I have had my experiences with a wide variety of different CMS/LMS systems, including MOODLE (really?), ANGEL, WebCT, and Blackboard. However, I wish to discuss MOODLE and ANGEL.
Where does my background come from? I look at this from an odd perspective. My experience with ANGEL was from a student perspective. The University that I had recently graduated used ANGEL and I was quite impressed with it, with the expection of a few minor things.
My experience with MOODLE has been two-fold. I took a few courses online through an independent group of instructors and that is how I became interested in MOODLE. I have been using MOODLE as an independent educator since November 2005.
ANGEL impressed me quite a great deal, but there were always a few frustrations that we at the college would talk about over a game of poker and more energy drinks and coffees than you could count. Most of us were part of a strictly online course at that time. We were given assignments to do in ANGEL's quiz module. The assignments were then graded and we were given a final score. What was the problem, you might ask? You see, we all had to do a little math when it came to figuring out grades. While each assignment was worth a different number of points, ANGEL considered ALL items from the quiz module to be out of 100 points when it came time to look at our "Online Grade Report". Being the computer-software-micro-managing type, I decided to create an Excel spreadsheet to do the work for me. I then distributed that to everyone in the course so that they too could figure out what in the world their grade was.
Later, when I tutored a math course, the University created a group for me in ANGEL that I could use for my "students". I was thrilled. This gave me a chance to play around with the modules and find out what ANGEL was all about. One thing that was particularly interesting is something called the "Learner Profile". What it did was list, for each student, each assignment they completed, followed by the class max, min, and average. It then charted these values in a bar chart.
Another great ANGEL feature was the ability to easily take attendance and create your own categories of attendance, rather than just the standard Present/Absent type.
I had known about MOODLE somewhat from a passive standpoint before I started taking courses in it. When I was playing around with ANGEL, I started searching on Google for "course management system, CMS, LMS, learning management system, content management system, etc..." and I ran into MOODLE!
My first assumption before anything was this: It's a CMS and it's free. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? It wouldn't be until about a month later that I started taking a religion course through an independent instructor using MOODLE. I absolutely adored it!
Here it was, split into "weeks" rather than jumbled together. The only thing that concerned me was that sometimes there would be a lot in one week and there were no folders, like ANGEL had, to split things up.
When it came time to submit assignments and check grades, I was thrilled! No math involved here. The points were listed properly and the final grade was listed, INCLUDING THE LETTER GRADE EQUIVALENT!
Quickly, it dawned on me. I saw a little MOODLE icon on the bottom of the page. This was the MOODLE that I had the bad feelings about a month ago!
Soon, I started doing some research into MOODLE into how I could incorporate it into my own independent teaching uses. I quickly became the site's administor and main instructor. Armed with MOODLE 1.5.2, I was ready to go!
I taught four different courses during the first "semester" each with about 15-25 students. I thought maybe I had taken more than I could handle. Being excited about the new CMS, I decided to use a wide range of activities. While I do not remember off hand, I believe I may have used every module in one course already. My favorite was the workshop module, which allowed students to work together and allow myself to grade based on...dare I say it...criteria based assessment!
Finally, my two favorite things about MOODLE:
(1) The forums here at moodle.org. Everyone has been so helpful! Even when I ask the dumbest of questions, many people respond with possible solutions to the petty little problems I seem to run into. People here have been very patient and very helpful. The passion that goes into MOODLE is very strong and it is an honor to be part of such a community.
(2) Plug-ins, add-ons, modules, created by third-party developers that can be easily (by most people, not always me ) added in to my little MOODLE home. Truly, I appreciate the work of all those who add to MOODLE.
So, in conclusion, while I did enjoy playing around with ANGEL and using it (it is a pretty good CMS), I must say that MOODLE outranks it. So, thank you to all those who work behind-the-scenes at making MOODLE great.