Moodle 2.6: Like it but not loving it
Steve Covello | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated December 12, 2014

Moodle 2.6: Like it but not loving it

Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

2.65

Overall Satisfaction with Moodle

Granite State College (part of the University System of New Hampshire) has over 70% of its credit enrollments as fully online, in both undergraduate and graduate studies programs. We support over 3000 students and about 200 faculty. We rely on Moodle exclusively as our LMS. It is hosted through Remote Learner, but we have a fulltime Moodle engineer. Our engineer is a programmer and experienced systems administrator from prior professional IT experience, and she is also a PhD candidate in studies related to teaching and learning with advanced digital systems. It is fair to say that we have maximized as much as we can from Moodle, given the limitation imposed on us by Remote Learner (we cannot implement certain features independently).

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.
  • Our ROI has been that it works for what need to accomplish, given the resources we have available, both in support staff, IT, and financial constraints.
  • We are becoming more sophisticated in our experiences of delivering online education. Thus we now see the needs and limitations of our LMS with better clarity. Moodle has been a good interim system while we grow. I am sure we will move away from Moodle within the next 3-5 years. There have been other products that have surpassed what Moodle does. The question is whether they are affordable.
We use it because it is what have committed to back in 2011. Perhaps Moodle will evolve and advance in a positive way that will alleviate most of our user-based gripes? Perhaps it will not appear to be as cost effective given the need for a certain level of engineering and support staff to maintain it at a future level of sustainability? It's hard to say. As an enterprise scale critical application, we like it, but don't love it. Our instructors don't particularly like it at all.
Moodle is OK. Not perfect, not terrible - but OK. In considering whether to use Moodle, take in to account that you will need at least one fulltime person who REALLY knows how to make it work, and who can set it up to maximize its capabilities. Someone with SQL/db programming capabilities is a big plus. As an open source system, you will have no real support system other than your own staff and what you can find online in the Moodle DEV community.