we are considering moving from Blackboard to Moodle with our university: 10000 (6000 really active) students, 200 teachers, 170 courses on Blackboard
Anybody experience with switch from Blackboard to Moodle?
Anybody experience with a comparable large group on Moodle? Or what is now the largest group using Moodle?
Hardware should be ok (Quad Xeon, 2GB RAM, ...)
Software performance probably also OK?
But what about migration tools or tips?
The hardware looks OK - make sure you use the latest PHP and a PHP accelerator. I recommend MySQL, and remember you can install the database on a different dedicated machine if necessary.
There's not really any migration tools yet for Blackboard, except for an import tool for Blackboard quizzes. Any HTML files or other basic content should also be easy to copy over.
I would definitely recommend keeping your authentication data in an external database, so that Moodle can be synchronised with your other student records.
I can also offer you a priority support contract - http://moodle.com will be up soon with details.
Martin, you say 10,000 would be the biggest Moodle you would know of.
But what is the biggest Moodle that you know of at the moment please?
I'd be very interested in number of students, and peak simultaneous number of students, and any knowledge of size of machine and configuration, e.g. separate backend.
Thanks in advance,
Here are some links for their project:
Martin figures are quite old, have you realized the date?
Moodle scalability is a reality now. In addition to NZVLE cited by Mark, other quite big installations of Moodle (>10.000 students) in the Higher Education arena are:
California State University at Humboldt. You will see Michael Penney a lot in these forums. And they are doing a wonderful work on Lesson and Gradebook modules.
San Francisco State University. Jason Cole and his team are developing a new gradebook, and they devised the scripts I use to manage students and enrolments at my site.
At ULPGC (my site) we have 400 courses and 22.000 students in the system. Our plans are to migrate the whole University (2000 courses) to Moodle next year.
As you may see, Moodle is a serious option even for very large university campus.
I will add it is a better option than any propietary solution. Invest your money (if needed) in programmers and sysadmins: you will make the work of your sysadmins more creative, and you will be contributing to generation of knowledge, as a University should do.
- Enrique -
Hi Frederik, we are in the planning/feasability studies of just such a move here, (7500 students, 250 courses).
We have only just begun with a couple moodle courses among influential faculty, biggest hurdle is the training we've put into BB & the fear among faculty & staff that they will have to go through yet another series of training routines on yet another LMS (we've switched from WebCT to BB two years ago).
I'd be most interested in discussing experiences, problems, etc. with you, both on the hardware/software side:there is concern that Moodle lacks the enterprise level administrative features of BB, as well as questions regarding reliability/speed, etc.
Anyway, great to see your site moving to OSS, despite the concerns I've noted above, I'm hoping we can convince the powers that be here that the move is the best thing for the long run.
Your experiences will probably help in that factor as a primary technical concerns seem to be that Moodle is not ready for a large scale site (which of course can only be tested by going large scale and with the beauty of OSS is that any problems can be fixed if they arise).
We currently use WebCT here at a similar sized institution and are starting to evaluate future options including BB. A friend at a local high school was singing about moodle and sent me here. Looks good, better include Moodle in the evaluation list
(I'm rewriting this note to be a bit clearer as you referred to this posting in another group)
That's a great idea
We currently have a fair bit of fun with Perl tidying up around the edges of WebCT. Making the path smoother as they say. You are of course not implying that the moodle path has any large rocks (that need programming time to tidy up) ?
Here are some spaces for the ticks.
Can Moodle cope with these numbers?
20,000 users on our current WebCT system. (all have a login page even if they have no online courses)
5000 to 10,000 students using web courses per semester.
All user details including enrolment (reflected in access or denial to online courses) need to updated every hour from external file/db - only changed data.
No username, password or enrolment changes are allowed in the learning system (currently WebCT) - all are done externally.
Currently using WebCT 3.6 Standard Edition, it's update time so any links to comparisons would be great.
We have decided to include Moodle in the evaluation as well as Blackboard and WebCT so will be installing a test server here shortly.
Any updates on the migration from WebCT to Moodle?
We'd love to hear how it went....or how it's going. We are considering
the same thing on a smaller scale.
JTC...in the Bering Sea
We are also pretty interested in this information. We just started using this fall. It started with one teacher on a test system a setup for this purpose and before I knew it we have over 200 students in the system, we are hosting a class for another area school district and we are using it to connect the local college of ed students with our elementaries for book discussions, and I have lots of teachers asking about it. Now I need to figure out how to manage this as a serious system. We are in the process of switching to ldap and rolling out to all 2700 students in our distict (plus 200 teachers).
We have been talking about partnering with other districts (K12), but many ask about conversion from BB. If we can make this work there would probably be tons of converts. Anyone have access to a BB system that would allow us to do some testing or could send out some zipped up course exports to look at the format?
On another note is there any info available on automating/integrating moodle with other sytsems? For instance I want to pull all the course info from our student management system and automatically create a moodle course for each section we offer at our HS school and then assign appropriate enrollments and teachers access privs. If you are talking to the MySQL backend directly what needs to be created to make a course manually? How likely is this to break with each new version?
btw incredible system. thanks for all the hard work.
This seems to be a popular topic!
We are currently at the end of an eCollege contract and are looking at BB, WebCT, Angel, and some other options for course/content management sytems at Saint Michael's.
I started using Moodle as a side project for my CALL class (I am currently in the MATESL program as well as the manager of the Language Learning Resource Center) and was curious as to why Moodle or any other open source options are not being considered at SMC. I think your experiences will be valuable for all of us. Thank you.
Good luck and I look forward to learning more from all of you!
Mikael "Ekis" Ekblom
Perhaps it would be a good idea to make a poll, like the one asking the education level at which Moodle is being used, to ask "how many users are on your moodle?" Even if there are only three or four universities that have taken on moodle site wide (and there may be fewer) it still helps to have data. The people that I was compared against today have only beeng supported at two universities campus-wide but they were able to give names and figures.
Try this tool. It is very helpful when one is trying to compare MOODLE to other CMSes.
Also, another Moodler "ger tielemans", posted the following link which may prove useful,
Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!
The second link can be translated into Japanese which may be useful for you.
I agree with you that.MOODLE should "promote" itself better, but there needs to be a cohesive group of folks interested in doing it. Maybe we can ask Martin to help develop a "promotion" group with a separate forum to which the entire Moodling community could post ideas. I would certainly help. This would help (I think) support those who are trying to get MOODLE at their schools which could use some financial relief.
Hope Martin sees this and I hope the above info helps you out.
Wuoldn't it be a practical soultion just to run some servers "in paralell" as required ?
(server1.domene.org, server2.domene.org and so on each server having one individual external ip, adressing to individual ip/server handeled by name server.)
Of course the consequensis of this arrangement would be that you would not have one Moodle installation but 2, 3 ore more Moddele installations "running in parallell".
But if the students and the teachers also forms "natural groups" this might not be a problem ??
(If teachers/stoudents/courses just forms "natural groups" so it is possible to run each group on separate servers, it should be possible to make Moodle installations for any number of users. Actually bandwith will be the limitation.)
1. Will Moodle cope?
2. Should I use PosGres instead of MySQL?
3. Can I /Should I think of a cluster with load balancing?
4. (related to above) Can everything be solved by chucking more hardware at it?
5. Anything else?
There's only one condition answering this post, you have to answer "yes" to question 1 .
Seriously, altho', in my brief aquaintance I have come to dearly like Moodle, if anyone has doubts about its scalability ,either due to Moodle itself, PHP chomping up resources, lack of genuine concurrence handling with PHP/Apache, or MySQL limitations, I'd be real grateful.
We've got 8000 active users - which seems to be the largest installation that BB can come up with (though we keep hearing rumors of others - never evidence). These are courses that were created to be either 100% online, or hybrids. Some may have limited use, but some are very active - big enough that they take 10 minutes per to copy. A vast number of these are two intro classes that everyone has to take, and of which we may offer 100-200 sections a semester. These have a total of about 35 items (assignments, quizzes, discussions, etc..) each. So the biggest load is several classes all taking a test at the same time on a given day.
Currently, BB running on 4 servers with 2 CPU's each against SQL Server has a miserable time. Facutly blames IT support, IT blames BB, BB admits some culpability, while faculty says "Such and such a school doesn't have this problem" and blames it again on IT support. IT support has rumors of rogue stored procedures that never stop on the DB, and there's intermittent talk about a DB license that uses all 4 CPU processes being enabled, then disabled to save $15000. So it's a mess.
I've put my courses on Moodle, and have been garnering support from ITS, from my director, the dean, various other teachers, TA's and programmers. Now the question is, can we handle that huge class. My wife has been hired to migrate all the contents to Moodle, and has done the basics - now for review and piloting this summer. There are some serious concerns about the gradebook that I'll post to the new gradebook forum (thanks Martin!!) and the obvious development work to batch enroll and such- but that''s easier than the gradebook I think.
So can ANYONE out there point to a good solid install where there are thousands of users, happy? I know a local college, Johnson C Smith Univeristy uses Moodle - so I'll need to touch base with them- but I think they only have 2000 students, and probably fewer online.
Our IT programmers imply that stress testing will be no big deal, and one just said, "if mySQL has trouble, we'll just switch to postGress..". I guess that sounds too easy.
So I'm open to idea, suggestions, etc.. My thought is to have my small program area do all courses this way (we are Internet Tech) as well as a few pilot users from other areas, and to work out the kinks in the process. I continue to push, evangelize, speak, etc.. to anyone who'll listen, and then one day we wake up and find BB's down to 3k users....
The upgrade to Bb 6.3 is going to mean RHAS instead of RH7.2, recommended on dual twin-processor servers (replacing the existing single-processor DELL PowerEdge). We are currently struggling on the existing server to support 28,000 users (800 teachers).
If we are to make a case for moving to Moodle, there must be a functional migration import tool or batch create/update tool: there is no way we can do this by manually recreating 1,200 courses.
Is anyone tackling this yet, and what resources would it take?
1) It doesn't import all Blackboard question types: at CSU H, we wrote an essay question type and a 'rendered match' question type and a BB pool importer, we'd like to work with SF and others to get our qtype importer into theirs.
2) SF's tool is designed to make you think about your course when you import it and redesign it. That is a nice idea, however it can be pretty time consuming when you have hundreds of documents in a course (<rant>Blackboard's poor content development tools encourage what I call the 'datadump' course format, instead of delivering information in an effective elearning tool like Moodle's lesson, with BB folks tend to post hundreds of office documents and then massive quizzes about them</rant>).
CSU SF sponsored a set of conversion workshops this summer and IIRC correctly converted several hundred courses over in a week or so.
We are interested in working with SF and others converting, to help make the process more automatic and faster.
Hi, Michael -
I've just (this weekend) begun a project to convert some 3,000 +/- high school courses from Blackboard to Moodle. I'm assured that the vast majority of these are little more than teachers' notes, but we'll see.
As a test run, we were given a batch of two dozen BB archive files, ranging in size from about 200Kb to nearly 50Mb. We had to recompile PHP to enable XSLT with Sablot, but then were able to upload all but one course without any further problem, except some of the image files seem to have gotten misfiled. The courses aren't terribly pretty (your rant explains why) but at least Moodle didn't choke on them.
I looked at the SF conversion tool - wondered whether you had any insight as to whether it might be useful with 1.52+ or is it specifically for 1.4x? (Don't know if it matters, but we're running 1.52+ against PostgreSQL, on Apache 2.0)
From what I've seen so far, it'll be necessary to massage these courses a bit cosmetically to take advantage of Moodle's lessons, assignments, etc. Wondered whether the SF tool might take some of the tedium out of that?
Anything we might be able to do to help with developing tools - testing, etc. - we'd be glad to do.
As a semi-personal aside - my erstwhile partner's daughter just matriculated at HSU this fall. Plans to study something involving wildlife, zoology, or some such thing. Do you happen to know off-hand whether your Moodle implementation supports courses in those general areas?
Lastly - think enough people are converting from BB to Moodle to justify a dedicated forum here?
Anyway, thanks for the links to the tools!
Some additional functionality seems to come with the LSU conversion tool (not knocking the SFSU tool) but when converting simple course structure from Bb v 8 to Moodle v1.9.2 this tool worked better. Probably because of "work that Louisiana State University has done to make a Blackboard 6.3 to Moodle 1.8 Content Transfer Tool that works on the most recent version of
Tomcat (6.0) and Java" (http://iss-tech.humboldt.edu/mellon/ctt/). It can be found at:
We (LSU) are planning on building a converter for bb5.5, bb6, bb7, and bb8 for the world to use, but we need your help.
We need as many bb7 and bb8 course archives (no Personally Identifiable Information please) as we can get. If we don't get enough varied archives, we can't write the input plugins. We are planning to make the system pluggable, so you can write your own input plugins as well.
We have several thousand bb6 archives and bb5.5 archives and have converted almost 2000 courses from bb6.3 to Moodle 1.9 that are in use today in Moodle.
This new converter will be done sometime around the February timeframe.
Please email me if you would like to help out.
Did this converter ever progress to deal with Bb8 conversions? We are looking to transfer 4000 courses from Bb8 running on a Windows server to Moodle 2.1. Up to date advice welcomed
They made an LSU CCT2 tool to bring Blackboard 8 courses over to Moodle 1.9 (which can, of course, be imported into Moodle 2.1).
I looked into using CCT2 before I decided to extend Ziba Scott's converter instead. From what I recall, CCT2 does work well but it doesn't bring things across in a very Moodle-like format. It creates HTML pages and links files into those, rather than using topics to store things like a native Moodle course would.
Your mileage may vary, it might just have been the particular Blackboard courses I tried to convert using it.
As for my modified converter, things aren't looking good on the 'sharing it with others' front. It looks like the only backup I have of my Blackboard Migration server is corrupt, and that server has now been completely wiped. The search for a non-corrupt backup continues.