January 15, 2007

Course Management Software

During our initial meeting, I brought up alternatives to Blackboard. While the current system is quite useful, as you have no doubt found, there are alternatives. This is semester, I will be using a free, Open Source course management software named Moodle.

According to their site, Moodle has over 150,000 users, speaking over 75 languages. Another academic institution in Westwood has adopted Moodle for it course management software.

(The following draws some notes from a Humboldt study)
Why use Moodle instead of Blackboard?
Better for individualized feedback on assignments
Better for tracking individual student activity
More tools available
Can be customized to add more features.

Why use Blackboard instead of Moodle?
The students already use it in their other classes (for now)
Better gradebook
Easier to differentiate "read" and unread messages" on discussion pages
Announcements more prominently displayed"

Moodle 1.5 compared to WebCT 6.0, Sakai 2.0
In a study by Idaho State, Moodle far outranked these others when rated by students and faculty.

If you would like to hear more about Moodle, please let me know. But know for now there are options out there that might be better suited to your needs. Moodle may require a bit of a learning curve on your part, but the freedoms it affords can be well worth the effort.


GCM said...


Please do let us know how things go with Moodle, both for you and for your students.

Coach Marino said...

So far so good. They seem to have mastered the basic interface with little difficulty.

GCM said...

Mark: That is good to hear. By the way, have you ever worked with Sakai? And if so, what are your thoughts? In addition, what do you think of so-called "homegrown" tools that are built and operated by a campus itself (I am referring here more to e-portfolio rather than L/CMS tools)?

Coach Marino said...

Moodle is the main system that I've been using over the past few years (in addition to Blackboard).

The home-grown tools I know come out of L/CMS. Can you post on e-portfolio?

BTW, I'm coming to agree with the reports on the ease of feedback on individual assignments on Moodle.

I haven't found monitoring read and unread forum posts to be so much of a problem. It's easy enough to track activity and to stay on top of messages.

GCM said...

E-portfolio applications tend to be easily editable, but I have not seen a tool that allows for posting (though it should be simple enough to do).

Coach Marino said...


Can you define what you mean by e-portfolio and offer a few examples. What functionality do you expect? What are you still searching for? Has the blog replaced e-portfolios for you?

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