Tag Archives: implementation

Leap of Faith: Trials and Tribulations after Converting to Moodle

Live blogging another session at USDLA 2012

Leap of Faith: Trials and Tribulations after Converting to Moodle
Presenters: Charlene Stubblefield, Stephanie Holmes, Major Stewart, and John Williams from Prairie View A&M University
This is a follow up session to a session they did last year on their implementation process.
They are on Moodle 1.9. Someone in the audience highly recommended upgrading to 2.x.
Leap 1: Deciding on Moodle as the LMS
Leap 2-4: Uploading the student information from Banner into Moodle; Setting up LDAP for single sign-on; They update twice a day at 11 am and 11 pm. They ran into issues as they merged the student accounts for single sign on.
Leap 5-20: Training, Training, Training
  • Training for the office of distance learning staff
  • Training for students – students didn’t show up to the trainings; they had better attendance if the training was embedded into the actual course time (had to deal with students asking for the ODL staff to train the instructor to use it certain ways)
  • Web based documentation online for students and faculty – text with screenshots and Flash video
  • Faculty training: they do certification for teachers to be able to teach online; phone and email support is provided on a regular basis; the provost supports the online certification process for when the faculty are resistant to it; at the beginning of each session they have a 5-10 minute gripe session to let them “get it out” – and then they go on with training; they see the key as building a relationship with faculty of support and technical expertise
  • The web based certification is 10 weeks with 3 modules, but some finish it in a few days; the face to face is the same training, but is in three two-hour sessions
  • They’ve had this certification in place for 10 years; and at the very beginning there was an incentive ($1500); but now the online course is considered part of the regular teaching load and the online certification is considered normal practice
  • There is also a test at the end of the certification that the faculty have to take
  • They do a face to face meeting to see how the faculty use the computer – and then from that they do an assessment to see if the faculty member should go to the online training or the face to face training.
  • They have significant buy in from the provost and the deans for certification for teaching online
  • They have a self-study document for the faculty member to review the course before it is taught online (it’s a 10 page document that includes what should be in the course and what types of learning experiences)
  • Faculty sign a release form that their course materials are owned by the university
After this, they did a pilot with Moodle…
  • They piloted with one course – with a high level instructor – and there were no issues. The problem though was they needed to hear from less savvy faculty members to get better feedback on the issues.
Leap 21: Based on the pilot, they pushed the implementation from the fall to the spring.
Leap 22: Significant work to convert course materials, quizzes, etc. from Blackboard CE6 to Moodle.
Side conversation on why they moved: the major reason was the cost; they also liked the open source model; concerns about the monopoly; interesting conversation through the room on hosting etc.

Leap 23: They worked on adding other plug-ins:
She mentioned a Moodle XML builder as a tool helping with the conversion process.

The benefits of Moodle plug-ins and extras is that faculty can beg for a feature, and then you can find a plug-in or module, install it, and two weeks later you’ve given the teachers what they need. Instead of the vendor saying – well that will be in the next version next year.
They have four instances of Moodle: For courses/production, for development, for outcomes, and for the school of education for NCATE. Very interesting way of using Moodle for multiple uses on campus.
Their hosting company is Remote Learner. They are really flexible; they will offer service whatever you need – training for your IT people; you can create your own contract, etc. (That was feedback from the presenters. Good to know – sounds like a great option.)
They like hosting because the hosting company is very quick to implement what is needed.
It’s so wonderful to hear the trials and tribulations from another institution and their experiences of