is not to them. I also feel larger institutions (more $) can get a higher priority.

Using Moodle

I define usability as being able to work with a product and get it to do what you need. The manual comes into play when wanting advanced tools or techniques. Moodle has a cool feature of an "i" in a box for more information. However, I have found that sometimes the in product documentation is not clear and even in the manual the description can be just as cryptic.