At least, so say the staff at our college who have just been successfully and migrated from Blackboard (cheers Brian). From my observations of those around me, there have been quite a few surprises.
One of the most striking, I think, has been a sense of relief. It turns out that many students, tutors and administration staff had used Moodle in a previous life and with its return have set to using it as if it were simply the natural thing to do, as well as provided a reservoir of knowledge they have been only too happy to disseminate.
I have heard from students and tutors phrases such as: ‘just bung the notes on Moodle’; ‘the assignment’s up now’, or peer to peer, ‘show me how to enrol/upload/join/etc’. The Moodle philosophers would be happy to see collaborative ‘training’ rather than any formal courses.
Drop-in sessions for lecturers are common, and students are helping each other out. I went for some exam accreditation training, going through some labyrinthine exam board web stuff, to find that I was set up on Moodle right away. All my links and a college help forum were just there waiting for me! That’s actually a really helpful and time-saving process.
It’s obvious to me that by Christmas, Moodle will be the place where everything is ‘bunged’, everyone ‘meets’ and work is bundled up conveniently into teaching groups for assessment.
I can actually see two dreams coming true. The first is the end of the dreaded shared drive and the death of the email attachment from students and staff. Bliss.
So it seems like I have been converted to VLEs after years of critical attack.
It’s simple, no bells, no whistles, no stupid graphics, no arcane structure to master that no other institution will have, just a tool that is ideal for managing courses. Moodle is free and has achieved activation energy. It’s over, everyone else can go home now.