Re: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] VLEs
- Dear James,
I am acquainted with both Blackboard and Moodle.
WebCt has been bought by Blackboard and that is why WebCT user have been replacing it with Bb. Find more information here: http://www.blackboard.com/webct
Moodle is an opensource CMS and you will need have a greater technical support than BB requires, since you will be paying BB to provide you with some kind of tech assistance.
I really like Moodle. I think it has a constructive approach and is quite userfriendly.
BB is also quite nice, but quite expensive too.
To choose the right VLE is a hard decision to meet. But remember, what matters is how you are going to engage the students/learners in there to construct knowledge. I think that with either one or the other it can be achieved, as long as you know how to e-moderate and guide learners in their learning process in a dynamic, interaction, communicative and active way..
What you want to consider as a deciding factor is:
what is more cost efficient? To pay BB to get the technical support (you will find that their technical support will not be enough) or have a team providing technical support to your online projects?
I hope it helps.
If you have more questions don't hesitate to contact me
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- Definitely, James. Go for Moodle! It's free and well-documented. There
are plenty of newsgroups, free courses on line (such as those the
Webheads give) and people you can discuss problems with.
I'm using it as www.writeit.to/sys, but there are hundreds of examples
you could look at. I'm not terribly active these days and try to keep
things cheap and simple.
> Our school is thinking of investing in a VLE, but we are not sure what
> the pros and cons of the various ones available are.
> Could anyone offer any advice?
> It seems that centres which used WebCT in the past now use Blackboard
> and centres which once used Blackboard have moved to Moodle. This
> suggests that Moodle is perhaps the safest bet. Broadly speaking, would
> you go along with this?
> Best wishes
> James Frith
Ruth Vilmi Online Education Ltd
E-learning, language checking and translation services
Company Web page: www.writeit.to
Art gallery: www.writeit.to/ruth/gallery
Alternative email: ruth.vilmi@...
Mobile: +358 50 368 4696
I'd go for Moodle any time - as do over 60% of FE and HE places in the UK,
and the Open University (who are also spending 5 million GBP on contributing
to its developement...) Oh - it's free, too...
Gavin Dudeney - Project Director, The Consultants-E
c/ Ceramica 54, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 93 427 4240 | +44 20 7193 0770
- Hi James,
One thing to be aware of is that Blackboard bought WebCT a couple of years
ago so the two products are merging. I'm not 100% up on developments but
last I heard development of WebCT was winding down with view to ultimately
only having one product, called Blackboard. As I say it's worth checking up
on that but if that is indeed the case it's probably best to avoid WebCT (if
it's even still being sold which, by the looks of the website, isn't the
case, so this is a moot point).
Depending on the size of your organisation your decision may be extremely
easy. Blackboard is priced in such a way that it's not really affordable for
smallish institutions - it aims for the university/corporate market, i.e.
thousands of users, so if you've only got tens or even hundreds of users it
may be a non-option. Moodle on the other hand is free, though you will incur
hosting costs etc and it doesn't come with any guaranteed support, though
the peer-support tends to be excellent. There are also private companies
that offer Moodle support for a fee either on a retainer basis or on a
case-by-case basis, so this may be an option.
Personally I like Moodle's interface and useability - definitely much more
than Blackboard's, though that may be a matter of personal preference.
Hope that helps, though your question is a biggie! :-) What you'll really
need to do is sit down and make a list of what you want a VLE to do for you
and what your budget is, then compare what's on the market, perhaps inviting
in people from different VLE providers to give you some demos and
- Hi everyone:
I quite like Moodle too, and agree entirely with Chris "what matters is how you are going to engage the students/learners in there to construct knowledge".
A point to note is not to be conned into thinking "anyone" can "do" Moodle. At some point you are going to need expert help (instalation, personalising the "look" of the course, backing up, updating to new versions, general troubleshooting, etc).
There's a huge amount of stuff on the Moodle forums, and lots of readily available volunteer help, but often that isn't enough if you haven't got the expert knowledge yourself.
- If I may interject here, I'm a big fan of Moodle too. IMHO I don't think
that spending money on BB is justified.
However, I might suggest also that you have a look at Drupal. It's also free
and open source. It seems more complicated than Moodle, but has a nice
interface and more options for fine tuning.
One thing that others have yet to mention that you might consider, and that
is the recent suit of BB of Desire to Learn. BB took out a patent on
certain aspects of its product that many deem common to all LMS's and on the
day the patent was granted sued one rival company for infringement, in a
move analogous to Ford taking out a patent on the steering wheel and then
suing Chevy for its incorporation in its products over the years. Since
then many have rallied to produce prior art that would serve to undermine
BB's patents case, and the patents (44 of them, http://noedupatents.org) are
indeed now under review. You can Google the saga under terms such as
'blackboard patent'. The search currently turns up Stephen Downes, first
up, and then some pages from the BB website, so you can see sides to the
argument, plus a BBC article near the top of the list that attempts a fair
report on the issue.
I think that if you're 'green' on open source and academia and suspicious of
hegemonistic tactics of big business then BB's behaviour in this instance
would corroborate your thinking in that vein and would serve as one more
reason to consider a freely shared and competently crafted open source
product over a closed, expensive, big enterprise one.
Look into it,
- Hi everyone
Thank you very much to everyone who got back so quickly and provided
such helpful information.
Given our situation (we are fortunate enough to have an IT team!), it
all seemed unanimously in favour of Moodle (although it doesn't seem
to have the content management facilities that Bb does?), until Vance
This is very interesting, Vance as I've never even heard of Drupal. I