Two great posts were made to a Moodle.org forum (note that Moodle.org’s forums are password protected, though registration is free) recently by Sandy Pittendrigh. The posts highlighted what value Moodle specifically carries today, despite the ability to create/recreate a Moodle-like learning management system with free, open source and standalone activities and web2.0 applications such as wikis, Google Apps/Documents, quiz programs and social networks.
I’m a grateful Moodle user, for going on two years now.
But I do find Moodle’s page editing frustratingly primitive.
I’d rather use a more powerful content management system.
So, a big-picture view of what Moodle offers (probably missing something here):
- (primitive) page editing…I want more complex layouts and navigation
- discussion forums
- menu-driven email contact with students
- interactive multiple choice quiz editing
- statistics from log files (much of which is a bit tricky to access)
- convenient grade tracking
So it occurred to me I (as a developer) could cobble most
of the above list together with a variety of third-party open source tools.
The list of available authorization wrappers, forums, email applications,
and quiz editors is too long to list. Most important to me would be the
ability to (use a CMS to) make arbitrary page layouts and always-available,
table-of-contents-like navigation schemes.
Grade tracking might not be so easy to duplicate.
But I like to keep a paper grade trail anyway. So I’m not sure how much
I care about that one anyway.
What did I miss in my list above? What does Moodle offer that I
could not duplicate by knitting a few freely-available open source tools
The original poster goes onto answer their own question in this way:
As a developer with multiple servers and fixed IP addresses to work with,
I could indeed cobble together a working course-ware package (from open
source modules) for me alone to use. I could imagine doing this in a week
What would not be so easy to duplicate would be the global administrative
wrapper that differentiates between admin, teacher, student, etc,
with matching privilege sets to go with.
There’s a huge value in the administrative tools provided to Moodle users that have been developed and honed since it’s creation. The institutional knowledge that underpins the development of new administrative filters, reports and abilities for the next Moodles is additionally one of the best things the Moodle community has going for it.