The Great Course Migration: Preparing to Move Your BB 9.1 Course to Moodle 2.0 a professional development how-to presented by Jennifer Jones and Katherine Bennett
In this professional development course, I was able to get a glimpse of Moodle 2.0 as well as tips and ideas on organizing online course content in Blackboard for the migration to Moodle 2.0. Topics included an overview of how Moodle 2.0 works, saving and organizing files from Blackboard 9.1, moving quizzes and pools, and adapting assignments and activities for Moodle 2.0. This session was a demo only and did not actually include a hands-on experience for individuals.
Moodle 2.0 is one of the newest flavors in LMS (learning management systems) for educators. Technically being around long enough to go through an original draft, Moodle 2.0 offers some great features with a price tag set to move. Well, the price tag for this item is set at $0.00 which is a price tag most schools can cope with.
When attending this training, I was struck with 2 initial thoughts related to this product:
1) Our division has really worked hard for a long time to prepare our online materials (since 2006) and now it is the required norm for the college.
Our team in Computer Engineering Technology ( CET Division ) of Wake Technical Community College has endeavoured to place our online materials in blackboard using a weekly folder, with all materials for the week held within the folder itself- all learning objectives, all goals, all notes, all lectures, assignments and links to the discussion board, all videos, etc. This has been an effort we’ve put into place in an effort to make all of our courses containing a common thread so that whatever course you were in, one week would be all you needed. Also, if you were hit by a bus and unable to return to classes, another teacher could simply step into the breach and release your materials one week at a time.
In the new moodle system, this will be the required norm. It is nice to see that efforts within the CET division as well as the GRD (Advertising and Graphic design) and WEB (Web Design) departments were ahead of the curve on this one.
2) I am extremely suspicious of the $0 price tag.
No price at all sounds great- on the surface. But what lurks beneath? Our IT staff works very hard to troubleshoot the systems, and get frequent updates and patches from the customer service teams at blackboard. How then, will a free system like moodle meet our needs? Is there not a great opportunity for security breaches, problems which cannot be helped by a help network which is manned by volunteers, etc.?
If a system like this is free, how can they possibly be as responsive as a paid system with working customer service? How much will training cost to get each person in each department switched over to the moodle system? In the mean time, will we have to work partially in moodle and partially in blackboard? My suspicion here is that there MUST be a set of hidden costs- either in functionality, system use, customer support, number of users/licenses, etc. Hidden costs. That’s my thought, although I’m ready to make the switch if requested.
I will grind whatever grist the mill requires.