Opinion: Why I’m still using 1.9

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It’s ironic that someone running a Moodle blog does so little work on 2.0.  I can’t bring myself to start using it more than just testing out a few features.  Mostly because my means and expertise in managing servers and installing software at that level is limited; but also because I’m not sold that 2.0 offers a better environment for the courses for which I use/administer/sell from Moodle 1.9.

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When I started working with Moodle as part of Moodlenews, it was in part due to the fact that Moodle is widely available through cPanel administration and it’s a breeze (like WordPress) to install and configure to a URL.  I was able to hook up my own LMS and tinker with the files via FTP and online file management without restrictions.  And this is where I think Moodle has other LMSs beat, hands down.  A new Moodler can be up and running with the same skill set that it takes to create a blog: and this is a HUGE advantage in the marketplace of LMSs.

Updated: Unfortunately Moodle 2.0 isn’t yet available through an easy cPanel installer for Bluehost (my host of choice).   Until it is,While it is available through the panel (a recent addition that I missed until a commenter pointed it out), I probably won’t take a bigger dip into the product and will live vicariously through the demonstration videos and will test it out with Admin through student/guest roles on sites where I can get superficial access to the front end (check out the hosting page for those free Moodle 2.0 sites where you can check it out too: Moodlenews.com/hosting).  It’s availability means I have a greater ability to test it, but probably will not put it into a production mode for any sites I work with in the short term.

In my opinion, Moodle 1.9 is such a great piece of software because I can access it through the server AND front end and have a more intimate understanding of what changes on the server side affect on the front end (uploading files, modifying HTML/CSS, themes, mod files, extensions, etc.).  I’ll admit, I’m both a little scared of and anxious to play with Moodle 2.0; but I’m wary of the time commitment I’ll need to make and learning curve I’ll have to hike.  The community surrounding 1.9 is still strong and robust; and any new Moodlers eager to start using the software I would advise to start using 1.9 instead of jumping to 2.0 (until the tutorials, ease of use issues, and documentation have been further fleshed out).  Once I’ve gotten a good handle of it myself 1.9 is my Moodle of choice.

Does it make me a Luddite if the “old” software still works just fine?

10 COMMENTS

  1. Brent, good call! I hadn’t realized they had added. Probably won’t upgrade any current sites I’m running; but will install a play site for myself to see what I can do.

    Thanks for letting me know!

    Updated version of the post is above.

  2. I still have my old 1.9 site at bluehost, but I also have a 2.0 site there. For a short time after the release of 2.0, their installer defaulted to 2.0, and I installed then.

    Some of the features of 2.0 I like:

    activity completion (previously a major student complaint)

    simple content pages in lessons (not every page needs questions)

    more flexibility to look better (haven’t really seen an amazing theme for it yet, though).

    Things I don’t like, or think are overrated:

    lack of plugins etc (I know this will get fixed over time as more people prepare to make the switch)

    navigation (It turns out that this just really clutters the entire left column. The activity names never fit. It’s really just klunky and redundant, since the main course page IS the navigation.)

    lack of polish (to be more specific, things like being unable to make a simple label on the course page without it being formatted as a paragraph in the HTML editor, thus taking up too much space)

    My 2.0 site doesn’t have any enrollments yet, but I’m very close to launching it. I have only ever used 1.9 as a development/beta testing platform, and I don’t want to launch on a platform that’s going to lose support in another 12-18 months.

  3. I’ve invested a quarter of my waking life (since the past 4 months) in 1.9.8. Too many mods, filters and blocks running under 1.9.8. Staying where I am for the time being.

  4. I’ve only fiddled with 2.0 a little, but I find it very confusing, especially if you want use FTP along with uploading. I can not figure out where my files go when I use the Moodle uploader. Also, the fact that I can’t restore a 1.9 course scares me and I can’t test it well.

  5. Peter – agree with you about the nuisance not being able to restore a 1.9 course but if you search on Joseph’s blog here on Moodle news there’s a link to conversionthingie which is really good for restoring a 1.9 course into 2.0 Not the official solution of course – but worth it for playing.

  6. I’m sticking with 1.9 for the simple reason that various plugins in use have not been updated to v2.

    As to installing, my host (Layershift – http://www.layershift.com) will do it if you ask nicely 🙂 or if you have a full managed VPS with install packages, Moodle 2 is listed so it’s a one click and you’re away.

  7. I think the major issue for me is two-fold:

    1, the plugins and modules that are not yet available for 2.0 is going to put me off

    2, upgrading a large site from 1.9 to 2.0 is going to be a hugely stressful and time-consuming process, and I am not sure my brain can handle it!

    I had been put off intially due to the php environment issues that can make installing 2.0 difficult on all but the most up-to-date servers (even my business hosting had to be migrated to a new server to make it work). I do have a test installation running now so I can have a play (as I will have to learn the new theming engine for work purposes).

    In the meantime I am more than happy to keep going with 1.9. As long as I am happy that I can maintain the site myself, even the end of version support for 1.9 will not be a major issue.

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