Comparisons and advocacy

Moodle vs Blackboard

 
Me at the Beach
Moodle vs Blackboard
 

I am looking for a way to manage my course content and a platform that will be available to me long term. My school district provided Blackboard for some time and I built my courses on that platform.  When the budget crunch hit several years ago, the district dropped Blackboard and strongly encouraged use of Project Share.  This was a free platform provided to Texas teachers state-wide.  There were problems with the fact that so many teachers starting using it and the support staff told me they could not keep up with the volume of support requests.  Then it went bankrupt - twice.  So the content is not likely to be available in the future.  

I like the fact that Moodle is free, flexible, and evolving.  I am excited about beginning to build courses on it!

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

There was a number of techniques that meant BB courses could be migrated to Moodle with a minimum of fuss, but weather that has been maintained or not, or if it helps you, I do not know... The link is to the migration documentation. 

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

There were some scripts that converted certain parts of BlackBoard into certain parts of Moodle but still made a right old mess. 

Some companies did offer such a service but - having done it myself a few years ago - the process is incredibly labour intensive (read expensive).

The fundamental problem is that BB has a different view of the world to Moodle. Materials just don't map. The best you can hope for is a random dump of 'stuff' in Moodle. I honestly don't see the point. You know how we often say "don't bother upgrading from Moodle 1.9 to 2.x, just start again. It hurts less". Well... you work it out for BlackBoard to Moodle wink

 
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Me at the Beach
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
 

Thanks!  I tend to re-write everything every school year it seems.  My hope is to get my classes into Moodle where at least it will be under by control.  I've been through Blackboard and Project Share in Texas.  Kind of frustrating to build a class and then have the platform disappear.  So now I have my own site with Moodle on it.  We shall see how this fares!  :>} 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
Particularly helpful Moodlers
At the Free Culture level that is the price you pay for Software as Service as opposed to Free Software. (This is what Richard Stallman is preaching three decades. You may or may not like it. In any case, a digression.) In the case of Moodle, you could request the whole course as a zip file and upload in to another Moodle.

There is another level: How much of your teaching material is LMS-dependent? How much is "neutral"? Depending on the answer, you can move from one LMS to another easily, or not so easily.
 
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Me at the Beach
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
 

Thanks for your input.  I am such a novice, I don't know.  I guess I will wade in and see how it works.

 
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Picture of Peter Jackson
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
 

Hi!

I hope your transition from BB to Moodle is going smoothly. I thought you might find this comparison article interesting, and I wondered if you might share your own thoughts as well on the experience. http://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/moodle-vs-blackboard/

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
Particularly helpful Moodlers

Welcome to Moodle.org Peter, you share a name with another famous New Zealander.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Jackson  although he is a 'sir'

I'm not too convinced by your link.

This table (below) from the post is one of the worst, most ambiguous, wrong and ill informed statements I have seen, that does justice neither to Moodle or Blackboard, in almost every line in the table on both sides.

Surprising since the mother ship organisation this comes from I would have thought would know better.

My 2c worth

-Derek


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

I rather agree with Derek, but to me more specific, when the first row on the first line is very misleading it is probably time to view the rest of the document with scepticism. It suggests that Moodle is freemium,  According to dictionary.com 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/freemium

This means 

"a sales strategy, especially on the Internet, in which the basic product or service is free, but customers are charged for additional features and content."

Moodle is licensed under the GPL,  you are free to use the Moodle software under that license and Moodle HQ offers no software add-ons with a financial cost.

There are of course many services offered around the Moodle software that have a financial cost, but that is very different to a fremium model where the first bit is free and then when you want to use seriously you have to pay.

I worked with Blackboard as a teacher for 12 years and I can think of at least one really very nice feature that I feel Blackboard does better, or at least more easily usable than Moodle, but the fact they don't mention that is indicative of the quality of the rest of the comparison..



 

 
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Picture of Dave Perry
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
Particularly helpful MoodlersTesters

I guess (as a moodle house ourselves) the way we look at costs is in two parts:

1) hosting cost / hardware

2) staff time

We have a dedicated server for moodle (we've asked for a second one, to go in our backup datacentre, then we can set it to mirror more than once a day as the existing 'backup' server is a major OS release out of date which is unsupported now), which is our hardware cost. IT pay for servers, and the warranty on them for hardware support.

Staff wise I am full time, and I have two colleagues who are half time each who have moodle as the first or second line in their job description also.

Had no problems with Blackboard when I was at university as a student, but that was at least a decade ago since I last touched it so couldn't do a fair comparison. An affiliate of my old university actually heard my name somewhere a few years ago, and contacted me directly, for advice on deploying moodle! IIRC they were getting existing server admins with the necessary software stack skills to deploy it - unsure who was going to do the day-to-day 'admin'.

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

To run either Moodle or Blackboard properly for a mid-sized organisation you will need some skilled staff, and usually about the same number of staff. Note that the staff do not have to be developers/programmers.

 
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Picture of Ger Tielemans
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
 

What I miss in the comparison is the big difference in the way the educational resources and activities are organised for the students. (Derek, In your table it is hidden in the course assignment row.)

Blackboard uses a desktop metaphor: you get all kind of baskets on your desk: a basket with resources, a basket with assignments, a basket with forums etc.. 
You also need to write instructions like: "read this assignment carefully. Go to the resources and pick-up resource36352. Then go to the forums, selct forum 382622 and discuss with your friends the content of resource36352."

In Moodle you arrange resources and activities on the canvas of a section (on top of the section you place a title: the topic for that section, Under that title you place resources in a visual way, you can use the outline function of the section. Then on the correct places between the resources you place the activities: students see in a glance the educational purpose. (You even can integrate on a deeper level: if you use the filter mechanism of Moodle, you can integrate inside an activity multimedia resources, a simple flowchart, netlogo, scratch - or even a Simile timeline with a self created filter - in the same way as you use the chain symbol in Word.)

I use the free iSpring tool to publish powerpoint with spoken text. (In Slideshare and other online tools/stores you loose the sound option)

I advise not to use the built-in lesson tool to prevent lock-in: if you spend a lot of time in creating forked scenario's I would advise the platform independent (Scorm compatible) tool Xerte toolkits from Nottingham University: on the moment they are replacing the Flash parts with real html5 parts. (Have also a look at H5p.org for the creation of simple interactive resources like a movie with questions )


 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Moodle vs Blackboard
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

This blog post was first published about 8 months ago and I responded to it at the time, pointing out the numerous errors of fact in the way it was written. Their response was basically - Oh that's what our clients tell us. Poor research, poor writing factually inaccurate

http://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/moodle-vs-blackboard/#comment-2225387281

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

I agree Richard, if an article is factually incorrect, then the conclusions will always be inappropriate. There are two things here though, that also need be considered. First, the product of use is the one that the institute itself deems most appropriate to meet their need. Second, far too often it is the marketing of the selected product that determines which product meets that need. Prejudice and misinformation, ah, that's Free Enterprise!   

 
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