- Blackboard (I heard, around 30,000 a year. Outrageous)
- StudyWiz (Looks like good software, but how much?)
Also, what makes Moodle better than Sakai? That looked like quite good software, and also free.
But is a bit more difficult to install.
Moodle and Sakai both need a skilled hacker with "administrative" privileges to install.
But Sakai is a Java 'Servlet' which does require some non-standard background software
to run. Setting up Sakai the first time, on a bare-bones server, can take several hours
of downloading, fiddling, compiling and configuring. Also, Java 'servlet containers'
take up quite a large chunk of system horsepower. So if you try to install Sakai
on a box that already has an apache webserver, with multiple 'virtual domain'
websites up and running, you'd want to be installing on a hotrod server with
lots of memory. Else you might end up with a disappointingly slow installation.
Setting up Moodle--at least on a standard linux server box--is a snap.
I don't do windows. So I can't say anything about installing either on windows.
But beyond being harder to install and using more resources, is Sakai better software in terms of usability and design? (Sakai 3 looks quite attractive)
Also, do you have any idea about the price of Blackboard or StudyWiz?
Thanks for the response!
That was my first impression too. There are usually more users on a Moodle installation than system administrators. ;-(
> But beyond being harder to install and using more resources, is Sakai better software in terms of usability and design?
That is exactly the point. Can the specialists in this area can give some pointers to publications, etc.?
> Also, do you have any idea about the price of Blackboard or StudyWiz?
Does any one know the price of Moodle to start with?
I just set up a Moodle install, it really didn't seem very difficult to me, did I do something wrong? :P Everything works fine, and I'm editing a course right now.
I don't understand, what difficulties did you guys have?
....I don't know anything about StudyWhiz
But I have used Desire2Learn.
D2L is good software, but expensive. And I didn't notice any advantage over Moodle.
One huge disadvantage to D2L is the cost.
Moodle isn't exactly free, because using it does (usually) require your
institution to pay for a local "product support technician" or sysadmin to be
on hand. But that cost is still usually a lot less than the huge support
contracts the proprietary software usually comes with.
Another disadvantage of D2L is that it isn't installed locally.
Your course files get stored on a remote server administered by D2L.
The network lag time is slow and annoying.
Locally installed Moodle servers are a lot zippier to work with.
And yes, Moodle is free, which is quite amazing.
Blackboard works on a per user formula and long term contracts. I have never heard of a figure as low as 30,000
I then got my web-programmer to install on our LAMPS webserver and it only took a couple of hours including some error fixing.
Given my experience, I would expect it to be quite easy to install on a Windows server environment.
I sat/sit on my university's cms committee to find a replacement for WebCT 4.1+ and Bb(whatever version).
Over the last 5 years, we found any number of cost estimates, gap estimates, cms comparisons -- all the usual documents. You can find these by googling the usual terms. Almost every university that has looked at changing cms's has posted their studies publicly.
In short, Bb licensing costs vary with the numbers of students and the type of cms you want. One reason my division of my university left WebCT was that we did not know the costs, the timeline, etc, resulting from WebCT's purchase by Blackboard. We saw a potentially very expensive licensing fee AND potentially expensive hardware purchases. That was to move to WebCT's enterprise version. After that, we did not know what would happen with the merged WebCT+Bb software coming behind the WebCT enterprise version.
We tried Sakai with a service provider, but it didn't seem to be ready for prime time, and the provider (as per the contract) provided such minimal help that we left Sakai 1 month after we started the experiment. The rest of my university is moving to Sakai, however, so, my unit's experience may not have been typical.
In the end, we went with Moodle not because it is "free" (Robert Heinlein was correct in saying "there is no free lunch") but because it worked and it worked out of the box.
Is WebCT a different system to BB Learn? (Can you purchase WebCT from BB)
I googled and found some good price estimates for BB, which I plan on publishing to make things easier for people to find in the future. The difficulty to find good numbers is amazing.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to me, by the way. I really appreciate it.
There is a good deal of information there and in the related Delta Initiative/Cal State study.
Hmmm, I am confused, BB bought WebCT, which is software.
Is WebCT a different system to BB Learn? (Can you purchase WebCT from BB)
BB purchased WebCT in 2006, and is phasing it's products out - there are still many institutions under contract for WebCT Campus and Vista (even some for WebCT 4 8-0), but most will need to move either to BB Learn/BB NG or to something else over the next few years (the CE/Vista codebase is not being continued as a separate product).
The full DI slide show gives a good deal of information about the current state of the LMS market in Higher Ed:
And the full recording of the presentation (in WebEX format) is here
I worked with Phill Hill of Delta and Kathy Fernandes of Cal State when I was at Cal State, they are both very informed and informative on this subject.
Have you heard of StudyWiz before?
You also might like to check out Ning.com as an alternative to the above. Full disclosure: I work at Ning, and have spoken to many educators about why they use Ning over alternative online options. Ning is the largest platform that makes it easy for anyone, from an activist to an entertainer to an individual, to create a completely custom, very powerful social website. Education is actually one of our biggest segments, and we have many examples of educators using their Ning community to safely collaborate and connect with students, expanding the classroom online. Here are some examples of schools and higher education institutes using the Ning Platform to create a online space for their students:
- The University of California, Riverside - The Sloan Center for Internet Retailing, uses Ning as their main site: http://sloan.ucr.edu
- Ringling College of Art and Design Teacher Institute - http://rcadteacherinstitute.ning.com/
- Vanderbilt Web Community - A network of Vanderbilt web developers, designers, and online communicators - http://vanderbiltweb.ning.com/
- My BYU Ad Lab - A student-run, professionally mentored ad agency where undergrads learn agency disciplines through real-world project application. Uses Google Calendar and Twitter embeds - http://mybyuadlab.ning.com/
- RIT Alumni Association Board of Directors - central place for board of directors. http://ritaabod.ning.com/
- UB Communicators Network (University at Buffalo) - This site will provide a platform to connect and collaborate around topics of interest, and learn a thing or two about social media along the way - http://ubcommunicators.ning.com
- The School of Visual Communication Design - Kent State University. This is an example of the community aspect of their their static school site - http://vcd-kentstate.ning.com/
- JSU Marching Southerners - Moving Forward... While Leaving The Others Behind - Jacksonville State University Marching Band - http://marchingsoutherners.ning.com/
Admitted/New Students sites:
- Occidental College Admitted Students - Welcome to Oxy! - We hope you'll explore this site to learn more about Oxy's research and residential community. Through facts, links, clips, and our current student blog, we hope you'll find all you need! - http://oxynewstudents.ning.com/
- Anderson University - AU Class of 2015 - A community of future college students who are planning to attend Anderson University in the fall of 2011! - http://auclassof2015.ning.com/
- Champlain College - Class of 2014 - This social network gives you an opportunity to meet and get to know other accepted students at Champlain - http://champlain.ning.com/
- Northland College - very approachable with great visuals -- lots of great photos uploaded. http://northland.emtsocialnetwork.net/
Can ning members authenticate on moodle to have a seamless user experience?
While blackboard w/ a site license for a school/org is expensive, coursesites.com is free for individual instructors (and provides a really great product...even better than what schools pay for).
Do we know if any of the all mentioned above would handle registration and enrolling in course and generating the bills as per the number of courses .etc etc.. I mean the finances part
It sounds like you're looking for a Student Information System rather than a CMS. There's a list of open source SISs here: http://www.schoolforge.net/education-software/web-based. You might try openSIS.
Brunel's recent report puts the cost of Blackboard Learn at ~$135,000/year (£90,000).
The accounting Brunel used was interesting also - they thought that running Moodle for 15,000 students would require ~$300,000 (200,000£) in server hardware and two extra support/development staff, when Moodle Partners provide hosting & support for much less.
I had to chuckle reading that someone estimated it took $300,000/year to run a 15,000 user Moodle installation. Our school has a 5000 user server/redundant backup server and our hardware costs will be $20,000 for the next five years in a guarrenteed parts replacement contract ($4000/year) with a very powerful setup. As for staff, we have one engineer who spends less than 5% of his time on Moodle (backups, customizing and installing third-party modules), one student part-time worker for two weeks to setup 200 courses semi-annually, and me, a course developer who, at best spends 2% of my time doing admin and training work. I cannot see we would ever spend more than $20,000 per year, more likely $10,000/year including salaries. Quote me on that.
Bottomline is you can save over 80% of total costs of operation using Moodle Partners or a self-hosted Moodle than you will spend with Blackboard.
I was looking into using Drupal, or WordPress, as an LMS. A lot of people seem to think that is the way to go.
WordPress is free, of course, but the better plugins cost some money. For example, WatuPro is probably the best exam plugin for WordPress, it costs $87. I also bought access to several plugins from WPMUdev for $100 a year, because WPMUdev seems to have a good subscription management plugin.
I am finding it a little difficult to setup WP for an LMS.