Moodle Partners

Alternatives to Remote Learner

 
 
King Crab Fishing in Norway
Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

I am curious to hear what other Moodlers are using as a host. We have 1000+ students in our Moodle and been with Remote learner for 2.5 years. We used to have a lot of flexibility; being able to upload themes, modules, blocks, etc. Recently, they changed our access to the point were we can't even upload/ftp courses larger than 64mb. I used to be able to just ftp, but we no longer have this access.

One of the appealing things about moodle is that it is open source and we are (should be) able to mold it to what we want or need. Remore Learner seems to want us locked down so we have to pay for even the smallest tasks. Tasks that I previously did in a few minutes, now take us weeks.

Can any of you recommed some quality hosting companies that you have used? Ones that can handle the traffic of 1000-2000 students?

One positive aspect to Remote Learner is that they made our integration with Google Apps simple. I am just trying to weigh out the Pros and Cons with staying with Remote Learner.

Thanks!
Matt

 
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Picture of Dan Marsden
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Plugins guardiansGroup Translators

There are many different alternatives - Remote Learner is one of a global network of Official Moodle Partners - you can see a full list here:
http://moodle.com/partners/list/

I work for the Moodle Partner Catalyst IT - we have offices in the UK/AU/NZ

An important thing to note is that although Moodle can be customisied/modified to suit your requirements there is a cost to this - I'm sure if you talked directly with Remote Learner about your specific requirements they may come up with a modified hosting package at a higher cost that included all your requirements - (we generally wouldn't set up ftp access but would use sftp instead.)

Someone else is likely to chip in here and suggest you host it yourself - Some Moodle Partners (we do a lot of this) provide support for in-house hosted systems - this way you get the best of both scenarios - having an internally hosted server with the support of a knowledgeable Moodle Partner to help with performance tuning, upgrades, customisations etc etc.

We see a lot of people who have decided to host their own system but don't have the internal "long-term" support staff to maintain it - it was set up by a teacher with the knowledge but that teacher has a new job elsewhere and left a couple of passwords and no-one internal knows what to do with them.

 
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Picture of Jason Cole
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

Hi Matt

Hi Matt, I'm sorry you had a bad experience with our support. The upload limit on the course backup was a mistake and I believe we have now fixed it.

I'd be happy to talk to you about this incident or any of your future needs. Dan makes some good points and I'd be happy to work with you to make sure we are providing the service you deserve.

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Just thought I would chime in as a Remote Learner customer (for 3+ years now) and say we are very happy with the service and support. They have allowed us quite a bit of flexibility while still providing rock solid support. We have considered the option of internal hosting with a support contract, but actually I kind of like the fact that our Moodle is offsite in case anything interrupts our network services.

I also like the fact that some of our hosting/support dollars are going to fund Moodle development. So I hope that you can find a way to stay with a Moodle partner.

 
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King Crab Fishing in Norway
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

It looks like we just had a couple cases in which their (Remote Learners) tech support didn't handle issues as well as I would have liked. This can happen to any company. I know I am not perfect with solving tech issues with teachers/parents/students. At the time, I just did not know the proper means to get our needs met, so I admit I was getting a little frustrated. sad

Just to explain, whenever there is a Moodle/hosting issue, Remote Learner sends me a survey where I can assess the quality of support I received. (this part is my fault) I have not been using that tool. Almost instantly after I filled out the survey about one of the specific cases, I received a phone call from remote learner eagerly willing to help me with everything that I needed. I was impressed!

While on the phone with remote learner, I also received an email from another remote learner employee (who read my post on this forum) asking how they could help.

Thanks again to all of you that took time to respond to the post. It is great to know that I have a great Moodle community and hosting company to lean on when I need assistance. smile

 
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Picture of Dakota Duff
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 
Just to explain, whenever there is a Moodle/hosting issue, Remote Learner sends me a survey where I can assess the quality of support I received. (this part is my fault) I have not been using that tool.

Satisfaction surveys for each support case is something we've just recently been able to implement, so this may have been among your first opportunities to use it. We've been working hard to improve our abilities to catch things that aren't being resolved satisfactorily. Thank you for your feedback.

 
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Picture of Marc Weiss
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

Matt - This company used to be good, however, they changed their pricing plans and we have owed a LOT of money for services that used to be included. In addition, they never communicated the changes. $2800 plus golden addon costs (after we paid the other companies) is a lot of money. We surely are looking into switching providers - and may do so by 2014.

I share your lockdown view. We bought Turnitin.com for example, and I have the instructions on how to do the integration - a 5 minute job. Yet, RL wants to charge us for a golden add on, when I have the changes. It is not a good business model.

I have no clue what happened, but I would rather pay a cost up front than get hit with bills later. Let me add, their hosting is better, but I truly am dissatisfied. I wish you the best in your decision, but you are not alone.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

So the issue is cost not service. Mmmm interesting when considering other comments here lately. Seek another provider is the only Answer here, for obvious reasons.

 
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Picture of Marc Weiss
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

Again, I am NOT saying don't go with them at all. I like the product, I am telling folks to understand what one gets with the price paid. I have expressed the views here to my rep and I am NOT one of those who post anonomously. I am posting with my name and I am just being honest. The price plan to is complex and there is no easy way to track the hours. If they could get that fixed, I would recommend them in a moment. A few years ago, Moodle with them was ALWAYS going down. They have fixed that issue and their product is fine - other than locked down (as I stated) - but I sort of get that.

If one knows what the price plan includes - go with them. The service is fine.

 
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Picture of adam penner
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

I left remote-learner a few months back. I was very frustrated with new restrictions on our service and the upselling of their services. 

 
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Picture of Marc Weiss
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner (UPDATE)
 

I have NOT been compensated for this. I have NOT been given anything for this and no one has asked me to say anything. I am responsible for my own endorsements and my own recommendations. I just wanted to set the record straight.

I want to post an update now. I have actually worked with Remote Learner in identifying some of the frustrations. It was explained to me why the payment plans went as they did. What was happening was some of the clients were using a LOT of hours while others (such as me) were using few hours. Because of this, they went to a plan where you could pick the level of support you needed. With the growth came some unpleasant change and consequences.

I wrote this because I saw a lot of name calling on another thread. Remote Learner, like any company, is not perfect. Yes, I get frustrated from time to time with them. Yes, the change is abundant and the communication was lax. Yes, I said all of this to them. Last point on that - my problem I wrote about on October 1, above was solved. Turns out someone else (newer employee) told me something wrong and the problem was quickly corrected after that.

Here is the bottom line - their service as far as technology has been upgraded and I still HIGHLY recommend it for that reason. In another thread, I read that customers were upset because cPanel went away. It is true that cPanel went away, but they gave me an FTP and that works all the same. There is no reason a front end user needs a powerful cPanel when the FTP does all the work that cPanel did.

The problem I had though was their pricing plan and some communication. However, the communication has been better since August and they are looking to make improvements to their Portal.

After weighing all of the above and looking at self-hosting, and other providers (Moodlerooms is NOT an option after being bought by Blackboard), we have decided to stay with Remote Learner. I would rather set my hair on fire and ask someone to stomp it out rather than go to anything Blackboard owned. Prices could go from 10K to 50K in a year. Just sayin’.

In the end, I recommend Remote Learner. Just know what the plan includes.

Again, I have NOT been compensated for this. I have NOT been given anything for this and no one has asked me to say anything. I am responsible for my own endorsements and my own recommendations. I just wanted to set the record straight.

 
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Picture of Marc Weiss
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner (UPDATE)
 

I want to give more of an update. Again, RL continues to improve. Above there was a client who left because of the reasons I originally stated. As of February, they restructured their plans, and the "upsell" has disappeared. I say this because people far too often complain, but never recant when problems get fixed. They're not a perfect company, but they are improving fast. We have decided to stay with them now.

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner (UPDATE)
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Great Marty.  This can only be good.

There is an old saying sometimes seen as a poster in a business: "If you are happy, tell others.  If you are not tell us and we will fix it"

-Derek

 
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David
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

I was running Moodle off a linux based home PC, until it went south. I in the process of moving it to a cloud server. You either have to be a geek or freinds with one

 
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Picture of Jim Grogan
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

Take your time reading each SLA. Try to find someone who is actually using the Moodle Partner you are considering. Ask questions. Also, keep in mind that they charge you to install modules (plug- ins) that are not including with the basic install or are not on their "approved list". The approved list is usually pretty short.They then charge you to investigate whether or not the module is worthy enough. 

 
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David
Re: Alternatives to Remote Learner
 

a couple of weeks ago KTree contacted me. They did a great job installng MOODLE on my server space. Their prices are more than reaonable.

We're currently out some bugs in PayPal. I wish they more forthcomming with how long a task takes and what to exprect. but like I said, their prices are very good. I can live with the communication problems, as long as they deliver on what they promised. 

 
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