Moodle provides a flexible and fun teaching and learning environment.
David Noffs | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated February 25, 2015

Moodle provides a flexible and fun teaching and learning environment.

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

2.5

Modules Used

  • Attendance, core activities, core resources, certificate, advanced forum, quickmail, collapsed topics, grid format

Overall Satisfaction with Moodle

Moodle is being used as the primary learning management system (LMS) at Columbia College Chicago. The user base is in excess of 10,000 active users across all departments including academic (for courses) and administrative (for learning communities and resource hubs). Moodle allows faculty and students to work together effectively whether teaching face to face, flipped, hybrid or fully online. Because of the flexibility of the software and dynamic developer (open source) community, Columbia has been able to adapt the installation to a variety of needs with minimal resources. Moodle has proved mostly reliable except when starved of ram or hard drive space as is the case with any LMS.
  • 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 a great open source investment (free) where your software development is driven by the specific needs of your program or institution.
  • The time that would spent supporting technical aspects of the LMS can be dedicated instead to supporting faculty development and instructional design.
  • Moodle does require personnel to support it and help it grow to support your faculty, staff and/or students. It is not the complete answer to your online institutional needs.
Moodle compares extremely well to other proprietary LMS applications I have used including D2L and eRacer based upon the sheer number of features for managing course content. Including third party options and custom modules there are almost unlimited capabilities. Themes in Moodle are also easily adapted for institutions to include logos and color schemes (from existing templates or scratch for experienced web designers). Course layouts are also less predictable when using third party course layout plugins like Grid and Collapsable Topics. Moodle had obvious advantages over other LMS software with similar features such as Blackboard, because of the cost. Lastly, Moodle was easier to install and maintain than other open source software this reviewer looked at, specifically Sakai, that would have required more support from programming staff (not available when we making our decisions).
Moodle can be a great LMS choice for many programs and institutions. Whether you choose to have your Moodle site hosted by another provider, or host it yourself, depends on the size of your program or institution but mainly on the resources you have to support your own server/s including dynamic storage and enough processing power, ram, and bandwidth to handle the number of users you expect. You can check Moodle's web site (moodle.org) for server requirements. While Moodle is an easy download and install for experienced IT professionals, tech savvy educators may spend more time with configuring and supporting their Moodle site than they can afford. Hosting companies can provide Moodle sites with mixed results in my experience. You want to make sure your students never experience a server going offline while they are completing an online test during finals week, so make sure you thoroughly check any relevant reviews of potential Moodle hosting services. That being said, there is nothing like the freedom and flexibility of having your own Moodle installation to let the creative institution express itself.

Using Moodle

Moodle continues to provide the tools, features and flexibility we need as an institution to expand our enhanced face to face, flipped, hybrid and online learning opportunities.