- How it compares with moodle
- How students feel about using it
- How staff feel about using it
I have just finished overseeing an implementation of sharepoint and classserver (microsoft learning gateway).we worked with a microsoft Gold parnter and have a "customised" solution (as long as customised means our own logo). We have finished testing and in house piloting and I am about to go live with client piloting (I work as part of an adult and business education division of a college).
The features are great but I have found it almost impossible to create a flowing learning experiance within the course sites (SharePoint services collaberation sites).
I can create nice sequences within the ClassServer Asignments but these need to be assigned (thus appearing in a list on an assignments page), and can't be embedded alongside other activities or linked to. (if I'm wrong please tell me any help would be appriciated!).
I'm currently looking at my options. The one that looks most faverable at the moment is to get rid of classserver. Turn on "my site" within SharePoint. use sharepoint to run email, and document stores. And use moodle to create the "course sites" with all the learning activities it has etc....
We are lucky enough to have a .net developer (who nearly had a heart attcak when I suggested a php/open source system). he thinks (Ok I think) that he could right a web part that would display a students enrolled courses from my site.
I will be running with the MLG for the next few weeks during the initial pilot and will be using it with other trainers and learners.
I'll post how I get on in a few weeks
I am one of the developers of examstutor, and I think you guys have got the wrong idea about us.
We developed examstutor as a response to the cost of commercial vles, it does the things teachers that use it want it to do, based on the feedback we get from users, we charge schools a subscription fee of £10 a month per subject for all students and all staff on and off campus, we host examstutor for all institutes and maintain the site, provide content, all for £10 a month. We think moodle is great, we aren't out to compete with you, in fact we are aware of subscribing schools that use moodle, and also use examstutor with students for its content, we are trying to provide an option for schools and individual teachers that is simple to use, and has content from the start.
PS Does anyone think its worth having a preview option in the forums ?
We are not looking at examstutor as the ultimate vle, simply a very usable environment that helps teacher support students as they prepare for exams .. hence the name, please do not pigeon whole us as a competitor, because we aren't at all. In fact this posting is our first attempt to open up communication with you guys. Because our view of education is a very open one Ger.
Hello Miles and John
Yes, lets do it, is the short answer.
Examstutor is php / mysql based, which from our understanding so far is the basis of moodle, and therefore there may be a number of ways content can be integrated into moodle. Examstutor content is much more than photocopiable worksheets. We already enable institutes to integrate examstutor content into intranets, removing our own 'intelligent navigation system', we have also done some work on integration in the other direction with school intranet resources being incorporated into examstutor, so yes there are a number of ways this could be achieved.
I think we'd need institutes to subscribe to examstutor to integrate the content into their version of moodle, as I think I mentioned before we already know of institutes that use moodle and subscribe to examstutor for its content. We pay royalties to authors of content, donate 10% of institute subscriptions to educational charities, and use the rest which isn't alot, to maintain and develop the site, I personally believe our subscription fees are not just 'reasonable', they are down right cheap.
So, lets talk about how we can do this, we are new to moodle itself so the solution maybe very obvious to you guys, or we may even be able to find a new way to do this that works for us both.
I look forward to talking about this further, as we are big fans of what you are trying to do with moodle, and the way you are trying to do this.
P.S. Clocked the 30 min edit option after i'd posted my first posting, familiar with other forums providing this preview option so expected it here, like the option of realising that everything you typed 15 minutes ago was madness, and being able to go back over it.
We'd welcome your subscription support, I think if we are serious about this we should offer a reasonable discount to institutes that are working with Moodle if they want to access the examstutor content, through it. If you are subscribing for the school / college you work at.. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference this posting.
We are big fans of Moodle, but we are also big fans of our adopted charity
Schools for Children of Cambodia, British Registered Charity No: 1099609
They build/run/maintain schools for children in Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the world, who would not otherwise be able to attend school. The money we raise gets spent sponsoring students, teachers and buying equipment for the schools - not vles - but shelves, tables, chairs.. we like this as its an an example of how a Virtual Environment can support Real Learning Environments, and it recycles education funding - schools subscribe to us using e Learning Credits, some of which then goes onto fund education the otherside of the world
You can find out about the charity on examstutor, and even make an independent donation if you like what they are doing.
In reference to the initial posting we are still looking at Moodle, and still at the head scratching stage - we can see, for example, that you could link to examstutor content as an online resource within a course created in Moodle, we could do this so pure content comes through without a second level of navigation from examstutor. But we are also wondering if we should think about creating the entire course and packaging this with the links already set up, so it can be 'plugged into' a school / colleges version of Moodle, is this a possible?
Any suggestion / advice would be greatly welcomed, we are based in Enfield, if there is a school / college in North London that is using Moodle we'd be keen to talk to you, and possibly pilot something with you.
Anyway, please feel free to contact us, as we are keen to get this off the ground, once we know the best way to do it.
If you want to look at an installation of Microsoft Learning Gateway, your welcome to come and visit.
I can show you the moodle insatlation I'm playing with as well side by side.
I will publish a comparison on this forum soonish, but not before next half term.
Thank you Darren
Happy to take your lead on correct forum, and we will take a look at your site.
We will set up a test Moodle site, to experiment with possible options. It sounds like the the plugin version is the best option if we can get it working, there are possible issues with this for us, but we my be able to find a nice solution.
If you have requested a free trial we will probably set this up for you this comming week. There is overlap between Moodle and Examstutor - which has online testing, tracking, resource upload / download, links directory facilities for institutes, we are assuming that Moodle schools would want to stay with the Moodle tools for these elements.
Re-reading my post I feel I was a bit harsh on the Microsoft Gold Partner!
As far as ClassServer goes there was little customisation carried out. HOWEVER. They did intergrate our MIS --> Active Directory --> ClassServer Database which work extreamly well!.
They also set-up the MLG as per the Microsoft implementation guide.
Without a huge effort there is little to customise as far as ClassServer goes or making SharePoint services sites into an intergated fully featured VLE.
I didn't want anyone to get the impression that I was unhappy with the service of the Gold Partner.
Share Point Portal Server 2003
|Share Point Portal Server 2003 Client Access License (CAL)||
I believe that you would also require a SQL server, which would require licencing.
You only need a SQL Server if your database is going to grow over 2GB (actually that might be 4GB) I think, otherwise you can use MSDE.
My understanding is that you need...
Class Server Server + CALs
Sharepoint Portal Server + CALs (can't use the free Sharepoint Services for the Learning Gateway, has to be SPS)
Optionally Exchange Server + CALs
Optionally SQL Server - Server + CALs
ISA Server (though this is only a couple of hundred quid, you might end up having to get a new server if you don't run this already).
It starts getting really expensive when you factor in the licensing for remote access - as far as I understand it you end up paying a SPS licence cost for each potential remote user (not concurrent); and given that the SPS licence is something over a tenner, that's hellishly expensive for even a medium-sized school.
Like the product though.
I saw the product at BETT and have to say it looked good. Its single, main score is integration with other MS products; MS Server, IIS, email, explorer, internet explorer, office etc. They may not be good products but they're adequate for the job and the advertising clout of MS is going to end up forcing it into many, many schools . IMHO.
The front end looks very similar to all VLEs however the big win that the product scores is a single log in for all functions.
Due to the clout that MS has at LEA level it's my view that sharepoint is going to become the basis of the mechanism for data transfer to and from LEAs and therefore they'll have the unfair advantage in all departments.
I'm the Learning Gateway Director for the Primary School 'node' of the Learning Gateway based at Shireland Language College. I feel it's worth pointing out that the Shireland Gateway is not just in use in one school - currently we have around 50 schools, Primary and Secondary - the LG provides us with the tools to collaborate within and between schools in a way that would be very hard without the technology.
Class Server is only one aspect of the Learning Gateway - the tool for delivering and creating online work assignments. Email, discussion boards, polls, surveys, IM and others all contribute to the collaboration as a whole.
As for "Is it straight forward to get it to do what you want?" - that is the key - the thinking needs to be ' I want to do this - how can the LG help?' rather than 'What can it do, so how can I use it?' The tools are simply that - what users use them for is up to them.
Thought it might be worth mentioning that it looks like RSS, Wikis and blogs will be included in V3/2007 of sharepoint natively. They can also be supported in v2/2003 with 3rd party web parts (some free).
I have now been a SharePoint/Classerver user for about 18 months and am now have also been using sharepoint 2007 with the SLK (Learning Kit) for few weeks.
I've only been using the out of the box functionality of the SLK and I have found it to be a good honest SCORM player that provides simple feedback to teacher and student. you can also use it to "assign" office documents. and it gives learners the opportunity to pick to do assignments themselves.
It works through integration with Document Libraries and seems stable and easy to use. However you cannot really embed these assignments within a wider structure. (I have not been able to link to an assignment from any other list or page within sharepoint), Also there is no creation facilitates as part of the SLK at all! (the teacher client in classserver has been totally dropped) SLK is a SCORM player. with the scorm data is written to the SQL database there are no reports or report generating options as standard within SLK. you would need to write the reports or use SQL reporting services (I'm sure someone will create a webpart soon).
Learning Essentials 2.0 (a free download for MSoffice) has direct SCORM package creation from word/powerpoint/excel and it does this admirably, Unfortunately there is no SCORM reported question/testing functionality (that I have found). Thus at the moment there is no MS facilites for creating assesment activities
There are very little templates (I've found one called "classroom management" )or customised lists designed specifically for educational use. I have created a Glossary tool similar to Moodles and a customised list that combines links to libraries and online resources. (I'll happily sent the .stp files or entire courses .fwp to anyone who would like a look.)
I have really tried to like the new version of sharepoint it has a nice wiki function, blog, the document Libraries are fantastic BUT IMHO It's hard work... If you want to do something you are starting from scratch.. there is very little documentation, the site usage reporting is barely better than web statistics. and there is no way of grading work other than through assignments in SLK.
I need to stress that I have only been using Sharepoint 2007 & SLK for a few weeks (please correct/help me if I am incorrect on any of the comments I am making) but I have spent a good volume of time trying use it's functionality with my classes and being frustrated that there is no clear way of structuring content and learning activities without simply writing a web page. Colleagues that have good IT skills have found learning to use Sharepoint 2007 harder than they were expecting, I find it easier than 2003.
I notice that there are Moodle webparts for SPS2003. If Moodle could use SPS2007 (should I be writing MOSS2007?) as its document store, then that may be a real winning solution. Mike Haines (on these forums) also manages the learning gateway site www.learninggateway.net and I'm sure will help in any way he can.
hope this helps