MoodleCloud, a Moodle HQ pet project that is positioned to become the future of the open source LMS keeps racking up thousands of sites and many times over the number of enrolled students.
But can MoodleCloud provide a fully fledged, professional LMS experience for large virtual campuses? An interview with Shawnee Mission School District’s Susan Hallstrom offers a point of reference as to whether this “Moodle SaaS (Software as a Service)” is ready for prime time.
MoodleCloud offers several tiers, including a basic free one for a group of up to 50 students with 250Mb of space and limited ads. Following the free tier, four more are available, the largest of which serves schools with more than 500 students. Shawnee Mission East, operating in suburban Kansas, is the largest school in the district with 1,700 students in grades 9 to 12.
While the capacity of MoodleCloud’s highest tier (with 1 gigabyte) could look small today, in Shawnee’s case this is not a limitation, as the community is well-versed in personal online storage services like DropBox and Google Drive. The most recent version, Moodle 3.3.1, is already loaded in MoodleCloud, which follows the official release schedule closely and upgrades at no extra expense or hassle on the part of school administrators. This means they can already link their Moodle profiles with their personal storage services and send links as file submissions.
The number of features and plugins available in MoodleCloud continues to grow, but it still faces several limitations when compared with a standard Moodle site. For Shawnee Mission, however, the level of functionality was exactly what they were looking for. Taking the price point into consideration, MoodleCloud became an even more incontestable choice, especially as it requires no dedicated staff.
But even if MoodleCloud cannot satisfy the demands of significantly larger organizations, it does a good job of showing what Moodle is capable of and it could make educators more enthusiastic about open source EdTech. Besides, if they decide to move to a standard Moodle site, migrating the information is much easier.