There is a JACET meeting on "study management systems" in Hokkaido and I was told that "Moodle and TIES are free but they cannot be used with many students and there is no one to support it". I would like to hand them a paper that deals with these misconceptions in a direct way. I am not sure who is spreading this, but it could be a Hitachi salesperson or some university professor who is using an Hitachi LMS.
Is anyone familar with the LMSs offered by commercial companies in Japan? Must be a growing market. Too bad Moodle is not getting the attention it deserves.
Thank you very much for a very interesting story about LMS (CMS) marketing.
I would suggest you "MoodleDocs Japanese" and "Japanese Moodle Course" for good understanding of Moodle.
MoodleDocs Japanese (online):
Offline Moodle Docs packages:
Japanese Moodle Course (here):
I know we need some technical background to administrate Moodle, but Moodlers in "Japanese Moodle Course" could support Moodlers in trouble.
These are so helpful, and I am sorry I do not read Japanese well enough to find them on our site before. I really appreciate the work you all have done to build a solid foundation of trust for Moodle.
>>...Moodlers in "Japanese Moodle Course" could support Moodlers in trouble.
Thanks again. This is a relief to me, and this kind of service is why I love the Moodle community.
Especially chapter 7 was written by professors from national and private University; Mie University (Okumura sensei) and Kinjo Gakuin University (Nakata sensei). Both are running Moodle under load balanced configuration and can accept hunderds of concurrent access.
And please find attached list of Moodle schools can be found on Moodle site. We made in this April requested from a university admin.
Also we helped several schools to migrate from Commercial LMS (Japanese ones and Bb) to Moodle. Moodle is more flexible and can scale easily.
I hope those helps.
Thank you very much for the links. I just ordered two copies of your book. Sorry for not knowing about it til now. The list of schools is also very valuable.
I really hope we can organize a meeting up here in Hokkaido, and then maybe we could invite you, Mits, Bill or your colleagues to come here and speak.
By the way, our school did a very intensive stress test with Moodle and 200 students doing a 50 question listening quiz with audio files--all at the same time. Results showed we reached a maximum load of 10%. Our engineer estimates our cheap Linux server from Dell could handle 1000 simultaneous students doing the audio placement test. In the future we will try video, and I am curious how many we can handle. Certainly Moodle on a single well-configured Linux server can manage a large university. Cost? 180,000 with 2GB RAM.
Dear Prof. Hinkelman,
I found your comments on Moodle promotion in Japan very interesting, especially the issue concerning competition against commercial LMS. I am a huge fan of Moodle and I think it is an excelent alternative when educational institutions cannot afford high investments in educational technologies and have qualified staff to be in charge of building, customizing and maintaining the system. However, my previous experience with Blackboard, WebCT and SAP kept me thinking about this issue and I wanted to share with you some conclusions I reached on this regard. I think there is a need to be objective and realistic assessing open source products such as Moodle, because there are too diverse potential users and there is always a downside to everything. When the responsibility for keeping the site up and running falls upon the institution who decides to adopt it, it is true that no one can guarantee technical suppport for these sort of sites and although there is a large community of Moodle users and specialists willing to give a hand anytime, there is always the chance that people will not find the answers they are looking for. On the other hand, the advantage of adopting a commercial LMS is that schools can demand more quality and technical assistance whenever something goes wrong with the platform, and for some institutions this seems to be a better option than running the risk of not knowing what to do if eventually the system malfunctions. As I see it, schools planning to introduce e-learning platforms as part of their educational experiences with students should assess what kinds of options they have, what their needs are and the conditions under which they can afford to provide these kinds of experiences. After all, as a teacher I believe that the relevant discussions to make this decision should not be centered around the kind of platform we are going to choose (open or commercial), but rather on how well these technologies are improving students' learning process and helping us realize educational outcomes.
Ramon A. Iriarte
Dpt. of Information and Computer Science
Faculty of Engineering - Kagoshima University
Yes, thank for your comments. I agree we have be very objective about the merits and demerits of Moodle, despite our passion for it. One objective measure is server load testing. See the technical stress test results from our school as one indicator.
>>On the other hand, the advantage of adopting a commercial LMS is that schools can demand more quality and technical assistance whenever something goes wrong
Actually, this point is incorrect. Any school can hire a commercial Moodle Partner and demand as much quality and technical assistance as they need. The costs can be high, but likely far less than a closed, proprietory format.
Hi again Don!
thanks for the information, it's really great to know that technical assistance for Moodle can be more accessible for schools. I work in teacher training and we are always making efforts to stimulate our students' critical reflection on the possiblities and limitations of educational technologies. The kind of research work you are conducting to assess technical features of moodle is really valuable for our analyses in class. Thanks a lot!
Last year at the e-Learning World conference in Tokyo, we had a booth there and many of the commercial LMS companies came over to talk to us - and look for holes in Moodle. One person from NEC was trying to see if I would admit that using MySQL would result in database corruption.
Of course, there will competitors that are running scared of Moodle, its professional support services, and would like to spread the FUD.
Regarding myths of no support, I can tell you that we are quite busy supporting our clients and I suspect that there is going to be a wave of interest for Moodle very soon. If you want, you can contact me directly and I can send you something that might help you in the JACET conference.
BTW, here is a link that I ran across the other day regarding the NECC2007 conference in Atlanta this year:
Also, we will be having a booth at the LET conference in Nagoya:
August 7-9, 2007. We welcome any and all Moodlers to stop by, say 'Hello', and of course, ask questions.