Comparisons and advocacy

itslearning vs. Moodle

 
Jan Sosniecki
itslearning vs. Moodle
 

What would be your arguments for choosing itslearning rather than Moodle (or vice versa)?

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

I would select Moodle because I am constantly reading about this type of system and the first time I heard of itslearning was when I read your question.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

Hahahahahaaaa! The words "FreeTrial"...... so Moodle it is.... 

 
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Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Particularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Just looking at their site, itslearning is a commercial, proprietory LMS while Moodle is an open source one. I get worried when I cannot see any pricing information, only a "free trial". Probably, you will have to contact a salesperson whose commission depends on how much is negotiated.  Moodle has no salespersons (Partners might have them) and no lawyers who litigate to protect intellectual property. Moodle users and developers share their intellectual property (code and content) and make it public. The Moodle community is full of enthusiastic educators, which is why you will get a quick answer here.  Sorry, I do not know the features of itslearning, so I think you have to do their free trial to find out.

 
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Jan Sosniecki
Ang: Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

Once more, Don Hinkelman, thanks for your serious answer.

Below I have inserted a screendump from itslearning that shows the dashboard in a class and more particularly the "to do" box that tels the teacher on his side and the student from his side what to do.

It not only contains deadlines like in a calendar, but also tells you (teacher and student) what to follow up, e.g. student work that you need to give feedback and teacher comments that the student needs to review in order to correct or enhance the work (an assignment for instance).

This functionnality is more like a agenda that resumes the work that the user needs to attend. The calendar in Moodle only gives deadlines from allready established assignments scattered around on diffent dates, and no clue about feedback and other kinds of interactional work.

Could this be the killer?


 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Ang: Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

mmm I know I was quite flippant earlier, but it is my understanding that an LMS is useful only to the extent you are using it. It is suitable only to the point where it suits your particular operational purposes and base requirements. 

If you look at an LMS from the point of costs, then all LMS software use, essentially, the same hardware so what you are really looking at then is licensing costs and accumulated maintenance costs. By that I mean downloads, upgrades, plugins, any cost accumulated by adding modules, and so on. In this, any FOSS is way out in advance of proprietorial software. (Some systems may require specialist hardware, but they should be dismissed anyway.) 

So the real examination of any system comes down to what do you feel comfortable with? What does the organization feel comfortable with? One school I worked at is no longer using Moodle because it is trying to adapt its SMS to be an LMS and do what Moodle does. After some close examination, I found all they were doing with Moodle was using it as a repository, not using any of the features or activities of Moodle. (Needless to say, when I pointed this out, I became very unpopular very quickly. Memo to self: Don't tell people the Emperor has no clothes...) 

In the end, all that is needed is some commitment to making your system do what you want it to do, if it can't don't be afraid of dumping it and moving on to something that may be better. That is what I have done, personally, what I am trying to get others to do, and right now, Moodle does everything I need it to do, and I am comfortable with it. 

While there are other products about, they cannot do what Moodle does. Or they can do what Moodle does, but either not as well or at great cost. That is why I would recommend Moodle over anything else. I have been assured that some products even do some things better than Moodle, and that is OK, either Moodle will improve in response, or it won't. If it doesn't then perhaps it is time to look around again, and I am sure that MD will not be standing still for that.   

 

 
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Jan Sosniecki
Ang: Re: Ang: Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

This is a very usefull answer, thanks. The situation is that we use itslearning, but I am not satisfied and also see Moodle as a LMS that does what we need to do. The main issue is comfort, and some of my collegues are comfortable with itslearning and are not willing to consider a better platform; and for them, the fewer options and fewer possibilities make every day life easier for the teacher, and it's difficult to argue against that. I try to emphasise the benefit of the student which should be the key decision factor, but for the moment without succes.

Clearly, Moodle as a file repository is not an ideal choice; in that case Google for Education is better, specially Edulife by Wizkids.

I am, however, surprised of how well Moodle works on mobile units, that not at all the case for itslearning which ressembles to Windows 95 with a explorer to the left.

In fact, the choice between a LMS is nearly a religious position, and with the comfort of the collegues, you recognise that we are all human that are not interested in stunning sales arguments!

 
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Picture of Dave Perry
Re: Ang: Re: Ang: Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Particularly helpful MoodlersTesters

Moodle is an open source project too, so less pressure to sell for money (though they need some dollar coming in obviously to pay for their essentials).

Commercial systems have to sell to keep the company going, so they probably push their pitch harder.


 
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Jan Sosniecki
Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

My educational institution uses itslearning, but we are considering Moodle to replace it. So I know itslearing.

It is a LMS, but centralized. This means that you have no worries about installation, upgrades and system maintenance; an admin person can of course do settings at the site level.

Considered as a platform, it's universal, e.g. for any school the platform will look alike (you can change some themes to for instance a children like univers, but the structure and the functionallity remain the same).

It's suited for blended learning (as Moodle too), that is learning combining online activities and activities in the class room, but I wouldn't recommend it for real e-learning.

Many things could be said, but one thing I would stress: There is no description of the pedagogical idea of this platform. If you visited the site, there are no sections telling about the philosophy, so from a pedagogical point of view you don't know what you buy.

On the other hand, it's an professional platform, which means that for instance language translation is done completely; I can only get Moodle partly in Danish.

In conclusion, if you don't wan't to burden your head with many options as admin and teacher and use a rather slow and tedious workflow, itslearning could be a solution.


 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators

Jan: you say "I only get Moodle partly in Danish"  - one good thing about Moodle is you can translate the other bits yourself (either just for your own site  within Moodle Site Administration>Language>Language customisation) or you can translate for the whole Danish-speaking world and everyone will benefit. You don't need to rely on a company providing the translation. Sure it would be nice if all languages were automatically translated, but you are not restricted if your language is not 100% translated.

See Contributing a translation and also Language customization.

 
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Jan Sosniecki
Ang: Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

Yes, I know that I could do this work for the community or at least at the level of the installation. And I would be willing to do it if I had time and money.

And this is what I wan't point out: itslearning is not the most cool LMS in the world, but once it payed, you don't need to invest in extra like installing plugins or doing additional translations because it's all done.

So, what you pay is what you get while with Moodle you don't know what you need to pay more in order to prepare it for your use.

Of course, you can pay a company to do all the technical stuff, and this is the solution that I will adopt in order to get the best LMS which is, naturally, Moodle.

 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Ang: Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

First of all, once installed there is no big deal in any of your teachers writing their courses, as the only skills they need are the skills that they presumably already have, such as using a word processor. Plugins are no problem, you just need to surf around and you will get used to finding what you need, and there are some good simple video tutorials available for teachers and students on youtube.

If you want even more simplicity, you could ask for a quote from a moodle partner, at least ask as it might not be that horrendous for a school budget, or you could try a months free trial service similar to ITS such as http://moonami.com/ . Their rates of payment are on the website. 

In regards to languages, moodle has a massive list of language packages, ITS has only about five, and would be no good to me, as most of my customers are Russian, with many of their paying parents having no knowledge of English whatsoever. My guess is you are not talking about google translate are, as I am sure you are talking about human writing in the appropriate language. Either way the best alternative on the subject is Moodle by far. For language base of Moodle , you simply download the language packages you want. Your students will be able to choose which language they want on the top right hand corner. For example I've seen a Japanese/English Moodle site from a link in this forum.

 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

How much Jan. How much does your educational institution pay for this itslearning. I suppose that's your answer. Moodle is open source, there's nothing to buy, it's bigger and much more flexible.

I can't understand  what you mean about it being a burden with administration on Moodle , as once installed Moodle is easy.

 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

I'm baffled by your last comment. re :In conclusion, if you don't wan't to burden your head with many options as admin and teacher and use a rather slow and tedious workflow, itslearning could be a solution. 


If you want to talk about worthwhile commercial competition, let's talk about Blackboard, or at least another one worth a comparison to Moodle, because looking at the itslearning website, they are not worth even discussing.

 
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Jan Sosniecki
Ang: Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

I asked about itslearning because it's the platform that we got in our school while I had prefered Moodle. And I still hope that we will get it.

 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Ang: Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

Why not inform your school that they will probably save themselves a lot of money. And that they will find Moodle not so scary once they seriously consider it.

Yes, I have read commercial competitors and blogs claiming Moodle is too complicated for the non-computer geek, but that is simply scaremongering.

 
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Picture of Jez H
Re: Ang: itslearning vs. Moodle
Particularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

You can get Moodle on a SaaS basis too, plenty of Moodle Partners and others offering fully managed hosting, you dont have to do it all yourselves.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
Particularly helpful Moodlers
The comparison is not only between ltslearning and Moodle but between propriatory software and free software and software as a service vs. software which you can run. Listen to "Stallman in brief" .

(found in http://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/09/07/1559225/stallman-does-slides----and-brevity----for-tedx )
 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: itslearning vs. Moodle
 

Nice video, and good link. I didn't know there were so many services and "software for suckers".

There is a general argument whether to call it open software or free software. I personally prefer the name open software. You try searching free software, and you will see how misleading these advertisers can be.

If your into 3d drawing , animation, and game making another fine example of open software beating the commercial competition costing you thousands is, http://www.blender.org/

Just click download from any computer, windows, Mac, or Linux and you have your 3d software, with plenty of tutorial support. Might be useful addition for your graphics etc in some moodle courses. 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
Particularly helpful Moodlers
Yes, the word free causes confusion, because it is ambigous: 'free of charge' or 'free to be free'! In fact in this video RMS explains that between 1:25 - 1:55 min.

Or from Wikipedia: "computer software that gives users the freedom to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, modify, and distribute the original software and the adapted versions".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software

The alternative term is Open Source Software. Again quoting Wikipedia, "is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software

Unless you are deeply involved in these things, both are the same. My preference is Free and Open Source Software. (Watch 'Revolution OS', you'll find it in YouTube.)

Yes, Linux is not the only FOSS. Blender is a professional quality FOSS. Gimp, Scribus, Inkscape, ... belong to the same category. LibreOffice/OpenOffice many use as an alternative to Microsoft Office. The list is long. Almost forgot, Moodle is FOSS https://docs.moodle.org/dev/License !

Yes, a great advantage is that most of these software are availiable on all three platforms: Linux, OS X and Windows.
 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
 

Yes thanks, as I now go along with free and open source. And yes, libreoffice I use working with Moodle with no problem at all. 

Same as Libreoffice impress is a great alternative to powerpoint for your presentations. Yes, you can export or upload to Moodle in a compatible format.

And for those who need to simply design a website to promote your Moodle courses for example, there is http://kompozer.net/ as an alternative to Dreamweaver.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
Particularly helpful Moodlers
On equivalent/substitute FOSS for proprietary software: There are various lists in the web. The problem is maintaining them, it's a moving landscape!

I made my own short-list for a presentation recently. You can get it in OpenDocument format in the next couple of months from http://www.syndrega.ch/pluginfile.php/157/mod_forum/attachment/16/eeu_lecture1_foss_in_education.odt. (See the last two pages.)
 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
 

Of course the list of FOSS software is endless, However I would like to add two more that might be useful to Moodle teachers where video and audio presentations are important.

To give video presentations on your windows desktop, such as a whiteboard, or a particular software, or perhaps a presentations showing you working on Moodle for example.


To record and edit sounds

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

A video and sound editor

http://www.openshot.org/




 
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Picture of john Simpson
Re: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
 

To compensate for slightly going off topic, as I said youtube is flooded with tutorials of moodle for the student, teacher, and administrator. To get you started as a teacher Lynda.com have some good tutorials.




 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Software Freedom Day
Particularly helpful Moodlers
And it is the Software Freedom Day!
http://softwarefreedomday.org/
 
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Gmads
Re: Software Freedom Day
 

Not a pleasant experience big grin nevertheless:

 
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