Comparisons and advocacy
In the same boat as you i.e. a push to move to Sharepoint, so will be watching this thread and the other very closely!
We're actually coming the other way - i.e. thought initially about using Sharepoint as a VLE, decided against it, and are now looking at Moodle.
To cut a long story short: Sharepoint is a nice way of enabling collaboration on documents, has a survey function etc. The great thing about it in terms of end-user acceptance is that you don't need to be a web designer to create web pages: in fact it works much like a (slightly cruder) version of the Moodle web editor. You can also download further plugins etc., some of which are free.
However, it's much more suited to office work and can't really operate as a VLE. The only way we could think of using it would be as a pretty much training-free way for teachers to create a static course: so students would just look at the web pages and see the info on the Tudors or whatever, but their work on the topic wouldn't be tracked by the system, no handing in of assignments etc.
So we've decided against it, for what it's worth. Though I wouldn't be overly disappointed if somebody gave me Class Server etc. for Christmas.
And charge you yer after year for the yearly contributions?
You support clearly my point against SP: You can organise resources in a very nice way, give students assignments, let them deliver there homework and then.. you discover that it falls short on the last minor (??) step: managing and coaching real students when they are no longer managed with one uniform timetable....
I was under the impression that the MS Learning Gateway licensing was (unless a school paid for it under a Schools Agreement) a one-off payment(?), albeit a very substantial one when you factor in the Sharepoint Portal licensing.
As regards Class Server, I'm really not sure: part of the problem is that you see its qualities in an hour-long demo rather than getting proper hands-on experience with it , but from the demo I came away quite impressed with e.g.: integration with AD; integration with the school's MIS; proper provision for parental access & reports; reports of student attainment against targets.
So it's interesting what you say about the last step being lacking, could you expand a bit? From our point of view I'd say that we have to decide how much we believe in a social constructivist pedagogy, given that we've had quite a few internal arguments about allowing kids access to email etc. lest they abuse each other. So our original vision of a VLE was more like a traditional linear teaching course which everybody could see laid out for the academic year and which was basically used to manage and track assignments, allow absent students to see what they'd missed, facilitate cover teaching etc.
So what do think we're missing if we stick to that model?
(That's meant to be a genuine question - being a tech rather than an educator I'm not really qualified to decide on different pedagogies, I'm just trying to get clear enough to present alternatives to my colleagues)
- Chance for your learners to learn from one-another rather than just from the teacher, or worse still resources - this is not only more effective, but it's much more efficient too - if you're the only one who can help them with tasks then that's going to be lots of work for you - if they can help one another then your burden is reduced and they're far more likely to understand ideas if they have to explain them to other people.
- Chances for your learners to articulate their understanding and experience for an audience that would benefit from hearing them.
- The opportunitiy to let your students know that what they think and are interested in actually matters.
Social constructivism is as much about (more about?) epistemology as pedagogy - if you think there's a fixed body of knowledge out there that they need to learn then the MS approach'll be fine. If on the other hand you see knowledge as a thing which society builds together then your pedagogy, and your learning platform, should support (or rather build on) this.
You might find the following from RTWeb quite helpful:
As we try and find ways to best integrate Moodle (or technology) into everyday teaching practises, we have been wrestling with the dominant paradigm of teaching and learning as a purley sequential and predictable activity and the unspoken reality of actual practise in the classroom. I have introduced the term briccolage to the district.
Teachers heave a sigh of relief when I tell them that their failure to conform to the first paradigm is actually the norm, rather than the exception.
I think that the scheme of Miles (thank you, Miles) stresses the importance of two things:
- The importance of a complete monitoring of the ongoing learning processes of groups not only the artefacts of individuals. The e-learning system must facilitate an educational trained human person, so that you - the teacher who stays responsible for the quality of the learning of ALL children, not only the "inspired ones" - can really behave as the JIT-manager:
If students learn in their own pace and are allowed to make their own choices, then - at first glance - an individual homework tracking system seems perfect from a manager's point of view. But then this manager compare it with his current human depedent system, not with the new possibilites e-Learning is offering.
But only a system that enables you to track ALL the ongoing learning activities AND can set the conditions of learning (thanks, Gagne) must be - one way or the other - a closed system like Moodle, where you can arrange these learning setting, control the conditions for the activities and set the degrees of freedom for the participants of groups. (having roles in version 2 will be a giant step..)
Only then it makes sense to look at all these logs and other activity markers... and ONLY THEN YOU ARE ABLE to to give just in time THE RIGHT feedback and feedforward....and in the meantime handling the common dilemma's: http://www.rtweb.info/diagrams/fig1-2.html
- The second point is that - IF you look again at Miles scheme - it will always be the human coach who sets the pace and the rhytm of GOOD ongoing learning in a group of indviduals, LOOKING AT THE SIGNALS FROM THESE GROUPMEMBERS (and Moodle offers a lot of EXTRA signals), choosing on the right moment the right thing... but choosing from ALL the cells of Miles' scheme, not only the last column.
Don refers to a bricolage approach that came up in the LD-discussion and I strongly agree: If Moodle should loose the possibilty of the final touch of a good teacher who is tuning the educational setting for each individual group, we will end-up with a very efficient training system, not the educational environment we are now developing together. I have a dream (thans, Martin - other Martin.)
What is the cost of the above? What different MIS' are supported?
All of the above can be done with Moodle with some custom work and expert installation (in fact we're doing much of that now for Intel, is MS claiming automatic integration with any MIS or with a specific MIS (the latter of course is much easier if you sell the MIS also.
You may wish to look at the SLK (Sharepoint Learning Kit) that Microsoft released for a SCORM 1.2/2004 compliant LMS code base in Sharepoint. The license allows for development of solutions and distribution without fees that the Class Server required before.
The out of the box look and feel is not great, but the capabilities are very promising. Now that WSS 3.0 supports LDAP, We look forward to see how SharePoint and Moodle can interoperate to combine the power of both and share the same user authentication.
Seriously, the world is discovering Free and Open Source Software. In the case of "MS Sharepoing VS. Moodle" the answer is obvious. See MDs posting below http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=41750#p196886
Implies that Moodle is not "a really good CMS". We can argue on that, once we know we are talking about the same thing: Moodle is a very good CMS, a Course Management System I mean.
Since you mention Typo3 I guess you mean Content Management Systems. To my knowledge there are literally hundreds of free products. What is the great MS product you are refering to, and what does it offer where all those FOSS CMSes fail?
CMS stands for Content Management System: one file on one place, with links/references from several courses, including a library locking system..
It is not mainstream to talk about Course Management system: use VLE or LMS
Moodle is a VLE, NOT a CMS, Sorry.
Are you sure? Check Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cms
> one file on one place, with links/references from several courses, including a library locking system..
Never seen that definition for "content management systems". Could you please elaborate on that?
> It is not mainstream to talk about Course Management system: use VLE or LMS
You overlooked the smiley, I'm afraid.
BTW, how about my main question: "What is the great MS product you are refering to, and what does it offer where all those FOSS CMSes fail?"
I see, wisdom from Wikipedia, I give up
unilogin + overall /centralised rights management
Not so easily, you haven't still answered my questions:
>>> one file on one place, with links/references from several courses, including a library locking system..
>> Never seen that definition for "content management systems". Could you please elaborate on that?
>> BTW, how about my main question: "What is the great MS product you are refering to, and what does it offer where all those FOSS CMSes fail?"
> unilogin + overall /centralised rights management
What ist the fitting question to that answer. Let me guess, it is related to "Digital Restrictions Management", right?
If you work on a Dutch University, the students have the right to do re-examiniations for subjects AND CONTENT, exactly as it was teached three years ago. Working with a dynamic learning system (DLS, VLE, eCMS, CMS, ELO, DLE, LMS.. ) you have a new problem: by changing the content you break that rule. Relying on the common sense of University professors is not the best choice.. Trust is Good, Control is Better.
The only solution to fix that is setup a kind of library system (I prefer Martin L.'s: DMS) where you keep track of the borrowed "electronic books", including their version numbers..
Systems like teh expensive Harvest Road Hive can support that.
Moodle was never succesfull to adopt/adept to another FOSS system to fulfill that need. (Many were suggested the last three years..)
If you must combine the support of a local network + rights with the rights on the webversion of your VLE, you CAN do that with a lot of handcraftswork: I must say that the combination of Moodle with MS can simplify that... Of course the price for all the outsorced tuning of such an MS system will maybe make you pitty that choice
Sorry, I can hardly follow that
a) What is a "local network + rights", do you mean some sort of a central authentication, combined with services like WebDAV?
b) Wenn you say MS, you mean Microsoft I guess. That is a vast empire. What product you are talking about?
a. I want.. document version control.. document workflows... clear, central rights management... easy webpage creation... beautiful views on database fields.. resource management... all this is offered in the product of MS where this thread is all about.
b. I do not mean Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint,C compilers, etc.. I live for a year now without MS-office. I only feel it as a loss when I forget to save in MS-format when I send a file to another teacher (they stick to MS.. schools pay...) and I miss my years of experience with Powerpoint when I try to create a presentation in that other (free) product.
I do not hate or envy Microsoft. If you have a better product - or should I say a better marketing mechanism - then it will smash MS, don´t you think so..
All I want is a good education support system for our schools..
- When a really better product then Moodle comes by, I am the first one to switch.
- If I can improve Moodle by filling the big gaps with another product, I make my choice on price-quality base, not on sentiments.
- When a really better product then Moodle comes by, I am the first one to switch.
- If I can improve Moodle by filling the big gaps with another product, I make my choice on price-quality base, not on sentiments.
What about improving Moodle by filling the big gaps with some useful contribution? Documentation, specifications, code etc... There's always plenty of work to do
OK, that must be the reason why Microsoft is going to clean up Wikipedia
as reported in http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS9314284615.html
Generally when I've heard 'CMS' used for 'one file in one place' it is prefaced by 'e', as in eCMS, as in Enterprise CMS. CMS has been taken by database content systems such as Drupal, Postnuke, etc. to the point where you'll hear Drupal mentioned in comparison to Alfresco, Hive, Jackrabbit, Documentum (which are eCMS's, and Alfresco and Jackrabbit are even FOSS.
But SSO (single sign-on) might be part of an eCMS installation, or it might not, generally you'll need to set up a CAS, Shibboleth, or (if you are cutting edge) SAML based system for SSO--or you can use SSOsrv and pay MS for it.
I've certainly heard CMS used as course management system, it was common in the US before folks started calling these things "Learning Management Systems", or LMS to distinguish them from the 'older' CMS systems and all those 'nuke things that were calling themselves CMSs. LMS is the most common term in the US, while VLE seems most common in Europe and the Commonwealth (though what we have here is a DLE: Dynamic Learning Environment.
Now the next big thing is supposed to be a PLE--personal learning environment, which was also the old next big thing (PLATO).
In the Cal State system, they added to the TLA/FLA fun by calling Peoplesoft the "CMS" (common management system) and it's also the ERP. Sharepoint is pretty much an eCMS, folks generally find it less useful than Alfresco and Hive, but better than FTP. Now the next thing we'll need to learn is JSR-170...
There is a ton of confusion in terminology here... I tend to say
- LMS for _L_earning systems (Moodle, BB, etc)
- CMS for website-building-oriented and web-based _C_ontent systems (Drupal, Midgard, ACS, Vignette, etc). Centered in the delivery of a website.
- DMS for _D_ocument mgmt systems (Alfresco, etc) - most of them have a web-based side, and can even also help build a website (intranet/extranet), but their main point is to consolidate document management. Usually integrate with MSOffice's Open/save dialogue, and their marketing says "get rid of the shared network drive"
There's a fair bit of overlap though and some really poor tools out there. That makes things confusing.
After seeing DMSs in action, I am not a big fan of them. They tend to consume a lot of $ and make things hard for end users. 99% of the time, the shared network drive is just fine, thanks and all the needs that are used to justify a DMS can be covered with a bit of user training on where to save files, a smart behind-the-scenes version control and good backup system. Of course, YMMV and there are places where a DMS is needed... I just haven't seen any
..what about sharing a video - by just linking - instead of replicating them as a big resource for each course, what is now the default setting in Moodle..
If someone could change the download in the Moodle plugin for the DOOR system into a link to that resource system, the biggest of my DMS-wishes would be fulfilled..
In that case a teacher can...
- upload (and annotate) a big file to DOOR... (already available as Moodle block)
- look in the Door catalog and searching by words... (already available as Moodle plugin)
- attach a weblink in a Moodle course to that resource in that archive.. (must be adopted)
- having it also available as a filter in the WYSIWYG editor would make my day!!
I would just like to add my bit about SharePoint Vs Moodle. I am an IT manager and I have experience in setting up Moodle in a previous post. When I started at my new post they were also running moodle. The problem with Moodle is that its just too complicated to do the simple things like adding links / files etc, so much that absolutely nobody bothered to use it.. I know there are people that will say no its not complicated but in my honest opinion yes it is too fiddly..
So I set up SharePoint 2010 at my school and yes it was quite tricky to set it up initially and configuring it properly is very tough, I have spent hours on forums to get it up and running properly.
But I have to say that it was worth it, I have had a surge in content being added by students and teachers who were simply afraid of moodle.. They add links add assignments (Yes you can have assignments in sharepoint using Sharepoint learning kit) You can even add scorm packages! The only thing it lacks as standard is reporting functionality on the assignments but this isn't really an issue at my school anyway.
The beauty of Sharepoint is that you can easily set up document areas and share them due to the ease of assigning very fine tuned permissions on just about everything, it makes things so easy to manage.
Not to mention the Google style sharepoint search system which is absolutely brilliant!
I'm not a moodle hater and I have experience in setting it up and using it but my opinon is that SharePoint is actually better due to it being a lot easier for novices to add content. The thing is from my experience and from visiting quite a number of schools (Most use Moodle) is that most of the schools I have seen don't really use the full functionality of moodle , for example all the reporting features blah blah.. From my observations, all they really want to use it for is for sharing files and adding links! That's pretty much it.. Oh and perhaps the odd Scorm package which is quite rare these days thanks to the cloud hosting most applications..
I have spent many hours trying to teach users to add content to moodle but a week later virtually nobody went near it because they had forgotten how to do it. With SharePoint I only needed to show them once and they are all adding content with ease!
In some ways though its a bit unfair to compare SharePoint to Moodle because Moodle is far more established in the educational environment but the problem is that Microsoft have that power to edge into anything they want due to their power in the computing world.
And because it's a school Sharepoint doesn't cost hardly anything! It cost me around 350 quid for a licence under my school agreement which is to be honest completely peanuts!
As far as setting it up is concerned I can understand why most schools stick with Moodle because sharepoint is a beast to set up properly! It was a real headache but I can say was definetly worth the time spent trauling through the event viewer fixing all the errors thrown up during the setup phase. To be fair though I think Microsoft offer SharePoint free on their 365 cloud so you don't even have to worry about setting it all up now..
Long live Moodle and Long live SharePoint! Different beasts completely but both very good in their own right.
Helen, I know it has been discussed in this forum before, but I think this forum would be so much more useful if it had two requirements:
1) Actively moderated (actual spam gets thru on a regular basis);
2) People use their real names, so that we can judge whether we're getting a sales pitch or the poster has nothing to gain.
If you think that using the web for teaching means dumping documents online where your students can get them; sharing lists of links; and uploading SCORM packages, then Sharepoint will work for you. Moodle has rather higher aspirations: http://docs.moodle.org/24/en/Pedagogy#Social_Constructionism_as_a_Referent
There is a place for both viewpionts in the world (but the place for one of them may not be here )
My sarcasm has gone unnoticed it would seem.
Sharepoint has a lot of features that are useful - no doubt about it. There are a lot of plugins you can download, and some are free, that you might find useful. In the end, I suggest Sharepoint itself is little more than a shell and a repository. It sucks at being much else. You would be better off financially if you set up a linux web server and included nothing but open source tools for education purposes. we are finding a number of issues associated with SharePoint, including license issues in using a VDI for example, that, I suggest, diminishes Sharepoint's usefulness.
Did you notice that the post is an exact copy of the OP? Makes me wonder if this is a real request or someone trying to keep this thread alive.
I do agree with you in that "Sharepoint itself is little more than a shell and a repository".
Well, Scott, I had not noticed really, because I was responding for my own reasons. Having said that, I hope that it was someone from Microsoft, or someone from Microsoft actually reads it, perhaps they will encourage the MS Devs to improve on a product that is easily outperformed by existing Open Source products. Or maybe they will recognise they have a product that is like a lump of wood but it can be turned into a fine bowl if they were to make it Open Source. Who knows...
I can say that I have a foot in both camps having setup both sharepoint and Moodle, I've got to say I prefer Moodle.
The school I work at had a working sharepoint environment with the SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG) modules attached. It worked but it was tempremental as hell; teachers would lose whole reports simply because they didn't save the changes on a regular basis, it was mostly the SLG parts messing around. It also came with the Granada education learning platform for about 25K, which never worked correctly!
Then we upgraded to SLGv2 and lost the learning platform as Granada stonewalled our LEA about releasing it, it simply didn't work on v2.
So one of our deputy heads delivered an ultimatum to the LEA "get it working or get it out!" so they tore it out. We've still got the SLG but it's secondary and with remote access is really being superceded.
At that time I'd been talking about Moodle for 10 years, primarily as a means of delivering homework rather than a classroom thing, the only reason they chose the SLG was for the SIMS integration which Moodle didn't have. So once the Granada platform was removed I "stepped into the breach" with v1.9; we got upwards of 2000 students enrolled though it was awkward to use as a teacher.
I've upgraded to 2.4, cleaning out the userlist in the process, and I've got to say that the whole interface is masses easier (when you add Google chrome you literally have drag and drop functionality for courses) and being php based makes it independent of Microsoft. A teacher wants something particular added I can add it if I can find it. In the month that 2.4 has been active, barring teething problems like the https home access not working, we've gone to 175 users with 5 separate departments wanting training in using the new version.
Overall I'd therefore say though it's horses for courses, sharepoint is OK but it's coming from a business environment not a classroom.
As for "versus", I would like to see what learning activities it supports!
So April's joke is not such a joke..
Still I prefer a FOSS DMS, integrated in Moodle where the educational staff and not the calculating manager of the institute can keep the control and make the educational choices.
..calling an even stronger integration with tools of the same brand - and only that office brand - is not my way of giving meaning to the word freedom: If that is the purpose of MS, then I would expect from them - with all their expertise - more open (and well documented ) web-interfaces.