I teach at universities, including at Universidade Aberta (distance learning).
The e-learning platform on all is Moodle.
I'm all for e-learning and I use it intensively—or I try to.
On all sites the platform has several bugs (some serious), lacks features, and it is utterly slow (often to the point of becoming unusable).
This has been so for several years, and shows no sign of improving.
I am curious: is it just I and my schools (a coincidence of planetary proportions)?
If not, is there a (probably commercial) tool with a schema close to Moodle's but bugfree and efficient?
Thanks a lot.
You state that the platform has several bugs (some serious) - what bugs are you seeing? Could you give an error message, screenshot, or tell us what you are doing when you get them?
Do you report these problems to your Moodle administrator(s)? Do they know what problems you get and when? Do they have any idea what may cause the Moodle install to throw errors or run slowly? Have they posted this information on the forums here where others could take a look at them?
Finally, what features does Moodle lack? There are some things that Moodle doesn't do, some things the developers are working towards, and some things that it could do better. Get involved and focus on some specific issues - that's the way to see improvement.
I'm not the administrator, and I don't want to be.
Bad administration is at the root of problems at some sites, I suspect strongly.
I am just curious about how (un)common this problem is at large.
Like (the other) Matt said, it's hard to be specific without knowing more. What version of Moodle are you running? I am on the latest 1.9.4 and it's very fast on my server. some older versions are noticably slower and a poorly configured or overloaded server will make things worse, so the slow speed at least is certainly not something other people are experiencing.
I'm curious as to which features you feel are missing. I've not a lot of experience of other systems so can't really recommend any, but Moodle seems pretty feature-rich to me.
Activity reports. I use (or want to) that a lot, to assess student progress. At one site, they were removed. When asked why, admin response was just "technical problems" At other, they were never enabled.
At two sites the foruns don't send email.
At many sites, the version is unknown.
At many sites, the admin is unknown.
The clock is not set right.
Again, I'm not interested in going into detail, I'm just curious about this overall sense of lack and inefficiency, whether it is just I, or just Portugal, or somewhat global.
Yes, Moodle is extremely feature-rich. I just want those features enabled and speedy and efficient on my sites!
It's not Portugal per se. I cut my teeth on Moodle 1.9 with a THEKA project using Moodle in Portugal in 2007 with a bunch of 200 lovely librarians in a professional development project. No problems - even when my work was done from New Zealand, and even with a language barrier. It was cool, and I learned a lot!!
It can't be you - since you are not an admin. But you may need to do a little homework to know what to ask for and what to check. The things you mention: clocks, e-mail, admin identity etc are sys admin issues, NOT Moodle.
Now: I have struck this problem in trying to teach online - an LMS not up to scratch. Just figure out what you want to acheive, work with Moodle where you can - and where you cannot, just move out into free tools. Treat Moodle like the safe walled garden and go from there. It's not Moodle.
OR: use a reasonably costed, properly hosted Moodle site, maybe from a Moodle Partner.
It's not global either. Robert and Matt and Matt have said it all in some respects.
There are hundreds of fine Moodle installations with the settings optimised, patches managed, responsive admins. I am a member of about 8 or so such sites. So take heart. And good luck. Contact me offline if you want me to put you in touch with my buddies in the Moodle community in Portugal.
I have been in the software support business since the 80's and I can say beyond a doubt that software is released with bugs whether open source or paid versions. Think about microsoft releases.
Having read the thread I have to agree none of your perceived bugs are bugs except that the admin for the moodle is clueless and to tell you the truth that happens a lot.
An IT manager or a school board posts an ad for a moodle administrator and typically it says something like ; Seeking php coder who can work in mysql Moodle experience preferred. Someone with a 2 year degree sends in a resume which includes having taken a class in moodle and gets hired. Two years down the road the school drops moodle if the guy hired did not bother to learn how to administer it but they keep the slacker to avoid paying unemployment. Sounds like you have dealt with slackers by the bunch.
The discussion really clarified a number of issues for me.
Namely, it confirmed that the problems stem from sloppy system administration, and it has strengthen my convition that the way to go is to hire professional Moodle hosting services.
Given time, I will prepare a case for my superiors.
All other issues pertain to other schools and sites, which shall remain unamed for now.