Way back when we thought that Turbo Pascal was ok as a toy and VB3 was the seriously cool way of the future, we were introduced to this thing called WebCT. It was clunky, hard to use, looked pretty gruesome and definitely not what you wanted to be looking at after a night on the tiles, but a lot of us saw the potential. Discussions were centred around the opportunities for distance learning, for scheduling remote tests, repositories and a range of other possibilities. I left there, eventually, and just after that, one of the guys I was working with took a job with WebCT, delivering support in the Asia-Pacific region.
I ran into him recently and found out that he had had enough of the travel and his new masters, WebCT had been taken over. There was a horror story or two, but, mostly the sort of thing that happens when great change occurs. He was adamant that the takeover was not a good thing for WebCT and he was appalled by the approaches taken by his former employer, especially with regard to their products. However, there was one story he told me that I was inclined to dismiss, until I saw this article. A number of other things fell into place as well.
Remember this discussion?
At that time, I thought that we should look at how we are promoting Moodle to a wider audience. I was not sure where Moodle stands in comparison to other LMS' and CMS', I am not sure what the essential costs for setting up a Moodle really are. I am not sure what additional staff are required to run a Moodle, in a largish institute. There has been a comparison made by the North Carolina Community College System, which answers a lot of my questions, but now, how can we turn this knowledge to the advantage of Moodle?
There is no Moodle Promotions department, no glossy pamphlets, no fancy sales pitches or long, slow, seductive, lunches. I should not expect it will ever get there, but we have to do something.
I still think we should develop an essential rhetoric for promoting Moodle, that any enquiry can look at and get all the information they need to be able to promote it. Obviously, it is not enough to do it just from the heart, passion will only get you so far, cold, hard fact needs to get it over the line. The question would be, who can do it? I am committed to other things, and promotions is not a strong suit of mine, I am more useful in charging at gates and wrecking china shops, subtle as a sledgehammer and as sensitive as a house brick. No, needs someone who is smart and clever, (a person can be smart without being very clever, or clever without being smart, I see these types every day). More importantly, I suspect we need a body of readily accessible and clearly demarked documentation that can offer a range of technical information that is easy to follow, simple and clear, that can be used by anyone as a souce for arguing the case for Moodle when things like what happened at McMasters occurs. We can do better.