I could probably write a lengthy series of blog entries on Moodle from the perspective of a statewide online learning program. It was so obvious to me when I took my current job as a Curriculum Director of an online learning program that Moodle was a vastly superior product to other options that it was laughable to think of adopting anything else. Thirteen months later, I am not nearly as certain that was the right direction to go into, however, we are certainly are locked into Moodle, with all of the baggage it has brought with working with vendors and the unstable nature of how Moodle interfaces with other commercial products.
One of the decisions that I will need to make in upcoming months is when to upgrade to the much-anticipated version 2.0 version of Moodle.
To be honest, there is a lot to love in Moodle 2.0. I have had a test site up for a couple of months and I am thrilled at a number of the changes. Many of the learning activities have been rebuilt from scratch, making activities like blogging and wiki use much more competitive with their outside counterparts like MediaWiki and WordPress. There is a new file-handling system that relies on repositories that seems a vast improvement over past systems. New systems from TurnItIn to GoogleDocs to Dropbox now have some native function in Moodle, making Moodle a much more Web 2.0/read-write web friendly. Heck, advanced toolbars even start working in Google Chrome and Safari.
That all said, this is anything but an easy decision, especially for an institution that relies on Moodle for the primary platform for delivering content.
First, there are upgrade issues. It hasn’t been a smooth process for some. Some things break. Others don’t work as planned. We will rely on a prominent Moodle vendor to do the upgrade for us, but, I don’t have overwhelming confidence that everything will work as planned.
Second, there are training issues. I have been using Moodle since 2004 and I must say, I am good at Moodle. I learn something new every day, but, generally speaking I am able to quickly and efficiently create content and interactivity in Moodle. With that background, I still fumble around a little in Moodle 2.0. It looks mostly similar, but, there are significant differences in the way it interacts with both teachers and students that might become a significant training issue for my program.
Last, others around me seem to be waiting as well. I have been most struck by this article from MoodleNews’s Joseph Thibault and his “if 1.9 ain’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude. I was also significantly interested in this announcement from the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project that they recommend waiting due to significant issues that remained unresolved in this system.
It’s a tough call.
What about you? Waiting? Not waiting?