Moodle from a Moodler: Open Source, Powerful, Awesome
Updated December 18, 2014

Moodle from a Moodler: Open Source, Powerful, Awesome

Laura Farvour | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Moodle 2.6

Modules Used

  • (Core Activities) Assignment, Attendance, Chat, Choice, Database, Dialogue, External Tool, Feedback, Forum, Glossary, Group choice, Lesson, Quiz, SCORM package, Simple Certificate, Survey, Wiki, Workshop
  • (Core Resources) Book, File resource, Folder resource, IMS content package, Label, Page, URL

Overall Satisfaction with Moodle

The University of Minnesota adopted Moodle in 2008 with an implementation of Moodle 1.9, while concurrently running the Blackboard system, WebVista. In 2012, we completely decommissioned WebVista in favor of using Moodle as our primary course management system.

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.
  • As support staff, I don't see too much in terms of the Return on Investment. However, I can anecdotally say that students love interacting with their coursework online. I like to think increased online interaction and availability of course materials also leads to greater student success.
Moodle is very well suited for any institution seeking an online course management system to enhance the classroom experience, implement training, or provide a content hosting and sharing environment.

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?". and the Moodle Tracker forums allow for community crowd-sourcing of solutions, but home-grown solutions are necessary.

Using Moodle

We are extremely likely to renew our use of Moodle because we have made significant contributions to the development of Moodle, and have even been able to work directly with Martin and his team to implement changes in Moodle core. In addition, our end-users really like the software overall. We have had extremely positive responses to recent surveys which sought ideas from the community on how to make Moodle better. It has been gratifying to see that even though there is a need change and improvement, our end users are still fully supportive of using Moodle as our course managment system.

Using Moodle

Especially with the most recent versions, the increase in accessibility, mobile friendliness, and overall interface-lifts has made Moodle an extermely usable software.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • It is extremely easy to build and administer quizzes in Moodle.
  • Managing user enrollments is very easy in Moodle, especially with the recent implementation of searching and filters on the user list in Moodle 2.6.
  • Moodle is extremely easy to integrate with LTIs from any third-party vendor.
  • The gradebook can be complicated to set up and difficult to understand.
  • It is difficult to facilitate user-reviews through Moodle. There is a tool avaialble (Workshop), but it seems unncessarily complicated.
Yes - Starting with Moodle 2.6, the mobile interface works extremely well. The best part is that the mobile interface is the same as the standard desktop/laptop interface, and the blocks and content respond to the size of the window in which Moodle is loaded.

Moodle Reliability

It's free, open source software. The biggest expense is hosting it, followed by paying a developer (or developers) to keep things up and running (especially with unique authentication needs, enterprise wide use, etc).