No problems so far.
We now have 96 of our 373 students signed up...the rest are adding in slowly, a handful each day.
It's looking good.
Now I've got to try and fight off an attempt (that I've only just heard about) to take on Interlearn from Monash, in exchange for some of our elective courses. No one consulted me on this and I only found out about it because I saw it in a (non-IT) section of a report on the Monash visit by one of our staff.
I'm not going to give up without a fight, especially after all the work Martin has done, and the time and effort I and the Teaching IT Coordinator have put in...especially as, as far as I can see, Interlearn doesn't have half the useful (in a teaching and learning sense) features that moodle does.
The big beardie in Oxford
But apart from that, if you get a chance, I'd love to see an itemised list of anything missing from Interlearn that you'd need in Moodle.
I had a quick squiz at it and one thing I noticed was the good interface they've got for marking assignments (more scalable than Moodle's current one).
Interlearn does do groups, which won't be along in moodle until V2.
But it doesn't do any activity except variations on the Journal thing we were discussing over in bugs, (student types response in on screen) with the ability to submit the response to a forum for discussion.
No uploadable assignments, no quizzes. They rely on links from within Interlearn to WebCT or other systems to do that. They have forums, and both they and assessed activities can apparently be tied into a group, to make "Group Activities"
Their authentication is all tied in with their portal and tutorial management system.
The only materials that can be put into an Interlearn course are either plain text or html fragments in the Module and section headers and the description and instruction parts of activities (which of course can include links). No uploaded files, hence no resources like presentations, acrobat or word documents, video or audio clips. Again they rely on WebCT and other external systems for that.
It seems to me to be less like a web-based learning system and more like an add-on to plug into their portal to fill in the gaps in other systems.
I wish groups would come along sooner though!
(Mostly joking, Martin, I know you have a Thesis to write).
Must .... work .... on .... thesis ....
I've spent most of the last month ignoring my adminstrative duties while I learned some things about moodle, php, mysql and such. My changes to the new college catalog are a week overdue, but this has been time well misspent.
We have a WebCT server. We have about a 1,000 students taking classes on it. I am teaching two classes this semester on it. Last fall, WebCT let us know that the license agreement they had negotiated with the two-year college association in Arkansas had expired: our yearly license fees would increase from 1,000 to 10,000 dollars a year.
So, I've gone looking for a new solution. Moodle is a good start, but I can't sell it to a faculty that is mostly technologically naive and trained in WebCT. Microsoft had the same problem--Windows NT frightened everyone because it was not Windows 95 or Windows 98. So, Microsoft upgraded Windows NT and called it Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
Any good ideas about selling Moodle to a distance education committee that is dtermined to have WebCT or Blackboard would be a real help.
I have such admiration for open source anything. There was a time when open source meant reading a lot of poorly written HOWTOs, but any more a query to Google generally helps solve the problem. I'd really like to see this work.
The software is open source so you can check the code, other people can contribute, development and bug fixes come along a lot more quickly.
Moodle has, as far as I can tell from talking to the webCT admin people at one of our parent universities, a much lower hardware footprint.
Moodle is *very* easy to use, as an admin setting things up, or as a teacher constructing or running a course, or as a student *taking* a course.
There are some things that you might need for a larger institution, such as groups and group activities, that moodle doesn't currently have, but Martin is working on them for V2.
Oh, final thing about distance learning stuff...moodle is so lightweight on the browser that unless you weigh your course down with loads of multimedia, it runs perfectly fine, even over a relatively slow dial-up connection.
There is an open source product called Kewl, http://sourceforge.net/projects/kewl/ . It has many features that may warrant consideration for incorporation into Moodle. Here is a list of features that it has:
- Create, manage, delete and archive a course
- Refresh course for a new class
- Add guests, students, managers to a course or make a course completely open
- Manage frequently asked questions per course
- Manage learners in study and work groups, where work groups have workspace and discussion forums
- An events calendar per course
- Create, add and delete users
- Security and permissions management
- Add students from official central register per course using official codes (may require some simple code to be developed for specialized sites)
- Link to LDAP compliant database (requires custom coding)
- Passwords management built in, users can generate new password by supplying email address
- Manage a list of outcomes per course
- Manage a reading list per course
- Glossary of terms automatically parsed against content pages and appear as links, glossary managed by lecturer, glossary search per course or by site
- Popup study questions on for each content page
- Add content to a course, edit content, delete content
- Edit, insert and delete content pages from within the content itself if permissions allow
- Content navigation tools
- A supporting documents area per course where educators can upload supporting documents for the course, and students can download them; included a database for describing documents
- A web-based folder management system allowing educators to create courses with content that is external to the KEWL database, as well as import course material in just about any format imaginable (uses upload ban list)
- Ability to use streaming audio and video within course content
- Embed entire other websites and maintain their interactivity while displaying them with notes in content, worksheets or multiple choice quizzes
- Fully integrated search engine to locate content in stored pages
- Content can be exported to static HTML, using a single mouse click, for distribution on CD-ROM or by web content mirror (e.g. via Getleft or wGet), with exported content having a link to the originating site for online activities such as discussion forums via automatic login and redirection, etc.
- Administer marks, students view their own marks but not those of others
- Marks administration system can communicate with a central administration database
- Add Essays and allow essay booking on a first come first-served basis, essays uploaded to essay folder
- Online worksheets, facility to add comments and marks, linked to marks administration tool
- An in-basket tool per student where students can store files done in word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, computer programmes, etc.
- Upload area for assignments per course, lecturers mark assignments and put back in to students folder
- Multiple choice, computer assessed quizzes that add marks to the marks administration system
- Notice board for displaying course notices
- Internal private messaging (similar to email, but built in)
- Instant messaging system with presence indication (see who is on the site and send them a message) and ability to lurk
- A threaded discussion forum per course, a general discussion forum, and group discussion forums; forums can also be used for assessment, includes simple discussion analysis tools
- A realtime text-based chatroom per course
- Shared whiteboard tool per course, including text chat
- Create work groups and give them
- Private group discussion forum
- Private group document sharing area
- Real time chatroom
- Personal events calendar per user
- Facilities to allow learners take notes on any content page and compile them together with and without the content
- Bookmark the last page you were on and return to it in another session from another computer
- Favourites storage for weblinks
- Simple personal homepages
- Learners lounge
- Find your classmates
- Whose online via KEWL Instant Messaging (KIM) and ICQ
- KEWL buddy lists
- Note: community tools are under extensive development, new ones will be added after version 1.1 is released
- Manage underlying data via web interface
- Manage files via web interface
- Prevent upload of banned upload file types, and manage upload ban list per server
- Create users, upgrade users to authors, and manage all site activity and features
I believe that most of missing usefull features (groups, access controllists, archive backup) will be atleast on Moodle 2.0, but most of features on list are already in Moodle.
and remember that you can always submit patches to Martin...